Suspends and Deletes Accounts

Airbnb Suspends and Deletes Accounts – How To Prevent This From Happening To You

Welcome to Boostly Podcast Episode 494. In this podcast episode I'm going to share with your stories about what is happening right now with Airbnb and how to prevent your account being suspended or worse… deleted.

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Here's the audio for this episode:

Here's the video for this episode:

 

Timestamps (audio)

00:00 Hosts waking up to suspended Airbnb accounts
02:10 How this is harming businesses
02:40 A Airbnb ambassador got suspended
04:55 The admin you need to do in settings
05:08 Security cameras
09:45 Lessons learned
10:30 All future bookings were cancelled – $20,000 worth
14:15 Host cancellation polichy changes with fines
17:30 How can you prevent this in the long term
 

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Transcript from the Episode

Okay, welcome back everybody to the Boostly podcast. Let's get a microphone up here. This is a, a live recording, a very special one because it's time to talk about Airbnb. They are actively going out their way to cancel and suspend listings and accounts. And this video is gonna delve into a couple of stories.

A host that's reached out to me and asked to remain anonymous because they don't want this getting out. Uh, especially to reveal their identity. And we're gonna talk to you at the end about how you can prevent this happening. So if you are tuning in with me live, or even if you're on the replay, leave a hashtag live.

Let me know where you are in from around the world, share your Airbnb horror stories below, and let's dig into this. Okay. Welcome everybody. Good morning, good afternoon, good evening, wherever you are. And like we said in the in, in that little introduction video, share this in Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups.

We've got to spread the message around here because there are so many people, there's so many stories that I've seen and I guarantee it. If I've seen it with loads that I'm not seeing as, as well, and this is happening more and more over the last couple of months. And what is happening is hosts are waking up and especially the host that maybe be over reliant on, on Airbnb and all of a sudden they'll find that their account is suspended or even worse, is being deleted, removed off platform and they don't know what to do.

And there's been YouTube videos about this. Instagram, uh, posts about this. There been posts in communities, there's been posts on Reddit. There's been stuff in the actual Airbnb community pages as as well. And there's something that needs to be done about this. This video, I hope, will be able to be shared with you if this happens to you, so you know what you need to do.

And also as well, I want to give a couple of shout out to a couple of other hosts that are, uh, sharing their experiences on what they did to turn it around. Share your stories in the comments. Has this ever happened to you as. Account being suspended, temporarily suspended. Has it been shut down and deleted?

And let me know, um, what you did, because there's so many people that this has happening to. And this is why it's important because even if your account is suspended for a week or for a month, if you can't get access to it, if you can't get access to the people that are booked with you, and if you can't potentially bring in new bookings, then your business is being harmed because of it.

And. Even if you can get it back just like this host did, and I'm gonna share like a story from some of that was emailed to me and, and she still suffers from it now, um, is that this could really set your business back. Now at the end of it, I'm gonna show you how you can prevent it, Go down a couple of steps on how you can make sure that this won't affect you in the future, but this is why it's important to share these stories with you.

So first and foremost, uh, let me share my, lemme share my screen. We're gonna dig into the first. So everybody, please go and check out John Hildebrand. Go and check out his, uh, amazing YouTube channel, which is Hildy Holmes. He put a video out about a month ago where, um, his account was suspended. Now, to give a bit of context around John and, you know, you can go dig into his YouTube videos as an interview with Bruce Lee.

Um, he's, he's now a client of Boostly , which is fantastic and glad we'll be able to help him. But John is a, an Airbnb. Super host. Not only that, he actually works as an ambassador for Airbnb. If anybody should have privy of being behind the scenes to see what's going on, it should be him. But even John was, was, um, was suspect to this.

Let me just play a first little clip of his video that you can go and check out on his YouTube channel. My Airbnb account was suspended, completely locked out, no bookings, couldn't do anything. Took me over a month and a half to get it back up. Then it got suspended again. So in this video, I'm gonna explain all about what I learned.

So if you're an Airbnb host. So as you can see with this, um, John is an ambassador. He, he has access to people that he can talk to at Airbnb. And one of the reasons why his account was suspended, reactive, and suspended again, was just some little, uh, tweaks behind the scenes that he didn't tick boxes. Now, there a, as a John goes on to explain in that video, That he has discovered that Airbnb are actively going through, whether it's a bot or whether it's people and they are cleaning up, um, old accounts, unreactive accounts, uh, maybe fake accounts, et cetera.

