One good thing about Air

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Arks's picture
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Most of them these days seem to be self-check-in with a door key code. They are really training a LOT of people to read their emails so they can find and get into their room with no help, and to read the instructions in the room so they can connect to wi-fi and such.

There is a whole generation of travelers being trained to read. This is incredible!

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Arks's picture
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I spent the day setting up my five units to appear as 5 separate listings on Air. I've accepted that a significant number of travelers these days are looking for lodging first on Air, where they see the accommodations as nicer and cheaper, with more amenities, rather than looking first at hotels, where they are nickle and dimed for smaller, more expensive rooms.

So, for those folks looking at hotels, where I show up way down the list, if at all, I now show up as 5 of the 6 Air properties listed in my little town. And I know a lot of people search on Air by pulling up the town map, which shows where Air lodgings are located around the town. When they zero in on downtown, my 5 are the only ones there.

I don't know if this is going to make much difference, but business is slow this week and I'm willing to play the Air game a while to find out! You've gotta take those reservations where you can find them.

PhineasSwann's picture
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09/25/2012

We've done the same thing with our 9 rooms and suites. We try and saturate our town's listings, but with 300 listings in our little town of 1,000, it's tough to stand out. 

Be aware that Air's algorithm ranks on a number of factors, the strongest being the number of bookings. So if you're the most-rented unit in town, you're going to be near the top. 

Be aware you'll get a different customer with Air. They're used to trying to play the system. So they'll tell you they have 2 and then show up with 5. They'll be messier. Some more destructive. They'll be asking you for favors (early check-in, late check-out, bringing a dog even though your listing says no dogs). Get used to saying "no." 

All in all, it's better to be there than not be there. We've covered a few newbie AirBnB users into loyal REAL BnB users. 

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Arks's picture
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PhineasSwann wrote:

...they'll tell you they have 2 and then show up with 5. They'll be messier. Some more destructive... 

One plus of Air is that we can rate them after their stay, just like they can rate us, and I can refuse to accept a reservation from someone who has bad ratings. That should help a lot, both by making them behave so I don't give them a bad rating, and by letting me weed out the worst ones, because I can check their ratings from other hosts before I accept the reservation.

Another nice feature I noticed is that I can set it to automatically refuse reservations from people who do not have recommendations from other Airbnb hosts and I can set it to require that guests have no negative reviews in order to book. I won't activate that feature unless I have a lot of bad guests, which I'm not expecting.

I'm thinking about trying their new "Strict or Non-refundable" Cancellation Policy. It offers the guest the option to book at the regular rate, or to select a a non-refundable option for 10% less. With that one, I keep all the money no matter when they cancel. If I get too many free cancellations, I might consider offering 10% off to make it non-refundable.

Arks's picture
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PhineasSwann wrote:

Be aware that Air's algorithm ranks on a number of factors, the strongest being the number of bookings. So if you're the most-rented unit in town, you're going to be near the top. 

In my case there are only 6 listings in town, my 5 downtown and 1 very plain little house "on the poor side of town". I'm $215 for a one night stay and the other guy is $106, so we'll be attractive to a very different sort of people.

My rooms are listed at just $109/night, but, in the Air way of doing it, I add on a $50 cleaning charge (whether it's 1 night or 10). Then Air adds $21 "service fee" (Air's profit) and sales tax and all that brings it up to $215 for 1 night, but additional nights don't have the cleaning fee so they're a lot less.

The other guy has his listed at $79 and no cleaning fee. His rate would look a lot more attractive to people looking at price if he'd separate out the cleaning fee.

Generic's picture
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I'm completely lost in all the local listings on Air... but that's not really here or there. I mean there are thousands (and about 90% are illegal, but they government doesn't seem to be doing it's work at all.)

The abuse is phenomenal. All the people that used to TRY to abuse B&B owners have definitely found a new home. Difference is, they look for entire apartments where they don't have to meet the owner. What I'm under is Private Room and B&B and they don't look at those for abuse... they want one with no owner around.

In my case... they can't get away with it. They get a confirmation from me which says maximum occupancy. They don't know when they will meet me , but they will... and it's going to be really hard to hide that. Especially when I get to review YOU for the future.

Those that find me there, find me there. Air keeps on promising to fix the B&B category... but it's still not fixed. 

Incidentally, pricing is another thing. Here, they lost a court case and they have to do all-in pricing. They just got sued national, so everyone here is seeing all-in pricing with the fees no longer hidden. But if you have a US IP, they still hide prices and fees.

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Arks's picture
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Generic wrote:

But if you have a US IP, they still hide prices and fees.

Are you talking about hiding fees they charge the inn? Or the guest?

On the guest side, all the prices and fees are itemized here. This is what the guest sees when they have put in their dates and are ready to book a 2-night stay in one of my $109 rooms:

$109 x 2 nights = $218
Cleaning fee = $50
Service fee = $35
Occupancy taxes and fees = $58
Total = $361

Generic's picture
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No, by law, in my jurisdiction, the law stipulates that you can't hide any of the end fees. You must be upfront about all costs. So the total will include all taxes, Air's fees, etc. Nothing hidden. When you are NOT in this jurisdiction, they can.... and do. Here's an example (I switched both to USD$ to make the amounts the same...)

