The New Category Only Airbnb 2022

in
North Stonington, CT
Level 10
1,515 Views

As a host, I am very concerned about the new Airbnb Category-only landing page. Are you?

I am shocked that Airbnb made such a dramatic shift away from the previous design of the site which used Ai to track and learn about traveler preferences and then serve up properties of interest. I can't understand why they couldn't introduce categories as a slider or ancillary search tool to showcase unique places and inspire travelers without losing the workhorse of this booking and marketing tool. 

I worked hard to obtain my 5-star rating; I had great conversion rates, visibility within the algorithm, and traveler saves.  I followed all of Airbnb's recommendations about how best to showcase my home, and how to be a great host. My summer bookings were going gangbusters until they came to a complete stop with the launch of this new design.

My luxury guest house which is located in the countryside on a historical farm, featuring a herd of longhorn cattle and horses, close to vineyards, beach, lakeside and golf courses is now relegated to one category (farm stay) where it is buried deep within a random collection of farm stays, several of which don't have farm animals at all. With no way to adjust the categories or add tags to inform the Ai, the power to market and gain visibility has been taken out of hosts' hands, and our business, marketing and success is precariously at the mercy of Ai (Artificial Intelligence). Airbnb seems to have put ego first with "design" category which features the most impossible to compete with stays in the most far-reaching corners of the world.  What is next? Will they adopt the Facebook business model of "You need us we don't need you" and "Do not contact us... ever" policy? I hope this is not the case, I truly love the platform which seemed like a Win-Win-Win for host-traveler-Airbnb. When the balance of those three things changes, many people lose. Airbnb if you're reading this, please don't let that happen. 

60 Replies

Re: The New Category Only Airbnb 2022

in
Geraldton, Australia
Level 3

@Kimberly718 I completely agree. Like you, we worked hard for our 5* Superhost status. Our viewing rate has also taken a huge fall since the newest update, in fact it's been the lowest to date. I'm sorry to hear it's been the same for you too.

 

The new 'categories' feature should have benefitted places like ours that aren't in a city centre, but now we're losing potential income because our properties are even less visible.

 

It also doesn't even work properly yet -  there are at least 2 categories that we should feature in for our local area (i.e. beachfront, beaches) and we don't come up at all, even though our guesthouse is positioned on the sand dunes right in front of a beach. But places that have nothing to do with that category which are based in the city centre come up! 

 

I contacted Airbnb about it and got an unhelpful stock response :

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"not all the property is included right now as the system is still evaluating all the properties from Millions of Hosts across globe.

 

...this is a new feature and Airbnb is still working on that to make sure that all listing will be included to the right categories.

...Just keep monitoring your property as Airbnb updating it here every two weeks to add more listings in each category."

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They won't manually investigate it either, instead relying solely on the algorithm. With the funds and workforce they have, I'm stunned they didn't take the time to ensure the feature worked properly before making it go live. 

 

You're right about the homepage too. I think Airbnb has always been known as a platform where people can get unique stays, but they've gone a step too far. Most "exclusive" design properties on the homepage are wildly unattainable for about 98% of users.

Re: The New Category Only Airbnb 2022

in
North Stonington, CT
Level 10

The user interface and success of Airbnb was all about empowering small business and giving hosts leverage to compete against the big dogs like Marriott.  My big fear is that Airbnb like so many corporate Goliaths forget how they got where they did, and what made it work.  Based on the response from hosts on community posts; this flatlining of bookings may inform Airbnb of their grave design error. Cautiously optimistic, I am loading my listing to multiple other sites and will start my own advertising soon. Good luck to you. 

Re: The New Category Only Airbnb 2022

in
Belfast, United Kingdom
Level 10

7 years hard work,  bookings were going great this season. Not a single booking since the rollout of this.

 

Airbnb are managing to do to us what the covid crisis failed to do.

Re: The New Category Only Airbnb 2022

in
North Stonington, CT
Level 10

Mine too in what is my busiest season, my views have plummeted and bookings have all but ceased since this change occurred. I am worried. Airbnb was my workhorse marketing and booking tool, I loved it, and I sang their praises. I fear like so many they have put company ego over people and product. 

Re: The New Category Only Airbnb 2022

Level 2

Kimberly I think I just figured out why I haven't had any bookings for June.  Since the May 11th updated change. Airbnb shows my place is not available until Oct 23rd. I have called them 2 days in a row now. Took me a week and 3 hours on the site tonight trying to figure what was wrong.  They advised me today to run a discount on my airbnb didn't know what was wrong.  Check your next available booking date looks like that's why I got a couple of bookings for October but nothing for June July August and September. Im hoping this is the problem. Im so upset with Air bnb right now.

Re: The New Category Only Airbnb 2022

in
Zagreb, Croatia
Level 10

@Tony-And-Una0  same here

Re: The New Category Only Airbnb 2022

in
Eminence, MO
Level 5

Ours are down as well.  It’s a hot mess and their call center help is clueless. 

Re: The New Category Only Airbnb 2022

in
North Stonington, CT
Level 10

Re: The New Category Only Airbnb 2022

in
Banner Elk, NC
Level 2

@Kimberly718 

I just searched farm stays in Mystic and it gave me many options that were definitely not farm stays and some far from Mystic. A yurt in the woods? Hardly a farm. 

I love Owls Nest, BTW. Gorgeous. 

Re: The New Category Only Airbnb 2022

in
North Stonington, CT
Level 10

Thank you Jules. 

 

Join me in a letter to Airbnb and Brian Chesky

 

https://community.withairbnb.com/t5/Help/Airbnb-You-Broke-Our-Heart-and-Our-Business/m-p/1624518#M35...

Re: The New Category Only Airbnb 2022

in
Alpharetta, GA
Level 2

I am new to this and only had 1 completed reservation with several more pending when “the change” happened. I contacted Airbnb about why isn’t my property showing up in the city search when other homes in a different city show up!! If a guest is looking for my city I SHOULD show up not the place in a neighboring city!! I do not prefer the categories either- I have a chef’s kitchen but did my property show up - nope. 

The response I received was the same as yours- very disappointing indeed

Re: The New Category Only Airbnb 2022

in
Belfast, United Kingdom
Level 10

I am guessing that many great dedicated hosts are already looking at other options.

 

This will definety be Airbnb's loss.

 

We were the backbone that hepled this company get to where it is today,

Re: The New Category Only Airbnb 2022

in
North Stonington, CT
Level 10

I agree but I doubt it will be their loss. 

 

This was a calculated move to remove power from hosts. To control the product through and through as they edge toward becoming the global leader in travel. They are closing in on Marriott and so this move was to position the best of the brand. They want a seat at the table and can't do that with hosts driving the look and tone of the product, they can't showcase "scrappy product" so they moved the cream to the top and let everything else settle to the bottom or some nebulous place in the middle. 

 

Re: The New Category Only Airbnb 2022

in
Hoboken, NJ
Level 10

Yep, it's clearly a rebranding exercise: remove unique listing titles, homogenize them under "categories" giving "Arctic" and "treehouses" higher visibility on the landing page than "cabins", remove Host/Guest control over booking by hiding availability calendars and promoting weeks months/years in advance, remove Host control of cover photos and titles! If I had to guess, Airbnb owner wants to sell. Elon, are you listening? 

 

If it wants to be something different now (booking "experiences") not meeting the needs of millions of ordinary travelers, in partnership with Hosts-- than so be it.  This hostile takeover of Host booking/ listing, is not how one treats a "partner." I am very disappointed.  Another Airbnb will eventually spring up in its place. Until then... 

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