Guests so often give a lower than 5-star rating for location because it's not midtown or in a more posh area while they consciously chose it because of lower price or availability. It's awful and STRESSFUL for hosts to repeatedly get dinged for this. And that juvenile Airbnb alarm sign apearing after several -5 stars is just insulting. Let's just drop 'Location".
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Dear Fellow Hosts, Happy New Years All! I’m requesting your help as I believe our group voice and oppinions as hosts matter. I’ve communicated with Airbnb this evening and received confirmation that if more than one guest makes a reservation request, guests now have the choice to select “Group Payment” all while blocking the host calendar by selecting this new feature and have not the standard 24 hours hosts and guests nit selecting this option must adhere to but have up to 72 hours to make payment PLUS AN ADDITIONAL 24 hours given to the guest submitting the reservation request to make up for any difference in payment. This essentially means a group of any above 1 person can block a host calendar for 96 hours/ 4 DAYS and then not even book at all, all the while blocking those dates on a hosts calendar for other guests willing and able to pay in a timely fashion of 24 hours. The host presently has no options or recourse on this and wont even know when approving a request if the guest will elect group payment option. Please vote thumbs up to this post if you are in favor of removing the group option payment feature AND/OR reducing to the same 24 hours hosts and anyone else has AND/OR or in the least giving the host the option to remove this feature from their profile to book. We have a voice on this important subject if used together. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration! Best, Reina B
Response from Airbnb
Thanks for your feedback on Group Payments. This is a new feature and we know it needs some refining, so we really value your input. We hear your concerns about having your calendars locked while guests complete their payments. We are actively reviewing ways to address this for hosts and are still collecting feedback before we make our next change. We appreciate your patience as we continue working toward a Group Payments feature that works great for hosts and guests.
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The guest sees hosts' star ratings, but we never get to see how the guest has been rated by past hosts. Both sides should get to see how they have been rated and the percentage of thumbs up to total stays. Also, implement a "Super Guest" badge for guests who have received 80% 5-star ratings, have prompt response time, etc. Similar criteria to a Super Host. And allow us to Instant Book only Super Guests or previous guests.
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We would appreciate a feature that would require the person booking a reservaiton for more than one person to provide the names of the additional guests and a "link" to their Airbnb profiles. This is a security issue for hosts, who should know who they are welcoming into their home. It also makes it easier for us to communicate with and welcome guests if we know all of their names.
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I'm really disappointed that the "Basic Requirements" update to the Dashboard essentially attempts to bully hosts into accepting an arbitrary percentage of their requests. I can appreciate that Airbnb wants to cut down on preventable disappointments and practices that appear to be discrimination. I know how frustrating it is to be a guest (especially as a visible minority) and receive multiple declines with no good explanation. But setting a minimum percentage of accepted reservations is an absolutely wrongheaded way to go about solving this. No matter how much people might prefer Instant Book, experienced hosts know that Airbnb's porous verification system and unreliable Host Guarantee are no substitute for our judgment when the nature of a request is inappropriate to what we're offering. In no way do I condone discrimination against guests based on anything such as age, race, gender identity, etc, and I respect the importance of keeping an updated calendar, but there are many legitimate reasons that a decline can be the best decision. Hosts with certain kinds of listings, or in certain locations, are going to get inappropriate requests more than others, too, so those averages are completely irrelevant. Some examples from my own experience: - the guest has clearly not read the listing and believes it is a different kind of property (e.g. Entire Home instead of private room) - the guest requires different dates or has a larger party size than has been manually entered - the guest insists upon special accommodations beyond what is advertised - the guest has been negatively reviewed by previous hosts - the guest does not answer follow-up question within the 24 hour accept/decline window - the request is for something other than accommodation, such as a partyor film shoot - the host has a prior unpleasant experience with a member of the guest party - the guest asks for exceptions to the House Rules, and therefore... - the communication leaves the host feeling unsafe with the guest in their home In all of these situations, the host's only reasonable option is to Decline. I don't mind being asked to justify the choice so that nobody feels treated unfairly. But I've been hosting and since many of Airbnb's tech crew were still in high school, and I do not appreciate seeing a warning message on my screen because the algorithm decided I need to accept a higher percentage of requests. Airbnb, please accept that humans often need to excercise judgment that computers can't.
