Severe lack of bookings

Hi everyone. This is my very first post on this forum. For the past 2.5 years, we’ve been hosting in San Francisco and it’s been great overall. We’re on Airbnb Plus, are superhosts, are very centrally located, are priced competitively with similar properties, and have over 200 excellent reviews. Normally, we’re booked nearly solid three months out. It’s a gorgeous apartment in a great neighborhood.

Next month (December), we’re only half full and January and February are only about 20% booked. I’ve called Airbnb repeatedly about this and they have no reasons and aren’t doing anything to help. I’ve put an ad on vrbo but haven’t heard a peep from that website.

I’m really freaking out that I won’t be able to pay my bills if things don’t change ASAP. Does anyone have insight into how to improve my bookings, and/or know of other websites where I can advertise to get more traffic? I’d also be open to any other advice. Thanks in advance!

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You aren’t the only one! I am headed to my busiest time and I only have direct bookings in December and completely empty for January and there is no increase in new hosts here…

lower your prices. 202020202020

Send us a link to your listing and we can provide feedback on what to improve.

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To be honest, I think people are afraid of spending money because the economy has so many ups and lows right now plus the impeachment hearings. It’s predicted that we’re going into a recession in 2020. It all makes the public weary of spending money.


Do you think it could be the economy softening?

The logarithm may have changed your placement. I have times when I get bookings and others when I do not. I am not even sure if I show up on Airbnb sometimes, or I may be so far down the list that I cannot be found. Fortunately I am also on VRBO and some months all my listings are from that platform.

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Are you sure your listing is visible in the search results? It’s not uncommon for people to have their instant book turned off, or disappear from the listings because dates have been blocked or some amenity or another gets turned off and they don’t show up in searches like they ought to. Sometimes listings are delisted entirely, without notification to the host (fairly rare, but it does happen).

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Adding to what @CeeBee said, do a search in Airbnb in your area using a browser that has all tracking disabled (inprivate, incognito, private mode, etc.) and make sure your listing shows up in searches that you know your listing should be in.

Whenever a host asks this sort of question - which is quite often - I always say more or less the same thing. And it’s always ignored but never mind…

I forget just how many listings there are on Airbnb now (am I right in thinking 7 million or something like that?) and when we first signed up there was never, ever, ever any promise that Airbnb would send us guests. Ever.

But because we are so accustomed to running our entire lives online - shopping, banking, chatting to other hosts - then we tend to think that’s the only way we can run our businesses. It isn’t!

Yes, there are non-Airbnb ways that are online to attract guests - blogs, social media etc.) but there are also plenty of ways to run our businesses that don’t rely on Airbnb and even the internet. To be honest, unless a host finds that they get booked up a year in advance using Airbnb then they should be using ‘old-fashioned’ methods too.

Tweaking the listing is unlikely to help. Reducing prices is just lowering your profit. Work the phone, work social media, get some packages together - just like we used to do in the ‘olden days’.



I like what @jaquo said. I recently came across a rack card for an AirBnB about 40 miles from here. I’m going to look at getting rack cards made for each of my three separate entire house listings and put them in the local visitors centers as well as put them in my houses and give them to guests so they have the information they need to direct book their next stay… I don’t have business cards and I’m going to get them made too.

I’ve made a contact with the local hospital and have had my first direct booking from that source for a visiting doctor. I need to send out mailings to the local insurance agents—twice (not through AirBnB) I’ve had guests who had house fires and needed temporary housing while their home was repaired.

I’m sure if I sat down and gave it some thought, I could come up with more ideas.


Airbnb is only 20% of my occupancy, but always watching to see where the bookings come from.

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Most of us don’t know how it was done in old days . Can you give us specifics? What does it mean " work the phone" or through what sourse you offer packages ? I heard some people get guests through tour agencies .


How did you make contact with local hospital . I am only 2 minutes drive from hospital. Who did you talk to when you called? I think it would be very helpful for all of us if we hear specifics. Many hosts here are totaly inexperienced in these kind of things and any amount of help will be appreciated


I’m afraid the way I got the contact at the local hospital is that a good friend of mine is married to a doctor who is in charge of the visiting doctors. My friend therefore knows the admin person in charge of coordinating housing for the visiting doctors and told her about my AirBnBs.


Thank you . If there is such department this is what I will do . I will call and ask for excatly that . I get nurses from time to time and they are my favourite guests. Now I have a nurse who is seriously invisible .She is never home . Every Friday without reminder she pays rent . Clean and quiet as one can be .


She sounds like a lovely guest!

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Oh goodness, I feel so old now. :wink:

Quite often, it’s the HR department that deal with personnel and visitors. Keugenia does a great thing by contacting hospitals. When I had the B & B in England I was located near a specialist hospital and got a lot of guests due to that. (Staff, patients and patients’ spouses).

I’ve found that it’s no problem calling companies and organisations and asking to be put through to the person who deals with helping visitors find accommodation. They’re almost always helpful.

I’ve had quite a lot of success with the organisers of conferences too. Plus entertainment events like festivals. I’ve also had many guests from the local theatre (performing arts centre as they call themselves) as they often have shows coming into town bringing a lot of off-stage staff with them.

In our area there are also things like the boat show (triple prices for that one!), the film festival, the food and wine festival and so on, plus plenty of events on the beach.

We’re lucky because we’re well situated for them but where you are in Hollywood is within easy travelling distance.

But we also get guests who have to drive a bit further. The proximity of Homestead and Moroso race tracks means that I offer ‘motorports packages’ - and although people have to travel to get to the tracks, that’s fine. Other packages are romantic, (champagne, chocolates and flowers for proposals, babymoons etc), paddleboarding (discount with local company, direct pickups), gourmet (local restaurant recommendations, treats in the apartment) and more. There are plenty of ideas once you start to think about them. :slight_smile:


That’s very valuable information. Thank you so much. I meant that most of us didn’t do hosting as long as you did .


In our area, it’s also worth contacting the HR department of the airport and the cruise port.

In my B & B days, there was some sort of military training academy nearby and I got a lot of guests from there. There was also a police training facility so plenty of guests were attending there too. (So it meant that a lot of guests were young men - who I didn’t allow to be rowdy :slight_smile: )