Airbnb Answers: Pricing suggestions

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Airbnb Answers Pricing Article.jpg

 

You asked: You're constantly pushing me to lower my price—why? Who are you comparing me to?

 

This was a top-voted question that we answered at the July 2018 Host Q&A, and it comes up often, so we’ve captured the answer as well as some updates for you here. Let’s dive in.

 

You’re always in control of your listing price

It’s important that you know you’re always in control of the price you set on your listing. You can decide based on your business goals and risk tolerance how high or low to go, and when to change that price to encourage bookings or to maximize your profit. Our intention behind offering pricing suggestions is to give you the information you need to help you get bookings, and adjusting your price is often the most effective way to do this. The goal is to dial in a price for your listing that matches what guests are searching for—and willing to pay for—at the time of their trip.

 

Pricing suggestions when demand is low—and when demand is high

We have some updates to share about how we’re developing and delivering the information you need to price your listing competitively—both during low and high demand seasons. The pricing tools we build are intended to help you boost your income by getting bookings. Historically these tools have focused on helping you set a competitive price when demand is low. See, when demand is low, setting a lower price is more likely to get you bookings. Some of you may prefer to keep your price higher even if that means your place goes unbooked, and of course that is absolutely okay. You’re always in control of your listing price.

 

Some of you have told us that the suggestions you get are sometimes so low you question if it’s worth continuing to host on Airbnb. Please know that we value you as the core of our community—there’s no Airbnb without Airbnb hosts! Our intention is only to give you the most reliable information we can gather, so you can make informed business decisions that work for you. Our pricing suggestions may not always capture the nuances of how you host, or what makes your space unique. That’s why it’s important to add a minimum price that ensures Smart Pricing only gets you bookings at prices that are worth it for you. We might still send you suggestions below that minimum simply to keep you informed about what price we believe would get you bookings. You’re free to ignore these if they don’t work for you. We also understand that this is not always welcome information, so we’re working on ways for you to let us know if you’d like fewer, or no, notifications in your inbox.

 

So we’ve talked about pricing suggestions when demand is low, but what about when it’s high? Indeed, many of your calendars are quite booked up. And what you really want are tools that help ensure you’re not leaving money on the table by charging too low a price when there’s plenty of demand. That’s why we’ve spent the first half of 2018 working on this problem and have launched improvements to our Smart Pricing suggestions to be more in tune with the market during periods of high demand.

 

The updated model looks at the previous years’ Airbnb data and the relationship of demand (bookings) and the prices of the booked listings in your area. Your Smart Pricing suggestions will now do a better job of taking these factors into account. This is just the first step. We’re still working on more ways to make our pricing suggestions better suit your goals, and ways to give you more market data rather than suggestions, so you can make informed pricing decisions. We’ve started testing these new ideas this summer.

 

How your space is compared to others

Some of you asked about how your listing is compared to others. When it comes to comparisons, we look at your listing through the eyes of guests and compare it with other listings that are successfully booked. In addition to finding listings that host similar numbers of guests and are close to your listing’s location, we look at what guests click before and after visiting your listing. Sometimes you’d be surprised (and we are too) at what guests perceive as comparable.

 

Next, we try to make sure your listing is compared to other listings that are successful and competitive. Unfortunately, many listings on the platform receive few bookings, especially in periods of low demand. We realize that most of you compare your listings to others by searching as guests in your area, and this can yield very different results than our comparisons. This is because it’s hard to assess how successful listings are with just a search. Moreover, if you search with dates, you’ll typically only see listings that have not been booked. These listings tend to be priced less competitively than the ones that have already been booked for those dates. So if you’re looking only at available listings, you have no way to tell if they’re getting booked successfully, or if their prices may be too high.

 

Despite all this, sometimes our model still doesn’t take into account all aspects that are important to you in your comparison. That’s why we’re continuing to expand the way in which we think about comparisons and are working to increase the relevance of our tools and suggestions.

 

Improvements on the way

Thanks to your feedback, we’ve made some strides in how we calculate and deliver pricing suggestions. Here are a few things you can look forward to:

  • We’ve made improvements that will reduce the number of pricing-suggestion-related emails you get by up to 15%
  • We’ve added prompts for you to give us direct feedback on our emails to you, so we can make sure you’re getting the information you need, when you need it
  • We’ve improved the consistency between messages you’re getting regarding pricing
  • We’re working on an exciting feature that will give you up-to-date market information for each calendar night. This feature will take into account things like how many guests are searching in your area, how many of these guests have already booked, and what prices nearby listings are getting booked for.

