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Old poster, returning to host


#21

I remember your situation now!!!
Yes keep the price on the higher side rather than the lower side. You will attract better guests.


#22

Thanks Cabinhost! I hadn’t heard of most of these changes. Here in Seattle, they now only show the instant book properties by default unless you change your search filters (most guests probably don’t).

If babies are free, do they count towards the maximum number of guests? If I can accommodate 4 guests, can 4 adults + 2 babies show up?

That is a big change with the emotional support animals. I imagine there is nothing to stop a guest from claiming Fido is an emotional support animal to get free accommodations for a pet in a pet-free household.


#24

But at 6 months they can crawl and get into everything!


#25

Children start walking anywhere between 10 months and a year old.


#27

hi Xena, totally off board (hope the others dont get upset…) any recommendations for good restaurants in seattle? i should be there in May next year…so a bit of time :crazy_face:


#28

How difficult is it to get visas to visit the US? They don’t make it that easy to visit Russia.
We are disappointed to miss St. P. Next time for sure. Loved how your listing made visiting the city seem sooooo enticing.


#29

Instant book allows you to have three declines a year without being penalized.


#30

What has that got to do with the point of my post @lahope which is that you can’t include house rules which are discriminatory?

And on Instant Book cancellations are unlimited but restricted to guests you can demonstrate you feel uncomfortable with.

Some examples include:

The guest has several unfavourable reviews that concern the host
The guest hasn’t responded to questions the host needs to know about their trip
The guest makes it clear they’ll likely break one of the host’s house rules, like bringing a pet or smoking

Not because you don’t want to host locals which is discriminatory.


#31

Air is telling me I’ll get 247% more views on my listing if I use Instant Book. O.O I haven’t opened my listening back up (waiting for my tenant to move out in February so I can get new pictures) but I’ll be curious if this is true.


#32

Air isn’t telling you anything. A computer program is generating messages for listings that meet certain arbitrary criteria that don’t consider many variables in your listing. So one new thing is the deluge of emails and pop ups on your calendar telling you things to try to get you to do one thing or another, particularly lower your price.

Once your listing is live again you’ll get “6 people looked at your listing and booked a place an average of $12 lower.” It may be “true” but that doesn’t mean you should change anything. I get that all the time. Or messages telling me how people who do ______ get __ more bookings. This is on the heels of almost three months of me being booked 95% of my unblocked days. I didn’t lower my price a single day. If I get a last minute cancellation I raise my price, not lower it as Air suggests.

All that said I think you should seriously consider using instant book if you can. You will get more views.

I am really interested to see where you are in search and if you immediately get bookings when you go live again. I wonder if they treat a snoozed listing like a new listing when it comes back online? I had my room blocked for on and off for about 6 weeks of this summer while I vacationed and remodeled and it hurt me in the search ranking and I was correspondingly slower. It took about another 6 weeks to get back to where I was before summer.


#33

I opened my listing back up again, with higher prices than what I was charging two years ago, but still below the average price for an in-law suite that sleeps four. I’m on page 3 of the search results for my neighborhood, so looks like I didn’t get a boost in the search results for returning to host. I am open to turning on instant-book, but seeing how things go without it first.


#34

If nobody objects, I am treating this thread as my hosting journal, for those who enjoy reading such things.

I reopened my listing about a week ago, and have had about 20-60 views on my place, but only two bookings. One was a returning guest who I had been expecting, the other a new party. Seattle has gotten really competitive over the last two years. Though I am fairly priced for the accommodations I offer, I think I’m going to have to think of how else to attract guests. My suite is fairly minimalist, so I am thinking some new decorative items and fresh listing photographs would be in order.


#35

The busier you are, the busier you will be. As you learned when you block off your listing and then come back you get no new listing boost and you’ve probably fallen down in the ranks a lot. Hopefully your guests will be happy and leave good reviews quickly. New pics and going to check your calendar and tweak your listing is a good idea.

Last summer I blocked about six weeks for remodeling and travel and it took about 6 weeks to build my booking rate back up to what it was prior to the shutdown.


