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When the Competition Lies

Hello Everyone!

I was doing a bit of price comparison for the two nights I have open this week, and found what we all hate to find - a brand new host just two blocks from me listing their place for bargain-basement prices to get reviews. Well, I did that to my fellow hosts also without realizing what I was doing in the beginning -

But this guy says that the guests can walk to the train and be at the Capitol in 12 minutes. Well, that’s true if they want to take an expensive commuter train that only runs M-F and stops at 7:30 and 9:00 am only. If they want to take metro they have to drive two miles and it takes about 20 minutes. I don’t mention this train in my listing because it’s not at all convenient and the trains coming back to my neighborhood only run at 5 and 7 pm.

Has anyone ever called-out their competition for being deceitful? They are only going to make airbnb look bad. He’s not technically lying but he isn’t being helpful to his guests either.

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I’ve been in that situation twice but I’ve not done anything about it because I figure that the guests will be disappointed by their places when they get there and realise the truth :wink:

One nearby listing says that it’s a fifteen minute stroll to the beach whereas it’s a brisk thirty minute walk. Another claims to be a waterfront apartment which is bending the truth a little because although the building is waterfront, the apartment isn’t.

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So they are not lying…

If guests do not agree it will turn up in the reviews. Do not waste your energy on it.

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AURGH I understand but it is so hard!

And actually, it’s not true. The train ride itself is 10 minutes, and it’s a mile to the Capitol.

The problem is people may still choose my place based on reviews and slightly lower price, but still have in their mind “12 minutes to the Capitol…”.

I would never tell any of my guests we are that close.

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This is what I’ve written…

I noticed your brand-new Airbnb listing this morning. Welcome to hosting! It is a wild ride and that’s for sure! I hope that you are successful; as hosts we all need to work for what’s best for the entire Airbnb community. When we help each other do a good job we help build the brand and benefit ourselves, as well.

However, I have to tell you that I think it’s disingenuous to advertise that you are 12 minutes from the Capitol. Yes, if they want to use the MARC train which leaves at 7 or 9 and returns at 5 or 7, only Monday - Friday. AND if your guests can exit the train, exit the station, and walk 1 mile in 2 minutes.
However, guests aren’t going to understand those details. When they arrive and find out that if they are in fact, using public transportation, they are 30-40 minutes away from the Capitol ,they will be angry and mark you down for accuracy and location.

This makes all us airbnb hosts look bad. Why not just be clear? “2 miles to DC metro. Commuter train with very limited schedule 2 blocks from house.” My guests ask me all the time how far I am from the Capitol but I prefer to be honest and tell them it depends a lot on traffic and timing. We truly do owe it to the guests to be completely honest and let them decide what is best for them.

I understand you are under-cutting the rest of us because you want to earn reviews, but list it accurately so your guests are satisfied and walk away saying “I love airbnb!”. Undercutting your fellow hosts and then earning bad reviews because your guests are pissed that they can’t actually get to the popular sites in 12 minutes isn’t going to benefit any of us.

Guests almost never, ever really read the listings and the certainly don’t do research on their own. They will see your great price, nice photos, ‘12 minutes to the Capitol’, book, and then be disappointed. ( I guarantee that, because you have that pretty breakfast tray in the photo, someone will expect to be fed breakfast)

Also, now I have the huge concern that guests will look at your place, see this ’12 minutes’, then book mine assuming that same time. Then when they arrive and discover the truth they will hold me responsible, although I never said that.

Also, just fyi, putting a food tray on the bed in the photo looks very pretty, but if you don’t want people taking food to their rooms, you may want to rethink that.

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Hi @dcmooney,

How/where did you write this? Afaik, it’s basically impossible to contact for hosts to contact other hosts via Airbnb, unless you know them some other way. If you know of a secret hotline, let the rest of us know!


Post a Link?

@faheem
Airbnb has community groups where hosts can meet each other. I’ve been to one in my area and although the other hosts were nice it was a complete waste of time. These are community organizers and they contact some hosts fir local events. My neighbor is a super host and I met him through her. Here’s how he introduced himself in an email to me:

I hope all is well. My name is Kenny, I am the Community Organizer for our hosts in the Bronx. I see that you met with Sanna and some of the other Bronx hosts last week.