 

Stay tuned for even more pricing news during the next Global Host Q&A, which will air on October 10 2018.

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137 Replies
Level 9

Your suggestions about lowering prices is not applicable to me as you are often comparing my accomodation - 1 bedroom in a shared home - with accomodation that is either a multiple shared bedrooms in one address or a shared home that does not meet my standards.

 

Nor do you take into consideration the times that I blocked out dates due to my travel arrangements or when I have my own family/friends visiting. As Airbnb had its inspiration from the couch surfing era, I feel that is where your soul should be, not catering for the people who are renting out apartments or houses.

 

Consequently I just delete most of your emails as you are only lookig to increase your earnings without taking care of the original base of this organisation.

 

Helen

Level 2

I have maintained my price through low season and high season. Airbnb might suggest a higher high season price a season (3 mths) in advance. Currently I am booked 6 months in advance for some folk. Good for them for being early bookers no v organised. On the other hand guests can book in a night or so in advance and get the sand deal. Is this equitable for the guests? 

Noot & Steven in
Thailand
Level 10

Race to zero.  The logic that lowering prices will increase occupany is only true in that - of course lowering prices will increase guests but is it worth it for good/quality hosts to continue hosting at a loss???  I mean if we offered all the rooms for free - do we think that would increase occupancy too?  Can we see how silly this is?

 

The problem with these unsolicited prompts by Airbnb to continually lower prices (way below local market value) is that it has a deflationary effect on our local hosting environment.  Good quality hosts (which is what Airbnb wants and the community needs) get frustrated and you get a constant churn of newcomer hosts who pop up, underprice and quickly get frustrated and quit.  Leaveing everone frustrated including the Airbnb guests who have bad experiences. 

 

I suggest Airbnb use a local budget hotel bench mark.  Get the prices of local hotels to get a realistic price of the local supply and then cut a certain percentage off that.  Because most Airbnb hosts don't offer daily beakfast and cleaning, etc... it makese sense that Airbnb stay should be a discount to local hotels.  

 

That would be a win-win for everyone.  Let's not try to have a race to the bottom where every Airbnb host is trying to canibalize eachother.  Nobody wins that way. 

Cor in
Langerak, Netherlands
Level 10

Hi @Airbnb,

 

Well there you go, you have just proven yourself wrong!

"we look at what guests click before and after visiting your listing. Sometimes you’d be surprised (and we are too) at what guests perceive as comparable".

 

Your assumption is wrong! Maybe guests do not perceive a listing as comparable, but they are just curious!

Did you even once analyze how many people clicked the first listing shown and the last listing shown – on any given search? The human brain is almost always running in economy-mode. So it is just much easier to click on the first item, than on the last one.

 

In ‘our’ town, there is a listing of a studio. Nothing much special, and actually a bit expensive for what’s on offer. But it pops up literally everywhere. And sticks to everybody else’s listings, like chewing gum under a shoe. Why: Most likely, because it simply has about the highest number of reviews in town (this host did start pretty early on Airbnb – as well).

My assumption: Highest or a very high number of reviews does seem to attract the Airbnb search engine.

 

No matter during what time of the year, when you look at this listing. You will always see the message: This listing is on people’s mind, as it has been viewed more than 500 times this week (listings in our town, that show this message - all year round, are really very rare).

Again, why? Well, you just simply can’t miss it, when you’re looking at other listings.

So when guests are searching for a place to stay. And after having looked at a few listings. They just get curious about this particular listing. As it constantly pops up! So simply out of curiosity, they will click this listing!

And as this listing is being viewed that many times, and because some people just cannot bring up the patience to look for another place to stay. They may as well just book this listing, when it seems to suit their needs.

Actually this listing is also part of my own “10-competitor” comparison view in the calendar. And I guess it will be present in that same view for about any other host in our town.

 

Now let’s have a look at a couple of differences:

Accommodation type:

  • Ours: a 2-bedroom apartment, including air-conditioning and 2 large swimming pools on premise, Max guests: 5 persons
  • Theirs: a studio, Max guests: 4 persons (real cozy!)

Area/Location: Completely different parts of town, attracting a completely different type of audience. Distance: 2,7 Kms!

Ratings:

  • Ours: >4.9 (Superhost)
  • Theirs: ±7 and scoring average (± 4.5) on: Value and Check-In

 

This host can’t be blamed for some overpricing of the listing. Simply knowing it is being found, that often among guests.

 

My point: You are simply drawing the wrong conclusion! By analyzing what potential guests click on.

Possible guests don’t always perceive another listing as comparable, they are just getting curious!

With no real intention to book that other listing.

