Why Can I Not See My Airbnb Property?

We get this question regularly

“Why Can I Not See My Airbnb Property?”

 whycaninotseemyairbnbproperty 3
We manage an Airbnb property in Newlands. The first few years only during peak. But the last year the owners asked us to manage it for longer periods. It is very luxury three bedroom home sleeping 5 people at R3000 per night during low season. Unfortunately, they are not keen on competitive rates and the place did not rent out. We have found that this is a natural path of the learning curve for owners who are not willing to make love to Airbnb.
Recently the Newlands owners asked us:

I can never understand why I can’t find the house when just looking under Airbnb though. In other words if I was just a random person looking for a house to rent in Newlands, I’d never find it (on Airbnb) because every other house seems to be there when I go onto the site, except ours.

I know we might sound biased but we believe our house is worth it’s rate. 

The answer is simple:
Being proud is great. But the home is not making Airbnb money and therefore Airbnb has no incentive to promote it to the top.
Tip: If you don’t make love to Airbnb you’ll not get any love (guests) in return.
The “The-Can’t-Find-It” concern is another name for an algorithm Airbnb uses to calculate if your home will make money. Nobody knows the exact algorithm but the general idea follows:
  • Airbnb considers rates first, then if the rates are correct
  • they want to know if people are willing to pay and stay.
  • Then how many potential guests adds the home to their wish-list.
  • And then, very critical, the number of reviews and quality of reviews.
  • Photos are important but not significant in the algorithm. This will never stop us from only sharing the best possible photos.
The problem we have is that new owners have a perceived value of their home – proud. They may go overseas and pay mega-bucks to stay in a fancy hotel. And they apply that experience (rated paid for value) to their home. Their home compares very well. But when you are in the self catering market and using Airbnb you are a commodity and proudness do not count.
You need an Airbnb strategic plan to move beyond commoditization to being remarkable.
At Capeholidays, we do care about only listing remarkable homes but being remarkable depends on all the ingredients.
One of the most important ingredients is if the owner is willing to accept that we need to crawl before we run. If the owner is not willing to be flexible (competitive) with rates it will take an up hill battle to achieve reasonable occupancy.
And the ultimate pain is evident when owners say:
I’d never find it [on airbnb]
This pain turns into happiness when we can invest in a plan to get excellent reviews and fast!

Initially, you must “buy” reviews with very competitive rates. 

This will attract more guests. More guests will review your lovely home. And Airbnb will take note because your are now making them money. As soon as Airbnb sees money-making-activity they promote you higher in their ranking. Now you are making love to Airbnb and they return the favour.
We shared the following with the Newlands owner:

At the moment both of us know you have a lovely home but Airbnb does not care about it – they care about money. The basic idea I got from you was that either guests take it or leave it. Again Airbnb don’t care about your perceived value of your home. They just relegate you out – to the bottom – and it is no supprise you cannot find see your property on Airbnb.

Until you have 40 or more reviews you will not get a fair deal from Airbnb. Well; less reviews can work but only after 40 great reviews will you be able to set rates for what we classify as a remarkable home.
Look at the page one Airbnb Newlands properties:
  1. Why are the following 8 properties (see image below) listed on page one for Airbnb Newlands?
  2. What do they have in common?
They all have many reviews. And they have competitive rates.
Airbnb guests are only willing to pay a premium based on number of reviews and high ranked reviews. 
Also from the image above; “See all 20 000”. Obviously they are not all in Newlands but are closely related. 20 000 is pretty huge. Pretty boring. I think you’ll agree that we are in a market that’s commoditized by Airbnb. Don’t allow this to be a burden. You must follow a plan to excel.
Let me repeat: 
You are not making airbnb money. You are just one of the 20 000 commodities in your area.

How do you fix this?

Here are your options:
  1. From today set responsible competitive rates to get a lot more positive reviews – quickly.
  2. Initially set rates if only two people staying and increase it per person thereafter. Allowing less people to stay at competitive rates is just another way to “buy” reviews. And you’ll agree with me that there are more couples in the market than 6 people.
  3. At the moment this Airbnb Newlands home can sleep 6 but the owner decided to allow only 5. Reconsider and allow six people to stay.
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