The Airbnb Plus program has been dividing opinion for many months now. Most hosts I speak to tend to say that it does increase their page views but it doesn’t necessarily bump their revenue like they had wanted. There are also rumblings of discontent with regards to not being able to use photos that are often better than the one’s provided by Airbnb’s own photographer and having less control over the listing.
Airbnb are now requiring exclusivity in a larger and growing number of countries. This first appeared as a US only requirement back in February but now has expanded to a bunch of other countries; Mexico, Greece, Thailand and Indonesia to name a few.
Note how Japan and Korea get special mentions on not being part of this requirement as they have had their own battles with regulation already. See why Koreans get special cancelation policies here. I would argue that it also contravenes EU law regarding anti competition but that’s someone else’s fight. The real question for all of this is; is it worth paying a yearly fee to be included in Airbnb Plus?
Facebook is where a lot of hosts talk with one another. There are a bunch of groups on Facebook for hosts only. I like the Airbnb Professional Hosts group as you can tend to get feedback and understand sentiment of the host community in it. What better way to find out what hosts think than when this exact topic came up.
Airbnb and Brian Chesky tout a policy of ‘Belong Anywhere’. Should they change the slogan to ‘Belong Anywhere, as long as we are the ones who profit’? That seems to be more accurate and what hosts tend to be thinking about these changes.
The above email shows that Airbnb are actively trying to police this policy. All this will do is make those aware of the exclusivity requirements who were not previously and shut down their Airbnb Plus listings. With so many other channels out there and without Airbnb guaranteeing Plus Hosts 100% occupancy and income, it seems an insane move to put all your eggs in that basket.
Airbnb are known to have really bizarre policies with regards to guests being able to shut down a hosts account if they say the correct words in a complaint. Why would you ever put all your faith in such a one sided system?
Airbnb Plus gives you less control over the way your listings look. Airbnb can message you at any time saying you need to change your curtains / sofa / anything and you are obliged to do it. They can do inspections after they have approved the listing to the program to ensure standards are kept. Your property is at the mercy of guests to get 5 star reviews otherwise it will lead to more problems. Is this Airbnb? Is this sharing a spare space to help supplement income or make mortgage payments? Is this Airbnb trying to exploit hosts and make a hotel brand off the back of their traction? You decide. We have no plans to enter Airbnb Plus nor make it part of our strategy going forward.