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I have several concerns around the 'Emotional Support Animal' being defined as an 'Assistant Animal' (Service Animal) within Airbnb's policies. As a licensed therapist, I am aware that many people are able to easily convince a licensed mental health professional that they 'need' their pet to be documented / authorized as an 'emotional support animal' but the true intent is that they wish to travel anywhere with the animal and not be challenged on it. I have refused more than once such requests (even from a few friends and acquaintances who were not clients) because they were not justified and it would be unethical for me to agree to such a request - but some therapists are not so diligent. Also, it is my understanding that the ADA does not recognize or protect under the law 'Emotional Support Animals'. Here are the two 'policies' (Airbnb policy and ADA federal law): Airbnb's Policies: "Emotional Support Animal: Airbnb defines assistance animals to include Emotional Support Animals. These are animals that are used as part of medical treatment and/or therapy to assist with an individual’s daily functional tasks, but are not limited to a specific type of animal and are not required to be trained to assist an individual in a particular task. These animals are sometimes referred to as comfort animals or therapy animals." And this is from the ADA: "If you're an individual with an emotional or psychological disability- emotional support animals can be an excellent companion. While emotional support animals are used as part of some medical treatment plans, they are not considered service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Nov 11, 2016" Declaring that an Emotional Support Animal is to be treated in the same manner an ADA-protected Assistance (Service) Animal puts the host in an unfair position. Under this policy, (which is not required by federal law) we as hosts lose our right to screen guests and protect our property. T he fact that we are not allowed to know in advance that an animal is coming (or even what kind); that we cannot ask for any kind of waiver to be signed (such as "you are responsible for fumigation charges if fleas are evident after your visit / if there is damage to the property, including furniture and carpets / if your animal damages neighboring property" etc, etc), is very concerning to me as a host for reasons that should be self-evident. I have seen some cavalier responses on other outside forums to Airbnb hosts asking about this issue, such as, "So if the animal destroys something just take photos and collect money for it from the guest and kick them out", etc. Well, if you are booked pretty much full-time year-round like we are, with same day turnover, finding that a guest's supposed "support" animal has destroyed something in your rental a few hours before the next guest checks in, or having a guest checking in who understood your property to be a pet-free zone and they chose it in part for this reason due to allergies, or finding out the hard way from a guest review / report that you have a flea infestation, etc, can put undue hardship on both the host and the guest that follows the support animal's 'visit'. By the way, please do not assume I do not enjoy animals or that I do not support the idea of Emotional Support Animals. I in fact originally had my Cottage listed as pet-friendly, but my two large dogs and the guest dogs engaged in barking and territorial behavior despite a wall separating them and despite all dogs being relatively well behaved. The guest dogs tend to mark their 'new' territory in such cases, so this was an issue as well. As a therapist, I specialize in animal assisted therapy (horses and dogs). So this is not about my not wanting animals on my property. It is about hosts being put in an unfair position unnecessarily, given federal laws do not recognize emotional support animals as a protected animal but Airbnb does, as well as the fact that in some cases the 'emotional support animal' title and privilege is being misused / abused by both clients and licensed mental health professionals at times. Therapists whose incomes depend on accommodating their clients sometimes have trouble saying "No - that would not be ethical", particularly when they are new to the field and trying to build a clientele. In summary: Requiring Airbnb hosts to treat an Emotional Support Animal as if it were an ADA-protected Assistance Animal when it is not deprives us of our ability to screen guests and to have guests sign animal addendums or waivers and collect extra damage desposit fees. For example, in my dog addendum guests had to agree to de-flea dogs before visiting the Cottage and to pay for de-fleaing if I had to fumigate after their stay (which also would result in possible loss of income for me if guests following could not be accommodated by me and had to be 'rehomed' by Airbnb). Under Airbnb's current policy, I am not allowed to do any of this. Under the ADA definition of Assistance (or 'Service') Animal (which does not recognize the Emotional Support Animal), I am. It just doesn't make any sense, and does not seem to be a wise business move any way you look at it. The other issue I'd like to point out is that the Airbnb policy does not even define Emotional Support Animal. Therefore, a guest could show up with just about any kind of animal, and, according to Airbnb, we are supposed to accommodate it. Can you imagine the many unpleasant possibilities? What do other hosts think? I'd love to hear your experiences. And if you agree with me, please give a 'thumbs up' so that our concerns might catch the attention of those in positions of authority at Airbnb. Thanks!