Just wanted to reach out and say hello. I’d love to set up some time for us to meet in person. If you’re interested let me know and maybe we can grab coffee or lunch at some point.

Thanks!

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@dcmooney
I would not go there! I would not want another host to tell me what to do unless I asked. Don’t start a war! The guests will give reviews based on accuracy. Just my feeling.

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Or even worse, he could complain to AirBnB that you are harassing him, having you removed from AirBnB.

That is the first thing I would do if another AirBnB host would contact me and criticize my listing, report them to AirBnB.

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Also Airbnb encourages new hosts to start with a low price.

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@dcmooney step away from the computer!

I think you are on to something with the polite/non confrontational vibe of the first paragraph, managing expectations is key as a host. I would implore you to leave out any verbiage of how his listing effects you. You also can not send the bit about undercutting other hosts, you will for sure get flagged.

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I feel for you! I know it’s super annoying. I agree with the feeling of the comments. I would NOT send anything to the host. You are so great to want to keep the community on Airbnb responsible, but it’s not one hosts responsibility to police another hosts listing.

If you absolutely feel the need to do something. maybe you could host a meetup? Invite local hosts including this one. Talk about how important Airbnb is to you, how important it is to have a host community, and compare stories. But don’t call one host out, instead talking around the subject and let the host see how much better it is with everyone rising to excellence.

Good luck to you, I know that it’s not easy to sit on your hands when it’s something that is bugging you so much.

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Good morning Nancy. Honestly, I wouldn’t send this but if you already did, ok. Who knows this person’s motivation for making the trip to the Capitol seem shorter than it is. Maybe they are disingenuous or maybe they think it’s good marketing since it is technically true sometimes. If I were a new host my reaction to getting this would probably be “this condescending so and so needs to mind their own business.” Also if I were a new host I probably wouldn’t care about “all airbnb hosts” “the brand” or if guest apply what they read in my listing to your listing. I wouldn’t think you were trying to help me. If I were you I’d let the market decide. Make sure your listing is clear and let the chips fall where they may.

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Hi @Maggieroni,

Interesting. I didn’t know such groups existed in real life. Why was it a complete waste of time? You could have had a barbecue and eaten those terrible hot dog things. Hmm, then again, that doesn’t really sound that exciting… And you live in the Bronx? New York City? Cool! That’s like the center of the universe. Or at least, that’s what Hollywood would have us believe. Oh, and…

I think I lost track of the conversation. Who is him and her?

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Hi @dcmooney,

I’d have to agree with the other people here. Don’t send that message, for the reason that they gave. And though you’re clearly super cool, I guess at the end of the day, we’re all just human, especially when our emotions get involved. Say to yourself three times “it’s just a business”. And maybe you’ll feel better.

It’s nice that people here have each others back. You guys are the best!

I met the Airbnb guy through my neighbor. she’s on a super host mailing list. The meeting was hosted by a very lovely person in her home but a great deal of the time was wasted talking about whether to report Airbnb income since they don’t send 1099s under 20k in annual income. Of course, we all have to report any income in the USA 1099 or not. I finally had to say, we should be talking about the anti Airbnb legislation proposed in NY or other important hosting issues (this was a couple of months ago). The most interesting thing that came out of this is that the host Linda no longer has an Airbnb listing. I’m sure hers was illegal as it was a rented apartment.

Oh, I see. You met the organizer Kenny through your neighbor the superhost Linda? Sorry to hear about the NY anti-Airbnb legislation. I was just reading a thread about that. Major bummer.

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Thanks, everyone.

Luckily I had to dash out the door and take my kids to their ballet camp.

I had written it in word, @faheem - I’m still not mature in comparison to my 54 years but at least I’ve learned to type, then wait… ; )

Thanks again - I won’t send it.

On the other hand…I may now mention that commuter train to my guests! In actual fact it could be convenient for some.

Cheers everyone - wishing you big fat bookings by neat, tidy, and charming guests…

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When I started two years ago a fellow cut and pasted my description and edited it. I wrote him and said, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and I know writing is hard but please don’t copy my listing. He denied doing it but did change some more of the wording. I was so annoyed. But best I can tell he never got any bookings and he is no longer listed here at all. @faheem I don’t think your question got answered about how one would contact another host. You can do it through their airbnb listing. Instead of requesting a reservation you just make an inquiry.

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