Home » Airbnb » The Masked Manager | More Listing Site Changes

The masked manager   By The Masked Manager

FALLING DOWN (Film – 1993)

I’m not taken to swearing as the Sheila gets offended, but holy kangaroos what do these companies think we do all day?

Let me explain; now I’ve taken some of my blood pressure pills. The screen shot below shows the latest “incarnation” from AirBnB and request to take time, spend money, rethink our business and be accepting.

I am talking poltergeists or benevolent spirits here, I’m talking demons.  We seriously need an exorcist to sort all of them out.

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 14.32.22

Over the last couple of years, the marketplaces and I’m talking all of you (not just Airbnb) drainage silos now, HomeAway, TripAdvisor, AirBnB, Priceline and the rest of you.  You all seem to think we can spend our entire lives re-modelling our modest companies around you and your shareholder and share option obsession with monetising your public businesses and competing with each other. You all seem to have missed the fact that every time you do something if affects millions of cottage industries and individuals. 


Change this, change that, add this add that, do this, do that, remove this and that, login, logout, use our payments, modify the prices again and again and again. It’s our guest not yours, our guests want this; they want that, they don’t trust you; we want them to tell us how bad or how great your place is: the list is endless. We even pay upfront for a contract on some sites and they change the terms we signed up for in mid-contract.  Unreal!

We are told ad nauseam you are only doing what the guest wants. No, it’s what you want; the guest has simply told you they want a nice place, at a nice price and to make it easy to book.

What you have all missed is that to get a nice place at a nice price and easy to book means you need to ask the owner or manager if this is possible. Yes, you don’t actually control the contracted or owner properties.

[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Imagine a single day of hotel and VR property strikes… There’s a thought.[/pullquote]


It is possible for guests to book lots of nice places at nice prices, but on our terms: these are our rules, bending them is hard and financially not viable, no matter how hard you try. Just look at how HomeAway, now they are being acquired, have said they will charge the guest and be more lenient on book now adoption and commissions. Expect more changes to your accounts and expect more of a drain.

The rules are all set this way because it’s the way it works, has worked, continues to work and believe it or not, the guest finds it works!

You keep testing and changing things.

STOP NOW and regroup.

stop sign

stop sign (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Seems forcing our hands is not working so well, but I can tell you, that every time any of you change anything it not only confuses an owner but can mean hours of work for every single person and creates even further discontent in the collective sub-conscious of the VR world.


If a property takes an hour to change and think through then that’s two million hours, let’s say the average wage is $20 for calculation convenience, that $40m of work from one email on one site. We should all bill them.  Over the years the time we have spent helping the shareholders has run into many thousands. Can’t say bookings have gone up, but costs certainly have.

Sitting around in board meetings, looking at stats and restricted research and wondering why the income is stalling and the push back is increasing must be a problem. I feel sorry for you, honestly (!)


Let me piece this out: We can’t afford it, it’s too complex and modelled so badly, and the only result is that the guest will end up paying. We will tell them that and ask why in a world where everybody knows they are being screwed daily by corporations, they have been so easily fooled.

[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]You could all be reasonable and adopt a more complicit model and owners and managers would flock to you.[/pullquote]

“Gone with the Wind” comes to mind.


It’s not a hotel, no its not, it never will be and never can be. Just adopt this idea and the rest will follow easily or just stop reading.

You very clever and highly paid chaps may not have recognised that once a VR is booked, you can’t rebook it. There are only 52 weeks in a year and a fixed cost that stops bookings at around 3 days so maybe 110 possible bookings.  A hotel may have 40 rooms and a bar and a restaurant and allows one night stays; it’s a room after all not a house. So that’s 14,560 possible stays and ancillary income.

VR business is different. OK city pads are like hotels and can be condo like, so much the same, but us real VR people (no we are not hosts, stop changing the name and being clever with marketing) are in this world and you are trying to force a square peg into a round hole.

Just asking  a few million people to manually change things again, then secretly change terms on cancellations (anybody reading this should check to see if they are on strict 30 still on Airbnb), start down ranking or cancel accounts because bookings aren’t accepted, forcing your guests to pay you and then “permit” them to actually speak or contact the owners is a “Bridge too Far”.  There are some great film analogies coming in here.

So let’s come to guests shall we. I feel sorry for them. It looks like they are all becoming your guests now as you are happy to expound as the online walls are created (and funded by us). Maybe it’s time you looked after the guest and the properties as well, at the sharp end, daily. “That’ll be the day” comes to mind.

So if you want to push to hotel booking model, (think Expedia people) we will do as hotels do, we will simply not be as accepting as it’s hard to drink from a dry billabong.

If they are your guests now, we may well treat them that way as hotels do. Rooms next to the lift, extra fees on arrival for pool heating; air conditioning, towels, gym use, no welcome baskets and we will automate everything to claw back some semblance of income.  When asked why, we will simply say that whichever marketplace they booked on cost us and them too much in too many ways.

Yes it’s hard to manage all this but my God (there I go again) there are some serious incentives to rework the VR business as a whole and make sure what is needed at supply end is presented to the guest.


Independence Day (I’m talking the film, “Hello Boys, I’m back”), if you haven’t seen it, you will understand the whole analogy, wait until close to the end and watch the old timer, Russel Casse in his jet.

The Masked Manager

The gloves are coming off each month so drop by to hear what the masked manager has to say.


Are you advertising on Airbnb, Homeaway or Flipkey? What are your thoughts on More Listing Site Changes?

Please leave your comments at the bottom of this page, we would love to hear from you.