I read 96% of all Airbnb hosts are happy with Airbnb. Or rather that Airbnb is a resilient platform and even if hosts were upset with the COVID cancellation policies they will stay. (See here for the Airbnb boss who said they are resilient https://skift.com/2020/06/11/airbnb-hasnt-seen-mass-exodus-of-hosts-over-refunds/ )
What I share is not ideal for people who don’t have time to work hard at marketing to set these loops up.
BEFORE YOU COMMENT…
I don’t think it’s ideal for people who do this part time with a room or two sharing their home.
Rather, it’s for the professional host with a few or many listings. And it’s not a magic solution.
It’s not based on luck but on science and tweaking variables. And obviously this is only ideal for a few hosts.
It’s not about more diversification. That’s a given.
When you comment please share how many listings you have and if you are a professional host.
NOTE! This Is NOT a post to complain about Airbnb and their policies. You can do that elsewhere. This post is intended to find direct booking solutions.
The first two questions I want to ask are to set the scene. Then I’ll get to direct bookings questions.
If you were in Airbnb shoes at the time (COVID). You had to decide who to sacrifice, why would Airbnb sacrifice guests? Because guests will never use Airbnb again and they will tell millions about their bad treatment. They don’t need Airbnb to travel. It’s nice but they have options.
If Airbnb had to decide between the fire and the deep blue sea why did they decided to sacrifice hosts? Are hosts [too] dependent? (What Airbnb calls resilient) and the least risk. Not good. But in the end, this bad decision could be the reason why Airbnb will relaunch with excellent results for hosts.
Back to direct bookings. It’s a noble idea. And I am looking at it with a passion. Because we have mostly ignored our own value. But why is it not easy to implement?
Do you agree that to do direct bookings you must feed someone - thing all the time; either Google (SEO), try a Facebook page, Instagram or you pay to advertise. Today these guys make the free stuff difficult. Why? They want you to rather pay.
What about email? Most hosts neglect their previous guests. But sending out regular emails can work and is free (if you did get the regular email of your guest). Again you must do something all the time.
Do you have to continually feed Airbnb to get bookings? No. You list, tweak and leave it (I am generalising for comparative purposes). Does this confirm your dependency and why Airbnb is resilient?
Is this dependency on Airbnb a good thing? Maybe for some but those who are looking at direct bookings may have to better mining and polishing of their own diamonds.
Do we have two problems? (a) we have to feed and feed and feed our website, or FB, our social media all the time to create awareness. (b) The other is our dependency on Airbnb.
What if we can create a self-feeding loop to allow our past guests and new guests to become our advocates? Instead of paying to advertise, pay costs to get bookings why use the power of our new guests, past guests and other potential guests to become our automated marketers?
Are you familiar with how PayPal, DropBox did it to grow to mega-companies? At the time Elon Musk, boss of Paypal, said advertising is too expensive. They will use the loop idea to get interested parties to sell their service. Airbnb is doing or has done the same; asking you to get others to list in change for a voucher. Why can we not do the same?
This is true if we ignore time. Today many online companies sell excellent off the solve tools to do these viral loops for very affordable monthly fees.
We are tied to the navel with resilient Airbnb. Don’t bite the hand feeding you I have been told. I agree. We don’t need to divorce from Airbnb but this does not mean we should not consider seriously direct bookings.
But direct bookings, to me, is not the solution if you have to feed and feed - as described above. I believe you have to create self-feeding loops Airbnb does, Elon Musk and other small guys are doing today.
This is my new project; to implement these self-feeding loops. One simple example and a case study to TRY and explain:
- A guest books.
- She gets a thank you email from you.
You offer her to free vouchers you have negotiated with local tourists and other providers - spas, restaurants, whale-watching, guides etc. She gets these when she subscribes to your list.
- You have a big incentive as well, to get this big incentive she gets a unique link to share with her social connections. The more she shares the higher her entries etc. The options are endless. Let’s say she shares your Airbnb listing or your direct booking link the guest is staying at. The message can, for example, says, "Look at this cool pace I will be staying at! You can qualify for a $25 (or whatever) voucher if you join me here [link].
- When some of her friends subscribe she gets more entries to the big prize. I am getting into too much details.
- It loops. And loops. Rather than me trying to explain it…
Read the case study how Harrys did it https://tim.blog/2014/07/21/harrys-prelaunchr-email/
If you are interested to learn more we may want to collaborate. I can create a Facebook group or similar to share ideas. I don’t know.
In Locked Down Cape Town South Africa