When doing a search...

My normal IP (hiding fees illegal)....

16 to 20 March, 2 people.

Cabin A $134/night, $536 total.
Cabin B $164/night, $655 total.
Cabin C $162/night, $647 total.

USA IP (hiding fees legal)

Cabin A $95/night $463 total.
Cabin B $109/night, $549 total
Cabin C $105/night, $542 total

When I click in, I get Cabin B's $655. But until I do, I get the $109/night, $549 total. 

Air was doing the same thing in the rest of the country, but a few weeks ago was listed in a class action in the entire country and now.... the whole country has clear pricing instead of the hidden pricing.

Arks's picture
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Generic wrote:

16 to 20 March, 2 people.

Cabin A $134/night, $536 total.
Cabin B $164/night, $655 total.
Cabin C $162/night, $647 total.

USA IP (hiding fees legal)

Cabin A $95/night $463 total.
Cabin B $109/night, $549 total
Cabin C $105/night, $542 total

Ah, I see what you mean. On the "there are 120 places to stay" search page, where it compares all the properties side-by-side, it does say Cabin B is $109/night, and beneath that it says "$549 total".

But when you select the property and go to book it, it adds in the $106 sales tax and says the stay will total $655. That is misleading to people and they shouldn't do that. Good for Canada for keeping them honest...in Canada. We have a long way to go here. Sad

Generic's picture
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The same is also true in Europe now.

In my jurisdiction, they also are not allow to give you one month free and then sign you up at a higher price. So we get 13 months for the price of 12 as a starter. It's illegal to charge you less than move up the price... but they can give you one at the end for free. Smiling

 

Morticia's picture
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The algorithm definitely favors the place with the most bookings. Someone in my town went from just starting with rooms at $99 to super host and raising prices to $149 in the space of 3 months. This year they are serving breakfast and increasing the number of rooms available. It almost looks like a real business now. <sarcasm>

Either they got the $99 guest last year or they’re more sensitive than we are but they had to call air at 2am way too many times to sort out problem guests- smoking, drug use, noise. Another time they had someone call to say a different person was showing up. A quick search on social media revealed the other person to be someone the host did not want in their house (think family with young children hosting a convicted pedophile), but the new guest already had the address. So, yeah, the system is not without its faults.

Once we get back from vacation I’m going to have to bite the bullet and write up listings for all our rooms.

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Arks's picture
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I stayed at an Air condo in Memphis over the weekend (it was self-checkin, very upscale, clean, well-located, and half the cost of the downtown hotels) and thought I'd pass along all the things they had me do before checking out.

It's a product of the Air review system. Not only will I review the condo, but the owner will review me. If I don't please him by taking care of his place and following the rules, he can give me a bad review, making it hard for me to be "accepted" to stay in future properties with other owners.

It's an interesting concept, this 2-way review system, with future owners being able to check a potential guest's reviews, and reject the bad ones. It's what we always dreamed of, but could never have.

Here are the check-out procedures I followed in order to assure a good review:

  1. Gather and bag up all trash and put it by the front door, but inside the condo.
  2. Load dishwasher with all dirty dishes. Dishwasher pods are located under kitchen sink. Please insert a pod and start the dishwasher.
  3. Strip the bed and put all dirty towels and sheets in washing machine and use detergent pod located above the washer/dryer, then start the washer.
  4. Send me a text message via Airbnb when you check out so I can send the cleaning crew over.
Morticia's picture
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A friend running 4 air units expects the guests to clean. And, yes, she can write them up as sloppy if they don't. I guess I might preemptively write my review (as guest) to say the price may be lower but you are expected to clean before you leave.

Weekly and monthly rentals require you do all of those things, but they are in the contract you sign. You don't get your deposit back if you don't go along with the rules.

TheBeachHouse's picture
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Sounds like the rules in a time share.   

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09/26/2011

I'm finding the same.  Our apartment in nearby city draws self-sufficient guests.  Many take out trash and start laundry on their way out, even though there is no requirement to do so.   Sometimes I have to do the long drive just to reset the modem.  Not often.  Cleaning service has been pretty reliable.  I periodically go in and do a deep clean. 

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Don't know much about Air, but I heard that owners can review the guests, and it goes on the guest's profile so they can be turned down for future bookings, so maybe that is one pro.  Any others?

 

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09/26/2011

I turned down an Air request last night.  One review.  2.5  "lots of garbage left and asked for many more towels than number of guests booked."

Nope. 

Generic's picture
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02/24/2011

They all lie. A guest is reticent to put down a 4, because other hosts won't want them, for fear they will get a 4.

Generic's picture
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They still don't read... read the forums... full of complaints about people who haven't read what they booked and review their mistakes.

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