The best Airbnb rental owners didn’t just wake up one morning, knowing exactly what they needed to know to make a killing in the industry. They did their homework! Whether it was through doing internet research, learning from mentors, or the tried and true method of learning by doing, it took time and education for successful Airbnb owners to get to where they are today.
But luckily, you’ve got the team at Futurestay. As short-term rental owners ourselves, we’ve compiled a list of the tips that we wish we had had when we were first entering the industry, or even when we already had a foot in the door, but were looking to improve and grow our businesses! Keep reading for our favorite short-term rental business advice.
The listing is the first interaction that a prospective guest has with your property. And at this point in the process, they’re just one click away from having those same interactions with your competition. That’s why it’s critical to optimize your profile in excruciating detail, to ensure that people choose your property over any other properties on the market.
First impressions matter in a variety of contexts, and renting your property on Airbnb is no exception to the rule. Guests only know what they can learn from your profile, and they are bound to look at your pictures before they look at everything else.
That’s why it’s important to begin by ensuring your listing is visually pleasing. First, you’ll want to arrange pictures of your listing in the order that a guest would encounter when walking through your home in real life. Show them the exterior, the entryway, the common areas, the bedroom, and then any additional spaces, like a laundry room or a backyard, at the end of your listing. You can’t go wrong with extra photos, which is why we recommend working hard to add at least twenty, but possibly more, to your listing.
The most important of all of your photos is the cover photo, as it’s one of the major factors that determine whether or not a guest clicks on your listing. Consider a high-quality, wide-angle lens to capture more of your property in a single frame. The more time you spend on creating beautiful, eye-catching photos, the more bookings you stand to gain in the future, so don’t just point and click.
Once you’ve curated your photographs, it’s time to think about your description. What sets your property apart? This is your chance to highlight all of the important things about your property that make it rental-worthy. You’ll want to list out features in the photos, as well as features that you may not be able to capture visually. This is one of the few places where you have complete freedom to communicate what makes your home special!
From there, summarize your writing into the best elevator pitch you can. That’s your title. It should be ten words or less, with as much value as you can cram in. A simple formula for creating your listing title is [Adjective] [Home Type] | [Home Amenity], [Location Amenity].
How does this work? Let’s say you have a modern condo in a major city with beautiful glass windows and a view of downtown Seattle. Your title might be “Modern Condo | Gorgeous City Views, Near Space Needle.” See what we mean? This title shows all prospective guests the value of your property up front and helps make sure you have an edge against your competition. On the other hand, a completely opposite listing title could look like “Rustin Cabin | River Views, Walking Distance to Fishing.”
Some other protips for creating a great first impression when building your listing? Consider offering yourself a brand presence, and a more professional feel to your guests by watermarking your photos with a simple brand logo. (If you’re not ready to spend the money on a branding professional, there are services like Logo.com that will help you create simple logos at a low cost).
Finally, don’t be afraid to brag! Highlight your reviews in as many places as you can! Did someone talk about how insanely comfortable the bed in your master bedroom is? Reference it in the photo description. “Bedroom 1 | Master Bedroom | In Michelle’s review, she called it, [x]!”
As much as you want to tell people that your property is the absolute best on the market, it’s important to remain somewhat objective. Nothing will tank your reviews more quickly than promising guests the world and having them show up to something that looks or feels completely different.
Along with mentioning what is present in your property, be mindful of what isn’t. Are you located on the fifth floor with no elevator in sight? You probably want to let your guests know to anticipate that in advance. Is parking incredibly hard to come by? Plan for that and communicate the plan to your guests.
When the price is right, guests are willing to make compromises on various amenities throughout their stay, but if they don’t know what they are compromising on, you’re risking damage to your relationship from the moment they arrive at your property. Setting expectations with your guests ensures that there are no surprises when your guests walk through your doors.
Pricing is not a one-and-done deal. You don’t just determine one ideal pricing and move forward with that for the rest of your time renting a specific property. You have to optimize your pricing based on market trends and seasonality, to boost your occupancy rate.
The short version? You’ll want to do some serious homework on the rentals in your area. What are their occupancy rates and their prices compared to yours? What price do you need to set to beat the competition? During low times, you’ll want the best price on the market, to ensure that your property is the one that guests select. However, if there is a busy time for your area where properties tend to get sold out, you may be able to up your pricing to ensure that you maximize your potential revenue.
The long version? Check out our article on dynamic pricing.
No matter how hands-on you want to be with your rental properties, you are only one person, with two hands and twenty-four hours in the day. Maybe that’s enough for just one property, but your goal is to grow your business and build more freedom for yourself and your family in the process. You don’t want to wait to learn automation strategies when you’re juggling multiple properties and an inch away from heading underwater. You want a strategy that saves time for you now, and will grow with your business as you expand.
Increase your efficiency by automating a few key processes. One quick way to begin the automation process is to get smart locks. You’ll have peace of mind knowing you can access the locks on your property at any given time, and it’ll save you from having to teach guests how to open lock boxes over the phone.
