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Renting away from Airbnb site?

Does anyone rent their property away from the site? (ie to returning Airbnb guests who now have your phone number, friends/family/aquaintances, word of mouth/other advertised enquires) If so,is it worth the hassles/risk or would you rather just direct all external enquiries back to your page?
(obviously better deal for the guest to avoid the 13?% fee but you have to do all the calculating/take money/deal with security bond/no Airbnb ‘warranty’(for what it’s worth)- etc etc

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I had one regular guest who I would have rented to outside of ABB if she had asked. As the guest pays the bulk of the fee I didn’t see any reason to broach the subject. Anyone else, I just don’t see it being worth it to take the chance. BUT, I have mostly one nighters, not several day vacationers.

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I absolutely do rent away from the site for repeat guests. Air already had it’s pound of flesh on the first go-around and once I have jumped through all the required hoops and established a personal connection with the guest, any subsequent stays are mine…all-ll mine.

I would be surprised to learn if there is a lifetime bondage, er, commitment to Air to do otherwise.

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Right, and would you say the benefit to you would be the tried and tested ‘good guest’ or do you give yourself additional benefits? and how? (cash payments perhaps?) do you take a security deposit?

Just thinking ahead here as I want repeat proven good guests (obviously they’d be happy to get out of their fee) and especially hope for longer bookings (min is 3 nights, not worth the change over hassle for less than that) 2 weeks + would be a score!

Family/friends/contacts etc I would like to do a good deal for but not necessarily by lowering my rate (so again, getting them out of the 13% is a huge bonus.)

Just don’t want to make more work for myself than is necessary, but being early days I also want to be as full as possible.

I’m not sure what you mean by the benefit to me being the guest because the primary benefit is all about the ‘moolah’. I would never have a repeat guest who didn’t follow the house rules so, yes, they are tried and tested and that helps. I have approx. a half dozen varying repeat guests a year; some come every year and some skip a year or two and return. I do have a (short) list of DNR (Do Not Rent) guests.

I have advertised on other sites for 6 yrs. and only listed on Air late last year to see if I could fill in some available spots. It worked and I am slowly building a customer base. I am adjusting to Air’s different platform (although it is being copied these days by other listing sites). I am more used to paying a subscription fee and handling everything myself. Air is like the toll booth on the bridge with a hand extended for every transaction, and acts like Checkpoint Charlie and a parent or Big Brother in governing and overseeing everything.

It’s not easy giving up some of my control but hey, so far so good.

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I always capture the guests’s regular email and tell them they can book through me direct next time. Never forget that an Air guests can book your most popular week of the entire year (block it off) - and then claim “death in the family” or “serious illness” - and you will get nothing from Air. Flipkey guests tend to be the ones to initiate the request to go through me directly. Flipkey charges higher traveler fees and guests will say “Do I have to book through them next time?”

For prime weeks booked far in advance, I require payment by check. This may not be feasible if you have a lot of international guests…I don’t. So let’s say a guest books my Christmas week for $1805. That saves me $54.15 USD that I don’t have to pay Air, nor PayPal. Plus, I am not at the mercy of a credit card chargeback, nor some 3rd party’s cancellation policy and being judge in a dispute.

Guest receives a short contract to sign and scan back to me. I then issue a PayPal invoice along with instructions of how to pay without needing a PayPal account. Guest can use debit/credit card.

Air is very risky to use, depending on your type of property and length of stay. If someone takes a week through Air…then that is 1/4 of my potential income for the month in July. But for December (Christmas week) that is 1/2 of my potential income for that month. I am only likely to book 2 weeks in December at most. So to know someone can just make a copy of an online obituary and I could be out 1/2 of my income - just puts me on edge.

You also need to consider that Air calls the rules. So tomorrow they could increase our 3% to 5% if they wanted. They are currently testing only offering a certain percentage of new hosts instant book. Many are very upset with this. They were hiding my property (for not using instant book) from searches within 7 days of arrival.

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I also regularly book off site. I encourage all of my guests to contact me directly if they return, and I offer them a referral credit for sending me business. I am not a live in host (and I don’t miss those days) so I operate like a business, and I don’t want to be at the mercy of any platform. I’ve been operating for six years with less then 3 bad incidents so the hype around the airbnb insurance policy etc. doesn’t have much bearing on me. I screen carefully, I offer direct booking to qualified guests, and I take my chances against potential losses, like any other business.

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I forgot to address your other questions.

  • Do I take cash payments: No, because I am not an in-house or on-property host.

  • Do I take a security deposit: Yes, $200 (which is a little more than the nightly rate).

  • Friends/family rate: The only time I will accept a reservation from friends or family is if there is availability within 2-3 wks of the friend or family wanting to stay. I prefer to wait as long as possible before committing so I don’t lose out on the real money.

I allow a maximum stay from friends/family of only 2-3 ni. for the same reason. Depending on the closeness of the friend/family member, I will allow the initial stay gratis or gratis plus the housecleaning charge ~ I don’t want to pay the cleaner out of my pocket. The next stage would be to discount the nightly rate. Fortunately, that hasn’t happened yet because their chosen dates have always been booked, so whew!

There is a lot of work in self-managing a rental space but for many, myself included, it is a labor of love.

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I just rented to THE nicest couple ever last night, recommended by a friend, they were in town to see her daughter graduate from high school. They did not want to go through all the ABB stuff, so I said OK. They had planned on leaving town this morning, but after looking at my tourist book and recommended walks/hikes/sights to see, decided to spend the rest of the day here, I just met them at the beach :slight_smile:
I didn’t bother with a deposit, and in this case it didn’t matter. These people were literally the nicest kindest most respectful people on the face of the earth.
I’ve also gotten reservations from craigslist (although I don’t use that anymore) and from my facebook page.

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I have my own website (took 30 min to create), plus booking.com, bedandbreakfast.com and other platforms.

No problems with direct booking

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Thanks everyone, that’s fantastic feedback, I appreciate hearing about your situations.

I rent a whole house and I’ve only done this through Airbnb since April (never done holiday letting before) and have found the whole Airbnb booking process/website really easy and convenient so no grief with them at all. (tho I do question the Host Warranty should a major claim be required, so have gotten myself proper short term landlords cover here in Aus for peace of mind)

Now that I’m getting some bookings and have got more of an understanding of how to do this I want to start spreading the word to maximise vacancies.
Most of my guests have been from overseas or interstate.
I’m thinking a direct deposit into my bank account of the full booking fee to confirm the booking and holding a cash deposit on arrival that I can hand straight back to them on check out assuming all’s well.

You’ve given me plenty to consider, Thanks

I have been doing a full payment by bank transfert for clients that have been booking directly (minimum 5 days before the visit of the client, people are usually very quick to pay and no reclamation on it).
For a company that had booked 1,5 month, we had had a cash deposit.

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