CoIncidence? What do you think?

So yesterday, I sat down with my AirBNB calendar staring at me realizing that the next few months have almost no bookings. The last time I heard the AirBNB chimes, there were leaves on the trees and the sun felt warm. To be specific, it was on November 1st, an inquiry that I accepted.

As I have mentioned before, below a certain price level doing AirBNB is simply not interesting to me. I will have to heat the space [three rooms, cold Boston], still make breakfasts, do endless loads of laundry, and arrange my professional work days around the comings and goings of guests. Though I have lowered my price a tad since the heady summer days, I still had some wiggle room with December prices, so I lowered weekdays by just a small amount.

Today, I have had an inquiry for a 2 1/2 week booking in January [but she wanted a discount above and beyond my lowered prices and weekly discount] and two bookings. None of the booked or inquired dates were days that I had lowered my prices yesterday, but my suspicion is, AirBNB gave my listing a bit of a boost for lowering prices yesterday.

Also of interest. I lowered the prices of specific days, noting the price tips but ignoring them. On these same days today, the price tips are much lower. Another interesting calculation being done on the AirBNB side.

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Hi @smtucker,

I got the impression earlier that your listing stayed pretty busy. Sorry to hear that things are slow right now. Any idea why? More hosts arriving in the area charging excessively low prices? Or something else?

You are right @faheem. We have been fully booked. We opened on June 21st and have only had 6 nights off since then. However, we only had one booking in December this morning, and no bookings for January and February.

I think that this time of year is a different market. Yes, there are more and more AirBNB listings, but mine does continue to be unique in that it is a home share, but a home share where the guests have a three-room suite on their own floor.

Our home has been filled with lots of international visitors. Visitors who arrive to see Boston and who plan their travels far in advance. Now, I suspect that we will get more targeted types of visits, and I suspect that they will be younger. They are coming for a conference, a class, or as one person who booked today… a job interview at one of our renowned science institutes affiliated with a pretty famous university.

A bit of a break may not be a bad thing for us. I accepted another huge contract assuming that an existing project would be over, and it isn’t.

Mostly, my post was wondering whether or not, lowering prices gives listing an invisible boost of some sort. Since I use 's report every morning, I know that I am high in the listings, so it is a puzzlement that I thought might be worth discussing.

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Since you have not been through a full year yet, perhaps you have not had the chance to experience the seasonal highs and lows. Here in Hawaii on the Big Island, they happen like clockwork. I plan for them.


@konacoconutz. So, you think this is a coincidence?

I’m saying its seasonal. Nothing coincidental about places slowing down during low season. Starting in June through August, I’m dead… And it’s been like that every single year since I’ve been open. Six and a half years.

Once you have been through a couple of seasons you will start to see a pattern.

I’ve come to the (largely unsupported by data) conclusion that messing with prices is basically a waste of time. Unless you happen to be a DC host who is hosting during an Presidential inauguration or something. In which case, make hay while the sun shines.

I also think most guests prefer the predictability of a fixed price.

Oh, and if you’ve been doing it since June, you’re presumably (like myself) trying to figure out if there are any seasonal patterns and if so, what they are.



I wish the search algorithm just define ranking position based on the host’s performance. If you have delivered great experiences to your guests then you will have a better position. I would also help the newbies with a better ranking (as they are doing it) so that they get better exposure as they don’t have any reviews yet.

However, all those tricks to game the search algorithm (that actually worked!) are terribly bad for business. You ended up wasting valuable time thinking on what twist you should make to your listings in order to gain more exposure instead of using that time to improve the experience of your current and future guests. I met a guy once that said to me that he daily changed his price 1usd (up/down) to gain more exposure. Is this what Airbnb wants us to spend our time?


I do know that bookings should go down about 35% during the winter months. I talk with other hosts and that seems to be the general consensus. Hotels don’t see this slow down since they fill with convention and conference guests who like to stay near the convention centers.

I still find it peculiar that the first day that I played with my prices; the next day I get two bookings. I may do some tweaks again next weekend and see what happens.

Yes, that pretty much summarises my feelings about it. It’s fundamentally unconstructive activity. In a similar way to stock market speculation. And also

Since it seems they do reward such behavior with (presumably temporary) higher search placements, perhaps.

It’s quite possible that it temporarily pushed you up in the rankings. Since Airbnb’s search algorithm, like other things about how it runs its business, is wacky.

By “waste of time”, to be clear, I mean that it might work some of the time, but one is really better off focusing on trying to do a good job and getting guests that way. Not that I’m suggesting you don’t.

Disagree. Why would guests come to expect anything consistent? You only usually get them as a guest once and they never return. We aren’t talking about the price of a Big Mac here.

You have to adjust prices for seasons. I take $30 off my rate in the summer. I change it back during the winter. I can charge even higher for January and February. There are no special events here. Just the best weather in the country at that time of year.

Oh … i see what you mean about coincidence. Sorry, I missed that.
Well apparently doing anything to your listing… boosts it in the search.
So you could change something in the calendar and the next day change it back.
Currency is apparently one of those things that boosts the search algorithms.

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I use to update my calendar every 15 minutes, so it is always being pinged without any work on my part. Clearly, folks don’t think that this made a difference, but it doesn’t feel that different than @cabinhost’s conclusion that AirBNB is playing with search results to spread out the wealth.

I think I will go back to coding where I actually get to write the algorhythms instead of trying to figure out ones written by someone else.

I was talking about the kind of semi-random, unpredictable price changes that Airbnb’s Smart Pricing promotes. Or the kind of price changes based on thinking: oh, I don’t have bookings, I’ll try lowering my prices. Which could work (sort of) if Airbnb responds by bumping you in search, but it’s possible other kinds of changes would have the same effect. But I don’t think that changes (specifically, lowerings) in price per se are a better way to get more business. It’s not a value-add. And at least for me, it’s barely worth it at the prices I charge, already. Why would I lower it further?

Occasional pricing changes depending on the season aren’t in the same category.

Yes, often times playing with prices does seem to trigger inquiries on both Air and VRBO. I have heard some say that fiddling around with their pics, editing their content, etc. will also do the same thing.

I think I had fiddled around with my pricing right before I received my last Air booking request - the one I turned down that added a free infant, and therefore was over my maximum number of guests. Plus I was not comfortable with the young ages of the adults.

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I do this sometimes and get a booking. So maybe SM is on to something.

@smtucker - I don’t think I realized how similar our listings are!

And I had the exact same experience. I’ve had two other complete-dead ‘zones’ of no bookings, like, not quiet, but like a sucking void; this is my third. This was my third. I did lower my prices just a tad yesterday, also. Not enough to really hurt my wallet, but a bit to make the prices look lower.

I finally got a booking this morning. I have two in December, none after that.

Last winter I had very few Europeans this time of year, several from South America, which I’ve not had any other time of year, and a pretty steady stream of guests from Asia.

Maybe some of the folks at an organization mentioned in this article could give you some data on tourist demand in Boston.

There will be a Million Woman March on Washington the day of the Inauguration, so maybe they will be needing a place to stay! Otherwise, pretty surprised you haven’t received a booking for that fateful and dreary day.

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I have it blocked for now. If I put the 3 or 4 night minimum on I’m not going to book anything for the days from now to then - not in my off-season.

Plus, my remodel is done (yay!) and I’m putting the rooms together and want to have the nicer photos on the site before I ask for big money.

Here’s a sneak preview of the bedroom - the one that had the damaged pine paneling, horrid drop-ceiling and an old quilt on the bed. I’ve ordered nightstands that are black and need some lamps, etc. I won’t use the pillow-shams in the photo, though.

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