Scrolling through my listings yesterday, I found that one of three suddenly gave me the option to add "design highlights" under Listing Details:

 

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My listing description has always read, "Private getaway cottage is a favorite of honeymooners & lovers of modern design."  The word "design" appears 20 times in reviews.  I use review excerpts as photo captions and the word "design" appears several times there as well.

 

Clicking through "design highlights" above I was able to add the architect's name, and that now appears under the listing in search under "Design":

 

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However, his name doesn't appear under the listing under an "All Homes" search, and the highlighted photo is different:

 

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One of my three listings is a cabin, so I looked for it under the "Cabins" category in Maine.  You may have heard there are a lot of cabins in Maine, so no surprise, I had to scroll forever and finally zoom in on the map to find it.  Here's what it looks like under the "Cabins" category:

 

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And here's how it appears under the "All Homes" category:

 

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As with the cottage, different photos, different dates, different prices.  Which I don't mind at all!  I think it's cool to appear in different ways in different searches, which conceivably means slightly different demographics are seeing these.

 

Some conclusions? 

 

* Since listing the cottage in 2015, I've marketed it to people who love design.  It looks like the machine picked up enough cues from keywords, captions, and possibly photos to move the cottage into the design category.

 

* Even though all three of my listings were designed by the same architect, I haven't leaned on design in the other two, and was not given the option to add design details to either of them.

 

* Interestingly, although virtually every single guest at each of the three listings mentions Acadia National Park as part of their trip plans, and the name "Acadia" (usually by itself, without "National Park") appears many times in reviews, none of my listings appear under the "National Park" category.

 

* I think the machine is going to keep working to refine categories, so I'll spend some time working on keywords, which is also a good way to refine your marketing to the demographic most likely to book.

 

* I found the search on the app very simple to use.  Above the categories, the box says "Where to? Anywhere * Any week * Add guests."  I believe this is what's called a "call to action."  Tap on the box and put in some info.  Narrow things down from there. 

 

Overall I find the whole thing rather interesting.  And that brings me to a horrifying thought:  Am I, in fact, a 64-year-old millennial?!?

 

51 Replies

Re: Experimenting with the Summer Release

in
Katy, TX
Level 6

@Debra300 - I think we are both on the VRA WhatsApp chat, too, and after you mentioned "Keep Cool", I recognized you.

 

The split stay is working for St Lucia.  But I don't know how to force it to choose Rodney Bay and Soufriere.  You have to have the two destinations showing on the map, and the splits are all the way at the end of the listings. split stay.JPG

Re: Experimenting with the Summer Release

in
Gros Islet, Saint Lucia
Level 10

 

Fortunately, @Loretta126 didn't think that I was trying to sell her a timeshare and answered my Whatsapp call, and she walked me through how to find split stays.  She told me to select a location, enter a date range, number of guests, and other filters that I feel are necessary for the stay.  This will refine the search results to a manageable number.

 

For our walkthrough, I did the search on my laptop with the following criteria: Gros Islet, St. Lucia, September 1 to 8, 2 guests, entire space, 2 bedrooms, 2 beds, kitchen, wifi, air conditioning, pool, washer, and dryer.  There were 98 listings returned on 8 pages.  The first five pages showed normal results of individual listings.  At the bottom of page 5 were the first set of split stay recommendations, and pages 6 through 8 only had split stays.

 

These are my observations, and pointing them out so that the feedback can be provided to the Airbnb product development team.  Loretta and I were unable to decipher the criteria used to make the recommendations, because distance or areas were not consistently used.  For example,  the first two split stay results provided listings that are about a 30 minute drive apart, and each location represents a cross section of different St. Lucian communities and their offerings.  

 

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However, the third and fourth split stay recommendations provided listings that are essentially in the same area, and only a few minutes drive apart.  Guests who stay in either place will  go to the same places, eat and socialize at the same restaurants and bars, and do similar activities.

 

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It was the sixth recommendation that had the longest geographical distance, and according to locals, offer a very diverse representation of St. Lucia.

 

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Ironically, Airbnb also purposely suggested listings in the same community, and highlighted the close proximity as noted in title of the following search recommendations.  Unless there was an issue, I don't believe many guests will plan a trip to travel all the way to St. Lucia so they can repack their luggage after a few days just to stay in another place down the road.

 

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Strangely, the Shared Homes and Bed and Breakfast categories provided no results, and I know there are plenty of listings (well, at least ONE) that should be available during the dates entered, because it's low season on the island.  

