I have. I have yet to get a legitimate inquiry - seems to be a lot of "bottomfeeders." The last inquiry was not compfrtable handling his transaction through AirBnB (there is a warning sign) and he contacted me through VRBO. AirBnB, while allowing you to input all your rates for various dates/months/holidays - only publishes the LOWEST rate you enter - so this particular fellow felt I was unethical when I sent my contract through VRBO and the rates were different (he was interested in 9 days over 4th of July).
All in all, I am not that thrilled with AirBnB.
Yes, we have been advertising on Air BNB. The weird thing about AirBNB is that they will not let you share your web site, phone number or anything with the potential guest before the booking is made. So the guests cannot get to know us and we cannot get to know them ahead of time. Air BNB suggests that you get your friends to write all these great recomendations for you, as a person. This is what guests are supposed to use to find a good host. In the meantime, the guests are supposed to do the same thing ... post pictures and information on their online profile, collect recommendations from the hosts they have stayed with in the past, and have their own friends submit reviews to say what a fabulously cool person they are.
We have been advertising on Air BNB for a few months. We have only gotten 2 inquiries, and they were for the wrong dates, etc. Thank goodness it doesn't cost anything to advertise there. They get their money as a commission fee after you make the booking. Air BNB collects all the money directly from the guest, and then Air BNB sends you the money (after subtracting their commission) ... I believe Air BNB pays you half of the money on the guest's arrival, and the other half on the guest's departure. Something like that. I haven't actually had a booking with them yet, so I'm not 100% sure how the process will go, but that's what I remember from their web site.
Also, the people on Air BNB are notoriously oblivious to the regulations regarding hotel tax. According to regulation, even if you are just renting out a spare bedroom in your apartment, you are required to submit hotel tax, any time you accomodate a guest for less than 30 days. I mentioned this to one of the Support / Staff people at Air BNB, and he was totally surprised.
I never used Air B&B. I get several requests from unknown companies like this one every couple of weeks. I tried some and haven't gotten any requests. It's good to stay with the top companies like Homeaway and VRBO.
Also these companies is usually created by an individual that starts it and not a company.
Below is the whois information on that website.
Brian Chesky, Inc.
2535 South Bundy Drive
Los Angeles, California 90064
Registered through: GoDaddy.com, Inc. (http://www.godaddy.com)
Domain Name: AIRBNB.COM
Created on: 05-Aug-08
Expires on: 05-Aug-19
Last Updated on: 07-Nov-09
Brian Chesky, Inc.
2535 South Bundy Drive
Los Angeles, California 90064
Brian Chesky, Inc.
2535 South Bundy Drive
Los Angeles, California 90064
Domain servers in listed order:
Thanks for looking this up. Just to be clear .. Air BnB is a VERY popular vacation rentals company. They aren't some weird off brand. They have an office right here in San Francisco staffed by a cadre of very smart (mostly young) people. They have 1000s of listings, easily hundreds of them are for room in properties here in San Francisco. Some of the listings are for entire apartments, but most of them are just for rooms.
Their web site is very professional, yet trendy and fun ... it's much more modern and up-to-date than VRBO or HomeAway's, even after the upgrades. Air BnB is kind of like VRBO for the young and hip ... the "social networking" crowd.
Also, the rates on Air BnB are extremely cheap!!! Rooms in San Francisco for $40 per night, etc. I think that's why we get almost no inquires through them. Our place is a full apartment listed at $150 per night. Why would anybody book our place when there are so many others listed for $80 per night or $50 per night, etc?
But .... we are listed there anyway. It's free to have the listing. It might help our property show up on more search results.
Also one thing I like about Air BnB is that the provide an automatic updating of your ad on craiglist every week. Now ... I have not received even ONE inquiry from the craigslist ad, but ... it's free, and Air BnB takes care of the constant re-posting (every week) that you have to do on craigslist. It's free, and it's more exposure, so I figure ... why not?
Thank you for the update. Seems like it's a good company. Just for the automatic updating for Craigslist it's worth the cost. I agree it's hard to compete with $50 to $80 per night when yours is $150 per night. Why are there more lower rate rentals compared to VRBO/Homeaway. Does VRBO/Homeaway have lower rate rentals for your area as well?
