How to Increase Your Chance of a Successful Listing
Congratulations! You’ve successfully purchased an investment property and are ready to build your passive income stream. You’ve thoughtfully furnished, decorated every space and created a sanctuary for your guests. However, this is not where the job ends. It’s now time to market your property and ensure guests select you over all of the competitors. This is no small feat, but here are 10 ways to increase your chance of a successful listing:
Photography: Probably the most important part of your short term rental listing is the photos. If a picture says one thousand words, it is worth your while to obtain at least 2 high quality photos of each room in the property. You want your guests to visualize themselves in your property, and be able to see where they would be spending their time. It is also important to include photos of the outside – so your guests can easily find the property. If you think your photography skills are lacking, hire a professional! You will easily recoup that investment within your first few bookings.
Location, Location, Location: Your chances of a successful listing increase significantly with more desirable locations. Think about what your objective is with the property.
Is it a beach home? How far is the beach from the front steps? The closer you are, the more bookings you are likely to get
Is this a likely spot for sports fans attending a game, whether its basketball, football, baseball etc? How close of proximity to the stadium is your property? Points for walking distance!
How easily accessible is your property? Unless your goal is to create a remote oasis, clients typically prefer properties that are easy to find.
Regulations: As Airbnb becomes more popular throughout the world, several regions and cities have enacted new laws and regulations that Airbnb owners must abide by. Check with your local government to see what types of regulations they may have. Per Airbnb’s website, some jurisdictions require business licenses and special permits. Some must abide by zoning rules and building standards in order to run as a short term rental. Even the taxes and tenant laws differ from county to county. In addition, if your area has an HOA, make sure they allow for Airbnbs. While the list of regulations to abide by can be exhausting, it will be well worth your time to research prior to finalizing the purchase of the property!
Fill Out All Information: The more information you have on your Airbnb listing, the more visibility you have within the app or website. Airbnb wants everyone, both owners and guests, to have all the information they need to ensure a smooth booking experience. Also, by including things like the wifi password, the house rules, and check-out instructions in your listing, you reduce the amount of questions a guest will have and the amount of time you will need to spend per booking.
Fair Representation: On the note of full information and disclosure, accuracy within a listing is also extremely important. Probably one of the most common reviews is related to inaccuracies within your listing. Here are some common inaccuracies that guests will give you 4 stars or lower for:
Photography is outdated: If you have changed out furniture, removed items like extra beds or pillows, or no longer have a grill as indicated in your listing
Incorrect Claims on Listing: For instance, if you claim to have 1 King bed and 2 Queen beds, but in reality have 1 Queen and 2 Full beds, guests will be sure to let others know
Location: As previously mentioned, guests really care about the location of the property. If you mention it is a 5 minute walk to a site, they take that information into consideration when selecting your property. If it is actually a 20 minute walk, the client will likely not be happy
Review Pricing in your Area: It’s very important to make sure you aren’t pricing yourself out of the market when you first start your listing. A very wise person once told me: you’re competing against the hotels as well, not just the others on Airbnb or VRBO. It makes total sense that most often, guests are not tied to Airbnb or VRBO specifically, but looking for the best rate across all options. If you host 8 guests for $900, but 3 hotel rooms would only cost $700, you could lose the opportunity. On the flipside, we know every property is unique and may have special characteristics that are deserving of that higher price tag. Don’t undersell yourself! Our point is, be honest with yourself and know the true value of your property compared to your competitors.
Build a Local Guide:
While you never know why guests are visiting your area, chances are high that they will want to play tourist for at least a portion of the time they are there. If your area is known for some cool stuff, let your guests know! They always appreciate restaurant and bar recommendations too. We typically aim for 3-5 restaurants, 3-5 bars, any great shops or sites nearby, and rough estimates of the time it takes to walk or drive to each. It does take some time and effort, but we promise it’s worth it!
Response Time: How quickly you respond is not just a Superhost qualification, it is also something guests rave about in their reviews. Take a look at the past 4 reviews one of our clients received:
“…Liz and her team were very responsive to any questions we had about the house”
“…I’ve stayed in lots of Airbnbs, and I’ve rarely had hosts so responsive and helpful!”
“…The best part of the stay with the communication with the host. They were the best communicators that I have encountered throughout my use of Airbnb.”
“Wonderful host, great communication. Check in and out was a breeze”
The results speak for themselves, guests *really* care about response time, so you should too! Try to aim for a 2-3 hour response for future guests, and ideally within an hour (or half hour) for current guests.
Self Check-In: A smart lock typically runs for around $300, but we would pay hundreds more for how important they are to the success of the property! A smart lock is accessible by the owners phone, and can tie into the Airbnb app to automatically generate a 4 digit entry code using the guest’s last 4 digits of their phone number. You can set limits for when they are turned on and off, and even remotely unlock a door if the guest runs into an issue! We typically turn on the code accessibility an hour prior to check-in and turn it off 30 minutes after check-out, to ensure guests are able to access the property.
Quality Cleaning Crew: No one wants to stay in a property that doesn’t feel clean. Make sure you have a solid cleaning crew that you trust to deliver good results each time, or you’ll definitely hear about it from your guests! In addition, utilizing an app like TurnoverBnB that requires photos of each cleaning can provide proper due diligence to ensure the job is getting completed to your liking.
All of these tips and tricks may seem like minor adjustments, but we believe they are non negotiables. Ensuring your Airbnb listing is up to par with the rest of the market can be the difference maker in your revenue stream. And just remember, first impressions are everything! Poor photos, bad reviews, or sparse information can all hinder the success of your Airbnb listing!
Check out our blog for lots of detailed post on how to set up and improve your short term rental properties and listings!