A couple with 22 active Airbnbs claims they will leave the platform

  • Tony Robinson and Sara told their 30,000 YouTube subscribers that they wanted to “quit Airbnb”.
  • They won’t be selling their 22 active properties on Airbnb, but will work to increase direct bookings.
  • Six strategies were identified by them, ranging from Wi-Fi email capture to influencer advertising.

Sara and Tony Robinson, California-based short-term rental owners, broadcast their advice on building an Airbnb empire — from how to deal with nightmare guests to renovating properties — to over 30,000 followers on YouTubeCombination 80,000 Instagram followers between two individual accounts

The couple, who call themselves the “Real Estate Robinsons,” documented how they left behind jobs at Tesla and iHeartRadio in the last two years to manage their portfolio of 22 active vacation-rental properties — mostly in Tennessee and California — full time. Together, the homes generate $1.3 million in annual income, mainly from Airbnb. Insider received documents verifying the revenue. 

They have now said that they will not be renting from Airbnb or Vrbo, the rival vacation-rental site. 

Tony stated that the couple wanted more control over their business operations in an interview with Insider. posted a November 28 videoThe article is titled “We’re Quitting” Airbnb 

The move is made as hosts in some areas complain that bookings have slowed, Twitter chatters of anAirbnbust,“and market data shows an increased number of Airbnbs nationwide that has outpaced increases in traveler demand. Some hosts are responding by switching to medium- or long-term rentals

Robinsons for their part aim to have at minimum 75% of their guest reserve their vacations via their personal websiteInstead of going through the most popular platforms. They can then make more money by using the popular platforms. the minimum 3% booking fee Airbnb takes from hosts on every transaction

The Robinsons stated that they are wary of relying on large companies like Vrbo and Airbnb for their business, as they could disagree with a policy change or algorithm change. The Robinsons stated that they will not remove 22 of their active properties from Airbnb, but will instead make an aggressive push to attract direct bookings.

Six of the possible ways they will do it were broken down.

The Robinsons left full-time jobs to pursue short-term rentals in 2019.

The Robinsons quit their full-time jobs in order to rent short-term apartments in 2019.

Courtesy of Robinsons

WiFi email capture: Robinsons will purchase a WiFi system to capture guests’ email addresses during their stay.

Airbnb prohibitsAirbnb hosts are prohibited from giving direct-booking links to guests booking through them. They also ban the use of the platform for conversations or embedding links in instructions manuals. 

Robinsons claimed that WiFi-capture plans are common in the industry and will bypass the policy. They can use the guest’s email addresses to follow up on them after their stay with Airbnb.

Marketing with Influencers:Robinsons will offer influencers a night free in exchange for sharing their experiences on social media, which include the direct-booking link. Sara, who was interviewed in their YouTube video about quitting Airbnb said that she worked briefly at FashionNova, a fast fashion brand. She saw the engagement power and creativity of micro influencers (people with less then 50,000 followers) who posted photos and videos. The Robinsons hope that they can replicate this success with travel influencers showcasing their properties. 

Paid social-media advertising: The Robinsons will pay for ads on Instagram, Facebook, Google, and Google that direct to their direct-booking site. According to their video, the couple believes that the ability to “scale” advertising is crucial because it allows them to “ramp up advertising during slower times of year. 

The exterior of a Joshua Tree, California, rental property that the Robinsons own.

The Robinsons own the exterior of a Joshua Tree, California rental property.

Courtesy of Robinsons

New Instagram profiles The couple is planning to set up an Instagram account for their rental properties, which will feature beautiful scenes. They’ll post pictures of the interiors and the surrounding area and tag local landmarks like shops and restaurants. The direct-booking hyperlink would be prominently featured in the account bio as well as other parts of it.

More YouTube channels Robinsons would like to create additional YouTube accounts, with content that showcases local activities for their properties. According to the Robinsons, YouTube is a “searchable platform” which allows them to connect with users who might be searching for “things you can do in Joshua Tree”.

Blogs: Robinsons stated that blog posts can be “searchable” and direct users to their direct-booking website. Posts about “vegan restaurants” and “sunset hiking” could be a good way to attract future visitors who are looking for these topics.

They stated that this strategy could be replicated by every short-term-rental host on the market.

Tony stated, “Any business today will benefit by having some type of presence on Social Media.” 

The couple stated that it may be difficult for newbies not to use Vrbo or Airbnb. 

The Robinsons stated that they have an advantage in driving traffic towards their direct-booking site because of their already large social media following. 

The couple stated that it would be “pretty hard” for a new host to have a “decently full calendar right away without using something like Vrbo or Airbnb. 

They also stressed that hosts could follow their steps from the beginning. Hosts can start thinking earlier about how to build a platform they own. 

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