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Marked down for value to a 4


#1

I keep being marked down for value and accuracy.

We don’t charge much more than the competition - the problem is that the competition is in much cheaper areas of town. We offer only one bedroom (double bed plus use of sofa bed for kids) even though the square footage is larger than a lot of 2 bed flats. Plus massive living room/kitchenette/ showerroom and 2 private gardens and access to 13 acre private gardens on a really stunning location.

The problem is that we live in the best and most expensive street in our city which means our house is very expensive and our taxes enormous. (In the UK local tax is on value of property). Though I try to point this out in the description (and people do book for the ‘famous’ location) they don’t seem to rate me highly for value.

Actually, rentals never come up on my street, so there’s no real comparison, because my neighbours are mostly now bankers etc (I’m not I hasten to add - I’ve been here for decades…and real estate prices have gone up drastically during that time) who don’t need to rent out their basements!

My photos are extremely accurate. I guess there’s nothing more I can do? Is there?


#2

Maybe, if you have some guests that you feel comfortable with, you can ask them before they go - or even email them later, for input.

I was curious if people were booking with me because of my free breakfast, etc. So I made up a little questionnaire for them to complete before checking-out, with just a few questions, to find out what in my ad was attractive to them (and then, of those things, what did they enjoy) and found out the breakfast was the #1 reason people book with us. I tell them at the top of the paper “This is a family-run business and we could use your help”.

So maybe a little polling of your guests could help you understand what the issues are.

Also feel free to share the link to your listing and I’m sure several of us would be happy to review it for you.


#3

Flax, don’t fret. People do not know what they are getting. And may not understand “value,” which is a relative term. My place is always under $99 per night. It’s within a quarter mille to a fantastic, secluded snorkeling cove in beautiful Kona, Hawaii. It’s cool, quiet, starry and you can see the ocean, hear the surf and hear humpback whales in the winter. They have a full kitchen full BBQ and patio, totally private and separate lockable apartment. All the beach and snorkel gear I can think of. No it’s not the 4 Seasons, and it doesn’t pretend to be. I get glowing reviews. They love that I know so much about the area. Yet, I get marked down on value. It’s been that way since I opened my doors five years ago.

I think I’d only get good marks for “Value” if I gave it away for $55 a night. Well that’s not gonna happen!

I have stopped worrying about it …and it doesn’t matter to me what they think. :slight_smile:

DC… Great idea to do the survey…But brave! I would be afraid it would prompt them to think of things they didn’t like and then do a review!

If Flax wants to share the listing, she should do it in a PM. I’d be glad to look at it, Flax, send it along if you wish. :slight_smile:


#4

Hey Flax,

This is horrible when it happens, especially if it’s your own home - I know that I take it terribly personally when people give me low ratings. But I digress.

We actually discussed this in an older thread, but I couldn’t find it just now - it comes down to your guest’s expectations. I struggled a lot with the accuracy, I went over it again and again and again - and I think I’ve got it right now. It really is about describing the space your guests will get in as much detail as possible, the good and the bad - this is very important, because if you hide the bad they will bring it up in the reviews (you don’t want this).

For me it really took off when I found the USP for my property, it pulled in the bookings and the guests felt they were getting something special. As Kona says, feel free to share your listing (if you wish) and we’ll happily give you pointers!


#5

Truly… Julie. You hit the nail right on the head. Lay it out. Don’t sugar coat it. My place is far from town. You won’t be happy if you are looking to walk to nightlife or starbux. It’s rural. Target is a 45 minute drive. Then I describe what it is… and the type of guest that would be a good fit.

Another thing I do is describe the type of guest I want.

“I’m only interested in hosting a quiet couple or single looking for a tranquil spot away from the crowds and bustle of town and are interested in a quiet, country location near the beach. Please skip me if you intend to party or in anyway be disruptive as this is a very quiet area.” etc etc…

It’s bold but doesn’t seem to insult anyone! :slight_smile:


#6

Really? Breakfast?? Hmm, I deleted breakfast in my rentals because the very first 2 guys from Belgium ate non stop from my fridge. I was not home when they got up, and I just told them what are breakfast items. I could not just tell them how much bread to eat or how much juice to drink, and I they took advantage of it fully:).
I think they ate those items during the day too: bread, butter, jam, juice was dissapearing with super speed to the point that I had to go the store every single day to replace those items.
What do you serve them?
Is it cooked breakfast also?
I do feel a little bad that I don’t offer any breakfast at all, because I know myself how nice it is to wake up I a morning and have something . I do offer coffe and tea but none asks for it unless I make it, but even when I make it 80% of people say no. I was even thinks may be to offer toast, or some pastries. Just to lay them out on a table?


