Slow bookings, took a longer term, now feel like i'm stuck

I initially listed our loft in July. We stayed booked 80% of the time in July, but didn’t have any bookings lined up for August yet. I met a guy while I was driving for Uber that was staying in a real dive weekly rate motel. He was complaining about having to watch drug deals out his window. He was just staying there while the townhouse he was purchasing was going through escrow. He needed somewhere to stay for 4 weeks. Since August was slow, I offered our loft to him. 4 weeks came and went. He needed a couple more… Then his house deal fell through… He needed a couple more. He asked if he could just do a long term lease with us… I told him that we never intended to have the space be a long term deal and that we could make a lot more money during upcoming ski season and the holidays that we were charging him and we needed that income. He’s a nice enough guy… Bought us some beers and pizza once or twice… He’s not a bad guest at all… We just feel like we could get much more money out of the space. He said he’d try and find something else. This morning, I asked him what his plans are, since he’s only paid up through Monday. He asked for 2 more weeks because the guy he was going to get a place with decided to elope to Vegas with his girlfriend instead… WTF?? So I agreed to two more weeks. I need the cash. Don’t go into the lecture about taking things off the books and going long term… I’ve already learned my lesson here…

Anyway… What I’m really curious about… I’ve only been blocking out days as he’s been paying me… So I’ve had dates available, but I’m not getting any new bookings… Have I been penalized in rankings because I’ve essentially blocked out half of August and now all of September?

I don’t know but I’d like to know. I block days frequently for a variety of reasons, not usually weeks at a time but I’d hate to think that’s hurting my search ranking.

@SPulley – Shad, move things around in your listing, change prices, add a couple of new photos, change the title of your posting, do it regularly, and see if you get more activity.
If the guest is paying you and you don’t have other upcoming guests to replace him, I don’t see the harm in keeping him on a week to week basis.

Getting a new booking will be nice because it will give him a firm move out date. With this kind of tenant, there will always be some crisis preventing him from getting his act together!

Before AirBnB, we had a friend who wanted to rent for one month and ended up staying for six. There was always some drama preventing her from moving. She even closed her storage unit one day and moved all her belongings into our house. She started asking us for renovations to accommodate her tall height (she wanted us to raise a duct so she wouldn’t have to duck under it). She was getting comfortable and more demanding. Luckily another roommate-tenant offended her by standing up to her and she moved out that week!

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September is very slow everywhere. I have both of my rooms not blocked on calendar, thought its rented through another site, at first i forgot to block calendar, and then i just left it opened to see if i get any inquirees. I got one with a cat that i dont accept. Its been 4 weeks.

I switched to longer term on purpose. First i was aiming for a months stays, and gave monthly discounts. Then i tried just to give weekly discount, and it works much better for me, no more monthly discounts.
I am making 25% more with charging weekly prices vs monthly.
I am planning to do the same for the busy season, which starts in November and untill April. My weekly will be 40% higher than now. I list through Craigs list also, and already had one inquiry for November for the whole month at my weekly rate. I will not go back to 1-2-3 days stays. I ve had enough of that everyday bed changing, and cleaning, and people in and out, dragging luggage, not reading my house rules. With weekly once i answered all the questions, i am free to go with 1 hour of cleaning once a week.

SInce you are not getting any bookings, and your guest is very nice, why are you in a rush for him to leave? Let him stay until you see some activity in the air, until you see prices go up, and either tell him to pay you more, or ask him to leave.

The same with my my current guests. I told them in a begining that this price is only till November,1. Then it will be 50$ more a week. One guest said , ok, for him its no problem. He needs till January. I told him, price in December will be 150$ more than in November. He said, he was not willing to pay this much and will start looking for another accomodation.
Another guest said right away that this is as much she can afford and not a penny more. So, she already is looking for a place.

And if they don’t find another place they may extend with you at your prices.

Hopefully. They are good guests, they dont bother me and pay on time. I dont know if they will find something cheaper here in December. I am always trying to stay in a very reasonable price range as i dont offer anything special. Its not exactly a vacation property as we dont have any pool and its in a family neighborhood, though night life and beach close by

A little update here… A month later, our guy is still here… I re-negotiated the rate up 50%… I could still earn more if I kept the place occupied more than 60% of the time, but I’m starting to think that would be difficult. It appears that in the 6 months since I listed the loft, the marketplace has been flooded with places to rent. There are still some busy weekends, but for the most part, occupancy in my neighborhood as defined by pricelabs is 30% or less most of the time. In addition, my place is not in the best location for many visitors, a little far out of town and further from the resorts. My listing’s views on Airbnb are down to just 1 or two every couple of days with no inquiries whatsoever. A far cry from what they were back in the summer, with as many as 15 views per day. I even have instant book turned on.

Our guest is a good guy… He’s nice, and respectful. We never hear him when he’s upstairs. He keeps the loft clean, I think he even went and bought his own cleaning supplies… He comes down to borrow the vacuum once a week. He’ll hang out with us from time to time. The dogs and the kids have taken a liking to him. I’m just going to let him stay for a while and snooze my listing. Should I snooze it, or should I unlist it? If I unlist, will I have to re-create my listing when we’re ready to list again?

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When I initially listed my place I got a lot of bookings very quickly and was filled up nearly the entire 1st month. I accepted a 2 month booking from one guest (one of the first few requests), and things slowed to a crawl once she checked-in. I think being unavailable for those 2 months, made my listing go way down in the searches. Now I limit bookings to a max of 14 days, but rarely get stays that are more than 4-5 days. I prefer this because I didn’t like not having access to house during those 2 long months and did a lot of worrying over how it would look by the time they left.