Welcome to Boostly Podcast Episode 447 – is it time to quit Airbnb? In this podcast I talk about the new Airbnb policies, their new refund rates/polices, the moving goal posts and how you can protect yourself in the short, medium and long term.
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Introduction to Is it Time to Quit Airbnb?
Good morning. Good afternoon. Good evening. And welcome to the Boostly podcast. Wherever you are tuning in from welcome to the number one, podcast in Marketing for everything regarding short-term rentals, hospitality, Airbnb, you name it for those of you who don’t know who I am. My name is Mark Simpson and I give hosts just like you, the tools, the tactics, the training, but most importantly, the confidence to boost your profits by cutting down on your overreliance on the OTAs, through the power of direct bookings and in today’s podcast episode, what we’re going to talk about is the new Airbnb policies, their new refund rates and policies and how they are changing and moving the goalposts again for hosts, just like you.
Also, we’re going to talk about, and what we’re going to discuss as well is how you can protect yourself in the short, the medium, and long-term with these new changes that are coming up. So without further ado, Let’s begin. So what we’re going to do, we’re going to talk about in this episode about Airbnb, for those of you that missed it, I’m going to show you two blog posts.
Changes from Airbnb
The first one is from the fantastic VRM Intel by Amy Hinote, she put this blog post on last week regarding the new policies and changes. And if you want to go see what they are, all you have to do is go onto the link. Just type in VRM Intel, Airbnb refund policy and the blog will come up from the 31st.
From there, you can actually go into Airbnb itself and you can find out what it is all about. So for those of you hearing about this for the first time, where have you been? I mean, I’ve been in a couple of Facebook Groups over the course of the last few days and I’ve have checked out a couple of clubhouse rooms talking about it, and it is a big topic of discussion, but in the simple version of it, what Airbnb has done and are doing is they’re changing the refund policies and the cancellation policies for the guests now.
Blog posts to check out
There’s two blogs that I want for you to go and delve into this in a little bit more detail. One is on VRM Intel, the fantastic Amy Hinote, but the second is I want you to go and check out two blogs on rentalscaleup.com.
This was posted on April 1st. No, it’s not an April fool’s day joke. But this is a really good blog as well. Thibault goes into more detail and how it’s going to affect not only hosts and management companies, but also the guests as well.
24hr window to 72hrs
So just a very quick call, a quick sort of breakdown of how it is going to work and what’s going to happen and it’s going to be come into effect as of the April 29th, 2022.
What you’re going to notice is that in the past, a guest checks in to your property. Let’s just say on the 1st of April, and if there’s something that they don’t like, if there’s something that they don’t feel that fits up to their liking, then they must report it to Airbnb within 24 hours.
So one day, and if after that window, if they haven’t reported, then there’s nothing that Airbnb will get involved in. What they’re doing is they’re extending that now to 72 hours, which if you think about it, and if you look at the average booking on Airbnb, the average booking is about four or five days over the course of the whole platform.
If they’re giving your guests, your future potential guests that are going to land into your property 72 hours, then that’s more than 50% of their stay.
One of the biggest problems when it comes to converting in a look at, into a Booker for a direct booking is the trust factor. Whether you like it or not, your guest is looking to make sure that you are who you say you are.So, how can you do that? Well, the number one accreditation and recommendation certification service in the industry is Iprac and I’m so happy to say that Iprac is sponsoring this podcast and is the lead sponsor for all Boostly content The reason why we partnered up is because I have been working alongside I practice for many years.
I recommend them to every Boostly customer, client, and team Boostly member. The reason being is that unlike other accreditation services, they are not just country specific. It is global and it is worldwide. They’ve got over 10,000 members and they’ve got over 250,000 properties, which means that you can display your, Iprac certificate on your website and on your socials and know that you are going to be providing that trust that your future potential guest is looking.
