These days, there’s a flood of hosting activity going on. As booking sites strike tax and regulation deals with local municipalities and travelers become more keen to this style of travel, the market seems to be getting flooded with an onslaught of new properties almost as fast as new drivers are coming on the road. In fact, Airbnb just launched an initiative in India for 50,0000 new listings to come on board…. WOW!
So, with all of the new properties coming on to Airbnb and the goal of most hosts to make money, it’s increasingly important to make your property stand out. Here are some of our tips on how to do so.
This one seems obvious, especially since Airbnb provides professional photographers to ensure host properties look their best in the listing. But, you’d be surprised just how many hosts still seem to get this one wrong. Cell phone pictures won’t do. Use a wide angle lens, plenty of natural like (open your curtains) and make sure to take those photos during the day. Unless of course, there’s some incredible view from the window or balcony that would serve as an attraction to a potential guest…. Is your listing in the hills overlooking all of downtown LA? Yes? Great… make sure to include that in your photos..
Don’t just upload photos of your place. Try adding other relevant photos too. For example, if your rental is near the beach, a local shopping center or other popular attractions, try including just a few of those as well. Showcasing attractions can really help potential guests get a feeling for where your property is situated, how accessible these attractions are, and it will really build some additional excitement.
Pick a design theme.
If you’re renting a whole house this is really easy. Travelers have all different tastes and while you can’t appeal to everyone, you can certainly pick a design trend that appeals to a select crowd. Mid Century Modern, with clean lines and a generally decluttered space seems to be popular, but if everyone is doing it, try something else. Think about the types of travelers that come to your place and what they seem to gravitate towards. Think about the area you’re in as well. Certainly oak paneling, leather bound chairs and wall to wall carpeting isn’t going to appeal to a young Miami crowd looking to party the nights away and beach beach beach all day. Even if you’re only renting a room and the rest of the house / apartment isn’t decorated in the same way. Think about it from a hospitality mentality. Give your guests something they can look forward too.
Nice pictures / art on the wall will make your space feel more comfortable and not just like an empty shell for people to pass in and out of.
Amenities always win.
Want to stand out and get great reviews…. Simple. Offer them. They don’t have to be extravagant or expensive, but they do have to cover what people need. The more you think about for a guest, the less they have to worry about during their travel and stay. Don’t make people think. Here’s a basic list of amenities I think are great to offer.
- Iron / Ironing Board
- Towels ( & beach towels if you’re near the beach )
- Body Wash
- Hand Soap
- Cell phone chargers
- Alarm Clock
- Laundry pods if your rental has onsite or in unit laundry.
- Coffee. No guest wants to go on a wild goose chase in a strange neighborhood for a “cup-o-joe” when they first wake up.
- Basic cable or some form of streaming entertainment.
- A hair dryer
- dishwasher pods
- Basic seasonings (salt, pepper, etc)
- Silverware and dishes.
- WiFi… How can you not offer it these days?
- A nice guidebook to orient your guests to the area.
Different people have different definitions of this but if you ask me, good communication is really what it’s all about. Being available to answer questions for your guest will make them feel like someone cares about their needs. Be responsive to a guest’s needs. Things aren’t always going to go perfectly. Toilets get clogged, Wifi goes down, guests get locked out. There’s absolutely no way to avoid it. And while a lot of hosts are worried about getting bad reviews because something happened, the reality is that the bad reviews come when the problems aren’t addressed quickly. The last thing a guest wants when they’re traveling is to sit around hoping the hot water will come back sometime in the next couple of days. Do them… and yourself a favor, be friendly, responsive and easy to get a hold of.
Take it a step further… make sure to over communicate up front so the guests know exactly what to expect when they arrive. Tell them (remind them) what amenities you offer so they can pack accordingly.
If you have to ask why providing a clean space is important, you probably shouldn’t be hosting at all. Making sure your guests have peace of mind when entering your space for the first time is critical. I can’t begin to tell you how many times we hear about travelers walking into a dirty apartment where the bed sheets haven’t been changed the bathroom is grimy or there’s dirty dishes in the kitchen… Struggling to keep your place clean consistently? Read our post that offers up a 35 point check list to hit a minimum standard of clean every time!
While all of this is a small investment of time and money, the reality is, is that nothing makes your place stand out better than good reviews. Follow the above rules and you’re sure to get them. The best measure of success is the words of my past guests saying things like “Jeremy really has thought of everything.” Things like coffee and bathroom amenities may be an extra cost but the end result is happy guests, great reviews and more bookings.. In my case, it’s helped me become a super host, which has allowed me to raise my rights and stand out from all of the other hosts. Some guests will only stay with super hosts because they automatically know, they’ll receive a better level of service…..