Change / Bug in the search - listings not appearing in the general search for an area, but does appear with dates.

in
Graton, CA
Level 5
465 Views
I have tried emailing Airbnb on multiple occasions about a bug that appeared in the general search a few months ago in June of 2021, and they always blow me off and do not respond to my concerns about it and tell me it is supposed to be this way. I can not make sense of why they would make this change in search.
 
I am curious if this is just impacting my area in Sonoma wine country of California or if it is impacting other searches too. I encourage others to experiment with searches in their area to see if their listing is being impacted by this change that happened in the general search around June. 
 
My listing can be found IF and only if you put in specific dates that are available, or if you use the map, or if you use filters, but it does NOT appear anymore in a “general search” anymore, meaning a guest does a search for my area but does not put in dates or filters. My bookings are way down as a result of this bug and I can not get anyone to pay attention to it. I have had guests contact me offline outside of Airbnb multiple times because they can’t find my listing anymore on Airbnb in the general search and they think I removed my listing. I have not removed my listing. 
 
Here are some searches you can do to verify this for my specific area: (try this in your area too) 
 
-Search Sebastopol, CA with no dates, you get 66 to 72 results, and my listing does not appear in the search at all. (I used to always appear in the first few pages of this search for the last 4 years) 
-Search Sebastopol, CA with Jan 25th to 27th, 2021 dates, you get over 300 results and my listing is the first listing (as of today as it is currently available those dates). If you are viewing this later then this month you may have to put in dates a few months ahead to see this. This result makes no sense. The first general search should return more homes than a specific date search, this same general search used to return 300 results in the general search without dates, now it returns less than a third of the actual available homes that are available in the area and our bookings reflect this. It’s not just my listing, it is hundreds of homes in the area that are being impacted by this change in the search. I think what is happening is it is now returning only homes located in the city limits of Sebastopol for the general search. 
-Search Occidental (which is a town that is further away than Sebastopol, and yet, we come up first in that general search even though that town is further away, yet we do not appear at all in the Sebastopol general search anymore which is what most people coming to the area search for as it is the largest main town in the area) 
 
I am wondering if they changed something around areas/ towns for the general search, like if a town has a certain number of listings, then it only shows the listings in the general search that are in the city limits, and nothing outside of it and then if a town is smaller then they will show listings outside of the town? We are located about 5 minutes outside of the town of Sebastopol, so we are not within the city limits but we are in the area and always appeared at the top of the search for that area before June of this year. Does anyone have any info on this? 
 
If so, why would they want 300 listings to show up for specific dates, but for a general search they only show a 1/3 of the listings? What is the logic and reason behind this? It seems in reverse to me as a guest. If I don’t put in dates and I am just looking for an amazing place to say and I am flexible on when I could stay, wouldn’t I want to see ALL the listings of an area, not just 1/3 of them, 72 listings? And then I put in dates, and then they show me all the listings showing me over 300 listings. I can’t make sense of this change in search and why they would do this. 
 
We are typically booked out many months in advance and we have definitely noticed a big drop off for winter bookings since this change was made in June. I know some of our bookings still come from doing a specific dates search or filter search, but I know we are losing some bookings for those who just do general searches and guests not being able to find us anymore in the general search as I have never had anyone contact us offline in the 5 years I have been a superhost and say they could not find our listing anymore until after this change happened in June of this year. 
 
I would appreciate any insight or feedback on this issue that anyone has! What am I missing here? Thank you! 
1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Accepted Solutions

Re: Change / Bug in the search - listings not appearing in the general search for an area, but does appear with dates.

in
Graton, CA
Level 5
So I was finally able to reach someone higher up at Airbnb to actually look into this issue and talk to the search team. Here is what I learned. 
 
They did confirm that this change in search happened around June. They also confirmed it is undated and filter searches that are impacted, not dated searches. Dated searches remain unchanged. They said it was an intentional change to make some areas tight on the undated search and others wider to give more relevant search results. They said it depends on the number of listings in an area if it shows a tight undated search or a wider undated search to guests. Some areas show wider search area results for both undated and dated search (which is how it has always been up until June of 2021 for all areas) while some of the areas like my area have now changed to be tighter searches for undated or filter searches but remains unchanged for the dated search. 
 
