Here are 9 Important Airbnb Listing Tips for Vacation Rental Hosts:
- Don’t use bland, boring descriptions for your photos
- Use Instant Book
- Use landscape oriented photos
- Don’t wait to respond to guest inquiries
- Don’t rely on Airbnb Smart Pricing
- Don’t ignore your calendar
- Link your Homeaway/ VRBO calendars
- Fill out the Airbnb Guidebook
- Include a floor plan image
Don’t Use Bland, Boring Photo Descriptions In Your Airbnb Listing
The description portion of your photos is critically important to the success of your listing. Instead of saying “Living Room” for the description, say something like “After an amazing evening out on the town, come back to our cozy, relaxing living room. Kick off your shoes and enjoy some Netflix on our 55″ plasma TV.”
You want to make the potential guest feel like he is already experiencing your place, without even leaving his living room. These types of descriptions will get more bookings!
Use Instant Book
If you don’t want more listing, leave Airbnb’s Instant Book off. But if you do want more listings, be sure to turn it on. I was apprehensive to initially turn this feature on because you aren’t allowed to ask the guest questions before they book. Fortunately, you can set up your Guest Requirements, requiring guests to meet certain criteria in order to Instant Book. These include:
- Profile Photo
- A Government-Issued ID (verified by Airbnb)
- They are recommended by other hosts and have no negative reviews
These screening options are somewhat limited because you can’t screen by how many reviews the guest has. So a guest may have one review, and be able to Instant Book. That review may not include any description by the previous host.
But Airbnb says you can cancel any Instant Book reservation penalty-free if you are not comfortable with the guest. You can also message the guest to get a better idea of what their situation is and if they are local.
I have had a couple of not-so-great experiences with Instant Book guests that had only one review, so make sure to ask the guests as many questions as you can.
Also note that if you require Instant Book guests to have no negative reviews, you’ll not receive guests with zero reviews. These may be perfectly great guests, but you will have no track record to screen your guests. Some hosts don’t mind accepting guests without any reviews. Inevitably, it’s up to you.
Be very wary of letting a local stay, especially if they are last-minute bookings. There are many horror stories out there regarding these types of reservations.
Never let someone book through a middle-man. You’ll get an Instant Book reservation with this message: “Hi, I have friends coming into town for the weekend. They are clean and respectful.” We recommend declining these because the actual guests have no reviews, and you’re relying on the word of someone else.
Taking all this into consideration, once I switched on Airbnb Instant Book, I was very pleased by the large number of extra bookings. Almost all have them have been great guests.
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Use Landscape Oriented Photos in Your Listing
You may have a slender room that is just crying out for a tall, portrait style photo. I had several in my home. After spending hours setting up these shots, editing the photos, and uploading, I discovered that vertical photos look horrible on Airbnb.
These types of images are cropped and compressed in order to fit in the landscape framework that Airbnb likes. So go with landscape orientation!
Don’t Wait To Respond To Guest Inquiries
Here’s another Airbnb listing tip: Don’t wait more than an hour to respond to incoming guests questions. Responding to incoming guest inquiries is of utmost importance to Airbnb. They want hosts to get back to guests right away. Airbnb rewards hosts who respond quickly by pushing the host’s listings higher in the search results. A win for the host and Airbnb!
If you can’t appropriately respond to guest’s inquiries within an hour, set up a message template that says “Hi there! Thanks for your question. I’m currently unavailable but will respond to your message shortly. Thanks for your patience!” This way Airbnb thinks you’ve addressed the guests question within the hour time frame. It also lets the guest know you are aware of their question.
Don’t Rely On Airbnb Smart Pricing
Don’t rely on the Airbnb Smart Pricing tool. Many hosts have found it prices your listing too low. Of course, this makes sense because Airbnb wants more bookings.
Instead, try services like Wheelhouse. There is an additional charge, but it is minimal and is well worth the money. Wheelhouse‘s pricing platforms integrates with your Airbnb calendar and automatically adjusts prices based on events and demand in your area.
They have many markets/cities available across the country, including my home base of Boise, Idaho. You’ll just set the minimum price you’ll accept and the average nightly rate you want. Based on those two numbers, Wheelhouse will fluctuate the nightly rates to get more nightly income for their customers.
Don’t Ignore Your Listing’s Calendar
You must not ignore your calendar. It is believed by many that Airbnb’s algorithm likes hosts to check in on their calendar every day. This can lead to more guest views on their platform.
So make sure to open your Airbnb app calendar every day. You don’t need to change any prices, you just have to click on the calendar to let Airbnb know you are engaged.
Make Sure To Link Your Homeaway/ VRBO Calendars
If you have a separate Homeaway or VRBO account, make sure to link up the calendars. This is a very simple process and will allow you to view both your Airbnb calendar and Homeaway/VRBO calendar in your Airbnb calendar. If a reservation is made on Homeaway, it will be shown on your Airbnb calendar.
You will need to monitor your calendar, because if someone on Homeaway makes a reservation and then cancels, it may still show up as blocked on your Airbnb calendar.
Check Out These Other Articles On Rental Recon:
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- The 5 Best Wifi Routers for Airbnb: Screaming Fast Options for Hosts
- The 5 Best Grills for Airbnb: Are Gas, Charcoal or Pellets Best?
Make Sure to Fill Out The Airbnb Guidebook
It can be a struggle to find the Airbnb House Manual Instructions when creating a listing. But it is well worth filling out. You will be able to input all of your favorite restaurants, attractions, and venues into the guide. You can also include your house rules, check-in and check-out times, etc.
Include A Floor Plan in Your Listing
Many hosts don’t think about providing guests with a floor plan of their home. Guests can get a better sense of how your pictures integrate together when comparing them to the floor plan.
If you’re looking for an easy way to get a floor plan image generated for your home, you can try Fiverr.com. Many designers on Fiverr will provide a standard floor plan and 3d floor plan for around $30-$60.