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AirBnB's 11 Star Rating Grates on Vacation Rental Managers

By Ron Lee
Published: 09/01/20 Topics: Comments: 0

AirBnB Hubris

It doesn’t happen to all of the technology titans, but it does infect most of them.

Brian Chesky, one of the founders of AirBnB, is the latest patient to be stricken.

The disease is called Hubris and it can knock down a person at any age, but younger business people are more prone to allow themselves to get sick. It starts when young kids have a good idea, and grow it fast with the new opportunity of world domination that the Internet often allows them to believe, as we used to say in high school, that "Their XyMTX don't stink."

AirBnB has always had a major problem lurking below the surface. Started as a couch-surfing business, they quickly learned that vacation rental homes rent for much higher rates and there are millions of them. That enables big growth.

Guests, who are looking to share a room and meet a new host friend in faraway places, can make good renters of vacation rental homes, but not when a website like AirBnB intentionally confuse them.

In a 2018 article titled "The 11-Star Rating", Chesky inadvertently revealed that he still completely misunderstands the "whole house" vacation rental business.

Although it is impossible to get any higher than a 5-star rating on AirBnB, Chesky admonishes "hosts" who don't do things to get his impossible 11-star experience rating. But here are his dictates that don't fit vacation rental guests.

ARRIVAL - He expects hosts to meet every guest at the front door and greet them upon arrival. Never be late it admonishes.

The problem is that guests who rent homes want to arrive whenever they want, even late at night, and not to be bothered by people they don't know. They often fly or drive long distances and simply want to arrive, plunk down their gear and relax.

Oddly, AirBnB is now requesting that all listings offer "self-check-in" due to the Covid virus. So why would Chesky contradict that and violate the privacy that whole house guests expect? Seems he isn't even aware of what his company is doing. (More hubris.) Proof he loves guest rooms, but not vacation rentals.

ACTIVITES - Then he says a host should go ahead and make activity reservations for guests even before they ask. "I know you like surfing. There's a surfboard waiting for you. I've booked lessons for you."

This is more nonsense in a private vacation home. Clearly, Chesky hasn't tried this tactic himself. What day are the lessons? Can they be cancelled? Are they for all 12 people staying at the house? Who pays (guest, homeowner, manager)? Having a well-crafted welcome book that lists local activities is what visitors want. But to think you, the host, knows what a vacation rental guest family wants is presumptuous at least and hubris at best. There is that word again.

STUPIDITY - Chesky's delusional thoughts are amplified by his request that hosts do things like this: "By the way, you can use my car." No insurance agent in their right mind would allow a home owner to give their car keys to people without signing massive disclosure agreements. In fact, your insurance carrier won't let you do it at all.

In most jurisdictions, it would be illegal to do so without a business license specific to car rentals, and those rightfully come with many requirements and stipulations. Leaving out bikes, surfboards, jet skis and other equipment for guests is also verboten.

Sure, maybe Chesky was trying to make a point, but this is from a guy out of touch with Vacation Rental owners and managers.

THE BEATLES - Then he proposes that "There'd be 5,000 high school kids cheering my name with cars welcoming me to the country" (kinda like the Beatles arrival in America in 1964).

Boy, I am sure your neighbors would like that one. After the hundreds of legal challenges that AirBnB faces worldwide, how can he not recognize the problems he is giving the Vacation Rental Industry?

Or how about, he says to property owners, "You'd be there with Elon Musk and you're saying, 'You're going to space.'" I'm sure your insurance agent would love that one.

IMMATURITY - Lastly, Chesky resorts to vulgar profanity to emphasize how great he thinks all his ideas are. Clearly, the sign of a young man who has not had to become an adult at all, because he got lucky with a good idea and lots of venture capital.

Everyone understands that Chesky is trying to emphasize giving customers more than they pay for. And everyone agrees. A nicely designed whole-home, hospitality clean, with a good welcome book are all appreciated.