I can see that our monthly views for our listing (look in your dashboard at insights) went down starting in July by about 30% or 1,000 views per month or more once this change was implemented. Ironically, Airbnb shows me in my app dashboard that searches in my local area are up by 47% from last year to this year, yet my views on my listing are down 30% or more even with an increase of 47% search in my area. My future bookings are down too. This is the metric that shows the impact this major search change is having on hosts who live in these areas where they decided to change the search to exclude their listings. They have excluded my listing in the local area where I live while they are also letting me know in my dashboard that searches for my local area has increased by 47%. Ouch, that hurts to read every time I open my dashboard since I am not showing up for some of those searches anymore. 
 
We live in a really tiny town that no one has ever heard of in wine country in California. Most guests who come to the area want to stay in the general area, not specifically in the city limits of the biggest town in our area. Airbnb is now only showing guests listings inside the city limits of the town we live near, which is five minutes away. So I imagine these kinds of properties that are just outside of city limits are the ones most impacted by this search change. The bottom line is if you live in an area like this, you are now being penalized in the search. If you live within the city limits, you are good, if not, you are at a big disadvantage as only guests who put in specific dates will see your listing going forward. 
 
They did not respond to my specific questions about this issue or the metrics I shared above or address the issues I brought up about how this is impacting me as a host. 
 
If you have noticed getting less bookings this year than last (after July 2021) and if you notice your cancellations are not filling up as fast, you should look to see if your listing falls under these new changes. 
 
To see if you live in one of these areas being impacted by this major search change this year, there is an easy way to tell. 
1. Do an undated unfiltered search for the town near your area. (For example if you live outside of the city limits of an area or near a larger town, put the name of the town in search that you want to see if you are included in, the one that most guests would likely search for if they were coming to your area) 
2. See if your listing shows up in the results. If it does, then you are good and your listing is not impacted by this new search change. You will show up for both undated and dated searches for your area. 
3. If you did not show up in that first search, do a new search for specific dates that are a few months away (that you know are available in your calendar) If you show up in this search, but not in the first undated search, then you know your listing was impacted by this change that was made in search. Guests will no longer see your listing in a general undated search and filter search and you will likely have a harder time filling cancellations as guests now have to put in very specific dates in order to see your listing for your area. 
 
If you do not agree with this new search change and what them to change it back to the way it was to show more listings in a general area for both undated search and dates searches, and if you think it does not help guests or hosts to only show guests a small fraction of listings available for a local area for undated searches, please speak up and give feedback to Airbnb by filling out the info in this link and contact customer service as well and ask them to pass the feedback onto management. https://www.airbnb.com/help/feedback
 
Every other search engine that I know of shows you “more” listings in an undated general search and “less” listings in a date specific search. The more parameters you add into a search engine, your search should get more tight, but Airbnb has decided to do the exact opposite and show guests “less” listings in a undated general search and “more” listings in a dated search (only for some areas). This still makes no sense to me at all, and I am disappointed that they do not seem to care how hosts are being impacted by this major change in the search that happened around June of 2021. I give up as I have done everything I can do speak up about this and how it is impacting our listing and our ability to be successful hosts, but have been totally ignored. I hope others will speak up as well to Airbnb and let them know how they feel about these major changes to the search and how it may be impacting your listing. @Airbnb 

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18 Replies

Re: Change / Bug in the search - listings not appearing in the general search for an area, but does appear with dates.

in
Leeuwarden, The Netherlands
Level 10

@Trinette---Chris0 

Your listing is just outside the range for San Sebastopol. Consider it bad luck. If you move the map and zoom in, the listing shows up (without dates entered).

Most people will not search without dates, as prices are not shown.

Re: Change / Bug in the search - listings not appearing in the general search for an area, but does appear with dates.

in
Graton, CA
Level 5

Thanks for your response! I agree the listing shows up on the map if you move it around, but not in the general search for the area like it used to before 5 or 6 months ago as it had for the last 5 years, but it does show up when you search other nearby towns that are further away from than the main town of Sebastopol, so that is why I can not make sense of it logically why we don’t show up in the general search for the main town that is closer. There are hundreds of other listings in the area that do not show up as well in that general search so it’s not just us.