We're trying to clean up all of that, but in the process of it, They are swooping up and they are removing actual businesses off there, and this happened to him and the sole reason was it was just a little bit of an administration issue in the back end that he didn't do. So first things first. How can you this, number one, go and watch the video.

It's 19 minutes long. It is. Got a lot of information in there. Uh, he explained the process that he went through, uh, and then go and into your settings and make sure that you've got all of the admins sorted. If you, you know, you make sure that all your taxes are all sorted and set up all of that on there so that they can't just remove you and say, Hey, we thought you were in, in an active listing.

So that, that's number one. Number two, um, we're gonna showcase another one. Rafa Loza. Now, Rafa posted this up. Uh, please go follow his account. As you can see, it's RAA under score l uh, zero z a. Rafa posted up a couple of stories and this is a common issue, but is happening a lot now. Unfortunately, the, the story is out there anymore, but you can still go, go and check him out, and I'm sure there'll be a YouTube video coming around short.

With his views on it. But the simple fact here is that every host, every responsible host, looks to protect their properties in any way, shape or form. Uh, you've got, in some instances seven figure properties. Uh, sometimes it's not even yours. You know, you're doing the advertise or the management model, and so you wanna make sure that those properties are looked after.

You wanna make sure that the guests that say they're going to be staying there, the ones that stay in your property, and that nothing else could happen in terms of breakings, et cetera. So, to do that, You put security cameras on the outside of your property. Now, you're never ever gonna put 'em on the inside of your property, obviously, because that goes against every single Ts and Cs that are out there.

But on the outside, that is fine and it is, um, fine, not only in your policies and your setup, but also Airbnb policies as well. Now what happened with Rafa is happening with so many people that I see, and Rafa was able to document this, document, the pain point that he was going through. And also as well, he has come out the other end and he's got his, his listings back, but he was without his account for six weeks or good six weeks, which again meant that he was, without being able to use a marketing channel like Airbnb, in a very busy time, which was July and August to fill up his, his properties.

And what happened was that a guest. Complained to Airbnb that the place that they were staying had a camera on the inside. Inside of the property. Now this is false. False because it's, it's not the case. It was on the outside and he has proven this. Um, he proved it with document and every single aspect of his business and his listing.

But Airbnb didn't reach out to Rafa, like what a normal partnership is. What they keep saying partnership would do, They would normally, you would reach out and say, Hey, uh, this is being a complaint. What can you prove of? Otherwise, they just suspended his account, the lead, his account, got rid of it, suspended, couldn't get access.

Now, luckily, Rafa is a detailed person. He has detailed every single part of the property. Uh, he showcased everything and he was able to send proof. Now, when he first contacted, uh, the rep, the, the rep was, um, Somebody who didn't really know what they were doing. The problem when you're a company like Airbnb and you grow to the scale that they have done and they have to hire and hire and hire and hire and hire is the more that you grow.

And the more that you scale, the less that you hire A players. And you know, as a, as a business owner myself, and we are growing ourselves, like we are always looking to hire A players, but as you get to the level of Airbnb, you're gonna start hiring maybe CD or E. And unfortunately, when you call these companies and everybody's.

got, a horror story on this. Just go to the hospitality community and look at their rants when you have to contact these companies and speak to a rep at booking.com or a rep at verbo Expedia, Airbnb. More often than not you speaking to somebody who's not properly qualified. They've never been a host, they've never been in property themselves, they've never been in hospitality, and they're literally reading from a script.

And so when Rafa comes to 'em and says, X, Y, and Z, first and foremost, they just say the same thing you say on a script, send it in on an email. So they send it in on an email. But when you do that, you then join the massive backlog of emails, the millions of emails that Airbnb must get on a daily basis.

And so when they said, Hey, we're gonna deal with this within X amount of hours. It wasn't dealt with, if it wasn't for Rafa, consistently having to go and chase him up, chase him up, chase him up, keep showing and saying, Hey, what's going on here? Utilizing his, uh, his team of virtual team members to chase him up and chase him up.

He was able to get it back, but it wasn't for a very long time. Now, In this game, especially in peak season. And if you are relying on, you know, one source of traffic for your bookings, and if you are doing the, you know, the advertise model or whatever model where you've got bills to pay, you've got staff to pay and you not got an in new income coming in, this is really gonna affect you in the short, medium, and the long term as well.

