Airbnb plus host- anyone been invited?

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Anyone ever been contacted by Airbnb to be part of their Airbnb plus program? Any air bnb plus hosts out there? From what I know, it appears it’s just higher hosting standards in terms of cleanliness, amenities and customer service. Any costs to do it? I got an email from Airbnb PLUS team saying they think my home may be a good fit for the program. I know this is something Airbnb rolled out a few months ago. Just wanted to see if people have gotten more bookings and profits from it. Thanks!
@Mark Futalan I got the same email yesterday. I have a weekend Home in the Hudson valley (NY) that I just started started to rent via Airbnb on weekends that I don’t use it, have had four bookings in the past couple months. From what I’ve read, Plus definitely seems to have its upside in terms of getting more views and giving prospective renters a greater sense of confidence that your property is held to a higher standard in terms of cleanliness, design, experience, etc. They’ll also send out a rep to take professional photos which we all know is key to getting bookings. Looks like there’s a one time fee of $149 which I think is a reasonable “investment” on your part, especially if it allows you to raise your listing rate. I’ll definitely be contacting Airbnb to schedule an appt once I get a couple little things (don’t have an ironing board...) that they require. Best of luck!
@Nick Frost Thanks Nick! I read that as well and also spoke with a rep at Airbnb. As you mentioned, they have a checklist of things that they require and they will send a rep out to your home to consult with you and take professional photos of your home, assuming you meet all of their requirements and standards. From what they told me, they were backlogged on review requests from other hosts requesting the Plus status (20k worldwide) and have put that on hold. They are only now accepting requests by invite only, like the emails we’ve received. From what I was told as well, you have a cleaner platform, preferential search rankings, more personalized service and professional photography. Definitely worth the investment. Luckily I was even offered for them to waive the $149 fee if I make an appointment before Oct. 24th. So even more incentive to do it. But just like you, there are a few things on the checklist that I will need to follow up on and address. I’ve seen a few Plus listings on Airbnb and they are really amazing almost magazine quality. Good luck to you.
Also not available in my market and I’m glad. AirBnB already sticks it to us so hard to get nothing but 5 stars. I imagine the pressure is even worse with “plus”
@Lucas Carl I hear you Lucas. I’ve taken a look at the checklist, it’s pretty much the same thing we as hosts have already been doing (or at least should be doing), with a couple more things here and there. With so much competition nowadays, I look at it as incentive to stick out from the crowd if you know what I mean. My city has over 1200 maybe even close to 1500 homes listed as STR’s. So unless you have a huge home or a unique property with great interior design and unique amenities, it could be challenging. The mid century modern style similar to the palm springs area is pretty popular here and a pool is a must. At least thats what I’m seeing here. I assume you have the same thing going on in Gatlinburg with log cabins. The plus program is fairly new (few months) so they are slowly trying to roll it out to different areas across the globe. I’m pretty sure it will hit your area sometime being the VR capital :)

I was invited to join the pilot program in San Francisco about 1 year ago. I went through the entire verification and validation process and in the end opted to not participate despite "qualifying".

Ultimately, I'm happy with my current returns and I'm concerned with the additional expectations of guests searching the "plus" platform. 

I'm currently filling the budget traveler niche (both tourists and business travelers) and I do a good job of setting expectations before guests arrive to ensure everyone has a good experience. My concern is that the "plus" signifier will raise expectations beyond what my neighborhood can provide.

I definitely see value in the program helping if you're in an over saturated market, but @Lucas Carl is right. It's 5* or nothing for Airbnb and heightened expectations make that a more difficult goal to achieve. 

We were invited on 2 of our properties, via EVOLVE who lists them for us. We decided to only do our higher-end place and it should get all wrapped up in the next 2 weeks. I don't expect much from it, but even 1-2 extra rentals a year would be an extra few thousand $$. More so, I am hoping that we can better avoid some of the "price conscious" vacation renters that bring a different set of issues.

Looks like they're expanding it... As when I checked my area before it wasn't available and now i'm invited... but only 1 of my properties.... Interesting it's not all of them.

@Mike V. Yes they are expanding. I actually just started the process last week after it took some time to get scheduled. They sent over a photographer who also does the inspection. It’s pretty thorough, they look for things like a carbon monoxide detector, house manual with emergency contact info, plate/cup cooking sets,etc. They take photos of each item on the list and submit them to Airbnb, who then will approve or ask for more information if something is missing or was missed by the inspection (I’m going through this as we speak on a few minor items). The inspector/photographer will also take detailed photos of your home along with the Inspection photos and submit them to Airbnb for final approval. It’s definitely a little more effort to put in, but in my opinion, it’s definitely worth the investment. They waived my $149 fee and I was even given a $200 credit from Airbnb for completing the fixes before their deadline. So we will see how it all turns out once everything gets finalized.

I have been invited on 2 of my rentals and spoke with the rep this morning for just a few minutes. They are sending me the information and said that it is definitely invite only!! I am going to think about it after getting all the information because I don't want to lose any ground on my listings. The rep said something about questions being sent to guests asking if their stay would qualify as a destination and that was one of the qualifying criteria. Will report back with details as I GO!  

