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OK, so I am at burn out point with my latest guests and such a manic season. Not sure which has caused what. But I have been getting lower and lower stars on Overall and there is just nothing I can do about it. People are leaving 4 & 5 stars for everything, but leaving 3 & 4 overall. Air is now telling me my listing is under threat of something non specific. I have bent over backwards for the last few guests, letting them check out early/late, letting them leave their cars for an extra hour or 2… and yet they are screwing me on review. The last one just sent me over the edge. Didn’t even ask to leave their car, just informed me at 10am, my check out time, that they were leaving their car, and heading into town for a walk about and to get some breakfast. I told them very politely that they could stay for an extra hour but that I would be down at 11 to changeover the room. I then get a reply that, “well there are 2 spaces how many do you need?” Biting my tongue, I said that I had builders coming and needed the space. She replied with, “Oh, OK I didn’t know”. On review she brought up some stuff about not getting hot water and noise from the room next door. She never once contacted me about water, and there is NO room next door, they have the entire floor to themselves. In the private feedback which I guess she didn’t know was private she had the cheek to write “Host was very rude and refused to explain herself”… I am under no bloody obligation to explain anything to this utter… ^%$&%@£!£*… and I was nothing but polite and accommodating.
I have listings both on airbnb and vrbo. But get most bookings from air. Last year it was about 30% from VRBO, this year is less about only 10%. VRBO charges higher fees something like 11-12%. I would stay on air and figure out your problems like what the guests say about your place can be improved. Work on it and have your ratings up. Meanwhile it doesn’t hurt to list on VRBO to see if you can get some actions and trying to get better reviews.
Why choose one over the other when you can list your place on both sites very easily? I used to list only on Airbnb but now list on a variety of sites although the majority of my business comes from VRBO and Airbnb. The platforms are very different, but each has good and bad points. I pay the subscription fee and I make that back in a few good bookings, so it’s totally worth it to me. I don’t have any better or worse kind of guest from either site, it’s the same. Mostly very good, very few bad situations. I like that on VRBO you actually collect and hold a damage deposit, or choose to have the guest buy damage insurance. I’ve had a few times where I’ve had to charge the guest something against the damage deposit, and it’s never been any kind of an issue.
So sorry to hear you’re feeling burned out, and these last guests you’ve had sound a total entitled nightmare. I’ve found more guests quite different in their expectations and behaviours this year, compared to last season; rude, demeaning, selfish etc etc., to the extent that I’ve sometimes been left feeling they think I’m paid staff, even in my own home. I think we could all debate the reasons for ever, but it wouldn’t change things, just make us feel better!
I can’t comment on the VRBO versus Airbnb conundrum, and most of my trade comes from Air. I do, however, know when I need a break, and it sounds like you probably need one too! How about snoozing your listing for a while, just doing bookings you already have and the get some peace and quiet.
I haven’t used VRBO, but I wonder why all of a sudden a change of platform would solve the issues you are having with guests.
Guests usually don’t write this without a reason. I’m NOT saying you are a rude person, but maybe you had a moment, maybe due to the burn out creeping in, that could be interpreted as ‘being rude’. Sometimes when lots of people start rubbing us the wrong way, the next time someone does something tiny, we overreact. So first of all try to find your ZEN again. Guests are not responsible for everything former guests have done.
There are lots of elements in your post that suggest that you are quite inflexible. There may be very good reasons for this, but guests don’t always understand it and therefor may leave unsatisfied.
To prevent burnout. If possible up your price, to have less work and more income. If possible leave a day in between bookings. You will be able to offer guests more flexibility and have less stress yourself.
About your low star ratings: Try to educate people. It sounds bad, but guests need to get aware of the consequences of 3 stars. I have published this before, but we do it like this:
First off, let me assure you that guest’s perceptions of what is “rude” are very subjective. People nowadays are so used to being patted on the head and fed a cookie, that they are unable to understand rules or firmness in those said rules.
That being said, I have our place on both platforms. I have kept air on instant book and put VR on ask to book. This enables me to update our calendar, and prevent a double booking situation.
It has been really good for us. We are booked about half on each platform. The attitudes of the VR guests are much more open and less demanding. VR is less review oriented. Yes, folks sometimes leave reviews, but it isn’t an absolute. This seems more relaxed to us. We like it.
Best of luck to you! Keep up the good work!
About VRBO: I listed my 2 BR 2BA rental on VRBO & Airbnb simultaneously for one year. I had 1 rental from VRBO and they left a negative review. Interesting because my airbnb guests immediately before and after were 5 star.
I have 2 friends who are doing well on VRBO with large whole home rentals that sleep 10 or more (one oceanfront, one across the street from ocean). The rentals tend to be grandparents renting for a family vacation.
I guess if VRBO is right for your rental depends upon your market. Also VRBO now offers a pay as you go option like Airbnb but your listing is put to the bottom.
I think she was referring to my last message where I just said, I have builders coming in, or at least thats how I took it. I never spoke to her by phone, just the message thread I posted. I really tried to me patient and polite.
I had my first vrbo booking today and I had to rub my eyes. Its the first in the one and a half month or so since I began hosting. I can’t comment on the quality of guests but the host dashboard and interface is not as sleek as airbnb, and adjusting prices can be painful as the interface is clunky and not as polished. But there’s certainly a lot more flexibility in how u can charge prices, tack on extra fees, etc. And as pointed out, they collect the damage deposit beforehand and you even get to decide when they refund the deposit.