Airbnb being threatened by its own hosts

I found this article earlier today and thought it was quite interesting. Granted it seems to be geared more towards PM companies making this shift, but personally I feel it’s all hosts looking at this option.

With the abysmal customer service of the last few years, major changes that prevent hosts from having control over their own listings and the high fees that guests blame us for, hopefully they’ll start listening more to what their successful, long time hosts are telling them.


One thing that irritates me is referring to property management companies as “professional” hosts, as if individual hosts are not professional. The meaning of “professional” is that one runs a business they get paid for, that requires certain skills. As opposed to doing something as a pasttime. Or like the difference between professional and amateur sports. The latter may be quite skilled, they just don’t get paid for playing sports.

I’d have to say that I think that in general, individual, hands-on hosts are in fact far more professional in the way they run their hosting business than a lot of these property management companies.


I almost never stay at a Property Managed Airbnb. I can’t recall one time that there hasn’t been an issue.


I put a lot of effort into picking out a listing and always skip the PM ones, making a point to find a smaller, more personal host.

So I was kind of miffed on my last stay when I sent the host a message to let him know we’d gotten in alright and he responded with, “Here’s the property manager’s phone number”. I just said thanks and let it go. But a few days later I had a question or something and sent him a message about it and he responded with, “Like, I said, here’s the property manager’s number” :flushed:

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A homeowner who farms out everything to a property manager, including answers to a guest’s simple questions shouldn’t even be able to list as a “host”.

Any reviews they get are bogus, as they did nothing to earn those reviews.

Hope you mentioned this behavior in the review.


It’s irritating. I think what they refer to is that professional hosts do it as their primary source of income/employment, while others are doing a side hustle.

I don’t think it will make much of a difference. All airlines have their own websites, but people still book on or, because these are tech companies and they offer a better user experience. Travel providers will never match the level of user-friendliness provided by the OTA websites.


Possibly, but is that user-friendliness worth 15% more than using the other websites?

I use OwnerRes, and you can book our property directly from our website. Pick dates, confirm you are ready to book, you’re shown the contract and agree to it (filling out some standard information like you would for a hotel), and pay with your credit card. Boom! Booked. Just three minutes more than booking through AirBnB, and you saved hundreds of dollars.


I agree it’s not worth the extra 15%. Marriott/Hilton try to do the same thing, they give you a 10% discount for booking on their website with the member-only rate. But Airbnb has been trying to convince guests not to book off-platform due to their AirCover protection.

In case of airlines, the prices you pay on OTA are the same as the airline website due to strong-arming by the OTAs. So people book on expedia, because their info/card is already saved. But I’m sure more would book direct if there was a discount for booking on the airline website.


I just finished a 4 night stay in Palm Springs managed by Vacasa, the house was great. The communication with the management company was awful, days and days of not getting back to be so I could pay for the pool to be heated, Every interaction with them left me seething.

The review prompt should be coming any time…



I always book flights directly from the airline site, which I find easier to use. And if there is any issue, like I need to change the flight date, it’s easier to deal directly with the airline.

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Thank you for posting this.

I just read, and to my surprise, Airbnb’s off-platform communications policy.

That policy includes this statement in a list of what is prohibited:

So the actions by these Hosts are prohibited by the Terms of Service that they had agreed to.

Personally, I don’t either “ask or encourage”. I simply offer guests the option if they ever want to come back.

That Airbnb thinks they can own the relationship between hosts and guests after an Airbnb booking has come to an end, and dictate what future arrangements they make is ridiculous.

And how would they ever find out about it, anyway? It’s not like guests are going to report a host for offering them a better deal.


I’m with @muddy. I don’t consider telling a guest after their stay “We accept bookings through AirBnB, VRBO, and our own website, so choose the platform that works for you” to be “asking or encouraging”.

I also don’t know how AirBnB can enforce that policy without running afoul of anti-competitive laws.


I like your and @muddy 's interpretations!

As to the law here I just don’t know the law.

I suppose that if the article is correct, and if Airbnb had a strong legal leg to stand on that it would go there, or at least tighten the language from ‘asking’ or ‘encouraging’ to ‘accepting’.