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As discussed in other posts, it seems clear that Instant Book is inevitable based on how Airbnb is driving guests toward it, with hosts expected to follow along.
It’s unfortunate, but there it is. As hosts, I don’t think we can boycott our way out of this mess. So maybe there’s a way to make IB more workable. I propose two refinements.
No. 1: MORE OPTIONS IN THE INSTANT BOOK POP-UP WINDOW.
If you examine the “funnel” through which guests searching for properties now pass, you’ll note that before long, they see a pop-up window about the Instant Book feature. The language used in that pop-up suggests that unless you press the red button that says “Show Me Instant Book Listings,” you won’t get to see those easy-to-book listings. Which of course isn’t true. At the same time, the language also suggests that by pressing that button, you’ll still see non-IB listings. This also isn’t true. Press that red button—the only option given to guests – and you’ll only see IB listings. All other listings disappear. I propose that guests see two options in that window.
"Show Me Only Instant Book Listings"
"Show All Listings That Meet My Criteria"
It's a simple software change. But it will make a big difference to hosts like us who'd rather not have IB imposed on us and are trying to live with it. Though frankly, a far better solution is to show all listings, but to list IB listings first for those who have selected the IB option: “Show Me Instant Book Listings First.” That way, if they don’t spot anything they feel fits their needs in the IB listings, they can scroll on to non-IB properties.
No. 2: GIVE INSTANT BOOK GUESTS A CHANCE TO SEE AND QUERY LISTINGS WITH ADDITIONAL VERIFICATION REQUIREMENTS.
Currently, hosts willing to activate Instant Book have the option to require guests have a "Government-issued ID" and "Recommendation from other hosts." This returns a little bit of the trust and safety elements that are lost when you go with generic IB. But if a host checks one or both of those boxes, then any guest who doesn't meet either of those checked criteria will not even see the listing in searches. In other words, if you check “Recommendations from other hosts,” then any newbie guest who selects the Instant Book filter will never see your listing. They just won't even know it exists.
Let me illustrate the impact of this: The other day we ran some rudimentary analytics on our own guest booking history and discovered that if we had both of those boxes checked since the day we first started hosting, then 75 percent of the guests who've stayed with us would never have seen our listing because they failed to meet one or both of those criteria.
If Instant Book is the way forward, just a couple of tweaks to the current search process could make a world of difference to hosts.
Allow guests who have selected the Instant Book filter (but who don't meet one or both of those additional requirements) to still see those listings that require it. When they select the "Book" button, you can deliver a pop-up window that says, "To book this property instantly, this host requires additional information about guests. But you can still Request to Book now and the host will have 24 hours to reply to your booking request."
Then offer two buttons: "Yes, I'll Send A Booking Request Now" and "No Thanks, I'll Keep Looking"
This allows guests to still book the property they were all set to book, but they'll simply do it through the more traditional Airbnb process. And if they're not interested, they can just continue their search. It also allows guests who want to retain some control over who occupies their guest space a chance to secure bookings that would have been wiped out by the shortcomings of the IB system as it exists.
PLEASE consider implementing these refinements. If Airbnb hosts are going to have to live with IB, these small adjustments could make a world of difference.
Response from Airbnb
Being able to book instantly, without waiting for the host to review your request, is a better guest experience and reduces discrimination on our platform. For these reasons we will continue to encourage guests to look for instantly bookable properties. If the listings displayed do not meet the needs of a guest, they can always view additional listings that are not instantly bookable.
In response to the first point: guests can simply dismiss this popup to see all listings. The message is only shown once, to new guests. We tested this with guests and found that they were not confused about the message, and they appreciated having a better understanding of Instant Book. We will continue to explore ways to educate guests about Instant Book, while giving them a path to find listings that are not instantly bookable.
Regarding the visibility of your listing: your listing is visible to all guests, even if you have one of the Instant Book controls enabled. If a guest does not have a recommendation from a past host, or does not want to provide a government ID, they will see your listing, and can send you a reservation request.
