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What other platforms are out there? AirBnB is taking a nosedive with customer service


#1

I’ve been on hold for about 45 minutes, listening to the dumb AirBnB song, and I’m over it. This is after I was hung up on by someone at their call center who could not understand my question or understand their own system over at AirBnB. The call quality was so bad, I could barely hear what they were even saying…

Anyway, I was just calling about my Superhost status, which I just can’t seem to achieve for some reason, with 4 listings, and no cancellations on my part in almost a year. Why do I even try so hard for AirBnB? They can’t get their **** together, and don’t deserve my business. I’m paying them for what??? Terrible customer service, and there people who don’t even know what they are doing?

What other platforms do you guys use? I use VRBO, HomeAway, FlipKey, and Tripadvisor, but am looking at something more independent, as most of these services seem to be related or owned by the same company, and/or a giant travel company. I am looking for something smaller, with a personal feel, like AirBnB’s superhost customer service.

Thoughts?


#2

When you find one, please tell me!

From what I hear on other forums, the only ones that generate a lot of bookings are the big 3 (Air, HomeAway/VRBO, and TA - although TA has sunk like a rock for many owners). Booking.com is sometimes mentioned, but their fee is 15% and there seem to be a lot of cancellations on that site.

Some people swear by listing on Craigslist, others have success on a local listing site. Both of those are just advertising sites. There are some startups, but they will take time to grow name recognition with travelers.


#3

I know you asked about other platforms but a couple of things about Superhost status: first, you don’t need to be a Superhost to be successful. I’m a SH and the past few times I’ve called I wasn’t happy with the wait time or the CSR I talked to. Second, if you are calling thinking you would have qualified at the beginning of April, they don’t make the determination at the beginning of the month. You should hear from them by the middle of the month. Also it’s going to get even harder to keep SH status with new standards going in place this month.


#4

Make your own website, get direct bookings, you don’t have to deal with a platform.


#5

I have looked at a few and they all seem to have their pluses and minuses.

I might go with Booking, they seem to be 2 or 3% more than AirBnB, I have also heard about more cancellations but then that seems to have gone up with ABB recently.

I know I am missing out on business from those who will not use ABB.


#6

It’s also expedia that is quite big but I got a few bookings from them.

I am listing with booking.com and get quite many bookings from them (I have higher price there to compensate the commission)


#7

This is true. I have been a dedicated Airbnb host for five years, I’ve never been a Superhost because I want to be successful, and I never will be a Superhost, I guess. I get about 70 bookings a year without being a Superhost.


#8

I am on ABB and Booking. It takes a bit of time to get used to it. And at first we got a lot of cancellations. Now we still get some but not at many cos the longer you’re on the platform the stricter you can make your cancellation policy. It also takes a lot of extra time and effort due to processing payments, paying invoices etc.
but it is definitely worth having it because we have been getting the bookings for days which weren’t filled on ABB.
I only open up my Booking calendar a few months in advance at a time rather than 12 months out like ABB. Simply because I rather get that on advance booking on ABB as they have done all the payment processing and it is usually a guaranteed booking.
Also I charge a higher rate to cover the commission fees.


#9

Its a strange world, my airbnb bookings have sunk this year and TA bookings have gone through the roof.
I’m going to stick my place on Houfy, sites not really up and running yet but I wish them well (and its free at the moment).


#10

I know people who use VRO etc for the prime time business and fill in with ABB due to the ABB cancellation conditions. I am not particularly concerned if I have to go through the process with Booking as I never assume ABB will back up my cancellation policy.


#11

That is assuming of course that you know how to SEO your website and how to market it to drive the right traffic.

The vast majority of hosts don’t.

Even if they did, they won’t be able to drive the sort of traffic that Airbnb is able to with it’s global brand and marketing firepower.

Despite the fact that you have the odd host throwing their toys out of their prams and saying they will no longer use Airbnb, the fact is that most continue to do so.

Why? because compared to other listing companies they provide hosts with the best commission rates, most bookings and a better service and T&Cs then most of their competitors.


#12

@HumptyDumpty - I am very excited about Houfy and am listed and working on my Houfy guides. If you would like to “follow” me on there, just send me a PM and I will send you an invite.

If you have less than 10 listings then you can use this import tool to import your ABB listing with all reviews in a matter of seconds. Then you just go in and set your base rate and finish the rest…but it doesn’t take long. Way faster than having to upload everything manually.


