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Air is so paranoid about controlling host/guest interactions. VRBO doesn’t seem to be that way. So why can they prosper w/o worrying about guests/hosts going off-platform and Air cannot?
I can see why guests want to skip Air (9-14%+ fee savings), but as a host, that 3% fee is great for me…it is the same as the credit card fees I’d be paying anyway. Heck, VRBO is 9% (is that the tradeoff for less control?). Plus, I get advertising and they have paid me for damages (begrudgingly) when a guest would not.
Examples from today:
(1) I just realized I cannot send an image to a guest inquiry, only after they are booked is this enabled. I can send map images all day via VRBO. I know it’s because they don’t want me sending a pic of my contact info.
(2) Was made to strip the word “Google” from the message (I’d typed “Google Maps shows…”). I got an error msg saying no links can be sent until the guest is booked. Again, they don’t want me to send things like my direct booking website I assume.
(3) This has been discussed over and over…the info scrubbing of past guests (missing phone numbers).
Any other areas? I do resent how they can go against our cancellation policies if they decide but it hasn’t happened to me (yet).
My Surname is Greek. We are the only family in Australia with this last name and there are 9 of us.
I have in the past mentioned my husbands business and his last name when I really need to to contact a potential guest. The algorithm has failed to pick this up.
It has worked with trip advisor and I just picked up a massive direct booking.
Yeah, their escalation of instantly suspending a host’s listing when a guest reports a safety, cleanliness, or privacy “issue”, almost always bogus retaliation for something. That the host has 300 reviews and a 5* rating and the guest is a newbie is immaterial.
A host over on the CC just reported that Airbnb refunded $100 to a guest who claimed the place was dirty and smelled bad. The host had been asked if she would refund the guest and she said no- she has multiple listings and hundreds of reviews and amazingly, a solid 5* cleanliness rating. The CS rep refunded the guest anyway, sending an insulting message saying “due to the odor and cleanliness issues…” Not even “due to the guest’s report of…”, no, it was stated as if it were a fact.
To be honest I can understand why Airbnb blocks full communications with guests before booking to avoid hosts and guests trying to take things off platform.
I can’t imagine what situation would occur that I would need to send the guest an image or my contact number before they book.
When you sign up to use Airbnb you know they have an EC policy for cancellations so you need to make a judgement call as to whether you are happy with the risk of this happening . (I’ve had 10 penalty free Covid cancellations since December) .
At the end of the day @aelilya if these things are dealbreakers for you - vote with your feet and don’t use them .
This really bother’s me. When Chensky was supposedly wanting to hear from hosts about what they could do better I pretty much said what you wrote above about perhaps, they can contact the host first and also look at their reviews before just locking them out. Never heard anything back not that I was expecting to.
The guest (who tried to give me contact info in msg but Air censored) just asked me to go off platform. I just can’t. No judgement to those who do or to the guest, but I made an agreement so I feel I need to honor it.
I’m okay once we are connected or if they get my info elsewhere, but that’s it. I’m sad and my tummy hurts now (not because I said no, but because they asked).
But I kept my word, so at least they know that much about me if they decide to stay.
I had held the dates for the duration of the inquiry approval but just removed it. I’m sure they’re asking other hosts to see who will do it. I considered a discount offer but the date is too far out to bother with that right now.
This is weird, I know, but true. When I saw the title of this topic I truly thought it was about hosts who were paranoid about their guests and tried to over-control them.
In several years of advertising on Airbnb I’ve never felt controlled though.
It’s reasonable for Airbnb to see people wanting to book as ‘their’ customers until the booking has been made so not wanting the deal to go off-platform is fine.
Once the introduction has been made though, and the stay completed, Airbnb knows that we’re going to book people off platform and they’re fine with that. It’s just the introduction that they have rights over as it’s Airbnb that has built up its marketing and become the industry leader.
Like @Helsi , I can’t imagine any circumstances under which I’d want to send a potential guest a link, contact number or image.
I couldn’t quickly find the thread but here’s the link to Airbnb’s policy for off platform bookings:
In it there is a line that says this about future bookings:
Asking or encouraging guests to book outside of Airbnb for repeat or future bookings
What I’ve said previously here is that I think this is the kind of thing that could be used against a host by an unhappy guest. In most cases a direct booking is going to save a guest money (or it should), so why would they complain? But if somehow things went south on a direct booking I could see someone appealing to Airbnb for help.
