If you’re on the fence about just how lucrative today’s sharing economy can be, look no further than Airbnb for evidence of its profitability. The company is celebrating their 10th anniversary this year. In that short time, the company has experienced a meteoric rise, and a valuation north of $30 billion dollars, making Airbnb the most profitable start-up company outside of Uber.
While this is excellent news for the company’s founders, each of whom is worth well over a billion dollars as a result of Airbnb’s popularity, it’s also great news for the 600,000+ hosts with listings on the website.
For these hosts, Airbnb represents a fantastic opportunity to turn unused space into a lucrative source of income. However, it’s important to remember that being a host on Airbnb isn’t quite as simple as creating a listing and handing off the keys. Running your own Airbnb rental is a business, and like all businesses, it requires time and effort to be successful.
Today, we’ll take a closer look at some of the best practices when it comes time to manage an Airbnb rental so that you can implement them into your own Airbnb business and start reaping the rewards of being a host.
Tips for Managing Your Guest’s Experience
The most important part of effectively managing an Airbnb rental is your guest’s experience. Happy guests who enjoy their stay are going to be the lifeblood of your success on Airbnb.
By efficiently managing their experience, you’ll accumulate more positive reviews, which will undoubtedly lead to more rentals and more money in your pocket. Read on for our top tips on how you can improve your guest’s experience from start to finish.
First Impressions Are Everything
When it comes to an Airbnb property, the photos on your listing are your opportunity to make a good impression. Quality photos can make all the difference between a property that people are dying to rent and a property that gets overlooked.
Good photos have become particularly important recently, as the number of properties available has continued to grow. These days, it seems like everyone has amazing pictures on their listing. Considering how critical quality photos are to a busy Airbnb property, it’s worth investing the time and energy in putting your best foot forward.
Those who have no photography experience may wish to go shopping for a professional photographer. While professional photos of your home can run you several hundred dollars, this small investment will pay off in the form of increased bookings.
It can also be helpful to stage your photographs a bit to help set the scene for potential guests who are viewing the pictures. If your property has a beautiful backyard and patio, why not add a bottle of wine and some snacks for your photo to get the gears turning in your guest’s head? Make sure photographs of the bedroom look immaculate, with a beautifully made bed. Do your best to clearly highlight all of your available amenities in your photos as well.
By the same token, you don’t have to go overboard. Aim for somewhere around 8-10 photos of the space. Feel free to also add additional pictures of attractions or activities that are popular in the area.
Sell the Experience
For most travelers, the primary draw of booking an Airbnb is an authentic experience that can’t be had at a hotel. Initially, Airbnb’s slogan was “live like a local,” and that mantra is still one of the primary reasons that travelers use the service.
Any hotel in the area can provide travelers with the lodging they need. But, will you be able to enjoy an authentic experience when vacationing in a new place if you’re confined to a hotel room? It’s doubtful.
To play to the fact that travelers are looking to enjoy an authentic experience in the area, focus your listing on the experiences your guests can have, instead of the simple facts of the property.
For example, let’s say you’re renting a beach house and you have a few beach cruisers in the garage that guests are welcome to use. Don’t merely say “two beach cruisers available for use.” Instead, highlight the experience of using the beach cruisers with something like “cruise the pristine coastline and take in the sights and sounds of the ocean on our complimentary beach cruisers.”
This type of language immediately gets the gears turning in the guest’s head and makes your rental much more appealing.
Be as Responsive as Possible
One area where hotels have a clear advantage over Airbnb is the booking experience. Travelers can book a hotel room with a few clicks of their mouse, in a minute or less. With Airbnb, not every listing allows for instant booking, and there’s some degree of back and forth between hosts and travelers before a trip can be booked.
Do your best to limit any friction during the booking process by being as pleasant and timely in your responses as humanly possible. The best hosts on Airbnb make it their mission to respond to potential guests as quickly as possible. This makes it easier for guests to book, and immediately gets the experience started off on the right foot.
The Welcome Binder
Providing a welcome binder for guests is a great way to proactively offer your guests with all of the information they’re likely to need during their trip. Most importantly, it can significantly reduce the amount of contact you’ll need to have with your guests, which can be frustrating for both the host as well as your travelers.
An excellent welcome binder will have information about the amenities in the home, suggestions for activities and restaurants in the area, check-in and check-out procedures, troubleshooting tips and emergency information should the guest need to contact the host or the local authorities.
Plus, a welcome binder is an opportunity to add another personal touch to the property, and further increases the likelihood that your guests are going to have an enjoyable experience when staying with you.
Become a Minimalist
When it comes to renting your home on Airbnb, clutter is the enemy. Of course, you’ll want to leave your place stocked with the necessities that your guests are sure to need. But, beyond those basics, it’s best to keep your place as minimal as possible when you’re renting it to guests.
First, less clutter means your place is going to look more appealing and be easier for guests to navigate, which goes a long way when it’s time for them to review their stay. Plus, it’s going to make it much easier for your cleaning service to turn your place over for your next guests.
Have Two of Everything
Murphy’s Law certainly applies when it comes to renting your place. At some point, anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Try and plan for everything. Make sure there are extra blankets, pillows, and sheets available. Most importantly, be sure there’s enough toilet paper!
As a host, you’ll be able to eliminate many of the headaches you’re likely to encounter by having plenty of the things your guests may need, and having a plan in place to help them troubleshoot any issue they may face when staying with you.
Add a Personal Touch
This can be more difficult for hosts that operate remotely, but whenever it’s possible, a small personal touch can go a long way.
Many successful hosts get in the habit of offering a small gift to their guests. If your place is a popular destination for couples, consider leaving an affordable bottle of wine for your guests. If you live somewhere that’s famous for a particular delicacy, consider leaving one for your guests to welcome them to the neighborhood.
