New host and not getting bookings

Just to update my problems with not getting Aribnb bookings. In the last 6 months, I had only one guest from Oregon. I received a 5 star review. I get no Airbnb inquiries, almost like my account is dead. I called Airbnb two time and asked if they find anything wrong with my listing. Airbnb tried hard to find any problems but my listing looks fine. Of course, they always suggest lowering the prices. I do get bookings with VRBO/Homeaway even after they started to charge a hefty “service” fee and forced me to use their online booking. Here is my listing

Thanks, Gerhard

In that case consider setting up a completely new listing. Since you’ve only had one guest stay you have nothing to lose and you may get a listing boost on your new listing.

Snooze the original listing while you test a new one to see if you get interest.

It initially said $170/night but when tried doing an inquiry for 4 nights, it said $191/night. Is that normal? I noticed there’s a $125 cleaning fee - is that being calculated into the nightly rate? And if so, could that be causing guests to cancel the inquiry?

Hi @Gerhard,

Try doing a search for your listing doing “reasonable” parameters, and see what the ranking of your listing is. That’s important - people can’t book it if they can’t see it.

Also, if you post your desired parameters, others here can also try searching on their respective Airbnb sites.

I am a new host also so not sure if my response to you is any help or not. But I am in Florida. I checked your listing and don’t see any openings until May. Almost all my bookings are last minute. I didn’t get many March bookings until the end of February. That has been the standard since I began, even during the busy season in my area – I’m on the Nature Coast and we are known for manatee and scalloping season – most people still book last minute. But when they do book, they book solid during those popular times.


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Hi TuMo
I don’t know why the price goes from $171/night to $191/night. I would not like that either and now remember that someone also saw the increased price. The cleaning fee is in addition and without complaints from any of my VRBO guests. Thanks, Gerhard


Under your House Rules, it says prominently that “all guests must be 25 years of age or older.” That in itself might be turning some lookers off.

It’s obviously a misprint because you do mention children’s safety, a baby safety fence for the pool, etc.


Thanks Sandy
I will change that.

Hi Gerard, are you sure your price is showing right? I USD = about 72cents AUD ATM but the listing came up as $433 AUD for me despite defaulting to 30th to 31st January for one person for some reason. All I did was click on the link you sent me. That might be a fault with the website you should ask ABB about as its defaulting to your total 4 night price and putting people off. Especially as ABB ‘suggested’ for me to look at other listings in your area and advertised them as $117, $201 and $120 a night for me! I know what I’d click on. I have a 3 night minimum and my listing does not show up for the total price of 3 nights and I can see why you’d miss bookings. Otherwise your place looks great. Maybe advertise a nice breakfast hamper on arrival or such and have it in your title? You could make something that looks fancy quite cheap and means you could tick ‘free breakfast’ and make people think they are getting a freebie too. We all love a freebie on holiday and yours seems like a holiday destination to me.

Hi Emily
I did not understand your response about $433 AUD exactly. I went to my pricing, put in some dates and the calculation seems to be okay. In addition to my rental fee is the one time cleaning fee, Airbnb service fee, state transient tax and county tourist tax. (11% sales and tourist tax is also added at every Hotel in Fort Lauderdale.) It is possible that my prices are a little high, but reservations at VRBO/Homeaway are running okay for two years. I get guests from many different countries. I feel that the prices Airbnb suggests are to low for my house. My overhead is about $1000.00 per month. If I have to lower my prices too much, I might consider renting my house on a yearly lease. In Fort Lauderdale you have to get certified with the City with inspection and high fees, you have to have a Florida Resort License, State transient sales tax license, City Business License, County Business License and a County license to collect 5% tourist tax. Some hosts might run under the radar with their rental business, I don’t want to risk it.
Thanks, Gerhard

AirBnB tends to be more last minute travel at least among US tourists. Only about 10% of my bookings are more than 1-2 months in advance. Probably 50% of my bookings are within 2 weeks. So if you’re booked several months in advance that could be why you have better luck on other sites. My VRBO/Homeaway bookings tend to be a month+ in advance.

Also, AirBnB guests tend not to care about the legalities of the hosts, they just want cheap places. VRBO people are used to the typical vacation rental contracts, fees, policies, etc.

It looks like your place is similar to mine and is a guest house detached from your personal residence, or is it a separate, true “vacation rental”? From my experience, those using AirBnB are looking more for cheap, near the host, or quick availability. Those using VRBO are looking for typical vacation rentals. Of course those are general stereotypes and despite the “homesharing” nonsense AirBnB sells but is losing due to businesses and multi-property managers adding their listings, your place just may naturally do better on other listing sites.

I like to list on as many free to list resources as possible. I think it’s funny how probably most of us have our places listed on several sites and yet depending on our location or what we offer one or another site does better for us, depending on the supposed market the particular website tends to cater to.

But if you’re doing ok without AirBnB be glad, with all the changes, over-saturation, and joke of a “host-guarantee”, you’re better off on a site where the guests are used to real contracts and are expected to not trash a place because they know they can get away with it. As much as I love AirBnB, I also hate it.

Thanks Sarah.
My Vacation Rental House is a separate house in a different very nice original Fort Lauderdale neighborhood. I only mentioned all the licenses you need and the overhead to justify my fees.
Many reservations come moths and in some cases a year ahead. 50% of my guests are from Europe and Canada. You might be right that VRBO is better for me. I notice some of the members writing about problems with their Airbnb guests. In two years, I never had any problems and received 5 star reviews. Some of my guests are repeat customers.
Thanks, Gerhard

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Repeat customers are the best. The only repeat customer I have had is from VRBO. There’s just too many similar places on AirBnB and (stereotyping again) I think AirBnB customers are wanting the ease of booking through the app and the instant booking for closer timeframes. The systems are just so different, and while Air’s is easier in a lot of ways, it does lead to guests who don’t read and just go with the quickest and cheapest thing available that looks nice. VRBO has a more traditional rental feel to it. I don’t really like the payout system I’ve experienced so far with VRBO since I pay per booking, but I think for next summer (since then I’ll be summer only and not year round like now) I’m going to try to set it up as my main site instead of Air as I like the guests I’ve had from there better.