Airbnb You Broke Our Heart and Our Business ...

in
North Stonington, CT
Level 10
1,908 Views

Dear Airbnb, 


Regarding the overhaul of the Airbnb site into categories and removing control from hosts; I understand what you were going for but this should have been tested for usability by both hosts and travelers in the form of a ride-along widget to the existing legacy functionality of the site before a system-wide change.  Hopefully, you are reading these forums, hopefully, your CEO is reading these forums because Airbnb just f----- royally with the core of your product: your hosts.  My bookings since this change was implemented have ceased, visibility non-existent and from what I am reading this is affecting thousands if not millions of other hosts.

 

Brian Chesky, my name is Kim Grijalva and I am the face of Airbnb along with millions of other hosts. I hope you take the time to read and hear from us.  

 

When Covid hit, so many people stepped up and offered their places for workers and did their part to give back. In the midst of what was happening around the world, Airbnb rose to meteoric success with a product in the right place at the right time, but they didn't do it alone; it was on the backs of hard-working hosts like myself. But we loved Airbnb, great tools, great interface, insights... we made money, Airbnb made money and travelers had options — from a treehouse in Peru to a staycation weekend an hour from home and everything in between. It was a Win-Win-Win. 

My business pre covid was running a design and marketing firm, and my primary clientele were 5-star resorts: Four Seasons, Hyatt, St Regis, etc. As you know, the travel industry was decimated, all the mentioned hotel companies shuttered, and even Marriott, the biggest of the "Big" had massive layoffs. But people picked up and did what they had to to survive. For us, that was sinking everything we had to create a special place on an old farm and run it like I'd seen for 25 years among my core clientele in the travel industry. Airbnb was different; they gave "Small" a chance to compete with "Big." We hosts were doing what we loved, we had hit our stride, and we were not just surviving but thriving, enjoying what we were doing and meeting wonderful guests along the way. Connecting with people and creating the face of Airbnb.

 

We are stylists, photographers, marketers, and creative experience curators. But then Airbnb gets "Big," really big, and so it decides to feed that big ego, and like the hotel valet that parks the most expensive and sexiest sports car in the front of the hotel, Airbnb parked the best, sexiest of all listings front and center and we "Small" independent, hard-working hosts now relegated to the mire of stuff that was deemed not so special were floating around somewhere else, considered too dumb to be able to properly tag our listings with accurate locations or descriptions, our places went from wow to where? Our hearts were broken because we foolishly thought Airbnb was different from Amazon, Facebook, and Google. We thought Airbnb saw us as people that couldn't be replaced by Ai and that they knew that without us, they'd be nothing; that they'd created nothing tangible, nothing crafted, curated; not a single calloused hand. 0 product, 0 experiences, 0 heart, 0 loyalty. 

34 Replies

Re: Airbnb You Broke Our Heart and Our Business ...

in
Montreal, Canada
Level 10

@Kimberly718 

 

Great réflexion on the topic (the issue) and well said with your heart ♥️ 

@BrianCheski … funny, this « @ » does not work 😉, anyway…

Brian, I did not know your name before this week, now like many many other host,  I know it and it is not a good news for you.

And I truly hope you intend to fix this before your competition sees the crack in the wall and jump in, because, in fact, we love AirBNB.

 

 

.
Annie

Re: Airbnb You Broke Our Heart and Our Business ...

in
NY, NY
Level 10

@Annie1372 - all you have to is type @Brian!

Re: Airbnb You Broke Our Heart and Our Business ...

in
Montreal, Canada
Level 10

@Ann72 
WoW, i tried it and I could not make it to work. Also, when I tried, I did not even recognize him on his picture… as it is a photo from 10 years ago 😉

 

obviously he will not read nor see my comments as he is only a level 2 😂 as a user on the Community Center.

 

thanks for the info, you are great

 

 

.
Annie

Re: Airbnb You Broke Our Heart and Our Business ...

in
NY, NY
Level 10

@Annie1372  You are too!  From the name on 🙂

Re: Airbnb You Broke Our Heart and Our Business ...

in
Geelong, Australia
Level 8

I agree.  Why alter a very workable system so dramatically, why not just add the new style of “categories” as an optional way to search, so as to enhance the system.

 

This is how “working systems” were improved in the early days, before everything was reliant on computer software and A.I.
We would change things slowly, by adding an improvement to an existing system, try for a while, before making decisions about dropping anything that had already been proven to work well.

 

Are these sweeping system wide changes being made by one person making decisions, or are there  “too many cooks in the kitchen”. 

