Setting Expectations for your Airbnb and Vacation Rental Home
We will, every day, work to your and your home's benefit both online (dynamic pricing, listing updates, communications, reviews) and on site improving the guest experience and ensuring the home is well cared for and looked after.
the golden rule we work by
'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.'
We apply this to our guests, our vendors, our owners and hope for the same in return.
+ WEAR & TEAR
There will be wear & tear over time on your home. Perhaps even after your first reservation. This is expected and is not necessarily damage per se, nor something that can be charged to a guest. When turning your house into a hotel, this is the tradeoff for generating revenues and profits. We've seen things like lite nicks in floors, marks on walls from luggage, doors and cabinets that come loose, stains in rugs and furniture.
When damages do occur, Air Concierge (sometimes with your help) will do all that is possible to recapture the value of the damaged item or the cost to repair or replace. Some platforms (like Airbnb) assign a Fair Market Value to an item. Sometimes that value is unfounded or one that we/you may disagree with. These decisions are beyond our control. We will do what we can to provide sufficient evidence establishing the value but you should be prepared that oftentimes Airbnb overrules and does what is in the best interest of both parties, collectively. That may not be what you paid. If it's so valuable that damaging it is unconscionable to you, it should not be in the home. If it's so sentimental to you that no amount of money will replace it, it should not be in the home. Damage payouts frequently can take weeks to pay out. Please be patient.
+ DAMAGES ON AIRBNB
The process for collecting security deposit monies for damages inside Airbnb is not like a decade ago when travelers sent a check to a host who held the funds until check out. Now everything goes through Airbnb and as such we are required to follow their guidelines. Those can be found here. The crux of the matter is this:
*Documentation from hosts Communication through email is required in order to collect needed documentation from the host, which will include photos and/or video along with receipts, invoices, written estimates, or links to comparable items denoting actual cash value for repair or replacement. If we determine money is owed based on documentation and communication from both parties, we will move forward with collecting from the deposit. We reserve the right to collect payment from you using the payment details we have on file.
Most importantly please note that damage claims must be filed within 14 days of the date the damage occurred or the guest departure OR prior to the next guest check in. Any claims filed thereafter are not considered by Airbnb.
+ FIRST BOOKING(S)
Most bookings usually occur within 5-7 days of the listing going 'live' (online). Of course that can depend on many factors; how far in advance someone can book, when the first available 'open' dates are to be booked, what the minimum nightly rate and minimum length of stay may be. Generally, we recommend giving 2-3 weeks of marketing and advertising of the unit before expecting to see an initial booking. Should it take longer than that, we will reach out and share insight on what may be preventing initial reservations. Secondly, bookings are accretive by nature. By getting our first booking, even at below market or agreed rates, we will generate traction as per the search engines. That booking will lead to a review. That review will generate more traction. That traction will come in the form of additional views, inquiries and bookings and thus more reviews. As you can see this is a case of 1+1 = 3, or even 4. So its valuable to be a) patient during this beginning period b) seeing the bigger picture (a booking at lower prices is more valuable in the long run, as it leads to future bookings which then can have heightened prices).
+ MAINTENANCE & REPAIRS
When a guest notifies us of an issue we survey the scene to determine:
a) is it human error (our HQ Operations team can resolve over the phone, at nearly any time of day/night)
b1) is it maintenance/repair (our HQ Operations team determines if an Air Concierge staffer can resolve (replacing batteries, tightening loose chair leg, eg) OR b2) is it maintenance/repair that requires a professional vendor. If so, HQ Operations determines timeline: immediate vs. next day vs. next available (no rush). Example, a backed up toilet would be a rushed (real time need), whereas a light in the garden would be a next available. Usually if it results in possible cancellation or refund determines the above. If an Owner has their own vendor we will connect with them first. If the cost is expected to be over $200-$300, we will connect with the Owner to determine next best steps together.
c) we then notify guests and update them accordingly
d) we begin sourcing the proper professional
e) we do a property enter/exit verification with that vendor/company at that time before engaging/paying for service
f) we then engage with technician before and during (when necessary ) servicing takes place. We then wrap you in on any findings that are unresolvable or require additional costs (parts & labor)
g) once we are all in agreement we are usually executing on the work order and the job is completed.
h) if necessary we can bring cleaners back on site to clean up the job site.
i) guest is always informed along the way
j) Air Concierge staff may or may not be on site during repair times. It is considered best practices if sourcing reputable, insured maintenance support to not need to be on site.
