I have been hosting two properties, one in Nashville and one in Saint Augustine for about five years. Since the AirBnB platform change my bookings have dropped substanially. I am now listed both properties on VRBO as well. My question for the forum is whether or not hosts have recommendations for other platforms to include. I saw an Instagram post for a platform owned by Google I think and someone on the forum recommended furnishedfindings.com. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
We have used https://www.furnishedfinder.com/ during the pandemic. This is simply a matching platform - not many hoops to go through and not as elaborate as Airbnb. It costs $100 a year to list there. Most of the people renting through the platform are traveling medical professionals looking for 30 day living arrangements. You can also sign up for a tenant screening process (paid for by the tenant.)
We enjoy the short-term rentals and have un-snoozed our Airbnb listing. Our area is very busy with Airbnb but mostly with last minute, one night bookings as people are beginning to travel. That said, I expect it to drop off in the winter so I renewed my Furnished Finders listing as well.
Some folks use Booking dot com though I think it’s more popular in Europe. Do you allow pets? That might give you a competitive advantage. If you don’t allow pets you might think it’s more trouble than it’s worth but something to think about. Obviously you’d want to add a pet fee.
Yep. There are 886 listings available in Nashville for next weekend (July 29 for 3 days) but only 103 are pet friendly. Only 144 have a crib. Only 251 with a grill. Only 50 provide breakfast. And only 30 offer EV charging. Only 388 of them offer either a moderate or flexible cancelation policy. And that is 886 available for a 3-day minimum. It goes down by nearly half to only 455 listings available for a 2-day minimum Fri/Sat stay.
I think that’s where you look, you look at the competition and figure out where you can zig when they zag. Because there is a ton of competition and it doesn’t disappear by listing on a different platform.
The problem is that they used to favor those who were always booked and highly ranked in the search results. The thinking was that they wanted to maximize the chance that a guest would have a good stay.
Now they are trying to spread the wealth. Instead of one host being booked 90% of the time, 5 hosts are booked 20% of the time.
I’ve been closed a lot so I don’t know how the change is affecting my listing. But 60% of my bookings this summer have been people with pets.
About 50% for me. And I’ve been getting a lot of inquiries asking about being able to charge vehicles. We’re not set up for that right now but if we start having trouble getting bookings, that’s what we’ll add.
And if that doesn’t work I can buy a comfortable office chair and tick off the dedicated workspace box. I already have the fast wifi and was surprised at how listing it increased my views. Comfortable office chairs are so ugly so I’m holding out unless I need it. But I will sell the house before I bring a crib into it. I want to be competitive but it’s not as if I don’t have my limits, lol.
Particularly in markets with 1000+ listings when the old standard is 300+ listings. I don’t remember ever seeing all these places with 1000+ until this year and it’s common. As a guest, it’s forcing me to choose more filters just to narrow it down. And that includes the superhost filter which I used to believe didn’t matter.
Their incentive is demonstrated by your numbers - an increase of 10% in bookings, and therefore more service fees.
Thank you. Very helpful. I did update both listings today. Saint Augustine is much easier because it fits in a few AirBnB categories. Nashville is a very different problem. You are quite right about the competition and I suspect many are not permitted but your point regarding amenities is on point. I did alter my stay back down to two nights and changed my cancellation policy to flexible, non-refundable so I am hoping that will help. We have an open staircase so it’s not great for toddlers but a crib could help. I have been reluctant on pets but might make an exception in Nashville given how competitive it is. Do you allow them and has your experience been ok?
Very helpful! Thank you! I’m booked through the summer in Nashville but I’m worried about winter so trying to get ahead of it.
You didn’t ask me but I allow pets and my experience has been okay. I’ve only had 2 bookings (out of countless 100s) where the dog caused damage and the guests paid without issue. You can make some accomodations and rules, like providing inexpensive throws (I use IKEA Vitmosssa) or a dog crate, to help minimize issues or clean up.
Again, excellent advice!! Thanks so much. You all have been great. I am very grateful. I have been an avid reader but never posted.
We allow dogs and have only had two very very minor issues, nothing as bad as anything a human guest has done. I do require preapproval and so can root out potential issues during that process, but almost always it’s just laying out expectations.
But I’m a dog person so it is important to me to allow dogs and it doesn’t cause me any extra stress. I also prefer the type of guest that travels with their dogs. If you decide to go in that direction feel free to message me, I’d be happy to share some tips.
An open staircase is a potential problem for anyone. In my opinion, you need to address this urgently.
Do you have commercial insurance like Prosper?
It’s not open it just has open stairs like many contemporary staircases. I just worry a toddler could make an effort to crawl through but it isn’t a hazard for adults. It has a large clear plexiglass wall/railing. I should have been clearer.
Oh, good, I’m sorry I misunderstood.
But get that commercial insurance policy!
It’s the same with any staircase. If you decide to encourage guests with toddlers, you could provide a stair gate for each end.
There are other safety features hosts need to address if they accept toddlers, in addition to baby gates. Outlet covers, and child-proof safety latches on cupboards are a couple.
It’s popular in Australia too. I hate it, DO NOT RECOMMEND!
the guests are terrible, i dabbled with it briefly and got 5 bookings really easily. None of the guests were nice, 2 were terrible, and 1 stole from us. You can’t leave reviews for guests, and they all left mediocre/bad reviews for us, things like “staff 4/10” wtf. it’s really angled towards hotels so all the criteria is based on that.
They take 2 weeks to pay us, and they charge a fee to pay me via direct deposit, what a crock.
The website is bad to use. guest messaging is annoying, the whole thing is clunky and ugly.
VRBO is not popular here, but i’ve recently learned they have partnered with stayz.com.au (another str site) so i’ll look into putting a back up listing over there.
Reports from hosts I know here in Mexico the same. BDC guests the worst they’ve ever had, lots of no-shows, slobs and theives. I wonder why that platform attracts that element. Are there less requirements for guests in terms of submitting ID, etc.?
@muddy no idea. I actually use it a bit in Australia, for hotels. i’ve never used it to stay in another type of listing though.