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Smart Pricing Untruths

First - I’ve been a super host for 4 years and read two forums and try to stay on top of all things Airbnb. Two days ago I got a booking for July at my normal rates (YAH!) but then when I looked at the price I saw that it was for a much lower rate ($75 vs $110). $110 is my lowest smart pricing rate.

First customer service rep determined after 30 minutes that she could not help me and that someone from a special department would contact me within 24 hours. That came and went with no call back (Who’s not surprised?)

I then called back and after a hold with his supervisor this CS rep told me that Airbnb can override Smart Pricing Minimums. I said that I did not believed this to be true and to show me where in the TOS that smart pricing can do this. He ACTUALLY transferred me to his supervisor. His supervisor tried to tell me the same thing. I calmly said that I did not believe this to be true but if it is to direct me to exactly where in the TOS that is refers to his. He tried to read me the rules but again I asked him to show me where it says that and that I belong to a forum where I want to post this link so that I can educate the other hosts on the forum.

After being put on hold for 10 minutes the CS supervisor said he was unable to find any info and that it was a glitch in Airbnb system (who’s surprised by that? ) and that they will honor the correct rate but that a different department would get back to me. I asked him to document this statement in writing and to say how it will take to get back. ( 48 hours).

I don’t expect to get the call back and I will keep documenting what happens but I thought I should share this.

NOTE - I know how smart pricing works and for me I keep the minimum price above what I would normally get. I do this so that when I open my calendar if someone wants to book out 4 months from now I get the highest rate and a boost in ranking for using smart pricing. As I get closer to the dates, I remove smart pricing and lower my rates. It has always worked well for me in the past.

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Reason #387 for NEVER using Smart Pricing!!

I get Smart Pricing hints, but never sign up for it. Their Smart Pricing always says I am over-priced and compares my pristine apartment with some real losers.

Trying to anticipate ahead has always been a problem. I should keep a calendar of holidays and and mark them up six months in advance.

Your tip, however, might be a good idea, will try to remember it.

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I have successfully used Smart Pricing or 4 years. I set a very high minimum price and then open my calendar up for about 6 months. Occasionally the pricing will go higher but mostly it stays at my minimum because I’m pretty over priced. I will get about one good booking a month at my smart pricing rate. When I get closer to the dates, I take off smart pricing and compare my rates to what the market is getting and do incognito searches to see how I come up in the search (Usually about 1-5 from the top. It’s always worked before. I also believe it helps with my algorithm rankings.

I will not give up and will eventually get the different (about $400) but I expect a battle. I do have it in writing from a supervisor that they will reimburse me. This entire fiasco has convinced me to unfreeze up my homeaway/vrbo listing and add more to diversify.

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I know everyone is singing their praises right now and you are too smart to go in blind, but just be prepared to be disappointed at some point. Like @Brian_R170, I believe that people aren’t going to book on a platform that keeps their money in a crisis. And just as Airbnb is getting roasted by hosts now, VRBO will get roasted (and sued) by guests, imho.

OH I’m not naive but want more options. I can code websites so I’ll probably do that to or might just get a roommate. I’ll make about $10,000 less per year but it might less stress.

I know this is not the popular decision but I think there should have been shared responsibility. Perhaps 1/3 host, 1/3 guests, 1/3 Airbnb. I don’t agree that the entire burden should have been on the hosts.

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For the record, I don’t agree the entire burden should have been on the hosts. I don’t think it’s “fair” (ugh I hate saying that word) but it’s exactly what I expected. I think the supply of hosts will remain; new hosts (people who have lost jobs for example) will try to sign up while old hosts leave. I don’t know if Airbnb could afford to lose 1/3 and remain in business. As I’ve said several places I think them abandoning ship and going for a buyout is plausible. Hey maybe we will all be VRBO hosts soon.

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I never use smartpricing. If I do, it tries to put the price too low. I never see houses renting for the numbers they want me to use. If I did price it how they say, I would be solidly booked but it would be low-cost bookings. One thing I’ve noticed, the less people pay, the more abusive they tend to be - and the more it bothers you when they are. I’d rather just keep it to a higher price and rent less.

There is a very strategic way to use smart pricing. If you read my post (except for this glitch) it actually gets me more per night for the bookers who plan and book far out.

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I just had a similar and super frustrating experience. When you turn off smart pricing you are required to go through several screens which try to discourage you from turning it off. The screen that pops up when you select ‘pricing too low’ as your reason for no longer wanting smart pricing informs the reader that the price will never go below whatever minimum you set. As in your case this was untrue (by $30/night for 42 nights in my case).

Isn’t that false advertising or something?

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