Additionally, consider your responses to guests interested in your listing. The more properties you have, the more emails you’ll be getting in your inbox. Create some templates that will help you address frequently asked questions, so that you don’t have to type the same answer to the same response each and every time you get asked. In fact, with Airbnb, you can deposit these messages straight into your inbox in order to reduce reply time and answer questions as quickly and efficiently as possible. Why worry about reducing your response time? It’s one of the requirements for Airbnb Superhost status, which can raise your bookings by almost 25%.
In 2022, consumers are savvy. They’re looking for brands they can trust, and that extends to you, their Airbnb host. Your profile is an important way for potential guests to get to know you while deciding whether to book your space. The more filled out your profile, the more reassured your guests can be that you are a real person who will welcome them into an authentic space.
How do you create a trustworthy profile? Begin with your profile description. You’ll need a minimum of fifty words. Don’t be afraid to get creative here! What makes you stand out from other hosts? What are you interested in that might help guests feel more connected to you and your space? Finally, add a profile picture to reassure interested guests that you are a real person, who they can feel safe with.
Okay, so now you’ve got someone in the door. Or at least, mostly there. They’ve selected your property over anything else out there on the market. But now it’s your job to optimize their experience, for a variety of reasons.
First, you want your guests happy enough to leave you a positive review to help you solicit other guests to book your property. Then, you hope that the guest loves your property so much that they tell their friends to book your property.
Best of all, you hope the guest leaves your property a repeat customer, and you know you’ve got a conscientious renter booking the same week every year. A dozen of those and you’ve got your property booked out to the same folks for more than a quarter of the year with no advertising required on your part.
So what can you do to make this a reality? We’ve got you covered. Keep reading to find out how.
Your guest got off the plane, wrangled their luggage into an Uber, made it to your property, and then they’re stuck fishing for your phone number to figure out how to get into your house. Not exactly the tone that you want to set for the visit. Let us tell you from experience, once your guest has had a tough time with their booking, it can be hard to win them back before their visit ends.
For that reason, you have to make the check-in process as simple as possible. Consider investing in smart locks or keypad door knobs to allow your guests to check in independently of you. This way you aren’t stuck waiting on them, and they aren’t stuck waiting on you.
Furthermore, don’t rely on the platform. While Airbnb is comprehensive and offers your guests the information they need to be successful, take it one step further. Automate a welcome email to your guests a day before they arrive–include everything they need to know about how to get into the property, what information they need upon arrival about security systems or thermostats, and anything else they need to get comfortable right away.
Airbnb allows hosts to create an online guidebook, which is a huge bonus. However, it’s always a good idea to have a manual on the property as well. This way, guests can access information at all times.
Try to avoid language about what your guests cannot do on your property, and keep your cleaning and checkout expectations reasonable. Emphasize the great things about your property. Do you have extras, like games or outdoor equipment available for guest use? Make those amenities front and center.
Everybody feels more welcome when they’re given touchpoints by an actual human, rather than just a website. Some hosts add handwritten notes or include groceries from local stores to welcome their guests. Looking to add a homey touch without breaking the bank? Set out a water jug with glasses on the counter, with a quick note welcoming them to your home. That quick touch of convenience displays a level of thoughtfulness, and costs little more than a one-time investment in a pitcher and cups.
Look, put plainly, most people are not checking into an Airbnb to find a new best friend. However, many guests appreciate the local insights offered by a thoughtful host. Even a post-check-in email with recommendations of local restaurants and a warm message can go a long way toward improving your guest experience.
Do your best to store relevant information about your guests, like emails, birthdays, and anniversaries, so that you can trigger automated emails wishing them well on specific events. These points of communication will make your guest feel like there is a real person behind the screen, who really cares about whether or not they have a successful vacation. That’s the kind of feeling that earns you good reviews and repeat guests.
There are a million small things that you can do to ensure that your guests have a simple time staying in your home. The first thing we recommend is streamlining the items in your home and organizing all of it, to ensure that guests can find things in reasonable places. Nobody is going to think to look in the laundry room for towels. Put them in the bathroom. Put cleaning supplies under the sink. This is not the moment to be creative–place things where they can be easily found by guests, to ensure they have ease of access throughout their stay.
One of our favorite tips that we’ve learned along the way is to leave labels throughout your Airbnb property. Everybody knows the struggle of trying to turn on a shower that isn’t theirs. Impress your guests with a quick information card left near the shower, letting them know exactly how all of those knobs work. Label appliances, light switches, and more to ensure that guests know exactly how to use your home. Your guests will love the convenience factor, and you’ll love not having to answer thirty texts a month about how to use your thermostat.
There are a thousand things in the world that you can do to make your stay more accommodating for your guests, but at the end of the day, that’s a heavy weight to carry on your own shoulders. You deserve a team of experts who are dedicated to helping you maximize your revenue and spending less time doing it.
That’s why we created Futurestay. As rental entrepreneurs ourselves, we know what it’s like to start an Airbnb business, full of hope for your prospective new revenue stream, and then be stuck with what feels like a second full-time job. With software like Futurestay, you can optimize your listing across platforms, to save yourself time, and you can gain insights into what matters most for your guests, ensuring a positive experience, good reviews, and increased revenue for your business.