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Offer direct booking using AirBnb messaging?

That is a good reason, it’s easier. I wasn’t so much saying that people should book direct only that, if given the option, that they shouldn’t worry about it. Not informed people like you, but on occasion, I look a the Airbnb thing on reddit.

There always seems to be a guest or a host really caught up in booking through Airbnb, “for security and safety”. And it’s always about continuing a stay that has already gone well, usually a long-term stay, you know adding another 3 months or something. Someone will say, “dude, just pay your host directly” and then too many people, both guests and hosts, pop in with warnings about how that is dangerous and that Airbnb protects both protects everyone and that you shouldn’t risk going off-platform.

You would think the warnings are about drunk driving and not just renting a space from someone you’ve been successfully renting a space from. Sometimes it’s also as ridiculous as, “I was going to rent this place on Airbnb, but I saw it on Zillow too, it’s a lot cheaper on Zillow but I don’t feel comfortable with it, maybe this is a scam?”. I really think there’s at least one generation now that doesn’t understand the concept of renting a space from anywhere other than Airbnb. A big eye roll from me.


I feel that Airs requests belong to them. If we get an inquiry, not a request, I tell them to “find me elsewhere on eye gee or eff bee”. There, they get the book direct info. If there is a cancellation, I send them direct booking info too, only via text. Unfortunately, we have not had a single returning guest. But we have had several direct bookings every year.

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I have tried to get people to search for me and it has resulted in one booking that I know of.

Thanks for your inquiry, I am glad you found MY LISTINGS NAME IN MY TOWN while searching online…


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Did you read that thread (or at least part of it) that I linked to on the CC about the scams? Most of the victims found the ads on Zillow or similar sites, but Zillow is the one I see mentioned most often.

And there are lots of warnings online about the scams, so I don’t find anything strange or eye roll about people being cautious or leery.

Guests who are familiar with booking through Airbnb spot these as scams right away, because they know the scammer’s emails about using Airbnb for the first month’s booking isn’t how Airbnb works, but people with no experience with Airbnb often fall for it.

I go further back, so for me it was Frommer’s. But I do love Rick, his relentless cheerfulness, his caring for his employees and community (he’s a huge donor in his hometown for the arts and for social services — he donated an apartment building to a local women’s shelter — and he’s kept all his employees working even though the company has gone 2 years without any tours).

And he’s got a great account of his overland trip through Afghanistan in the 80s on his web site www.ricksteves.com.


I guess I’m a little younger. For me it was the “Let’s Go…” books and the map in the back of the YHA guide.

The first edition I had was “Europe on $5/day” and the next year $10/day. It wasn’t the guidebook, as much as the reader reviews that I liked. I’ve now been to my favorite reader recommendation, a Parisian splurge restaurant, twice, about 20 years between each visit and I hope to have at least one more visit.

I too am a Rick Steves fan having lived in the NW for years.
My favorite guidebooks are Lonely Planet and pre a lot of internet that’s where I would find places to stay. Back in the old days we winged it booking when we knew where we were headed next or sometimes showing up and seeing if places had rooms.

@JJD I too left my purse on a train in France. I never took a purse on foreign trips, it was always the money belt.
No passport, no driver’s license. It’s a good thing we were there for a long trip as I had to get in contact with my friend at home, have her get an old passport and send it to Marseille then once they had it go back to Marseille to get a photo and pick up the new one.

It was stressful. I once again do not carry purses out of the country.

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So do we (almost). Half at time of booking; half 60 days prior. And our cancellation policy is less strict when booking direct than AirBnB - 60 days full refund. AirBnB doesn’t offer that, so I take strict where you lose half if you cancel, even 9 months ahead of time as long as it’s more than 48 hours after booking.

Our property has a unique name and you can find it in 5 seconds on Google, and contacting us directly via email only takes a minute longer. If the savings were $20 or $30, it might not be worth the effort. But people would save hundreds of dollars on our property for 5 minutes of work. We even have a phone number they can call and talk to a real person (me!)

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It’s really not 5 minutes unless you already know exactly whom you want to stay with at the beginning.

After you know the name name of the property because you found it on one of the platforms then you can start the process. And then you message the host or property management company and wait, sometimes hours and then get a “no” or nothing. When I booked the Boston home I did look on Howfee. I found a home that would be acceptable and I messaged via that site and got no answer. After a day or two I looked and saw that listing had changed, I can’t remember if it was price per day or available days. Needless to say that host got crossed off my list. Howfee had virtually no inventory compared to other platforms anyway so that was the end of my search there.

When I went to Costa Rica it still took several hours to hear back from the property management company for the home I did book.

I get the distinct impression that most hosts here don’t understand how time consuming it can be to find the perfect rental on Airbnb much less adding other platforms or off platform. If I’m looking for a large rental for my group vacation I spend countless hours. Traveling alone it’s easy but searching for an entire home, narrowing down on the map, then reading all the fine print and rules and policies then bookmarking or not and moving to the next one is time consuming. It’s much worse if you don’t know what neighborhood you want to me in but want to be at the beach or near public transit.

I meant 5 minutes of work (not clock time) from the time you pick the property on the OTA. And, fair enough, not all hosts are responsive. But you should be able to get a feeling for that from the reviews.

My point is that I’m really surprised at how few guests shop around (I shop around for a $70 blender!). I did have one set of guests that contacted me directly first, then decided to pay the extra for the OTA because they were nervous. But they understood (and told me) they were spending $500 more just to calm their nerves.

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I’m just offering guesses why they don’t book direct. Start asking every guest why they didn’t and we can make a thread about it. LOL.

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My experience is

  1. Airbnb control to stop guest direct contact before booking is 100% automation, blocking phone numbers, email address and web address in messages. If you you avoid the automated blocking, eg. do not use the word website and use the word dot com rather than .com you are unlikely to be picked up.
  2. If I find accommodation through a OTA I always google the accommodation name, to see if their website has a better deal. Occasionally yes mostly not as good, how silly.
  3. If I ask guests about this most say it did not occur to them to check if they could get a better deal direct. Even though Airbnb clearly shows the booking fee, so many people assume it is a free service. Go figure!
  4. After guests depart I send then an email with a link to our own review form and offering a 10% return discount pointing out they will save a total of 25% including Airbnb fee. More than half the returning guests book again through Airbnb. I think most just delete the email and forget about it, or never even read it in the first place.
  5. In 20 years only had a couple of guests who discovered when we sent out our confirmation email that we have our own website and direct was cheaper who then cancelled the OTA booking and booked direct.

It is just listed as “service fee”. Some guests think it’s the host who is charging this, not Airbnb.

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