#36

Thank you for the encouragement! I am glad you were able to build your reservations back up after the time away. Luckily I’m showing up on page 1-2 of my neighborhood if you put in specific weekend dates, so I’m hoping I’ll book a few more last-minute travelers. I’m glad so many people are seeing my listing, I think I just need to step it up more with making sure my pictures and description are inviting. I have quite a few new competitors in the neighborhood that offer nicer accommodations. Luckily I have a few months before the busy summer season, when I’d like to be booked solid and bringing in the big money. That’s how it went two summers ago!


#37

Hi Xena, just letting you know that the state found the $8 & $14 per night flat tax illegal. The amount charged will be a percentage of 14-16%, which will replace the current approximately 10% and air will collect and remit as they are currently.

I’m finding March and April to be a little slow. I hope things pick up soon. I just noticed there are some bargain basement hotel rates right now too, so that doesn’t help.


#38

Thanks for the update, Arlene! I hadn’t heard this news, so I appreciate you passing it along. I don’t mind the rate guests pay going up, so long as it isn’t a flat tax that is the same on bargain and luxury hotels.

Two years ago, I found March and April to be when my listings started to get busy, but I think you have a good point that the motels lowering their prices are offering some competition.

I forgot to mention a new challenge! I have a neighbor, who is a pretty cool guy who grew up in the neighborhood and has a lot of good stories, now has TWO junker cars in his yard that are parked right outside the window of my rental. I need to diplomatically ask him to donate his cars to a charity that takes junkers, or plant some shrubs on the property line. At least the sticker bushes grew over the mattress he left in the alley a few years ago! The other neighbors just complain about his unkempt yard to the city and they fine him and nothing changes (this is the Pacific Northwest way), but I have found he is actually pretty responsive if you talk to him directly.


#39

Hello everyone! I went to Target yesterday and I got some decorative items and took new photos.

I’m averaging about 40 views a day, so I’m hoping these new photos will help increase my bookings. Most of the comparably priced private spaces are much further from downtown.

I hope to replace the single-pane windows and sand/refinish the garage door over the next couple of months. If I make a profit this summer, I hope to renovate the bathroom next winter.


#40

A small desk lamp by the bedroom desk would be nice.I have an LED one that’s it’s also battery operated in case of power outage but I can’t find it online to link to. A longer, narrower rectange shaped table for the “kitchen” area instead of a folding table would be nice.


#41

Unfortunately there aren’t any outlets in the desk nook, but I could go for a battery-operated LED option! Thanks for taking a look.


#42

Here is an update to my informal hosting journal.

I’ve been hosting again for about two months, and starting to hit the point where I obsess over reviews. I need to relearn how to not let them bother me.

I just did a batch of reviews for guests, so their respective reviews became available. I just had a 4-star review and 3-star review come through with complaints about things disclosed in the listing: that I have a parrot and that the entrance is in the backyard. I’m still at a 4.8 and 84% 5-star reviews (64 reviews total), so this isn’t really hurting anything except my ego.

I think this guest feedback bothers me because these are both things I can’t do anything about. Changing the entrance to my house would be tens of thousands of dollars. As for the parrot: it is my husband’s obnoxious, spoiled bird, and where he goes, so goes the parrot.

I ask guests to park in the private parking spot in my alley so they don’t have to walk through the yard at night, but some don’t have cars and their Lyfts/Ubers drop them off in front of the house. I think other guests have just never seen an alley before so they’re not quite sure how to access it (driving around the block instead of through the yard). I disclose if you enter from the front there is a step if you walk through the yard. One guest described this as “crawling over a wall” which kind of stings, but at least that was in the private feedback.

This guest also complained privately that the suite was too expensive. This time of year, I charge anywhere between $100-150 a night for a mother-in-law apartment in Seattle, two miles from downtown, that sleeps four people. I was booked at about 80% capacity in May, and I’m about 50% booked so far for June, so I think I’ve found the sweet spot in terms of what I charge.

When I remove emotion from the equation, I’m glad when guests mention negative features in the review that are also disclosed in the listing. Some guests don’t read the listing, but do read the review. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll respond to these reviews publicly; I have never responding to reviews publicly before because it make the negative reviews stand out, but in this case, I DO want everyone to know I have a parrot and that the entrance is in the backyard.

I think guests may also be getting nit-pickier. Now that I can see the star reviews individual guests leave on a listing, I’ll see newer listings with only 3.5-4.5 stars total. Curious, I click and read, “Great apartment and location!” and then the guest will only leave three stars.


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