Becoming a successful host with income-generating properties is not as easy as signing up for an account. There are calculated choices to ensure your listing is attractive, receives high reviews and gets rented over and over again.
After three years of hosting with Airbnb (and making a lifestyle out of it), we've learned what works and what doesn't. You can skip the learning curve and become a successful host with these ten tips:
1. Prepare a thoughtful space
The first and most critical component of a successful Airbnb is the space itself. The goal (and part of Airbnb's brand) is to create a space that feels like home. Whether you're renting out an entire house, a private room or a shared space, these two mantras are critical:
Mantra One: Minimal and Modern
Clutter is a real stress inducer, so you should put away any unnecessary items. Rooms with only the essentials (stored in a minimal way) always feel cleaner and brighter.
The space should also be attractive, but clean and modern doesn't have to mean expensive. We find that solid colors in a neutral shade, clean lines and a few fun textures, patterns and colors create a space that feels Insta-worthy.
Mantra Two: Guest Centered
Exercise your imagination and think from a guest perspective whenever you set up a new space. You can make the space even more comfortable by including items like books, toys for children and TV/streaming options.
A house manual is a great way to connect guests with your space and the local area. Write up a list with emergency info, basic house instructions and local recommendations (for restaurants, grocery/liquor and activities). Then, leave it with the keys or a welcome note to encourage guests to read it.
2. Invest in comfortable beds
Good sleep makes for happy guests. While you don't have to buy the most expensive mattress, you'll want to invest in a decent one that's not too hard and not too soft. If you already have a mattress (and it feels more like plywood than bed springs), add a memory foam topper to make it instantly more comfortable.
Create a more inviting sleep space by raising the bed off the ground and onto a frame. You should also hang curtains to block out light and include a lamp by the bed for safe trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
3. Offer soft (and abundant) linens
The same quality advice goes for your linens: don't skimp, but don't splurge. You can find decent bed sheets for $20-$25 at Ross or on Amazon; soft, long-lasting towels at Wal-Mart for $4 a pop; and a stack of washcloths for $4 at Big Lots.
If you plan to accept last-minute reservation or an Instant Book, an extra set of everything will cut your cleaning time in half.
4. Provide easy access
Our guests appreciate a no-fuss check in and check out, and we are successful 95% of the time. Lock boxes, key code entry and smart locks are all effective ways to make accessing rentals easier, but they can fail.
Avoid check-in snafus by testing your lock boxes often and consider leaving an emergency key in another lock box. Guests will lock themselves out once in a while, and keys will get jammed in the boxes—so be prepared!
5. Use targeted titles
When a potential guest is surfing a list of local rentals, they're choosing first by the Ad Title. You can make yours stand out by choosing descriptors that target the needs of your ideal guests.
If you attract families on vacation, include the best amenities of your space and location. If more backpackers and traveling couples book your space, try to include words that tell that story.
Our favorite Ad Title is Tiny House - Rocky Mountain Living because it perfectly describes the experience at our space in Empire, Colorado. It's a tiny house parked 8,000 ft above sea level, surrounded by mountain tops, and includes all of the unique amenities Colorado has to offer. I know our guests agree.
6. Take enticing pictures
Bright, clear and decent-quality pictures can make a real, measurable difference in your bookings. I like to use a Canon DSLR with a 20mm, wide-angle lens to show off the whole room with great detail.
You can also get decent pics by using a smart phone. Just make sure you take advantage of natural light by taking the pictures at an ideal time of day, which is around sunrise or sunset.
7. Write compelling and concise listings
Sell it, but make it brief.
Okay it's not that simple, but seriously: Stop writing so much copy. I'm instantly turned off when I see a four paragraph summary for a private room.
If potential guests don't read the summary, they may not book it. At the same time, if they book the listing but don't read the details there's a bigger problem.
8. Give guests gifts
The difference between a "rental" and an Airbnb is the sense of belonging. You can create this environment by including free gifts for your guests. Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, candy, pretzels, fresh fruit and basic necessities, like salt, pepper and oil, elevate a space into an experience.
9. Add a personal touch
In addition to including freebies for your guests, consider connecting with them on a deeper level. We like to leave hand-written thank you notes and incorporate design features that are relevant to the rental's location. The latter could include a framed map of local hiking trails or paintings/portraits of the local geography.
We think these subtle touches make the people who stay with us feel more like our guests. As a result, people respect our spaces. We rarely (if ever) have trouble with damaged or stolen items, and we think it's in part because of these choices.
10. Be a responsive host
The most important step to building rapport with your guests is to always be available for them. When you take on the responsibility of being a host, you must commit to answering questions and/or troubleshooting with guests at all hours of the day.
While we rarely get the late night text or early-morning call, Jordan is communicating with guests during random times of the day, every single day. You have to be willing (and excited) to be helpful.
Get a better return
You too can become a successful host with income-generating Airbnb rentals. The key is to put the guest first. Start with a solid foundation by preparing the space, support each stay with quality hosting and add a personal touch for a lasting effect. Then, sit back and watch the inquiries pour in.