We are working hard to make sure hosts have the control they need so that using Instant Book will be a successful experience for different types of hosts. We find hosts that use Instant Book are more successful and get more bookings. Please see our landing page for more information on all of the improvements that we’ve made in the past year, and send us feedback on what additional controls you need in order to give Instant Book a shot.
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I've been an Airbnb host since 2012 and a Superhost ever since the Superhost program started, mostly as a home sharer who rents out the guest room in my L.A. house. It pains me to say that Airbnb is devolving now that its corporate status has raised - showing more and more disregard for hosts who share their home, and favoring instead real estate investors who lists houses/apartments they don’t live in, and rent out like hotels (because of course, the latter is what brings Airbnb the most $$$.) This is obvious from the way Airbnb’s algorithm works: 1) It greatly reduces the visibility of listings from hosts who refuse to do “Instant Book”. And agreeing to instant book is easy for someone who is renting a space they don't live in, but much more problematic for hosts sharing their own house with their guests. 2) Homes with pets (almost always home shares) are automatically disqualified from Airbnb Business and Airbnb Plus. 3) Hosts who deny requests get punished for doing so by having their listing’s visibility reduced, and pushed down the list. It is unfortunate (and infuriating), because true home sharers are the type of hosts that Airbnb prides itself for in all its PR campaigns, and whenever it comes to fighting in favor of short term rental legislation: the retired couple opening their homes to friendly strangers from around the world, the person who lost their job and for whom Airbnb becomes a way to help pay the house mortgage etc… And, on the other end of the spectrum, their biggest PR nightmares often come from hosts who list homes they never live in - often the type of hosts who have less reasons to be selective with their guests, or considerate when it comes to their “neighbors”, or the community the home is in. Airbnb needs to decide: is it a vacation rental platform for passive real estate investors, or the home sharing platform it advertises itself to be? Because, for hosts who are opening their own homes to strangers, using Airbnb only feels safe if they are allowed to deny some reservations and not be “punished” for doing so. They could be denying reservation to prevent sharing their homes with guests who they feel might be inconsiderate to their neighbors and their community, guests who they feel wouldn’t like the space, or even guests they just wouldn’t get along with. In my case, I get a lot of requests for month-long rentals, so most of my denying requests simply come from the fact I need a bit more than 24 hours and a single communication to decide to rent to someone who will be my housemate for a month. As a reminder: not accepting or denying a request within 24 hours makes you lose your Superhost status, and denying a request greatly reduces the visibility of your listing, and eventually disqualifies it from Aibnb Plus. For me, the solution is simple: eliminate the automatic selection of “instant book only” (travelers should be able to select that option if they want, but it should never be automatically selected, which is often is - without the knowledge of guests or hosts), and stop "hiding" listings of hosts who have denied some reservations (as long as the host responds to inquiries quickly.) I’ve tried to talk to Airbnb multiple times about this but, unlike a few years when Airbnb actually listened to their hosts, I did not get a response. A few years ago, I even spoke on behalf of Airbnb in favor of short-term rental – at local community events and even L.A. city hall (when they were debating short term rental legislation.) I will not speak in favor of Airbnb again until it starts showing appreciation for the hosts who are actually saving their reputation, and until it modifies their algorithm so that it doesn’t favor greedy real estate investors over true home sharers. I encourage all other home sharers (or anyone who agrees) to do the same. Thanks for reading my long rant... Please note that I originally posted this on the "host" section of the community center, but I was encouraged to post on "Host Voice" to try to get Airbnb to actually listen to these complaints and suggestions. https://community.withairbnb.com/t5/Hosting/Airbnb-s-Growing-Disregard-for-Hosts-Who-Share-their-Home/m-p/636764#M148083
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As a Superhost for a LONG time, I was surprised to see that I needed to "work on" Basic Requirements/Accepted Reservations. It seems that legitimate reasons for declining a reservation are not taken into account. Some I have encountered with guest reservations were: - not having a profile, no recommendations or reviews and not responding to questions -asking to accommodate more people then listed and not pay the additional charge -wanting to bring a pet even though the listing specifically states "no pets" -wanting to bring young children when, for safety reasons, the listing specifically states "no children" As more and more "first time" guests use Airbnb incorrectly.....some deliberately....hosts should not be penalized for declining a reservation.
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