 

I do think some guests actually do not put in dates and use the general search. I travel and use Airbnb and almost all of the time I search without putting in any dates as I WFH and can make any dates work and I care more about the place I am staying than the dates I am staying. I know guests still search this way too, as I have guests now contacting me offline since this change in search was made who knew about my place, but now can’t find it on Airbnb from the general search for our area, so not everyone uses specific dates when doing a search. Thanks again for your response, really appreciate it! 

Re: Change / Bug in the search - listings not appearing in the general search for an area, but does appear with dates.

in
Takoma Park, MD
Level 10

@Trinette---Chris0  It's been like this since they did some "upgrade" to the site about 5-6 months ago. I'm in the same situation. They are forcing people to use a date search rather than just general browsing. It sucks. Even the new date search options are annoying. 

I'm unwilling to expend any energy fighting the AirBnB system, so I just made note of it and moved on. I've been plenty busy. 

You also have to keep in mind that all other hosts in your area should be in the same situation, so any perceived disadvantage is spread equally. 

Sorry, that's all I got....

Re: Change / Bug in the search - listings not appearing in the general search for an area, but does appear with dates.

in
Graton, CA
Level 5

Thanks so much for your response. Good to know it’s not just our area. Yes, I agree there are hundreds of listings that are not being shown now from this change in our local area, so it is not just me, but I don’t think people realize that this change in search happened about 5 or 6 months ago. I have sent it to Airbnb feedback multiple times and written to customer service multiple times and asked it be escalated and they keep saying that nothing changed and it is operating how it is supposed to be. It really makes no sense that we appear in that search with dates, but if dates are removed, then we disappear from the search. I do not see how this benefits guests or hosts. It’s also ironic that I watched an Airbnb talk with the CEO this summer and he said they were making it more easy for guests to find listings outside of the main area they were looking, we have found the extreme opposite from these recent changes, now we don’t show up at all for the main area in the general search even though we are only 5 minutes away. 

Re: Change / Bug in the search - listings not appearing in the general search for an area, but does appear with dates.

in
Graton, CA
Level 5

Actually this situation now has worsened, as we used to appear in the search if you used the filters of entire place, or pets allowed, (after the change around June that made us disappear from the general search) but now as of this month our listing no longer appears AT ALL even with the filters added, we ONLY appear if you put in specific dates, otherwise we do not exist in the search for our area at all. Our bookings are dramatically down as a result of this bug in the search and we are starting to consider removing our listing and switching to a long term rental as we have tried countless times to contact Airbnb and they will not do anything about it and we can not afford to keep our listing going when we no longer appear in the search. 

Re: Change / Bug in the search - listings not appearing in the general search for an area, but does appear with dates.

in
Polson, MT
Level 10

It's happening here as well.  If I try to search for my property using the new "I'm Flexible" feature, my property doesn't show up at all.  Even if I go to map and zoom in on my geographic area, it still won't come up.  As a guest, I would be bummed not to see all of my options!  I messaged Airbnb about it, but got blown off.  Brought it up earlier here in the Community Center as well and tagged admin... still blown off.  I'm taking @Kia272 's approach... trying to fight it or get answers is futile and as long as I'm still getting bookings one way or the other, I'm just going to go with it.  Frustrating though.  

Re: Change / Bug in the search - listings not appearing in the general search for an area, but does appear with dates.

in
Orono, ME
Level 10

@Jennifer2682 "I'm Flexible" only pulls listings that are available on Friday and Saturday night and you have a very limited number of weekends left. If I search Polson, MT for flexible stays in January your listing appears from Jan 7-9. 