#13

I’d be careful about Craigslist. I personally haven’t used it to rent rooms but I know others who have. It seems to attract a lot of riffraff. There’s no reviews, screening of guests or I.D. verification. You can’t be sure of who you’re getting. Nice way to get robbed or have damage done. The 3% fee at Airbnb is worth it to me. Airbnb may have it’s problems but it’s the cleanest shirt in the laundry.


#14

This still happens on Air though. When people get robbed…doesn’t Air basically say they refuse to share the ID info as that is private information? Don’'t the police basically have to sit on hold and try to obtain the info from Air? People have been renting out vacation homes for decades before Air came along. Some day in future Air may just do away with the whole review system anyway.


#15

Are you in the U.S.? And what kind of listings do you have? Are you set up to take your own payments and have your own rental agreement?


#16

Yes, but I think it happens much more often on Craigslist.


#17

For sure Craigslist can be very scammy. I was more addressing that Air’s policies can sometimes just be smoke and mirrors. I just received a June booking through my direct website. And almost all the other listing sites don’t do any kind of verification at all…


#18

@Como - you’ve described us. 70% of our bookings are from VRBO/HomeAway. 20% are from AirBnB, and a good portion of them are “last minute” (within six weeks for our location) bookings. Oh, and we get about 10% from our own website. But AirBnB is growing - we have more bookings for 2018 already than we did in 2017 all year long.


#19

I am still trying to make my mind up, certainly will need to do something and I certainly could get a lot of direct business in the Summer but a lot more hassle on the paperwork side.


#20

@cabinhost I’ve got townhomes, but am starting up a boutique hotel by 2019. Not sure I want AirBnB to have a cut of that…

I’ve come to all the same conclusions as you guys. I personally do not like Booking. They wanted me to pay them every month. I’ve got crazy bills, and don’t need that set up right now. Maybe in the future… But basically, they will not cancel my listing right now. No matter what I do or say, they just say ‘yes we will cancel it’ in some foreign accent. That’s got to be illegal in some way.

AirBnB put a guest in one of my units who had a warrant out for their arrest, and was conducting meth drops out of my unit. I promptly called the police, and had evidence on CCTV. I guess meth heads aren’t the smartest people out there. Luckily no damage was done bec we caught them very quickly.

Craigslist has some weird people. I get nothing but people from Africa wanting to send me checks to hold my unit for some obscure reason in a date faaaaar into the future. I paid for those ads because I used Google Adwords keyword research tool to find my prime markets. What a waste of money!

I have my own site as well… I am always at the top of Google’s search in my area, but the reservations are lackluster. I do love working on my site though, and may get serious with it and actually pay for professional software one of these days. I do all my own SEO with backlinks, videos, blog content, and it does work well. But I use it mainly to drive traffic to VRBO and AirBnB right now, mostly because I’m lazy.

Tripadvisor: You DO NOT want to get on their bad side. Read up on how they operate. They blacklisted a few properties on their many sites, because they were under paying hosts and they complained. Google it. Plus they send me spam all the time about how I should write a review for some guest, ON THEIR SITE, even though the guest booked through another site, and I am not even listed with them. WTF is that?! I can’t trust a company like that.

Then VRBO/HomeAway/FlipKey… I get hardly any business from them. I assume this is because my demographic doesn’t shop for vacation rentals on VRBO, but I really don’t know. I had a case manager call me out of the blue one day and lecture me on my listing. It was hilarious. They mentioned I needed to do this and that, and this again… She said I should upload a video. I have a professional video of my units, which just happens to have a logo of my company in it. She said I needed to take that out for it to be acceptable, as it would never be approved. I said, that’s too bad that their policies won’t allow it.

Who do these people think they are? You’ve got giant companies telling me how I should run my business? I don’t play that game. Basically I look for the best customer service, which allows me to rent my property on my own terms. Unfortunately, as it seems for everyone here as well, AirBnB seems to be the best out there… They really need to step it up with customer service.

I understand that superhost status isn’t necessary to make money, but when I had superhost status, I would call AirBnB and get someone on the line in 1 minute. Now I have to wait 45 minutes?!? Screw that. I am actively looking for new up and coming STR platforms, and will post them as I find them.


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