How To Cut Airbnb Out Of Short-Term Rentals And Save Hundreds - View from the Wing (2024)

Great article Gary!

Other tricks to know:

Beating Airbnb Censorship
Airbnb will CENSOR conversations before a booking is confirmed. After they have extracted their commission, hosts and guests can send phone numbers and links freely. NOTE: If the guest doesn’t record these numbers or links, airbnb will again censor the chat sometime after departure and the info will be inaccessible.
Best to send a book direct links by text.

Sometimes people suck at reading or typing and just want to talk over a rental before deciding. Airbnb makes it impossible to simply discuss details before booking. This is very reasonable and people would still often book on airbnb. How can you get around this?

Phone numbers. Guests can sometimes get around phone number censorship by sending a nice poem.
408 Donkeys smoked
867 menthol cigs during
5309 flying miles.

(408) 867-5309

Or this type of ridiculousness: Four 0h 8, eight six 7five, tree 0h nine.

This is risky as hosts could get busted by the airbnb censorship police. But guests should learn to do it.

Property Addresses and Unique Property Names
Hosts can actually give guests the property address anytime in listings or chat.
Most hosts don’t want to for security issues, robbery etc. This may be less of an issue now that video doorbells are the norm. Hosts should give out addresses so guests can search for the property directly.

We are bookable on many places without fees
John’s Salty Lake House 23
555 Last Mile Road, Salt Lake City, UT, xxxxx

Brand your STR rental on all rental sites the exact same.

Guests can freely as and get addresses, so it is much easier than reverse photo lookup. But that is cool too. In fact. Many hosts don’t put frontage pics on their listings to avoid being targeted by thieves who might figure out when the house out in the boonies is empty.

Airbnb Protections
It is true that Airbnb has an army of phone support people (soon to be replaced by AI). But airbnb also encourages guests to buy insurance. BUT! Abb doesn’t tell hosts when guests have purchased the trip insurance. If a guest with insurance wants to cancel last minute, airbnb encourages the guest to message the host with a sob story and hopefully get the host to allow a free cancel. Now the Host is out all the rental money and the insurance (which may be owned by airbnb? kickbacks?) doesn’t have to pay out! Host must ask support and the guest if they have purchased travel insurance directly to find out.

There is no reason except hassle that a book direct guest can’t purchase the same insurance.

Book Direct Savings
Depending on the Host listing options, Airbnb might extract 18-21% on each booking. Guests who book a $4000 destination house could save $800 by booking direct. So as the totals get bigger the savings really adds up. If you have a relationship with the host and are a repeat guest, there is very little risk added by booking direct.

Avoid Scams
Scammers are out there. Never pay via direct transfer (Venmo, Paypal, Cash App, Zelle, etc) unless you have complete confidence in the host or are a repeat guest. Credit cards offer great protection against STR scams if you have any doubts.

Check out Local Visitor Center websites
Most major destinations have a Destination Marketing Organization (DMO). This is usually the local visitor center/bureau, chamber of commerce or other official website. Listings on these sites are vetted locally. If you get the address of a vacation rental from the host. You could call/email the official destination website and ask if that address has a direct listing.

RE: Book Direct only saves guests so not worth it!
Hosts can choose to charge a book direct reservation fee of 7%.
In this case, the guest would save 7% and the host would make 7% more.
This is a win/win and keeps money with the people in a circular economy instead of extracting money to the top 10% who own 90% of all stocks.

AI to the Rescue!
For those of us that DON’T like using abb or vrbo, AI assistance will surely help find book direct options in the future. “Hey AI, can you find me this rental house cheaper direct? “

Google Travel Search to the Rescue!
Google hotel search now includes vacation rentals. If you can find the rental you are interested in on Google Travel Vacation Rental Search it will give you links to all the sites where you can book. Except VRBO and Airbnb. Although there are OTA feeder sites that will dump you into VRBO. As Google VR search matures this should help finding the direct site.

How To Cut Airbnb Out Of Short-Term Rentals And Save Hundreds - View from the Wing (2024)
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