 

It is my impression, the referenced listings (at the bottom of each listing), are a very powerful means for drawing guest’s attention. We’ve already had quite a bit of confirmed bookings from guests, that actually did build up pretty large wishlists of listings in our town, whilst our listing was not in there. Despite this, they ended up booking with us!

 

When I look at this, it is just a simple matter of self-fulfilling prophecy.

And my advice, would therefore be: Get away from your screens for a while and look at the real world outside. Or maybe add some members to the team, with a psychology or sociology background (experts in human behavior). The world cannot be modelled by just statistics and math. Or by analyzing data and mouse-clicks.

 

For 1 host to be able to charge an uplift of some 10%. And a 1,000 others are being told to lower their prices, does not sound like a very rigid business model.

Jonathan in
Stockholm, Sweden
Level 4

You price suggestions should factor in what guests get. As many guests are prepared to pay 200 for a place that only has five-star reviews as will pay 100 for one with only four reviews. Without considering market segmentation your price suggestions will often be wrong.

Polly in
Dublin, Ireland
Level 6

I don't charge a cleaning fee and I supply a really nice breakfast.  Your 'comparison' emails to me do not take that into account - so actually there is no comparison.

Frances in
Durham, United Kingdom
Level 5

I don't really mind the emails as it makes me do my own market research. I was the first person to do airb&b in my little city so it gives me a reminder to check out what everyone else is doing now. They are all different which is what makes it fun for guests.

Sometimes I get an email that says a guest has booked somewhere else cheaper but I know with research that they won't be getting a cooked breakfast, lots of help with information on the town, maps, tea and coffee whenever they want etc etc.

Also there are some guests that really do want the cheapest deal going, even if it's not particularly nice and they are welcome to it as they are the "got to get my moneys worth group". 

I like the nice guests who treat the place as a home, interact and are lovely. Pay a bit more but you do get a better quality of person. So choose your price with your research and don't worry.

It does make me laugh sometimes as there is certain weeks in my little city when you can not get a a bed anywhere because it is so busy and I am asked to lower my prices. 

But I don't put my prices up or down and never do deals. Then I can plan my off times which I have got to know now.  Airbnb can't know your local information, so don't worry about it

Liv in
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Level 3

I agree with Frances, we know our areas and what works and what is worth while in regards to guest turnover etc etc. Mine is near the NEC in Birmingham and I know the market now.  I set the price to cover  my cost and make an adequate profit. I have found Air B&B more helpful when you get the odd difficult guest.

 

Level 3

How do you compete on prices of a whole house versus one room in a shared premises.

 

this needs to be factored in pricing so that when clients compare prices they understand the privacy and services being packed in the price.

 

 

Sandra in
Daylesford, Australia
Level 10

I like to discount the odd night I have free on short notice, or gap nights ahead. There used to be a hover price when guests looked at the calendar which worked so well for me, they could see immediately that THIS night is $40 cheaper than THAT night, let's book this one. And so I could fill the calendar for flexible guests. Discounting nights makes less sense without the hoverprice function, please consider bringing it back.

 

I don't take any notice of the pricing suggestions, just how my own availability is going.

Ria in
Northland, New Zealand
Level 10

@AirbnbI don’t really get it. You tell me my most seasonal top price should be $180. But not even houses on the beach are charging that . I’m well aware I’m three streets behind and I think my pricing reflects that? 

I do like the 5% offers you send out though. Because to me that’s free advertising and I do generally take advantage of these and get bookings through thst factor. ;) 

Sandie in
Kirkham, Australia
Level 1

Well I get the emails suggesting I lower my price because listings in Elderslie are getting booked before mine etc etc - I don't live in Elderslie I live in Kirkham - which is very different.  There are 2 rooms and a bathroom in my house and I provide a very nice breafast - which most places don't.....for me B&B stands for bed and breakfast - our guests love the fact that they are staying in a lovely house and can treat it like a home away from home.  I don't charge a cleaning fee......and my charge is completely viable and worth it.  I am happy to host people but if they want something cheaper then that's fine....I have decided on a price and that's that.   I love hosting though :-) 

 

MaryBeth in
West Palm Beach, FL
Level 7

 First, thank you for beginning this conversation. I appreciate that Airbnb is open and provides a form where we can discuss matters that are important to us. I do not like the prompts that say guest looked at your listing and chose one that was $23 less or somesuch. Frankly, I don’t want that guest. It’s been my experience that when I priced too low I have guests that are  not very respectful of my property. 

