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Airbnb showing guest a price that is $18 LESS per night than our actual price!

We had a guest who made an inquiry for September on July 21st. She hasn’t made a reservation yet though.

She wrote in today about it and Airbnb showed me she would be paying an average of $84 a night. I knew this was much lower than what we’re charging so I calculated it and the average that’s actually showing on our calendar is $102 per night for her dates.

I don’t know if I pre-approved her original request or not, or even if pre-approval preserves the original price for some period of time. But if it does, surely it’s not for more than 24 hours. And I don’t know if $84 was the original average price or not. But it has been at the current price for at least a week. I know in the past when our prices change after someone inquiries, it updates it for them. I’m not sure what’s happening with this one but whatever it is, it’s not showing her our actual prices.

Anyone have any idea why it’s showing her the wrong price and what I can do about it?

Thanks!

This once happened to me and that is why I never pre-approve. The guest noted it in the review, as though I had done something to rip her off.

Are you using smart pricing? I had this issue with them last week. A number of bookings were made with instant book for lower rates than what I had my minimum price at. After querying with AB they said that depending on demand and popularity in the area they might offer your listing at a lower price to get the booking! I’ve since turned off smart pricing!

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Can they really do this? In their help centre it says:

‘Once you turn on Smart Pricing, your prices will be automatically updated within the parameters you set.’

That indicates that they are going against their own rules if they accept booking for less than your minimum Did they let you cancel them?.

No, it wasn’t for a whole lot less so I didn’t fight it too much. Also, I live in Ireland and because I had tweeted them they helpline in Dublin wouldn’t deal with me and had me deal with a lady in California from Twitter because she had already opened a ticket for my question. Any who back and forth for a few days (time difference) I received this response

"Smart Pricing can automatically adjust your price based on hundreds of factors, like local travel trends, your location and amenities, past bookings and reviews, and the number of people who look at your listing.

IN the even that a booking comes in for lower than what you would like to list it for; its due to the demand. You do set the min a max price but the system will let the guest book for the “better” price. Please accept my sincerest apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused."

I turned my smart pricing off straight away then!

Did you mean off? If not, I am severely misunderstanding your post.

Yes I meant, off, my apologies :slight_smile:

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No, we’re not using Airbnb’s smart pricing because it seems really dumb. We use BeyondPricing. That’s why I can’t say for sure what the prices were for September. But I know they were in the mid to high 90s or low 100s.

The weird part is, I’m looking at my calendar right now and it’s showing the low 100s for the dates this woman has inquired about. But it’s giving her a price in the low 80s. Very strange.

I took screenshots of the calendar and her inquiry with the Windows time and date clock showing - so I can show Airbnb, but I was having trouble figuring out how to get in contact with them. I saw a post here saying to contact them via Direct Message on Twitter @airbnbhelp - which I just saw has actually gotten a response! So I’ll let you all know what happens.

Their system is crazy.i contacted the customer service

I’m still not getting this. So they CAN override the minimum price?

That’s what they told me, depending on demand in the area and a few other factors they mentioned

Is that even legal???

Yes, I’ve contacted them that way several times, and they do respond. Whether the responses are helpful is another matter entirely.

I did end up contacting them through twitter and they responded really quickly! But what a weird way to handle support. I’d much rather have a record of my support contacts under my Airbnb account or via email so I could reference it easily any time.

Agreed. But sending Airbnb email involves going through some stupid web form. And yes, one would expect that you could do support requests via your Airbnb account. My email host (Luxsci) and my VPS host (Ramnode) both have tickets systems in which one can open and track issues via ones account on their web page. But they’re not billion dollar companies, so what do they know?

So, what was the outcome of your exchange with Airbnb?

Oh wow! I use Ramnode too!

And yes, using Airbnb’s system involves their insane web form - which I can never find anyway. I can find twitter a lot easier!

So I went in and put the prices back to what they were supposed to be for her reservation supposed to be but the new correct price didn’t show up on her reservation request. In the past price changes have always shown up there. So I contacted Airbnb through Twitter to ask why the price hadn’t changed on her reservation request. They checked on it and said don’t worry - if she books it she’ll get the new price because my pre-approval - which I had actually made - had expired after 24 hours.

I asked them if they had any idea why the price may have gone down and they said no. I didn’t push it because I use a third-party pricing service, and I knew they’d blame them in the end. I still don’t know what happened. The pricing service has never shown prices that low for September. And I didn’t change them manually. Something happened, but I have no idea what. All I know is it hasn’t happened again.

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Hey @JonYork

Great question on pricing. I see a lot of hosts having the same problems you are with Airbnb’s Smart Pricing. There are a ton of glitches. Airbnb is fairly new at the pricing game and dynamic pricing is extremely complicated. You should check out a company called RoomDots.

They spent over 3 years building a real dynamic pricing system for short-term rentals that utilizes over 19 Billion data points. Hosts typically increase revenue by 52% compared to using other (not so) smart pricing systems. Check it out, it’s free to try.

Let me know if you have any questions,

-Kash

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