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Yes it is tricky. As long as you stick with good, honest, functional information you can never raise expectations beyond reality.
Then layer over a sense of place - what is different / unique about your place versus the many other guest options? What will hook your guest? We all know that feeling when we’re planning a holiday / vacation - you need to tap into that. Like how it feels to collapse into a pillow-top king-sized bed knowing you can sleep late the next morning. Or how the sunset looks when you’re hand-in-hand with your partner on the oceanfront deck.
If you can nail the combination of honest, functional information and the emotional hook, you’re set! Then you can stop with the compulsive editing
Well, how do you put a good spin on the fact that you live on a flight path, your neighbors are ghetto boys who blast music and rap music from their cars, and your house’s walls are so thin you can hear a person coughing in the other room?
Lol CS. Some people love an urban experience if they are from the boonies. Just say it how it is, but emphasize the good points about your place. I have yet to see a single listing that needed someone else’s ‘voice’ to do the talking. In my opinion, the owners voice is always the most personal, and can make the best connection with possible guests. Be yourself and let a bit of personality through, just like you did. Lots of people would probably stay if you said what you just said, just because they appreciated your humor about it.
Boy oh boy. The non stop promotion from businesses on this ‘forum’ is relentless. Usually forums prevent links to businesses and promotion, so that the forum can be a forum. You know, a place where people talk about the particular topic, not a place where people come to market to people non stop. This is out of control. Almost every second post!
As I mentioned VI, it’s not just you, there are more posts here from businesses trying to promote, than actual hosts. There are non stop airbnb type promotion, of speakers that will teach us to be the best ‘airbnb host’. It’s downright relentless. I have never been to a forum that even lets members market to to other members. Clearly it doesn’t foster an environment where people feel like they are safe to chat. This is just one big promotion fest not a forum, and you’re not the only one. meanwhile airbnb is claiming they are not involved - no doubt through some legal lingo side operation that allows them to claim its separate. It’s clear they have their people here non stop pushing the company line and agenda. Either way it’s not a safe place for hosts to feel able to talk about real issues without getting some unrealistic canned answer.
Who runs the forum? Do they not have a view on promotion? I don’t recall seeing a warning on sign up that it’s not allowed, although I could have missed it. And I dare say some would say it’s simple etiquette to realise that self promo is a no-no.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not here to say “oh but nobody told me”. My point is simply that if forum members feel that it’s an overly promotional space they ought to have recourse to the forum manager/moderator who should either exclude people like me, or make it clear it’s acceptable. Without the boundary I’m not surprised that you feel inundated with promo (and putting myself in your shoes I totally agree).
A chap called Matt Landau runs the “Inner Circle” for vacation rentals. I regularly participate there, as do other vendors. Our rule of thumb with Matt is “help don’t sell” and, as such, members there are extremely happy with the non spam like feel of the inner circle. And actually it fosters respect as everybody participates constructively, focusing on the questions of members and the themes raised as opposed to trying to give posts an angle. It has zero cynicism as well which is refreshing in an age where so many forum members revert to what’s wrong with the world instead of taking ownership and looking for solutions! No I’m not a founder or affiliate with Matt, it’s just a great space for people like me to learn - yes that’s a genuine view, I’m not giving canned comments!
In short Sandy, I agree with you. But the forum owners have to declare the boundaries. So who does own this forum?
I absolutely agree with your remarks on declaring boundaries - which clearly hasn’t been done, and also on the inability to find out who owns this forum. Who are the moderators? These things are usually clearly laid out. Am I missing it somewhere? Usually you get all these details in the welcoming email, along with the forum rules.
As far as an inner circle of people with business ideas based on how to capitalize from people trying to make it in the airbnb world, well, it’s nice you’re all upbeat and all. Maybe that’s because salespeople are all like that? After all, it really wouldn’t help you to be a real sad sack acting like your place attracts loser guests.
What’s even more interesting Sarah, is that you joined 36 minutes ago as a 'professional airbnb profile writer ’ and within a couple of minutes of that you’re questioning me? How about you read my posts. I think I’ve made myself extremely clear! You on the other hand - well, I can see why you might be concerned that I don’t like that a forum for hosts is actually more of a marketing place for people to shove their stuff at us.
