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A beginner’s guide to hosting on Airbnb

Short-term rentals continue to emerge as one of the top accommodation choices for travelers around the world. Airbnb has contributed to much of the industry’s rise in popularity. As the top channel for prospective guests to seek out rental properties of all kinds, Airbnb is certainly the place to start if you’re looking to rent out one or more properties – and being a good host will make or break your success. 

If you’re just getting started, here’s a hosting guide with everything new hosts need to know about being a great host on Airbnb.

Communication is key

One of the things that makes Airbnb so desirable for guests is the relationship that’s encouraged between hosts and guests; one that’s much more personal than they might get in a hotel, for example. When potential guests are interested in an Airbnb listing, they’re invited to open up a line of communication with the hosts to inquire or gather more information about location, price, and more.

While this is a refreshingly personal way of scheduling bookings, it also comes with a series of expectations that are important to meet. To start, potential guests expect prompt responses, especially since many of them have strict timelines restricting their travel planning. It’s easy to fall short of guest expectations on this front, with time zone differences, career distractions, and any number of other external factors.

Although unavoidable at times, delayed responses can pose a huge threat to successful Airbnb hosts. A quick reply rate is not only important for each guest’s experience in your rental but also for your overall ranking on Airbnb. The site rewards attentive and available hosts by ranking their listings higher in Airbnb search results and including their response rates and times in their profiles. This means your overall responsiveness plays a huge role in your ability to receive bookings.

To maintain a good reputation on Airbnb as a responsive host, there are tools you can rely on to simplify messaging for you. On Guesty, you can use our automated messages to create responses for the inquiries you send the most, and we’ll automatically send the reply as soon as you receive a message. 

Provide a memorable experience

In the same way that you’re opening up your home or property to guests as a source of income, they’re likely seeking out your property as a source of adventure, cultural immersion, relaxation, or anything of the sort. This means you need to provide more than just a place for your visitors to sleep – you need to provide a 360° experience that leaves your guests feeling fulfilled and taken care of. 

Think of what you can do to amplify the experience in your properties, within reason of course. Whether you implement a keyless check-in tool, add a workout room, or provide bicycles for guests to use, there are tons of routes you can take. These are the details that guests will remember most about staying in your rental, which means it’s what they will consider when they go to write you a review, too!

Honesty first

We can’t stress it enough – full disclosure is the easiest way to get on the right track with Airbnb. 

This one is important, so make sure you read it carefully! The easiest way to maintain a good reputation with Airbnb and your guests is to provide full disclosure in all scenarios. You’re always better off answering questions honestly and risking losing a booking versus dancing around the truth and having your guests figure it out when they’re already in your rental. 

This honesty should also go beyond just written communication, extending to all the various touchpoints between host and guest. Your calendar, for example, must always be accurately updated. This will limit the risk of double bookings or other booking mishaps, which can easily end up ruining someone’s entire trip. 

You’re in charge

Although much of what you do as a host is to serve your guests and provide the best possible experience, don’t forget this is still your property and you have the right to set boundaries as needed. For full transparency, start on the property’s listing description on Airbnb and be as explicit as possible. 

Here’s where you can mention any house rules you may have and set the standard for what you expect from your guests. Better to skim out unqualified guests at this stage of the process than deal with the damage later on. 

While listing out any rules or requirements for guests in your rentals, try to answer questions before you even receive them. For example, mentioning “No smoking” or “Pets allowed” in your listing description can answer common inquiries that hosts tend to receive.

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