So what happens to Rafa? You know, he has got his listings back now, but this has happened to so many people now, if this has happened to you, Leave a comment below, whether it's on the live or on the replay. Let us know your experiences because it's time to start calling him out on here. Now, the main lesson to learn from this John's lesson makes sure every single little thing behind the scenes is up to date on your Airbnb.

Make sure that all of your set ins and all of your business information is up to date. With, with, with Rafa's lesson, make sure everything is documented on your properties. Make sure you, you have proof that you can send in at an instant, but also keep chasing them up, whether it's you, you know, and ideally not you remember who, not how that amazing book.

But we keep talking about if it's not gonna be you have a team member do it. Have them as their sole kpi that their, you know, their sole job and their sole focus is to make sure that they, um, they read it and they deal with. Okay, so, uh, I'm gonna move on to the next one now, and, and this one, no, it sent to me and honestly, I'm not gonna share who sent it in.

Um, but it, it is a bit of a crazy story. And again, it just goes to show how little Airbnb are treating hosts, like partners and just treating them more like a number. Um, so this host got in contact with me, um, on an email recently and, you know, She shared her experiences with Airbnb and um, again, she said she asked not to be, um, named or anything like that.

And I said, Yeah, sure, no problem. So here we go. So, here's the story, and you can read it with me. I've just taken it from the email and I've put it into a Google Doc. So a guest made a booking and a guest claimed that I didn't allow their service animal. So a service animal like guide dog, et cetera. And they, uh, to, to stay with them.

So they, the guest never informed the host that it was going to be a service animal and Airbnb without talking to the host. Through them off Airbnb basically suspended, deleted their account. This host had been a super host for two years straight, and not only did they, um, suspend them, they canceled all.

Their future bookings and future guests as well. So they canceled the guests. She was instantly in inundated with emails from guests asking why they had canceled on her. Uh, but she couldn't respond because Airbnb had them blocked. So after 48 hours of reaching out to all my guests by text, uh, or email, and she made sure sh that she got, so she was doing the right thing.

She made sure that she got all of the emails via her property management software, uh, and she got all the text numbers. So this is another big thing. Make sure that if you are gonna use Airbnb, make sure if you are going to use booking.com or VRBO at your connected Via PMs property management software.

Property management software up uplifting, guesty, et cetera, et cetera. So she was able to reach out to her guests. The, the senior Airbnb associate who only worked 1:00 AM to 6:00 AM in her time zone, decided to turn their account back on. So obviously after four, eight hours there was like a little internal discussion.

They looked at it and said, Hang on a second. Something's gone awry here, we'll turn her back on. Then the host asked Airbnb to reinstate the bookings, reinstate, Um, every booking that they, they canceled and they said they wouldn't do that. So the host had to go and recover over $20,000 worth of bookings herself.

Now what she did is what everybody should do. So she convinced a guest that, you know, she wasn't a lun, it wasn't a serial killer and it was only a dog issue. Uh, and she told them the whole story. But by telling the whole story, she was able to cover all but three guests. And Airbnb didn't help in any way, shape or form.

And again, this is like, this is one message. It's crazy message, a crazy story. And she has got, you know, PTSD over this now. Um, obviously not back on on Airbnb. Luckily, she is going down the direct booking route. But for a lot of people to have an experience like this, you just won't come back from it. And a lot of people wouldn't have the, the sort of, the foresight or the knowledge to, to make sure that you've got a system in place, a blueprint in place like a PMs to make sure that you can deal with it.

So my tip with this, number one, make sure that if you are gonna be listing on these platforms, make sure you've got a strong PMS that when a booking comes in, you're instantly collecting the data. I e text, i e email. So if anything does happen that you can cancel the guest straightaway. And this is another reason why it is important.

Um, brand new, uh, update from, from Airbnb on the host cancellation policy. Now, there's been a lot of videos on this. I'm gonna share with you a YouTube video. You can go see where they dig into it in a bit of detail. But everybody will know about the new host cancellation policy. Uh, something that they're bringing in as of now where cancellation fees, now cancellation fees or canceling a guest isn't uncommon.

Anybody who's had to deal with, with booking.com in the past, you'll know that this is, this is a, this is something that, um, we've had to do regular. If for whatever reason you have to cancel a booking on, on booking.com, then you need to. Find 'em a place to stay, et cetera, et cetera. But Airbnb are going a step further where they're going to be imposing fines.

