Airbnb has now switched cover photo from great veiw of Lake Michigan to a sofa

So the new Airbnb listing scheme has screwed us over and them as well. Our shared home overlooks Lake Michigan on Old Mission Peninsula in Travers City, Michigan, and the view is to die for. In fact our title is West Bay View. But now what shows up as our picture is of our lounge and a sofa. (Not the view of Lake Michigan just 100 yards away and our patio viewing area which was our cover photo. We have offered our entire 2nd floor for various weekends in the summer and always over the last 4 years have gotten pings when we open up our calendar for the next upcoming weekend. Well that is just coming to an end. Our sofa does not look any better than anyone else’s sofa. Why did Airbnb shoot themselves and us in the foot. What were they thinking. Can we get back control of our first cover photo?


So many hosts saying their views have plummeted and bookings crashed to zero, in their normally busiest, normally fully booked time of year. And guests saying they will book through other platforms, as the new format is a confusing mess.

Good post on the CC Airbnb Updates section by a poster named “Jazz”, who says she is a data scientist and explains that what Airbnb has seemingly used to determine who and what appears where is the wrong type of AI, which is why it is performing so poorly.



Can you direct me to that posting? I Find that community site a bit of a landmine. Things buried in a section I had no idea about until recently.

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Because it’s not going to show up in their stats, it will be hard to make Airbnb care if you are now making bupkis and some other host lucked out on their AI result and is raking it in – as long as the changes correlate to a booked-night increase or a fee revenue increase. Hopefully host clamor will get someone’s attention.

As an aside, my accessibility features/photos have been “Under Review,” and not shown on my listing, by Airbnb for 6 months, since the last “Airbnb Cover” new, improved announcement in November of last year. Funny, haven’t had any wheelchair guests since.

UPDATE: OMG, I just clicked on “Add Photo” to my “lit path to guest entrance” accessibility feature, thinking to add a pic of the no-threshold door that they haven’t got round to approving, I didn’t even add the photo yet, and it’s sent me back to “Under Review” for the lit path feature. It’s like sliding back down in the Chutes and Ladders game.

I just hate Airbnb today. Sorry, Obama.


Ha I remember chutes and ladders. Good for you.

So very true. It’s been really bad here in South Florida the past two weeks. I thought it was just me with my unique listing situation, but there are several of us that are really struggling with staying booked right now. We’re at the end of May and I’ve only had one booking :frowning:

@muddy Can you direct me to that post(s) discussing the plummeted bookings too–I would so appreciate it, as we are going to discuss this at our local Airbnb Host Community meeting next week.

It was in the Airbnb Updates section of the CC, and there are 2 topic threads there on the updates. (Those 2 threads were the 3rd and 4th threads in that section last time I looked) Jazz’s post was in the 2nd of those 2 threads, on the next to last page this morning. Boy are both those threads ever full of frustrated and frantic hosts whose bookings have stopped dead.


@muddy Thank you–I will search for them :slight_smile:

ok is there anyway I can switch my primary photo to back to my choice? thanks Curt

Doesn’t seem to be- their algorithm will just change it back again.

I looked at the Airbnb Community postings and one of the posters quoted what they were hearing from CS:

“I contacted Airbnb about it and got an unhelpful stock response :
not all the property is included right now as the system is still evaluating all the properties from Millions of Hosts across globe.
…this is a new feature and Airbnb is still working on that to make sure that all listing will be included to the right categories.
…Just keep monitoring your property as Airbnb updating it here every two weeks to add more listings in each category.”

An I interpreting this correctly? Airbnb activated the new search categories before the algorithm could even sort through all the properties? Airbnb is only updating and adding properties every two weeks?

If accurate that would be a great fail.

oh i hadn’t seen that. I submit photos to various stock agencies, and one very good one has spent 2 years getting their AI to work well, they rolled it out last year and it was brilliant, offering “similar to this” offerings that were great, and this year they’ve improved it again to be “conceptually similar”. It’s a big success. the Airbnb roll-out is a big fail, and they should pivot swiftly, but will they? the mods say things like “we’ll pass this on to our team” like it’s some brilliant idea when it’s bloody obvious that you shouldn’t force people to choose weekend/week or month, or be super specific in dates. Most of those mods aren’t hosts either, which is a problem.

i wonder if deleting that photo would work. see what it chooses as the primary photo, and then reupload the sofa pic afterwards. And pray.

I̶ ̶h̶a̶v̶e̶n̶’̶t̶ ̶n̶o̶t̶i̶c̶e̶d̶ ̶t̶h̶i̶s̶ ̶h̶a̶p̶p̶e̶n̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶m̶e̶ ̶y̶e̶t̶ ̶(̶g̶o̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶d̶o̶u̶b̶l̶e̶ ̶c̶h̶e̶c̶k̶)̶ YEP, it’s happened to me too when you choose a category. And I also added text to one of my cover photos. We have a duplicate listing where we offer brides the ability to have their wedding prep at my place, and have their hair and make up done here, photographer turns up, etc etc. So far we’ve done about 5 this year, it’s awesome, wish every weekend was filled with happy bridal groups. Anyway, because this new search seems to hide listings, and randomly allows others through, this listing shows up in this new search and it makes us look super expensive as it now just reads “private room” instead of my previous title (obvs i have a higher price on this one as they also get late check out, so even if they stay only 1 night, it’s a 2 day booking really). So i added text to the cover photo with “this listing is for wedding preparation”. :crossed_fingers: :crossed_fingers:

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They do want every listing to look generic and the same…in order to drive the prices down to the lowest common denominator…to get all owners to reduce rates. They want the “good” houses to be priced as low as the “undesirable” houses. Owners will become desperate without bookings, and race to the bottom with the rates, and then all the travelers come back and start booking because…wala ! …it is again bargain to book a place on AirBnb. AirBnb is taking in short pain and looking to the long term of regaining market share based on being the cheapest place to book around. They dont care about you, or me, or a lead photo…they care about bringing in money to please stockholders. Their current strategy says this will pay off in long term bookings.

Many hosts use many OTA’S as well as their own website. Do you think that this new generic description is to try and prevent a comparison search?

I think that “goes without saying”. Yes of course.

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Last year, when AIR sent the “professional Photographer” to photograph my listing, they deleted all of my photos and put the new photos on my listing. The new Lead photo was one of my couch. We are lake front. So, same scenario. Although some of the interior photos were good I had to upload all my photos and redo listing. I do not know who decided on the new phots but they clearly did not know what they were doing.

So, short story. Edit your photos.

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We’ve been having this issue for the past 2 weeks as well. Our bookings fell off a cliff after Airbnb came over to shoot new photos. Then they asked us to fill in a survey of our design chops (publications, architect). We did not have much to fill in and I wondered what the purpose was.