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Best way to resolve existing bookings when buying an active str?

I apologize in advance for the complexity of this question, but am hoping for solid input from hosts who have actually walked through this issue successfully.

We are preparing to make an offer on a ski resort condo with at least 45 existing nightly bookings. Some of those bookings are on the platform and some were booked using an independent management company. We understand that our contract offer needs to include our request/demand on how we want those bookings to be resolved. So, we need to get this straight in our heads before we can even make the offer.

Our options:

  • Have all bookings cancelled and start with a clean slate. (this option would be the cleanest for us but unkind to the guests who booked)

  • Have the management company switch their bookings to another unit, Or, keep the bookings intact and we would come up with an amount of $$$$ the seller should credit us, at closing, for the existing management company bookings. We would then get all the information on the bookings (so we can manage them), but not handle any finances for those bookings.

  • Have the seller close their Airbnb account (for this listing) and have Airbnb facilitate transferring those bookings to our account (with the cooperation of the guests). Apparently this is a common solution on Airbnb and other major platforms.

Of course this is not a new predicament, so, how have you hosts successfully made this transition? Some background- we are superhosts and have owned/hosted multiple homes for years, but this is our first time purchasing a place that is already an active str. We have engaged with the building manager, the real estate agent, the mortgage broker, the HOA point of contact and CC&Rs and rules, and various municipal authorities. This booking-transition issue is one of the last pieces of the puzzle for us so we are turning to you guys for guidance. (please don’t pile on about running away from HOAs (that is not the question here) - we have successfully owned str in HOAs for years- and a HOA is really the only way to do a condo in a ski resort- and MANY hosts do it successfully). Thank you in advance for your helpful replies.

This.

As regards the direct bookings, it should be straightforward for them to be transferred if the management company are cooperative. If money is going in any direction relating to them, be careful in respect of post purchase cancellations.

JF

4 Likes

Thank you for your reply! I spoke to the representative of the management company about their part and they said to discuss it with the seller. I took that to mean the seller would need to contact them about options, which seems right. I would prefer to have the seller have the management company redirect those bookings to other units, for a cleaner transition, than to try to figure out how to handle a complicated $$$ share between us, the seller, and the management company, like you said.

@sunandsnow, I haven’t been through this situation at all. However, I was under the impression that Airbnb wouldn’t transfer reservations from one owner to the next, as @JohnF suggested. I could be wrong, of course.

I sell real estate in a resort area and in my experience air will not transfer bookings. Seller needs to cancel there is no good way to transfer. Have your listing ready to go when the owner cancels, but you will not have any guarantee the bookings will come to you.

RR

That is correct, and would be a violation of the ToS if it was the account being transferred also.

However, and this is both purely anecdotal and pre the Airbnb CS purge; if the new owner has their own account, Airbnb will assist in the cancellations and rebooking by guests. There are a few topics on the CC regarding it, and I think @LCL did something along those lines.

JF

2 Likes

This is the best option, you want a clean transfer.
Existing could be made under different conditions and policies than you want to offer.

You will only make things complicated.

If the guest still wants to book, have the old host point them at your site.

1 Like

Follow your first thought on this matter. Have them cancelled by the previous owner and start fresh. The booked guests, once cancelled, can rebook with you. Make sure to open an Airbnb listing ready to go.

Good morning! We were in this situation in 2018. ABB allowed the previous owner to cancel without penalty and she messaged each guest to tell them the situation. Our listing was active and all but 2(?) guests rebooked with us. Good luck!

2 Likes

@sunandsnow Hopefully Airbnb will facilitate transfering the bookings, but if I were a guest, I would want to be given the option to know that the property has changed hands and decide if I wanted to keep the booking.

In your case, since you already are Superhosts with a proven record, guests will likely be fine with a simple transfer of bookings, but in a case where it’s a brand new host, they might not want to take a chance, as the new host could be not that great, whereas they booked the place based on good reviews of the previous host.

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