Now, um, what's really important here is that number one, never ever, ever cancel, um, uh, an Airbnb or an OTA booking Never be at you, be the person who cancels. It always has to be the guest that that cancels this day and. Obviously there's going to be certain circumstances that you're gonna have to cancel.

It could be, for whatever reason, could be an issue with the house. It could be personal issues or whatever. Sometimes you're gonna have to do it, and instead of going through the platform, Airbnb, for example, you've got to go direct to the guest. You've got to, you know, humanize, explain in full what's happened and ask them to change, not cancel.

And if, and if they, for whatever reason, can't change, just say, listen. Uh, really apologize. But we've had to do this. Can you just go, we can't do this. Can you just go and cancel your, your booking on, on, uh, on Airbnb? Um, you know, you can go a step further. Just say, Hey, just to, just to say sorry for, for this, for.

Circumstance will be able to give you X, could be $50, a hundred dollars, whatever in in petrol vouchers or whatever, Amazon or whatever. Just say, we will do your best to try and find you another place to stay. You can reach into your local community, into your local network, but be human and get the guest to cancel.

There's no ramification for the guest. There's no financial fees that the guests will have to pay. with, especially with the new commission model rolling in from Airbnb where we're gonna get everybody on a flat 40 rate commission where the guest doesn't have to pay a service charge. So if there's no financial ramifications for them, it's just the only thing that they'll have to do is find a new place to stay.

And if you offer that support and help, it's a lot beneficial for you canceling that booking on Airbnb because number one, they're now going to fine you. And depends on, um, how much it could be. It could range up to a thousand dollars, which is ridiculous. Also as well. The thing that they're not talking about is that when you cancel a book in on Airbnb, your super host status is pretty much gonna disappear and they'll pretty much ghost you on the platform.

They don't want host canceling stays. This is why they're bringing in these new things. Now, if you wanna a video that goes into. Uh, a bit more of a deep dive onto this, then go and check out the, the Real Estate Robinsons. I'll just bring up the screenshot on here. The video is titled Airbnb will Suspend Your Account if you do this.

It's a 15 minute video, and I love these two. The videos are, are always entertaining. They always keep me tuned in, but this digs into some, some really good examples of, of how they may use that. It's over on YouTube. Uh, go and check 'em out. All right. Final thing. How can you prevent this in the long term?

Well, number one, what you need to do is you need to treat the OTAs slightly. They work for you and not do way around. If you are over 80% reliant on bookings coming in from one platform, you are not a business owner. You work for that platform because if it's Airbnb Brain Chesce is your boss.. And you never want to be in that position where you are always reliant on one platform for your income.

So make sure, number one, get a PMs, property management software. Number two, make sure you're spreading number of places, not just vrbo, not just uh, booking.com, not just Airbnb. Go and get furnish finders. Go and spread your wings a little bit more. Use that iCal feature. Make sure that you are creating your own direct booking website and you are adopting your own direct booking market strategies.

Now, if you want a place to start,

Go and grab this. It's the Book Direct Playbook. It is on Amazon right now. You can get it on Audible, Kindle and all that cool stuff coming very soon is the book Direct workbook, which is going to be the workbook to associate with the planner with with with the Playbook because there's so many tips.

There's 101 tips in here and you've gotta make sure that you're able to put it into practice. Go and do that. Go and be awesome. Stay proactive, never be reactive. And number one, go and make sure that your business is secure on all these platforms. Don't be in the same situation. Don't have that, that heart stopping moment when you wake up one morning and get an email from Airbnb saying your account is being suspended.

So make sure you protect yourself, make sure you, you put the things in place. And then once you've done that, let's go and see how we can increase your direct bookings. Now all I ask for this. Number one, make sure you go follow John Hildebrand. Go follow rafa, go follow the Real estate Robinsons. Um, make sure that you like this video, you share this video, and most importantly, share it in these Airbnb groups because they need to know this because there's so many people that are over 80% reliant on Airbnb for their bookings.

We need to spin this deal way where it's 80% direct, 20% third parties, and it can be done. I know so because there's so many people, part of Team Boostly who are doing this. So that's the end of this for today. Um, thank you so much for tuning in. We'll be back again with another episode of the Boosty podcast.

As always, my name as Mark Simpson, giving you the tools, the tactics, the training, and the confidence to increase your direct bookings, and I'll be back very soon.

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