@VacationInsiders it all comes down to common sense when posting things. Does it
A.) Genuinely benefit (provide value) to hosts? A product/service that aims to help hosts is okay, but another forum specifically for hosts would not be (since there’ll be duplicate information and it’ll make it harder for hosts to find information).
B.) Hijack another thread/comment? If you create your own post and comment only on your own post then that’s totally fine.
Obviously you can run things however you like Tom. But my involvement in successful forums has been that they never allow marketing or selling to members, surely you are aware that no one likes being advertised to? How much more so when in a place people have come to seek advice from other hosts struggling with the same issues, but instead half or more of the responses are from people trying to direct traffic to their business, or market their latest scheme? The replies are always - I could answer you properly, but I’m a huge expert, and you’d have to pay for my really great qualified answers here at www.com. And follow my guidelines, and you’ll never have this happen again! Yes, I’ve seen this exact post. Over and over again here. Hardly helpful, and quite a turn off.
It’s just not a safe place for hosts to converse with each other, when they are constantly being marketed to. Sure most people won’t say anything like I am. They’ll just realize it’s not what they hoped and leave. There will be another forum in your place that creates a proper forum atmosphere, and you can become a place for people to market their wares. In fact there already is a forum like that. When people find it, I expect you’ll find what I’m saying to be true.
I find myself agreeing with Sandy, if I put myself in the shoes of the host. @tom2 why don’t you have this be a non marketing space, but still allow vendors to participate to the extent they are helping the conversation? No self promotion, neither in existing threads, nor as new threads. If hosts want to view the vendor profile and navigate to their site, well that’s then their choice.
I know this works in another forum very well, to the extent that I actually feel part of that forum. After all, I may not be a host, but I’ve stayed in countless vacation rentals in my time and have a valuable guest perspective. So I participate with a guest perspective not as a vendor. And I actually learn stuff from hosts / owners about what’s important to them.
[ @Sandy will probably cynically say I’m spinning this as a sales guy. I’m neither a sales guy nor a spin master, I just think it’s a very relevant topic which has an obvious solution!]
Actually VI I didn’t even think to be cynical at all (I don’t think I’m that bad, even as unpopular as my viewpoint is here), as I thoroughly agree. I have also seen the format you just laid out to work excellently in other forums I have been a well respected and believe it or not, non combative member of. The fantastic thing, was that vendors, just through their regular contributions and becoming valued members would inevitably attract attention to their businesses through a trust built up by sharing and being a part of the forum as equal members. After a time, relationships would be built, and people would go and inquire about what they did, and word of mouth would spread without the vendor having to market themselves or post links. I found amazing vendors this way, that I would not have used or trusted had they tried the direct sell used here, so I personally know it works. It does not work for the vendor dropping by hoping to catch a quick audience. It required investment in getting to know members and build relationships. That is not what I see going on here mostly.
Forums, should be forums, not selling places. Sure there can be a separate section for vendors, but they are generally the least popular, except on trading sites. That’s why it makes little sense to have it all stuck in here, looking like one big free for all. I really appreciate your balanced view. Elsewhere I am getting attacks from business owners, if not for a tiny spelling mistake, then after mentioning one should take into account how uncomfortable it can make others in a forum setting feel, because people can suffer from conditions such as arthritis making typing difficult, and the intuitive spelling on mobile devices often changing words etc before making silly attacks like this, I was told ‘perhaps you have a condition that makes you argue with people on the internet’. Obviously differing points of view - if it doesn’t suit the sellers reasons for being here are quite unwelcome here, and I do appreciate you being the only person to recognize that this is not the way to run a successful and safe forum. It actually shows you to be what I consider a safer vendor, and not one in for the quick greedy take. A business owner who takes relationships and ethics seriously. These things are very important, at least to me.
You seem to be very respectful of the views discussed here. I think a separate place for vendors to offer things might be good. Just as long was you don’t publish it in the general area of host discussions. We probably won’t click on it or read it. Air has spawned a whole mini industry of vendors pushing everything from flowers to lockboxes to pricing algorithm services to copywriting. I’m also a professional copywriter and frankly I don’t think this is going to be too lucrative for you, but maybe I’m wrong. I think many hosts here, especially those of us who have been hosting a while, have a good handle on how to write their listing copy. I also revise mine ALL the time.