Please, help us get this to Airbnb team! Good hosts affected by new search "parameters".

Status changed to: Not In Plan

My husband and I have been hosting with Airbnb for 5 years now. When we started, there were only 4 other listings for our city, Paraty, in Rio de Janeiro state in Brasil.
Very soon after we listed our acomodations, we got a booking, followed by a wonderful review from our first guests, and it picked up very well from there. Soon we had loads of reviews, loads of bookings, and we added another listing. Our reviews have always been excellent, we have always worked hard to make our guests feel welcome and have the best stay possible, never cancelled any booking and have refused very few booking requests. We also have 100% response rate, within a couple of hours, and have been superhosts since they brought this feature back again a couple of years ago.
Airbnb started to grow. New listings started to pop by the dozens daily, and in a couple of years there were almost one thousand listings on Airbnb for Paraty. This didn't affect our bookings. Our place is really special, and as I mentioned above, we get wonderful reviews. So, even though now there were so many options for stays in Paraty, our bookings kept steady.
Suddenly, about 4 months ago, things changed drastically. Enquiries became very sparse, and bookings went down drastically. We were puzzled. So started to investigate. Doing a search for all listings in Paraty, without using any filters or dates ( which normally showed ALL listings for the city), I couldn't find our listing. ( note that if you do this search logged into your account, your listing will most probably show on the search, and ranking pretty good. It is entirely different when you do a search loggged out, in a incognito tab or clear all cookies and cache before doing the search. I suggest you try ).Got in touch with Airbnb through a few different channels, and they all assured us that our listing was showing, sending us a link to show our page on the search. But all searches used filters in them, and the parameters selected were very specific which of course improves dramatically the chances of showing our listing on the search. Soon we realised, that, on a general search for Paraty ( again, no filters, no dates, no parameters), Airbnb is now only showing 307 listings. Always. From around one thousand available in Paraty. Which clearly means that many listings are being left out on general searches made by people. Got in touch again with Airbnb, and got the same reply and links showing that my listing does appear on search results, but only when many filters and parameters are selected. I insisted again that a general search should show ALL listings for Paraty, and got the reply that no one searches without dates or type of acomodations in mind. I insist they do, and that is why there is the option to search without dates and filters. I have done general searches and know of other people that do, without any dates or specifics in mind, just to have a look at all possibilities to some trip that you plan to do some day.
I suppose this is happening with many other people, because one day one of their newsletters send by email had a link to a topic about searches and how they work.
Starts with the same story, that the better your reviews, the more bookings, the less cancellations, the faster response, etc, the higher your listing appears on their search. From the beginning of our experience with Airbnb, I have already found out that this is not quite 100% true, but what shocked me was to hear about the new modifications they have done to how search works.

http://blog.airbnb.com/how-search-makes-the-best-matches/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm...

So basically, Airbnb is pre selecting listings to show potential guests whenever they do a general search on Airbnb. Based on the above listed factors, on type of properties you booked or even searched before. Assuming that people follow a pattern and are not willing to change and try something different. They are assuming what people want to see, and, in the case of my city, leaving around 2/3 of the listings out.

I wish Airbnb would hear and understand how this is affecting hosts drastically. I wish they would give more credit to hosts that been with them since the beginning, working hard and helping build their good reputation and grow.
The other day, I came across a paid advert from Airbnb on Facebook, featuring a house listed with them in Paraty. New host. Not many reviews, some not that good. But the house had been featured on an architecture Brazilian magazine. This alone was for them enough reason to feature it. .On the comments, a couple of people saying that they had tried to book that house, and the communication with the host was very bad and he had been rude. On the post, there was a link saying : click here to see all listings for Paraty. I clicked and it showed only 307. No surprise there!!! On that, I decided to write a comment pointing out that the link is not true, that it doesn't show ALL listings for Paraty, briefly pointing out my concerns about this and mentioned that I wished they would feature instead listings from hosts that had been with them for a long while, working hard from the beginning, helping build the reputation and that fitted in to the whole idea of Airbnb, basically great hosting with love and effort and attention to make people have the best stay possible. My comment was deleted.