The variety of rentals on Airbnb are vast, from an extra couch in Brooklyn NY to a bonafided vacation home set purely as a vacation rental. Airbnb is good for those looking and wanting to feel safe with paying to a 'real' person.
If yours is more expensive, just get out there why it is worth it:) the amenities, view, cleanliness, etc.
My main worry with AirB&B is that their cancellation policy is so different to mine.
We ask for a deposit on booking. 6 weeks before arrival we ask for full payment and the deposit becomes the security bond. Cancellation within a 6 week period means that you forfeit all money paid except the deposit unless we can re-book the house.
AirB&B only allow for a 2 week no return cancellation, which is why I have deferred posting my advert.
Perhaps I am being too cautious? but having turned away other potential renters only to end up with a cancellation so close to a stay is a worry. Any thoughts?
Unfortunately my HomeAway advert has not produced many enquiries, but it may work better for US based properties. We are in Queensland, Australia. If anyone has any ideas of sites I could list on, please let me know. Thanks!
Hi all, Yes, the very short cancellation policy can be problematic for us too. We are already booking for 2012. We make it clear in our Airbnb ad about our security deposit as well as in our renter agreement. For rentals more than one month in advance, we may not book if additional security deposit is not covered.
I believe Air BnB has such cheap rates because many of the "hosts" are RENTERS themselves, who are simply renting a couch in their living room or maybe a spare bedroom.
Just imagine, for these people, any money they get, is pure gravy! Imagine if you didn't have to pay for property taxes, homeowner's insurance, maintenance and upkeep on the building, etc.
I'm sure this is not allowed by their lease / rental contact, but of course the real landlords would have no idea that any of this is going on. If someone were to ask, the "host" would just say that this random stranger was a friend who was staying over for a few nights.
Also a lot of the "hosts" on Air BnB are work-from-home dot-commers, artists, financiers, and what-not. Seems to me, you have to have a lot of trust to let perfect strangers come in and stay on your living room sofa for a few nights. I think it helps that a lot of the people have work-from-home professions so they can keep an eye on things.
Air BnB is also for people who will be out of town for the weekend. Let's say you live in an apartment in the city, and you're going away for a 4-day weekend. If you can find someone to stay at your place for $50 per night, all of a sudden that's $200 of "free money." If you only do it a few times a year, you might take your chances and assume it's not going to be enough income to raise any red flags for the I.R.S. If someone were to look at your Availability Calendar on Air BnB, they would see that you were Booked / Unavailable nearly all the time, except for those few times when you had a little vacation planned.
Anyhow, I don't work for Air BnB or anything (obviously, ha ha!), but .. from my hours of expeience with the web site, these are my theories of WHY the listings are so cheap on Air BnB.
I know what you're saying, I was also a little leery of the cancellation policies being different from ours. At Air BnB, you have your choice of 3 different cancellation policies.
I chose the Strict Policy.
Strict: 50% refund up until 1 week prior to arrival, except fees
- Must be made seven full days prior to 12:00 AM local time on the day of check in, otherwise no refund. For example, if check-in is on Friday, cancel by the previous Thursday at midnight.
The "Super Strict" policy (not just plain "Strict") at Air BnB is more similar to what we actually use at our property, because it includes a 30-day cancellation deadline. However, the "Super Strict" policy is only for "special circumstances" and "by invitation only." Well, I haven't been invited, and I doubt that my apartment qualifies for any special treatment.
But ... the just plain "Strict" policy on AirBnB is not too bad. If someone were to cancel 10 days ahead of time, we would still get 50% of their booking. With more than a week's notice, there's a chance we can re-book at least 50% of the cancelled nights. Or maybe rebook the same nights for a "Last Minute Cancellation Special" discounted rate. If so, then we would maybe come out even.
There's no refund *at all* when it's less than 1 week, which is good, because it's practically impossible for us to re-book something on that short of notice.
Despite my qualms about Air BnB, I have my listing there because I realize that I am not forced to make any booking with them. No matter what inquiries I get, I can always say NO. I can get to know the person via the messaging system within Air BnB. I can look at the dates they are requesting .... if it's during high season when I most likely WILL get a booking through my preferred channels such as HomeAway and VRBO (which don't have all of Air BnB's restrictions and don't have a commission), I can just say "NO."
