Whether you’re dreaming about becoming an Airbnb host or you’ve been in the game for a bit, these tips will help you build the foundation for your business, inspire your marketing strategy, and provide some insider wisdom.
Let’s get started!
It’s becoming increasingly important for vacation rental owners and property managers to be strategic in choosing a short-term rental property, providing an exceptional guest experience, attracting positive reviews, and implementing dynamic pricing on the right marketing platforms, as the inventory of short-term rentals continues to grow.
Don’t get overwhelmed, though. Whether you’re a first-time owner or looking to step up your game in 2022, we’ve got you covered with these tried and true hosting tips.
Get to know the neighborhood
Having the right location doesn’t mean you’ll need to purchase your rental property in New York City or near a beach, but it does mean you’ll need to research the neighborhood. When choosing where to purchase your property, you’ll need to find out what demographic the neighborhood invites and if the property you’re interested in can meet a specific need and stand out from others in the area.
To find the perfect spot, here are our top 3 tips:
#1 Check the local laws and regulations
Verify that the laws in your desired area are conducive to running a profitable business and what you need to do if you wish to own and operate a vacation rental in the area. Understanding the local laws and regulations will help you to avoid future headaches and ensure you’re running your business above board to avoid any fines or fees.
#2 Check out the competition
To effectively research the competition in your desired area, we recommend using a site like AirDNA offering real-time vacation rental research. Here you can see all the competing Airbnb listings, along with their pricing, amenities, and reviews.
#3 Look for an opportunity to stand out
Once you’ve done your market research, you can begin to see elements that would make your property stand out. Would you be the only home with a pool? Are there pet-friendly short-term rentals? Use this information to determine who your ideal guest would be, what amenities you should offer, and how to best market your business.
After you’ve chosen your location and determined what makes you unique from your competitors, it’s time to start planning your marketing strategy. Here are a few tips to get you started booking reservations as soon as possible.
Read reviews of similar listings
A similar listing’s positive and negative reviews offer insight into what your competitors’ guests loved about that specific property. Reading through the reviews, you’re likely to see trends, such as multiple people stating how much they loved the mattress, the back deck, or how well-stocked the kitchen was. These insights indicate where to put your money and how to best impress future guests.
Do not forget curb appeal
Your mom was right…you never get a second chance to make a first impression, and this couldn’t be any more true than in the short-term rental industry. From the moment your guests arrive, you’ll want to provide them with a sense of safety and quality. If your property is unkept, they’ll begin to make assumptions about the inside of your home and how much care and attention is paid to the business, which could leave a bad taste in their mouth, resulting in negative reviews. To ensure you make a strong first impression, the grounds should be kept neat, the front porch swept, and any other outdoor maintenance and thoughtful touches taken care of.
Create “insta-worthy” spaces
It’s no secret that your potential guests are probably spending time on Instagram, Tik Tok, Snapchat, and Facebook. Most guests like to share pictures of their vacations online so their friends and family back home can see what they’re doing. We suggest leaning into that and setting up a space so photogenic that guests will want to take selfies and tag your location. This strategy can not only attract groups like bachelorettes to book a stay with you but also offers you free advertising. It’s a win/win!
Bonus tip: create a property-specific hashtag and advertise it to your guests so you can repost their social media posts and encourage guests to share your space with their online following.
Tips for optimizing your listing
Once you’ve got your online and offline marketing nailed down, the next thing you need to do is create your Airbnb listing. Here are a few of our top tips for optimizing your listing so that you not only meet the Airbnb algorithm requirements but also capture your ideal renters’ attention.
Pick a name for your property
Not everyone chooses a name for their property, but it’s an important factor in your branding and helps you to become memorable on the Airbnb, Vrbo, and Booking.com platforms. A few reasons why a name is so essential is that it makes it easier for guests to look you up online, refer you to their friends and family, as well as for creating a branded website if you wish to book guests through your own direct booking site.
Use professional photography
You can have the most beautifully written description, but renters will pass you by if the photography doesn’t shine. Research has shown that potential guests will perceive your property as low quality if your photos are deemed low-quality. Ouch!
Bonus Tip: When you book a photographer, ask if you can also have some lifestyle shots. That way, you’ll have a head start on content for your social media accounts.
Show don’t tell
When writing your listing, you’ll want to take the time to be descriptive and help your guests to get a sense of what it’s like to stay at your property. To do this effectively, it’ll help to have an understanding of who you’re ideal renters are and write your listing in a way that meets their wants and needs.
For instance, if you have a large family home that can accommodate multi-generational families, you could highlight that you have a spacious kitchen with plenty of seating, or you could say….”This home has a dreamy large family kitchen with tons of room for the family to sit around the dinner table and pass down stories the kids will never forget.”