#7

Don’t worry about it too much. I get marked down on value and location all the time. Last guest told me personally what a great deal I offer only later in reviews to give 4* on value. His exact words were: for the price I didnt hope to stay in such a beautiful house in a spacious room like this and private bathroom.
I am hosting for 8 month. Last weeks i almost hit 80% 5* reviews. And then this guy brought it back to 74% by putting 4* on almost every category.
Now it went back to 76%. If 3/4 of my guests think I am awesome, that’s good enough for me. We can never please every single person , doesn’t matter how hard we try.


#8

Hi Yana - I remember hearing about that story and being horrified! I have not had that problem because they have a separate little kitchenette, and come upstairs into my kitchen for breakfast. I put the food on the table. They rarely eat it all. Due to health code I can not crack an egg ; ). I can make hard-cooked but I can’t peel it. I have three standard menus, all that cost less than $2 per person.

Bagels, Hard Cooked Eggs
Frozen potato cakes heated in the oven, sausages (precooked, so I think it’s legal)
Croissants from Costco, heated in the oven they think they are homemade, brie and other cheeses.

In addition, jams, butter, fruit, coffee, tea, juice. And i can’t help myself so usually add a small bowl of toasted almonds, maybe a little bowl of grape tomatoes, just little things that make it seem like a feast.
; ) So far my guests love it. I enjoy the opportunity to interact with them. I love meeting these people from all over the world. They love the personal touch. My last guest said that I treat guests like visiting friends not paying customers. That just means to world to me.

I set a pretty table the night before. So the food is restricted - they are not helping themselves to anything.

I keep the bagels and croissant in the freezer and just pull them out the night before. So far it’s working. I may have to give it up eventually as I also home school my kids, teach a class at a co-op, and work for my church. UGH this week I’ve been very sick and the contractor let us know at the last minute that a room full of junk needed to be totally emptied. AND guests coming and going.

Perhaps you could try it again - but put the food in a designated place. Find a tray at a discount place, set the stuff on it. Or even a placemat, or pretty piece of fabric, anything to clarify what you’re offering. Don’t give them license to rummage through your cabinets. Especially since you specialize in IB, and some of your guests didn’t even know they were staying there that night, a few things - even a few granola bars, a piece of fruit - a cheese stick - would be a nice touch. Maybe find some china plates at a thrift store. If you don’t advertise it then it’s a bonus, a surprise, and they will love you! It doesn’t have to be as elaborate as what I do, just a little something to show 'em some love. ; )


#9

Lol I was more thinking of a coffee and one pastrie. What you describe does sound like a feast. Especially Brie part. My husband’s favorite, quite expencive.
I am going to try with BJs Danishes, toast and hot drinks in a morning. May be few fruits. Florida oranges and grapefruits. And see how it goes.
thanks for description:)


#10

Good luck! Let me us know how it works out!


#11

DC - I am not laughing at you but when you said a cheese stick would be a nice touch it just made me cry laughing…lol. I pictured a lonely cheese stick sitting on a plate for breakfast.

BTW - your spread sounds really nice. Do you heat up the potato cakes, sausages, bagels, and croissants and just leave on the table? Or do you ask guests first what they would like the next day? I was just wondering if it goes to waste if guests decide to eat out, or if your family just wraps it up and eats yourselves. Less than two dollars per person with brie, sausage, and fruit ??? Do you have a discount grocery store?


#12

Lol that made me laugh too. I think the most important thing is heating the pastries so that they are crispy, warm, and buttery soft in the middle. That said we get a fantastic apple strudel from a local bakery $6 for a large long strudlel (at least 8 1 1/2 - 2’ wide strips) of delicious pastry that keeps freshness for days (although is divine the first day) and is lovely cold.

For us it is about simplicity and making it a streamlined affair. We don’t have a lot of time, so making something that is quick but also delicious and presents beautifully is a good way to go. Lots of things would create more work, but having really good quality pastries, fresh local fruit and tea/coffee is enough so that people don’t leave the home hungry, and have enough to keep their tummies fro growling if they want to lay around and have a lazy morning (this is the reason I think it’s essential to provide something, unless you have a cafe literally next door or less than half a block away).


#13

Gah, breakfast! Whatever I did, it wasn`t good enough. Literally. I have a Nespresso machine so they drank a lot. Or they didn’t, and I didn’t have the tea they wanted. Once I was out of coffee but the guest really wanted some (he said the night before) so I went to the store at 7am before work, just to come back in the evening to see he didn’t touch it. One guest asked for baguette which I got, untouched. Usually I provide(d - no more breakfast from me!) brioche, pain aux raisins etc (yes, I live in France lol) but I just got too annoyed. They still get coffee but it’s a surprise as it’s not listed.

