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Slow in Seattle


#1

Hopefully not a sign of things to come but this year has, so far, been sooooo slow. I’m certain competition has increased in Seattle and it didn’t help that Wheelhouse was pricing us out of the market; they seem to not have good algorithms for the off-season when vacancies are high. We’ve “fired” Wheelhouse and just went back to Beyond Pricing.

Additionally, our search ranking has been terrible with our listing not appearing for most possible combinations of stays except when we get within days of the available dates. I really hate how the Air search works in a giant market like Seattle.

I hate to say it but maybe the City of Seattle regulation of STRs going into effect 2019 will be good for our listing. The multi-listing corporate players will have their listings culled, sending more traffic in our direction.

Any other Seattleites or other folks having an unusually slow year?


#2

Things are looking really slow here (Bombay, India) for March, and my ranking is also currently abysmal, for reasons I’m unclear about. But I’m on the other side of the planet from you, so I suspect it’s unrelated. Except that Airbnb is possibly screwing both of us.


#3

I’ve been thinking about listing on other platforms but wonder if that would be fruitful or more of a headache. How about you?


#4

I’m currently listed on Wimdu and Homeway/VRBO. One booking so far on Wimdu (not a very positive one), And nothing on Homewawy/VRBO - just a couple of inquiries. But I think different people’s experiences on other platforms is different - you could try checking with people who have similar locations and listings to yours.

If you don’t currently have a web site, people recommend getting one, assuming you are up for the additional work. But it’s additional overhead.


#5

A couple of times when I felt my listing was low on Airbnb’s pages, I posted a link on my Facebook page and asked my friends just to click on it – they didn’t have to view it, but just click the link. If it is true that Airbnb’s algorithm is like Google’s, then the more activity you have should put you closer to the top. I watched my “views” and, after the rush of FB friend views, saw that I was steadily getting more views. You may want to try the same thing. Can’t hurt.


#6

For the last couple of months 100% of my bookings have been through Booking.com. It is the slower season for sure, but nothing has come through AirBnB in a while.


#7

According to my smartbnb market report my listing ranks high for one day stays that are within a week or two but I’ll be on page two, three or not showing at all for stays of more than 2 nights, especially if they are farther out. I no longer lower my price much…maybe a dollar or two. I’m more likely to raise it if it’s last minute. Since I am willing to take last minute and same day and back to back bookings I seem to book up most of the month (90% occupancy last month) but not until the last minute. Right now I have 9 bookings for the rest of March and that includes spring break week which is next week. That week has been mostly booked for a couple of weeks now. By the end of the month I expect to get at least another 8-9 bookings. So all the last minute bookers have little to choose from and end up paying more.

This works well for me and my lifestyle but might not for someone else. I get road trippers and people moving. You might be in more of a fly in destination.

As for sustainablity which you mentioned in another thread…competition has increased here as elsewhere but there are only three or four of us who were here in May 2014 when I started. There is another handful who have been around several years. Most come and go because the prices aren’t in fact sustainable.


#8

Thanks for the recommendation!


#9

You are so fortunate to have such little competition! In Seattle, we have almost 7,000 active listings. We get few road trippers and mostly folks flying in.

It’s truly amazing to view the smartbnb report and see how Air plays with search rankings and cycles through all (or many) of the listings. From the most recent market reports, the top 4 listings for the combination of dates shown are all brand new, getting the new host boost. There are certain stay lengths we don’t even appear for. In a market as large as ours, it’s disappointing that Air shows places that aren’t even in Seattle proper, but are in other cities quite far away.

Like you, I often increase my prices for gaps during the high season, taking advantage of the market report to see how highly we rank. The theory being that people choose something from the first couple of pages . . .


#10

To be clear there are 100s of listings but yes I’ve been very lucky.


#11

I am in Portland, OR so not far from you. Whole house listing with two spacious master suites that is a bit in the higher end of the market. I also list on VRBO and about 50% of my bookings come from there. I had 12 nights booked for Jan, 7 in Feb, 8 nights for March (but I have 13 days blocked off for two different home exchanges, one in Iceland and one in Hawaii), 14 in April, 11 in May, 18 nights in June, 14 nights in July and 20 nights in Aug.

I thought I was priced fairly but I think I was slightly underpriced after booking out half the summer already so I bumped my prices up by about 10% but still getting bookings. I may still be under priced but I have only been hosting for a year. Last year I was booked solid from May-October with no reviews and not a lot of artwork or decor. Now my place is pretty decked out, all 5 star reviews so I may need to bump my prices up a bit more.

It is so hard for me to figure out where to price things! A nice hotel in Portland averages $300-400 per night in prime season. Even a hotel at the airport goes for over $200. My house is in a hot dining district with great restaurants, boutiques and bars within a 4-20 minute walk.

I want people to feel they are getting a great value so don’t want to price too high but not many places in Portland have 2 large master suites plus a great outdoor space so I don’t have a lot of competition. Maybe I will bump the prices up again next year after I have even more reviews and experience.

I hope that the algorithms turn in your favor soon!


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