+ MISSING ITEMS
Items will go missing from time to time. It's not because guests are stealing, but simply a matter of how they choose to use the home and the belongings inside. Things like towels, tupperware and silverware often get taken to the beach, park, or out for the day. Then upon departure those items can be left in the car and therefore gone missing. Since we do not inventory every single item in the home, overtime these things will be replaced and unable to be charged to any particular guest. This happens infrequently.
+ INSTANT BOOK
In almost all cases, Air Concierge favors and utilizes an instant book feature for Airbnb and other listing sites. Turning on Instant book enables tremendous benefits in search rank inside these platforms. On top of that, all instant book guests (on Airbnb) are run through a background, credit, sex offender and terrorist check database. Other sites do not utilize that degree of verification and is one reason why Air Concierge greatly encourages Airbnb over all other sites. In addition on Airbnb, we are permitted to cancel any instant bookings.
Some examples of when we as a host can cancel penalty-free include:
- The guest has several unfavorable reviews that concern the host
- The guest hasn’t responded to questions the host needs to know about their trip
- The guest makes it clear they’ll likely break one of the host’s house rules, like bringing a pet or smoking
Please note that we can’t cancel for any reason that violates Airbnb’s Nondiscrimination Policy, which protects all classes of citizens based on age (including over 18), sex, race, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, eg.
+ GUEST CANCELLATIONS
Reservations will be cancelled by guests over time. Some of those will meet various extenuating circumstances and a full refund will be given. The hope is to rebook those nights and recapture that income. That may or may not happen. When turning your house into a hotel, this is the tradeoff for generating revenues and profits.
+ RESERVATION CANCELLATIONS
Reservation Cancellation. Shall Owner cause Air Concierge to have to cancel any Reservation or multiple Reservations for any reason except as noted in below (“Extenuating Circumstances”), then owner shall pay to Air Concierge the larger amount of the total reservation(s) cost being cancelled or $2,500US per each canceled reservation. This fee shall compensate Air Concierge for the negative impact a cancellation has on its online ranking, for all efforts taken in booking the reservation, for all efforts undertaken to prepare the home and the Guest prior to the cancellation, for all efforts taken in notifying and preparing the Guest after the cancellation, and to compensate Air Concierge for its time and resources in unwinding and rectifying any damage to its online and offline reputation for creating a cancelled reservation.
Extenuating Circumstances. In the rare instance where extenuating circumstances arise, Owner (or, Air Concierge on behalf of owner) may need to cancel a confirmed Reservation. Air Concierge shall nonetheless earn the greater of 25% or a flat fee of $150, of it's original management fee to compensate it for work done prior to the cancellation to ascertain the Reservation as well as work done to undertake the cancellation itself. In such cases, Manager shall elect to forgo the Cancellation Penalties outlined above, such cases will be contingent on proper documentation, where valid, and include:
i. Death in the family
ii. Serious illness or serious illness in the family
iii. Natural disaster in the country
iv. Political unrest in the country
v. Serious property damage rendering a material portion of the home uninhabitable (accompanied by verifiable documentation of the damage)
vi. Serious Maintenance issues that affect the ability to host
+ UTILITY USAGE
When your home is a hotel, guests are paying for the use and enjoyment of the home. Factored into the price is the use of the utilities. For any reservations less than 90 days, all fees are built into the nightly rate charged to the guest. Therefore, electricity and gas especially may run much higher than your normal use. Guests may leave lights on when leaving the home, they may do more loads of laundry or take longer hot showers. These are all part of the tradeoff for turning your house into a hotel and even utility bills that are 3-5x higher than "normal" are part of the trade off. Before accepting reservations, make sure you are comfortable with your pricing strategy to ensure that those bills are factored into your gross and net revenues.
