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Having hosted my first Airbnb guest in 2015, I’m a pretty experienced host. When I finished my doctorate, I was broke, broke, broke and as a way to get some extra cash, I started renting out an empty room in my house. I’ve learned a lot since then (some of it the hard way) and I want to share with you some of my insights and tricks.
This summer we decided to list our cabin for short term rentals on Airbnb. We love the place and wanted to share it with others. The response has been incredible! We were almost completely booked solid for the summer before May long weekend! Here are my tips to get your Airbnb booked solid with the best guests!
1) Clear Listing and Clear Expectations
Be accurate with your listing. Whatever type of property you own, whatever type of host you are – just be truthful. There is a market for any type of short term rental as long as it’s priced right. Be clear about what you are offering and no one will be disappointed. On a similar note, be clear about what you expect from guests. Complete your house rules section with notes about pets, smoking, parties, etc. If it is clearly outlined in the house rules then guests can find the right fit.
2) Set Your Price
Airbnb has a price tip option to suggest nightly rates for your property but do not use this function. Airbnb will under value your property every time. Instead, do your own research. Check out comparable listings in the area and price accordingly. When first starting, price just slightly lower than comparables to get reviews on your account and achieve super host status.
3) Getting Your Cleaning Organized
Unless you are going to be available 100% of the time to manage and clean your property, get a reliable house cleaner organized asap. This is one of the most stressful aspect for me. Find a cleaner that you trust and who doesn’t mind cleaning on an irregular schedule between renters.
4) Leave a small gift
A general rule I go by is to leave a gift that is valued at ~10% of a one night stay. For example, our average nightly rate is $129 therefore I leave a gift valued at ~$15. For our first few guests, I was more generous with the gift (e.g. a bottle of wine and chocolate) all to gather those 5-star reviews.
5) Ask For a 5-Star Review
Speaking of a 5 star review…don’t be afraid to ask for one. When guests check out of our Airbnb, I ask them to leave us a 5 star review if they were satisfied with their stay. This helps us host even more guests in the future.
6) Make it personal
I leave a written welcome message at the property for every guest. It includes a picture of me and my husband and a short message welcoming them to the cabin. I leave this note to not only make their stay more welcoming and personal but to also highlight that this is indeed someone’s home and hopefully prevents any damages from occurring.
I think the number one question or concern I hear about Airbnb rentals is surrounding security. How do you know your property isn’t going to get trashed? You can refuse any guest that you are uncomfortable with. You can screen your guests based on other host’s reviews and verification of government issued I.D. If they have bad reviews or no reviews – don’t book them. If damage does occur to your property, you can claim through Airbnb by setting your damage deposit. I’ve had to claim for minor damages in the past and payment was settled in less than 5 minutes.