Why I'm leaving AirBnB

I live about 5 minutes’ walk from Harvard. When I started with AirBnB a couple of years ago, there were something like 30 hosts within, say, a half-mile radius of our place, and the average rental for a one-bedroom entire house/apartment was about $275. I priced our large 1-BR townhouse, many amenities, at $225, and was fully booked almost immediately. Guest reviews were super-positive, and I soon got and kept SuperHost status.

Now there are about 300 hosts in the same area, and the average price is about $135/night. Last August I realized I had zero bookings (at $250/night) after Halloween. I’m lucky: being so close to Harvard it’s very easy to find medium-term tenants who are here for a month, a semester, or an academic year, and so I went back to that system, at $2500/month. The unit is now booked through October 2017. The overhead load – cleaning and prep, vetting prospects, meeting-and-greeting – is less than 2% of what it was under AirBnB, and the net is only down about 35% – a no-brainer, by the numbers. I miss the traffic – meeting interesting people – but I don’t miss the nuisance – meeting VERY interesting people…At $135 or $150 a night, it’s just not worth ironing the sheets and scrubbing behind the toilet two or three times a week, not to mention putting up with the occasional difficult guest or meeting international arrivals at 2:00 AM.

AirBnB has promoted a race to the bottom, because the results of their upcoming IPO will depend on the numbers of hosts and guests, the total volume, and NOT on the profitability of each rental --after the sale they can continue to raise fees, and so up their margins, in the usual pattern for start-ups which get sold.

So, enough…I’ll still use AirBnB to fill the occasional vacancy, but as a steady business proposition it’s a total loser – hey, it was fun while it lasted! Or, so long, and thanks for all the fish…


You have summarized very well what most of us thought about Airbnb lately. There is a work overload in STR (short term rental) against the LTR (long term rental), which might be well justified if there is a sustainable difference in the net income. However, people from my city, are also seeing that the extra revenue of being STR is so little that is now worthless and I don´t believe Airbnb is the best choice you have when it comes to LTR.

Honestly, I´m clueless of what is going on inside the board of Airbnb. Companies are ambitious and want to make money. This is not a sin and I’m totally ok with this. However, the last measures of Airbnb seem to go into losing hosts and sending them a welcome card from their competitors. Price are already at the very bottom, they need to stop pressuring host to continue dropping their rates or they will lose them.


@ace. You can try VacationHosting at http://vacationhosting.com for short-term rental of your space, when their lease is up.

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That’s how I’m feeling today as well, but not because of Airbnb. :disappointed:

I haven’t had your experience, I’m busier than ever despite increased competition but I only STR one small room and bath. Maybe over the coming years things will shake out with the competition, other opportunities, regulation and business will pick up again.

Hi Florencia,

glad you liked it, and nice to have my judgment confirmed. As to AirBnB’s
business plan, here are my numbers for Harvard Square – or, you can just
skip to the bottom line.

No, I know how to work AirBnB, I expect vacancies to be short, they do have
the guest volume, I like their guest-ID process, and it’s not worth te
trouble to me to switch – but thanks for the tip.

At 09:33 AM 1/25/2017, you wrote:

Sorry to bring up the obvious, but as you mention, the first thing you did to get business when you joined was to lower your prices. Is it possible then that when others did the exact same thing to you that it created the scene you are in now? How is their lowering prices different than what you did?


@ace - Excellent post. You summed up beautifully the situation that many hosts are in. I rent my weekend vacation home - which I owned for many years without sharing - so if I get to a point where I don’t make enough to justify not using it myself, then so be it.

But it is a perfect cautionary tale for NOT buying investment properties “to Airbnb.”

That said, I have found that I consistently get higher prices on other platforms. Seriously. Not everyone uses Air or likes Air.


I agree that air bnb gets so much lower compare to other platforms

Not my intent to blame anyone.

At 10:04 AM 1/25/2017, you wrote:

Thanks. I’ll do sabbaticals until I get tired of that – then we’ll see.

At 10:11 AM 1/25/2017, you wrote:

Sorry to hear that – but, SLATFATF was a more-or-less cheerful goodbye –
things change, and you have to change with them or pay the penalties, and
you might as well try to accept it gracefully.

At 09:59 AM 1/25/2017, you wrote:

Yes, everything is open to interpretation both fiction and reality. If only I were a dolphin and could just swim off to another galaxy.


I have tried that link from a member suggestion several days ago and it wants “BETA” have no clue what that means. I tried to register to log in. No success. I am curious about that option though

I’m so down on them at the moment and so trashed emotionally after a bad review (and then they removed mine of her over a small technicality) that I am actively pursuing other platforms and immediately want to stop being so dependent on Air. I am also completely dismayed by their crappy customer service and their hardline approach to me and their absolute and total siding with the guest who left a terrible review despite being refunded by me.

I don’t seem to have the same competition problem that other hosts have but I have to say I am so utterly disgusted and frustrated by them I can hardly function right now.


wow, kona – I always thought you were actually working for AirBnB! You
were always so knowledgeable and so upbeat…Of course I don’t hang out
here and the Years have come and gone…guess I was wrong, eh?
When fecal-matter happened I would repeat my AirBnB mantra, “That’s life in
the hospitality industry!” as many times as it took…Also remember not to
take any of it personally…it’s just business.

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There is a ‘Request Invite’ tab at the bottom of the landing page, depending on whether you are on a Computer or a Mobile device.

Click ‘Request Invite’ tab to get to the page which will prompt you for your email address. Enter your email address and click the Send button. You’ll receive an invitation code that you will use to access the platform shortly.

Please let me know, if you have any more questions.


You’ve had a tough time of it lately. If you can’t leave her a review, why not write what you would have said as a response to her review??

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That is an informative post.

Indeed prices are going down across the board.
Whether they are now low enough to justify abandoning short term rental to regular letting, depends on a number of factors one of the major ones being what you can get from medium/ long term rental in an area.

Evidently where you are near Harvard, your move makes perfect sense.

For others it may or may not!

I see many airbnb hosts with entire place listings beginning to take their properties off the short term rental market and back to long term.

So perhaps in the end, airbnb will revert back to the old days where it was dominated by shared (private room) listings, which are more able to sustain the current low prices in the long haul.

As someone said above, this is a cautionary tale for those seeking to purchase property for airbnb investment.

The ground is constantly shifting beneath our feet!


Kona, I’m sad to hear this.

Keep your chin up. We trust that the discerning traveller will know that one bad review doth not the listing make!