Getting into the short-term rental market is an exciting opportunity since it yields great returns. Most property owners are attracted by the prospect of earning more for their rentals and they turn to Airbnb to maximize their investment. However, doing so without proper guidance may leave a host either underwhelmed with the property’s income or overwhelmed with the things they need to know and do to maintain their rental property. We’ve created this article to list down the most common rookie mistakes new hosts make so you can avoid these pitfalls for yourself.
Having no clue what it’s like to stay at an Airbnb
You’ll be surprised to know that some hosts who are running their own Airbnb have never stayed in one. They assume that they have nothing to learn from being an Airbnb guest since it seems like managing a short-term rental is a whole different ball game. While this is true, it doesn’t mean that staying in several Airbnbs won’t be beneficial for you too.
When you stay at other people’s properties, you get a feel of what guests experience when they book a short-term rental. It will also give you an idea of what you like and what you don’t like about the hosts from a guest’s perspective. You get to experience the best practices that existing hosts implement in their property, and you can certainly learn from them. Do you like how the host communicated in the first property you stayed in but the amenities provided in the second one seems better? Pick these up and apply them to your property. Before you know it, you are creating your brand as a host from all the great practices you have encountered during your time as a guest.
Overselling your property in its listing
You must present your property in the best light when you create a listing on Airbnb. Professional high-quality photos and well-written copy are a must. However, make sure that what you place in your listing is still an accurate and fair depiction of what your property really is. Hosts who say one thing but deliver something else can expect disappointed guests and bad reviews.
To avoid this, make sure that your property’s photos, though high quality, are recent. You don’t want to show the picture of your property from 10 years ago when it was brand new but it’s not an accurate portrayal of what it looks like now. In your description, don’t say that it’s a short walk to the bus stop when you know it’s five kilometres away. While getting plenty of bookings may seem like the top priority, this can be short-lived if you make your guests unhappy stay after stay. They can leave less than stellar reviews about your property and turn off potential guests who are looking at your Airbnb listing.
Thematically styling your property
While it can work for some cases, setting up your Airbnb with an overly specific “pirate theme” or “space theme” can actually limit the number of people that your property attracts. It may look fun and quirky, but know that it may appeal to a limited number of travellers. While it's nice to have something unique about your property, don’t go over the top and risk alienating a large percentage of potential guests.
A good tip to keep in mind is to give your property some thoughtful touches that provide your place some personality without going overboard. Two to three pieces of furniture or even a matching rug can give it that cohesive feel for the look you’re going for. Note that not everything has to be the same colour or the same material. A clean and neutral feel with a slight pop of colour here and there will attract a broader range of guests than an excessively frilly and cluttered apartment would in the long run.
Acting like your guests’ best friend or not caring at all
Guest communication can be tricky. You don’t want to seem too impersonal but not too chummy with them either. Keep in mind that different guests have different preferences so a good way to know how you can best act as a host is to take their lead. If a guest is acting friendly, match that energy and be friendly too without being too personal. If your guests seem like the type who would rather be alone, don’t come knocking on the door when they stay over to give them maps and pamphlets of all the local attractions and volunteer as a tour guide. Act accordingly depending on your guests’ personality and you might get great reviews on your hosting prowess.
Never lowering your nightly rate
It’s good to know what your property is worth and not giving in to potential guests who are sending unreasonable enquiries if you can lower your rate just for them. What’s not good, however, is never compromising if you know that you don’t have enough bookings to start with. If you know that your property will be vacant next week, wouldn’t it be better to lower the rate a bit and get bookings in those closely upcoming dates versus not getting any guests at all? Your property’s performance won’t depend on one day, but on the overall revenue you get month on month and year on year. You may choose to rent out your property with a lower rate on slow days but increase the prices when you know it’s peak season. Dynamic pricing is key if you want to maximize returns.