It's funny how Airbnb still promotes itself as a part of the sharing economy - a place to share your room/home with strangers...
Once upon a time they could honestly say we're apart of the sharing economy - however since then, they've been rapidly increasing "entire home" inventory to make the experience more like a hotel...
They're now forcing instant book upon their original customer base (hosts who share their rooms) - which is a kick in the teeth because no host in their right mind would allow literally anyone to spend the night in their home.
Reasons to decline a booking
Instant book aside, I came across this great article on The Abundant Host. Amy proposes three reasons why a host might decline a booking. I believe them to be genuine reasons, two of which I don't imagine Airbnb would understand...
Intuition: (that the guest isn’t right for your place, that you won’t feel safe, ?>etc.). This is a 100% valid reason for declining anyone, and I feel strongly about >this (especially as a woman).
Overwhelm: (you’ve just hosted a chain of constant guests and you need >some breathing space for yourself).
Special events/holidays: (maybe you’re hosting a birthday dinner party that >you’d prefer to keep private and you aren’t sure your guests would vibe it). - The Abundant Host
How to decline bookings to encourage future business
Amy makes a good point, if you don't feel comfortable, you may as well send a response which opens you up to future business - maybe you will accept the booking at a later date.
You can read her email response here.