Janet in
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Level 4

just to say that I normally have a fixed price for the single room available in my flat. Having been an airbnb host for some 2 years now and receive some 60-70% capacity on my availble nights, that works well for me. Takes me about an hour to change over room, I do not wish to work for less than minimum wage either!

Janet in
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Level 4

what does 'level 10' or level 2' etc. mean?

Barbara in
River Edge, NJ
Level 4

It doesn’t seem accurate that Airbnb will compare a 350 sq. One  bedroom in a $200,000 property to a 1,900 sq ft one bedroom in a $600,000 property.  Maybe they should add another comparison and break down the cost by sq. footage as well as number of bedrooms and bathrooms. 

Joe in
Carolina, Puerto Rico
Level 3

Thanks but no thanks I have noticed that when I lower my price so does the kind of guest it attracts I go out of my way to make my guests feel comfortable with extra touches and it costs money and then I get these messages and make me feel bad and makes me question is it worth it

Cor in
Langerak, Netherlands
Level 10

Hi @Janet,

 

Usually a level 10 means, that this person has wasted way too much time on the Community!

So you should count yourself lucky :-) !

Ed & Robb in
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Level 5

As guests we made the mistake last year of chosing a property based on the pictures and the price. We booked for 17 days. It was horrible. Fortunately, we learned a lot from that experience for us as hosts. We offer a truly comfortable place to stay with a breakfast adapted to the desires of our guests. We give them advice on sightseeing and also shopping and how best to attend any business meetings or conferences on their agenda. We found that if the price is too low, we get problem guests who are careless and uncaring. Now we are getting repeat customers who know us and our home. This, for us, is building business. As they say: You get what you pay for. Many people know that as do we. 

Chris in
Saint-Zotique, Canada
Level 3

My listing is a an entire 3 bedroom cottage on a lake, sleeps up to 9 watercraft included, firewood included, WiFi, premium brands of coffee, and tons of pantry items that are included. I feel that Airbnb can't possibly be taking into account all the different offerings at each unique listing when they make comparisons. In September - November (low season in my area) Airbnb is sugesting I list as low as $49 a night which is just laughable. It tears apart my confidence in my prices, which I already feel I set too low in order to stay competative.

 

Still, I love being a host and I understand the limitations their platform has in comparing listings, especially in more remote locations such as mine. I'm always hopefull to see improvements, but in the meantime I set my price and usually ignore the suggestions, even when they're suggesting I raise the price!

Andrea in
Collingwood, Canada
Level 10

I totally agree, there is no point in renting out space at the prices they suggest and it is a race to the bottom.  People fall for it so it cheapens too many listings in the area.  Its a lose-lose situation for us.  

Hotels and motels rent a rooms in my area from between $160 t0 $300+ / night.  My price is $75 and Airbnb incessantly 'suggests' that I lower my place with private living room, full use of the kitchen and yard for $55 / night.  No way in hell will I do that.  

 

Newbies under-cut to get bookings and they're using their introductory price as an example on my place with 2.5 yrs on Airbnb and a Superhost for 8 quarters in a row. 

 

They could have an inflatable bed and cheap as hell and you still use their price as a comparison.   

Level 2

I understand your just trying to help but the comparisons are usually irrelevant.  I’m not going to rent below my bottom line.  If a group of four can find a place for $30

less a mile outside of town, More power to them.  But I don’t want them here. For the most part your website is wonderful but you have to watch how many pop up suggestions you pound at your users before it becomes an irritation.  

Pete in
Seattle, WA
Level 10

Why not start with the simple stuff - get prices right for weekends and holidays !! Left to its own devices smart pricing will use the min price for Xmas, New Years, thanksgiving, July 4th etc etc. as well as every weekend. Hopeless implementation of pricing. If you can't do it yourself go buy a pricing engine.

 

For a technology company investing in data science etc etc you seem to miss out on your most obvious function. Maximize price for each booking.

Dominic in
Burlington, CT
Level 2

I can understand the intent of AirBnB in working towards creation of a useful tool with these tips on what we as hosts missed for booking and at what cost, but honestly there are just too many variables, too many details that I would want, and I am sure I am not alone in this, to make me consider these to be useful in setting my pricing.  Maybe a new host who isnt seeing any bookings would find this info useful, but I think the seasoned host cannot imagine an algorithim any better than their own intuition and cost benefit analysis in setting pricing. If I contact AirBnB and ask why am I not getting bookings? maybe then I might want this info included in a reply, but to me, its something we should just opt out of receiving with a setting, as I dont it ever reaching the capability of making me revise anything about what I do as a host

Charlie in
Largo, FL
Level 2

Smart pricing requires constant babysitting. If you’re not careful, holidays and peak weekends will be rented for peanuts.  We know that from hard experience.  Eventually, the analytics do seem to up the price the longer you rent on the site-  but there are costly glitches along the way. The only person that can be ultimately trusted with the pricing is the person that pays the bills and knows the property.  

