THIS is why we traditional home-sharing hosts still matter.
Here's a photo of the 'Thank You' card we received today from our first Airbnb guests in 9 months (I shut my Airbnb listing down last October after a two year sold-out run to take a break from the platform's ever-changing, chaotic policies that are increasingly guest-centric, at the expense of us home-sharing hosts).
I believe there's still a place on the platform for hosts who share their personal homes. It would be great to see Airbnb nurture that space for the benefit of ALL (guests included), versus treating us traditional hosts as an after-thought while they focus on promoting Airbnb Plus, Luxe, Experiences, Beyond, 'Infinity'-whatever, etc.
There's lots of ways that Airbnb could show us that they still value us and want us on the platform. For example, they could fix the faulty review system as we have been pleading with them to do for seemingly years and years. Or create a dedicated landing site on the platform that connects travelers with home-sharing hosts for those seeking a traditional Airbnb experience (e.g, create a category 'Home Stays' which are properties with hosts on site). Or promote various Super Hosts monthly at the top of the Airbnb home page. There's so much that Airbnb could do - If they wanted to.
How about it, Airbnb?
I agree. I have met the most lovely people - some stay in touch afterwards. Some are repeat visitors. I stayed with a host and her previous guests got her dates mixed up, so rather than cancel, the host ran to Ikea to get a futon bed. And the three of us had a lovely breakfast in the morning.
Then that same hosts stayed at my place. Now, when she's in town she just stays at my house when the apartment is booked. She's been like family. A recent guest discovered she grew up only a few miles from me in another state. And one of her friends lives locally and asked if I wanted to meet for coffee or go for a walk when my travel schedule clears up.
Yes - there is the "hotel" aspect of Airbnb, but the whole thing started out as a great way to make connections as well. I'm hoping Airbnb - at its cores - continues to nurture those experiences. But the focus does seem to be on revenue generation and it doesn't bode well.
In the meantime, we keep a guest book. It helps us if we have to show the city what's going on. But mostly the drawings and notes from guests mean so much more to us than the formal reviews on the Airbnb platform.
@Christine615 So true! I looked at our guest book recently after re-opening our listing after a 9 month intentional 'snooze'. Reading all of the notes of gratitude, appreciation, and thanks reminded me of what a truly special experience it is to host guests from all around the world via my short term rental offering. It is sad to see the home sharing focus being somewhat abandoned and discounted by Airbnb as they shift their sights elsewhere (to 'infinity' and 'beyond'). People are starved for community in this world and there is still a huge market for guests seeking a shared home experience.
Thanks for sharing this! It is the first time I have seen a home owner and host share what I have thought and pleaded with Airbnb to do: Place real value on the hosts who put their real homes and themselves out their for their guests. Their policies have become increasingly cut throat and seem to forget what it takes to own a vacation property in the first place. The damage "deposit" policy alone makes it impossible for me to gracefully recover from a real damage before it affects my next guest's experience and expectations. I am trying to stay on the platform because for every terrible guest or incident there are 5 great ones. But, I feel like my home I worked hard to buy and to keep up as a wonderful vacation spot is always at a disproportionate amount of risk. I really hope this pendulum will swing back to the home owners that provide the 5 star inventory soon.
I’ve posted in several threads about Airbnb’s blatant legal and economic discrimination against independent vs commercial hosts and the corporate doublespeak and legal restrictions inherent in the new policies and terms of service vs the bogus “$million host guarantee”
Im one of many “5- star” independent hosts moving on from Airbnb because I’m not willing to pay more to bear all of the financial and legal risk and be treated like an ignorant bigot in the booking process.
Airbnb puts out a lot of self serving PR to counterbalance legitimate bad press, but in reality they’re running the same self serving greed mentality platform while also avoiding tax and legal and social responsibilities in their global communities as Amazon and Facebook...and the corporate moguls of the “industrial revolution” before them who built their fortunes on the backs of the “little people” a century ago.
Its our risk and hard work in providing and maintaining our properties and level of service that built this community, and our risk has only increased while commercial listers are allowed to maintain all of their usual leases, security deposits, ID checks, and additional fees with volume discounts from Airbnb while indie hosts have had our legal rights gutted and are not even allowed to know who our guests are before booking as the booking fees have increased and the original ambience that distinguished Airbnb has been compromised to the point that guests are complaining to me about them as well.
If it’s happening to us in the US, I can only imagine what they’re getting away with elsewhere as the reality that the “$million host guarantee” lie and tax-free profit for Airbnb and no legal recourse clauses sinks in. Maybe it will lead to new international trade laws that are fairer to those that bear the real burdens.
In the meantime, many ”5-star” hosts have listed elsewhere or returned to traditional long term rentals to protect themselves and maintain dignity.
@Yvonne41 Yes, I've been talking about this here on the forums for over a year and a half now. Not sure if you saw my first post about this from February 2018 but here it is again if you want to read it: "Are Traditional Hosts Still Valued By Airbnb?" (You can likely guess the answer). https://community.withairbnb.com/t5/Hosting/Are-Traditional-Hosts-Still-Valued-By-Airbnb/m-p/608344
I hear you @Rebecca181 .
