TechDigits

Tech news
Tuesday, May 28, 2024

A couple with 22 active Airbnb properties that bring in $1.3 million in annual revenue said on YouTube that they're planning to 'quit' the platform because they want 'more control'

A couple with 22 active Airbnb properties that bring in $1.3 million in annual revenue said on YouTube that they're planning to 'quit' the platform because they want 'more control'

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 YouTube and a combined 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. The homes together generate $1.3 million in annual revenue, mostly from Airbnb. The revenue was verified by documents shared with Insider. 

But now they said they're turning their backs on Airbnb, as well as the competing vacation-rental site Vrbo. 

"We just want a little bit more control over how we operate our business," Tony told Insider in an interview after the couple posted a November 28 video titled "We're Quitting Airbnb." 

The move comes as hosts in some areas complain that bookings have slowed, Twitter chatters of an "Airbnbust," 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. 

For their part, the Robinsons aim to have at least 75% of their guests reserve their vacations via their personal website instead of going through the popular platforms. That way, they can pocket more of the minimum 3% booking fee Airbnb takes from hosts on every transaction. 

The Robinsons also said they fear relying solely on big companies like Airbnb and Vrbo for their business because they could one day disagree with a policy or an algorithm change. The couple added that they will not delist their 22 active properties from Airbnb entirely, but rather embark on an aggressive push to lure direct bookings.

They broke down six of the ways they plan to do it.


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

WiFi email capture: The first step for the Robinsons will be to purchase a WiFi system that captures guests' email addresses when they log on to use the internet during their stay.

Airbnb prohibits hosts from giving guests who book via Airbnb a direct-booking link, and bans moving conversations off the platform or embedding any links in instruction manuals. 

The WiFi-capture plan, which the Robinsons said is common in the industry, will circumvent the policy. They can use the email addresses captured to follow up with guests after a successful stay through Airbnb and offer them the chance to book directly the next time for a slight discount.

Influencer marketing: The Robinsons plan to offer influencers a free night's stay in exchange for social-media posts about their experiences that include the direct-booking link. In their YouTube video about quitting Airbnb, Sara said she briefly worked for the fast-fashion brand FashionNova and saw the engagement power of micro influencers, or people with under 50,000 followers, who posted photos and videos of the clothes. The Robinsons hope to replicate that success with travel influencers showing off their properties. 

Paid social-media advertising: The Robinsons will pay for advertisements on Instagram, Facebook, and Google that lead to their direct-booking website. The ability to "scale" this advertising is important to the couple, as it gives them the ability to "ramp up" advertising during slower times of the year, they said in their video. 
The exterior of a Joshua Tree, California, rental property that the Robinsons own.


New Instagram profiles: The couple plans on setting up a separate Instagram just to show off picturesque scenes of their rental properties. They'll post snapshots of interiors and the surrounding areas and tag local landmarks, shops, and restaurants. The account bio and other places within it would prominently feature the direct-booking link.

More YouTube channels: The Robinsons want to create additional YouTube accounts with content showing off activities in the local markets for their properties. The Robinsons said that because YouTube is a "searchable" platform, they can connect with users who might be typing in, for example, "things to do in Joshua Tree."

Blogs: The Robinsons said that because blog posts are also "searchable," they can direct internet users to their direct-booking site. Posts themed around "vegan restaurants" or "sunset hikes" could bring in future visitors searching for those topics.

Every short-term-rental host in the market could easily replicate these strategies, they said.

"Any business today is going to benefit from having some kind of presence on social media," Tony said. 

But the couple said it might be difficult for newbies to bypass Vrbo and Airbnb completely. 

The Robinsons said they have an advantage in driving traffic to their direct-booking website because of their already large social-media following. 

The couple said it would be "pretty difficult" for a newer host to get a "decently filled calendar right off the bat without using something like Airbnb and Vrbo." 

But they emphasized that any host could implement their steps at the very start. Hosts can "start thinking even earlier in their journey" about building a "platform you own yourself."

Newsletter

Related Articles

TechDigits
0:00
0:00
Close
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The future of sports
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Poor Man With Money, Mark Zuckerberg, Unveils Twitter Replica with Heavy-Handed Censorship: A New Low in Innovation?
The Double-Edged Sword of AI: AI is linked to layoffs in industry that created it
US Sanctions on China's Chip Industry Backfire, Prompting Self-Inflicted Blowback
Meta Copy Twitter with New App, Threads
BlackRock Bitcoin ETF Application Refiled, Naming Coinbase as ‘Surveillance-Sharing’ Partner
UK Crypto and Stablecoin Regulations Become Law as Royal Assent is Granted
A Delaware city wants to let businesses vote in its elections
Alef Aeronautics Achieves Historic Milestone with Flight Certification for World's First Flying Car
Google Blocked Access to Canadian News in Response to New Legislation
French Politicians Advocate for Pan-European Regulation on Social Media Influencers
Melinda French Gates Advocates for Increased Female Representation in AI to Prevent Bias
Snapchat+ gains 4 million paying subscribers in its first year
Apple Makes History as the First Public Company Valued at $3 Trillion
Elon Musk Implements Twitter Limits to Tackle Data Scraping, but Faces Criticism for Technical Misunderstanding
EU and UK's Slow Electric Vehicle Adoption Raises Questions About the Transition to Green Mobility
Top Companies Express Concerns Over Europe's Proposed AI Law, Citing Competitiveness and Investment Risks
Meta Unveils Insights on AI Usage in Facebook and Instagram, Amid Growing Calls for Transparency
Crypto Scams Against Seniors Soar by 78% in 2022, Experts Urge Vigilance
The End of an Era: National Geographic Dismisses Last of Its Staff Writers
Shield Your Wallet: The Perils of Wireless Credit Card Theft
Harvard Scientist Who Studies Honesty Accused Of Data Fraud, Put On Leave
Putting an End to the Subscription Snare: The Battle Against Unwitting Commitments
The Legal Perils of AI: Lawyer Faces Sanctions for Relying on Fictional Cases Generated by Chatbot
ChatGPT’s "Grandma Exploit": Ingenious Hack Exposes Loophole in AI, Generates Free Software Codes
The Disney Downturn: A Near Billion-Dollar Box Office Blow for the House of Mouse
A Digital Showdown: Canada Challenges Tech Giants with The Online News Act, Meta Strikes Back
Distress in the Depths: Submersible and Passengers Missing in Titanic Wreckage Expedition
Mark Zuckerberg stealing another idea: Twitter
European Union's AI Regulations Risk Self-Sabotage, Cautions smart and brave Venture Capitalist Joe Lonsdale
Nvidia GPUs are so hard to get that rich venture capitalists are buying them for the startups they invest in
Chinese car exports surge
Reddit Blackout: Thousands of Communities Protest "Ludicrous" Pricing Changes
Nvidia Joins Tech Giants as First Chipmaker to Reach $1 Trillion Valuation
AI ‘extinction’ should be same priority as nuclear war – experts
×