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by Ilonka Berryman December 16, 2019 7 min read

AIRBNB HOSTING TIPS

Whether you are new to hosting on Airbnb or a seasoned pro, there is always something new to learn. We have been fortunate to host our home to some wonderful guests over the years, and have learned some valuable things along the way that have helped us earn Superhost status. Our guests have the home to themselves when renting form us, so most of our tips pertain to rentals where you do not meet your guests during their stay. We are happy to be able to share our Airbnb tips with you!

SET UP A WELCOMING PROFILE - Choose a profile picture of yourself that expresses your personality, or a couples photo if you are hosting with your spouse or partner. Guests like to know who they are renting from, and a photo is the first thing they will likely see when viewing your profile. You will want to include a description about yourself, why you like to host and some things about you. If you have a Facebook account, you should link your profiles. Doing this will establish credibility and show guests that you are indeed a real person. Airbnb will ask you to confirm your phone number, which should be the number that guests can contact you if they need to. 

BE HONEST IN YOUR LISTING - Guests will want to know both the good and the potential negatives. While some guests may love the peace and quiet of a rural setting, others may want to stay in a place closer to the action. Do your best to accurately describe your setting and space so that there are no surprises. The last thing you want is a negative review because you didn't do a good job describing your property.

USE QUALITY PICTURES TO SHOWCASE YOUR SPACE - We have all heard the saying "A picture tells a thousand words". Many guests will only look at the pictures in your listing and book with you based on how your place looks. If you want to get the best possible pictures, hiring a professional photographer is probably a wise choice. They will have access to a camera with a wide angle lens which can show more detail and make rooms appear larger and appealing. Airbnb does offer professional photography in some locations. If "request" is displayed at the bottom of your page next to your listing, you can use Airbnb's photographer. To qualify for a photoshoot, you must have a verified phone number and email address on your Airbnb profile. Airbnb only offers one professional photography session per listing. If photography services are not available in your area from Airbnb, you can take good pictures easily yourself by following these tips:

  • Take pictures during the day to capture the best light. Open all curtains and blinds to let the natural light enhance your space. Be careful to not let the direct sun affect your photos. Photos that are dark subconsciously give the impression of a dreary place. Make sure your photos have lots of natural light to create the best possible vibe.
  • The pictures should be taken from an angle that shows the entire room. Make sure the photos are level and do not show too much of the ceiling or floor. The best photos are taken from a low viewpoint and keep the walls and doorways straight while keeping the ceiling and floor at the edges of the frame.
  • Pay attention to details - If you are taking a picture of the bathroom, make sure there is no reflection of the photographer in the mirror. Watch out for crooked lamp shades and exposed sloppy power cords. If you have a dining table, you may want to stage it with a wine bottle and glasses or set an inviting space. Straighten all bedding, pillows and towels and close the toilet lid. Make sure there is no clutter on the countertops!
  • It is a good idea to have a few pictures of the home or building exterior as well as area attractions. If you are on a lake, beach or the mountains for example, you will want to include pictures of the surroundings as that is a huge draw for guests. 
  • You may want to include a few seasonal pictures. For example, if you are in a ski town, you will want to show pictures of the slopes and skiing activities during ski season. To attract summer guests, consider swapping out the photos to show hiking or mountain biking activities. A good rule of thumb is to have at least 3/4 of your pictures of the property interior and the remaining pictures of the exterior and nearby amenities and attractions. Guest will like to have an idea of things to do while staying in your place. 

 Staging pictures for your vacation rental or airbnb

Set the scene for your guests by using props to stage your pictures. This patio table looks a lot more inviting with a bottle of wine, glasses and greenery than it would without anything on it. Make it easy for your potential guests to visualize themselves enjoying your space!

 

MAKE SURE YOUR PLACE IS SQUEAKY CLEAN -  Your guests may not notice that your bathroom has not been updated but they will notice that tiny hair in the shower! Most renters will mention in their review if your place was clean or not, and believe me, your potential guests will read ALL the reviews. It is a good idea to have a checklist to follow of things that need to be done at each cleaning. Whether you clean it yourself, or use a cleaning crew, you will want to make sure there is consistency and nothing is overlooked.