I reached out to Iprac and I asked them if they’ve got a special offer for Boostly members. And so if you go to boostly.co.uk/trust T R U S T, you will go to a special boostly landing page where you can book in a call and a demo. And if you sign up, you get a very special exclusive discount. The only boostly members can get.
So thank you. I prac, for being our sponsor. Thank you to listening to this very short message. I hope that you go and check out I prac today. I hope you go and join them. Just like hundreds of, of a boostly members have done, because it will help massively with you increasing your direct bookings. Right let’s get back to the show.
They aren’t prioritizing the host
Now I’ve heard everybody’s opinions. I’ve read everybody’s opinions and I’ve seen what everybody is saying, and we all agree that for the most part. This won’t be an issue, but all it takes is it for somebody that is a little bit smart, a little bit wise, who is, you know, a little bit savvy with this, they know how to play the game and it could really affect you in the in the short, medium and long run.
So the question that I ask you, everybody that’s tuning into is live, or even on the replay. What is the average length of stay for your property? And the next question is if Airbnb are going to allow it to 72 hours for a guest to put a complaint in, then how will that affect you now?
One thing that is very clear from not only reading the blog by Amy and checking out the blog from Thibault, but also going over the refund policy is that if there’s any doubt that Airbnb was prioritizing you the host or you for management company as their partners, then this is no longer the case. This is definitely cited more and more and more towards the guests, towards their customers, as you may want to call them. So this is something that you need to pay attention to. It’s obviously going to be coming into effect as of the end of April depends on when you are tuning in and listening to this from this is either going to be.
Simple step to add to the checking in process
So you’ve got to make sure that you can put loads of practices in place to make sure that you’re not relying on Airbnb. So what could you be doing in the short run? Well, this is an idea and I was thinking about this, about how I could help and pass over the information to yourself.
And it got me thinking about, something that I did recently. So I recently went to, Finland. We hired a car and when we hired a car before we signed off on it, before we left the actual Airport. We had to do a check. So we did a check with a member of the staff. We looked over the car, we signed it all off and we said, yeah, everything was absolutely fine.
And that was approved just in case, you know I went around the corner, smashed it and said that was there when I got it. So what I was thinking for the short term, and again, this is a short term solution while this is all figuring itself out. Is that what you can do when a guest checks in now it’s either going to be you, or it could be a member of your team.
You could go around the property with them. And as your doing your meet and greet, you could also have a little clipboard, a little piece of paper, and you could just get them to sign off to say ‘Yeah, everything is fine and everything is AOK, everything is good’. Then you can sign off on that and you’ve got actual documented proof.
So if something does go to Airbnb, for example, if they do report trade report at 48 hours or 72 hours down the line to try and be cheeky and get their money back or whatever they going to try and do, then you’ve got the proof to say, well, hang on a second. When they checked in, they signed off to say everything was okay and it was.
You will pay the bill
Now one thing that I would stress and get everybody to check out is that if you’re thinking, well, this doesn’t really affect me. I don’t really need to worry about it. Go in and check the blog on the Airbnb website after you’ve gone and checked out the Thibault and Amy’s on VRM Intel and Rental Scale Up because just like with Booking.com, Airbnb are now brining in a similar thing that what booking.com do.
So for years, if for whatever reason you had to cancel the stay of your guests before they arrive, or if they arrive and they complained to booking.com and they go, no, we’re not going to stay here. Then what you have to do is that Airbnb or booking.com will go and find alternative accommodation.
And when they find alternate accommodation. If the cost of that stay ends up being more than what they’ve paid you. Then you’ve got to pay the bit in between. So you’ve got to pay the balance. Now we’ve been stung on this with booking.com at our family business over the years.
And it’s not nice, but again, and again with Airbnb doing this, they’re setting themselves up and yourselves to have some pretty awkward and awful conversations in the future. So what you need to do, number one, just like with everything that I always say, make sure that you never have to cancel a stay when a booking is coming through an Airbnb or from an OTA, if anything, you’ve got to make sure that it’s the guests that cancel and not you, but that’s a total different podcast.