Tarrant in
Chatham, MA
Level 3

Last year I followed some of the Airbnb prompts to lower our prices after being bombarded (at least that is how it felt to me) by emails saying (screaming?) “everyone is booking elsewhere for less!”. And it worked in that we got more bookings — but we got some really bad guests as a result. After trying that for a year I now ignore the prompts entirely as it simply is not worth the financial and emotional cost of having guests who want things on the cheap. We would much rather have fewer guests who are willing to pay a fair price for a quality experience and will treat another person’s home with the respect it deserves. The “race to the bottom” mentality behind the “lower your prices to get more bookings” benefits no one (except, sorry to say, Airbnb which gets more service fee income). Is that really where Airbnb wants to go?

Maureen in
Whitefish, MT
Level 1

i find it annoying and not helpful to recieve emails suggesting i lower my price when i am already fully booked. obviously i didnt need to change the price. then there are "comparisons" that sight some place not even close to what my listing is. i wonder if these suggestions are just random and you dont even pay attention to who you are sending them to.

Dan
Level 2

I don't mind the suggestions, but quickly deterined that you miss some important nuances regarding my pricing and location. Furthermore, I think it might make your suggestions more accurate and helpful to me if you did retrospective looks to see what my actual booking rate is after the fact. 

 

I'm just closing in on my first year, but have had consistent growth in bookings and earnings, and have found that my location--in a 'hot' part of town, and very close to a fairly pricy private college--differentiates my place versus many of the others you suggest are like me. Because some of these factors, I get a lot of bookings in the week or two ahead of the booked date. Waiting for those bookings, versus dropping my rate by 30% or more, which has often been suggested, would result in lower earnings even with some additional bookings. There have been times you suggest that I lower my prices, but the comparables you provide have a lower booking rate and much lower prices.

 

The plus is that you make me examine my pricing and other aspects of managing my Airbnb, which makes me a better host and helps me make better financial decisions in running this side business, so thanks for that.

Patree in
Crescent City, CA
Level 6

I'm hopeful that you will finally make an "Opt out" feature for pricing tips, as  I have requested many times.  I, like many others here, offer a unique experience, and I would never lower my price based on your suggestions.  I also believe your "tips" set up competition among hosts for $5.00 or $10.00, just so you can get more money as hosts are encouraged to engage in a price war.  

Pat & Mike in
Fresno, CA
Level 1

We would find it very helpful if we knew exactly which properties we are being compared to.  We recently took a recurring guest to dinner and asked why he stayed with us so often.  The answers were very helpful.  We have “real” towels, nice bath mats, an AppleTV with lots of streaming channels, and comfortable clean rooms.  Also the art is appreciated.  We get lots of comments on our in shower toiletry dispensers and courtesy items.  Most of all every room we have has an en suite bathroom.  No going down the hall, no sharing.  The bathroom door is in one’s room!  You don’t mention anything about whether who you’re comparing me to has an en suite bath.  That is the number one most appreciated and commented on feature that we offer.  We also are constantly booked with upper 90% occupancy and I’m still getting emails telling me to lower my prices by over $10 a night.  That’s over a 30% discount.  Nothing of what you write to explain yourselves adds up to the reality I’m experiencing.  

 

Just show how me who you’re comparing me to so I know what is relevant and what is not.  

John in
Leamington, Canada
Level 2

I agree with all the criticsims that have been voiced about pricing recommendations. I find the pricing suggestions given to me to be completely ridiculous and useless. My place is in a small town with a limited number of travellers, my prices are already rock-bottom ($50), and for 4 years I have gotten the lion's share of rentals for a one room rental within a home. (Other hosts have cottages along the lake and charge much higher fees.) One competitor tried lowering her price $5 less than mine when pricing suggestions came out. I knew it was a losing strategy. I continuted to get the vast majority of bookings in town and that host ended up returning to her original price $15 above mine, which is a better strategy because when my place is booked she gets the other guests who come to town and want a room in a house. 

 

I have also been told by Airbnb that cheaper places have been rented in my 'locality'. In my town, no one is cheaper than me. About an hour away in a city, prices are cheaper, yes. But that's an entirely different market.

 

After reading the announcements about improvements to pricing suggestions, I understand more clearly why those suggestions are so wrong. Your researchers/developers need to know what the numbers mean. They don't.  And, as others have said, they need to know the particularity of a given accomodation and locale/market.

