What makes an Airbnb successful?
Did you know that the fastest-growing segment of Airbnb hosts are older adults? In fact, since 2017, the number of hosts over age 60 increased by 120% increase. And women in this group are rated the best hosts on Airbnb.
Renting out your home can be a great way to make extra income. However, it is not as easy as many think. If you think you can throw a listing on the Airbnb platform without putting in significant time and effort, think again. Interested? Read on.
Our recent Airbnb experience
I returned yesterday from a long weekend in a nearby beach community, where I went with a group of friends for a girls’ trip. It was a really fun little vacation full of laughter and light, something all of us seemed to need. We cooked, shopped, played games, told stories and more. Most importantly, we all returned home with great memories to carry us through until the next trip.
This group is one that has fun whenever and wherever we get together, so the location and accommodations were secondary. We simply enjoy being together. Finding a date that worked for everyone was the bigger challenge. However, we still spent time searching for just the right Airbnb. We had specific requirements and were not sure that what we had in mind was actually available.
Criteria for choosing the Airbnb
First, we needed a home that slept eight to twelve comfortably as we did not yet know how many could join us when we booked. We wanted four to five bathrooms to accommodate this size group. Adequate parking, a roomy kitchen to cook meals, a dining table that seated all of us, and a living area where we could gather were all important too. Internet was necessary as some of us needed to work a bit while there. Finally, in Galveston, a beach community, an oceanfront location was desirable along with big windows to enjoy the view. Seems like a big ask, right? We were thrilled when the three women coordinating the trip sent us the link for the one they decided upon. Based on the photos and the description, it checked off every single box.
The listing was new so there were no reviews yet, but we booked the home feeling confident it would work well for us. So, what’s the problem?
The description vs. of the reality of the listing
It turned out our experience at this particular Airbnb was not great. Though the house was enormous with a lot of potential, the beautiful photos and description did not accurately represent the accommodations. Upon arrival, we found the house was unfinished and needed work. The kitchen that looked large in the photos was actually quite small and the appliances old and dated. The description said the house slept 12, which it did, but there was only one set of dishes for eight in the cabinet. We had to run the dishwasher a few times a day. The tiki bar featured in the pictures was nonexistent. They left one towel for each woman for four days. The internet did not work. The biggest problem was the lack of window treatments to cover the huge windows in the bedrooms, so there was no way to block the bright outdoor lights from the nearby houses or the sun streaming into the rooms in the morning. It rained the first night and the roof leaked leaving puddles in all our bedrooms.
The importance of reviews for both guests and hosts
Reviews are important for both guests and hosts on Airbnb.
As an Airbnb owner myself, it surprised me that the owner (or management company) made no effort whatsoever to leave any “extras” to make their guests feel welcome and comfortable. There was no bottle of wine, little snacks or even a welcome note left for us. No body wash or shampoo left in the bathrooms. No extra blankets. Those types of inexpensive little details go a long way. I know that because while I need to make money and watch my expenses, I have over 100 five-star reviews. Many comment on these little extras. Not only was this house listed on Airbnb before it was ready, but it was done as cheaply as possible. None of us would stay there again or recommend the house to friends.
While there, a review from previous renters came in on the Airbnb platform that talked about some of the issues we experienced. I noticed that the listing got bookings before that review came in; I wonder if the reservations will continue once others provide their honest feedback as we intend to do.
12 Tips to running a successful Airbnb
The listing described above is a great example of why you need to pay attention to how you present your home and market it when renting on Airbnb. The key factors to success include several key factors:
Create an inviting space
The first step to running a successful Airbnb is to create a space that guests will love. Ensure your space is clean, comfortable, and well-appointed. Pay attention to details like comfortable bedding, quality towels, and thoughtful touches like fresh flowers or a welcome basket.
Communicate with your guests
Communication is key. Make sure you are responsive to your guests’ inquiries and questions, both before and during their stay. Provide detailed information about your listing and the surrounding area,and make yourself available to answer any questions that may arise.
Provide excellent customer service
Excellent customer service is absolutely essential to running a successful Airbnb. This includes responding promptly to guests, addressing any concerns that arise, and going above and beyond to ensure they have a great stay.
Price your listing appropriately
Pricing is an important factor to attract guests to your Airbnb. Research comparable listings in your area to ensure your listing is priced competetively. Consider offering discounts for longer stays or off-season bookings to attract more guests.
Market your listing effectively
Effective and accurately marketing your home are very important. Make sure your listing is well-written and includes high-quality photos showcasing your space. Use social media and other online platforms to promote your listing and attract potential guests.
Be a responsible host
Follow all local laws and regulations, ensure the safety of your guests, and be respectful of your neighbors. Doing so ensures your Airbnb is a positive addition to your community and that you are able to continue running a successful business long-term.
The bottom line