So just wanted to give an update on the Airbnb plus program and my experience through the process. It was definitely an experience lol. After finally going through the inspection, photo session and completing minor fixes that Airbnb required to upgrade to plus, I finally went live with the new upgraded plus listing about 3 weeks ago. The platform is definitely a lot nicer and more professional and the pictures turned out pretty good. You also get better ranking in search results which Ive noticed as well. It’s still a little early to see if upgrading to plus leads to more bookings (though I’ve gotten 3 or 4 new reservations since then, even with an issue I had. I’ll explain later). You do lose a lot of control when it comes to the pictures. You can’t change the cover photo. You can’t change the order of the photos or modify any of them. You can “hide” photos though. Other issues I have is the platform is a little buggy. For example, if you play around with the Airbnb app, you can get into settings where you can possibly “delete” or “edit” a photo which apparently your not supposed to be able to do. This was my big mistake. Before going live, Airbnb sends you the new plus listing for review. When I got it, I played around with it to see what user capabilities I had. So I tried “editing” my cover photo. Doing so, removed my cover photo and changed it to a random picture I had in my listing (it wasn’t so attractive). I had no control to change it back. So I called Airbnb and explained the issue. It’s a little confusing because you would think they handle everything in house. No. Any photo issues or technical issues with the plus platform goes to their “Onboarding” team which I believe is a 3rd party contracted by Airbnb. There is no number to them and Airbnb reps themselves have no direct communication to them either other than through email. Weird. I was told that since everything is still so new and with such a high demand for Plus, they can’t keep up. I can confirm that it took them 3 weeks to finally contact me with a fix. So after all is said and done, if I was asked would I do it again? I don’t know, I’d maybe wait. Its cool being part of their roll out here in my city but I think there are a few kinks they need to hammer out with the platform to make it more host access friendly and they definitely need to improve on their lead time in fixing issues. I think it will get better in time and through trial and error.

@Mark Futalan

Thanks for your update. I have an appointment with them for the inspection and photo session. They are having issues getting in to the cabin coordinating times with their agents and with the booked schedule. I'm curious if they will continue to try and schedule it.  More bookings does sound like it may be worth the efforts. 

Will let you know when we get more into the process! 

@Rhonda Blue

Hi Rhonda,

Yes I struggled with that too. I had to call them because the times they had available on the Airbnb app didn’t work with my schedule/booking schedule. Apparently they are updated daily. They had me send out an email with my available dates and then I was contacted by them a short time later. Good luck to you!

@Jessica Chow

It’s been about the same. My calendar was pretty booked beforehand so it’s been following the same trend. I’m usually booked 2-3 months out. What I do like is the improved search rankings which does lead to more traffic.

@Mark Futalan thanks for sharing, we have a few homes in the fixes/corrections process.  I didn't know you couldn't add non plus pictures, that's going to be a deal killer for us at some homes, as our drone photos are very helpful.

I guess I will finish the plus process so we can get access to their photography, and then leave the plus program and use just some of their new photos.  I was impressed with the photographer and the amount of time they spent, and attention to detail.

@John D.

Hey John. That’s one of my biggest issues with plus. Lack of control with things such as photos. You can’t change the cover photo or add non plus photos to your profile. And if you make a case to change any photos, prepare for a 2-3 week wait for someone from plus to contact you. And that’s not even a guarantee they will adjust anything.

@Jessica Chow I have not yet seen any increase over the last 2 years from it, just a few more headaches. I'll stick it out through the year but maybe call it quits after that. Last year our bigger home had 69 bookings and 62 came via VRBO, our other properties have similar numbers, so AirBnB is not yet that big a deal to us.

@Mark Futalan Appreciate the feedback! We're in the middle of the inspection process with our property in Palm Springs and having the debate right now- mostly because we're a bit scared to give up control of our page, but definitely like to hear that the search rankings are up. 

Hi sorry to resurrect a dead thread but does anyone have any updates on AirBnB plus with regard to increased bookings over the past year?  I am debating on whether to accept the invitation for my La Quinta property.  We get about 40% of our bookings from VRBO.  I am reticent to give up that platform and pay an additional 5% fee per booking on AirBnB.  Also, they want me to "remodel" my home with additional decorations that I would have to pay for.    Does anyone have any new insight?

Thanks so much! 

Originally posted by @Andrew Geisler :

Hi sorry to resurrect a dead thread but does anyone have any updates on AirBnB plus with regard to increased bookings over the past year?  I am debating on whether to accept the invitation for my La Quinta property.  We get about 40% of our bookings from VRBO.  I am reticent to give up that platform and pay an additional 5% fee per booking on AirBnB.  Also, they want me to "remodel" my home with additional decorations that I would have to pay for.    Does anyone have any new insight?

Thanks so much! 

Hi Andrew!

I was one of the first five people in my city to go through the Airbnb Plus program and it was not worth it. I figured by being one of few in my area, the returns would be even higher than in more competitive markets. After months of 'adjusting' and communicating with Airbnb, I actually saw a drop on bookings. The pictures were beautiful and the listing looked nice but not as authentic as the original. After a few weeks of testing it out and changing settings I decided to turn off the Plus feature (yes, you can activate it or deactivate it and it reverts back to your original listing). My experience is that I get more bookings by not being on Airbnb plus. It was a good experiment and I will test it again this summer but for the time being I'm sticking with the traditional view. Hope this helps! 

i prefer to be where most of the market is. i love booking.com, but they occasionally offer me ways i can get more people with this or that program. involves higher commission or giving discounts. just stay with the crowd and present your listings how you see fit.