If you will be seeing and/or returning to your home frequently, you will be in a position to judge and review the cleanings following a guest stay. The most common owner feedback upon returning to the property that we get is that the cleaning hasn't met their standards. We want to be clear that owner standards are usually not in line with best practices for vacation rental guests. A cleaning can be picked apart on virtually an unlimited number of points (organization of kitchen drawers, dust found in the back corner of a hall closet, a dining room chair moved pulled away from the table, a coffee table book moved to a bookshelf, eg.) We kindly request that our cleanings be given only fair and reasonable judgments and expectations. Of course this doesn't excuse bad or obvious 'misses', but we often look at the reviews guest leave and specifically the cleaning section to determine what/when improvement is needed.
Our cleaners follow a cleaning standard we impose across all properties. We stay away from owners who want to customize cleanings to their likings. If you have strong preferences for how your house should be cleaned, then we will happily engage your pre-existing cleaners and utilize them for your home. You then have the option of paying them directly and we will still do all the coordinating of day/time and special instructions for incoming or outgoing guests.
+ CLEANING FEES
Vacation Rental cleaning is different than homeowner cleaning:
- Our cleaners do more than just cleaning (restock supplies, look for damages, e.g.).
- Our cleaners show up.
- Our cleaners show up on time.
- Our cleaners have over 5,900 cleanings with 80% + being 5-star.
- We pay over the table (w9/1099 so tax implications for our cleaners).
- Cleanings are pre charged - not post stay so we don’t always know the state of the home and charging more after is not possible.
- We also have to account for folks who don’t leave on time, and waiting time in addition to dirtier homes than planned on which our cleaners don’t charge for.
- Re-cleans or touch up cleans based on founded or unfounded complaints are also covered by the cleaning fee.
- Lastly, our cleaners are exclusive to us so that means typically always the same cleaner for each home - they learn it, they know it, they’re trusted. With other management companies it’s typically outsourced and gaps occur based on the above.
All of that adds up to both higher fees than what a traditional owner cleaning might cost.
In order to get you and the travelers the best cleaning fee we always request bids from our local cleaning teams and we work with the most favorable bid (price).
+ GUEST SELECTION
Air Concierge manages the guest selection. We rely on many factors to determine a good guest candidate for your home. Over 50,000 guests have stayed with us and we've been wrong almost quite literally, less than .001% of the time. Your feedback or impressions of the guest are much more limited than the data we relied on when approving or confirming that guest. When taking Airbnb reservations, we rely on the Airbnb software which holds:
- If we have enough information (usually at least the user’s first and last name plus date of birth) to identify a guest or host who lives in the United States, we check certain databases of public state and county criminal records, as well as state and national sex offender registries for criminal convictions and sex offender registrations.
- If we have enough information (usually at least the user’s first and last name plus date of birth) to identify a guest or host who lives outside the United States, we may, to the extent permitted by applicable laws and to the extent available, obtain the local version of background or registered sex offender checks.
We also check the OFAC list (which includes terrorist designations) for all users that transact on the platform. Background checks are conducted for us by our approved background check providers.
Although background checks may help identify past criminal conduct where records are available, background checks don’t always identify a person’s past crimes or other red flags, they are never a guarantee that a person won’t break the law in the future. Due to the way certain databases are maintained, there may be gaps in the coverage provided by public records searches, and the online databases may be only updated periodically by local governments which we do not control or direct. Results of these database checks may not reveal or include recent criminal record activity. No background check should ever be relied upon as the sole indicator of suitability.
+ NOT ENOUGH BOOKINGS
Ultimately we want more bookings too - but not at the risk of bad guests, parties, upsetting the neighbors or damaging the home. So we often turn down bookings that have red flags, and sometimes yellow flags. Not getting booked doesn't mean your home isn't getting attention - it simply means that we are using our knowledge, skills and expertise to say no to certain reservations. Additionally, if you vocalize dissatisfaction with lack of bookings, we will interpret that to mean that lowering price is necessary and if quality of guests becomes an issue, then we will point back to your message questioning the price point.