But .. if it's during the low season when my apartment might otherwise be unoccupied ... then I'd be very happy to make the booking through Air BnB, despite all the extra restrictions / commission / different cancellation policy / etc.
However, as I mentioned before ... I have gotten no bookings through Air BnB yet. I have had only 2 inquiries, and I've been on there for about 3 months.
If you want more information about the "how to's" of hosting at Air BnB, here's the FAQ.
Also if you haven't seen their "how it works" video yet, you should check it out ... it's very cute.
It's mostly geared toward people who are looking to book a place.
I actually think an ad like this, giving you sort of a mini-tour ... with brief shots of the beautiful, really special places you can stay in when you book with Home Away or VRBO ... and an attractive, yet down-to-earth host or hostess to show you around to these inviting getaway spots ... might be a more effective idea for the HomeAway Super Bowl Ad. I was disappointed with the "Test Baby" ad that they aired this year. Not because I was offended by the oddball sense of humor regarding the test baby, but because the ad didn't show fantastic wide angle and/or panoramic shots of the amazing and beautiful properties people could be staying in. When I saw the preview, I thought "Huh?" From this commercial, no one would know how breathtaking and amazing so many of our properties are!
It seems that the ad executives at HomeAway wanted something that would catch people's eye, so they were trying to create this Adventure Odyssey James Bond thing. But I think ... showing something beautiful and inviting can catch someone's attention just as well. Could be something to keep in mind for our videos to advertise our individual properties, too.
So ... maybe we can all get some ideas from this Air BnB "how it works" video.
I totally agree about the AirB&B video clip. It was fun and imaginative and really what caught my eye about the site in the first place. I too was disappointed by the HomeAway production...did not make me want to rush off to the site to book my next holiday!. Thank you all for your contributions to the discussion. Lizzie.
Claudio, the video doesn't really explain things like the cancellation policy and stuff. It's more of a visual tour for the guest, to show the kind of places you might get to stay in, and how easy and hassle-free it is to book a place.
If you want the nitty-gritty about "how it works" from our end, as "hosts," the only place I know to find the information, is in this FAQ link (same one I provided earlier):
I had the darndest time finding this information when I was first looking into AirBnB months ago. When you just go to airbnb.com, it's more geared toward the guests. I had so many questions about policies, and I could not find the answers. It was so frustrating. Luckily I eventually found that link ... I believe it addresses just about any question you might have, as an owner or "host."
I have an update on the pricing situation with AirBnB.
I had my first real inquiry about a week ago, so I got to see how the process went, with the various fees, etc. It was a little confusing to me, from the AirBnB FAQ, how the bottom line was going to turn out.
The inquiry was for 5 nights, and the posted rate at AirBnB is $150/night + tax.
So the rate was $750.00 + tax.
In order to add the hotel tax, I had to reply with a "Special Offer" (which is a bit of a misnomer! given that I am increasing the price, not decreasing it). The total amount was $862.50, which is $750.00 + $112.50 (15% tax).
AirBnB's Service Fee is charged directly to the customer (added on top).
I noticed in the FAQ; it says that AirBnB makes its money by charging a 6% to 12% fee to the customer. So I was curious how that would work out. When I replied with the "special offer" to the guest for $862.50, I saw that AirBnB has tacked on an additional "service fee" of $68.00. (This is 8% of the quoted amount; well within the 6% to 12% mentioned in the Owner FAQ.)
In the message I saw from AirBnB, the customer was being told that their price was $862.00 + $68.00 = $930.00.
AirBnB's Processing Fee is subtracted from the money sent to the owner, at the end of the deal.
AirBnB removes a 3% fee (for credit card processing) from the money that it sends to the owner after a successful booking.
So ... if the booking had been successful, it looks like AirBnB would have credited 97% of $862.00 to my bank account, which equals $836.00.
I will still need to remit a check to the City of SF, for the full amount of $112.50 for taxes, so ... in the end I would end up with $723.50.
Hotel Tax: May be Added as a "Special Offer" or Cash Upon Arrival.
I sent a customer service request asking how the other people on airbnb deal with hotel taxes. A few weeks ago, I had asked customer service how to apply the sales tax, and they told me it could be added with a "Special Offer." Unfortunately, once I actually had in inquiry, and replied back with Special Offer (code name for "hotel tax added"), I noted, to my dismay, that they only give the total amount (+ AirBnB Service Fee) to the guests. If that's the case, then AirBnB is not complying with the rule for showing the guest how much is tax and how much is the rental rate.