See the difference? In one case, the amenities are merely stated, while in the other, the guest can imagine themselves enjoying your space. Whenever you can we recommend creating stories and appealing to the emotions of your potential guests.
Be clear and concise with your house rules & any disclaimers
When it comes to vacation rentals, honesty is always the best policy. No one likes surprises on vacation (unless it’s a complimentary welcome basket). For that reason, it’s crucial that you first and foremost list any quirks or issues your property has that could affect your guest’s experience.
For example, if there are tenants that live on the property with a large dog, you may want to divulge that, or perhaps you have creaky floors in your 1870’s Italianate townhome, it’s better to disclose that information than to have someone post a bad review to make you aware of their displeasure.
Become an Airbnb Superhost
A superhost is defined by Airbnb as a top-performing host and is granted a badge displayed on their listing to show potential guests that they have Airbnb’s stamp of approval.
The requirements to become an Airbnb Supehost are a)excellent customer service, b)reviews and frequency of bookings.
Here are some tips to help you reach superhost status
- Maintain a high response rate. We recommend using property management software or automated responses, so you don’t miss or respond late to inquiries and questions.
- Go the extra mile to create memorable guest experiences. It’s the little things that people will remember, so taking the time to leave a bottle of wine and stocking the home with high-end shampoo and conditioner can go a long way.
- Don’t skimp out on the toilet paper….no one likes running out.
- Allow for instant booking. There are mixed feelings on this one because many hosts like to have greater control over making a reservation than the instant booking setting affords, but Airbnb prioritizes convenience for their clients, and using this feature will make their algorithm kinder to you in their search results.
- Ensure you offer all the basic amenities like blazing fast wifi, linens, and toiletries. Then go above and beyond with items such as a high chair and crib if you’re family-friendly, a beach cart with beach toys, and a cooler if you’re close to the beach. Items like these will go a long way in helping potential guests make their decision and assist them in having a fantastic stay.
- Ensure the implementation of strict cleaning protocols and stay on top of them. If you’re hosting as a side hustle or from afar and don’t have time to stop in during turnovers, be sure to hire a team of professionals that take their reputation and yours seriously.
Insider tips you may not have considered
Use dynamic pricing
When it comes to pricing, using a “set it and forget it” strategy could mean leaving a lot of money on the table. Implementing a dynamic pricing strategy means looking at the market’s current state and pricing accordingly. Perhaps you have a festival in your area; if so, that could mean that you can set your prices higher to meet demand or if there’s a slow month, you can look at comparables and lower your rate a bit to stay competitive. If that sounds like a lot of work, there is dynamic pricing software you can use to automate these pricing adjustments and alleviate the time it takes to monitor the current short-term rental situation in your area.
Consider rental arbitrage
Nervous about taking on a mortgage or purchasing a property but really want to launch out into the vacation rental business? Then following a rental arbitrage model could be the right route for you. Rental arbitrage means working with a landlord to lease a property that you then post on Airbnb as a short-term rental. This can be a great way to test a market and shoulder some of the expenses of maintaining the property with the landlord.
Vet potential guests
Have you considered the importance of vetting your guests? Running a simple background check can assist you in avoiding fraud, renting to an underage guest, or individuals that could pose a risk to your property. To do this easily, there are online software companies now offering this service. But, if you’d prefer to screen guests on your own, a couple of policies or house rules we suggest implementing are a strict limit on house guests and requiring a significant security deposit. These two simple policies can go a long way in deterring guests looking for a place to party.
Use a noise detector
Noise is the single biggest complaint from neighbors of short-term rentals. Using noise detectors helps property managers and homeowners monitor the noise level at their property without invading their guests’ privacy and causing problems for their neighbors. These devices allow you to set a noise threshold, and if your guests reach that level, it will notify you by text, allowing you to take action swiftly. Another cool feature that can be set up is having the noise detector directly text your guests. Using this feature can eliminate the necessity of reaching out to the guest, requesting that they keep it down – helping you avoid an awkward conversation and empowering them to police themselves.
Flexible check-in and check-out times
Being flexible is always a good model for hospitality, and that rings true when it comes to check-in and check-out times. It can mean the difference between receiving a positive review, referrals, and repeat bookings. Nevertheless, it is important to clarify what time the guests will arrive and leave when discussing their early check-in or late check-out so you still have time for a proper turnaround cleaning before your next reservation.
Use these tips to help you skyrocket your bookings and level up your hosting skills
A recent study by Alltherooms found that the average US Airbnb host earned $44,235 per year in 2021. Creating a lucrative side hustle or career from hosting is more than possible with these tips and a targeted marketing approach. All it takes is the right research, the right marketing strategy, and automating what you can to help you scale.
Bonus Tip: For more tips on hosting, check out our Airbnb Host Checklist