 

 

Re: Change / Bug in the search - listings not appearing in the general search for an area, but does appear with dates.

in
Polson, MT
Level 10

Thanks @Emilia42 !  Man, it really doesn't make much sense that "flexible" only applies to the two busiest travel days of the week.  I'd really love to book some off-season, mid-week days, and I'm sure many "flexible" travelers would like to travel during those times too.  Thanks so much for looking for and finding my listing... I appreciate it.  I still can't find it, even in February and March, when I'm not as booked, but it makes me feel a little better that at least someone can.  Thanks again for taking the time... happy hosting!  🙂  

Re: Change / Bug in the search - listings not appearing in the general search for an area, but does appear with dates.

in
Orono, ME
Level 10

@Jennifer2682 I agree that the flexible search is really stupid. I would consider myself "flexible" in that I can travel throughout the week but the search function restricts my results to only weekends. But fear not, I can see you in the search results; placed in the first slot actually 🙂

 

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Re: Change / Bug in the search - listings not appearing in the general search for an area, but does appear with dates.

in
Polson, MT
Level 10

You are awesome, @Emilia42 .  Thank you for doing that digging for me!  

Re: Change / Bug in the search - listings not appearing in the general search for an area, but does appear with dates.

in
Graton, CA
Level 5

I also found another crazy bug. If you do a search for Sebastopol, CA with the filter “pets allowed”, you get 22 results. If you put in “pool” as a filter AND “pets allowed” as a filter you get 94 results! Let me remind you the general search only shows 71 results, so when you add in the “pets” filter it is using that subset of 71 results and giving you 22 properties that allow pets, but when you add in “pool” and “pets” it should be giving you less listings but instead it is searching using the wider area when you add in pool and gives you 94 listings so it is pulling from a wider area for one filter but not for others. This is bonkers! Who designed this thing, it makes literally no sense. It worked fine for the last 5 years, now it is a mess. My guests keep contacting me offline directly because they can’t find my listing, this has never happened in the 5 years I have been hosting until now. So my listing shows up if you search “pool” and “pets allowed” but it does not show up if you search for just “pets allowed” even though I allow pets.  This is an obvious mistake and I have reported it countless times and continue to be blown off by customer service. 

 

The other thing I have really noticed is if I get a cancellation for like one or two nights, I am not getting any inquires about it as it is such a narrow specific date range, where as before this change happened in the search and we appeared with filters or general search, I would literally fill my cancellations within hours of getting one, I never ever worried about cancellations as the dates would always book so quickly, not anymore. Now they just sit there, because we are not reaching the guests in the search unless they put in those exact dates. This started right after they changed the search a few months ago. Never had this issue before this. So frustrating that guests can not find our listing anymore. I would never use the flexible cancellation policy again because of this. I have always been flexible with my guests on giving refunds for cancellations if I could rebook the dates, but this new search makes that impossible to do anymore. 

 

Do your own searches for your area and see if you are missing in the general search or searching with certain filters, if you are, you are losing bookings just like we are. @Airbnb  (we still appear in search ONLY if someone types in specific dates, otherwise we do not exist using filters or general search anymore) 

Re: Change / Bug in the search - listings not appearing in the general search for an area, but does appear with dates.

in
Graton, CA
Level 5

Also, if you do a “general search” with no filters and no dates for the entire county we live in Sonoma County, CA we are the first listing in the search, but yet we do NOT appear in a search for the town of Sebastopol, which is the area where we actually live. I wish I could make some type of sense of how this type of search function benefits guests or hosts in anyway. @Airbnb 

Re: Change / Bug in the search - listings not appearing in the general search for an area, but does appear with dates.

in
Graton, CA
Level 5

I did a search for the city of Sonoma, CA which is a town an hour from us but still within our same county. This search provides the exact same results for both the general search and specific date search (this is how it should work) and includes the larger area of the city of Sonoma, not just the city limits, which is what our area used to do as well in search before this bug was introduced. So it is not every city or area that has this search bug. I wonder if it is a geo tagging/ location problem for our area? The question is how to get someone at @Airbnb to take it seriously and look into it. 

Re: Change / Bug in the search - listings not appearing in the general search for an area, but does appear with dates.

in
Graton, CA
Level 5

Here is another example, we show up in as first listing in search for the entire city of Santa Rosa, which is not even our area and is MUCH further away, but we do not show up in our own area of Sebastopol where we live. I noticed that when you search Santa Rosa, CA the map goes wider and shows a bigger surrounding area with 300+ listings (which is what our area used to do), but when you search Sebastopol which what most people search for when coming to our general area, it zooms in and shows a much tighter area than other searches of other areas nearby. 

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