Re: Airbnb You Broke Our Heart and Our Business ...

in
Huskisson, Australia
Level 10

@Kimberly718 Thank you for your words, your thoughts are the same from many hosts around the world. All I have to say is that Airbnb doesn't work without hosts that promote their own homes and or accommodation  and their aim is to provide a good service for guests.

I believe as host we use Airbnb's platform to market our goods and Airbnb take the cream ( their commission) to make a profit. Hence, we have to work together to be both profitable and Airbnb CEO and management must listen to hosts in regards to the new tool of finding our Airbnb listings. It appears to be not working and there is a saying "if it aint broken, dont fix it".

Re: Airbnb You Broke Our Heart and Our Business ...

in
North Stonington, CT
Level 10

I was quite fine with the arrangement that we had with Airbnb. As a marketer I don't mind paying a fee for the visibility and the tools. What bothers me is that they put ego over functionality and as I read through everyone's posts the choice that Airbnb made to prioritize sexy listings instead of creating enhancements while still leaving what was working well is what troubles me. 

 

I have gone through and updated my listing to try to capture keywords that tie into the various categories in hopes that the Ai to which we are now at the mercy of will pick these things up: Amazing Views, Historical Stays, Farms, Countryside. I did after that get two bookings so people are seeing me just not as much. My saves/likes dropped from 100 per week to 8, my views dropped by 85% so we are anxious about how this will effect bookings. 

 

All that said we are not waiting for Airbnb to get their act together, we have added Booking.com, Houfy.com and VRBO so we are in more places. Good luck.

Re: Airbnb You Broke Our Heart and Our Business ...

in
New London, WI
Level 2

I agree,

 

Our place is called "Barn in the Woods Lodge"

I looked in category for my place under cabin& barn and low and behold all I see is more expensive places all over the world. 

If I put Wisconsin it might show up.

Then it puts in these random dates that yes they are open on our calendar, but then it makes it look like that's the only that dates open.  Just let the guest put in the date. 

I guess I don't like the look of it either.  I thought it would  look better to just to not have all those pictures of places.  It's to busy looking.  

 

Have the guest fill in what they are looking for not Airbnb. Example:

 

Anywhere or specific State

Then if looking for specific city

Then dates

Then do you want cabin, barn, yurt, tree house etc.

Then what amenities after that

 

not they way they have.... it's to busy and like you say is looking out for the big fish that have the more expensive rentals where they're getting more of the fees from than us little guys.  Yes if it ain't broke, don't fix it! 

 

I also think the AirCover for guests is going to blow back on hosts.  Yes there might be instances that a guest will run across a bad stay someplace.  But with the way some people are I think it might back fire for a host getting screwed by a guest.  I can't even get AirCover for the host for a guest that totally left me a mess.  Yes I got half of what was owed by the guest but I want them to also use what is the security deposit through AirCover to get the remainder. 

 

Yes I hope @BrianCheski is a true CEO and takes his job seriously and reads these comments

 

 

Re: Airbnb You Broke Our Heart and Our Business ...

in
Hoboken, NJ
Level 10

Airbnb's redesign has made my listing, a charming Catskills cabin, unfindable, generic and virtually unbookable.  ZERO bookings since redesign- one inquiry whether my listing was available on June 3-5!  That most fundamental information- the calendar- was replaced with suggested WEEKS in late 2022/2023!  What was Airbnb thinking?  I only started in January, but have seen a lot of interest in my property-- until now.  Airbnb removed my unique and descriptive Listing Title, posted an "available week" far in the future, has made booking confusing and difficult enough that hosts like myself are NOT getting bookings.  Was that your intention?  Your business doesn't exist without hosts like me.  Airbnb has become arrogant, no way to treat the peeps that brung you to the dance.  Guests and hosts alike.

Re: Airbnb You Broke Our Heart and Our Business ...

in
New London, WI
Level 2

AGREE, what is that!

 

Re: Airbnb You Broke Our Heart and Our Business ...

in
Hay Valley, Australia
Level 10

@Nancy1633  +1 we've been solidly booked since starting last December, and only 2 bookings in the past few days, for July. We don't often take books so far ahead, but i suspect the search is responsible. 

the default "week" search is an absolute killer. 

Re: Airbnb You Broke Our Heart and Our Business ...

Online Community Manager in
London, United Kingdom
Online Community Manager

Hi @Kimberly718,

 

Thank you for your heartfelt message. It's a pleasure to read how much you've enjoyed hosting on the platform. It is of course concerning to read that this has changed following some of the recent updates we've released. 