But at vacation rentals, guests want to make their own plans. They don't want to be interrupted and they certainly don't want some punk telling them what they will be doing. Maybe it works for single room rentals, but the anticipation of in-your-face hosts sets expectations in inexperienced guests that vacation rentals do not offer.

VRBO guests are savvy to how whole-home rentals work and are considerate and easy to work with. AirBnB guests, especially those having seldom stayed in a vacation rental home, arrive with unreasonable thoughts that AirBnB is planting in their heads, without clarifying how homes are different.

How about "We won't be arriving until 1am, can you still meet us when we arrive?" Or "I like your host photo, can you take us out to the best restaurant in town?"

Vacation Rental owners know that Chesky's diatribe is hyperbole to the highest degree. We can understand he wants to sell the AirBnB experience as something more than it is. But he is over-promising what cannot be delivered and which must be called out for what it is - dangerous for the Vacation Rental Industry.

Chesky's hubris has accelerated the growth of vacation rentals on top of the increases that VRBO and other websites have done. But his methods have also peeved property owners, neighbors, cities, counties and even countries across the globe. Can someone talk to the kid and rein him in, before he kills rental rights in so many communities?

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Author: Ron Lee – Volunteer, Vacation Rental Association
Blog #: 0785 – 09/01/20

AtTheBlue.com at Blue Heron Resort

By Libby Rogers
Published: 04/22/18 Topics: Hood Canal, Timeshares, Vacation, Vacation Rentals Comments: 0

Yourshare.biz which offers resort and owner direct vacation rental bookings for timeshare properties announced today that it has opened a new website for the Blue Heron Condos on Washington State's pristine Hood Canal. Read more Leave comments

Indentured Servitude Comes to Vacation Rentals

By William May
Published: 12/01/17 Topics: Employment, Housekeeping, Vacation Rental Management Comments: 0

Was Susie really just a disgruntled employee? Not really. For years she drank the "upward mobility" poison that corporate workers have been swallowing for years. That working long and hard will benefit them in the long run. Did it? Read more Leave comments

When Cheap is Ohhhhh So Good! (And warm!)

By Jerry German
Published: 10/01/17 Topics: Comments: 1

From the earliest days of my childhood, I have never been a winter person. Yeah, winter is beautiful and there are some fun things to do, but I hate cold, love hot. And I love to swim. And I like beaches Read more Leave comments

Wonderful Puerto Morelos on the Yucatan

By Ron Lee
Published: 09/01/17 Topics: Inns, Mexico, Vacation Rentals Comments: 0

Although still a fishing village, the government declared the reef area and mangroves an ecological preserve with the intent to locals to keep development to a minimum. But comfort and fun are at a maximum. Read more Leave comments

Hire a Crack Head to Clean your Home

By William May
Published: 03/01/17 Topics: Housekeeping, Vacation Rentals Comments: 0

Not all job applicants will be dedicated to our industry. Many applicants just want a quick buck to pay for their habits. That is more common than you might imagine. And home owner will never know until the druggie goes missing along with assets from their home. Read more Leave comments

Server Crash All Night Bash

By William May
Published: 03/25/16 Topics: Self Improvement Comments: 0

Getting good folks to work for you is easier than you think. All you gotta do is put yourself in their shoes, and do it literally. Leaders do the toughest jobs, not the easiest. Leaders must be out-front or they are really only stragglers. Read more Leave comments

Chim Chimney! What to Know on Chimney Sweeping

By William May
Published: 01/01/16 Topics: Vacation Rentals Comments: 0

It’s that time of year to curl up around a warm fire - New Years has just happened, the weathers getting a little chilly, maybe there’s a light dusting of snow on the lawn. You open the flue, light your kindling, and wait for the romantic crackling to start. But then you start wondering: when was the last time you got the chimney swept?! Read more Leave comments

LED Light Bulbs for Vacation Rentals

By Ron Lee
Published: 12/22/15 Topics: Comments: 0

After traveling from near and far, guests are excited to throw open the front door and rush expectantly into the vacation rental home of their dreams. They expect everything to work perfectly and burned out light bulbs can be enough to wreck their entire vacation. Read more Leave comments

Expedia to buy HomeAway

By Ronald Lee
Published: 11/05/15 Topics: Advertising, AirBnB, Vacation Rentals Comments: 0

There’s always a bigger fish. Serial purchaser HomeAway has itself been acquired by Seattle based Expedia. Read more Leave comments

Best Halloween Advertising. Cheapest too.

