New host and not getting bookings

I am a new host on Airbnb and had many views but no bookings. My VRBO listing did well for over a year with perfect 5 star reviews. I know it is probably the pricing, but Airbnb suggest a price which is about half of what I am used to at VRBO. It’s a beautiful, remodeled 2/2 house with secluded pool in an excellent Fort Lauderdale area. I am a commercial photographer and my photos are nice. Any suggestions other than pricing. Thank you, Gerhard

There is a thread specifically for South Florida hosts [is Ft Lauderdale considered South Florida?] I bet all of the Florida hosts here get regular pings when that topic is updated:

I am no help with Florida. Sorry.

The only thing I can suggest is lowering your price a bit to get those initial bookings. If I was looking at comparable listings with the same price, I’m going with the one that has reviews. If I saw a low price and a new host, I’d take the risk if I was saving money. It stinks to lower your price, but short-term you may have to if you want to get booked on Air. I only kept my prices low until I had like 5 bookings and 2 reviews. It was enough so that people feel confident in your place.

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Thanks Sarah, Airbnb suggests $70.00 a night, I am used to $175.00. I lowered it to $135.00 and will see what happens. I don’t have instant booking, do you think I should change that? It makes me nervous not to know who the potential guest is. Gerhard

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Fort Myers chiming in here.

Avoid Instant Book like the plague.

You know we’re still pre-Season, of course, so booking are relatively ‘off’. I know the Air price suggestions are ludicrous. But. Look at what the realtors call “the comps” – Air listings comparable to yours in quality, offerings, etc. If you are too much higher you know you’re not gonna get as much traffic. If you’re offering much more in terms of value, you’ll get the bookings over places not offering as much.

We went two-plus months this summer with no bookings and our full price. Looked around and we were offering more but at half-again or twice what others were. My partner said slash the price. Half a pie is better than no pie. If you can break even or make a bit at half price, it’s something rather than nothing.


Hi @Gerhard,

If you can share your listing url you’d probably get more specific advice. What happened to your VRBO listing? Was it for the same property and rooms?

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Hi @Gerhard,

I’m in Fort Lauderdale too. You and I are not in competition though because our rental is a one bedroom apartment with no pool so we have different potential guests :slight_smile:

Bear in mind that this is the slow season and you’ll probably get lots of bookings for the winter months. Your price is very low!

I’m keen to promote forum members’ listings and I have a good social media presence - if you could let me have your listing, I’d be happy to help.


Hi Jaque
Thanks for your reply, Here is my listing.
Thanks, Gerhard

Your place looks fabulous - and so large! I have a back-to-back turnover today but as soon as I can, I’ll write an article about your listing and promote it :slight_smile:

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Hi Fahem. I still have my VRBO listing. They are giving me a hard time lately because VRBO wants me to use their booking system. I might have to do that because VRBO seems to put my listing at the bottom of their search engine.
My VRBO/Homeaway listing:
This side business is getting difficult after the City of Fort Lauderdale wanted me to get a Certificate of Compliance. I had to pay $900.00 and get a $1,300 pool fence installed plus hard wired smoke alarms. Thanks, Gerhard

Hi @Gerhard,

I expect this has been discussed here. But is the VRBO booking system bad?

Was this a one-time charge? Or an ongoing one? I suppose this is a safety thing?

STR isn’t proving exactly profitable here either.

It will be annually, like a license. I think it is about $700, some other cities are charging about $30 per year. Many Vacation Rentals are flying under the radar, but the City was going to hire a company who knows how to detect places without certification. Many homeowner complained at City Meetings and some are volunteering to report unlicensed rental homes. This is why I mentioned that it is getting complicated. You have to have 5 licenses to run this business, If they catch you, the fines could be large. The City Code Compliance people are actually friendly and work with you.
Thanks, Gerhard

Cute place and a reasonable price. I agree that you should get plenty of bookings once high season starts but I see that most of your calendar is blocked for Dec and January.

If that’s an annual license, it’s expensive. But you should check.

Wow. How much do they cost?

I think your lowered price sounds fine. I have the same set-up as you in Palm Desert. It’s on a golf course, 21 pools, very nicely landscaped. Airbnb suggests the same prices as you mentioned for yours, which are a joke! The Motel 6 up the road charges that much.

I have ours at $125, 2 night minimum for 2 people but add $20/night per extra person up to 4, so the listing shows a lower number. There’s also a $100 cleaning fee. It’s our off season but it’s starting to get busier as we approach fall.

Wow! Your place is really nice.

Very nice home! I’m sure once we Northerners start having to don jackets and gloves, you will start getting inquiries and reservations! Many of us ( such as me) just won’t consider a trip south until winter as spring, summer, and fall are just too amazing up here! November to March is when I need to go to Florida :slight_smile:

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Gerhard, Miami no
Host here way down south in Cutler Bay. Lower your price to get some reviews in. BBTW my and VVVRVRVRBVRBO platforms for same studio are a lot higher priced so either wait it out till November the start of the sesseason or see what the 135 a night brings you. Play with the price about the dollars until late you get that first booking to see what is the sweet spot during slow season with airbnb.

Your place is beautiful!!

I love your cute house!