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Smart Pricing Does not work as described

I’m fairly new to hosting on Airbnb. I’ve discovered that the pricing on my listing may show a higher price in a search but is never charged more than the minimum. I’ve talked to three different CS reps and they say there is nothing wrong. Here is my last response to their claim that nothing is wrong.

****No, it doesn’t clear anything up. If one traveler searches and finds a price of $69/night and another traveler searches and finds a price of $92/night for the same listing, and both calculate at the lower minimum price of $55/night, it is not working right. The prices shown in a traveler search are not accurate, so I can’t even use that as a guide to manually set prices (which I do not want to have to do). Every reservation I’ve had has been calculated and charged at my min price, even though the smart pricing is higher. And appears to be doing the same in the other listings I’ve checked. Smart pricing is not working as it is described (automatically adjusting both the price offered and price charged). It should be adjusting the nightly price in the search and in the amount charged. I’m going to go on the host chat to see if other hosts agree that this is false and misleading information.

The other rep I talked with (I think his name was Ace) said he was going to forward this issue to the tech team. I would like to know what they have to say about it.*****

Any one have advise on how to get smart pricing to work as it is described?

I’m afraid not because I’ve used it for years and it’s always been fine. But it bothers me when you say:

In order for SP to ‘learn’ about your rental and your area (and thus your pricing) you have to set some of your dates manually in order to ‘train’ the system. With hosts all over the world, it needs you to ‘teach’ it about your particular area and your rental.

I’ve written that more for new hosts who are reading this ( :slight_smile: ) so I’m sorry that I can’t help you with your problem. I doubt anyone here will be able to.

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Thanks for your input. I set a minimum that is as low as I’m willing to go (higher than the suggested minimum). I don’t want to spend the time checking demand, rates, etc that is what smart pricing is supposed to do. But it doesn’t! So reservations always come in at my minimum, even when my listing shows a higher than my minimum price. That doesn’t make sense.

It absolutely doesn’t.

The only problem is though that I doubt that anyone here will be able to help you. There are lots of hosts here who don’t like SP for various reasons and others who love using it but I’ve never heard of anyone having the problem you describe.

Let’s hope that someone will be along who can help you but it sounds as though it’s unlikely and that it’s an Airbnb tech problem.

Has it always been like this for you? Or was it okay before and just recently went weird?

Smartest Pricing thing you can do is NOT use Smart Pricing.

Manually set your prices by Season, and if there are annual Major Events in your area. It doesn’t take me more than 20 minutes to set prices for the following year (which I do about this time of year).

Here in Florida I want potential guests to be able to book that far out; I’ve only ever had one cancel, and that was a couple years ago when hurricane Irma was barreling down on us and they were afraid that two months later Florida was going to be leveled!!

I loosely tracked Smart Pricing on my listing after I noticed it was giving my lower prices this year than last year. What I saw is that it was raising the prices considerably as the dates got closer, like it was only considering absolute supply and demand and not anticipating demand at all. My average advance booking is 50 days, so prices were at or very near my base price for most of my reservations during peak season (mid-October through mid-April). I got significantly higher prices for January and February of 2019 than I did for the same months in 2020, and I suspect it’s because I opened my listing in late December 2018 and the average advance notice for January and February 2019 was less than 30 days. I also notice that when I look at the calendar more than about 3 months out, it only shows my base price. This was true in November and December when 90 days out should have been the highest part of the season.

I know this isn’t the same as your problem, but I guess what I’m saying is that even if your problem is fixed, Smart Pricing might not be your best option. I’ve been thinking about using a 3rd party pricing tool to see if it can do better.

I’ve actually had a similar “glitchy” experience with SP in the past.

I’ve had to reach out to CS regarding reservations coming in (through SP) that were nightly LOWER than my minimum set price. Each time, I’ve tried to figure out what the issue could be - is it my weekly discount, is there a 20% off first-time-user discount I’m not seeing, etc.?? - and the math wasn’t panning out. For example, if my nightly minimum was set to $100/night, WHY was I getting a confirmed IB reservation that indicated $86/night??
CS was pretty useless, and continued to describe to me how SP works. I honestly didn’t push the issue as much as I should have, as I knew I was going to honor the reservations and just manipulate the pricing myself. This was all about 2-3months ago.

I am extremely interested to hear how your situation pans out.

Since I started hosting I have gone back and forth with SP, and will use it for certain dates. Honestly, I’m constantly manually fiddling with price, especially after seeing how ineffectual SP is outside of these issues like you’re describing. For instance, I’ll lower midweek rates to fill up the calendar during the immediate month, same-day low rates to accommodate travelers who need a last-minute spot to crash, etc. Staying on top of pricing and the calendar isn’t hard and doesn’t take time.

Barley: I do the same thing. I use SP to set a high minimum and adjust manually for special events in town, holidays etc. I keep SP active on my listings because I think it helps with there search results algorithms. But many of my dates are manually adjusted to reflect actual competitive prices.

Interesting… the algorithm gods can be fooled…

RR

From what I read it helps. And I’ve read the algorithm looks for “active” hosts so I like to change prices, descriptions, and rearrange the main image periodically also. I don’t seem to get dinged for taking a few or more nights off SP as long as the “listing” is using it as a standard.

Ditto. Interesting SP gives us a higher prices than our min. But we still need to set weekends etc higher manually.

Thank you all for sharing your thoughts and experiences.

This is Airbnb’s last and apparently final message:

***Thank you for taking the time to share your perspective.

We have assisted you with adjusting your pricing settings for your listing, we do undestand that this may not be the most ideal outcome to this contact, however at this time we have provided all assistance that we can in regard to this matter.

There is currently no technical errors occurring on your account. We have investigated every possible issues that could be causing any errors, however, I will mark this down in my report for review, just in case.

We consider this decision final.***

Well, I will try some of your suggestions and report back.

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