 

In contrast to others who have said they have had bad guests when renting at lower prices, I have not. Ninety nine point 99999... percent of my guests have been extraordinarily  respectful. And most of these end up being like family. It's been a beautiful experience. And for that, I am thankful to Airbnb.

Mattye in
Corpus Christi, TX
Level 2

I agree that the pricing suggestions make no sense. It’s obvious that my top notch rentals are being grouped with the dumps a few blocks away. 

Michael in
Austin, TX
Level 2

I've long had quibbles with Airbnb's "suggested" pricing mechanisms, and they've only been amplified now that my two listings have been added to Airbnb Plus:

 

  1. I already had a distressing problem beforehand with Airbnb automatically using flats of significantly inferior quality and interior-design caliber as "comps" for one of my listings in particular. It merely worsened after it was added to the Plus program in June: it is still being "compared" to units that are neither in the Plus program nor operated by Superhosts, and which unlike my listing have not been gut-renovated with high-end appliances, marble countertops, etc.
  2. Despite the assertion that we're "always in control of the prices we set" for our listings, it is highly distressing to do exactly that ... only to see a mysterious red dot show up on every date for which our set price is an unknown amount higher than whatever Airbnb's algorithm determines it "should" be. This further makes us question whether we're even showing up in Airbnb's search results, given how "abnormal" our pricing ostensibly is; the dot feels like a de facto scarlet letter!
  3. Most problematic of all, however, are the dates in which we're given the Scarlet Letter of Death on days for which Airbnb has no accurate data upon which to calculate price tips!! Yes, they may seem high to you given that, say, they're three months out, but we know that events like a university football game that will draw over 100,000 weekend guests to town are taking place at that time.
Blaise in
Chicago, IL
Level 2

Agree with MaryBeth from West Palm Beach...In the past, we've lowered our price to fill in spotty vacant nights here and there (usually Sundays and Thursdays for some reason) but typically we'll spend more time cleaning up and or fixing broken stuff caused by those guests that went for the cheap. Or they turn out to be the guests that piss off our neighbors and cause tension on the block. Ask for less and you'll get less. Much better to suffer a vacant night here and there.

Frank in
San Diego, CA
Level 3

Complete nonsense. Does Airbnb actually think any real host is going to believe this ridiculous convoluted explanation as to why they pressure hosts to lower prices? Why can't hosts just turn the feature off? Typical Airbnb. They put out these statements claiming to be all about hosts and everything they do is for the hosts benefit, then in the next paragraph describe everything they are going to do that is totally not at all for the hosts benefit but 100% for the benefit of Airbnb. 

Nicholas in
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Level 2

I am shocked to see some of the pricing suggestions, they are so low that it is not worth our while, and are bordering on the insulting. It is clear that your findings are based purely on what your algorithms crank out, but for their results to have any menaing they must be  supported by human intervention. For example, my nice luxuy 1-bedroom apartment with designer furniture and  stupendous view of the lake and mountains beyond cannot be compared to a nearby place of the same size which consists of cheap nasty furnishings, lies within earshot of the main road and has a view of the car park, only a human being can make that judgment call.... 

Leslie in
Philadelphia, PA
Level 5

I understand that I have complete control over my pricing and I have appreciated receiving some guidance on local demand patterns, and relief from constantly having to manually update my prices to try to take advantage of events and holidays. Frankly, though, I don’t think the smart pricing is working as well now as it did in the first year I was open (I am now in business three years). It has almost completely undercut my weekend rates (rendering my set weekend rates irrelevant) even in the busiest seasons, even though my base rate is already quite low.  My revenues dropped this year despite being frequently booked all summer and I believe that was at least in part due to the fact that smart pricing hardly ever kicked in for me when it was busy. I have now turned smart pricing off because I really need to charge those weekend rates to make up for what was lost earlier in the year. 

 

There is also an unseen fallacy in the premise that lower prices = more frequent bookings = higher revenues = a more desirable outcome. This may be true for some hosts that are capable of operating 365 days a year, but not all of us are in a position to do that. Some of us are operating under limits that make it very important to be able to maximise the revenue potential of fewer bookings. In my case it is the city ordinance that governs my business license which limits my Airbnb operations to 180 days per year.  I simply cannot follow a business plan that increases my booking frequency at a lower price and earn enough money to make this worthwhile within that 180 day limit. 

Fara in
Destin, FL
Level 2

I think AirBnB needs to add much better Analytics here.  Your tech team should be more than capable of this..  or do as other platforms do and allow the hosts to select which properties they want to be compared to, as we should know our peer group better than a simple geo lookup..