An AirBnB rep wrote back, telling me that a lot of people are charging the regular room rate through AirBnB, and they are accepting payment of cash for the hotel tax, upon check-in. I wrote back that this is a great idea, except that it's a problematic in terms of .... what if the guest shows up for a 2 week booking, without the $300 in cash needed? What if they say they'll go to an ATM later and then they get busy with their vacation and never get around to it? Also, we have an electronic key code at the door. Part of the advantage of our apartment is that the guest can arrive at 3 a.m. or whenever he/she wants without needing to check in with us. But if we have to wait around for them to get there and pay us that $300, and they have to keep phoning us with updated arrival times, etc ... it totally takes away from that convenience, both for the guest and for us.
It has been a few days now, and I haven't heard back again from the AirBnB rep. I have a feeling that most of their "hosts" are simply not charging the hotel tax.
Security Deposit. Yes, there is a way! But you have to ask them for it. The info is not provided in the FAQ.
I also asked the AirBnB customer service rep about the Security Deposit. This is something the DO NOT address in their FAQ. However, the customer service rep did write back with an answer on that one. He said that he was able to set up my account so that there would be a $250 authorization on the guest's credit card upon check-in. The funds would be held until a few days after the guest's check-out. If there was any problem, I would need to let AirBnB know, and AirBnB would contact the guest regarding our complaint and potentially charge them for damages. So at least AirBnB does have, what sounds to me, like a good solution for the Security Deposit.
By the way, I think the guest got scared off when the room when $750 turned out to be $930.00, with all the taxes and AirBnB service fee added! I never heard back from her again after she got the final price quote. I'm smiling because I don't mind at all. This client was asking for an extremely popular summer weekend that will definitely be booked ... and for a bit cheaper (no $68 service charge!), if the person is smart enough to book through VRBO or HomeAway, instead of AirBnB.
Also, I'm happy that I finally got a real inquiry so I went through the process and saw how the fees, etc, were actually going to play out.
Here is our AirBnB listing.
I had also wanted to mention ... AirBnB is now offering FREE professional photography, for the hosts. I don't know who long they will be doing this, but definitely sign up for it if you have the chance. Air BnB is directly paying the photographer and will own the rights to the images, so you won't be able to use the photographs to advertise on any of your other web sites.
But the photographer that came to our place, Timothy Shonnard (San Francisco / East Bay) was fantastic. He did great things with the lighting, staging, etc. Since we had the place all set up so nicely, I went around with my camera and got some new and improved, better shots for my own use, too.
I am thinking of hiring Timothy to come back this summer and take some pictures that I will have the rights to. But for the moment, I want to see how things will be, after I upload my own "new and improved" shots to VRBO, HomeAway, etc. I haven't uploaded my new pictures yet, but I will, when I get a chance.
If you're on AirBnB, I highly recommend taking them up on their Free Photography Offer, and see what a difference it can make.
Thank you, sfvacationhut, for your long and detailed post re booking on the AirBnB discussion. I was also concerned about the security deposit side of things, as we take a $300 bond which is returned at the end of the guests stay after a check-out inspection.
I wonder if they offer free professional photography for hosts in Australia!
I love your studio apartment, it looks very comfortable and inviting. Lizzie.
Sorry for the slow reply, I have been busy with a new website design! We take a deposit of $300 to secure the booking (PayPal or Direct Bank Deposit only) . Full payment is due 6 weeks before arrival and your deposit then becomes the bond which is returned after a house inspection on check-out. This works well for us, but would be complicated on AirB&B. So far I have not activated my listing, as I have been so tied up with getting a new website together, but Debi's answer below gives me encouragement to try it. Lizzie
I've had a number of bookings through Airbnb. It took me a little while to figure it out, and not being able to interact directly with the guest was a pain. However, I understand why they keep it that way... and they release phone numbers and emails after they get their money from the guest. We are able to interact through airbnb's email website and while cumbersome, it does work. I have raised my rates slightly to cover variations in cleaning fees, and now I see they have added that category of pricing. I advise the clients that if my property is available, a security deposit and occupancy tax must also be levied, and that this is something that we will do outside the airbnb jurisdiction. I tell them what it is, and that they may pay me separately through Paypal. I especially like using Paypal for security deposits because I can refund directly into the guest's account and Paypal keeps none of their fee... thus making that part of the service free to me.
