How to be a successful Airbnb host
The short term rental market has really taken off over the last few years – and that’s largely due to Airbnb. The popularity of the platform has meant that those looking for somewhere to stay have more choice than ever and those with property to rent out can promote it easily.
This same popularity has also meant that the competition for property owners is getting fiercer and it’s becoming increasingly important to stand out from the crowd. In fact, there are now over 2.9 million Airbnb hosts around the world, with 14,000 new ones signing up each month (according to the Airbnb website).
But, with so much competition, how do you ensure your property gets bookings? Here, we share some of our expertise to help you make the most of your Airbnb property, while retaining it’s calibre .
Grab the attention of potential guests
Your property’s listing on Airbnb acts as your shop window. If you don’t catch the attention of potential guests in the first few seconds, or worse still you put them off before they’ve even considered opening your listing, you don’t stand a chance of becoming successful. People will quickly move on to see what else is available in the area and won’t give your property a second thought.
The images you use in your listing are incredibly important. Grainy photos taken in bad lighting are not going to show your property at its best. As the quality of the photos found on Airbnb continues to increase, if you don’t keep up, your listing will get left behind as people’s attention is diverted to the more attractive photos.
It’s worth investing in a professional photographer if you can. To ensure all of the properties we manage in the East Midlands are able to compete at the highest levels, we have a dedicated team of professional architectural photographers who take the photos for our listings.
To attract the attention of people browsing make sure your listing’s title is inviting and sells the property, rather than just simply stating what it is. It’s your opening pitch to potential guests - make it attention-grabbing, informative and fun. For example, stylish modern apartment with river views sounds much more attractive than two bedroom apartment.
Once you have the reader's attention, make sure you keep it and use the opportunity to sell your property to them. Ensure you complete the rest of the fields in the listing as fully as possible, again using descriptive and informative language. Showcase yourself, your property and the surrounding area to the best of your ability – highlighting any distinguishing features. Ask yourself, what makes your property special, why do guests stay in your property over anyone else’s, how do you ensure your guests will be comfortable and what do you do to help them enjoy their stay?
The idea is to give potential guests a clear idea of what staying in your property would be like. Help them imagine themselves there and begin to get excited about their stay.
Be available to answer enquiries
Some guests will only need to know the basics before they book, but others will have a multitude of questions they need answering. Likewise, some guests will get on with their own thing during their stay, while others may reach out for help and support repeatedly. This is the nature of being an Airbnb host and having open, friendly communication channels forms a key part of being a good one.
Communication is especially important if any of your guests have an issue with the property during their stay. If you can’t be on hand at short notice in an emergency, make sure there is someone else who can. Even a burst pipe or heating failure may not lead to a bad review as long as you communicate and respond to the guest quickly and effectively.
Remember that every guest is a potential future revenue stream, and a potential walking (and online!) advertisement for your apartment. When you look at the reviews left on Airbnb it is quite revealing to see how many of them refer to the friendliness or helpfulness of the host. Bear this in mind when dealing with enquiries and your guests. Bad or grumpy customer service will not only ruin your guest’s stay, making them very unlikely to return, they will also go away and tell other people about how bad their experience was too.
Go the extra mile
Much like good customer service, any extra touches that you can provide to make your guests stay special will have a positive impact. Demonstrating that you have thought about their needs, that you care that they enjoy their stay and that you value their custom will go a long way.
Remember, guests have often just arrived in a new place and they may have had a long journey. They won’t know where any shops are and are likely to want to relax for a minute before they have to venture out again.
Being able to get a cup of tea or coffee when they arrive is often greatly appreciated, so make sure you have some available for your guests to help themselves to. And don’t forget the milk!
But, why stop there? You could make them feel valued by providing some biscuits or cake to enjoy with their drink. Or, even provide them with a bottle of wine or welcome gift to enjoy. It doesn’t have to cost you much, but it can make a world of difference to your guest. Plus, a nice surprise like this, means you start to exceed their expectations as soon as they arrive.
To help your guests when they feel ready to explore the surrounding area, why not provide them with some information about what is in the locale. This could include visitor attractions, good places to eat, vibrant shopping areas, or anything that might be of interest nearby - as well as things like where the nearest supermarket or chemist is. We do this by providing all guests with a welcome pack that contains the above, as well as useful instructions about the amenities in their apartment, such as the WiFi and oven.
For those rainy days, you could also provide them with board games, books and movies so they can entertain themselves.
Many landlords are trying to capitalise on this short lettings boom through Airbnb, but not everyone will be successful. It takes time, planning and thought.
If you’d like to make more money from your property, but don’t have the time or the ability to do it to a competitive standard, then let us help. We’ll provide a 100% management service for your serviced accommodation. We operate across the East Midlands and you can utilise our systems, processes and expertise to help you maximise your income while removing your involvement. On average our property owners generate £2500 /month per unit with Prim Short Stays.