*Post shared October, 20th
In the latest Host Update, Catherine Powell shares how Airbnb is addressing your top concerns from the past few months and provides detailed answers to several direct questions from hosts. Thanks to host feedback voiced in workshops and here in the Community Center, there are several features being put into action.
*To add or change subtitles to the video, hover over the video and click on the little 'Settings' wheel in the bottom right corner. Then select your language.
Airbnb is improving the guest review process to make it feel more fair. This includes rewriting the majority of review questions that guests answer after a stay. For example, instead of asking guests if the description of a listing was inaccurate, we’re now asking if it was accurate instead. These changes will help guests leave reviews that feel more impartial and truly reflect the quality of your hospitality.
Unauthorized parties are another top host concern, and we’re launching several new features to help protect you against them. For example, by the end of this month you’ll be able to immediately cancel a reservation without contacting support if you have valid reason to believe it will lead to a party. As long as your reason is upheld by our review team, you won’t receive financial penalties or have your Superhost status affected.
When our team reviews a cancellation, they’ll search for evidence of a potential party from message threads or previous guest reviews. As always, these cancellations must adhere to Airbnb’s nondiscrimination policy and we’ll carefully monitor them for unfair treatment that violates that policy.
Many hosts have also asked that house rules be more prominent on listing pages so guests can both read and understand them before booking. By next month, your house rules will be visible in four different places when a guest books a stay:
All house rules must be in line with Airbnb’s policies and terms—including our terms of service and nondiscrimination policy.
To read a full overview of all the updates being put into place, visit this Resource Center article. As always, thank you for sharing the topics that matter to you and providing feedback that helps elevate the hosting community. Please let us know what you’d like us to cover in future Host Updates with Catherine.
@Ally12 I've luckily never had any guests leave low star or dishonest reviews, but I get a lot of seasoned traveler guests and you're right- they leave reviews that are what reviews should be like- just straightforward, non-emotional information that will be useful for other guests. They'll just state facts, without extraneous stuff, like "Good water pressure, comfortable bed, limited Wifi, as stated in the ad, but lots of cafes in town to hook up if you need higher speeds. All as advertised."
I love seasoned travelers- they don't have unrealistic expectations, they read the info provided, are adaptable and non-fussy, can figure things out for themselves without hand-holding, and are respectful and appreciative.
Airbnb was much more host-responsive in the early days of their business paradigm. Today I, as a long time Superhost, get very damning responses from their Superhost Support Staff who allows "Willy Nilly" free cancelations, not in keeping with my posted terms, because, I assume, the projected new guest gave them a sob story of some sort that I am apparently not privileged to be a part of! All I was told is that "it has been decided. We are sorry you were affected, but your guest's personal issues were heard and we refunded their money." Well, I am affected also, and without hosts Airbnb does not have a business, but the few issues I've had over the years are predominantly decided against me.
Has anyone else felt they would appreciate knowing why we hosts are loosing income based on a mystery man decision?
I have been working towards reaching back the 4.8 / 5 stars overall rating for a few years now, but it seems impossible! I was amongst the first generation of Airbnb Super Hosts back when Airbnb first launched the program. I even received a book about Airbnb and an exciting congratulation letter by snail mail that cheer me and kept me going till today! Airbnb changed my life and gave me a new and better way to live my life and I am grateful for it, except I am not exactly cheered up now. I am frustrated, I feel I am not good enough, and I am tired to try to prove it that I am a Super Host, that has become at times a silly mentally and physically draining thing, is like a brown oxide stain in a brand new set of white cotton bed sheets, or hard dying blue all over you recently remodeled studio, or kids banana stain fingers that don't look like banana stains all over your new couch, yeah it takes the love of hosting out of you quickly unless you are like me and try to see an opportunity in everything, but it shouldn't be this hard, or does it? At that time Airbnb was still young and I was living in tow and then upgraded to a three-bedroom apartment in Santa Cruz, California...then things start changing quickly with Airbnb, guests, and hosts.
I am grateful I discovered the platform back in 2012 and started hosting in 2014, I even made it my new career full time with listings in two different countries, Uruguay and the United States. I even help and brought a lot of people into the platform, guests, and hosts alike. I got really good at it, and I love doing it despite I can’t seem to be good enough to be recognized for my effort. I also spend thousands of hours learning from the best hosts and trying to think from both ends, the guest and the host end. I am detailed oriented worked in Graphic Design for years as well as high-end restaurants. I stayed in "Super Host" homes to see why I wasn't one. The problem I came across and I have been too busy to write it down till now, was a step in the guest review process that leads to confusion and guests feeling unsure of themselves, second-guessing themselves and then you get that 3 stars rate that kills your hard-earned reputation, we can't even making a point and stuck with you hoping the next season the planets align and mercury is back to direct if you even question that as a possibility why you got stuck. I think guests are generally good intended and trying to be fair and helpful, but they are most likely confused in how to properly leave an honest review, especially when it comes to rating, new and season guests alike. Can we make the guest reviews simpler? that one question they are asked from yo 1 to 5 stars to rate their overall experience, whether comes first or last after they gave you 5 stars in all rating categories such as cleaning, communication, accuracy...what seems to be happening is that when you ask a guest to rate from 1 to 5 everything about their experience and they find everything great, they rate everything 5 stars and even the written review is spectacular but you still end up getting a 3-star rating when they rated you 5 in everything, I think is that question that has to be the rock in the shoe and here is why? because after they qualify you with 5 stars in everything then you give them a choice to rate the overall experience and unless they really want to hurt you and/or have too much time to ponder how this thing was designed, this rating step of "how was your overall experience..." is bad user experience, is very confusing and because of because it, guests are lead to second guess themselves, and if they already believe you are worth 5 stars in everything you asked them, asking again is like saying them "are you sure? are you sure everything was great with your stay, are you sure you want to give a 5 stars review? or is it @Airbnb that doesn't really want us to become Super Hosts? Anyways I have consistent evidence proving my "3-star average crap theory" that keeps bringing my average down below 4.8 every time...can we please take a look at this! I can't take it anymore. Thanks for your time and hopefully this will help in some way
Make @Airbnb Airbnb great again!
