What Happened To Airbnb Plus

Dated: May 24 2021

Views: 91

What Happened to Airbnb Plus? 


This morning I was driving, and had a random thought, “What happened to Airbnb Plus”? After taking some time to research, I finally figured out the answer. Here’s what I found out: 


When did it start?


Airbnb Plus was launched in 2018 with big goals to increase the number of hosts abiding by the rigorous inspections in just a number of years. And now, it seems to be on hold after a series of host issues and Airbnb ultimately dropping the ball (and employees) in 2020. The pandemic took a toll on many companies, but it essentially knocked out an entire team of people specifically working to build Airbnb Plus. A statement was given by Airbnb spokesman Tim Rathschmidt: “Aligned with adjustments we’re making to address and support our community during the Covid-19 crisis, we are temporarily suspending the upgrading of additional listings to the Airbnb Plus program. As the situation evolves, we will reevaluate and be back in touch with hosts.” Guests can still find the Airbnb Plus badge when booking, but the service is a lot of work, especially since it brings virtually no incentive to hosts.


The Plus program was started in 2018 to ensure that guests who booked homes with the Plus badge would have an elevated experience in a home more like their own home. Airbnb Plus homes are those that are thoughtfully designed, quality inspected, well-equipped, and well maintained by exceptional hosts. The program also guaranteed reliable check-in’s and premium support.


Who was affected?


I was one of the Plus program hosts who was affected by this weird and confusing string of events. One of my listings was Plus verified.. actually a couple of them within Tybee Island and Savannah. We had to go through a 100 point inspection list to be a part of it, and Airbnb even went as far as paying me to make some repairs so my properties would be up to par in order to put them in the Airbnb Plus program. Then one day I noticed I wasn't getting any bookings at all on one of the properties. It went into the limbo area where it was no longer searchable. It took me about 4-5 months until I was able to get it out of the Plus program completely. 


It was one of my best units (Room 4) and I was losing massive amounts of income from voluntarily stepping into the testing exploratory program that Airbnb was running. They pitched to me that Airbnb Plus would be a huge benefit and drive my income up dramatically. It actually drove my income down. 


Was it worth it?


Ultimately, the program was said to have issues with the overall implementation and scalability. Was it worth it? Honestly.. Probably not. Though the Plus program isn’t accepting any new Plus property applications, existing Plus hosts can opt out of the program whenever they choose. Though Plus hosts have the benefits of professional photography, writing services, interior design advice, and higher visibility, here are some things to consider if you’re reconsidering continuing as a Plus host:


  • Hosts with the Airbnb Plus title must exclusively list on their own website or Airbnb. No other booking sites can be used.

  • Hosts risk issues with the poorly run program, like I had, where guests couldn’t even find the property.

  • Plus host properties aren’t able to increase their prices by much, or they risk staying competitive with other well-rated homes in the area.


Is there another option for those who own vacation rental homes? 


100%! Airbnb still offers the Superhost status. It has some of the basic requirements of the Plus hosts, with a lot less hassle. To become a Superhost, hosts have to meet the following requirements, measured over 12 months (or less if you’re just getting started): 


  • Complete 10 trips OR completed 3 reservations totaling at least 100 nights

  • Maintain a 90% or higher response rate

  • Maintain a 1% cancellation rate (1 cancellation per 100 reservations), or lower with exceptions for those falling under the Extenuating Circumstances policy

  • Maintain a 4.8 overall rating 


So if you’re thinking about purchasing a rental home, or a second home operating as a rental within the Tybee Island or Savannah area, give me a call at 912-414-7155!

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Jenny Rutherford

Meet Jenny Rutherford Jenny Rutherford Real Estate, LLC. Where did you grow up? I grew up on a farm at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. I've lived in several states, including Virgi....

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