Critique my listing - Rachel from Sooke, BC

in
Sooke, Canada
Level 2
350 Views

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Hi there! We are new as Airbnb Hosts. In May we converted our primary bedroom into an Airbnb guest suite. We have been booked up this summer luckily, but the fall looks dreary! We have gotten in many 5* reviews however we keep getting 4* for value/location. The thing is our neighbor's Airbnb (literally right next to our Airbnb) gets 5* for their location so I'm a bit confused why we keep getting pegged on it! As well, we aren't showing in listings - they are shown everywhere. Plus the entire area is super expensive to rent an Airbnb in. I've chosen to not go with that trend and charge lower, but we keep losing stars on value. I've been open in the profile about what we offer. Maybe there is something I'm not seeing?? Advice would be great on our listing - how to appear in searches, and why we keep getting marked down on those items above. 

 

Lastly - We've been so busy this summer that I haven't had a chance to redo the deck stain. Have some time earmarked in Sept to redo the deck and the image for it, so please ignore that one for now! 

 

airbnb.com/h/sooke-coastal-cottage

 

Thanks. 

 

Rachel & Simoon

13 Replies

Re: Critique my listing - Rachel from Sooke, BC

in
Berlin, Germany
Level 10

@Rachel2139  Your listing is excellent. Very well-written descriptions and captions. It's clear that you've put lots of thought into optimizing the space for vacationing guests, and made brilliant use of a limited amount of space. Great design touches as well. It's the kind of place I'd enjoy staying if I were in your area.

 

The one thing I would change is the fish-eye effect in the lead photo. I'm sure you were just aiming to get a wide enough angle to show the whole room, but the resulting image is so distorted that it looks straight out of a  1990s gangsta rap video, which is not really your aesthetic. 

 

My advice on Location and Value ratings:  ignore them, and never put another moment of though into them. They're garbage. Guests pay no attention to them when choosing listings, and they don't affect your Superhost status or your earning potential. The universal consensus among hosts is that they should not exist as rating criteria. You have very reasonable prices, but there will always be people who wish they could spend less. And your beautiful location is clearly shown on the map, so it's solely the guests' responsibility for choosing the destination that's best for them. I wouldn't be surprised if the ones who gave lower marks happened to be staying during the rainy weather that your area is known to have plenty of. 

 

The issue with Search might have something to do with the recent redesign, which by all accounts has been a disaster. Airbnb's original line on this was that which listings appeared in which categories was 100% determined by an algorithm with no host input allowed, which I guess is how you got all those beachfront houses in Nebraska. But according to some CC contributors, they're quietly allowed hosts to call up customer service and advise on which Categories their listings should be featured in. (No announcement was made, as that would mean admitting how badly they screwed up that feature). Anyway, that's one thing you can try if you're not hitting your occupancy targets.

 

 

 

Re: Critique my listing - Rachel from Sooke, BC

in
Sooke, Canada
Level 2

@Andrew0 Thank you so much for this detailed response (and thanks for the lol on the gangsta rap comment). I will update that image! It's true we've put a lot of effort into the suite, and I've tinkered a lot with the write-up to ensure accuracy and such. I'm glad it shows. 

 

I'll take your suggestion and give Airbnb a call regarding the categories - I had no idea! Hopefully, that will help with the falling occupancy. It seems we're only being found right now when someone searches by lower cost, but everything else we're missing!

 

Appreciated.

Re: Critique my listing - Rachel from Sooke, BC

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Rachel2139 

 

I'll second @Andrew0 here on the location and value ratings. To me, they have little meaning as the guest chose the location and the price themselves. No one forced them to book your listing or mine. As long as the location is described accurately, that's all you can do and, if the price was not competitive, then they wouldn't have booked it. Bear in mind though that lower prices can attract the 'bargain' hunters who want everything for nothing and therefore are not going to appreciate the value they got.

 

A couple of examples. I list three private rooms and one of those used to get much lower location ratings than the others, yet they are all in the same house, same location. The only difference is that two of the rooms face a busy road and there is traffic noise and the view of a large block of flats isn't so fab. Meanwhile, the other room faces a row of gardens in a conservation area full of period buildings. It's much quieter and prettier. Guess which room got the lowest location ratings?

 

Last year I got a 3* review (3* for value and overall) from a guest who had seemed very happy. When I asked her why, she said she loved her stay but gave 3* 'because it was 'over my initial budget'. Mmm, well she did ask a couple of times for an additional discount, to which I had said no, but she went ahead and booked at the advertised price anyway. If there was better value, why did she not book that instead? An extra person fee is clearly stated on the listing, but when she asked me if an additional person could stay, she seemed shocked about it and reluctant to pay it, even though it was only £15. She told me she was a 'poor student' but that turned out not to be true. She had a full time job in marketing. Lesson learnt. Be wary of people who keep asking for discounts. 

Re: Critique my listing - Rachel from Sooke, BC

in
Sooke, Canada
Level 2

So interesting! Thanks for your input. I had thought of the 'bargain hunter' type. Solid points. 

Re: Critique my listing - Rachel from Sooke, BC

in
Hay Valley, Australia
Level 10

@Rachel2139  +1 to what @Huma0  wrote. Bargain hunters know what they want, they might even recognise the value you offer, but they don't think they should have to pay for it. 