So maybe the language is just to deter those who don’t know better. Plus, based on the article, I get the feeling that Hosts here are likely ‘little fish’ not worth their attention for such ambiguous a prohibition.

Thank you both.

I think the PM (property mgmt) ones tend to be focused primarily on increasing their real estate holdings.

Individual hosts focus on hospitality—which is also more closely aligned to what the guest wants.

As a host:

Here are just a few of the many requests I get throughout the year.

—How do I light the gas grill? Can you help me get it started? [yes]
—I woke up feeling ill this morning, could I leave a few hours past the checkout before the long drive home? [yes (if I see that my next booking isn’t for another day or so)]
—Can you recommend a farm where you can ‘pick your own basket’ at this time of year? [yes (because as a local, I pay attention to the happenings in my area)].
—We’re cooking and we need a larger pot, would you have an extra one? [yes (if I happen to have a pot that size)]

I wonder how a large property management company or their hundreds of local co-hosts respond to these types of requests. Would it be the same level of hospitality?

As a guest:

I stayed at an airbnb in February. It was ok, but I couldn’t turn on the stove because several attempts to light the pilot didn’t work (and I’m usually good at this :slightly_smiling_face:). They said that tea and coffee would be provided but they weren’t. The TV was unusable. There was a co-host who lived 40 minutes away but I didn’t want to drag him out to the airbnb 3 times in a row.

I think the guest experience where there is an individual host and they live nearby is the best. Co-host who is working with the host and lives nearby is 2nd best. A property management company would be at the bottom of the list.


A few times over the years I’ve had a homeshare guest who got ill during their stay, and I have gone out and picked up things to make them more comfortable, like energy drinks and saltine crackers if they have some stomach bug, etc. Not because they asked me to, I offered.

I had a guest once who had booked with me for about 6 days, then moved to another place in town (she had booked 4 different places here, figuring if she didn’t particularly like a place, she wouldn’t be stuck there for her entire vacation). As we had instantly gotten along as if we were old friends (and she was from near my old stomping grounds in Canada, and we found out we knew some of the same people), we kept in touch while she was in town, met for lunch one day.

So when she messaged me from another Airbnb to say she had gotten some stomach bug and was super sick, I made her some of my “cures everything” garlic/miso soup, stopped at the store to pick up some energy drinks and crackers and brought them over.

Wonder how many “professional” property manager “hosts” would ever do anything like that. Pretty confident the answer is zero.


It’s completely ridiculous. Airbnb is an advertising platform and an excellent one but that’s all it is.

Airbnb simply facilitates the introduction between guest and host.

If a guest becomes a repeat guest (and many of mine do) that’s because of the hospitality that they have received from me and not the fact that Airbnb is the industry leader.

They come back because of me and no one can tell me that’s not the case.

As for hosts (and PMs) having their own websites ‘these days’ I’m sure that there are plenty of hosts, and some of them who post at this forum, who are like me in that they had their own websites before Airbnb even started the business.

It seems to be yet another one of those let’s-write-an-Airbnb-article-to-get-clicks pieces.


Their absurd attempt at “owning” the relationship between host and guest is like someone introducing you to someone who becomes your friend or future partner, by having invited you both out for dinner, and then telling you that anytime you go out for dinner with that person in the future, you have to invite them along. :laughing:


A great comparison!

I was thinking that it was like buying a product from Amazon and Amazon insisting that refills for the product MUST be purchased from them.

But yours is a lot better!



I agree with your assessment, but the first and second options are not what is called “scalable” in silicon valley. In the hotel industry such personalized experiences are only offered at a very high cost and a small number of places.

So Airbnb chose to go after the property management group to ramp up their revenue rapidly. Airbnb has made several concessions to these groups. They are allowed to charge credit card deposits, while other hosts are not. The way they made this requirement is you need to be a “software connected host”. They figured only the large hosts would use software to connect their listings to Airbnb.

Security deposits

Hosts aren’t allowed to charge guests a security deposit through our Resolution Center or outside the Airbnb platform. Instead, we inform guests at the time of booking that their payment method may be charged if they cause damage during a stay.

There is one exception: Hosts who manage their listings with API-connected software can set a security deposit using our offline fees feature. If a Host has done this, the deposit requirements will be clearly communicated during the booking process.