My biggest issue with Airbnb was that it was necessary to update the calendar periodically and I was already keeping more calendars than I wanted. Now, they have also added a change that allows a link to the vrbo calendar saving me tons of time. It's a free site. The cost is great. I love the Craigslist feature and use it. If they bring me any business at all it's more exposure and more business than I had previously, and I appreciate that as well. I've also found they pay me promptly. It's all a matter of learning a new system and being patient with it. And now I'm going to go find out about this professional photo offer!
I just got another booking through Airbnb, and so this is a little fresher in my mind. They collect the rent only from our guests, and pass that along to the owners. Although there is a place they will post taxes, cleaning fees and security deposits, they don't collect those moneys. I was thinking that they did collect the cleaning fee, and so I didn't include that in the amount I required to be paid directy to me through Paypal. My error. The cleaning fee is minimal, but I'll remember to add it separately next time.
Yes, Claudio and Debi, I'm glad you posted this!
I didn't know about the new story with Ashton Kutcher being their spokesperson, but it sounds like a great move on their part.
AirBnB's marketing and advertising is HEAD AND SHOULDERS over HomeAway / VRBO. Just look at their "how it works" video and compare that to the ghastly Mad Max / James Bond style Super Bowl video from HomeAway this year. I think HomeAway / VRBO could really learn some things from AirBnB.
Yes, Air Bnb is BIG. Especially here in the Bay Area but they have listings all over the world.
If you've got the time for it, I definitely recommend setting up a listing on there and see how it works for you! As Deb said it's free until you get a booking. Even when you get a booking, you only have to pay the 3% credit card processing fee, which is similar to what you'd pay if you were taking credit cards anyway. AirBnB makes their money off the "services fees" that they charge to the guest, ON TOP of your posted rates.
Debi, have you signed up for the Free Photography session yet? I hope they are still offering it.
Now, in my standard reply to every e-mail inquiry on HomeAway and VRBO, FlipKey, etc, I direct the customers to my AirBnB site. I tell them this is where they can go to see the very best pictures, taken by a professional photographer. It turns out to be a good marketing tool for me!
Wow, professional photos that I can share with all inquiring parties ... and it was TOTALLY FREE. Yahoo!
As a bonus, on the same day that Timothy went in and took the pictures, I saw all the nice staging that he did, and how nicely it was set up. So I went in with my camera and took my own pictures. They are not as good as what Timothy was able to do, but they are a big improvement, compared to what I had on there before.
I wish you could see a "before and after" of the photos I had then and now ... but anyway ... here is my VRBO site with the updated pictures.
I also updated the HomeAway site with new pictures (thankfully we get 24 on there instead of just 5).
I am so thankful for these new pictures. We are now mostly booked until the end of February. I believe the new photos helped us to secure the 4 month booking (during our low season) which was so perfect for us.
So yeah .. AirBnB rocks!
Especially if you can take advantage of this free photography deal, and then go and take your own pictures afterward.
By the way, I took all those new pictures of the apartment with a Nikon Coolpix 110 camera that I got at Costco for about $150.00. It has a much wider angle than my android phone, which is what I had used to take the previous pictures. The camera has its flaws, but for that price, I am very happy with it. The important thing is that we got something that takes a "wide enough" angle for me to get much better shots of our apartment.
I checked availability, and it seems amazon is selling it for $250. I wouldn't pay that much for this camera, it does have flaws ... but if you can find it for cheap, I highly recommend it! For example, they apparently sell it at Sears ...
And this link says there is a Sears "near me" selling it for $105.00. (I'm not sure what will show up when you guys click on the link.) If you can get it that cheap, it's definitely worth it.
I thought this was important to mention because in fact ... the new pictures on my HomeAway / VRBO sites (which I took) are better now due to the new camera, in addition to the great staging provided by the AirBnB photographer.
Wow! Your pictures are gorgeous! I went to Airbnb right after you posted, to see if I could find the 'free professional pictures' offer and didn't find it. It might be that Airbnb doesn't travel, and offers this only where their offices are located. My properties are on the Oregon Coast.
