From 85% booked to virtually no bookings

My home is in Riverside California. I’ve been a successful Airbnb host for over 5 years. I only have 2 bookings coming up this year, one in March the other in October, 3 nights each. I was booked for the first week of January but its crickets since then. My average star rating is 4.95. I did get a single 4 star review for value recently but most are all 5’s.
Wondering if the market has slowed down or is it just my place?
What has been your booking experience year to date?

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A handful of small gaps but both apartments are booked up until the middle of November. I’m not worrying about the gaps as they are one-day so I’ll need them anyway for maintenance.

In addition to listing on Airbnb, what else do you do to advertise your place?

Does your listing show on the first page? Did you check the calendars of other listings in your area to see if they’re booked? Are your prices comparable with others in your area?

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Many areas are oversaturated with listings. It has nothing to do with your ratings or reviews, if you have a 4.95.

Also, Airbnb has been doing something with the search algoritms- trying to drive bookings to places and areas they for one reason or another, they want guests to book. I’ve read many posts like yours lately, @Paulcalif- long time, well-booked hosts suddenly seeing a big drop-off in bookings.

Airbnb’s terrible customer service has also lost them a lot of guests, as has their stupid “split-stay” feature, which there is no way for guests to opt out of, and which irritates most guests. As well as them removing the Superhost filter and replacing it with the “Guest Favorite”.

All you can do is try to make your place stand out from the rest somehow, and do things like tweak your photo gallery and description, which Airbnb algorithms see as"activity" and which can up your search ranking for awhile.

My listing is a private room homeshare for 1 guest, in Mexico, and I’ve actually seen a big increase in bookings this season.


I’ve never had to do any other marketing, Airbnb has kept it booked, so I don’t do anything. My pricing is lower than other comparable properties in the area. My photos were done professionally and I have a nice home.

I don’t allow instant booking, my refund status is strict, my minimum stay is 3 nights. I allow dogs. My home is wheel chair friendly.

People staying here do so for various reasons including:

University - visiting kids in college
Private colleges
Mission Inn
Music festivals
People who are waiting to close escrow.
People who must move out during home repairs.
Setting up elderly in care facilities
Holidays with family
In town for work

These are most of the reasons people stay here.

I thought there might be more competition, but there are few and all but one priced higher.

There is something that happened psychologically with people post-Covid. Guests seem less inclined to book well ahead of time, instead waiting until closer to check-in dates to book. So while previously your calendar might have filled up early, it might now take longer. This would affect some of your list of reasons guests book.

Also the economy is keeping a lot of people from discretionary travel- life is too expensive to indulge in non-essentials.

And since the pandemic, many people went to working from home, and still are, so booking to work in the area may not be so common anymore.


It sounds as though you’ve got a lot of opportunities for easy marketing within your local area which is great because there are a lot of hosts who don’t have that.

Because you know why your guests are coming, then go directly to the visit sources. In other words get in touch with colleges, wedding planners, festival organisers, real estate agents, etc and simply let them know why your place would be a suitable place for their customers/clients to stay.

I get business from a couple of local real estate agents, the local theatre (for actors and staff from shows that are in town for a short run), the organisers of the local art fair, the furniture show and food fair (organisers are often asked by exhibitors/ stallholders where to find good accommodation) and in addition from hotel concierges who recommend me to people who try to book when the hotel is full.

Don’t forget other STR owners, especially those in your price bracket. They can refer guests to you when they are full - you do the same for them.

I know that the news is full of stories that make us think that the world is a horrible place but there are a lot of people in your neighbourhood who are lovely and will be only too happy to refer guests to you. :slight_smile:


Get someone else to log in and see if your listing shows up. Over on Reddit a few folks were complaining about the same thing, their bookings dropped off a cliff. I logged in and couldn’t find their listings at all. So there are some glitches out there. Check to see that people could book.

The airbnb algorithm appears to lower listings like yours in the rankings, as they want Instant Book for the STRs.

Open Chrome and log in as ‘incognito’ to check where your place shows up. Check other listings with similar features when you do… if others are higher in placement, check if they have Instant Book. A word to the wise…

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Instant Book is definitely a factor in search ranking, but there are so many factors in ranking that it doesn’t necessarily mean a great deal.

I have never used IB (nor most of the other things said to up search ranking) and my place sometimes comes up first when checking incognito and entering the correct filters.

I have seen a lot of posts on other hosting forums with hosts saying their listing has disappeared lately, and one said when they talked to CS, they said there is a glitch.

Great suggestions! (I’m a Realtor, I’m on it)
Thank you!

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Logging in incognito now. Great idea.

Thanks everyone

I think it’s a world-wide problem. Here in Thailand, this is our high season; we are fully booked into March, but nothing after that at the moment. But this year is quieter than last year; everybody here is saying the same thing: many villas are empty We can see from Facebook groups that the same properties are being advertised. I am wondering what our low season will look like. We will just have to ride the storm.

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Hi, I have been a Superhost since 2011. We have a small portfolio of interior designed flats in London’s mostly prime locations. I’ve been so booked up on Airbnb all the time that I have not done much to market our properties elsewhere. A bit on VRBO. Suddenly this year all my flats are practically empty. No bookings. An odd enquiry usually with a request for a massive discount. Even I have excellent reviews, only 2 out of 6 of our listings to date have the guest favourite badge. As for bookings, literally crickets since January. I thought it was all about Guest Favourite but oddly my small flat in Hampstead which has no badge gets a lot of bookings. One of the Guest Favourites is very busy and the other nothing. I am really worrying now about my income. VRBO is completely useless. Marginal bookings. We are going to join Google Vacation Rentals, but other than that, not sure where else to advertise. Airbnb is getting worse and worse by the day. Brian Chesky behaves like he has forgotten who he built his business on.

I’ve turned on instant book, but still no bookings. I’ll wait a couple of weeks to see what happens

He hasn’t forgotten, he’s a billionnaire now, he just doesn’t care.


Have you tried rewriting your title and description? Send me the link to your listing and see what I can do.

As regards advertising, I do not want locals as guests, ever. It is difficult to geo-exclude local views using online adverts.

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Small correction, the Superhost program didn’t begin until 2014. You may have been hosting since 2011, very early adopter, congratulations! And you’ve probably been a superhost from the beginning, also congrats.

This is a change of subject but as a UK host did you get the gifts they sent for maintaining SH status continuously all these years? I got one after 5 years that was a fake gold key fob that I made into a wall hung presentation and this year I got another, a choice of a gift pack with a real key ring, guest book, some pins and some toiletries OR I could make a donation to their charity. I’d rather have the money they spent on these things but at least they did something. Hard to believe it’s been almost 10 years of Superhost.

I believe Brian thinks he built his business on HIS idea and the guests, and to a lesser extent, the hosts. We are replaceable.


I have instant booking turned on. I re-wrote everything. Checked all of my settings. My home includes pretty much everything on Airbnb’s amenity lists. I lowered my price. I checked other local similar listings, mine was already competitively but I lowered the price anyway. Fortunately, my mortgage payment is pretty low so I can afford to go even lower. I’ll wait a couple of weeks to see how it goes.

Oh, and I logged in incognito, and my place does show up. There are a few other places similar to mine in the vicinity. Are there more than before? Im not sure. I guess the market will dictate pricing. As this is my main source of income, its important to me to have it rented out.

I want to thank everyone for their input and suggestions, I genuinely appreciate it.