Question regarding using AIR as a "bridge."

15 replies [Last post]
Offline
Joined:
05/21/2019

My wife and I are hoping to buy a B&B. It was run successfully for about 25 years, but was in decline the last several years as the owner/operator was in worsening health. She died and the contents of the house were largely sold off. It is in need of serious work, redecorating and refurbishing. We intend to do a lot of it ourselves. But since we are not independently wealthy we are thinking about how to have some cash flow during the renovation/redecorating phase. We intend to "re-brand" the property eventually but we were thinking of using some of the rooms as AirBnB (or similar service) rental rooms while getting work done. After we officially open it would all be done through "legit" B&B channels. 

We are newcomers to the field but it's abundantly clear from poking around here that Air and maybe it's brethren are disliked. But I'm interested in people's thoughts on the feasibility of such an odea, ethical concerns, potential pitfalls, etc. 

 

Thanks for letting me (us) join!  

Offline
Joined:
05/21/2019

Thanks for all the replies! I appreciate the thoughts and effort. We are looking at how best to show up in the marketplace (which is largely a question of internet). We may wind up using AIR as part of that assemblage of channels. There is certainly a wealth of info and a diversity of opinions on this site. It's been very cool to read! 

We are having the house inspected tomorrow! 

Skamokawa's picture
Offline
Joined:
08/24/2008

I agree with Beach House.  Don't know Seattle's rules for Air, but for B&B it can be tricky, especially for parking.  Be nice with neighbors will go a long way. Hope you're not near the ferry dock  Smiling

If Air works for you - go for it. 

Best of luck!

Born there, now in SW WA. 

__________________

Twin Gables Inn
On the Lower Columbia Water Trail

 

TheBeachHouse's picture
Offline
Joined:
06/24/2013

When we bought, we started construction right away.    We gave 50% discounts while the porch was under construction and similar discounts if guests had to walk through construction.     Just be honest with guests and do a great job.

Also, air can be legit.    I have a friend who started from scratch and was full the first year on air.   But she was licensed, paid her room tax and did everything right.    Use air properly and it’s not an issue.  

__________________

TBH

 

JimBoone's picture
Offline
Joined:
12/18/2014

Somewhat different from many/most on the forum we run an 8 room mom & pop type motel, what you say about your place and plans sounds familiar. Our place had began as a family business in a then rural area, never fancy or classy, but ran for years, then sold to an investor who did some "clean up", but didn't actually run the business or have a personal involvement, after maybe 5 years of his operation we came on the scene, all this prior to Air and the OTA's, which we have not used.

Fixing and creating something you desire over time is possible, or was for us, but it will take time and money, mostly an outside job supported us and the improvements for most of our time in the business. The more you fix and create the ideal place, the more you will enjoy the business by having attracted the guests you desire that make the business fun, for us that's getting close to 30 years.

 

 

__________________

Jim & Maxine

 

OnTheShore's picture
Offline
Joined:
08/28/2011

Basically what I am hearing is that you want to be open and hosting guests while you are in the middle of renovating, redecorating, and re-branding your property.

I say this because Air *is* (or can be) useful channel for a "legit" business. You want to be listed where the guests are looking....

The reasons why Air is disliked in the industry is that while they give lip service in telling hosts that it is the host's responsibility to be in compliance with all applicable laws, etc., they don't do anything to hold hosts accountable, don't provide hosts with tools that would help comply, resist government efforts to crack down, and seem to generally be working against the interests of the established hospitality industry, effectively eliminating the barriers to entry for new businesses and promoting "unfair" competition (and promoting this idea!).

In contrast to Tom, I don't see Air as necessarily sucking up *your* web traffic specifically (rather, my understanding is that it is Booking that is known for doing that), but it would still be important to get your own website up and running ASAP. While you are renovating/redecorating/re-branding you can use your website to document that process and give hints of what it is coming. 

So it can be done, but as pointed about above, keep the emphasis on "clean" (really clean), a good sleeping environment, and excellent breakfast service (if it is going to be an important part of your business). You *can* ramp up and evolve over time....

 

__________________

"where even time relaxes...."

 

Tom
Tom's picture
Offline
Joined:
10/11/2009

To clarify, I said "suck up all the web traffic and it will be hard to go out and market on your own." OTS is correct about Boo actually poaching on your web traffic.  I am seeing Air diverting our traditional customer base who now go to Air online when looking for an alternative to conventional hotel/motel accommodations and not spending the time to use Google to find a B&B directly. 

The problem is exacerbated as the B&B oriented online listings have all blurred with every other hotel/motel as Exp, Boo, and TA battle for bookings.  There used to be a B&B.com, but it was ultimately purchased by Exp and the listings are all a giant pile of ...  If you search for my B&B in my town, we come up 12 listings below Super 8 Motel. F T

It is hard for a new B&B to establish a sufficient identity and SEO on its own to get enough customers to find it.  It is even harder when remodeling because the photos on the web site may fall short of your dream for the future and may not sell well to the generally upscale crowd who will pay for a true B&B instead of a spare room on Air.