Your pictures are so good, that I think it's time for me to redo mine, and do some staging as well. You are an inspiration! Thank you!
Oooh, I'm sorry to hear you weren't able to find the free photography deal. I believe I found out about it through an e-mail they sent me, or maybe it was something that showed up on my "dashboard." Why not e-mail the guys at AirBnB and directly ask them if they are contracting with any photographers in your area?
I'm glad you like my pics! Thank you so much, yes, staging is important ... it can help you capture some even better pictures for your place. If you look at the 24 pictures on HomeAway, the quality is hit and miss, because I still have some on there that were taken with my android phone.
But the 5 pictures on the VRBO web site were taken with the new camera, on the same day that Timothy worked his magic.
I almost think the 5 pictures on VRBO are more effective than the 16 photos on HomeAway ... maybe it's better to see 5 really good pictures, than to see 16 pictures where the good photos are watered down by the pixelated not-so-good photos. Eventually want to replace the not-so-good photos on HomeAway, so that all 16 will be "fabulous" .. but heck, we've only got so much time in a day. In fact, right now I have to get going and get some real work done!
Thanks again for the kind words Debi! Good luck in capturing some new photos for your place.
By the way, that camera also takes high definition video with a stereo microphone (better than what we were getting with our high-definition flip video camera), and the video is much "Wider Angle" than what I was able to get with the flip video or my android phone. I have taken some video of the apartment that I'm hoping to be edit and post on youtube, facebook, etc.
Its a great move for all parties.
Ashton will be a great addition to the AirBnB team. He definitely fits on their demographic. I bet Ashton is doing the same thing William Shatner did with Priceline where he is taking stock options via getting paid for his services. It's a great call due to that Shatner is $600 million richer from his stock options.
Look forward to seeing what AirBNB does in the next few months.
Regarding the professional photo offer by Airbnb:
I couldn't find the offer on their site, so I sent an email. A few days later, I received a very polite response telling me that they ARE still offering this, and gave me the option to either call or send an email requesting this. The link they gave me directed me to a page that told me that the photographers were overloaded. However, I did have the option to go ahead and send an emaill in, which I did. That was a few days a go and I've heard nothing.
I would think that vacation sites away from the mother-office might stand more of a chance receiving the service, if they contract with photographers local to the rentals. But I don't know this, it's just a guess.
I signed up for AirB&B just last week. I saw a link for the professional photography while I was setting up my property and clicked on it. Later that day I had en email from a local photographer and by the next day had an appointment all set for later this month. Try sending them another email.
You can stop receiving emails every time someone comments on a post you have also commented on by changing your preferences.
Go to "Your Stuff" in the bar that runs across the top of the screen.
Click for the drop down menu and choose "Preferences"
Click the tab labeled "Email Notification Preferences"
Then make your choices as to when you would (or would NOT) like to recieve email notifications by choosing Yes or No.
i've had excellent results wtih airbnb. i use it exclusively because they take care of almost everything -- payment, communication, cancellations, refunds, etc. i have a couple of places in boston and i've made about $8000 in the last year. a friend made about $15,000 in the same period (he rents his place our far more than i do).
i've looked at vrbo -- it seems to be a lot of work. for $80-$110 a night, i have to spend about 5-10 min. on airbnb.
i  look at airbnb requests,  check the calendar sometimes (if i have unavailability for reasons external to airbnb),  make an offer (one click), or ask them to book,  either make the bed or just leave sheets (they can change themselves; i have 10 sets per bedroom).
i have keyless entry (code), so i don't have to be around. so far, apart from two or three visitors, all others have been great. the two or three weren't happy with the accommodation, so we made other financial arrangements.
the vast majority of my reviews are good; these are reliable as only visitors can leave such reviews. the system can be gamed, but not easily; you'd need several friends with credit cards willing to pay airbnb's fees to help you out with good reviews. i haven't seen a way to respond to an unfair bad review -- this would be nice.
as i am out of town for extended periods, i've found this to be a great way to make money, at about $100-200 for 15 minutes of work. 7.5 if they change the sheets themselves and i have someone do the laundry once a month.
airbnb keeps my busy seasons busy enough with minimal impact on my time. for free. unless i hear something compelling, i don't think i will advertise elsewhere.
