The Simple Way to Handle Multiple Airbnb Accounts

If you are a property management business or an ‘Airbnb entrepreneur’ then chances are you will manage multiple accounts. Having multiple accounts on Airbnb is necessary if you have a large volume of properties as it can and will break the backend of the website. I found this out personally and during a meeting at the Airbnb Singapore office I asked them how to fix such a problem, they told me to split the accounts up so that is what we did.

It wasn’t long before we were managing double digit numbers of accounts. This can be a pain. An enquiry comes in on one and a reservation on the other. With no systems, you would have to log in on the one, then log out and log in on the other. All of this costs time and it does add up so there must be a better way.

Use a PMS I hear you cry!

The property management systems all have their flaws. They are a one size fits all model so it is not personalized to your specific business and you will often find that it doesn’t work as well as the sales person promises you during the demo. These are issues before even mentioning price. Using a PMS when you get into the hundreds or thousands of properties range is simply expensive. You will be spending thousands a month and that is crazy.

One of the most sought after features of a PMS is the multi inbox. This means that you get all the messages from multiple accounts all in one place. Sounds awesome, and it is. You really don’t need to spend so much money to do it though. I’ll be going through the steps of setting up your own in a further blog post shortly.

Sometimes the Site is Needed!

Whilst you can build up systems to handle multiple inboxes. Enquiries, reservations and all that jazz. Some things are needed to be done on the site and having a quick way to get into your different accounts is important. Off the top of my head, some of the things which are a pain to do not from within the platform are the following;

  • Dealing with Airbnb Support. Uploading photos as proof and replying to their messages.
  • Alteration requests. Sending these and responding to them.
  • Checking transaction history of specific accounts. You will be surprised how often Airbnb keep payments in the ‘future transactions’ tab. It is worth checking regularly! I once had over $5,000 held for no reason.

Give Forth Thy Wisdom Already!

Ok, ok. It really is simple. The business I run is very desktop dependent. We work on computers to handle most things and do not do things with our phones that often. We can however switch quickly on the phone. I’ll go into that after!

The main trick though is using software like Wavebox. Wavebox is pretty cool and was initially an email app to handle multiple email inboxes. What you can do with Wavebox is literally set up multiple profiles for different Airbnb accounts. It will keep these accounts logged in as separate entities and you can switch between them seamlessly and super fast. You don’t need to use incognito or anything like that. Just set up the different profiles.

You know what is really cool about Wavebox though? Well, huddle in a little closer. You can have your email on it also or a messaging system such as Slack. If you have an email which gets all the emails for the multiple accounts you operate then you can run things from your inbox. If there is something that needs actioning, you simply right click it, and open in wavebox profile.. choose the account which the email refers to and job done. It will load up a logged in window of that account to the message or action that is needed. Awesome!

Creativity Runs Wild!

When you figure out this stuff and get it working quite well. You might let your creative juices flow a little more. We use an email parser to take care of most of the communications we get from Airbnb. This means we don’t have to deal with hundreds of inbox notifications every day. With the parser, we can extract certain information and send it where we need it to go. We use Slack as our command center. This messaging app is super powerful. We use it for messaging but in reality it is our PMS. Our switch board and all powerful tool.

Sorry about blurring parts of this out… but hey, data protection and all that! So what is going on here? This is a message we get in Slack when it detects we confirm a booking which is less than 7 days away from happening. The guest needs to be send the check in information and we have Slack running in Wavebox which is super convenient. When this message pops up, I simply need to go to the ‘Direct message guest’ button, right click it and open it in the Airbnb account of the booking. It will load up the message conversation with the guest. I then simply copy the message in the box and send it to them. After this I can close the window, and hit the ‘Click when done’ button. Lots of automation is possible with Wavebox, this is just one of the many ways we run our business efficiently.

Let me know how you get on with Wavebox and multiple accounts. Nobody paid me to write this and I just enjoy the tool and it has helped me a ton. It is a hidden secret and works great.

Airbnb Amendment / Alteration Scam

This post is aimed at Airbnb hosts. There are unfortunately ways that guests can use the mechanisms in Airbnb to get out of their reservations penalty free and override all cancelation policies. Unfortunately Airbnb support have not shown any interest in helping out hosts who fall victim to this despite guests clearly showing that they have done this trick for this specific purpose. With that cleared up, let’s get into how this is possible.

What enables the scam?

Put simply, Airbnb introduced a grace period in 2018. The grace period enables guests to cancel a reservation for 48 hours penalty free if the booking starts later than 14 days in the future. The grace period has issues and was not well received by hosts especially those on the strict cancelation policy. It was another policy created at host’s detriment to compete directly with the larger online travel agencies (OTAs).

The issue with the grace period for accommodation is, you can book somewhere, receive all the contact details, address etc from the host and then cancel. Most properties on Airbnb are residential and not hotels like other OTAs. This causes a security threat and a way for unscrupulous characters to gather leads.

Why amendments?

I get it, plans change and sometimes people need to make changes to their trip. This is fine. Airbnb allows both hosts and guests to send amendments for their trip. Both parties have to agree to an amendment to make the date changes confirmed. There are stories about people booking a minimum stay 3 night property and sending amendments for 2 nights, people using amendments and then their card payment failing and the main point of this blog post, people using the amendment feature to reset the grace period and cancel penalty free.

The Airbnb amendment system is broken. If a guest sends an amendment and the host doesn’t want to accept it then you just increase the chances of retaliatory reviews. Airbnb puts such an emphasis on reviews and screws over hosts who might have a legitimate reason for not wanting to accept an amendment. This shouldn’t happen and there should be more protection. Unfortunately Airbnb has grown too fast and you only have to look at their trustpilot page to see what people think of their customer support.

How to prevent this?

It is difficult. People send amendments for a variety of reasons. Some genuine and some amendments are sent with the pure purpose of resetting the grace period so a penalty free cancelation can be made. Airbnb should really step up and build into their systems that once a booking is confirmed there is a 48 hour period. If an amendment is sent, this is not reset. It is lazy development and hosts should never be put in a position of being scammed out of a reservation they have already confirmed.

Some hosts I have spoken to have a blanket no amendment policy and others I have spoken to will verbally confirm the amendment but they will not click the buttons to confirm it on the system. How you handle amendments as a host is up to you. Just be warned, that if someone is asking to make an amendment and the dates are more than 14 days in the future, they may well be doing so just to make a cancel and override your cancelation policy.