11 Things You Must Do To Be a Great Airbnb Host or Property Manager

Staged living room

Airbnb is a profitable side hustle that could easily be turned into a full-time job. The best part is that you don’t even have to have your own property. You can simply act as a co-host or property manager for the property and still make a sizable income. You can also do some of the work as a host but get help with the rest. If you’re ready to jump into the world of Airbnb hosting and managing vacation rentals, here are 11 things you must know (and do) to be a great host or property manager.

1. Run Your Listing Like a Business

If you’re serious about making money via Airbnb, then you’ll want to start treating your listing like a business from the very beginning. Guests are paying you to stay in your space, so you’ll want to adopt the same hospitality standards as a hotel. Guests know they aren’t booking a hotel, but it doesn’t mean they won’t have high standards. Keep your space sparkling clean and treat all guests in a professional manner. Additionally, keep an eye on your competition (i.e. pricing, amenities offered, etc.) to keep your listing(s) competitive. It’s also important to know your local laws so you can run your listing legally.

2. Give Your Space Some Character

Common advice is to keep your Airbnb minimalistic. However, the issue with this is that it can feel sterile and unlived in. Instead, try to give your space some character by adding paintings to the wall, using decorative blankets, pillows, etc. You just want to avoid anything that personalizes the space too much, such as family photos, that will make guests feel like they are intruding in your space.

3. Work with a Professional Cleaner

Cleanliness is one of the biggest concerns of guests. Working with a professional cleaner will save you time to work on other aspects of the business and helps make sure the job is done right. You want a cleaner that can accommodate last-minute reservations, has positive past references, communicates well, and pays attention to details. It may even be helpful to find a cleaner that does laundry and restocking as well. Once you find the cleaner for your listing, you want to make sure your cleaning fee on the listing covers the cost of the cleaner’s services.

4. Be Upfront with Guests

When you create your listing you want to be upfront with your guests. If there are issues with your property, put it in the listing so your guests know what to expect. This helps ensure a guest has reasonable expectations when coming to your property. Don’t photoshop your photos or cover up anything about the property that may not be for all guests. For example, if you have an older home be sure to list that it is older and that it may be creaky and a bit drafty.

5. Post Your House Rules on Your Listing

The Airbnb platform has a space for you to upload your house rules directly to your listing. You definitely want to post your house rules here. Doing so lets guests know what is expected of them before they book your property. Additionally, it also gives you a central place to store your house rules. This means that the guest will always have access to them as long as they have access to the app.

6. Re-Think Instant Booking

While instant booking can keep your room booked, it doesn’t mean it’s always booked with a suitable guest for your property. Turning off instant booking allows hosts to vet their guests before accepting their bookings. During this vetting process, you can learn more about the guest who wants to stay at your property. If they are not a good fit for your property (i.e. clashing personalities, etc.) then you can deny the booking. Booking with the right guest can reduce the number of problem guests you’ll have and improves your chances of getting a 5* review.

7. Communication is Key

Communication is perhaps the most important aspect of the Airbnb platform. You want to make sure your responses are prompt and professional at all times. It’s important to communicate with guests before their arrival as well as during their visit to see if they need anything. This gives them an opportunity to let you know if they are unhappy and also gives you the opportunity to fix it. If a guest lets you know that something has gone wrong, always make sure to fix it right away.

8. Keep It on the Platform

One of the downfalls of using the Airbnb platform is the fee the company takes from each stay. Sometimes you’ll have guests that want to extend their stay or become a return guest off-platform. As tempting as this may be, it’s ill-advised. Airbnb does offer protection for the host, which is only applicable when the booking is made via the platform. You’ll also want to keep your communication with guests on the platform as it can help in the resolution of any disputes with guests.

9. Little Things Go a Long Way

It’s the little things that can enhance a guests’ experience and get you the coveted 5* review. Think about the activities in your area and make sure you have the things a guest would need on hand (i.e. beach towels, corkscrew and wine glasses, etc.). Also, consider your amenities and why a guest would choose them. For example, if you offer kitchen use make sure it is fully stocked. These little things can help enhance your guests’ experience at your listing.

10. Keep Your Guests in the Loop

Making a guidebook for your property and giving guests a walk-through at check-in can help keep guests in the loop. This is especially important if your listing has any particular quirks, such as a tricky stove, a thermostat, a washing machine, etc. This can help your guests move about your space with ease without getting frustrated at things not working the way they expect them to. 

11. Always Review a Guest

When a guest checks out, it is helpful to remind them to review their stay. Many successful hosts also mention to guests the value of a 5* rating and the fact that anything less than 5* can hurt their listing. This is helpful as Airbnb’s rating system is different than that of a hotel. When it comes to reviews though, with Airbnb it’s just as important to rate your guests. Plus, this also helps remind guests who have not yet reviewed you.

It’s All About Guest Experience

Being a great host means making sure your guests have a great experience staying at your listing. Many times guests choose Airbnb over a hotel just for this reason–the personalized experience they get. As a host, it’s important to remember that you won’t make every guest happy. There will be the few guests that are difficult to deal with or that you have to ask to leave, but overall most guests are good. Just focus on keeping your listing competitive and work towards giving guests the best possible experience and you will be well on your way to becoming a great Airbnb host.  

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