Airbnb hosts explain what it takes to list a rental, from doing good with neighbors to unforgettable touches guests will love

While some hosts may store sentimental items when renting their personal accommodations, many are confident in their guests. In five years of listing her apartment, Wasanga has never had a problem. He decorated the place to suit his personality and reinvested all the profits he had made on Airbnb back into the property: a “reinvestment in my own comfort that trickled down to guests,” he shares.

Renee Adams’ converted river barn in Essex, Connecticut

Courtesy of Airbnb

Make yourself at home—literally

The best way for a new host to anticipate a guest’s needs is to walk in their shoes. “I decided that my little house should offer the same thing as a good hotel room, with a little more,” says Skoglund-Voss, who spent several nights in his rental before putting it online. That way, she says, “you’ll experience it as a guest and learn what’s needed to feel comfortable.”

Describe the property and all its particularities

Ruteen uses bullet points to make its ads more skimmable and tinkers by teasing different amenities in its ad headline, especially during low occupancy times. Other hosts change their titles seasonally. The one thing they all seem to agree on is to fully and accurately describe your space from the start. Adams’ River Barn, for example, is next to a busy road. “Instead of hiding this fact,” she says, “I draw attention to it to set expectations and avoid negative criticism.”

Invest in professional photography

“My first photos were taken with my phone and really terrible,” admits Wasanga, whose Nairobi apartment went for nine months without any bookings. He almost quit Airbnb until he figured out what the problem was: poor pictures. He asked a professional photographer friend to shoot his ad in a more flattering light and that did the trick. Ross hired a professional photographer early on. “It makes the listing much more refined and elevated, and speeds up the booking rate,” he says. “People are willing to pay more for a property that has clearly been invested in. If you spend $200-$500 on a photo shoot, you might be able to charge an extra $20-$100 per night, so it pays for itself in no time. “In fact, every time Ross changes his furniture or upgrades the house, he brings the photographer back for a new shot. He even gets paid to document it in multiple seasons. Images are “the lifeblood of a listing,” adds Cohen. “Having amazing photos paints the image of the property better than a description ever could.”

Set a price that meets seasonal travel trends

Like hotels, there are high seasons, low seasons, and shoulder seasons, so rental prices vary depending on demand. “At first it was a giant guessing game, but eventually I found my sweet spot,” says Adams, whose friend, a hospitality professional, advised him to follow everything (the weather and the local events, for example) which could increase or decrease costs. . While Airbnb provides algorithmic tools to help hosts determine what to charge, Ross and Cohen both supplemented that with research from PriceLabs and AirDNA, two popular platforms for short-term rental analysis. term.

Design a cleaning plan

Hosts have no idea about the upkeep required to run an Airbnb until they clean the toilets and change the sheets between each reservation. “I don’t think any host can understand that until they’re forced to do the work,” says Adams, who handled every revenue herself when it launched. Now she has an excellent housekeeping team in place. Plus, every time a customer mentions the word “clean” in a review, the team receives a $50 bonus.

Treat the ad like a brand

With 5.6 million active listings, it’s not enough to simply post a property on Airbnb and wait for bookings to arrive. You must actively to sell this. Adams, a former digital marketer and saleswoman, launched a website, Instagram handle (@riverbarnct), and Facebook page for her river barn from the get-go. The workload got so demanding that Adams hired a social media manager to help him keep up. Together they have launched a hashtag campaign, #riverbarnreads, and plan to launch a quarterly newsletter.

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