Your personal touch could be as simple as a quick note welcoming them to your place. You certainly don’t have to go crazy, but any little touch you’re able to add is going to lead to happier guests and more glowing reviews.
Try and Think of Everything
It’s important that your place is well stocked with the necessities your guests are sure to need. Beyond the basics that people have come to expect, there’s plenty of other things you can add to ensure your guests have the most enjoyable experience possible.
You’re certainly not on the hook to provide guests with food and drinks, but it can be beneficial to keep your place well stocked with things like condiments, seasonings, and any utensils and accessories they may need when cooking.
Providing entertainment options can also go a long way. The weather isn’t always going to cooperate, and some of your guests may end up spending more time indoors than they intended to. For these occasions, stocking your place with things like books, magazines, games, and puzzles are all opportunities to improve your guest’s experience. Of course, a Netflix or Hulu subscription for the TV doesn’t hurt either.
Tips to Help You Manage an Airbnb More Effectively
To ensure a memorable experience for your guests, there’s plenty of behind the scenes work for the host to take care of. These tips are all useful ways you can make managing your Airbnb property as smooth as possible.
Understand Your Market
One mistake that many first time hosts can make is pricing themselves ineffectively for their market. One of the main reasons many guests choose Airbnb is because rentals often provide far more value than a hotel would.
Do your research on similar rentals in your area, and try and price yourself per the market. The right price can dramatically increase the amount of guests your rental receives.
Automate Where You Can
Automation goes a long way to ensuring that both you and your guests have the best experience possible, and it’s a must for hosts who operate remotely. Plus, it’s a nice touch for the guests who are hoping for a hotel-like experience, where there’s as little communication between them and the host or property manager as possible.
Automating different devices in your home comes at a cost, but if you’re serious about managing your Airbnb as efficiently as possible, the investment is well worth it.
One of the most popular automated devices for Airbnb properties is an electronic deadbolt. These locks can be opened with a key, but they can also be opened with a code, which eliminates the need for a key entirely. Plus, you can change the door code in between guests which adds an increased layer of security. Consider an integrated system like RemoteLock, which connects directly to the Airbnb booking system. It makes your life easier and makes a fantastic impression.
Become a Superhost
The Airbnb Superhost program is a rewards system for their best hosts, and there are plenty of significant benefits to the program.
To become a Superhost, you must achieve a high rating from your guests while also being a responsive and reliable host. Airbnb uses the criteria below to determine their Superhosts.
- An overall rating of 4.8 or higher
- A response rate within 24 hours of 90% or higher
- 10 or more bookings per year
- No cancellations unless for extenuating circumstances
Superhosts receive increased exposure in search results, and in Airbnb’s marketing efforts, which leads to more bookings. On average, Superhosts earn 22% more than hosts without the designation.
Airbnb Superhosts are also the first who are eligible for new pilot programs and site features, which is a nice added perk. Airbnb says they’re rolling out additional benefits as well, such as an end of year bonuses and discounts on Nest appliances.
As you’d imagine, this program can significantly accelerate your business and make it easier for you to maximize your money-making potential on the site.
Find A Great Cleaner
This step is especially critical for hosts that are managing their Airbnb property remotely. There’s a strong chance that there are many quality cleaning services in your area that specialize in cleaning vacation rentals.
A quality cleaning service can make the difference between a quality guest experience and a mediocre one. Since so much of your success on Airbnb depends on reputation, the importance of a quality cleaning service can’t be understated, especially for hosts that manage their property remotely.
Open a New Bank Account
The quickest and easiest ways to track your payments and expenses for your rental property is to open a bank account that’s exclusively for Airbnb.
Any experienced host will tell you that if you’re receiving deposits in your regular bank account, it can be easy to lose track of the money that’s coming in and going out concerning your Airbnb rentals. Not only will it be easier for you to handle your accounting, but it may also give you the opportunity to earn cash back on your business expenses.
Outsource Tasks Where Necessary
To be successful with your rental property, providing a high level of service is critical. For many of the hosts on Airbnb, it’s difficult or impossible for them to handle all of the things associated with managing the rental property, which can lead to a less than pleasant experience for the guest.
Not to mention, it can lead to serious frustration for you, especially if you’re managing your property remotely. There’s a laundry list of reasons why a guest may need to contact the host, and if you can’t be available to address their needs, it doesn’t bode well for your rating as a host. In these scenarios, hiring a property manager may make a lot of sense.
Fortunately, there are plenty of online property management companies who offer full-service solutions to eliminate you having to worry about your rental at all. These companies can also manage certain aspects of renting while you take care of others.
These companies specialize in providing an exemplary experience for Airbnb guests, and they allow you to focus on your other obligations away from Airbnb.
Buy in Bulk
For the supplies you need to provide your guests, buying in bulk can be a great way to maximize your profits. This is especially true for busy rental properties that go through supplies more quickly. Consider signing up for a Costco membership if you don’t already have one.
Using a cash back card for your business expenses is an easy way to run a more efficient operation.
Know When To Form a Company
For some hosts, their Airbnb business takes off, and they have an opportunity to make serious money from their rentals. For hosts who are working with a partner or outside investors and those who rent multiple properties may benefit greatly from incorporating themselves.
Incorporation comes with benefits that can be exceptionally valuable. First, there are legal and liability benefits that provide protection and peace of mind. There are also tax benefits that can help you to maximize the profitability of your rental.
Renting on Airbnb can be a rewarding experience and a great way to supplement your income. You’ll want to keep in mind that there’s also plenty of work that goes into being a good host, especially if you manage a busy property. If you’re renting on Airbnb, these tips on how to manage an Airbnb can help you avoid many of the headaches that you’re likely to run into in the short term rental business.