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My Airbnb Story


#1

I’m really interested to hear from others who have been an Airbnb host for 3/4 years plus, especially Australian hosts.
I live in a year round tourist mecca for both local and international visitors. I began with an ensuited room in my house 4 years ago. Had my first booking within 2 days and it just escalated nicely after that. Then I closed it down for about 6 months as I was building. Opened back up just before Xmas 2 years ago and whilst all peak seasons were always booked in the room, it got slower and slower. Ok, so now almost everyone has an Airbnb room as it’s gained popularity, I get that.
The new building has a contemporary and bright fully self contained studio apartment. That just took off like the clappers and I was booked for 3 weeks out of most months at good and fair prices so I was never concerned about the drop in the room in my house.
Last year I was overseas most of the year and so put a hold on all my Airbnb. Again I relisted both places just before last Christmas. As usual, both filled up quickly with Xmas/NY bookings.
Then after that rush the room did its usual trickle down to almost nothing. But the studio has followed in a slightly similar vein, weekends are almost always booked but little during the week. I did have a couple of long bookings, 2 weeks in February and then a month from mid March so not sure if this blocks or deters in any way.
I have 95% 5 star from 127 reviews across the two spaces.
Now it could just be that the last month has been slow (local businesses are alluding to this) or that there is SO much competition now that we pale into insignificance. I’ve turned on smart pricing on both, instant book on one (can’t really see that either have made a difference). I’ve reduced the price on the studio a little and on the room, a lot (A$30-40 a night). I also mostly take up the discount offers from Air which may make a slight difference.
Most of my income has been coming from Air and I’m not comfortable with that so I’m looking at other ways to create a multiple income stream. I feel that Air is such a constantly changing and uncertain thing that it makes sense to create other income streams.
Do you have a similar story? Is it because there are SO many Airbnbs now, financial, algorithmic or a combination of all - or something else entirely?


#2

I’ve been hosting 4 years and I’m busier than ever. What I’ve noticed is that the busier you are, the busier you will be. When I put my listing on hold to do remodeling two years ago and again last summer it takes several weeks to ramp back up.

I have instant book, self check in, flexible cancel policy private entrance suite but it’s attached to my house. Competition has gone from 16 listings to 160 but I’m near the top in search and I guess in bookings. So mere competition doesn’t explain as my competition has increased greatly. I think it’s because as Airbnb moved away from the share your home model, so did I. As they pressured us to be more like hotels and give the guests what they want, I did and I’ve been rewarded.

I’ve said it dozens of times and will say again: relying on Airbnb is risky. From competition to local regulators to pissed off neighbors to pissed off Mother Nature.

BTW, your post title sounds like the title of a book Airbnb sent me.


#3

I have 4 entire properties also in Australia that I list. My enquiries dropped like a stone after the 22/2 announcements of new categories. I am listed on 4 booking sites and these have helped to up the bookings, but this won’t help you as these sites don’t do rooms. It isn’t an increase in hosts here, it is more the new categories and I feel I am harder to find in the searches.


#4

I would suggest looking into a channel manager and listing across multiple sites. My units are always booked but they’re private so that could be why.


#5

I am in Australia - between Melbourne and Phillip Island and most of my guests are on mid-week or weekend breaks. My history is very similar to yours. Started off 4 years ago with a room and bathroom in my house. Eventually blocked it off and turned it into a self contained apartment. Rates have slowly gone from $40-50 to $100-120 out of season and whatever I can get over Xmas-Oz Day period. I have been booked out every weekend and 2-5 weekdays since Xmas which is a lot better than previous years. It has slowed down a bit, I was looking at my first unbooked weekend in 5 months but then got a late booking probably because a sunny weekend was forecast. I don’t have a lot of local competition but do get people visiting Phillip Island 30kms away who don’t mind the drive and like being closer to Melbourne.

Having said that I have been getting more bookings either directly from previous guests or through Bookings, Stayz/Homeaway, HolidayingWithDogs, and Tripadvisor. You might assume everyone uses AirBnB but that is not the case. In April 80% of my bookings were outside AirBnB for the first time. If you haven’t already I would try that to increase bookings. Overseas guests particularly use TA or Bookings.