I use AirBNB and it works well for me because we have our rates set bedroom. They have an option which is to list by bedroom or the entire house. We have been using travel agents to help book for many years so I am use to paying a travel agent commission of 10-15% so I just view this site the same as a travel agent site. My rates are inclusive (taxes and cleaning) and I have adjusted the rate to include AirBNB’s fee so that my guests do not see anything different between this site and my own website. Keep in mind that AirBNB also pays your merchant fee which we normally have to absorb as well. They do not allow links so I just list the name of my property and ask the viewer to do a Google search. The only downside I see with AirBNB is the lack of time they give a host to screen a guest and although I have not had this happen before I must stay I am a bit worried what will happen if I elect to reject a guest. About 20% of the people that want to book my home I turn away or they decide to cancel after reading my strict rental polices. The other negative is I am not a happy camper with the mandated cancellation polices. Have found this site is only for the bargain hunter crowd so I have not listed any of my high end homes on this site.
See below for an e-mail update from AirBnB.
I think it's really great that AirBnB admitted they made some mistakes, rather than trying to pretend that everything was hunky dory.
Interestingly .... as it says below ... On August 15th, AirBnB will be implementing a $50,000 Airbnb Guarantee, protecting the property of hosts from damage by Airbnb guests who book reservations through our website.
Note that this new AirBnB guarantee seems even better than the "damage protection insurance" provided by HomeAway, since that one only covers "unintentional damages." If such damage protection is possible, I hope that HomeAway and VRBO will start offering damage protection like this, too.
Last month, the home of a San Francisco host named EJ was tragically vandalized by a guest. The damage was so bad that her life was turned upside down. When we learned of this our hearts sank. We felt paralyzed, and over the last four weeks, we have really screwed things up. Earlier this week, I wrote a blog post trying to explain the situation, but it didn’t reflect my true feelings. So here we go.
There have been a lot of questions swirling around, and I would like to apologize and set the record straight in my own words. In the last few days we have had a crash course in crisis management. I hope this can be a valuable lesson to other businesses about what not to do in a time of crisis, and why you should always uphold your values and trust your instincts.
With regards to EJ, we let her down, and for that we are very sorry. We should have responded faster, communicated more sensitively, and taken more decisive action to make sure she felt safe and secure. But we weren’t prepared for the crisis and we dropped the ball. Now we’re dealing with the consequences. In working with the San Francisco Police Department, we are happy to say a suspect is now in custody. Even so, we realize that we have disappointed the community. To EJ, and all the other hosts who have had bad experiences, we know you deserve better from us.
We want to make it right. On August 15th, we will be implementing a $50,000 Airbnb Guarantee, protecting the property of hosts from damage by Airbnb guests who book reservations through our website. We will extend this program to EJ and any other hosts who may have reported such property damage while renting on Airbnb in the past.
We’ve built this company by listening to our community. Guided by your feedback, we have iterated to become safer and more secure. Our job’s not done yet; we’re still evolving. In the wake of these recent events, we’ve heard an uproar from people, both inside and outside our community. Know that we were closely listening.
Today we are launching a new safety section of the website (www.airbnb.com/safety) with the following offerings:
- Airbnb Guarantee
Starting August 15th, when hosts book reservations through Airbnb their personal property will be covered for loss or damage due to vandalism or theft caused by an Airbnb guest up to $50,000 with our Airbnb Guarantee. Terms will apply to the program and may vary (e.g. by country). This program will also apply retroactively to any hosts who may have reported such property damage prior to August 1, 2011.
- 24-Hour Customer Hotline
Beginning next week, we will have operators and customer support staff ready to provide around the clock phone and email support for anything big or small.
- 2x Customer Support Team
Since last month we have more than doubled our Customer Support team from forty-two to eighty-eight people, and will be bringing on a 10-year veteran from eBay as our Director of Customer Support next week.
- Dedicated Trust & Safety Department
Airbnb now has an in-house task force devoted to the manual review of suspicious activity. This team will also build new security features based on community feedback.
- Contact the CEO
If you can’t get a hold of anyone or if you just want to contact me, firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ve also added several other safety-related features to strengthen the trust and confidence of our community:
- Safety Tips
Suggestions for both guests and hosts on how to utilize our tools to better inform your decisions.
