Exorcism?

A guest just wrote,

Everything is fine. There are red stains on the ceiling of the bedroom which look to be the blood of some animal. Just wanted to let you know.

Iguana!

This just in from a guest:

Theirs a iguana by the pool we can’t go out

I’m trying to dream up good responses. For example,

Actually that’s the baby alligator. Just wait around a bit and see if the parents come out.

I mentioned this to a neighbor, and he said, “I heard them screaming yesterday and thought someone was being murdered.”

Airbnb Pricing Strategy for Coronavirus

Immediate Occupancy Only

You only want bookings for guests who will arrive in the next three days. It doesn’t matter how long. One day, two days, three weeks, a month. I’ll take any booking as long as the guest is arriving today, tomorrow or the next day.

Why? Because any booking farther in the future is very likely to be cancelled. They’ll block your calendar for the guest who wants to arrive tomorrow and stay two weeks, and they they’ll cancel the day of arrival. And Airbnb will give them a full refund.

Screen, Screen, Screen

You do not want parties, not even a bunch of nuns reading the Bible together. Airbnb hosts already have a target painted on their backs, you do not want to draw any additional attention.

Easily said, harder to put into practice. Actually, it’s not hard, but there’s a limit to what you can actually accomplish. Nevertheless, make the effort. Here are questions to ask:

  • Who will occupy the unit? How many adults, how many children, and who are they?
  • Will there be anyone inside the unit other than those people, even briefly, even during they day?
  • What is the reason for your trip?

There are some guests who fully intend to hold a raging party and know what lies to tell, but you’d be surprised how many aren’t that perceptive. When you get the six high school seniors who are coming to Florida to celebrate their graduation, remember Nancy Reagan and just say ‘no’.

Raise or Drop Your Prices

These are strange times. If you’re in an urban market like me, you may have to discount quite a bit. For example, my apartments rent for about $1200/month unfurnished, no consumables, no utilities, no internet, and on an annual lease. On Airbnb I’m used to getting double that, but I provide more, too. Still, I was recently pretty happy to get bookings that paid me just under $1200/month. Heads in beds, some revenue is better than none.

If you have a country get-away and there is high demand, charge what the market will bear. If you are booked more than a few weeks in advance, you under-priced it.

Set a Progressive Last-Minute Discount

If you use pricing software like PriceLabs, Wheelhouse, or BeyondPricing, you can set sophisticated discounts. For example, I have a 40% last-minute discount that is phased in over 28 days. If my base price is $100, then tonight costs $60, and each following day costs a little more until you get to 28 days from now when you pay full price ($100) for each night.

My goal is not to charge someone $100/night. My goal is simply to make close-in bookings attractive in price, and bookings farther in the future unattractive. To get bookings longer than a few days you have to combine this with length-of-stay discounts. I’ll discuss the exact mechanics in a future post.

And You Wonder Why Coronavirus is Spreading …

We are in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. The numbers in Florida are exploding.

And yet I get Airbnb booking requests like this:

Can I have a dinner with my family and friends of course outdoors…Because I need the Pool more than the house….Please August 5 is gonna be my birthday and I just came here to do a little something…Thank you sir for your understanding

And this:

Hello good morning! I would like to book your beautiful house it will be only 4 or 6 people staying at night, but I would like to have a bbq/pool party birthday for my fiance on the Sunday 23 August it will be only 15 people min 20 max it’s going to be kind of hangout with family, no DJ just music and have a chef coming over with the food.

And this:

Me: What is the purpose of your visit?

Guest: I am a musician here to play a few gigs.

Me: [cancels booking]

Salt-Water Pool

I have a salt-water pool. Needless to say, I emphasize the salt-water aspect heavily in the listing. I talk about how nice it is, how mild the salt is, how it makes your skin feel smooth and soft, etc.

It’s also a very large pool. It’s 20×40′, and it is deep. I mean really deep. It starts at 3′ deep and then quickly drops off to 6’6″ deep. So there is a large volume of water.

I recently got this request:

Hey, I want to know if you could change the pool water or is always going to be salt water.

Best Request Ever!

I got this booking request for one of my micro-units. It’s a tiny unit, just a room and a bathroom with a shower. Not even a kitchenette.

My theory is this: there are some hosts who automatically accept every booking request they get. You can set this to happen through some software services for managing Airbnb. I think this guy was trying to create a situation where he could get a full refund, or perhaps even more.

I would greatly appreciate it if you would have the following available and completed upon guest arrival.

1-case of veuve
12-Dozen assorted chocolate covered strawberries
5-charcuterie boards

Early check in and late check out
Through white glove service cleaning
Daily home refreshing service
Private Dining service every evening with a Chef
Top Entertainment and Activities suggestions to be booked
Top 3 salon service recommendations for men
Daily Yoga instructor referrals for home

Please quote me a price for a quick approval otherwise do not approve this booking.

Yummy

Guest writes: Wow Matthew, you are a SuperHost; AMAZING!
Matthew, I have a few questions and request.
1.) Does the Unit have Comcast or XFinity TV.
2.) May I check in by 1300 hrs. and exit at 1300 hrs.
If yes to the Xfinity and you acquiesce to enter
and exit, I’d LOVE to Book your place; your place
rocks. If this place is unable to accommodate my
request, please let me know which other options
you believe would fit with my request; cool much
thx.

I respond: I’m sorry, the answer is no to all of your questions.

Guest writes back: Ohhh OK! What about one of your other products? You do the AMAZING job on your products Matthew; outstanding! Thumbs-up. They are delicious; edible! Yummy. Let me know in which one you can accommodate my REQUEST! Cool.

I respond: I can’t accommodate any of your requests at any of my properties.

Guest writes back: Ohhh OK! No issue! Still props to you for the quality products; they are outstanding! Wow! EnJOY Romania for me; I’ll be there later this year. I LOVE that place. Ohhh yeah. Thanks for taking time to respond.
Happy New Year. All is well.