Tired about Airbnb changing all the time!

What´s going on with this company? At least once per month, they changed their design or their policies in a way that it isn´t impossible to follow them with all the NEW changes. Even more, they sometimes move a step back to the previous version if they don´t like the change. They are in testing mode all the time.

I’m used to other internet services as well and they have kept their policies and design for years and they are still successful. Besides Airbnb´s platform is full of bugs and I guess this is due to the lack of a stable and unique version. Your thoughts?

I haven’t had any problems. More often than not I prefer the new over the old but it’s not very important either way.

The major players in this area are all doing this. Homeaway, VRBO, Flipkey, TripAdvisor, etc. are all in a constant state of A/B testing.

They are constantly testing the best way to quickly convert a looker to booker, and at the same time how to monetize the most from both host and traveler side.

Homeaway keeps delivering less bookings to individual owners, showing travelers the properties that HA wants to get booked, while at the same time increasing guest service fees, annual subscription fees, and again increasing their credit card fees. Flipkey just increased their booking fee from 13.5% to 14.5% and also increased cancellation fees to hosts. Similar to Air recently increasing their cancellation fees for hosts, laxing extenuating circumstances, making under 2 free, etc.

It’s a race to see which site can get to all instant booking and still get a huge chunk of each transaction. It’s very frustrating and time consuming to keep up with all the A/B testing of multiple sites.

It is messy. Once you adapt to the new way to work with them, they go and make a new change to the website.

Instant booking prevalence, price suggestions, review rearrangement, titles yes/no, guidebook yes/no, detailed description by sections, babies free, cancellation policies (Italy?), stats page, search algortihm, discrimination policies (yes to all), more/less detailed amenities and the list goes on and on.


This kind of business is cutting edge, the way developing real software (not apps) for Macs and PCs used to be. The difference is hat none of these ‘rental’ software developers are working on, and then releasing major upgrades after Beta testing, they way we did it “back in the day”. Now they’re just changing things and (maybe) watching to see who approves or objects. Remember, the squeaky wheel gets greased; so if you like or dislike a change, let your opinion be known, quickly.

The watch words in cutting edge development are: “ADAPT OR DIE!” Uses need to stay on their toes and roll with the changes – they’re going to happen, like it or not.

In particular, this vacation rental business isn’t such one that it is always easy to adapt. Some people came to Airbnb to publish their places with some policies that have completely changed and for some of them it is very hard to adapt the change.

Just think about the people that have invested a lot of money into making a fine luxury place for their adult guests but now Airbnb is forcing them to accept toddlers. That isn’t an easy change for them to assimilate. There are now many things in the property that are dangerous for kids.

Another example, years ago I was happy that I was able to Approve or Decline who can stay in my place. Today, I don’t feel Instant Booking is a choice. If you want to be found, you must have IB turned on. In a big picture, I believe the website let us think we can “decide” how to run our VR but in the end, if we don’t follow their preferences we will not get the right exposure on the website to get reservations or we might get deactivated. Are we really free to decide?

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