Airbnb has changed. To or not to Airbnb in 2021?

So…to Airbnb or not to Airbnb?

“In 2021 the behaviour of ‘staycation-ers’ is radically different than that ‘pre-virus’ life that we all enjoyed. The basic set up of Airbnb is now outdated for many guests needs – they need a phone number to check the reality of a company/stay, and that’s just what Airbnb doesn’t give.

Critically for owners, (updated in Jan 2020) Airbnb has changed it’s commission model and now charge a flat 18% on all bookings. (FYI We charge 21% inc VAT – so owners need to consider if they want to do all the work for just 3% difference).

Airbnb itself is struggling to respond and their business model is now fundamentally unsuited to larger group bookings. However for smaller places, millennials and those who can take more risk, will still book on the platform and it will work well for them.

Is it cheaper to use Airbnb? An agency will take more commission? NOPE…

In 2021 the company has changed it’s business model. No longer do they offer the guest/owner split on commission. Now it’s a flat rate for 18% for all. This makes them the same business model as, Tripadvisor and other big online travel agencies.

This also means that if you use them, you are doing all the sales and booking work for 3% difference (basically the VAT cost) to a UK based agency…

That also means you must REALLY REALLY love paying yourself next to nothing for doing all the sales work…

Airbnb pricing is easier to understand? PERHAPS BUT ARE YOU ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS?

Airbnb suggested pricing system is a more basic version of the one that New Forest Escapes uses. It’s dynamic pricing based on demand: historical and actual, location, regional travel trends, UK travel trends, day of the week checkin and out, stay length etc. An agency should be experts at setting prices. It is well worth asking them for advice before you choose.


It is REALLY easy to put in the wrong prices and be full all the time. Being full all the time basically means you’re pricing too low… Be careful that you’re not working for free and subsidising your guests holidays for them!

If you want to sit at dinner parties and tell everyone, ‘we’re full all the time’, what you’re telling them is that you’re bad at setting the value for your own time. You’d be amazed at how often we see this. Eventually, owners are exhausted, sick of guests, sick of breakages, sick of high maintenance bills. Being full will be easy in peak seasons, be careful what you set yourself up for.
Hospitality can be draining as well as joyful. So do watch this.