Hosting ain’t easy. It takes a lot of work and a lot of time. It requires you to wear multiple hats. It entails strategic thinking, data crunching, and adapting to emerging trends in the short term rental market. Whether you are new to hosting or an old hand, however, there are always tips and tricks you can learn to help you lighten the load and make you a better host.
Here are our top 16 tips for hosting your short term Airbnb vacation rental.
While hosting on Airbnb is a given, also consider online booking platforms such as Vrbo, and Booking.com. If you can cater to a niche traveler segment, ranging from families and those who travel with their pets to being LGBTQ+ friendly or accessible to persons with disabilities, opt to also list on one or more niche vacation rental booking websites.
There are also other lesser known but still significantly large platforms like Flipkey that can help you maintain a full calendar throughout the year.
When listing on two or more online booking platforms and/or your own direct booking website, it is of utmost importance that you connect your calendars and prevent double bookings. A channel manager like Hostaway’s with a reliable and robust two-way API connection to all major OTAs and in-built options for your own booking engine is the best way to sync your calendars across multiple platforms.
All reservation data including pricing, availability, minimum night requirements, etc are updated in real-time so double bookings and other pitfalls of listing on more than one booking platform are completely avoided.
No guest is going to look past an unclean and untidy Airbnb property, no matter how short their stay. Hiring cleaners not only takes a time-consuming and difficult task out of your to-do-list but ensures thorough cleaning of your property.
You can easily offset the cost by adding a cleaning fee to your listing which is commonplace on Airbnb and not going to lose you guests. You can even opt for a cleaning management service that ensures reliable service, automatic scheduling, and continuous availability, so you don’t have to expend any extra effort.
In today’s world, we are always on and guests demand quick and appropriate responses to their messages. Trying to make yourself available 24/7 however is an impossible task. Be responsive from the moment of booking by automating guest messaging. Prepare essential messaging templates so you don’t have to draft new messages each time or use our free templates. From confirming their booking and letting them know you are excited to host them to checking up mid-stay and reviewing guests for reviews, let them know you are lways working to ensure they have a great stay and available.
Save yourself a world of trouble and take a few easy steps that will keep away troublesome guests and/or prevent guests from creating a mess of your property and setting your business back. Prevent neighbors from lodging complaints and putting you at risk of fines or even being shut down. Do your due diligence, avoid low-quality guests and get more high-quality guests by screening your guests to prevent bookings from bad guests.
Airbnb screening is inadequate so opt for a screening tool such as Superhog, Autohost, or Chekin. Having guests sign a short term rental agreement can also serve as a filter for bad guests while protecting your business from any destruction or disturbance bad guests may cause. Clear rules will also help prevent any misunderstandings or bad feelings that can lead to bad reviews. Finally, opt for hosting tools that monitor noise.
Provide an easy and secure means of checking in and out of your Airbnb vacation rental property with self check-in. With options ranging from lockboxes, smart locks, and key exchange services, you can easily save yourself time, hassle, and eliminate the stress of waiting on a guest to arrive while creating a good first impression.
Self check-in also helps guests feel trusted, provides them with privacy, and enhances their safety – no more worries about lost keys and missing duplicates. It also helps you cater to business travelers and last-minute bookings.
Getting good reviews consistently will improve your Airbnb SEO rankings and increase conversion. No matter how great a service you provide however many guests just don’t take the trouble to write reviews. An easy and effective way to get guests to review your listing is to write them one, encouraging them to review you in return. By automating guest messaging and using guest review templates you can now take the hassle out of the process and start enjoying a consistent flow of reviews rolling in for your Airbnb listing.
With the global pandemic having upended many aspects of the short term vacation rental landscape, relying on your historical data to plan your future revenue doesn’t cut it anymore. To remain truly competitive requires a dynamic pricing tool that will provide you up-to-date insights and analysis on how best to adjust pricing in real-time to maximize conversion and revenue while syncing and updating prices across platforms.
Most vacation rental markets have a high season and low season and planning your bookings accordingly will go a long way in ensuring you continue to attract guests year-round while maximizing revenue. Your Airbnb minimum night stay policy together with appropriate marketing tactics and dynamic pricing are important aspects of doing so. From low minimum night stays during the off-season and longer ones during peak season to adding an Airbnb Experience to attract growing traveler segments like sports tourists and running campaigns offering promotions and organizing events with local businesses can all go a long way in ensuring your short term vacation rental business is growing optimally.
The rise of remote work and bleisure during the enforced lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 has led to longer term rentals becoming a growing short term vacation rental trend. The trend is so strong that it even led the platform to introduce Airbnb Split Stays, to cater to the lack of inventory in certain locations for guests who choose longer stays.
While long term rentals can lower your overall average ADR, it also means less turnover and steady revenue, particularly during the off-season, from groups such as college student renters. You can use the extra time to work on important aspects of your business that may have been put on the backburner, like marketing.
Choose from a variety of hosting apps to deal with important tasks and urgent issues immediately, even when on-the-go. From Airbnb and guest messaging apps like Whatsapp to smart lock and noise monitoring apps, hosts can always be alerted and prepared to respond to a situation without being bound to a desk. You can even control your smart home, manage your cleaners and handymen, and even access your Hostaway property management system.
An extra set of hands can always help. If you can afford it, consider hiring a co-host to help you manage your listings. Co-hosts can help you manage all aspects of your business, from taking responsibility for quality control or marketing to maintaining the property. You can decide which tasks to delegate to your co-host and which are better left in your own hands. Unless you share your login details however Airbnb won’t allow your co-host to change payout or access taxpayer information.
An industry-leading and affordable all-in-one property management system like Hostaway which comes with multiple functionalities including channel management, calendar syncing, automated communications, staff management, robust integrations across a large marketplace, CRM and lead management, marketing, etc can help you grow your business by automating and streamlining every aspect of your business across multiple platforms. Together with award-winning customer support and scalable solutions, you can save loads of time and effort while providing great service and growing revenue.
Putting yourself in your guests’ shoes is the best way to deliver a memorable stay that will not only see them leave your Airbnb a great review but turn them into loyal, repeat customers. Give your guests clear directions on how to make their way to your property. Provide enough pillows and toilet paper so they don’t have to ask you for more. Whenever possible, be flexible with check-in and check-out times. A personalized welcome basket can go a long way without having to cost half a day’s fee. Provide local guidance, from shopping and dining recommendations to best-suited Airbnb Experiences. You can even consider creating a vacation rental blog that will not only provide great local content that your guests will appreciate but also works wonders as a marketing tool.
Creating a routine that optimizes your productivity while getting through all your daily tasks will help ease the stress and burdens of hosting duties. A natural way to self-automate, it regulates the time you spend on each task and saves you time and energy spent wondering what to do next.
An easy way to start a routine is to create a to-do-list that you tick through the day while also giving you a sense of accomplishment as you complete each one. Including a time interval for each task will help you keep on track. Adjust as you go along. For example, you might realize you are more productive number-crunching in the morning and shopping for supplies in the evening. Don’t forget to include a few breaks and use our tips to ease the load off your shoulders.
There is always more to learn, especially in a landscape that is always evolving. Keep an eye on your competitors – in your location and the Airbnb Category you fall under – to learn from what they are doing right as well as their mistakes. Vacation rental podcasts are an easy and practical way to learn from Airbnb Superhosts and other experts on a diversity of topics related to hosting, from maximizing your revenue and dealing with difficult guests to renovating and marketing your Airbnb.
You can also follow extremely popular and highly successful experts like Richard Fertig and Sean Rakidzich across any or all of their channels to make sure you are always one step ahead.