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Block dates OR put ridiculous price?


#1

So this Christmas period we will have 2 weeks that we can’t receive guests. Since blocking dates negatively affects the search ranking, I was wondering if it would be better to just raise the prices to a ridiculous rate without blocking the dates. In case someone is willing to pay a ridiculous price, we DO have a backup plan for attending guests. So that’s no problem.

Question: To prevent guests from booking is it better to just block the dates OR is it better to raise the prices to a ridiculous level without blocking the dates?

Any thoughts? Any ideas?


#2

Interesting strategy. I don’t know which you should do but I’m keenly interested in your result. For me I couldn’t do that because if someone booked and I had to tell the guy I blocked it for “sorry, you have to move out for one night.” But I may have an occasion in the future to try it if it works.


#3

I wonder about the right way to tackle this too. If you raise your rates really high, will that skew the searching a guest might do by showing you higher than what the real price normally would be?

We blocked our vacation in July and got very few, if any, requests the weeks prior to it but got three requests in the five hour drive home on the day we “checked out” of our house. So, to keep away from being penalized again, I decided to double the price on a few weekends I wanted in December but, dang it, someone booked them at the higher rate!


#4

If you can book at double your normal rate your rate must be too low.

I was thinking about this conundrum earlier today. I’d like to have future years where I’m gone for months at a time. But if I block off for months at a time I’d miss out on months of bookings once I got back? My listing doesn’t lend itself well to having a co host.

Then I was thinking what if could find a long term guest and book at a reduced rate or even get one of my friends to book it long term and I’d just pay them back. Guthend and Caelleai, can’t you just book to a family member and pay them back? Yes you have to pay fees but would it be worth it?


#5

I like the idea, but I worry that (for those who see the high price) it may create a false perception of the listing, that would deter them from coming back to take a second look.


#6

GREAT question. I have in 2019 months where we will be traveling and I don’t intend to have someone else host our place for us. So I’ve been wondering the same thing…having family book for a lower rate is an interesting idea.


#7

Or maybe they click a different date and think they are getting a bargain?


#8

The RIGHT way to handle the situation is to Block the dates, and stop worrying about how it might possibly, conceivably, maybe, impact something!


#9

Ken, some people need the income. Some are (whether we think it’s a good idea or not) dependent on it. Some people here can’t afford to only book in a few reservations a month, they are trying to be 85% booked each month, especially if it’s their high season.


#10

@GutHend you said you had a backup plan for guests, so I guess just price it at what would be worth it to you to implement your backup plan. Just assume you’ll get dinged on value (at least).


#11

I like the sky high price idea, I am doing construction on the property and am blocking off weekdays and Air seems to be punishing me. All of my upcoming bookings are on VRBO right now. My place is 250 a night, I guess I could halt construction and clean up for $1250 a night or so if I actually got booked for one of those nights. I think the less available your listing the lower it ranks with air.

RR

Edited to add, yes air hates me it seems, I just got a four day booking from trip advisor I am officially booked from mid December until Jan 4, not a single Airbnb booking.


#12

I think that indeed is a very valuable option in some cases. I in fact have kind of use this option in another way: If family members want to stay for free (Latino-culture, other discussion already discussed in the past), we now have the rule that they have to book, but at a (minimum) rate. This way I don’t need to block the calendar and AirBnB thinks I’m very occupied. Moreover AirBnB can see that I’m a very valuable host who is totally conforming to their business model strategy of “prostitute yourself for FREE” :rofl::rofl::rofl:.

Anyway for those with just one listing who want to travel for several months, this is definitely the way to go. It will cost a bit, but if the theory of “the busier you are, the busier you will be” is correct, you will make up for it really quickly.
In our case, with 3 listings (3 rooms in our apartment) of course it’s already three times that cost.

And a funny consequence of this valuable strategy is that your competition will go hopeless and stop business when they start getting messages: “Guests have booked places for USD 55,00 less than your USD 60,00 listing.” :joy::joy::rofl:

The backup plan isn’t ideal so I don’t really want to implement it. For the moment I just have it priced at a price that only Paris Hilton would pay when she want to go “poor”. (More than a USD 1000,00 a night.)

Good point that certainly applies to markets with lots of repeat customers. We are in a market, where most people come from far away and usually only visit once in a life time.

Wouldn’t it be great if AirBnB didn’t punish us and would let us have some vacation so we can come back to serve their/our guests even better. Instead of punishing us for taking vacation time they should praise us for doing so and should even boost our listings when we come back.
It shouldn’t be that difficult to allow for 6-8 weeks of vacation a year. This seems a lot, but since for some popular listings it’s almost a 7/7 days a week job, it’s not that much.
Also an interesting idea for the following…

How awful of AirBnB to punish hosts who want to provide guests with a better experience. Without a doubt they are not aware.


#13

This is not the case of course. Airbnb is employing a formula consisting of hundreds (or so they claim) factors. They want to match potential guests with hosts quickly and make the search and booking easy. The formula probably doesn’t work well in each individual case.

As you may recall I’ve blocked off weeks at a time while I did remodeling, first in winter of 2015-2016. After it was done I noticed bookings were slow and took about a month to resume the previous rate. Fall of 2016 I took a trip and left my calendar mostly open and had my housesitter as a co-host. I didn’t get the slowdown but it was stressful for me and not worth the money once I paid her to turn the room over. In summer of 2017 I did more remodeling/traveling. Again the room was blocked for about a month and took a month to resume pace.

This fall, Oct 5 to Dec 8, has had about 45 days blocked for a direct booking guest. My approach this time has been to open every day he isn’t here to other guests, no time off. It appears that this works much better as I have booked about 80% of my available days. That closely tracks what I’m normally booked without blocking any days (hmmm…that leads to another thought. If you are booked 95% of the time, air has you high in search 95% of the time? If you are booked 50% they rank you high 50%? To break out of the pattern you have to change something up, be available more, change prices, activate smart pricing, etc.? I don’t know. I’m making it up)

So my conclusion is, don’t block off the whole time period you need. Open a day, put a high price, put the settings to give you two days off before and after each booking maybe. Maybe the automatic blocks are counted differently? Book one relative in one room for a day so you only have to pay the fees for one day. Book another relative in another room, another day or two. So all the rooms have a few bookings sprinkled through the holidays.

Ridiculous that we even have to think about it. Your idea of boosting a host who has been blocked makes sense.


#14

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#15

I wasn’t aware of this problem until I blocked a few days for the first time. Wow, did it impact my bookings until that block past. I like the idea of having a friend book the place and I pay the fees.


#16

Could you elaborate a bit? Meaning, did you just not get any bookings while blocked (obviously) and then several days after? And do you normally get advance bookings regularly and they stopped while you had some dates blocked?


#17

That is what happened with us. We had been booking in advance for months at a time, pretty steadily but once we blocked our week of vacation the bookings trickled and then stopped. Once we got past the vacation blackout dates, the bookings resumed. For us it was almost immediately (see above msg) but it was almost zilch for the moth prior to the vacation week.

Interested to hear more of what happened for @Lynick4442

See what you started @GutHend? Good discussion! :wink:


#18

Interesting. For me it was the period after the block. But I also may have blocked rather last minute since with the contractors you never know when they are going to start and how long they will take. Thanks for your input.


#19

This is a good reason to diversify and use multiple platforms. I imagine once I finish up my construction and unblock my dates I will get more bookings from Air, meanwhile VRBO,Booking, TA and my own site are filling the gaps.

RR


#20

Diversify if you have a stand alone vacation rental like you or Caelleai. Guthend and I rent rooms in our homes.


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