MAINTAIN A QUICK RESPONSE TIME -  Just put yourself in your renters position. You have finally selected the property you want to book and don't want to wait hours to see if your booking request was accepted or not. For those guests who have already booked with you, they may have last minute questions. Responding quickly sets the tone for the entire transaction and increases confidence with guests that they have booked the right property with a host they can rely on. A fast response time is also a ranking factor with Airbnb so don't leave them waiting!

CHECK ON YOUR GUESTS AFTER THEY HAVE CHECKED IN - I like to send a text after my guests arrival to make sure that the property is meeting their expectations. In the rare event that anything is wrong, it can be immediately addressed so that their stay is an enjoyable one. 

KNOW YOUR RENTAL LAWS -You will want to make sure you can legally rent in your area. Airbnb provides some guidance in this area here. Each city has its own laws regarding short term rentals and you should be able to find information for your city online. You will need to check with both your city and your homeowners or neighborhood associations to make sure short term rentals are allowed. You will also need to know the tax rates and register your short term rental for taxes.

MAKE SURE YOU ARE FAMILIAR WITH AIRBNB HOST REQUIREMENTS - 

  • As a host, you must respond to all booking requests within 24 hours
  • If your calendar shows you have open dates, you should accept a reservation
  • Do your best to avoid cancellations, you can be penalized for them
  • You should maintain a high overall rating from guests
  • You must provide the following essentials for a stay:
  1. Toilet paper
  2. Linens
  3. Soap
  4. A minimum of one pillow and towel per guest
Since you are required to provide a bar of soap for your guests, you may as well make it unique and luxurious. Instead of a full size plain bar of soap from your local warehouse store, why not spend less and provide your guests with a luxury bar from our vacation inspired collections? Our hotel size soaps get rave reviews from hosts and guests alike and are the perfect size for rentals. Shop our selection of hotel soap bars and say goodbye to ordinary soaps!

airbnb and vacation rental soap

SHOP SOAPS

PROVIDE IMPORTANT DETAILS BEFORE THE STAY - We like to send a check in email with important information a week prior to arrival. This has all the information our guests will need to plan their trip. Here are some of the items we include in our check in email:

  • Property address, check in dates and times
  • Door lock instructions (if you have a keyless entry), and property access information
  • Driving directions and parking information
  • Wi-Fi log in and password
  • House Rules
  • What to bring? Information on what is provided in the kitchen and bathrooms so guests will know what to pack
  • Area information such as boat rental, special excursions or anything guests may want to book in advance
  • Grocery store information - We provide information on where to shop and who offers online ordering and delivery of groceries

PROVIDE A GUIDEBOOK/WELCOME BOOK TO YOUR PROPERTY AND AREA - I can't tell you how many guests have thanked me for having a guidebook! You are the expert in your area, and tips and recommendations on things to do are crucial to your guests for making the most out of their stay. Guidebooks can be as elaborate as you like but should contain the following essential information:

  • Property address and owner or property management contact information
  • Address and phone number of local police & fire department
  • Closest hospital and pharmacy
  • Checklist to follow for both check in and check out
  • Closest grocery store
  • Any pertinent information on operating complicated household appliances or electronics

BE FLEXIBLE WITH CHECK IN AND CHECK OUT TIMES - This is not always possible but nice if you can do it.  Your guests may have a flight that arrives earlier than the check in or a special event to celebrate. I always tell guests to text me the day prior to arrival so that I can confirm if an early check in is available. That way I can make sure the property will be ready and change any door code activation times if needed.

HAVE A KEYLESS ENTRY LOCK - A keyless lock makes it easy on the guests and also easy on you. Guests don't have to worry about arrival times or having to stop and pick up a key. You don't have to worry about replacing lost keys. Codes can be set to activate on the check in date and expire on the check out date and time. An expert tip is to program the last 4 digits of the guest phone number so the code is easy for them to remember. Our cleaning crew has their own code so we can always look to see when the unit has been accessed and cleaned via our online lock portal. We recommend the Yale Keyless lock which can be found at Home Depot, Lowes or Amazon.

 

 

I hope you find these tips useful
~ Happy Renting ~
 

 

 

Ilonka Berryman
Ilonka Berryman


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