 

Sandy in
Boulder, CO
Level 10

 I base my prices on the most expensive hotel in Boulder: for the same price as 1 room in the fancy hotel, my guests get 2 bdrms, living room, kitchen, 2 bathrooms, outdoor decks, a woodsy view,  serenity & quiet, & the amenities of a hotel -- except daily maid service, gym, pool, & restaurant/bar.  For many of my guests, my place is a BETTER value than the fancy hotel.

 

Airbnb should study the gas station wars of the '60s - the winners were the consumers & the few gas station owners who could stay afloat during the down-trend in gas prices.  The few that survived were then able to gough customers as soon as the competition was wiped out.

 

I start my nightly prices at $400/night.  If someone wants to book months in advance, they can, but at a premium price.  For special events, I am booked sometimes 9 months in advance.  As open nights are closer, I start slowly lowering my nightly rate.  As open dates get really close, I check out which Airbnbs are left, and if very few places are available, I start bumping up my prices again.  It works very well.

 

At $200/night, I would be booked almost solidly and well in advance.  However, I would still have "orphan" nights.  Let's say I had 5 orphan nights in a month; that would mean I would gross $5K.  My method gives me an average of about $8K/summer month gross.  Yes, I have more "orphan" nights, but less wear and tear on my place, and more income. 

 

Airbnb constantly informs me that I should be $200/night during the summer.  The last email I got said I should be at $96/night for Sept and Oct.  Never going to happen!  I'll quit.

Sandy in
Boulder, CO
Level 10

I also want to add that NEVER has Airbnb suggested $400/night.  Half of my May-Oct bookings are at that rate.  For the University's graduation week, I always get $800/night.  I just looked and Airbnb is suggesting $226-$229/night for thoses nights in May 2019.  I'm a 5.0 star "superhost" with about 200 reviews.  My place is well located and awesome.  Airbnb does not take these factors into consideration.  They just keep trying to get me to be a budget accomodation, which I certainly am not.

 

Sandy in
Boulder, CO
Level 10

Additionally, and I just checked, for graduation week which is the 2nd week in May 2019, 2 nights for 2 people -- only 19% of the listings are still available; for 4 guests 2 nights (my place can sleep 5 guests), 18% of bookings are available (17% left for "entire place").    Clearly, the Airbnb algorithm doesn't work AT ALL to maximize profits.

 

Diana in
Oceanside, CA
Level 5

I usually get compared to a condo or

a home that is shared with the host.  Yes, it’s a separate upstairs unit of their two story home but my house is completely unattached.  They can lay out in the privacy of my backyard without sharing the pool with any other person. And the upstairs unit really ticks me off....it’s on the mosquito ridden lake and they don’t have a pool or hot tub.  Airbnb tries to lower my price to less then I pay for the mortgage alone..forget that the home is furnished and has WiFi and um ya running water and electricity!!!’

David in
Klamath Falls, OR
Level 2

I basically have two prices, short term and long term. Unfortunately my long term prices for each night are low and I think that affects all the units in town. I don’t want to use the percentage discount because it’s not straight forward. I wish there was a way to cull the long term rates from the pool of nightly rates in my area. I have three units and usually two of them are booked out for months at a time. It’s a lot of nights. 

Sandy in
Boise, ID
Level 1

We have smart pricing and it has been benifical at times.  However, I just had someone book at Thanksgiving time for my lowest rate!  Why doesn't smart pricing look at holiday figures.  This is our first year with Airbnb and so far we are pretty happy, but we question the smart pricing algorithm at times.

David in
Saint Joseph, MO
Level 1

In my opinion, AirBNB is doing hosts a grave injustice.  First of all, AirBNB wants to take a larger marketshare away from traditional hotels/motels.  By gradually educating consumers/travellers that AirBNB is an option to hotels/motels, they can and will get a larger share of the lodging market over time. 

 

The best advertising AirBNB can get is "word of mouth".  If travellers tell their friends, "I got a great place to stay through AirBNB, and it cost far less than a hotel", then more and more people are introduced and start using AirBNB for their travel lodging.  In order for AirBNB to be a more economical option to hotels, hosts must lower their prices.  In essence, AirBNB is asking the property owners/hosts to "take the hit" pricewise so that AirBNB may accomplish their own goals.  It's the homeowners/property owners that have to "drop their pants", and not AirBNB.

