10 Tips for Becoming a More Efficient and Effective Airbnb Host
This week’s blog post comes courtesy of Evian Gutman. Evian is the Founder & CEO of Padlifter – the one-stop-shop for getting found more often, winning more bookings and making more money on Airbnb. He is the author of the best-selling book ‘The Definitive Step-by-Step Guide to Making Money on Airbnb’ and is an Airbnb Superhost that has hosted over 500 guests.
Airbnb hosts come in all shapes and sizes. Some offer premium listings to high-end customers in high-traffic locations. Others offer a spare room to budget travellers on the outskirts of the city. Some hosts manage multiple properties and have open calendars 365 days of the year. Other hosts Airbnb their apartments on the occasional weekend they decide to visit relatives out of town.
It therefore becomes challenging to identify the universally-relevant best practice tips for getting found more often, winning more bookings and making more money on Airbnb.
Nonetheless, there remain some common principles and ‘low-hanging fruit’ that every host is able to consider in their quest to increase efficiency and profitability on Airbnb…
1. Ensure compliance with laws, regulations, rules and permissions
It’s important for you to understand how the laws work in your city. Understand any business licences or special permits you need to get, as well as any building standards, zoning rules or special taxes you need to comply with. You can normally find these out by contacting your city, county or local government. There may be prohibitions in contracts or special rules for public housing, and you may also want to seek permission from landlords, roommates and neighbours. Doing your due diligence around compliance and remaining considerate and respectful to those impacted by your hosting will be an investment in mitigating any hiccups on the pathway to your Airbnb success.
2. Stock your home with hosting essentials
Despite differences in homes and hosting practices, every Airbnb should be stocked with the essentials that enhance a guest’s trip, result in lower guest maintenance, and inevitably lead to better reviews and additional bookings. Take a moment to consider your target guests and the things that they would expect and appreciate most. When purchasing essentials for your Airbnb, find items that satisfy the home furnishing principles of price, functionality, quality, durability, replace-ability and neutrality.
3. Protect your property
Property damage is rare, but nonetheless still occurs on occasion. Your best protection is preventing it from happening in the first place. Implement appropriate house rules, learn how to strategically screen guests and utilise booking settings that eliminate undesirable traveller types. For ‘after-the-fact’ damage, add a security deposit to your listing and understand the strict claim submission requirements of the $1M Airbnb Host Guarantee prior to a time that you need to rely on it.
4. Optimise your listing
Invest in professional photography of your home. Professional photos are the new norm, and in the absence of these, guests won’t even make it to the best listing descriptions in the world. When it comes to describing your place, make sure that you complete all available sections of your listing that allow you to showcase the best of your home, hosting style and local neighbourhood. Use headings and bullet points for simplicity and allow your personality and passion to jump off the text too.
5. Move away from one-size-fits-all pricing
Start by researching your local competition. Understand how many comparable listings you are competing against in your local area and get a feel for how much they charge at different times of the year. Adjust your pricing to reflect variance in supply and demand throughout the different months, as well as your tenure and experience as a credible host with (or without) a long list of good reviews.
6. Implement a minimum stay requirement
Your time and standard turnover expenses make receiving more bookings of shorter duration less profitable and efficient than receiving less bookings of longer duration. So long as your minimum stay requirement remains reasonable (like two or three nights), you have more to gain from increased profitability than you have to lose from a potentially lower occupancy rate.
7. Communicate appropriately before, throughout and after the stay
Upon receiving a booking, send through information to your guests that will assist with their check-in, provide them with important information about your home and the neighbourhood, and get them generally excited for staying at your place. Throughout their stay, periodically check in on how things are going, and extinguish any issues or problems long before they escalate. After their trip, thank them for staying, and kindly request that they complete the review process and emphasise any of the things they particularly enjoyed about their stay.
8. Ensure a seamless and problem-free check-in
It is not always practical or desirable for you or a co-host to be physically present at check-in. Nonetheless, you want to guarantee that guests receive their keys and can seamlessly gain entry to your home without inconveniencing themselves. Hosts should consider options like key exchange services, which utilise a network of local shops and automated lockers that act as key handover points for your guests. These will reduce the overheads that come with meeting your guests in person, provide comfort to your guests around the check-in process, and likely lead to better reviews and additional bookings.
9. Create a House Manual and Guidebook
Many hosts get inundated with questions from their guests around their home, their trip or their local neighbourhood. The good news is that more often than not, these questions are the same. With the help of house manuals and guidebooks, you’re able to provide useful explanations and advice for the questions or issues most commonly encountered. Build them once, yet reuse every time to the great satisfaction and appreciation of future guests.
10. Don’t overcharge with your cleaning fee
Your cleaning fee has the potential to represent a significant chunk of the total trip cost – especially for guests booking shorter stays. Make sure that you are not perceived as price gouging to guests that are deciding where they wish to book. Doing so might make you the occasional quick extra buck, but will cost you money in the long-run through the lost bookings you don’t receive as a consequence of inflated cleaning fees that put off guests from booking in the first place.
As a final word of advice, don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed by the enormity of the Airbnb hosting experience. Understand that the practice of becoming an efficient and effective host is exactly that… practice! As long as you set out with the best of intentions and course-correct to reflect any lessons learnt along your hosting journey, you will very shortly level-up to become a productive and profitable Airbnb hosting pro.