I love what I do and am Im hosting my last guest at the end of September, to host and enjoy family for a change... and take a break from the ever changing Airbnb...politics, for good.
Ive enjoyed my guests immensely (and the income...I also don’t discount my space and don’t have to to remain busy, with the only complaint being the increasing fees Airbnb charges all parties). It’s the highest booking fee of all the online platforms.
but it’s the “bull” we have to deal with thats the main reason I’m delisting and making it into a regular rental.
We work hard to maintain high standards, level of service, amenities, unique ambience, not to mention the overhead, insurance, taxes, fees, and any damages and losses. I’m just not interested in the ridiculously overly valued ratings system, kindergarten psychology, and other invented hurdles we face, even as top performers.
I have two guest books full of beautiful complements accompanied by original art, poetry, and music and the gift of seeing the look on my guests faces when they walk in and it’s far better than described...and the peace and positive presence they exude upon leaving.
Ive informed Airbnb about the issues inspiring me to close my listing, with no reply.
There are plenty of motels and “haute Airbnb” spaces to replace me...but that’s not what my guests seek. They want what no hotel or museum-ish space could ever provide: a truly caring, unique, and uplifting personal experience.
Kudos to all who put your heart into your offerings here. I’d so love it if someone would create a platform where we can do what we love safely and securely without the overpriced Bull.
@Susan1028 One only has to look at your listing photos, along with the listings of others who have commented here, to understand the truth you convey in your comment, above. The genuine love and care that goes into our shared home rental offerings is what the guest feels when they enter our properties. This is something a hostless property can rarely provide.
Airbnb is literally taking all of the color and life out of their listings. Just look at the aesthetic requirements for 'Plus' listings and you'll see what I mean. I might as well take a sleeping bag and flop it down at an IKEA or Pottery Barn - the aesthetics are nearly the same. Airbrushed forced 'hominess'.
It is a real shame that we are essentially being treated as an afterthought by Airbnb, when people around the world are starved for community, love, and the human touch - all the things we shared home hosts provide; and the very things Airbnb originally built it's platform on.
I simply don't get it.
Im a photographer with credits and the style being promoted on this platform will be dated and passe quickly because it’s contrived and misleading.
“Plus” hosts have posted sharing that guests expect exact replicas of what’s shown in those highly edited images shot with commercial lighting and staging...and are disappointed if it’s not (and their disappointment when Airbnb doesn’t support their claims for damages or complaints about lack of guest vetting/host safety either).
I chose to post honest photos because that’s who I am and what I provide as a host, and my guests are excited to arrive and find its even better.
If a prospective guest doesn’t like that honesty, they’re not a good fit for the space.
I also won’t haggle pricing with guests or Airbnb. I’ve done my market research and tried different booking strategies and mine works well for me.
My guests are are also not happy with the vanilla “upscale homogeny” in the new Airbnb look or the increased booking fees and time wasted searching through the commercial and “boutique/plus” listings to find “real Airbnb’s”.
Thank you for your kind words, and I offer you the same. It does take love and attention to detail to do what we do...which is provide...real Hospitality vs a museum place or cheap flop for the night.
As much as Airbnb tries to bury us thinking the commercial approach is higher yield, we are the solid 24 ct gold that won’t fade when the current fashion does.
Im really looking forward to a listing situation where independent hosts who shine can do so without all of the Bull.
Here, here, @Susan1028, well said once again! Talk about wasted resources. Airbnb, what on earth are you thinking? You fiddle with the platform all the time. How hard could it be to create a 'Shared Home / Traditional Airbnb' category?
@Susan1028 I utterly ignored Airbnb's admonishings that my photos are "Too dark" or "Too blurry", altho I am planning to change and add some new photos for entirely different reasons.
My guests have all told me that the photos are what attracted them first, and it's a really warm fuzzy when guests walk in and the first thing they say is "Wow, this is way nicer than I expected."
@Sarah977 @Susan1028 Airbnb has a seemingly permanent 'suggestion' telling me to change my cover photo. My cover photo has helped keep me booked year round (as in 'sold out'); I love it, my guests love it, it captures the vibe of my listing perfectly, and I will never change it. I can see no way to delete this 'suggestion'. Again, just another thing to ignore while I successfully manage my listing minus implementing Airbnb's meaningless, hopelessly uninformed 'tips'.
@Rebecca181 As I recall (altho my memory isn't that great these days and it was quite awhile ago) I right clicked on the "suggestion" and there was then something there that I also clicked on, and the suggestion went away.
@Rebecca181 What I meant was that I right clicked on the "Too dark" comment under each photo, then I think something came up that I could click on that said "I don't agree" or "I want to leave it as is" or something like that. But that could all be changed now, I did it about a year ago. I never look at the dashboard, I've never been able to figure out what it was for, as I can access any of the info there by clicking on any of the options on the top bar on my hosting page.