Getting your property listed on Airbnb or other OTA channels is all you have to do, correct? After that just sit back and wait for the bookings and profits to flood in! Except getting the listing right is just the beginning, so what are the best Airbnb tips and tricks to really leverage the power of the platform, and ensure that your booking calendar is full?
Airbnb host tips
There’s a strong argument that says every professional should sample their own product every so often. The chef should dine in their restaurant, or hotel staff can spend a night enjoying the same facilities (or lack of them) that guests experience. That way the true quality of what is on offer becomes clear, and small complaints from paying customers can be more readily appreciated.
A dripping tap in the bathroom that’s low on the maintenance to-do list? Try sleeping in the adjacent bedroom for one night, and perhaps you’ll start to appreciate those less than enthusiastic reviews you’ve been getting! The biggest secret of providing great Airbnb experience? Look at your property through the eyes of your guests, and ensure that everything is ‘as it should be.’
Great images, inside and out
Thinking like a guest, what would you be looking for when scanning through places to stay? You’ve probably done this, if you ever stayed in other Airbnbs over the years. What attracted you to one place, and not another? The chances are it was the images which first caught your interest.
Professional-looking pictures quickly inform us whether the property is modern, rural, isolated, or a few steps away from nightlife. Guests don’t just want to see the inside of the property - although that’s the most vital part - area photos show if the view is great, or how close other properties are. And are there some significant places to visit nearby? These details form the first response of, ‘Now this one looks interesting’.
Bathroom and kitchen photos included
Note professional-looking pictures. It can be worth hiring a professional photographer, but if you take your own pictures, make them excellent! They should be well-lit and shot on a good quality camera or smartphone. Use an image editing program after the shoot to ensure that the images are ‘graded’, or cropped where necessary. And of course, when shooting the pictures, have everything looking its best - that mop and bucket left in the corner is not inviting!
Bathroom photos are also important. Whereas you may want to major on the delightful bedroom, or balcony with a stunning view, guests are very particular about the cleanliness, comfort and convenience of bathrooms. Show that you understand this by providing excellent images. Good kitchen photos are also an essential. As a guest, did you ever book into an Airbnb property expecting full food prep and cooking facilities, only to discover a tiny sink and one-ring gas cooker? It happens.
Accuracy and honesty
…And if your property does have a tiny sink and a one-ring stove, don’t try to disguise it, either in the photos or your written description. A professional approach to the property description is the second main touchpoint for guests. Tell the truth, but tell it attractively: ‘Small but luxurious bathroom’ is honest, and interesting. ‘In the heart of the lively party area of the city,’ leaves guests in little doubt what to go for, or avoid.
We’ve talked about showing the property with great pictures and honest-but-enticing words, but the host is important in the equation too. That means showing yourself looking friendly and welcoming. A badly-lit, grim-faced you is not going to attract guests, so ensure that your photograph is bright and reasonably up to date.
Don’t just use any old family photo, perhaps where it’s even unclear which person is you! And make the wording of your profile equally warm and welcoming, with relevant information. This may include your experience in the travel or hospitality industries. Even the most gorgeous property will receive fewer reservations than it deserves if the owner profile is lacking in warmth and personality. A tip here is to get someone else to proofread your profile, as few of us are good at promoting ourselves.
The price is right
We’re getting closer to Airbnb success now, but let’s touch on pricing. It’s tempting to start your Airbnb journey by setting the high rates that you dream of getting over time. Don’t! Start lower than your intended rates to attract more bookings earlier on. When you have attracted enough guests and are getting good reviews, that's when you can begin to nudge up your rates. And what was that about good reviews?
The right amenities for Airbnb guests
Great pictures, great description, a welcoming host profile, the right pricing: You get bookings, and then the all-important reviews start coming in. That’s when ‘I couldn’t sleep because of the dripping tap in the bathroom’ can become a deal-breaker. Or on the other hand, ‘A beautiful apartment with a truly welcoming host.’
If you supply the right amenities for Airbnb guests, and are a responsive host, you’ll be rewarded with great reviews that convince other guests. It’s a virtuous circle, because the more and better reviews you receive, the higher up the rankings your property will go, and the more people will be attracted. Cross channel marketing can now come into play too, by using social media posts and appearing on other OTA sites.
The right response from Airbnb hosts
OK, the potential guest has found your listing, liked the images and property description, and thinks you’re a welcoming host. The price seems right, and the reviews seem honest, so it’s time to click that mouse button! Which means that the host has to respond - not ‘sometime soon’, but as promptly as possible.
Having an effective Airbnb Property Management System can greatly help, where the calendar is synchronised with OTA bookings, and email templates can be sent to acknowledge the booking request, and confirm it once the host has checked all the details. Whatever the technology however, a timely response is essential, and also boosts the Airbnb ranking.
The right response must also feel personal to the guest, so even if it’s initially an automated email, it should be tailored to them. Do everything you can to reassure them that they’re coming to the best place possible!
The Airbnb experience
Millions of people around the world are committed fans of the Airbnb experience, and hosts everywhere benefit from using the platform. Ensuring that you have an outstanding Airbnb listing is the start of a successful journey which will see your property rise up the Airbnb (and other OTA) rankings. With the added addition of a suitable Property Management System, and applying some of the tips included here, the Airbnb experience will be as rewarding for the host as it will be for guests.
And remember, always try to experience your property as if you were a paying guest. That’s Airbnb listing, done right.