I have been a host since June 2020 with a lower level suite in my home. Overall the experience has been very positive with mostly all great guests. There are two key areas that I feel need to be addressed to protect AirBnB Hosts.
Having searched online, I am one of MANY hosts who are complaining about being penalized in listing rankings for declining stays; this has been a complaint from hosts for years.
I am specifically referring to requests from people who don't meet the criteria in the listing but try to book anyway. We have a "No children under 10" and "No pets" policy with both being clearly stated in the listing in more than one place. I have declined several stays from people who request to book anyway and then message me to ask is it ok to bring a child or pet. This has further been an issue with the COVID pandemic as I have also had to decline reservation that were in direct violation of the BC Health Order making the requested stays illegal.
When I contacted AirBnB to discuss this issue, the only solution offered was a suggestion to turn of Auto Book. However, when I went to do that, I got several warnings from the AirBnB system telling me that this is probably going to reduce the number of bookings and it would penalize my online listing rankings. The system did everything to discourage me from doing what was recommended by support. In other words, either way I'm getting punished.
With today's technology, if a host sets the listing option with "No Pet" and/or "No Children" options, why is there not a confirmation popup box? When they click to reserve, they should be asked if they are traveling with children or pets and if they answer yes, the system should politely decline their stay with explanation. It is completely unfair that Hosts are continually punished for something that is no fault of their own.
Also as a side note, it would potentially serve the guests better if the listing setting didn't have a set age for children; let hosts set the age and don't restrict it to age 12.
BROKEN HOUSE RULES:
I understand that AirBnB has been implementing changes with how and where House Rules appear in the listings. The reality is that not everyone is reading the rules and in particular, the "Additional House Rules" section appears to be the most overlooked. Booking technology should have a popup where potential guests have to scroll through the entire list of ALL rules and specifically ACCEPT the rules before being able to book; much like software/computer operating systems require before installing. It won't make them read it but the certainly doesn't support the argument that "I didn't know that".
I just recently had my worst guests. Even after warning, they continued to violate the no vaping and Marijuana/Cannabis use on the property. The 11pm quiet time rule was also ignored and I gave the final warning just before 2a.m. In the house rules, it is noted that there is zero tolerance on the Smoking/Vaping/Drug policy and that any violation would result in termination of stay with no refund and loss of security deposit. I was more patient with this group than I should have been since it was my first bad experience. After they checked out I did more research and did discover that hosts are not permitted to retain security deposits for this reason and I have since revised the listing.
It would be of great service to not only the hosts but also their neighbours if AirBnB would adapt a policy that allows some type of financial penalty specifically for serious rule violations (ie. noise, parties, disorderly behaviour, etc.). AirBnB should implement specific optional penalty amounts with a STRICT detailed list of requirements that must be met for a successful claim (ie. video surveillance, police report etc). AirBnB needs to back hosts better and send a clear message to guests that serious rule violations will not be tolerated. The unfortunate reality for hosts is that "Damage" is not limited to physical property and the true cost of bad guests can result in disgruntled neighbours and by-law fines.
Sorry to ramble on and thanks for considering input from Hosts!
@Stuart296 Don't let those scare tactics about turning off Instant Book affect what you do. Hosts have to do what works best for them. Plenty of hosts, including me, have never used IB, or have stopped using it. Yes, it will lower your search ranking, but that doesn't mean guests won't find it and book. The encouragement to use IB is about Airbnb getting bookings fast, with no impediments to guests, and collecting their service fees, not about what's best for you as a host.
And turning off IB isn't some irreversible thing you'll be stuck with forever- you can turn it off for a month and see if it seriously impacts your bookings, and turn it back on again if you want to.
Reviewing should be a privilege and not a right. If house rules are broken the guest should forfeit the ability to review. With no consequence of breaking house rules they are of little meaning. Of course the review would be retaliatory and of no value to the reputation of the host and listing nor illuminating to future guests. Hosts are penalized twice by suffering the guests breaking house rules and then suffering the penalty of their review. Frequently we allow guests to break our rules bc of our fear of a bad review. Where are the grown-ups here? Time for a host bill of rights of basic common sense rules.