#6

Surely it would have been called “My AirBnB Journey”?


#7

Relying on Airbnb solely wasn’t the aim - at all. It just happened like that. I don’t share my home, like you I have an ensuited room in my house with separate entrance as well as a studio apartment in a separate building next to my house. Things are as they are. So far I’ve resisted using other platforms - because I didn’t need to but, needs must! Could also be pre-financial year end doldrums…


#8

I would never assume - makes an ass out of you and me, as the saying goes :rofl: But I do think it’s time to look at other platforms again. Who do you get most bookings from and find the best model - I think Air has a good all round model that from what I can see, no one has yet emulated.


#9

You cannot depend on any OTA…they can change rules or algorithms in a heartbeat. Do you have what is considered a whole home rental? Meaning at least a studio with some cooking facilities?


#10

You can say that again, about the algorithms. I defy anyone to get a handle on them! Yes, I have fully self contained studio apartment. I did try Wimdu once, not a single enquiry. Also Stayz, nothing either except enquiries that never went anywhere and then I couldn’t get off the site! Who are you thinking of @cabinhost?


#11

I think they are all converging to the ABB model - Homeaway just released a bunch of new stuff around reviewing guests. ABB picks up things from Bookings on grace periods etc. Most of my guests, 50-75% are through ABB and I find it the easiest to use but I get about 10-20% through direct bookings from previous guests and 10-30% through Bookings, Homeaway/stayz and HolidayingWithDogs who are based in Melbourne and as the name suggests are for dog friendly accomodation. And maybe 1 every other month through Tripadvisor. They all add up. And you can sync the calendars which helps. I am haopppy to be getting more off ABB because if for some random reason they kick me off I won’t go instantly broke :japanese_goblin:


#12

I presume you are in Oz if using Stayz? They have been taken over by Homeaway so seem to be much improved for website but I still don’t get many bookings through them lately.


#13

We list on Airbnb, Homeaway, Wimdu. and Glamping Hub. We get most booking through Air, then Homeaway, a few from Wimdu and only enquiries from Glamping Hub, but we stopped listing our farm so Glamping Hub isn’t useful at the moment. We are a bit slow this month but that’s ok.

@JamJerrupSunset we were down your way earlier in the year staying at a Crib Point airbnb which was fantastic, as one of my sons had his marching out parade at Cerberus. I’m interested in ‘holidaying with dogs’ as we are dog friendly, will check it out. Have you found it useful? But another site to monitor…


#14

Fairy penguins! :heart::heart::heart::heart::penguin::penguin::penguin::penguin:


#15

Don’t be a penguinist! They are called Little Penguins these days.


#16

HWD are quite new and based in Melbourne and only do Australia. As they don’t allow calendar syncing yet I often get requests, direct from the owners, to see if I am available and usually aren’t. But like Bookings and TA I get enough bookings to make up a total about 25% and I charge about 25% more than AirBnB. Crib Point is on the fashionable side of Westernport Bay as I am sure you noticed all the horse farms and upmarket wineries on Mornington Peninsular.


#17

I wasn’t thinking of any one particular site. But are you set up to take direct bookings? And list on some of your local attraction sites, and any other places that will allow you to list under their accommodations section?


#18

Hi cabinhost, no I’ve never needed to do anything outside Air so far but will definitely be looking at it. Having said that I just spoke with an Airbnb CSP and she was extremely helpful, looked back 3 years and said that this time of the year here - March to May/June shows as being quieter and that my place was the first one that came up in her search (??). Said other Airbnb’s in the area were pretty much the same and that few were booking at the moment. Note to self, good time to take off myself!


#19

Yes in Oz up in Noosa. Stayz was not good for me when I listed before, AFTER they had been taken over by Homeaway. Who is HWD?


#20

Huh. I didn’t get the memo. At the Pride Parade, they were still carrying little FAIRY PENGUIN signs. With rainbows.


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