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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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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There needs to be a way that searchers can also find our listing by our name. If a past guest or friend has recommended that a traveler check us out, potential guests have no way to do so other than to scroll through 100's of listings until they can find ours. Some of the filters help, but there is no specific way to find us by host name. Now that we are Superhosts, it narrows the searching a bit, but it would help if our listing would come up with by our name also. How difficult is that really? A simple search bar at the top of the listings page would be so simple. You have location and other filters. OR. Why not put in the current filters: "do you know a certain host? Please type their name here". It would help for repeat guests to find us easily and make it easier for them to refer us to other travelers. Scrolling wastes time and is frustrating when trying to plan travel. Why not make it easier on guests to find us. I bet it would get us all more bookings! It seems like this would be easy to implement.
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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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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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It's 2016 and video is critical to the success of a vacation rental. Please allow hosts to either upload video, include a YouTube or Vimeo link or insert corresponding embed code to our listings. This feature is already available on other popular platforms and Airbnb should be leading the charge in this area!
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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. The 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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I just read an informative profile of the Airbnb honchos, saying edsentially that they plan to force us all to accept Instant Book. They have so lost touch with who we are, what we do, and that they owe their billions to us "little people" toiling away. This is MY HOME. Over the 4 years I have hosted, I have seen and learned a lot. I have had some seriously unpleasant weirdos turn up as guests. I have learned how to filter out people who are inappropriate for my household. I cannot and will not be forced to accept just anyone with no discretion. I would never discriminate based on race, sexual orientation, etc. but GET A GRIP, Airbnb 1% ers! WE are your lifeblood! Don't f*** this up for everybody, including yourselves!
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