5 Rules Every AirBnB Host Should Stick To
Being an AirBnB host or property manager is a tough job. Most of us who do it don’t have a background in hospitality, and are, in a sense, learning on the job.
One of the things we most often hear is “Is there a cheat sheet for hosting guests on AirBnB?”
While there are many resources available for helping you become an AirBnB host, it’s important to understand that every property is different. Every visit is accompanied by its own specific challenges, and every day in the life of an AirBnB host or property manager comes with it’s own set of hurdles to cross.
Because of this, we believe that there isn’t so much a cheat sheet which will help everyone become a great and profitable AirBnB host overnight, but rather a set of rules which every AirBnB host should stick to and abide by.
More and more people are hosting on AirBnB, which is resulting in a steady decrease in booking rates and revenue. Adapting these rules to your own rentals will help you get more reviews, better reviews, more exposure, and the volume needed to grow your business.
Rule #1: Give Guests an Amazing Experience
It’s important to understand that the experience people have in your area is fundamentally linked to their satisfaction with your AirBnB. The best rental in the world, accompanied by a boring stay, will unconsciously make your guests associate a bad stay with your rental, which will frequently be reflected in the feedback and reviews you get.
The biggest culprit for these types of situations are guests who are uninformed about the area, incapable of finding enough entertainment during their stay, or fearful of exploring.
As an AirBnB host or property manager, you’re probably an expert in the area, city, etc. surrounding your rental. Your knowledge of this area is significantly higher than anything a guest will find on tripadvisor or yelp or a similar local reviews site. As such, you’re in a uniquely qualified position to help your guests find amazing things to do and experience.
Of course, we’re not suggesting that every AirBnB host becomes a tour guide overnight, but providing your guests with a cheat sheet or email with your to 10 things to see or do is a great way to point them in the right direction. Your guests will love that you took the time and effort to create content which helps them better enjoy your rental.
Rule #2: Make sure you’re visible on multiple platforms
Being visible on multiple platforms in addition to AirBnB is a great way to increase your exposure. Consider listing your rental on VRBO, HomeAway and Booking. There are additional short term rental platforms which may be more popular in your area, but these four cover most of the market.
Managing calendars when listing on multiple platforms can be a challenge. You can either do this manually by blocking off dates on the other sites you’re listed on, or you can use a channel manager, which usually costs a monthly subscription.
We’ve found that for smaller rental managers, typically those with under 8 rentals, can post on multiple channels without spending money on a channel manager. Of course, a channel manager or property management system is going to help you manage dates across multiple channels.
A good idea is to set aggressive notifications when someone books a rental. This way, you’ll be able to react quickly and block off dates on the other channels on which your rental is listed on.
Rule #3: Stay In Touch with Guests. A Lot.
Engagement and communication is such a huge part of being an amazing AirBnB host or AirBnB property manager. Given how competitive the market is, and given how important feedback and reviews are, engagement should be a priority.
This level of responsiveness ensures that your guests feel cared for and that their needs are being met. It ensures that they can reach out if there are any problems, ask for advice, or get input on how to plan an itinerary.
While it seems like a lot of work - and it is - committing to a great level of communication will pretty much guarantee that you only get 5-star reviews, which directly translate into growth and momentum for your business.
Communicating effectively also allows you to quickly figure out what guests like or don't like, and gives you the information you need to improve.
Rule #4: Have a Routine
Managing a rental business is tough, and there are tons of things you regularly need to do to keep your rentals running well.
We’ve found that having a routine for every aspect of your rental is a great way to keep the time you spend managing your rental low, and keep you focused on critical tasks.
Don’t improvise your cleaning list or cleaning routine. Don’t ad-hoc what you prepare for your guests before they arrive. Don’t invent new onboarding or welcome emails. Have all these materials prepared ahead of time so you don’t have to spend much time planning.
We’ll be writing more blog posts about some of these routines, but one of the most important ones is to have a) a cleaning supply toolbox ready to go after each visit so you can go in and get it freshened up quickly, or b) a reliable cleaner on a set schedule to come in after each visit.
Rule #5: React to Feedback
Lots of guests leave reviews and information you can use to improve your rentals and grow your business. Thoroughly go over every review a guest leaves, and try and isolate the key positives or negatives. Eliminate the superfluous content, and try to get actionable insights about both good things and bad.
This will help you create action items and improvement ideas you can quickly execute on!
While this is by no means an exhaustive list, we hope it'll serve as a useful starter. We look forward to publishing articles about AirBnB property management around once a week going forward, and welcome any feedback or ideas for future topics!