 

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When I chose the Beach category, the results included places on other islands.  Some people may think that's great, because it exposes the guests to more places.  This is true, but I have met more than my share of people who are geographically challenged, and think that Jamaica is the entire Caribbean, and if they hear the name of another island it must still be in Jamaica.  Or, that the entire archipelago is one country.  There are plenty of folks who don't know that Guadalupe and Martinique are French Overseas Departments, the people are French Citizens, French is the official language, the euro is the currency used, and they follow Schengen Area regulations.  It would be very unfortunate for a guest to book a place thinking that it's in St. Lucia, and fly to the island only to find out that their reservation is in a different country where they may not meet the immigration entry requirements.

 

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Lastly, my place in St. Lucia, which I didn't find in any category, is a 5 minute drive from the St. Lucia Pidgeon Island National Landmark: https://slunatrust.org/sites/pigeon-island-national-landmark.  I've been there several times, and it has been highlighted in numerous write ups and reviews.  When I chose the National Park category, the only results were for listings in Guadalupe.

 

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Again, these are not complaints, but I would like to see them addressed.

 

 

 

Re: Experimenting with the Summer Release

in
Hay Valley, Australia
Level 10

@Debra300 wrote:

 


The split stays feature is only available to properties in the EU, the UK, and the US. 


 

oh that explains why I can't see it in my searches (Australia). thanks. 

 

Re: Experimenting with the Summer Release

in
Gros Islet, Saint Lucia
Level 10

@Gillian166,

 

@Loretta126 pointed out that I misspoke.  The split stays feature is available only to accounts that are addressed in the EU, UK and US.  She and I both live in the US, and we were able to see split stays for listings in St. Lucia, the country we both have rentals.  We would not see the split stays if our accounts had our rental addreses.

Re: Experimenting with the Summer Release

Online Community Manager in
London, United Kingdom
Online Community Manager

@Debra300 I've checked with the team for you, and I can confirm that the split stays feature has been rolled out and is available globally. 🙂

 

Emilie

 

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Re: Experimenting with the Summer Release

in
Gros Islet, Saint Lucia
Level 10

@Emilie,

 

Thanks for the follow up.  Based upon my own trials, I am now unsure that the split stay feature is as cool as I originally envisioned.  For St. Lucia, many of the recommendations were for listings that were close to each other, and the split stay heading often said, "Two Gros Islet stays less than 1 mile apart".  I had inferred that the recommendations would be for guests to stay in different parts of a country or metropolitan area to get a fuller experience of the place they are visiting. 

 

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It also appears that the algorithm isn't set up to dissuade split stays at listings hosted by the same account, and doesn't factor in spreading the revenue amongst an area's host population.  I guess this may be especially helpful for large companies that manage a lot of listings concentrated in one geographical area, but isn't necessarily a benefit for traditional hosts with one location or a small number of listings, because their property may not appear in split stay recommendations for a given search.

 

 

 

Re: Experimenting with the Summer Release

Online Community Manager in
London, United Kingdom
Online Community Manager

@Debra300 Split stays looks at calendar availability to surface up additional options to guests, so listings which might not be available for their full trip dates could in this instance be presented to guests for a split stay. 

 

Your suggestions on the many more ways this functionality could benefit the Host community are great though, I'll share them with the product team!

 

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Re: Experimenting with the Summer Release

in
Gros Islet, Saint Lucia
Level 10

@Emilie 

 

Thanks for the response, but I don't think that it addresses the point that I was making.  There were listings available in parts all over the island which could be seen by zooming out, but even when the map was zoomed out, the split stays remained in a small geographical region.

 

I just did another search with the All Homes category.  There were 185 stays returned, but the map and split stays remained specific to Gros Islet.  

 

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Gros Islet area results

 

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Listings available on island when map was zoomed out.

 

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Split stays recommendations are not adjusted when the map is resized.

 

 

In the same search I clicked the Tropical category button.  There were 211 listings returned, and the map initially displayed only one listing was in Gros Islet, but listings in other areas are shown.  For some unknown reason, I have never seen any split stays recommendation in any of the Tropical category search results.

 

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I am just trying to provide feedback in hopes that the search functionality is improved.  However, while Airbnb is working through the plethora of comments from Airbnb users, I am updating my snoozed listings on other platforms, because I think that after a few searches guests may have similar conclusions as me, and feel that the listings presented are not comprehensive of those that would be a good fit for their stays.

 

 

Re: Experimenting with the Summer Release

Online Community Manager in
London, United Kingdom
Online Community Manager

@Debra300 Thanks for testing this through and through, I think I got what you meant now -appreciate all the screenshots to help me visualise better what you were referring to!

 

I'll add your point about the results to the feedback we're capturing and sharing with the team, your constructive comments are really valuable. 🙂

 

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Re: Experimenting with the Summer Release

in
Charleston, SC
Level 10

@Ann72 

My listing does show up under Amazing Views but guest needs to select the location area, in my case a city or county, then selected 2 guest. If the guest count isn't selected it defaults to only the beach houses along the entire coast which average over $800 a night, so a bit of sticker shock. 

