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Vrbo Celebrates the Big 25, Airbnb’s Cleaning Protocol Now Required, Host-Only Fee Structure, Halloween Ban

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Vrbo Celebrates the Big 25, Airbnb’s Cleaning Protocol Now Required, Host-Only Fee Structure, Halloween Ban

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Good news, it’s a three day weekend!🌴

Vrbo is celebrating its 25th anniversary by giving out 25 stays for free at highly-rated vacation homes on their platform. They’re including houses, cabins, condos and wait for it...castles!🏰 “We wanted to recognize and show gratitude to our customers who have trusted Vrbo with their family vacations over the past 25 years. To celebrate this milestone, we are inviting families to look back through their old family photos to reminisce on their most precious memories together,” Lish Kennedy, Vrbo’s VP of Global Brand Marketing. If you’re feeling lucky, you can enter the contest by posting a family vacation photo with the hashtag #VrboTurns25 on either Facebook or Instagram. Each vacation will be worth 5k. So get posting!

Do you remember what Vrbo was like 25 years ago?  No messaging, no platform transactions, no API integrations, no Expedia, not even HomeAway.  For those of you that are new to vacation rentals, think of “Craiglist for vacation rentals”.  Someone should put together a montage of all the Vrbo homepages over the years.

Airbnb has decided that all hosts must agree to their Enhanced Cleaning Protocol. This all starts in October and will be rolling out into 2021. The Enhanced Cleaning Protocol started as an opt-in measure back in June, but now Airbnb feels everyone needs to be squeaky clean (or at least claim to be).

So what does this mean for you?

  • Step 1: Prepare for safer cleaning - Ventilate rooms before and while you clean. Gather the right cleaning supplies. Review the safety guidelines for your chemicals. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. Wear protective equipment at all times. Take out all the garbage. Collect all dirty linens throughout the space. Unplug before cleaning.
  • Step 2: Clean dust and debris - Wash all linens at the highest heat setting recommended by the manufacturer. Wash all dishes, and empty the dishwasher. Dust the space, and sweep or vacuum the floor. Clean all hard surfaces with soap and water. Clean all soft surfaces based on the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Step 3: Sanitize with disinfectant - Once a hard surface is clean, spray it with disinfectant. Let the disinfectant stay wet for the specified length of time. Allow to air-dry.
  • Step 4: Check your room-by-room checklists - Double-check that all high-touch surfaces were sanitized. Note any maintenance issues or missing items.
  • Step 5: Reset the room - Dispose of and wash your cleaning supplies. Empty and clean the vacuum after every cleaning. Safely remove any cleaning gear once you’re done cleaning. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. Visually assess each room to ensure the stage is set for the next guest. Set out cleaning supplies for your guests. Restock your cleaning supplies.

If this all sounds like a lot, well it is...just in case you need to adjust your cleaning fee, check out our support doc on that.

Apparently the Airbnb board room has been hard at work. Starting December 7, 2020 Airbnb is shifting all software-connected hosts to a host-only fee structure called simplified pricing.  We mentioned this about a month ago and speculated that it would be pushed to other markets soon.  That didn’t take long.

Before you worry, this does not affect hosts with a majority of their listings in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Bahamas, Argentina, Taiwan and Uruguay. So most of you folks won’t be affected, but they’re clearly moving to a booking.com model. For those of you that do qualify, Airbnb will deduct a flat 15% host service fee from each payout and won’t charge a guest service fee.  As always, you can adjust the Airbnb rate in the OwnerRez API settings to offset the host fee.😉

Airbnb has also banned one-night stays over Halloween weekend.🎃 Airbnb even went a step further and canceled any existing one-night stays for October 30 or October 31. Hosts with existing bookings that fall into that category would “still receive payment” according to Airbnb. This is all due to the problematic house parties that we posted about last week and a few weeks before that and earlier in the summer...

10 Comments (add yours)

Oct 11, 2020 6:57 PM
BlueMtnCabins says:

Airbnb can shove it. They are more trouble (and bring more problematic guests) than they are worth. I wish it finally imploded and went back to renting unpermitted basements and attics and spare couches - that is what they are good at.

Oct 13, 2020 12:34 AM
Scott J says:

I long for the "Craigslist of vacation rentals." Craiglist is still Craiglist because Craig Newmark isn't greedy. VRBO is now swallowed up in a megacorp because all the players down the line got greedy.

Oct 15, 2020 5:52 PM
Chris L says:

I followed Airbnb's directions and sent the cleaning checklists to my housekeepers. We'll see what they say.

That said, I actually skimmed through the checklists and, at least superficially, I don't find them too onerous--certainly FAR better than the enhanced cleaning protocols they were advertising before (which involved removing and washing curtains between every guest...sheesh). For the most part, it's pretty much a good checklist that a professional cleaning company should be doing between guests anyway--and which mine are pretty much already doing. I may be wrong; we'll see what they say when they read my email later tonight. :)

Oct 17, 2020 2:00 PM
Tracy P says:

Darn Airbnb.... I'm one of the lucky ones who will pay that host fee starting 12/7/20. In place of raising my rates 15% and outpricing myself out of my market that way, is there a way to add a surcharge just to Airbnb bookings? I'm not a fan of the bait and switch and adding in all sorts of fees, but just looking at my options moving forward.

Oct 17, 2020 2:36 PM
Ken T says:

If you're using our API connections, or pushing rates using Channel Bridge, you can use those to increase your Airbnb rates by 15% compared to your standard OwnerRez rates. This is generally easier than doing it with a surcharge.

Oct 17, 2020 2:48 PM
Tracy P says:

Thank you for the response. I will price myself out of my market by raising 15% when people search by nightly rate. Just thought if there was a surcharge only for AirBNB that might be a way to do it so I at least get people looking at my property vs. others.

Oct 17, 2020 2:54 PM
Ken T says:

Yes, you can create a surcharge that applies only to Airbnb - but, Airbnb rolls it into the rate anyway, so it won't help to do it that way.

Oct 17, 2020 3:46 PM
Tracy P says:

Thank you.

Oct 22, 2020 11:32 AM
BlueMtnCabins says:

Chris L said:

I followed Airbnb's directions and sent the cleaning checklists to my housekeepers. We'll see what they say.


Like cleaning walls? If your cleaners read those requirements, they will probably "fire" you.

Oct 22, 2020 11:33 AM
BlueMtnCabins says:

Tracy P said:

Thank you for the response. I will price myself out of my market by raising 15% when people search by nightly rate. Just thought if there was a surcharge only for AirBNB that might be a way to do it so I at least get people looking at my property vs. others.

I know owners raised their rates by 15% and did not "price themselves out". Airbnb guests are cult-ish and lazy, they will not google and book direct but rather pay higher amount through Airbnb.

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