You are in a location with a lot of year-round visitor presence and have a good shot at being successful, but you will need cash and customers asap, and Air is probably a good place to start. 

OnTheShore's picture
Offline
Joined:
08/28/2011

Tom, your clarification is noted, and you are right.

Offline
Joined:
02/07/2019

OnTheShore wrote:

In contrast to Tom, I don't see Air as necessarily sucking up *your* web traffic specifically (rather, my understanding is that it is Booking that is known for doing that),

Could you elaborate on that? What is Booking doing?

OnTheShore's picture
Offline
Joined:
08/28/2011

As I understand it, Booking will buy advertising (search terms) using your business name or other terms people might use to search for you, and thus will show up ahead of your own website in the results when people do a google search for you. They'll click on Booking's link in the search results thinking that it is your official website, but of course it takes them to Booking and not to you...  Air might buy advertising search terms "cottages mytown" but Booking might buy "OnTheShore" as well as "cottages mytown." (At least that's what I've heard, we haven't listed with Booking ourselves).

Morticia's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

OnTheShore wrote:

As I understand it, Booking will buy advertising (search terms) using your business name or other terms people might use to search for you, and thus will show up ahead of your own website in the results when people do a google search for you. They'll click on Booking's link in the search results thinking that it is your official website, but of course it takes them to Booking and not to you...  Air might buy advertising search terms "cottages mytown" but Booking might buy "OnTheShore" as well as "cottages mytown." (At least that's what I've heard, we haven't listed with Booking ourselves).

Air definitely buys 'anytown B&B' and Booking does actually buy your name for the ad. That, apparently, can be stopped by trademarking your name and telling them they do not have permission to use it.

__________________

Never judge a person's story by the chapter you walked in on.

 

gillumhouse's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

NRV Runner wrote:

OnTheShore wrote:

In contrast to Tom, I don't see Air as necessarily sucking up *your* web traffic specifically (rather, my understanding is that it is Booking that is known for doing that),

Could you elaborate on that? What is Booking doing?

Booking at least is more or less legally sucking the life out of our industry. Legal B & Bs agree to be B,con term "partners". AIR beats the bushes to get anyone willing to rent out a shed to sign up, bastardizing the name of our industry in the process with what they call themselves, and skirts every regulation, rule, and law with aggressive lawsuits every time a governmental agency tries to rein them in as they (AIR) are maintaining in the Media that they are cooperating with governments. They flood the market in tourist areas where the legal accommodations have spent time and a LOT of money building a business as well as helping promote the area to bring people in. AIR just sits there and snatches the feed, barely leaving a crumb. Hiding identity and locations of hosts is not what I call "working with the agencies". Actually it reminds me of the old protection rackets - their version is pay me 3% and I will keep the tax & regs people off your back.

Tom
Tom's picture
Offline
Joined:
10/11/2009

Odd, the old hands here give good advice, but did not answer your actual question: To Air or not to Air?

I say, definitely use Air as a way to get cash flow and instant access to a huge market, particularly well developed in your city.  Transitioning away from Air will be difficult as you will be dealing with most of why folks here don't like Air, which is that they suck up all the web traffic and it will be hard to go out and market on your own.  Very hard.

But it's 2019 and in high price destinations like Seattle, Air can deliver customers willing to pay top dollar for stylish, clean, quiet, and most importantly, well located properties.  How you decide to adapt and upscale your operation to morph into a more traditional offering, e.g. a nice breakfast is something you can experiment with once you have income and will depend a lot on whether you begin to attract regulars and repeat guests who will go directly to you.

gillumhouse's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

In addition to what Generic said, BREAKFAST!! Make a hell of a great breakfast. As your rooms are the way you want them, raise the prices accordingly. Startout with Renovation Rates, then raise as you go along.

Then raise them a little every couple years to adjust for increases in costs. Small rate raises will be understood, BIG raises will jolt the wallet of regulars - unless it is due to a serious upgrade as in from reno to done. I did an almost $40 upgrade with a king bed and ensuite bathroom (and raised the other rooms by $10 - $15 at the same time).

Generic's picture
Offline
Joined:
02/24/2011

Sometimes the best solution is to do the part that is front facing and forget about what is behind for the moment. Once you start, no matter what you do, it will follow you. So start with a lower price and be honest about things and then over time bring them up. But if you get a bad reputation, it's hard to get rid of it later. 

Our first year in this location, I was getting rates that were about half of what I get today, but it built a reputation and people understood. The most important things to have....

  1. A good bed - They need a comfortable place to sleep
  2. Blackout curtains - They need to sleep
  3. Cleanliness - They will judge where they want to sleep by that
  4. Quiet - They need to sleep

Getting the theme? Make sure that it's clean, comfortable and they can sleep. Nothing beats a good night's sleep.

__________________

Permission to quote in whole or in part, other than usage on this forum, is entirely forbidden.

 

Offline
Joined:
05/21/2019

Understood. Attend to the core basics. Thank you!

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.