Please note, approximately 50% of our reservations come within 30 days of the check in date. About 22% happen within 7 days. About 5% happen within 1 day. It's best to wait for a month to go by before examining whether a month was successful.
Lastly, emailing us periodically to check in when you don't have much activity is understandable. Emailing us every other day asking where your bookings are ... well, see below.
+ BOOKINGS, BUT PRICE IS TOO LOW
Using proprietary pricing software with hundreds of thousands of reservations and data points allows us to hone in on the minimum and base rate pricing for your home. While we have the science figured out, there is also an art to pricing. As such, price can be adjusted if your home has no or very few bookings. Over time the price can be raised. Likewise, if you have specific parameters you'd like us to follow, regardless of what our software says, that too will impact bookings and average daily rate. We ask that before going live we are all synced up on the strategy. Once we are live, then in the event you message us with concerns about pricing (price too low) after a booking has been generated and confirmed, we will interpret that to mean that raising price is necessary and if occupancy should suffer and quantity of reservations, then we will point back to your message questioning the price point. To avoid these mishaps, please ensure that the outset dynamic pricing is clearly understood, including checking your Airbnb calendar to see how different nights have different values, that are updated daily.
+ MY HOME ISN'T SHOWING UP HIGH ENOUGH IN AIRBNB SEARCH RESULTS
Airbnb search rank is not as simple as it sounds. You seeing your home on page 5 does not mean that's where other travelers see it. If you have searched for your home on airbnb before and never booked it, then Airbnb interprets that as a bad match for future searches. In fact click on your home and you do not sent an inquiry to book it, Airbnb interprets that as a bad match for future searches. Airbnb determines that the home is not a good fit for you since you've clicked on the home and not only not booked it, but have not even inquired about booking it. Therefore there is no incentive to show you the home higher in search since it's been decided it was not a good fit for you after previous searches but not click throughs (inquiry or booking).
+ MY HOME ISN'T SHOWING UP AT ALL FOR ME WHEN I SEARCH AIRBNB
Without being next to you when you enter your search parameters, we cannot really see what you're filtering, or not. The Airbnb search algorithm is complicated. We'll share some reasons why this could be happening and how you can view your listing on searching.
Before getting to the details, it is important to understand how search results are determined. The linked article talks about how Airbnb's complex ranking system uses different factors to reward hosts that deliver a great experience to guests.
Let's understand why you might not be able to see your listing in the Search Results:
1) Your location might have more than 300 listings. For ease of display, Airbnb only displays 18 listings at a time, per page, and thus some listings might not appear during a general location search without any filters. Some locations like San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco have over 10,000 listings in the greater city areas.
However, if you make use of the multiple search filters that Airbnb has to offer (like Dates, No. of Guests, Room type, Price Range etc.) then you can perform a more specific and narrowed down search which might reduce the search results and your listing will then show up if it matches the filter criteria.
*Please note that, most guests make use of the filters while searching for a vacation home.
2) You can also make use of the map by zooming in closer to your location if your looking at a very large area. Use the '+' button to zoom in and '-' to zoom out. Reducing the area will further reduce the results and you will be able to see your listing. Don't forget to click on the "Redo Search Here" button on the top.
If your listing still continues to not appears,
3) Check if it is "Listed" and not in the "Delisted" mode. (Your property is listed and we know that as we've had recent bookings by authentic travelers). IF the property is listed on your own profile, then to do this, visit your Dashboard >> Your Listing >> Manage Listing and Calendar. Expand the Menu options by clicking on the grey icon with 3 horizontal bars on the left top. Look up at the bottom of the Menu that emerges to see if your listing is active. It should appear as "Listed" with a green dot. If it doesn't click on the drop down menu and change it to listed.
+ WHEN DO I RECEIVE MY OWNER PAYOUTS?
