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Tips for running a successful hosting business in 2024

With the huge popularity of short-term rentals for travelers and nomadic workers, many people are joining the increasing ranks of Airbnb hosts. If you’re thinking of growing your hosting business, you want to find ways to stand out from the masses. Here are a few pointers for how you can leave a positive impression on your guests and get more reservations in the books.

Airbnb communication strategy

Being a successful vacation rental host starts with great messaging and guest communication – and lots of patience. When potential guests are getting ready to book a short-term rental, it’s common for them to have questions, which is why many bookings happen after some back-and-forth communication between the host and the guest. 

typing on laptop with email icons floating

Be prepared to answer questions with patience even if sometimes you hear the same ones over and over again. Remember, there can be a lot of hesitation when it comes to trusting the comfort and success of a trip with a complete stranger. Patience, responsiveness, and honesty can go a long way in creating trust, which obviously can lead to more bookings. 

It’s also important to be timely in your response, which can be tricky when it comes to guests from different time zones. You want to answer as quickly as possible for two reasons. First, you don’t want to keep potential guests waiting for an answer. Many people might be eager to get their booking closed and prefer not to drag out the process by waiting for a response – especially if your competition responds to them sooner. Regardless of the actual reason, a delayed response time could send the message that you’re a less attentive host.

Second, your response rate and time are listed at the bottom of your profile and people look at this when creating an overall impression of you, so it’s worth paying attention to. A quick response rate will also elevate the Airbnb guest experience from the get-go, which will increase your chances of a great review. 

Pro-tip: Airbnb has stated that they use reviews and response rates as ranking criteria for listings on their search results, so not only does responsiveness keep your guests happy, but it also gets more eyes on your listing and will help you get more bookings.

Without a support team on duty 24/7, a quick response rate can be difficult to maintain. This is where having a platform like Guesty can really make a difference. With automation tools to help you set up auto-replies, you can instantly respond to guests who contact you at any time of day, boosting your response rate, Airbnb ranking, and guest satisfaction. 

surprised traveler while packing

Set accurate expectations

One of the main reasons guests choose an Airbnb rental over a hotel is the unique and charming experiences it provides. Rather than trying to convert your property into a hotel, keep the personal touch and character and highlight these details in the description of your listing so guests know what to expect.

In approaching your “sale,” using accuracy and full disclosure tends to be the best way to get the right guests for your property. By creating a better match between your rental and guests, you prevent potential disputes that could occur. You’ll also likely get happier guests and better reviews. Being honest and upfront with any questions or concerns you receive will bring in guests with expectations that are aligned with reality.

Pro-tip: Part of managing guest expectations is keeping your calendar up-to-date to avoid having to cancel on a guest who books or inquires about dates that aren’t actually free. Plus, hosts who regularly update their calendars receive noticeably more bookings than those who don’t and this is partially because Airbnb rewards them with higher rankings for doing so. To maximize your booking potential, Guesty’s Channel Manager allows you to integrate multiple calendars (from Airbnb or other channels) into one centralized location to stay up-to-date and avoid double bookings. 

Be clear about your expectations

Just as you want your guests to be aligned on what they should expect from your rental, you want them to understand your expectations of them as well, preferably before they book. Make sure that all rules and guidelines are stated clearly and explicitly in your listing description and clarified in any correspondence with guests ahead of their stay. It’s preferable for your guests to understand and agree to these rules before they book rather than to find out after the fact and change their minds, or end up disgruntled due to a misunderstanding. 

Pro-tip: When relaying your rules, try to preempt questions that may come up by providing answers in advance (such as rules about smoking, noise, pets, etc.). This will save time by reducing questions and possible negotiations and filtering out guests that aren’t suitable.

basket of slippers for guests

Create a welcoming atmosphere

Being a good host means making your guests feel comfortable, so they should arrive at a rental that is clean and organized with everything in working order. Be sure to remove any valuables or personal items, fix anything broken, and have everything ready prior to their arrival. Check that all the kitchen essentials are clean, along with towels and bedding, trash cans, showers, toilets, and floors. Charging your guest a cleaning fee is common as long as it’s stated upfront (Airbnb allows you to include this in your charges and even handles the payment processing).

Pro-tip: To make sure your supplies (toilet paper, cleaning supplies, etc.), maintenance, and cleaning schedules are always on track, it’s important to be organized with calendars and checklists. Guesty can help you organize and simplify this aspect of your hosting with our multiple cleaning management integrations like Properly. You can keep track of all your cleaning tasks and communicate with a cleaning team including scheduling and tracking cleanings and setting and sending reminders.

Hosting can be both a fun and lucrative experience when done right. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that both you and your guests have a great experience.

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