We get if often, people want to stay on a farm, and enjoy the space, the old cottage, the whole thing, but somehow fail to understand the value of our farm. They aren't staying in $500K house in a built up area, the land we own makes the value 10x that. Guests have options to rent around us, but most are not on 100acre farms, they are in residential streets. I think people forget this, or just don't understand it, so sometimes we get dinged for value/location by the bargain hunters who don't quite understand what is actually valuable in this world.  They want to be right near the tourist strip, but also want to be on a large farm. 🤦🏼‍♀️ 

There's a brilliant quote from the TV show Yellowstone 
"Leverage is knowing that if someone had all the money in the world, this is what they'd buy."  That made my soul sing, because I would absolutely want to own a giant ranch in Montana too if I had endless finances. I think i'm going to print that out and put it on some artwork, just to remind people of the value of the space around them.  I already made a farm photo magnet with a George Washington quote "I'd rather be on my farm, than be emperor of the world". 

did you know that 85% of men are under 6'? that's a fun fact, so i wouldn't stress about the shower, i'd call it a quirk of your unique cottage, but it's good you mention it.  

Oh  and I adore that lighting set up you have in the master bedroom, that is just the kind of style I love and want to do in my cottage, except our ceilings are too low for it. 

Re: Critique my listing - Rachel from Sooke, BC

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Gillian166 

 

This is the problem when people compare. Are they ever comparing like for like? I've done my research and have only ever found two comparable airbnbs in my area. One was very similar and just around the corner, but considerably more expensive than mine (nightly rate was almost double) and another that was a similar price and included breakfast, but it was only a single room, very pretty, but very small, and nowhere near the same amount of bathrooms and communal spaces. Neither of those are listed anymore.

 

Now, you can either get something very basic in the same price range or pay considerably more for anything as nice. Or, you can get something as nice for the same price but you would have to head much further from the centre. So, I really do not get it when guests ding me for value. Have they even looked at what else is on offer?

 

Years ago, I had a couple who dinged me on value because they said that their friends had stayed in a hotel in central London with breakfast for the same price. I would love to know which hotel this was and whether they got some amazing last minute bargain or it was a total dive because it was high summer and, at that time, the guests were paying the same for a large, beautiful room with high end furnishings as they would for two bunks in a hostel dorm in central London. Again, I had done my research. I wonder if this hotel had a silk upholstered bed and silk curtains and antique furniture or a roll top bath. I am guessing not...

 

Re: Critique my listing - Rachel from Sooke, BC

in
Hay Valley, Australia
Level 10

@Huma0  my daughter currently lives on our farm, as co-host (posh way to say turnover maid), and her Sydney boyfriend has just moved to the farm too (they are both hospo students about to graduate) and he got himself a job in a 7* hotel in the same region. He is telling me that we are too cheap, that one of their best rooms is on par with one of our offerings, and they charge $1500/night, and i'm $180-220. And we have a 100acre farm attached to us..... I tend to agree, people have NO IDEA about the value of farm ownership. 
my favourite quote from the tv show Yellowstone: "Leverage is knowing that if someone had all the money in the world, this is what they'd buy."  granted too many city people are probably too programmed to even understand this.

I just got charged $3000 to put in one set of doors and a window covering. #australiantradies  and we had a plumber install a tap and sink (that i purchased) and that's going to cost $2000 as well I suspect. At least tradies fully respect the life we have and think we are loaded (we aren't). #drivewaytax  I need to put my prices up! 

Like you i've looked around and none of my competitors truly offer what we have. some are more polished that us, some are closer to the tourist strip, but i know we truly have something amazing. I really need to put my prices up, just so i can afford the **bleep** trades installing basic amenities.  (there's probably a good reason why no one has ever heard of australian tradies in their countries, ours wouldn't dare leave the good thing they've got!) 

Re: Critique my listing - Rachel from Sooke, BC

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Gillian166 

 

I have heard that tradies get paid very well in Australia. However, you can just about double (or sometimes triple) those prices for London.

 

Recent quote for replace one set of doors (no window covering) around Australian $3,500 IF I'm lucky, apparently.

 

Paid around $5,000 recently for retiling one shower and fitting new shower valve, not including the materials and keeping existing tray and cubicle. 

 

Anyway, you get the idea!

Re: Critique my listing - Rachel from Sooke, BC

in
Georgia, United States
Level 10

Your place looks great...very nicely decorated, seems reasonably priced, and you have most of what people would want. Your descriptions are clear and concise. I would suggest putting in a TV, which you can fix by mounting one on the wall instead of the mirror (put a mirror on the back of the door). 

 

The shower description is interesting...not sure how I feel about that and there's not much you can do about it. It's not a lot shorter than most but possibly feels like a negative that might affect value. I've recently become a big fan of outdoor showers and I have no idea whether it would work at your house, but it certainly would be more expansive if the sky was visible. 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 

Re: Critique my listing - Rachel from Sooke, BC

in
Berlin, Germany
Level 10

@Peggy-And-Mike0  I'm not sure Canada has the ideal climate for outdoor showers, though they could be a fun way to get to know the more attractive guests a little better. Another solution for tall guests as well as people with certain disabilities is a shower chair. Foldable ones are cheap and easy to stash away in a bathroom cupboard until needed.

Re: Critique my listing - Rachel from Sooke, BC

in
Airdrie, Canada
Level 2

If it helps, we are up island from you in Parksville, and just took our first post-Labour day booking over the weekend - we had been 100% full all summer until a couple of late cancellations.  We joined a year ago, and September bookings happened for us.  Time will tell if that was covid-related local travel, or if September travel is a more last-minute type thing.

I did a quick search, and your listing showed on the map search...

All the best to you.

Re: Critique my listing - Rachel from Sooke, BC

in
Sooke, Canada
Level 2

Thanks, this was super helpful! I'm glad we showed up, and I hope we both get more bookings this September. 

Re: Critique my listing - Rachel from Sooke, BC

in
Rawai, Thailand
Level 10

I changed your title see what you think,

 

Private Suite with a Deck and Ocean Views

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