I really appreciate if you read this far. Maybe the same has been happening to you. Maybe not. Maybe it has but you haven't been fully aware of it...But I ask you to please like or comment on this post, because it is the only way it will get selected to reach Airbnb. This is how this new host voice forum works. Posts that don't get attention, are automatically archived, the ones that do, are supposedly moved up the " importance chain" and hopefully gets the attention it deserves.
The other channels to get in touch with Airbnb are becoming more and more difficult and automated, doesn't really feel like real soul is replying from the other side. I feel very nostalgic about our beginning with Airbnb, and the easiness to get in touch, and get a proper and quick and personal response to enquiries, problems, complaints, suggestions. Feel that as Airbnb grows, this is all getting lost. That it is more about the money, less about the people. That the initial moto of hosting with soul is totally getting lost.



Response from Airbnb

Creating a platform that helps match hosts and travelers is unique and challenging. And any given search can produce different results based on numerous factors.

 

Many markets have thousands of listings, which means only a tiny fraction of those end up on the first page of a search with no date parameters set. While searching without specified dates is a great way to see what kinds of listings a location has, that’s not how travellers generally find places they decide to book. Almost all guests book using searches with dates.


Our data shows that in general, listings with more reviews, and higher ratings, show up in searches to more travelers, especially when their dates are specified. So, while we never promote listings (even based on tenure), you can do a lot to make sure your listing stands out in search.


Comments
Level 2

They have always limited the general search to about 300 listings, but it sounds,like you should be on that list.

Of course, adding IB will get you there too.  Snark#%&.

Level 7

Hi Anne,

not here in my town, at least. Untill a couple of months ago, they showed all the nearly 1000 listings. And right when they changed to around 300, our bookings vanished... :-(

i have been searching for my listings incognito , and also asking friends. and it rarely shows nowadays...

what is IB?

Level 2

Great Comment Renata and I agree with many points about AirBNB becoming impersonal.

 

My only point is that it is probably unrealistic to anticipate that potential guests would look through 1000 properties (and I'm not saying this is exactly what you mean)  ...I only scan maybe 15 properties after filtering when traveling.

 

I have another couple of issues about other aspects of reviews that clearly seem to be unfair and need updating.

 

Under the current system, an unreasonable and aggressive guest can leave a toxic review out of spite, even though this may be their first EVER experience as a guest.  As far as AirBNB is concerned, his review is just as valid as that of a host who has been hosting for years and predominately receives fantastic reviews (over 80 bookings).  We have four pages of reviews going back to 2012. 

 

My point is that someone with LITTLE OR NO AirBNB history and who may be a nasty individual (they do exist), can write an aggressive, unfair and totally misleading diatribe that forever tarnishes your reputation.  In one particular case, I actually for-warned AirBNB that he may do exactly this because I refused his request (5 days into a week stay) to refund a booking fee because some of his guests didn't stay as long as anticipated (he even lied about the details).  Believe me, I gave this individual a forceful reply to his review, but the damage was done.  

 

There needs to be balance, and it should be in favour of protecting the good reputation of hosts who have earned it (the backbone of the AirBNB business model), from damage by the few out of control guests who HAVE NOT YET earned any positive reputation.  He is the only guest (of 77 reviewed) we have said we would not host again.

 

In another example, we were recently left bad reviews by guests who:

1. lied about how many people they had in the apartment (claimed 3  but actually slept in 4 beds).

2.  Went to sleep after manual work and left dirt on the sheets.

3. Stayed in the house after checkout time pretending that they thought it was the next day. 

4.  Re-booked twice to extend their stay for only one guest (instead of the three they claimed). 

5.  Dripped oil on the roadway (which will stain forever) outside the apartment from their leaky old Audi.   So to top it off these difficult humans will prevent us from Super-host status as they have the temerity to low score us far an apartment that everyone else thinks is excellent (the new apartment).

 

We now have two long term bookings of about 4 months -so we couldn't get Superhost status now anyway (minimum number of bookings), but SH status should be on our record anyway -even if we don't need it for bookings at the moment.