- Verified Profiles
Our updated user profiles chronicle their public history on Airbnb, giving you more insight than ever about a potential host or guest. Along with standard social information, you’ll also see if a user has verified their phone number, connected to their Facebook account, and whether the majority of their reviews are positive or negative. And as always, you can read their reviews and references.
- Customized trust settings
We now give hosts the ability to set custom trust parameters for bookings; those who don’t meet the specified requirements will be unable to make a reservation. Selections for Trust Settings include: verified phone numbers, profile descriptions, location information, with more coming soon.
- Product suggestions poll
Have more ideas on improving safety? Now, you can submit and vote on the best ideas through our new product suggestions poll.
Many more product updates will be released in the coming days. In addition to these new features, there are safeguards already in place to protect the community. These include over 60 million Social Connections, private messaging to screen before booking, a secure reservation and payment system and transaction-based reviews. We also provide verified photographs, fraud detection algorithms, and flagging capabilities.
These steps are just the beginning. Improving the safety and security of our system is ongoing. Although we do have these measures in place, no system is without some risk, so we remind you to be vigilant and discerning. As a member of the community, you have invaluable experience that we hope to draw upon to improve our system. If you have any constructive ideas or feedback, please share them with us at www.airbnb.com/safety.
What’s made us proud during this trying time is the response of our community. Emails of support to EJ poured in; many hosts offered her a place to stay in their homes. It’s been inspiring to see that Airbnb can really bring out the best in people. Like Airbnb, the world works on the idea that people are good, and we’re in this together.
When we first started Airbnb, I told my mom about our plans for the business and she said, “Are you crazy? I’d never do that.” But when I told my late grandfather he said, “Of course! Everyone used to stay in each others’ homes.” We’re bringing back this age-old idea with new technology. Now each day, you and the rest of the community are creating meaningful connections around the world.
Thank you for being part of Airbnb.
This is very interesting, thanks for sharing.
And a little off-topic: Yesterday I researched the insurance policy offered by Homeaway through CSA - we're considering allowing a wedding at our vacation home. There is a clause that excludes damage due to intoxicated behavior. Impossible to control! We nixed the thought of using the policy, too easy to get around...
I'll be curious to read the small print from Airbnb. I'm impressed so far.
Hi gina3garoogian,Go to "Your Stuff" in the bar that runs across the top of the screen.Click for the drop down menu and choose "Preferences"Click the tab labeled "Email Notification Preferences"
- Airbnb Guarantee
I have and I do. I have gotten most of my visitors from airbnb. I am new so I started on that site as there was no fee involved. The process is painless and any fees are paid by the visitor/guest. I liked the fact that airbnb sent out a professional photogropher to take pictures and there was no charge to me. They also supplied my first 50 business cards at no charge. For a first time "vacation rental manager it was the perfect place to start. My place is now listed on several paid sites and I no longer feel like a novice.
Yes, I have a listing on Airbnb, but I've only gotten one inquiry. Thankfully.
They won't let me have the inquirer's email address or let me link to anything. I can't include an attachment. And here's the bottom line:
I won't rent without a contract. My contract, one that includes the issues that are unique to MY property.
Until I can get the renter to sign off they they will not smoke in the house, will not party outside after 11PM, and will be liable for any damage they cause, I won't rent to them.
Secondarily, I can't figure out how to create seasonal or even day of week rates in their tables. 2 day weekend rentals are the big thing in the Poconos, filling mid-weeks is gravy - and our pricing structure via HA and even VHR reflects that. But I can't do that kind of structure on AirBnB.
Sure, I'd them if they were to show proper pricing and let me explain our property's requirements with the renter's signed commitment to follow them. But until then, the best I can do is include a message to contact me through our direct webpage link by spelling it out (links themselves get blocked)
I have been using Airbnb for a year now. Yes, it was confusing in the beginning, and, still has its down side. The up side is I have had bookings from the site and they were great guests.
Personally, I don't think Airbnb should take a fee on top of the cleaning and the tax. I feel they are separate fees that Airbnb should have nothing to do with. I have guests pay these fees upon arrival.
Becareful, the amount that Airbnb charges us, the host, and charges the guest are based on your cancellation policy and the amount of the booking. For example, a room that is less per night, Airbnb will charge a higher percentage for that booking!
They will hold the security/damage deposit at no cost and that has worked very well.