It’s January in London and like last year things have gone very quiet. The Christmas and New Year period were ok but not as busy as some previous years. This time last year I had a significant drop in bookings. I blamed the airbnb smart pricing system (or to be more specific the fact I was not using it and I believed I was being penalised by airbnb for not doing do). I can’t say the same thing again this year as I am already using the smart pricing system. I have dropped my prices 10% to see if this helps get me more bookings. Still the airbnb smart pricing system recommends £12 a night a massive 40% drop on my previous prices. I have now the lowest prices in 5 years of being an airbnb host.
Should you require guests to have a profile picture?
In my opinion airbnb profile pictures should show a picture of the person who is making the booking. This seems obvious but some people use other images such as Pokemon characters and the like. So sometimes I have no idea what to expect. You might say this shouldn’t matter but it does cause problems when I have to guests who can’t find my house and I have to go out looking for them for example. Sometimes profile pictures have more than one person in the picture and I am not sure who is who. Some guests have no photo at all and also provide no details on their profile. I find this both las and unhelpful. In my opinion the airbnb system is built on trust and this does not help.
There is now a option to require guests to have a photo when they make a booking. I am not certain this will work as I’ve already explained some photos are not of the person but something else. Airbnb says the feedback from some guests has been that they are not comfortable providing photos. I can understand this in some ways as I have occasionally made unfair judgements about someone by the way they look. I don’t insist my guests have a profile picture but I always ask them to complete their profile. Most usually understand what I mean.
As a reminder, Airbnb’s nondiscrimination policy prohibits hosts from making booking decisions or canceling reservations based on race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status.
How to deal with guests who book a private room
In my house I have 4 airbnb listings as private rooms. I live in the house with my wife and little dog. So I have to know how to treat my guests who may be uncomfortable staying in the same house as me and vice versa.
It seems I have had over 400 guests in my private room listings in the last year. I honestly couldn’t remember about 300 of them. The simple reason is after they have checked in I rarely seem them again. Sometimes they even self check in using the key safe and some instructions so I don’t seem them at all. This shows a lot about my hosting style. I generally leave my guests well alone. I provide them with everything they need and leave them to it.
I do get a lot of feedback from guests that they enjoyed the privacy of my private room listing. I rarely see my guests after check-in. Occasionally we will pass each other in the hallway or similar and I say hello and ask if everything is ok. But that is usually all. Even the checkout I tell the guests to just leave the key in the room and don’t worry about saying goodbye. I understand this make the experience a lot less personal but it also makes guests feel less like they are under any obligation to act as a houseguest. The more business like this transaction is the less uncomfortable they will feel being in my house.
How you setup your airbnb business goes a long way to make dealing with private room guests easy or hard. I don’t allow my guests to use my kitchen, living room, or really any other parts of the house; other than their bedroom and allocated bathroom. In some ways it’s the same as a hotel. The guests have a nice clean comfy bedroom but not much else. This means I don’t have to worry about guests using my kitchen when I want to cook, or sitting on my sofa, or touching anything else. It also encourages them to leave the house as soon as possible. They usually get-up, wash, and go out. Most spend less than 8 hours a day in the house.
Most of the guests who stay with me are passing through London usually by themselves. They are using my private room listing as a safe place to sleep and use the bathroom. This suits me fine as I don’t have time to entertain them and it keeps my house mostly for me. Some guests check in as late as midnight and check out very early in the morning. I charge a low price for this service and I get mostly very good feedback. If I charged a higher price I think guests would expect more and I would have less favourable reviews. One of my most common review comments is “you get what you pay for” which in my option is exactly right.