Why is it that some Airbnbs are in such high demand that it’s nearly impossible to book them for the next few months, while others sit empty for weeks on end?
With over five million rentals listed on Airbnb, it’s no wonder why the market has become such a whirlpool of competition, but how can you make your listings as successful as those glorious ones with guests in them every night? We’ve done our homework, and pinpointed exactly how they’ve gotten so popular to help your business become as successful as theirs.
The Keys to Airbnb Success:
Find Your Niche
The most popular cities for Airbnb are Miami and San Diego, and this is no coincidence. Yes they’re both a few hours away from a Disney themed amusement park, but that’s not the only thing that they have in common. Both cities are close to the beach, experience summer weather all year round, and have lavish nightlife scenes. It’s no wonder their tourism rates are so high, but that comes at a steep price to the tourists. The average cost of a hotel in both cities is upwards of $150 per night, which converts many travelers from hotel guests to your guests.
Airbnbs which list private or shared rooms, over time, earn more revenue, than private homes. Although the price for these rooms each night is lower, they get booked more often, which after only a few extra bookings, accounts for, and exceeds the price difference.
Packing up and moving to a snowless city may not be practical for you, or you might not even want to, and to be a successful host you don’t have to. It’s all about pinpointing the rental demand, and supplying the right type of rentals with service that the local hotels can’t match. Let’s face it, managing vacation rentals is a lot like playing a game of Monopoly – it’s competitive and all about owning as many properties as possible. The difference, however, other than a get out of jail free card, is that Monopoly ends at owning properties, while successful Airbnb property management must also provide top notch service.
Think Outside the Box
Some of the most popular Airbnbs with themes, like Candyland or Star Wars, have gone viral on social media and are booked solid for the next two years. While your listings might not have extraordinary themes, you can make them stand out with a promotional video, or blueprints of the home. Give your Airbnb a catchy title, like Hidden Gem in Jamaica, or Sunkissed Uptown Loft. It won’t cost you anything extra, and is proven to help attract more guests, and earn you more money.
Your creativity shouldn’t stop once guests have confirmed their booking. There’s a reason they chose to visit your city, and as tourists they’ll always be happy to hear a suggestion from one of the locals. Advertise your city’s staples, and recommend some local restaurants. If there happens to be a special event going on, like a fair or a concert, mention those as well. What’s good for tourism in your city is good for your rental business.
Flaunt What You’ve Got
Airbnb offers a complementary photography service – all you have to do is request it. Each photo is stamped as verified by Airbnb, making them more trustworthy for guests, on top of being professional. This service is known to have a long waiting list, however, so if you don’t have time then try taking some of your own killer photos following these guidelines.
If your rental has anything extra worth showing off, like a parking space or a swimming pool, guests will want to know about them in advance. Something as simple as onsite laundry can seal the deal for many guests, so why not mention them in your listing description?
Your Guests Can Handle the Truth
If you’re not going to be honest in your listing descriptions, then you can definitely count on your guests to write honest, unsatisfied, reviews pointing out the flaws in your rental which you chose to hide. Don’t advertise your rental as something that it’s not, because in the end, it’ll ruin your reputation and cost you, big time. You can remain honest about your listings while making them sound alluring. Swap words like ‘small’ for ‘cozy’, or ‘intimate’, and ‘simple’ with ‘understated’ or ‘minimalistic’. These subtle changes can make your rental go from simple to eloquent (see what I did there?) and are proven to help increase your bookings. Keep it real, and you’ll appreciate it in the long run.
The same approach applies to pricing strategy. If your listing is valued at hundreds of dollars per night, go ahead and list it for what it’s worth. But if it’s not worth that much, don’t pretend that it is. Your rental doesn’t need to be overpriced for you to make a sizeable profit. One of the main draws for guests to choose an Airbnb over a hotel room is not necessarily to save money, but to get the most bang for their buck. To determine how much to charge for a given night follow these key steps.
Color Inside the Lines
Keep your business legal and all your paperwork in check. Unfortunately, cities all over the world have been cracking down on short-term rental laws. Do your best to ward off complaints from neighbors, and keep your business completely transparent. Running into trouble with the law is quicksand for your business.
If you’re listing in Paris, for example, then you’re already familiar with the law, and frustrating reality, that you can only lease your rentals for 120 days each year. With law enforcement cracking down, it’s simply not worth the risk of renting out your listings during the remaining 245 days of the year, but there are ways to make the best of the situation. Supply is no longer meeting demand, allowing you to raise your nightly rates, and focus more on providing the best possible service, because at a greater cost guests expect more.
If you’re unsure about the exact laws in your city call your local city council, and ask to speak to the urban planner.
Prepare For the Finish Line
Ultimately, the key to creating a successful Airbnb business is to learn from the pros when it comes to the basics. Play your cards right, and in time you’ll master their game, and become a star player. They’ve won some, they’ve lost some, and what didn’t kill their host game only made it stronger, so go ahead and take your best shot.
If you’re interested in learning more about property management and discovering the many ways Guesty's platform can help your business, we invite you to a free one-on-one session with one of our experts.