 

Secondly, AirBNB has started pitting AirBNB hosts against each other.  I keep getting emails from AirBNB that say my competitor (another AirBNB host) is booking guests after they've looked at my properties because my competitor's price was lower than mine.  They're suggesting that I lower my prices because other AirBNB hosts in my area have lower prices.  So, then I lower my price, and then AirBNB runs (via emali) to my competitor (another AirBNB host) and tells them to lower their prices because they're higher than me.  It's a vicious "back and forth" and only ends up pitting one AirBNB host against others in his area.  To me, AirBNB is "playing" their hosts against each other.  AirBNB DOESN'T CARE which host books the guest... as long as the guest books THROUGH AirBNB.

 

I think AirBNB hosts are going to soon "wise up" to AirBNB tactics and start dropping out.  I have six properties on AirBNB now and am certainly thinking about tell AirBNB to take a hike.

Ari in
Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
Level 2

Sorry for sticking in  a sour note, but Airbnb's constant - even daily suggestions - concerning pricing, is an annoyance for me. Honestly, it's a pain on the neck. I've tried every way I could to politely request that you stop sending me these "suggestions", but to no avail. They are routinely ignored.

 

No one knows better than I do what is worth my while and what is not. I pay 35 % income tax on everything I get. My "competitors" don't. So they get more requests than I do, because my price is higher. But staying in my place is an experience very few can offer. So I charge more, but you get more value for your money.

 

So please stop preaching to me about what I know better than you do!

 

Thanks in advance.

 

Ari

Yvonne in
Pretoria, South Africa
Level 1

I also don't lower my pricing just on airbb prompts-the suggest price is so low if you take into account all the wear and tear,daily cost to clean,soaps,saving some money to replace linen,new mattresses that you will host at a loss!!

Sandy in
Boulder, CO
Level 10

I know this is my 4th post, but this is a hot button issue for me, and I hope someone at Airbnb is reading these all of what we hosts are telling you.

 

Your last price suggestion email (from yesterday) said that someone booked a place for 3 nights, five people, at $97/night.  That's less than $20 per person per night -- which I have to assume does not include local taxes or Airbnb fees, or the host would be making approximately $74/night.

 

My price is $270/night and I can host up to five people.  That's just over $50/night per person, which is very reasonable, considering my location, high level of decor, and ammenities.   

 

The $97/night place can't possibly be anywhere near my Airbnb as -- I just checked -- and there are only 13 listings available for that weekend that are within walking distance of the Boulder Pearl Street Mall (very important for Boulder).  I am the lowest of the remaining avaiable listings for that weekend that are in the center area of town.

 

Also, who are these guests?  Are they newbies?  A family?  A group of unrelated 20-somethings?  What is their rating and do other hosts recommend them?   Without telling who they are and what they rented (and where), it means nothing.

 

Given the fact that I have a good chance of getting a last minute booking, and the fact that I pay my 18-year old daughter  $150 per cleaning (so, unless the place is trashed, she makes $25-$30/hour, which is a living wage; less per hour if the place is a mess), and my other expenses, I nudged up my prices for next weekend $15/night.  Supply and demand.  I don't want those guests who can't afford my place; I've had very bad experiences with low-budget guests.  I'd rather be empty -- less wear and tear and fewer headaches. And, a lot less laundry.  Five people!  So many linens.  $97/night -- not even close to worth it.  I did the math, and after paying my daughter, I would earn $141 for those 3 nights.

 

This also proves that your emails only provide discouragement.  Clearly, with only 13 listings left in the central part of Boulder for next weekend, your "suggestions" do not take in consideration supply and demand.  Instead of paying someone to create these emails, please spend the money on advertising -- which I have seen very little of in the past year.

 

Please stop sending me these emails.

Valerie in
Coquitlam, Canada
Level 2

We get "advice" from Airbnb suggesting we respond to vacancies next month by lowering our price... when next month (and the three months after) are 100% fully booked.  

At first we paniced -- thinking we were over charging, but eventually we recognized that these notices at NOT thoughtful, sage business  advice, but, rather, poorly-targeted junk mail with a generic corporate message from the Airbnb brand managers, who want to tell the world that Airbnb is low-cost.

We provide better value for the dollar than any local hotels, at half the price or less. If these notices were indeed practical business advice, they would be asking an operation with our track record "Are you sure you aren't UNDER charging?"

I am surprised that Airbnb doesn't realize that this constant stream of inappropriate advice undermines their credibility with their front-line partners. Perhaps this is a question the CEO should put to whomever is responsible for junk mail disguised as thoughtful business advice.

Natasa in
Šibenik, Croatia
Level 3

Never accepted any pricing suggestion because suggestions are ridiculous. Plus it suggests prices for dates booked or blocked. Just an annoying notification...

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