One other thing - I had to get extra dishes for my guests, I realized they were using mine and kept ‘disappearing’ - anybody have any similar experience? So strange!!


#14

Ha! Well, in France in almost any town your guest can pop out to the local store to find delicious fresh baguette and other nice things to suit their fancy for breakfast without much trouble, so it really is a ‘what works for you scenario’. We have cafe’s nearby, but our home is the kind of home many guests really want to spend lazy mornings in. It seems our beds/bedding, and the experience of being in a huge comfy room is luxurious for a NYer stuck in a perpetually tiny apartment. They really want to stay in for once, so providing something really works. We also don’t mention we provide anything other than coffee so that anything extra is a treat.


#15

DC. I am moving in. Please get everything ready! LOL… Just joking… I think!! (Hey, off topic. What do you know about intern housing on Capitol Hill? I need to find something ASAP for my son… you may PM me if you have any advice!)


#16

Hi Cabin!

Yeah, I get it at Costco. The sausage is precooked with no additives and is .43 a piece. Frozen rolls heated in the oven are a treat and they are .50 each, as are the croissants and bagels from Costco. And I have three kids, teens at that - so it doesn’t go to waste. Except they won’t eat hard cooked eggs anymore and turn their noses up at the sausage, which used to be a treat until they got it so often! I have to learn to serve the guests less because rarely do the guests eat it all. I guess I’m used to my human vacumme cleaner (my 15 year old boy adopted at 12, with lots of catching up to do).

But I’m cooking for my kids while cooking for them, more-or-less. Since I’m educating my kids at home that works for us. I know this wouldn’t be for everyone, but I love doing it for now. When it gets tiring I’ll do it differently. It’s definitely in my area of gifting to feed people. Makes me happy. Makes them happy. I just have to watch myself so I don’t give to much and eat into my profits.

I do heat the items in the oven. I even asked my county guy if that was permissible. Honestly, that last guest asked me if I made the croissants by hand. I laughed and said “Oui! Pierre and I were up at 4 am making it just for you!”.

As Sandy said, I have worked on streamlining it, which is why I now have the set menu for three days, the average stay, so I’m not having to figure it out. And I rotate the menus to time it with what I have most on hand. I’m freezing a croissant tonight to see how it does defrosted and heated in the oven. I bet it’s just fine! (Sandy have you done this? I don’t have more than 4 or so guests at a time so the dozen from Costco lasts awhile.)

My biggest temptation is buying pretty serving dishes. I have to just stop. ; 0. I did find a nice set of dishes at Burlington for $20 that Khols was selling for $90. Then I bought a huge table cloth from Amazon for $12 and cut it into three pieces because the table is small. WHAT DID I DO WITH MY TIME BEFORE AIRBNB?!?! LOL


#17

I supplied mismatched flat ware in the guest’s little kitchenette and yes, it has dwindled to almost nothing … Whaaaa??? That’s why God gave us thrift stores…


#18

I was in NY one week and when I came back I saw few glasses missing. Then I stepped on broken glass in one of the rooms. My husband did not even notice until I showed him my bloody feet .


#19

"I keep being marked down for value and accuracy. "

We have the same problem, and we’re actually cheaper than the very local competition, especially if you consider what’s included in our package (a bedroom and a separate sitting room with bar-fridge, toaster, TV, radio, etc.)

Guests seem to be divided between those who give straight 5/5s, and those that toss in a smattering of 4/5s (even though all of our written reviews are excellent.) We’ve only been at it about four months, so I always say to guests when they’re leaving that we’re still new to this and ask whether they can think of anything at all we could be doing better. We’ve had a couple of really good suggestions, but mostly they just no, everything was perfect - and then give us these unexplained 4/5s. Frustrating - we can’t fix a problem if we don’t know what it is. I’ve given up on the Superhost thing because very few guests even know it exists - a competitor just around the corner didn’t even know about it, and her ratings are comparable to ours. In the real world, 4/5 is a very good mark, and I think a lot of guests simply don’t realize it’s problematical for us as AirBnB hosts.


#20

Yes DC we buy our croissants 4-5 packets of 8 at a time and repack in ziplock bags for the freezer. They are only $3.50 for 8 croissants that aren’t super large, but two per person with little pots of jam and butter makes guests feel that their warm crisp croissants was a special start to the day with endless coffee and a bowl of local in season fruit. When heating from frozen it just takes a couple of minutes more. So long as you keep them properly sealed, we have had croissants (and even challa for that matter!) come out after weeks tasting like they have just been baked. We also get the ‘did you bake these?’ remarks lol. Haha. I even get asked if I make the preserves too. Sometimes I am tempted to take credit, but alas, I am unable to lie :confused:


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