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I am a very very new host on Airbnb, only started in Dec’18 and have had a very positive experience till now.
My listing is on Airbnb, Homeaway and Booking.com, however I would say 80% of my bookings are coming from Airbnb, the rest 20% from Booking,com and I have had absolutely nothing (not even a message!) on Homeaway/VRBO.
My listing is for an entire flat in London (pretty close to the city) and we have been fully booked in Dec, almost full in Jan/Feb and March, so I was wondering how everyone else is doing in terms of multiple platform listings?
Moderators - please let me know if this is an Airbnb only forum in which case I will take this post of!
We get 70-75% from HomeAway/VRBO, 20% from AirBnB and the rest from direct bookings through our website. Nothing from booking or TripAdvisor. Large whole house in a vacation location (Caribbean). 90% of our guests are from the United States.
HomeAway/VRBO is very popular with older people from the United States. If most of your guests are young (20 somethings) or Europeans, it doesn’t surprise me that you get most of your guests from AirBnB.
Thanks @PitonView, majority of our bookings have been from Europeans, although we have had some bookings from the US and Asia too and I wouldn’t say all have been young guests, they are a good mix.
Seeing as you get majority of your bookings from Homeaway/VRBO, is there anything I can do to increase my listing’s visibility? I can see that I have very very low views, ofcourse this could be down to the demographics searching for properties. Maybe you could have a quick look through my listing and let me know any improvements?
Seconldy do I need to register with VRBO? I know my Homeaway rental appears on VRBO too, but do I need to have an account on VRBO too to manage any requests?
Hi amafzal, I’m a bit like you, 90-95% of my bookings come from Air, and 5-10% direct. I’ve been hosting since May last year. I’m registered on VRBO but have received only two enquiries in this entire time, which lead to nothing; I don’t think you have to register on to the other platforms of the group to manage your listing though. I had a look at your apartment, it’s really nice, I’ll keep it in mind for a next trip to London
I used to have lots of bookings through VRBO. Not anymore . Last year I only was booked through VRBO twice. Rest is Airbnb or Craig’s list. Homestay guests are very good but they are mostly looking for a reeealy inexpensive accomodation .
Booking didn’t work for me at all. I am not sure how owners of one unit do it. People book and then don’t show up or their card doesn’t work
@Yana, thanks for that, could you let us know the location of your listing please? For booking dot com they take the payments and then forward them onto me, the only trouble is that they leave the deposit to be dealt with by the hosts directly, so feels a bit odd asking for guests to handover 100-150 in cash when they arrive!
Could the rest please mention their locations too as that would be useful for all to know which platforms work best in which region!
@MarieZuri, thank you for having a look, I would certainly love to welcome you to our listing.
This sparks an idea, maybe we should offer a special discount to fellow hosts on this forum that decide to book one of the other hosts’ property in another location. I’ve seen such discounts being offered to forum members on other (non-hosting related) forums and it works really well for all members really!
@KKC, even more so of a reason for us to have a sticky post on this forum so that hosts willing to offer discounts to members hosts can do precisely that in a particular topic, and makes it easy for us to find these when looking for a place to book.
Or as I have been introduced to by a client who boards their dog with me via the Rover app… book for the least amount allowed per night ($10) and pay the rest directly. Everyone gets the best of both worlds then as the fees will be less but still get “coverage” and ability to leave reviews.
I would usually say I ge75% of bookings through AirBnB, 10% through HA and 10% direct (mostly from a government tourism website I pay to advertise on and they give out my booking email address) and 5% direct repeat or referred customers. Then for December.Jan/Feb i got almost no bookings on Air but mostly HA and direct. Second half of January (late summer hols in Australia) I had nothing. I dropped my prices, still nothing. Then I accepted Air’s price recommendations which were pretty much the same. Suddenly a flood of late Jan/Feb bookings from Air. I know we have this ongoing discussion here whether tinkering on Air improves your listing ranking, lots of anecdotes but no definitive evidence. It could also be because Australians tend to book one or two weeks ahead so apart from Xmas-NYE when people plan ahead it is just business as usual. My usual fear that there has been a flood of cheap accom undercutting each other onto the Air market over summer has not materialised and my fellow hosts are all demonstrating admirable greed
+1 for anecdotal evidence. Someone yesterday suggested unlisting and then relisting for a day which is not one of the techniques I’ve tried. I do turn smart pricing on and off and I recently raised my minimum price. Frankly I’m ready for a little break but so far no slowdown.
