Sometimes You Can't Blame "New" Hosts

January is a very weird time of year in the Boston area. There isn’t much tourist or convention activity, but every single college in the area has a January Term. These terms are used by online students who are required to be “on campus” for at least one term, researchers who are doing work at one of the universities while their own institution is closed down, and folks that are doing a short stint at one of the hospitals.

Last year, I had an inquiry from someone in that first group. Using the AirBNB messaging system, we created a set of parameters that made sense for a “longer” booking. She didn’t really want breakfast preferring to go a juice bar or meet up with colleagues for breakfast, but she did want fresh towels and sheets weekly, plus use of the laundry machines one day a week. She wanted permission for her husband to come visit but not her dog.

As far as I was concerned, this was a great arrangement. I would love to replicate that again this year. [And she was a wonderful young woman.]

But, the amenities are different than my normal listing. I want to have a cleaning fee to cover the laundry, etc; I don’t want to include a default breakfast; and I want to limit my guest count to 2 with just one bed. So, I created a new listing with these minor changes. And went live.

Oh my goodness! These dates have a price tip of $102-116 on my original listing with all the reviews. Price tip for the “new” listing? $40 a night! Seriously!

No wonder new hosts are undercutting the market. Who can blame them? I was warned at least three times that my prices were too high and I would never be booked.

The end result for me is, I have left both listings active for those dates with the same minimum number of nights. If someone inquires or instant books my primary listing, I will suggest they review the alternative listing to decide which list of amenities would make them the happiest.


Ignore the price tips, if I followed them my 3 bdrm cottage would be less than a local private room. contact the college they might have a housing list for students.