 

The last issue: We have two apartments on AirBNB, the first is an older building that we clean immaculately (and can take two of us up to 5 hours)  ...but try as anyone might ...it will NEVER be a five-star apartment (current rating after 63 reviews =4.5).  We make it clear that it is an older building, and everyone seems happy, and we get great reviews as hosts.  There should be an equivalent recognition for an excellent host experience that is separate to the actual building review.  Our older building will only ever be 3 (immaculately clean) stars ...exactly as we claim, and at 4.5 stars we do better than we should.

 

We intend to leave this apartment and remove the listing and part of the reason is the star rating system does not adequately reflect the reality of older clean building with great hosts.  

 

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

 

Cheers,

 

John

 

PS IB = Instant Booking :)

 

Level 7

Hi John, Thank you for taking the time to read our post and commenting. i understand what you say about people not wanting to go through too many listings, but that is why there are filters, if they want they can use them to narrow their search. I still don't think it is fair to leave listings out of the general search. And proof that it affects hosts, is that since they started doing it for my town, we went from many bookings a month to practically none. So clearly the problem now is that Airbnb seems to think there are too many listings, reason why they do not show all anymore on a general search. But I don't think that this "solution" they came up with is fair with the hosts, specially older ones. I believe they should stick to their moto of quality hosting, and not quantity, and come up with some pre requisite to accept new hosts and maybe even delete some that are not nearly reaching the standards of good hosting. As for your comments about reviews, thankfully we never had a really bad experience with this, only a couple of people that left some unfair comments, but not as bad as to affect our rating. But I can see how dangerous it can be. As you said, there are mean people out there, and it is not fair that they have the power to damage a good host reputation. As you said it would be nice if they heard our side of the story and looked at our history. Basically, give us more credit. Thank you for telling me that IB means instant book. By the way, we have it selected. As Anne said on a previous comment, sounds like we should be on the list. We have worked hard and have done all by the book, I dare say, way better than the average. Still, as I said before, doing incognito searches and asking for fiends to search for us, we rarely show on the search. Again, thanks for reading ;-)

Eva
Level 1

I have a quite similar problem. My lists are not seen ! only 5 views so far !

I have a gorgeous villa with private pool and garden for only $ 46. Just disappointed and puzzled why there are nobody interested ? 

 

:(

Level 2

Hi again,

 

In Brisbane, there was a flourish of listings a few years after we got started, but slowly their effect seems to have reduced as hosts realise that it takes a lot of work to present a clean apartment and communicate effectively. 

 

I can only hope this starts to occur in your areas. 

 

I just checked one of my listings and it wasn't visible, but then I realised I had set a minimum of four days, but only searched for 3..

 

Anyway,

 

All the best,

 

John.

 

 

Level 7

Hi John,

 in Brazil, the fads take a bit longer to arrive, so Airbnb now is getting super big. I believe it will still grow more :-( , before, hopefully, it happens like your region and quiets down a bit...

Good luck with your listings! 

Here we are needing more than luck. Maybe a miracle...

feeling quite negative about this whole thing at the moment...

Level 1

Hi All,

 

I just listed my Cottage in Bethesda, MD, and I must say reading these comments is making me sad!  I signed on with much enthusiam...within hours of posting my listing I got more inquiries and requests than I was prepared for!  It's been very exciting but I now I worry about how long it will be that I don't appear in a general search.  Maybe it already happened since no guest is due to arrive until 10/16 and therefore I have no reviews.

 

Thank you for sharing your experiences.  It is helpful to go into this endeavor with opened eyes!

 

Cheers,

Judith

Level 7

Hi Judith,

New listings have priority on the search results. I don't know for how long.

really hope the same doesn't happen to you. 

If you have a booking then soon you will have a review.

Don't be sad! 😉

Administrator
Status changed to: Popular

The status of this Idea has been changed to Popular. Ideas that receive 20 or more Thumbs up from the community within the first 7 days of being published become Popular. The Popular Ideas with the most Thumbs Up are reviewed closely by the Airbnb product team. In reviewing these Ideas, the original post and comments from the community will be considered. Thank you for taking the time to submit a thoughtful Idea that resonates with the community.

cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
x
Send message to 

Subject: