Cancellations by guest having parties & landing up in the wrong location

in
Durban, South Africa
Level 7
312 Views

Hi there
I have been a Superhost for 7 years and am very familiar with how AirBnB’s algorithm works. I continually work on my listings, changing the price & description. Often, up to 5 times a night. Due to hard work, excellent ratings & constant attention to my listing’s. In the past, I have been able to keep my listing’s on the first page or two of the search engine. However, since lock down there have been a high rate of cancellations that have been necessary, due to the guest’s not adhering to AirBnB’s terms & conditions & our house rules.
I have also had 2 guests, cancel because they were not aware that our location was not in the area that they had entered into the search engine.
I have 2 issues that I need to share.
Although my listing is located in the middle of Durban. For a long time now, listings, up to more than an hours drive away, come up before mine in a search for listings in Durban! We had a guest arrive, that thought that we were located in Umdhloti & cancelled because of this!! People do not look at the map & don’t expect to land up an hour away from their search location.
In addition, we have had huge problems with guests who are wanting to party during lockdown. Numerous unregistered guests arrive & there is generally huge problems with drunken behavior & over crowding.
I know that AirBnB keeps stats on everything & don’t want my excellent track record to be influenced by guest cancellations due to the described reasons.
SINCE MY CANCELLATION RATINGS HAVE DROPPED SUBSTANTIALLY, MY LISTING IS ON THE BACK PAGES.
I AM STARTING TO FEEL THAT IT IS NECESSARY TO PUT MYSELF AT RISK, AND ACCEPT BAD BEHAVIOR OF ANY DEGREE, JUST TO KEEP MY LISTING CURRENT!!!! I feel that I am being punished through no fault of my own. We have a beautiful home, that we wirk very hard to maintain the high standard. AirBnB has supported me in most of the cancellations & if the guest has not cancelled themselves. AirBnB has cancelled their booking as a safety as security measure!! I HAVE NEVER, IN 7 YEARS CANCELLED A BOOKING FROM MY SIDE. It has always been the guest that has cancelled!
IN THE ALGORITHM, I am sure that the reasons for cancellations are not considered & they are all lumped together & considered NEGATIVE on the part of the host! Hence my listing suddenly relegated to the back pages!!!
Please escalate this. PLEASE DO NOT SEND ME THE STANDARD RESPONSE THAT MY RATINGS ARE EXCELLENT AND THIS WILL HAVE NO EFFECT!!! I KNOW IT WILL HAVE AN EFFECT ON AIRBNB’S INTERNAL STATS!!!
All I am asking is that this is forwarded to the relevant department & taken into consideration for South African host’s & other countries with the same problem!
Thank you kindly.
Nikky

4 Replies

Re: Cancellations by guest having parties & landing up in the wrong location

in
Durban, South Africa
Level 7

Further to my post above!
This is my listing description as well as contained in my reservation response. We STILL HAVE GUESTS WHO THINK THEY CAN HAVE A WILD PARTY WITH NUMEROUS UNREGISTERED GUESTS:

Thank you for choosing us.
I am sure you are going to have a wonderful stay. It will be a pleasure to host you.
As detailed in our listing description. Each guest is required to be booked & paid for in advance, via AirBnB’s booking system. Without pre-approval, no additional guests can be added on the day of arrival, or during your stay. Unregistered guests, are not allowed onto the property.
In compliance with AirBnB’s GLOBAL BAN on Parties & in accordance with the government of South Africa’s declaration, that establishment owners will be prosecuted should they allow parties! These are not allowed.
However, a quiet family gathering is acceptable.

Re: Cancellations by guest having parties & landing up in the wrong location

in
Germany
Level 10

.

@Nikky0  

 

You stated:

 

  • I have been able to keep my listing’s on the first page or two of the search engine. However, since lock down there have been a high rate of cancellations that have been necessary,......

    I know that AirBnB keeps stats on everything & don’t want my excellent track record to be influenced by guest cancellations due to the described reasons.

    SINCE MY CANCELLATION RATINGS HAVE DROPPED SUBSTANTIALLY, MY LISTING IS ON THE BACK PAGES

    IN THE ALGORITHM, I am sure that the reasons for cancellations are not considered & they are all lumped together & considered NEGATIVE on the part of the host! Hence my listing suddenly relegated to the back pages!!!

 

 

Your findings are correct. We have revently discussed this problem in the thread „How do you screen guests before accepting?“

 

https://community.withairbnb.com/t5/Hosting/How-do-you-screen-guests-before-accepting/m-p/1447650#M3...