 

As you know, the community team here has been gathering all of your valuable input and suggestions, and our product team is looking into all of that information to inform any next steps. The aim of this update is to benefit both our guest community, by surfacing more suitable options for their stays, and our Host community, by highlighting better what makes your listing stand out. This is in response to the dramatic shift in travel following the pandemic. 

 

However with any changes, there is always a review period and it’s important we listen to our community and improve as we go. We would like to talk to you more about this and have reach out via direct message. 

 

Thank you again for taking the time to share your perspective, thoughts and feelings with us so candidly.

 

Stephanie


Can’t find what you’re searching for?
Click start a conversation to ask the Airbnb Community! 

Re: Airbnb You Broke Our Heart and Our Business ...

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Stephanie 

 

I am really not sure about this:

 


@Stephanie wrote:

 

 

The aim of this update is to benefit both our guest community, by surfacing more suitable options for their stays, and our Host community, by highlighting better what makes your listing stand out. This is in response to the dramatic shift in travel following the pandemic. 

 


For a start, does it really benefit guests to show them a load of pie in the sky dream homes that most of them can't afford? Earlier this evening I went to the site as a guest to show a current guest what was going on. Before entering any price filters, it was showing me listings up to £60,000+ per week. For how many people would these be 'more suitable options'?

 

I realised after a moment that it was automatically only showing me Airbnb Plus listings without me having chosen that filter because, when I did click on that filter, the results were EXACTLY the same, down to the exact order. Why is that?

 

If I try to search with price filters for something within my budget, it tells me there are limited or no options (when in fact there are actually loads) and tries to take me elsewhere, frequently to a completely different country. Again, how is that giving guests 'more suitable options'. Brian Chesky has already publicly admitted that Airbnb are trying to drive guests away from popular areas and I am guessing that is the real motivation behind all of these weird search results because I can't believe than anyone with any common sense could really have designed this new system thinking they are making it easier for the guest to find what they are looking for. Honestly, what percentage of guests are looking for grand pianos or a stay in the Arctic? I'd love to see the stats.

 

It's early days, so I've only sense checked this with a couple of guests, but they both thought the new search system was stupid as it was showing them properties totally out of their reach or, as one put it, "only for seriously rich people". I explained to her that the man in the video (Brian Chesky) was one of those.

 

As for 'highlighting better what makes your listing stand out', why has Airbnb decided its algorithm is better placed to judge this than the host themselves, who has more often than not trialled and fine tuned this based on experience? Even an Airbnb employee would not be better place to decide this, let alone a BOT.

 

I have done a few searches with this new system. While the glamorous, outrageously priced properties do stand out, when it comes to more regular listings (which you can only find if you really narrow down your search) what makes those listings stand out is not represented. When I search for shared homes in the whole of South London, it looks like there are only a handful (when there are actually thousands). So, I am not sure how our homes stand out when they are not even visible. Of those that are visible, the algorithm has chosen different - most often not so great - photos and descriptions to lead with, again ignoring what many hosts have chosen knowing from experience what works to sell their listings.

 

By the way, my most popular listing has suddenly taken a dramatic nose dive from the moment the new update was launched. I know this because I just so happened to look at the views before the launch. On top of that, I have stopped receiving booking requests/enquiries for that particular listing, which has always been my most popular. Funnily enough, that listing is being buried in the searches since the launch.

 

Anyway, I am glad you are feeding all of this back but I think there is going to have to be a very dramatic change to put this right.

Re: Airbnb You Broke Our Heart and Our Business ...

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

I mentioned I stopped receiving enquiries/booking requests for my most popular room. The monthly views for that room are down from 2,133 for the month prior to the Summer Release launch to 214 in the month following. Yes, that's right, I am now getting 1/10th of the number of views. I have not received a single enquiry, let alone booking request for that room since the launch. Not one.

 

Meanwhile, the views for the other two rooms have crashed also.

 

Screenshot 2022-06-09 at 17.05.19.png

 

For one of them, I have only received enquiries from two guests, both of which clearly hadn't read the listing because they were asking if there was a private bathroom. I told them no and never heard from them again. There was one booking request, which was withdrawn when I asked the guest to confirm she had read the listing.

 

The third room has received enquiries from three guests, two of which were clearly mass mailing hosts. 

 

So, across all three rooms I have received a total of five enquiries (mostly time wasters) and one withdrawn booking request. One booking request in an entire month for three listings?! I used to be fully booked. This is a disaster. My livelihood is being ruined for what? Meanwhile, we sit here waiting for a response from Airbnb...

 

 If this goes on, there is absolutely no way I can continue to host.

 

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