For the default to "Any Week" appears to be the only search option in the mobile App or phone search. On the desk top search the default is the next available week, which can be several months out. If there aren't 7 consecutive days available it won't display at all. Guest would need to select "Flexible" then weekend, or enter exact dates and up to 7 days flexibility. 

My concern is that weekdays will be lower priority. Airbnb is prioritizing week long stays. How savvy will guest be to make all those selections for find available weekdays, especially after a cancelation that's several weeks out? They would need to enter exact dates.

I'm waiting to see how well weeknights book. In the past when I have an upcoming vacancy, say six weeks, out my views more than triple, then it books and goes back down. 

I've set up another account on other booking platforms. This is pretty bad timing for me, as I'm now starting to book for the winter which is the off season and not a good time to launch on another platform. I'll need to give enough priority to balance between the two. 

I think Airbnb needs to offer guest the ability to select the number of nights they want to stay. Our average for our area is 3-4 nights. We get over 10 million visitors I believe.

It seems like guest could enter a range say, 3-7 nights. But Airbnb wants guest to stay longer at the expense of booking weeknights. Pretty confident thats to boost corporate earnings, although occupancy rates could decrease for individual hosts, and increase for new host, as the number of reviews is also hidden until guest click on each listing. 

But VRBO doesn't allow host to limit maximum trip length, which seems crazy. Host have to block off a few nights a week.

It so common now for host to list on multiple platforms. So I'm sure it will all work out. Although for now only the most expensive listings, the ones with the highest rates, are prioritized. I took a completely different approach and offered a better value, which is now a low priority for each listing, and stayed at Airbnb recommended rates, and also places with low rating, especially cleanliness, have plenty of avaibilabilty and now on the front search page. 

I'm just wanting to see how weeknights book and will adjust. 

**** Some other things to note.. back when guest could check complements "Stylish Space" was the second most for my listing. Mine is pretty cool, 10 foot ceilings, good lighting, stone coutertops, custom shower, custom 8 foot windows, barn door, cool artwork, but I woudln't check "designer space" as there wasn't an architect and just an apartment. (I don't even mention those details so when guest show up they love it, so under promise and over deliver on some of the details.) 

The  beach has three categories for "beach" "beach front" and "surfing" but beaches have very limited availability and quite expensive. I don't check "beach access" although a lot reviews mention that its close. 

So for me I'll likely have to go way up in my rates to be compatible on the new categories and week long priority. The category will help with that but is a major change for me to adapt as I was settled in to better value approach. 

Re: Experimenting with the Summer Release

in
Katy, TX
Level 6

@John5097 wrote:

@Ann72 

On the desk top search the default is the next available week, which can be several months out. 


I don't see that the desktop goes to the next available week.  I tried the "Any week" search twice in a row for our area and got different dates between the two. 

Re: Experimenting with the Summer Release

in
Charleston, SC
Level 10

@Loretta126 Right now I only have one week available in November. So in search results guest see November dates. Although the other listings I checked also went to first available week on their calendar. It would be nice if guest could simply chose their own trip length. As it is now they will likely just browse through the default listing displayed that have a week available. 

Re: Experimenting with the Summer Release

in
NY, NY
Level 10

@John5097  I don't understand how you concluded guests can only stay for a week or a weekend.  When you start in the app, there's a search box at the top:

 

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Once you tap that, you can add specific dates by tapping "When"...

 

 

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...and then "Choose dates":

 

 

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After that, you'll see a calendar where you can choose any dates of any duration you like:

 

 

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Re: Experimenting with the Summer Release

in
Charleston, SC
Level 10

@Ann72 

I did mention guest can choose individual dates twice.    

"Guest would need to select "Flexible" then weekend, or enter exact dates and up to 7 days flexibility."

I was pretty clear on this as well in the next paragraph. 

"My concern is that weekdays will be lower priority. Airbnb is prioritizing week long stays. How savvy will guest be to make all those selections for find available weekdays, especially after a cancelation that's several weeks out? They would need to enter exact dates."

In addition, keep in mind that only a few hundred host will even read any other this post. Maybe a thousand in the the other post about an update. In my past experience I was astonished how reluctant people are to click on anything. Over 90% of host and guest will just fall into a pattern of use.  

Re: Experimenting with the Summer Release

in
Charleston, SC
Level 10

On my phone I can only see on line of dates at a time for individual dates. Some other clunky issues like not being able to go back and change from weekend to week. These are just initial observations. Although as I said ready to make adjustments. 

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