 

@Lisa723  said in this thread:

 

  • According to Airbnb declining booking requests can have a
    deleterious effect on search placement

 

 

And this was my answer:

 

  • That is correct.

    Actually the point is, it doesn't matter if You reject a booking request, if the guest withdraws his or her booking request or if You accept the booking and then the guest cancelles within the 48hrs grace period. All that moves You back in search results. In other words: Whenever a guest makes an attempt to book Your place and the stay doesn't take place, that moves You down in searchresults.

 

 

As You can see, this is in full line with what You have observed.

 

 

I'm tagging these following CC members who have contributed to the thread „Let's talk about search“

 

@Ann72 @Emilia42 @Emiel1 @Anna9170 @Debra300 @Jessica-and-Henry0 @Sarah977 @Kelly149 @Andrew0 @Katrina79 @Branka-and-Silvia0

 

 

 

 

 

Re: Cancellations by guest having parties & landing up in the wrong location

in
Takoma Park, MD
Level 10

@Nikky0  Unfortunately, it seems like you have made yourself a prisoner to how you think the AirBnB algorithm works. I'm not sure why you would be making changes to your listings 5 times a night! The thing about algorithms is that none of us- except the coders and "masterminds" behind the coding- know for sure how they work, or really- what their marketing goal is. I want to share my experience and then make a suggestion as to approaching all this. 

First, just FYI, I decline booking requests as necessary, without regard to the suggestion that it will lower my listing in searches. i do it for legitimate reasons, like a request is asking to exceed guest capacity, or they don't respond to a message from me. I don't feel like it has affected my placement at all. Right now I'm at the top of the search in my area. I've been there for about 24 hours. That could change in a minute. i have no clue as to the algorithm or what it's trying to accomplish. There is a property in my area that frequently holds the top spot for days on end, and its rating and reviews don't warrant that. There are many in the area more highly rated. It's annoying for sure, but it simply establishes that the algorithm is based on mysterious factors about which we know nothing, and it's not likely to change, or be revealed to us.

And yes- searches in my area frequently highlight properties further away. That's annoying too, but again-mysterious factors that we don't really understand. 

As to guests cancelling because they don't know where they've booked? That's on them. However AirBnB misleads them in the search results, it's still up to them (basic due diligence) to  check the location and make their plans accordingly. AirBnB is doing everybody a disservice with this search algorithm, but it doesn't appear that that will change any time soon. 

As to that algorithm..... staying at the top should not consume your evenings! I rarely make changes to my listing. I am giving people enough credit to know what they are looking for and to take advantage of search filters. They'll find my place if it meets their criteria. I may not be at the top of the page, but I'll be there somewhere. They're not just going to click on the first thing on the page. They are going to scroll, look at pics and headlines, and click through when they think something might suit their needs. I think reviews play a big part. If finding my place takes a bit of "advanced thought" on the part of my guests, I'll take it. Those are the people I want- not the ones that click on the listing at the top of the page. 

I understand your frustration, but I think a different approach might benefit you. 

I understand that we are all trying to make a living, but we can't change the behavior of AirBnB (apparently) or our potential guests, so why make ourselves crazy? 

Good luck with all of this! Kia

Re: Cancellations by guest having parties & landing up in the wrong location

in
NY, NY
Level 10

@Nikky0  I'm going to show you why guests are having parties and ignoring your rules.  Your description in italic, guest's thoughts in bold:

 

Thank you for choosing us.

She is desperate for bookings.
I am sure you are going to have a wonderful stay.

She wants me to be happy no matter what.

It will be a pleasure to host you.

I can literally do anything I want and she'll be happy with me.
As detailed in our listing description. Each guest is required to be booked & paid for in advance, via AirBnB’s booking system. Without pre-approval, no additional guests can be added on the day of arrival, or during your stay. Unregistered guests, are not allowed onto the property.
In compliance with AirBnB’s GLOBAL BAN on Parties & in accordance with the government of South Africa’s declaration, that establishment owners will be prosecuted should they allow parties! These are not allowed.

Blah blah blah blah blah.
However, a quiet family gathering is acceptable.

Awesome, we can have a party!

 

I would recommend cutting this down to its strictest form, i.e.:

 

Each guest is required to be booked & paid for in advance. No additional guests can be added on the day of arrival or during your stay. Unregistered guests are not allowed on the property.
Parties are strictly forbidden.

 

Save the nice words for the message sent upon booking.  Only paying guests get the nice words.  All others need to show respect.

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