By William May
Published: 10/31/15 Topics: Advertising, Marketing Comments: 0

Many experts will rattle your brain with every kind of advertising and marketing. But the restaurant - Two Doors Down - exceeds them all with their latest Halloween advertising idea. It may not be what you expect. Boo. Read more Leave comments

Most Professional Photographers Are Not

By William May
Published: 10/22/15 Topics: Comments: 0

New technology has created three photography skill levels - Amateur, Professional and HDR Pro. Nothing but the top level of High Dynamic Range photos are good enough for business that want to stand out on the web, in print and achieve the greatest possible sales. Is your photographer at the top level? Read more Leave comments

Vacation Rental Insurance for Condo Owners

By April Klazema
Published: 10/12/15 Topics: Insurance, Property Management, Vacation Rentals Comments: 0

Say you own a condo in Florida that you have been visiting every spring break for ten years now. Next spring, you have a different trip planned and won't be able to make it down to the condo at all. However, the condo is in an area that is a hot tourist destination during the winter and spring months. If you aren't going to be using it, you figure someone else would pay good money to rent it out for a few weeks. Who knows? You might even be able to finance most of your other trip just by renting out your condo to other Florida tourists! Read more Leave comments

Leisure Link Says Bad Photos a Deadly Sin

By Noel Poage
Published: 09/25/15 Topics: Channel Managers, Photography Comments: 0

A long time technology provider to lodging properties recently published the seven sins of distribution> Perhaps the most striking is how dramatically bad photo produce bad booking results. Here is how to avoid the problem. Read more Leave comments

How Much Vacation Rental Insurance Do You Need?

By April Klazema
Published: 09/01/15 Topics: Insurance, Property Management, Vacation Rentals Comments: 0

When you are looking to buy vacation rental insurance coverage for the first time, you will likely have a laundry list of different questions that you want answered. Here are the answers. Read more Leave comments

What Goes Around Comes Around for AirBnB

By Ron Lee
Published: 08/22/15 Topics: Advertising, AirBnB Comments: 0

Perhaps today's lodging usurpers like Expedia, Priceline, HomeAway and AirBnB could learn a thing or two from the advertising history of major newspapers. Being big and successful does not portend continued success when advertisers are treated poorly. Read more Leave comments

Do I Need to Get Special Insurance for My Condo or Vacation Home?

By April Klazema
Published: 08/01/15 Topics: Insurance, Property Management, Vacation Rentals Comments: 0

If you rent out your property to vacationers or other tenants when you are not using it, then it cannot be protected under a homeowner's policy. If you are accepting money to allow someone to stay at your vacation home, learn heard about the insurance you must have. Read more Leave comments

Special Insurance for My Condo or Vacation Home?

By April Klazema
Published: 07/01/15 Topics: Insurance, Property Management, Vacation Rentals Comments: 0

If the purpose of the vacation home is for personal use only, then a homeowner's insurance policy will be sufficient to cover the property. But if you rent your home to guests on a nightly, or week basis that insurance is insufficient. Read more Leave comments

BookingSync.com is right about photography

By Noel Poage
Published: 07/01/15 Topics: Comments: 0

We have to hand a prize to Sébastien Grosjean, CEO of BookingSync a vacation rental software and channel management company. In his recent video posts he covers the basics of shooting photography. But how about HDR? Read more Leave comments

The Vacation Rental Property Insurance Difference

By April Klazema
Published: 06/01/15 Topics: Insurance, Property Management, Vacation Rentals Comments: 0

Most insurance companies will offer a specific vacation rental insurance policy that you can purchase to protect your rental properties. A vacation rental property may look like a home, but in the eyes of an insurance company, it's a business. Read more Leave comments

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