With over four million listings in 191 countries, AirBNB has achieved unparalleled growth within its industry since its 2008 launch. While it’s had its share of controversy, AirBNB’s success is founded on the ability for essentially anyone to list an extra room on their website. If you’re considering renting out your apartment, residence, an extra room or other property on AirBNB, here are ten tips for running a successful AirBNB business.
If you are going to spend money advertising your AirBNB property on vacation rental websites, you want to make sure it is a success. Here are 10 things you can practice which will help ensure you receive the most “bang for the buck”.
The main reason why individuals rent an AirBNB property is that it’s more cost-effective than staying at a hotel. Pricing the listing reasonably can also increase the likelihood of guests posting a good review, which in turn creates a multiplier effect that’s crucial to running a successful property. In addition, hosts can use Airdna, a website designed for hosts to assess how they can make more money by using analytics. If you want your AirBNB property to rent, you must be realistic, optimistic, but not greedy! Only charge a premium if your property has some distinct features. And, be willing to discount your property on occasion as needed.
As simple as it may seem, friendliness is a distinguishing factor for AirBNB hosts. Successful hosts are often those who are able to imagine themselves as a guest, and it’s a good idea to reply quickly and pleasantly to all guest queries, which creates a better rapport and connection. When your guests arrive, have a gift basket, welcome note, flowers or other thoughtful expressions your guest will remember. This will increase the chances of guests choosing you over someone else.
To stand apart on AirBNB, think about the type of experience you will be creating for prospective guests. With scores of listings on the website, hosts who highlight the features of their location, such as nearby activities and the types of experiences that the guest could have there, are likely to gain more attention than those who simply list the property details
Responding quickly is essential for creating the best experience for your guests and can also reduce the chances of potential guests booking somewhere else. Creating prepared responses can help save time when responding to inquiries from prospective guests.
Vacation goers usually see a few properties that are of interest to them and then contact those owners. The faster you respond, the better chance (most of the time) you have of winning them over. There have been times I have rented properties in the past and because it took an owner 24 hours to respond, I had already chosen another property. A timely and efficient response gives the renter confidence that the rental experience will follow suit.
Renting out a property on AirBNB requires a substantial time commitment if you want to be successful. Be prepared to devote some portion of each day to the task. One advantage that traditional hotels offer is time because booking a hotel room only requires one single interaction. By contrast, getting a place on AirBNB requires multiple interactions with the host. (For more, see Hotels Vs. Airbnb For New York City Visitors.) So to reduce the amount of waiting time for guests, you need to pay constant attention to notifications and be ready to respond at any given moment.
Be sure that your listing details are kept up to date and are complete. Review your online listing frequently to be sure that your contact information is up-to-date. Also, be sure that it is accurate in the description of your property and its amenities. This will help you with repeat customers, but will also keep you out of trouble with rental contracts or laws in regards to such things.
It is true what they say, “a picture speaks a thousand words.” Remember, renters are considering staying at your rental based (most of the time) solely on your pictures and your word. The more pictures to help them be comfortable with the decision, the better. Here is how I look at it. If you were going to buy a used car, would you do so over the Internet without a good look at the outside/inside of the vehicle, the engine, etc? Not exactly the same, but you get the picture. The more pictures and the prettier, the better. Be sure to have pictures of your rental amenities such as a pool, the beach, a mountain view, the lake or a golf course – these are top rental sellers! The time and expense that you invest in either hiring a professional real estate photographer or taking high-quality photographs yourself are well worth it. Ten photos of your residence are optimal. Take photographs that capture the character of the place, the surrounding area, and any amenities.
If guests are running late or have travel delays, one way to save time is to consider installing a smart lock or lock box. This way hosts won’t have to be hanging around late in the evening to give the guests their keys — guests can essentially check themselves into their AirBNB residence.
The laws surrounding renting out a property on AirBNB vary from city to city. For instance, San Francisco, Portland, and Paris have recently enforced a law requiring AirBNB hosts to pay an occupancy tax. In New York, it’s illegal to rent a property for under 30 days under the Multiple Dwelling Law if the primary resident isn’t present. You need to be aware of the specific laws of your city. (For more, see: Top Cities Where Airbnb Is Legal or Illegal.)
It is important that you maintain a clean and sanitary rental. Cleaning the property yourself, rather than paying for a cleaning service, is one way to cut costs. But as one former host in Montreal says, however, “if I did it again, I would hire a cleaning service and charge a cleaning fee for short stays.”
AirBNB has transformed the hospitality industry overnight and is showing no signs of slowing down. Those who are savvy enough to take advantage of this amazing opportunity would be wise to do all they can to distinguish their rental and leverage their AirBNB business for success.
Bill Manassero is the founder/top dog at “The Old Dawg’s REI Network,” a blog, newsletter, and podcast for seniors and retirees, that teaches the art of real estate investing. His personal real estate investing goal, which will be chronicled at olddawgsreinetwork.com, is to own/control 1,000 units/doors in the next 6 years. Prior to that, Bill and his family lived in Haiti for 11 years as missionaries serving orphaned, abandoned and at-risk children.