That’s another piece of training. There’s something that’s on the Boostly YouTube channel. You can go and search and find it and check it out.
Don’t over promise but do over deliver
But also as well, what you need to make sure that you’re doing is you’re doing everything in your power to make sure that you can protect yourself just in case in the short term, these situations come up.
So that’s just one, for example, have somebody to go around on the meet and greet whether it’s, you know, you pay a cleaner a little bit, extra money, wherever you have to do it or you find a member of staff that can do it for you and go through the property and make sure that they sign off so you’ve got something in written writing just in case someone does drop down the line that they’re trying to be a little bit cheeky saying X, Y, and Z wasn’t right.
The other thing as well, what you need to be doing in the medium term is making sure that you are not under promising and over delivering. Okay. So if your property, for example, isn’t all bells and whistles and all that jazz, don’t make it up to something that it isn’t, don’t over promise.
What I always try and say to people is under promise and over deliver. So if you’ve got pictures that aren’t in such a glamorous area or whatever, don’t get the editor in and make it look absolutely amazing because they can use that against you now your guests. So if you’ve got all these things that make it look amazing, but things aren’t there or whatever’s changed, then please make sure that.
As always, over deliver don’t do it the other way round, because if you saying that something’s there and it’s not, or if you glamorize something in the copy and say something looks absolutely amazing and it’s not, then they will use that as a way to go to Airbnb to get the money back. And again, if it said they don’t want to stay there with these policy changes that Airbnb will find them somewhere else.
And if it ends up being twice the amount that what they’ve paid you or three times the amount of what they’ve paid you, then you’re going to have to lose money on that.
How reliant are you on OTAs?
So that’s really clear. That’s the medium, but the long-term. How can you protect yourself from this is to start doing everything that you possibly can do to make sure that you are not just relying on Airbnb for your bookings. Still now in 2022, it’s madness. I see so many people that come to Boostly, fill in the market in review form and if you haven’t yet filled it in, please do so at boostly.co.uk/review. We pick somebody every month and we do market and reviews for them, which really helps them figure out what we need to do to navigate through this world of short term rentals, etc.
But people were filling in the form of one of the questions. How much do you rely on the OTAs for your bookings and the amount of people that are 70, 80, 90% plus even after the last few years is crazy. So the long-term solution, what you need to start doing is you need to start building your business and your brand so that you are not so reliant on a third-party by following their rules, because Airbnb have shifted goalposts in the past.
They are shifting the goalposts again now, and I guarantee they’re going to shift the goalposts in the future. What you need to start doing is you need to start doing is building your own database, your own list, your own direct bookings. So instead of being 60 or 70 or 80 or 90% reliant on booking.com, VRBO or booking.com to bring in your bookings, you can be 60, 70, 80% reliant on direct bookings, and then using these channels to just fill up your gaps in your dates.
What will you do in the short, medium and long term?
So hopefully that has helped. I as always with Elizabeth and David, that are tuning in live with me right now. I pass the topic of the conversation and to yourself. So Charlotte, Jed, Elizabeth, David, what are you going to do to protect yourselves from these changes? What are you going to do in the short, medium and long term?
As always leave them in the comments wherever you are on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, wherever you may be, YouTube. Let’s start the discussion. Let’s start the topic. I’m going to be in the comments for the next 30 to 45 minutes to bounce back and bounce back any ideas and brainstorming ideas as always.
Please make sure you share this video. If you are a part of any Facebook groups that are Airbnb orientated, please share this interview. If there’s somebody that you know, who needs to be watching this, tag them in the comments, let’s start a discussion and let’s see how we can be helping hosts as always.
My name is Mark Samson as always. This is the Boostly podcast. We are the number one market in podcast in the whole world for the STR and the hospitality industry. Thank you so much for tuning in, and I look forward to speaking to you all again, very soon.
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