Please help me solve a mystery

I’m baffled and I hope y’all can help. I have 3 entire house listings. One of them, which has always been the most popular and has had the highest occupancy rate, suddenly has not been getting bookings. I had guests leave today, and now I don’t have another booking until the 26th of July. It makes no sense to me. My other two listings have some bookings but this one doesn’t. Here’s the link:

A lot of my bookings are last minute but I’ve never had a calendar this open on any of the properties, much less the best one. This is the busy season here too… January and February are our slow months.

Anyone have any ideas?

You have in the title that it is for families but your house rules say not suitable for children.

Your house rules in general may be off putting for some people. Come across very authoritarian.

Beautiful place BTW. Love the kitchen tile work.

Please explain, “I have three entire house listings.”

Is your rental home listed on Airbnb and two other booking companies?

Or, is your rental listed three ways:

  1. The entire house available.
  2. One bedroom only.
  3. Two bedrooms only.

My first impression is that it’s way too cheap, but then I’m used to West Coast urban area pricing, where $78 during the summer will get you a room in somebody’s house where you share a bath with the family, not a whole 2 bedroom house. You have a beautiful home, and I’m left wondering what’s wrong with it when it’s so cheap?

Checking other availabilities in the area, I see there are places with a pool and sleep 4 that cost $10 more per night, so I can only presume that you are within market pricing.

My second impression is that you have WAAAY too many photos! Try to cut it down to 2 pix per room, including bathrooms and kitchen. No need for photos of laundry facilities, or more than 3 pix of the house and yard.

Your listing was viewed 90 times in the past week, but no one booked? How many similar properties were listed on AirBnB in your area a year ago? It could be that many more hosts have entered the market (probably about 2-3 years too late, as many of them will discover) and there is now too much competition.

Thanks! It’s the same house rules for all three houses and they have been the same since day one, so I don’t know why they would suddenly be an issue. I know they could use improvement and I’m working on revising them. They do do come across as authoritarian, I’m sure.

Yes, the children part is a problem I haven’t been able to solve yet. It’s suitable for families but only for infants and older (5 and up) children. It’s got very steep stairs that are pretty much impossible to install safety gates on, and no child proofing, including a glass topped table with sharp edges. I’ve had lots of families stay but they either had infants or older children. Unfortunately, AirBnB doesn’t give the option of specifying anything other than all children or 2-12 year olds.

I have to say, though, that very few guests have had children. Most of the guests have either been here for work, or they’ve been couples, or extended family groups of adults.

Have you tried checking to see if there are a bunch of new listings in your area? When we first started, there was only one other host nearby…now there are over a dozen! We saw the same happen, but it eventually evened out.

Also, try checking on your listing after logging out, to see where it is in the line-up. Is it dropped down from a top slot to the third page? If you have dropped down, look to see how your listing differs from the ones on the top. I still do this all the time…just to check-out the “competition,” though in my area there is honestly room for everybody because the city gets so many tourists a year.

Keep us posted

To help promote my house’s downstairs two-bedroom rental unit, I have 4" x 8" glossy rack-cards and double-sided business cards (photos of my guestrooms on back side) that are displayed in local gift stores and wine tasting rooms. Plus, I hand them to visiting tourists I meet.

I used for the printing.


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I have three separate houses, all listed on AirBnB.

Here are the other two:

After my Airbnb reservations had dramatically slowed, I also listed my two-bedroom rental on FlipKey, TripAdvisor and two months ago.

I have had more bookings in the past two months through and none through Airbnb since February. I think does more advertising than Airbnb.

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We haven’t had a big increase in listings here. If you just put in the location Parkersburg, WV with no dates and one guest, you can see the total number of listings is only 44—that includes single rooms to entire houses.

There are only a few entire houses less expensive than this one and one of them is mine (but it’s only $3 a night less than the one with no bookings).

The town the houses are in is small (35,000) but it’s the largest of five small towns in the immediate area. The immediate area is a SMSA of over 100,000 people.

I also created a free Facebook page for my two-bedroom rental.

About every two weeks, I update that Facebook page with alerts of upcoming festivals, concerts, art shows, etc. that are local.

Perhaps, you might attract more guests who would plan their stays around special events near your rentals.

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Yes, I do this all the time too! This listing has always been in the top 5…it’s usually in the second, third or fourth slot. I also have my husband, when he’s traveling, check it for me. I was wondering if AirBnB had done something that had “ghosted” the listing but apparently not.

hmmm, were there lots of new kids on the block?

Nope. Of the 44, about 15 are newer than mine, but only 7 have the new listing boost going on.

Of the boosted listings, two are a local Microtel with 2 listings. Another three listings are single bedrooms in someone’s home. Another is a studio apartment and the last one is a farmhouse.

All of the listings are more expensive than mine except the studio apartment and one of the single bedrooms in someone’s home.

My wife and I agree your three home rentals are FANTASTIC! I would be surprised none of your house decorations went missing after guests checked-out.

We are curious how wonderful your main house must be, where you and your husband live full-time?

Lol, ever hear about the shoemaker’s children?

My house is a mess. I take care of all three AirBnB houses with the help of one part time assistant.


Yes, there are too many pictures. I’ll cull some out.

I used to live in California. The prices here are much cheaper. Much, much cheaper. It’s one of the cheapest real estate markets in the country. The median home price is only $85,000. There are only six houses priced at over $400k and only one house over one million.

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I would hesitate to remove photos…supposedly the longer people peruse your listing, the higher it gets bumped up in the line…but that may be just an urban myth…

15 new(er) listings is kindof a lot out of 44 total. Think that may be what it is. There are 30% more choices than when you started. You did say you get many last minute requests (so do we), and we noticed fewer advanced bookings during the shoulder seasons when new listings came to the neighborhood, but not during summer (high season). If your summer is high season, and you’re still not filling up, then I’d worry.

The market fluctuates but it doesn’t appear that your listing has any visibility issues. Your place looks very nice, btw!!

Thank you! 15 out of 44 is a lot but most of them aren’t comparable. Only 8 are whole house rentals and of those 8 only three are less expensive. The rest are single rooms and several of them are more expensive than my house.

I’m glad to hear you can confirm the listing is showing up all right.

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If all of a sudden we go slow, I do the following:

  • Play around with the photos. (Yes you could do with a few less.)
  • Slightly tweak the listing description.
  • Put in a new title: “Gorgeous home for a tranquil stay.” or whatever you find more suitable.
  • Play around with the price. Put it higher for a day and then lower again. In fact, I play with my price almost on a daily basis.

Your listing is gorgeous by the way and it does seem too cheap.

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