Just an update to a post we made last year Huge future booking drop when we blocked some dates
It’s the time of year where we block out the first full week of October for a personal getaway. Once again our future bookings for all upcoming weeks have dried up to a trickle. We received 22 new booking requests during August, and have received 2 (yes, two) for the 23 days to date in September. We are a legit multi-room BnB and booked over 200 reservations for the prior 15 months with fairly steady traffic. The upcoming months are huge for tourism in this area - it’s not suddenly an off-season.
We will be watching to see if once again the flow of reservations magically resumes as we travel home in mid October as it did last year.
This is really moving us to consider other booking platforms since this directly effects our business, and especially the people we pay to work at the BnB. We are also considering not blocking dates anymore, but just changing the rate to $1000 per night with a long minimum stay to see if it changes the algorithm (or “penalty phase” as we like to call it). If someone wants to book for that amount we will gladly fly back for those dates!
Someone here suggested the strategy of creating a rule set for the dates. So instead of blocking you make it impossible for anyone to book. For example you put that the minimum booking for that week is 8 days. So the calendar looks open but no one can actually book in that week. I did that recently for 22 day direct pay stay. It’s hard to say if it helped because I don’t tend to get many bookings in advance anyway. It always seems that blocking dates slows my business a little no matter what I do.
I raise my rates for weeks I want off to way above the market rate.
That’s good to hear, I’m quite new to this Airbnb thank you
That is fascinating. I always take a break the first week in September and this year has been the worst ever for slow bookings (No bookings coming at all - #19 by Magwitch)
Forgive my ageing brain but how does BIB work? Say I wanted 10 days off, so I would set the calendar during that time for 11 days minimum? This is GENIUS. I wish I’d known about this before. I have a direct booking this week so I’m going to try this strategy out right away.
edit I’ve worked out what you meant… it’s exactly what I have this week and what I’m doing
My excuse: my back has gone and I’m hobbling around feeling a bit demented.
Today I was reminded about that classic Billy Connelly quip about knowing you’re getting old when…
“You drop something on the floor and think, what else can I be doing here while I’m down here?”
I haven’t blocked any dates, but interest has plummeted, just because it’s out of season
Sorry to hear my friends here are going through this. My experience is the opposite! I blocked out most of September for a friend coming here from Germany. Yes he stayed for free, and I didn’t even ask him to book direct for a dollar… Bookings kept coming in however to late Sept and now Oct is not bad. I can’t remember which site I blocked 1st. It could have been not @ Airbnbn…
I blocked off 6 weeks from end of June to beginning of August. Bookings seemed slow to resume, but I’m only just now at the end of the off-season and I’m still in my first year, so I don’t have a reference for what is normal. I’ve hosted only 2 reservations from August 5 (when the calendar opened up) through September 15 (end of off-season), but I didn’t lower my price and I expected no stays at all, so I’m actually pleased. The rest of September and October are looking better, but not great.
Still, I’m thinking the only reason bookings would be down from blocking dates is if that caused Airbnb to lower my search rank. I check weekly using an incognito browser windows and my listing is always on the 1st or 2nd page for 4 or more guests in my city, so it doesn’t look like blocking dates actually hurt my ranking significantly, but maybe it does for more saturated markets.
It seems a little slow here but I’ve been blocked quite a bit from mid July through late October.
Thank you all for the feedback and shared experiences, please keep them coming!
So far a couple issues with some of the suggestions, at least for our situation…
Really raising the price makes our property seem prohibitively expensive (duh!) for potential guests that may have flexible dates, or just be looking at the Airbnb booking map.
Using rule sets to limit the duration, or Check-in / Check-out days doesn’t protect against a guest starting or ending a stay outside our blocked period and extending into it. At least not without adding a bunch of other rules for dates before and after the blocked period, and/or changing the normal minimum stay duration. And Airbnb will not let you create a rule that restricts all 7 days of the week from check-in or check-out. Go figure! Even if they did, someone could book from the day before we go away until the day after we come back, for example even if we didn’t allow check-in/out while we are away.
So for now we are back to blocking the dates, and wondering if anyone is curious about what they are missing at that $1000 a night BnB they happened to come across while I was using that price as a safety net while experimenting with rule sets earlier today!
For what it’s worth though, I think rule sets are a valuable new tool for us, just not for this situation. And we are so glad the multi-calendar view is back!
Airbnb are only 20% of my bookings. I have no problem blocking dates, but I am in a very small market.
My main calendar is on Lodgify, where I take direct bookings and log our own rare holidays. So from the outset I’ve had and continue to have lots of chunks of time not available to Airbnb - I wouldn’t know if this has affected my rankings and visibility on Airbnb because I’ve never done any different.