We need some help from the Community, please, if Airbnb is to remain an important channel for us. So, thoughts, please?.
We switched to the new Airbnb service fee inclusive pricing model as we now use a channel manager eviivo here in the UK. Our rates plan through our channel manager was comparable, giving broadly the same pricing for all OTAs. We use limited syncing between Airbnb and our channel manager. Airbnb guests would pay a marginally lower price than guests through other OTAs. The point is that we have tried to treat all OTAs the same now. But we have no reservations at all now through Airbnb, not a single one. We started our hosted B&B business last year and our success made us instant Superhosts using only Airbnb. Airbnb got us on the map and we like the idea of guest reviews – a pity other OTAs don't have them!
We joined a channel manager in August 2018 and all our guests now come mostly through Booking.com, some through Expedia and some through our own website set up for us by the channel manager. We are for some reason still Superhosts ( for the fifth quarter in succession) - our last Airbnb guest was two months ago – we have 9.8/10 review scores on B'com and 5/5 on TripAdvisor and Expedia. Why aren't we getting any Airbnb bookings any more? We could probably fill our target capacity through these other OTAs and certainly do at present. But we would much rather have more Airbnb guests.
We have today gone back to separating the guest service fee from our pricing to see if that makes a difference. Will this work? What do people think is going on? Should we give up on Airbnb and just use the other OTAs?
@Ian-And-Anne-Marie0 Hi Ian and Anne-Marie
I had just updated our listings to include reference to ou review standings with B'com and G**gle etc. I should have remembered that if you put any URLs into you listing Airbnb's system automatically replace it with "(Website hidden by Airbnb)". To my way of thinking Airbnb is being excessively protective. Just remove the hyperlink and leave the text in. If you have two listings for room in one property you can put the Airbnb URL for the other listings in, but not as a hyperlink. That is bizarre, IMHO. We have certainly lost bookings from Airbnb where potential guests have not found the availability for that listing but didn't know or couldn't find the other listing.
As for free cancellation we have always had a moderate cancellation policy of free cancellation up to five days before. If we had changed this around the time bookings tailed off/disappeared I might agree. Our policy on all OTAs is the same – free up to five days before. Guests see comfortable with it as most of them plan their trips in advance.
@Ian-And-Anne-Marie0 Hi Ian and Anne
I have discovered that if you add the link to the person you are replying to on this community, as an edit after first posting the reply, they stem loses the reply as spam or inappropriate.
I had only just changed the property description you referred to on switching back to pricing net of guest service fee, to see if that changed things for the better.I had forgotten that you can't include a hyperlink URL or anything that might pass as one on and Airbnb listing. I had mention B'com and G**gle that resulted in the system generated messages :(Website hidden by Airbnb)". This automatic policy means that you can't link your listings for the same property effectively on the Airbnb site. You can at least include their URLs but not as a hyperlink. Anyway, I have now changed the property descriptions to avoid any issues like that.
As for the issue of cancellation fee. We have always had a moderate, 'free up to 5 days before arrival' cancellation fee. We have not changed it when we switched to a channel manager or when we set our pricing on Airbnb as gross of service fee as recommended. So, I owl discount that as a factor in whether we get bookings. We have the same universal policy with all other OTAs. In or experience guests accept that a small property has to have some cancellation safeguards. Besides most guest travelling to a rural location normally plan their trip. We don't look for or get passing trade.
As I replied to Sarah977 above we don't need Airbnb but we will persevere to see if we can re-generate business through them.
Setting your pricing net of fees will help your cause I think, certainly other hosts feel it benefits but there is a SEO theory shared too that having the gross figure should help internally with Airbnb, but that doesn't seem to be the case for you at all !?
I still don't understand your reasoning why you still state in your description that " somewhere else on the internet we are rated as XY.Z% ". Putting any idea of a discounted or better deal or the opportunity that guests might get to cancel for free or within 24 hours - elsewhere - will not improve your bookings on Airbnb. The guests will just flit off and check out elsewhere, just in case. It is there that you will lose your booking on Airbnb, but your channel manager will be happy ;-).
All booking sites are keen to get the guest to commit to booking. Airbnb are no different. Offering any sort of encouragement for the guest to go elsewhere simply won't help your case.
I dont really understand what your complaint is... You need to lower your prices to be competitive, its like when AirBnb added taxes to the system. I loved it, but I saw a significant drop in business so I had to lower my prices to be more compteitive. At some point you have to ask yourself what is your lowest rate that you are willing to accept and then work up from there. But if your days are being booked from other sites, at the rate that you want then just go with what works.
I had a lot of cancellations with booking.com I removed my listings from there. It seemed that people were booking the unit just to hold it, and then not showing up.