In any case the policy definitely doesn’t state that they are fine with all future bookings being off of Airbnb and they understand that they brought us the client initially but we are free to take them directly afterwords, etc. I’ve texted some guests off platform and told them to contact me if my calendar ever shows that I’m closed. And I’ve no doubt told a few that they could pay me directly if they felt comfortable doing so.
Well. I clearly lost that off-platform solicitation booking but turned around and got one for almost the same amount starting tomorrow (w/ no shenanigans attached).
Hopefully it goes well. I took 10 min and videoed the entire house in detail. I can’t prove smell (it smelled clean and pleasant - lemongrass) but I can prove cleanliness (short of pulling back the sheets I guess).
Thanks for spurring me on @muddy. I’d been meaning to add this to the routine.
It seems like in most cases there is another guest down the road. My Airbnb is a bit different than most here but in my dog boarding business I tell discount seekers that “I can fill all my days at full price.”
Ugh, I don’t see how they can enforce the repeat/future bookings off-platform prohibition. I wonder if it’s actually legal. I guess it’s a sort of non-compete clause. Carried to its logical conclusion, does Airbnb want to shut down anyone who also adverts on VRBO, etc.? Airbnb is postulating an exclusive right to all the bookings for a property listed on Airbnb, which sure doesn’t work for their hotel clients.
And another one of their prohibitions – Airbnb is encouraging long term rentals and prohibiting independent host checks? I believe we’ve seen stories about difficulties with getting long term Airbnb guests to pay the next tranche for bookings over 30 days.
I would never do a long term rental on Airbnb anyway, but if I did I would want an independent right to collect, especially in support of a possible eviction process.
Asking guests for contact information after a booking in order to run credit checks or background checks
To the best of my knowledge, it is illegal in the EU. I’ve hunted for the article I read a while back, which laid out why it’s illegal, but can’t find it.
Anyway, feck’em. Once a guest enters our portal they are my guest, not Airbnb’s.
We’ve a pretty healthy direct booking clientele and they’ve all come from Airbnb and BDC initially. I’m certainly not going to stop directing guest to book direct, which benefits both them and us. Especially when they pay in cash
When the subject arises, it’s surprising how many guests don’t realise how much gets shaved off their total payment by the OTA’s.
I don’t either which is why I’ve done it on DogVacay, Rover and Airbnb though all 3 had the same policy. The main threat is that if they catch you they can remove you from the platform. When Rover bought DogVacay I moved almost all my clients to direct pay. Even though they tried to tell us we couldn’t I just couldn’t see that being enforceable. My agreement was with DogVacay, not Rover. While moving the trustworthy clients to direct pay I still kept up with Rover so being kicked off would have been a pain point at that time (2017). Now 99% of my business is direct. I only keep my Rover account for a “just in case” situation.
I really would not want to be removed from the Airbnb platform, that would pretty much kill my STR business. So direct booking is something I’m very careful about. If I ever did have a guest report me to Airbnb I’d have to hope they aren’t really that serious about enforcement.
Aside from legalese, we all know that Airbnb and any other platform can remove any host for any reason, or no reason. Some here wouldn’t suffer at all if Airbnb dropped them. Some would. So any host who choose to do some direct booking should know what they are doing and why they are doing it.
I can imagine if Host A had 5 bookings in a row, who cancelled then the host blocked those days, Airbnb may have an algorithm to catch frequent cancellation followed by those dates immediately blocked by host.
I can also see if HostA contacted the guest immediately after booking (have phone number) and offered the guest a cheaper booking, the guest understandably would report this scammy feeling behavior to Airbnb.
A guest reported me once. Fortunately all communication was on the platform. Guest booked a week stay in my 1br condo. Unfortunately the first night should’ve been blocked. Through Airbnb Alteration request, I offered her my 2br condo (same neighborhood) for the price of the 1br. She called Airbnb, Airbnb immediately looked into it, found it was appropriate & we all moved forward. I wasn’t offended. I may have done the same.
I don’t know about most people who post here, a few I know are real people, quite a few I don’t. I do feel certain that Airbnb has many of the rules/procedures they have because of bad host behavior. Hosts discriminating? Okay, no pictures or last names. In fact guests don’t have to have a real name or picture visible to the host at all, at any point in the process. Hosts not sending acknowlegement of booking or check in information. Great, now Airbnb sends me multiple reminders of my bookings and to send check in information. Hosts getting creepy with cameras and recording? All kinds of warnings about cameras have to be on the listing and any complaints result in suspend first, ask questions later.