Many short-term rental owners have been taken aback by Airbnb’s new rules. The platform, which since late last year has decided to revise its hosting policies and standards, is taking many hosts by surprise. And since we know that these changes are still generating doubts, we talked to Duarte Ramalho, Head of Hospitality at LovelyStay.

In this text, get to know the new Airbnb rules and see how a short-term rental company can help you make your property more profitable!

LovelyStay – Has Airbnb changed its rules for suspending listings? What are these new rules?

Duarte Ramalho – Since October 7, 2020, Airbnb has been changing its policies, becoming more restrictive for guests and for hosts. According to Airbnb, this change comes following the impact of covid-19 on Tourism and the high number of properties listed on the platform. In order to better filter out both unwanted guests and substandard properties, Airbnb has implemented periodic reviews of both profiles. Guest reliability standards have been increased in order to mitigate the risk of problems and incidents at properties, blocking access to over 100,000 undesirable guests. As for hosts and properties, standards have also been revised, becoming more demanding with the following parameters:

  • Quick response: keeping the response rate high by responding to inquiries and travel requests within 24 hours;
  • Accept travel requests: make guests feel welcome by accepting requests whenever available;
  • Avoid cancellations with guests: take cancellations seriously and try to avoid them. They represent a major inconvenience;
  • Maintain a high overall rating: guests expect a consistent level of quality, regardless of where they book;

The first three points are quite clear and assertive, however, the one about the rating is subjective and raises some doubts regarding the logic and compliance of the platform. In our experience, regardless of the overall score of the ad and the volume of comments, a single comment below 4 stars (out of 5) is enough to issue a suspension notice. At the second warning, the property is suspended for a period of 5 days. Cumulatively, all professionals in the tourism and hotel industry have noticed a difference in the type of guest and a decrease in the review score.

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LS – What can we do to avoid this suspension? Any tips for all short-term rental owners?

DR – With the new Airbnb rules, the service and quality standards of the property should always be higher than the standards instituted by the platform, but when they are not, they should at least conform to them. Raising quality standards is always a plus for the industry, but it’s important to realize that this plus carries with it other responsibilities and/or investments. Aside from service (communication, check-in, and cleaning), it is essential to guarantee property with the essential equipment and in optimal maintenance conditions, without signs of wear, humidity, infiltrations, or recurrent breakdowns. Having a property in ideal conditions not only creates an excellent first impression to the guest but is also a guarantee of comfort throughout the stay.

Taking advantage of this low season and lower booking flow period, over the next few months we will be conducting detailed inspections, with the purpose of identifying and reporting improvement suggestions for each property, preventive maintenance of the main trouble spots (air conditioning, drains, insulation, etc) and decorative improvements and equipment that can benefit our guests’ stay.

LS – LovelyStay manages over 400 properties all over the country. A specialized company, does it help to avoid ad suspension? How does it do that?

DR – Yes, an independent host can hardly guarantee immediate response timings and a 24/7 support service. We know that incidents happen without an appointment and at any time, and having a 24/7 service allows us not only to identify and respond to the problem but to solve it in the shortest possible time. The experience of 6 years in the market also allows us to detect and anticipate sensitive or undesirable situations for guests, with a team of professionals dedicated to various areas. However, good service to the guest is only possible with the contribution and involvement of all parties – specialized company and owner – because collaboration is the only way to guarantee the quality of the property in a sustainable way and in the long term.

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So, if you are looking for a specialized company to manage your property, talk to LovelyStay! We work all over the country. For more information, send an email to sales@lovelystay.com  or go to our website.

Translated by Miguel Marinho Soares