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Things you should do before joining Airbnb - Vacation Rental Guide

If you are thinking about joining Airbnb, one of the first questions to arise would be where to begin. Here are some hosting hacks to get your Airbnb started and running smoothly.

Do your research

The key to getting anything right is doing your research and then analyzing it. While it is possible to get professional help to do that you could also opt to do that alone. Here are a few areas to research and analyze before setting up your Airbnb listing.

Your neighborhood:

The neighborhood in which your property resides says a lot about is a key deciding factor in your vacation rental business. It not only dictates if you will be able to list your property on Airbnb (due to local regulations) it also determines your target audience simply because it makes more sense to target the type of people who frequent your locality.  

When analyzing your locality, think about the main reason that people visit it. What is it popular for? Is there a famous landmark, a tourist attraction, or even an event taking place nearby? Once you rule that out, think about: 

Who lives in your neighborhood?

Is it a slow-paced neighborhood with families? Is it a student-populated area with universities? Or, is it more commercial with offices, businesses, and I.T. parks?

Where is your intended listing located?

Think about your immediate locality, and what your potential guests can enjoy there. Is it an up-and-coming tourist destination? Is it a commercialized area where your guests could shop-till-they-drop? Is it close to an internationally renowned event venue?

What could draw visitors to your locality?

Think about the experiences in your locality that you can market to potential guests. Is it the nightlife or the scenic views or perhaps it is a famous sports stadium, where local favorites frequent?

Are there any hotels in the area? If so, how many?

The number of hotels in the vicinity plays a role in how you market and price your property listing. If there aren’t too many hotels around it gives guests almost no option other than booking a vacation rental. It also gives you a little more freedom in pricing your property though you can’t stray too far away from your competition. 

But if there is a high density of hotels in the area, it may be difficult for you to compete with their prices. It will also give guests more options to choose from and the more traditional guests might forgo your property for a hotel stay.

Your property:

Now that you have a good idea about who lives in your neighborhood and what kind of experience guests can expect, you can use your property type to determine the type of guests you can target.

What is your property type?

According to Airbnb terminology, how do you define your property?

1. Entire place:   

In this type of property, guests will have the entire place to themselves including a private entrance. This type of property usually includes a bedroom, a bathroom, and a kitchen. It does not include shared spaces. If you also expect to be living in the property don’t forget to mention it as a part of your property description (such as the host will occupy the second floor of the property) 

2. Private room: 

In this type of property, the guest will have a private room but all other areas can be shared. In terms of bathrooms whether you offer private bathrooms or if it has to be shared mention it on your Airbnb listing.  

Having a private bathroom for each room can help in swinging more guests your way especially if other private room properties in your area don’t offer it.  

3. Shared room:  

Here the guests will be sleeping in a bedroom or a common area that can be shared with others. It helps to let guests know ahead how many people they might be sharing the room with. 

What amenities do you want to offer?

Once you have determined your property type, think about the amenities you want to offer. Some amenities help score booking more than others do. Think about your type of property, its location, and the people most likely to visit it when considering amenities.

How does your property compare to other listings in the vicinity?

Use the search option on Airbnb to look up other properties in your vicinity that match the type of your listing. Find out where you stand in comparison. Look at ways to bring yourself higher up on the list. Will it help to add a few amenities? Or, will you need to give your property a facelift?

Your target audience:

Now that you have determined your property type and the amenities you would like to offer, it’s time to think about the type of guests you’d like to target with your Airbnb listing. This is not to say that they will be the only kind of guests you’ll have but there will most likely be more of this type of guests frequenting your property. 

Whether it’s about furnishing your photography, branding, or posting photographs make sure you keep your target audience in mind. For example, if you hope to target retired travelers, don’t post pictures of children splashing about in your pool.

Your competition:

Look at your competition, this is usually those who have properties in your vicinity with the same type of property and similar amenities. You can find them directly on Airbnb by searching for properties with similar characteristics and amenities in your locality.  

Make a shortlist of competitors and read their descriptions, look at their photos and reviews. Find out how they have furnished their properties, what they do well, how their service is, and the best and worst things about them according to guests.  

This will give you a good idea about how you should style your property, the type of pictures to post, and how to structure your listing. You can also get an idea about what guests look for in your area and where to spend the most money, with regards to your property. It can also help you come up with an overall idea on how to price your property.  

Once you have all your answers about your property, target audience, and property, you can go about listing your property on Airbnb. We'll show you how in the next section.

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