Have seen a dramatic loss (enough to put me out of business prematurely) in bookings since the roll out. Old news I know for many. But…wanted to see if anything had changed (since they said they had gotten feedback and were ‘working on it’)…
In over five years, my tiny cabin in the Tennessee Cumberland Mountains was always booked out 3-4 months in advance. So much so I had to block weekdays after May 1st in order to keep up (I live on the farm and I do all the work myself, summer is way busier for me maintenance wise) . I always got at least 1 booking a week. I have a 5 day maximum stay and 2 day minimum. Always have. My view graph was always over 200 per day. I always ‘tweaked’ my listing every few weeks to keep it fresh, and was always on the front page of my area for a search for my type of property.
Since the roll out…Not ONE booking since. View graph shows from the time after this I went from over 200/day to less than 20/day. And you can no longer find my listing unless you choose specific dates that I have open (which, after being booked for three months , thank GOD, before the roll out, I have plenty of open dates) you cannot find me. My guests had told me prior that they often found me by ‘browsing’ my area. For a ‘cabin in the mountains with a view’. Bingo. There I was. They did not enter specific dates. Many didn’t have that in mind. Now, no deal. Oddly tho, if you stay flexible, the same group of cabins appear on the first and second pages (mine is unfindable after 15 pages, and after 3-4 pages it sends you over an hour or MORE out of the area) . This group has always been in my area, but now no matter how you search, they are there. ‘Superhosts’ and them being on the first pages, according to the new program info, is because they have a ton of dates available. But. if you go to their listing, they do not.
Additionally, Airbnb has been playing around with my pricing noted on my listing. I’m $105/night. Sometimes it shows up as $144/night. Insane. So now they have added that insult to injury. Pricing me out of the area market. And it’s not ‘inclusive’ pricing. My cleaning fee is $20. AND it is not the ‘total’ number that you get IF you find my listing thumbnail on the group. THAT is correct. if you are brave enough to click the ‘reservation’ button after opening my listing, it will then show up correctly as $105/night. Insane again. I cannot get them to fix this altho they admit it’s a ‘problem’. Uh…yeah!
So lots of ideas as to how to ‘fix this’. I’ve tried blocking off ALL my available dates for a couple of days, I’ve tried ‘snoozing’ the listing, changing photos, rewording the description (by the way they did away with the titles, then said they put them back, but they didn’t mine) . My photos are professional and depict my ‘amazing views’ up front. And my ‘title’ they gave me included the words ‘amazing views’ and the description repeatedly says that. Am I in category ‘amazing views’ for my area? Nope…
So although planning to retire by the first of the year, I am now faced with shutting down NOW. I cannot afford the outrageous STR insurance if I cannot get bookings. VRBO has never been a good source for me, but I stay on it. Really ticks me off. So all I can attribute this to, is an effort to ‘eliminate’ STR owners with small, unusual properties who have stay limits. Seems Airbnb wants you to offer ‘longer stays’ (they always have that ticker on my listing suggesting I should do that) and/or allow one night stands. I never have, and I never will. Neither my property OR my temperament is suitable for this.
I own ONE property. I am not an Airbnb guru. And it was wildly popular (just read the reviews which I am sure THEY do) and much loved. I have been a Superhost (whoopie) since the first quarter I opened over 5 years ago. I really liked what I was doing. I was just planning on retiring in 6-8 months because I am 67 years old, been in the people business for myself all of my adult life, and I was getting tired. But I hate that someone ELSE is forcing it early on me, and I don’t like the implications of why. Has anyone else seen ANY improvement? If so, would love to get input on what your thoughts are as to why/how this happened. I know I am not alone in this mess.