It’s hard to know how many people are looking at any given time. It’s possible that not many people are looking for London flats right now. But you showed up on the first page when I looked for “Lansbury, Tower Hamlets, London, UK” - but I’ not sure how many people would search for it that way.
Now for some feedback on your listing:
The listing price says 121 pounds per night when I search without dates. When I selected a weekend in February, the price went down to 105 pounds. The 121 seems rather steep for the neighborhood.
I don’t see the apartment size anywhere - is it bigger than the nearby studio apartments?
Your main picture is not really appealing to me. The lighting is rather poor and the colors are off. I wouldn’t use the bedroom as the main picture - most people don’t spend a lot of time in the bedroom. I have to get halfway through the pictures to get to the living room.
Picture 12 looks bleak - a large bare wall with a tiny lamp on a tiny table and the cord showing.
Your owner picture is a repeat of the bedroom.
You call it “bright and comfy”, but it looks like all the pictures were taken at night. I don’t get much sense of the outdoor open spaces - you have a small deck/patio but the pictures probably are not doing it justice.
Typo - should be “additional mattress”
You are also fairly well booked already. Part of the VRBO ranking system is how many nights you offer VRBO to rent. It’s an upward or downward spiral - the more nights you book on VRBO, the higher up in the ranking they show you to prospective guests. If you book most of your nights on a different platform, or only offer a few weeks a year to be rented, then you’re pushed down.
Your price seems to be a bit expensive for a single-bedroom, new listing with no reviews. Compared to AirBnb, your price is higher on Homeaway (at least for the 3-day mid-February booking I tested), your cancellation policy is more strict, and you charge a 100 pound security deposit that has to be paid by the guest (unlike AirBnB where the guest only pays if they cause damage). If I were interested in your apartment, I’d check AirBnB and book you there, not HomeAway.
I’m not trying to discourage you, just pointing out some possible reasons you are not getting HomeAway bookings. I just re-read that you are a new host in December. It can take a while to get established. We found that after we got to 20 reviews,
@PitonView Thanks a lot for the detailed feedback, its much appreciated.
I do need to update the pictures, just need a day between bookings where I can do a good set of photos.
As for pricing, Is there a way to sync prices across air and VRBO as I do adjust prices regularly on air to make it more attractive? and secondly with my current pricing, Homeaway is always suggesting me to increase my prices for future dates and I always think their suggestions are very steep.
As for availability, as I’ve got most of my bookings on Air and booking, they get blocked up on HA, not sure if I can do much about it really.
Great idea! The only reason I’m not yet pursuing the direct booking is b/c I really don’t want to lose my “Rare Find” status on ABB. It pushes me to the top of the search rankings in a super oversaturated airbnb market.
That’s not a strategy I would want to use very often as I don’t think it would be hard for Airbnb to get wise to it. Maybe @Militaryhorsegal has used it several times with no problem and can update us.
Interesting. I think you are the first person I’ve seen comment on this. Is it the “rare find” badge or the fact of “the busier you are, the busier you will be?” It’s a chicken or egg situation?
I think it’s both. I’ve had many guests comment to me that I was a “rare find” and it seems that they were impressed by that. The “Rare Find” status also bumps you up in search rankings. Every time I check, I’m always on the first page, and if I apply enough filters (super host, shared space, instant book) I’m usually listed at 1 - 3 on page one.
For instance, I was not booked last Saturday, so Saturday early afternoon I did an Incognito search for that night. After applying a couple of filters I was the number one listing out of “157 available homes”. (Talk about a ton of airbnbs around here. 157 places available for same day booking.)
“Rare Find” definitely gives you a big bump. I assume it also helps that I rarely block off days, and allow stays anywhere from 1-28 nights…