For homes managed on an Air Concierge profile: Owner payments are set up on the 1st of each month by Accounting. All booking activity in the preceding month is included. In the event a reservation starts on the last day of the month, Air Concierge may move that payout to the following month. Should the 1st fall on a weekend or holiday, then they are set up on the next business day. Depending on the recipient bank, those payments may arrive the next day or 1-3 business days thereafter. You will receive an email from Wells Fargo indicating the payouts have been released.
For Co-Hosted Properties: You will receive a payout directly from Airbnb that is initiated the day following the guest check-in. Depending on your bank, that payout may be received 1-3 business days thereafter. Air Concierge will charge you separately for the management fee and operational costs (cleaning, maintenance, e.g.) and the breakdown of these charges will be available for you inside the owner’s portal. Air Concierge will use your credit card on file to collect these charges on the 5th of each month.
Air Concierge is considered an expert in all things Airbnb and Vacation Rental management. We do our best work when autonomous and independent. We work hard before going live with your listing to best understand your preferences. Thereafter we kindly ask that we be allowed the freedom and trust to navigate the field of Airbnb and Vacation Rental management. We are not a good fit for you if you need to message us with how to respond to guests, what to say in reviews, or if you feel the need to critique our strategies or decisions. The most successful clients we have are the most hands off. We will also update you routinely before, during and after the reservation period so that you are in the know along the way as to nearly all moving parts of this operation. We will establish this boundary before getting started and politely send a reminder should we have a miscommunication. Following that and any ongoing micromanagement we are likely to suggest finding an alternative. We hate to lose great properties, but the owner-Air Concierge connection is a vital one. Having a good working relationship is critical to our mutual success. Micromanagement is in opposite to that goal.
We are experts in this domain. We've spent years analyzing pricing and occupancy data, we've handled over 10,000 reservations and managed over 50,000 guests from all over the world. This is what we do, 24/7/365. We appreciate your preferences and seek to gain those before going live online (usually in the KYC document). From thereafter, if we generate a new booking and you are unhappy with the price point, there is usually a good reason. The explanations are usually limitless but come down to market data and what our software recognizes for market demand as well as comparable homes. If you are unhappy and need to communicate that unhappiness to us, please see "AIR CONCIERGE AS YOUR PARTNER" above.
Click HERE to understand how our Dynamic Pricing software works.
Air Concierge follows an industry standard of discounting for stays of 5-7 nights or longer (generally 5%-10%). For longer stays (2-4 weeks or longer) our discounts can increase, depending on time of year, length of stay, etc. We share this with you as it’s customary in the industry.
+ MESSAGING AIR CONCIERGE
Unlike the guests staying in your home, we are not available around the clock for our owners. We will respond to all emails, usually within 24hrs, during the workweek (M-F) and during business hours (9-5pst). We do not text message. Please use only email.
- For issues with the home; please email our Support:
- email@example.com (San Francisco)
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Los Angeles)
- email@example.com (San Diego)
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Palm Springs)
- email@example.com (Lake Tahoe)
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Orange County)
- email@example.com (Seattle)
- For issues with a guest / reservation; please email our operations team, firstname.lastname@example.org., email@example.com
- For issues with Air Concierge and or serious issues with the above; please email our CEO, firstname.lastname@example.org
+ LEAVING GUEST REVIEWS
Generally speaking, before we post a guest review, a few things must be taken into account before we leave a review. Usually the most critical is our cleaners and our regional manager reporting back to us as to the condition of the home following check out. Then we also review the notes from the stay. Lastly we sometimes wait for the next check in as sometimes there are items discovered by following guests that were missed by us as we are not able to inventory every single item in the home; but notably things like remotes, or a pool key, a parking pass, eg come to mind. So while it doesn't happen instantly, it is usually thorough and quite accurate.
+ OWNER BLOCKS
One of the benefits to using Air Concierge is that we have no limits on the number of owner blocks you may utilize. Not only that, but we will clean after each one. Our only request is that you submit your request to block dates, we will do our best to block those dates, but there is a chance that a guest reservation could still occur from after the time you submitted your date block.
The only recognized method of blocking dates is using THIS link.