Essential Tips for Being a Successful Airbnb Host

The following excerpt is from the staff of Entrepreneur Media’s book Start Your Own Travel Hosting Business. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

One of the first steps required when joining Airbnb or a similar service is to create a personal profile and a listing for your property on the website.

Before you can effectively promote your service, it’s important to do an honest self-assessment and a thorough analysis of your property. This is an opportunity to promote what you have to offer and why potential guests should stay with you.

Related: 10 Hosting Options Beyond Airbnb

It’s important to establish what you’re willing to offer related to your property. Your options may include:

  • A single private room within your home
  • A shared room within your home
  • Your entire home or apartment
  • A special type of property, such as a guesthouse, cabin, ski chalet, treehouse, castle, studio apart­ment, multi-floor apartment, finished basement, private island, oceanfront villa, loft, townhouse, boat/yacht or bungalow

Next, determine why people will want to stay with you and what you can promote within your property listing in order to get their attention. Some of the key things potential guests might look for include:

Your geographic location. How close is your property to popular tourist attractions, landmarks, special events happening in your area and/or public transportation? What’s desirable about the location?

Available value-added services. Things like on-site or nearby parking, laundry facilities or being walking distance to local shopping or restaurants are always a plus.

Amenities you offer. Being able to offer your guests a private, clean and fully functional bathroom (as opposed to a shared bathroom) is often appreciated by potential guests. Some of the more commonly sought after amenities that potential guests will appreciate include:

  • Access to a full kitchen, with a coffee maker
  • Bedroom windows that open (with a view) but that have curtains or shades for privacy
  • Closets with hangers and/or drawer space within a dresser
  • Desk and/or workspace
  • Easily accessible and available on-site or nearby parking
  • Fireplace
  • Fully equipped dining room (you provide dishes, silverware, glasses, etc.)
  • Heat and/or air conditioning
  • Hot tub/swimming pool
  • In-home gym (workout equipment)
  • In-home WiFi
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Multiple power outlets and/or an available power strip within each bedroom
  • Nightstand with reading lamp
  • Premium bedding, blankets and pillows (If you offer Egyptian cotton sheets with a high thread count, for example, this should be promoted within your property listing.)
  • Secure lock on the bedroom door
  • Shampoo, conditioner, hair dryer and other extra toiletries in the bathroom
  • Television with cable/satellite TV programming available
  • Travel-size toiletries (complementary), ranging from shampoo and conditioner, to soap, mouth wash, toothpaste, etc. (These can be purchased for about $ 1.00 each from a dollar store, super­market or pharmacy.)

Making your property pet friendly and allowing guests to bring their pet(s) may be a sought-after amenity by some potential guests, but if there’s no place for guests to walk their dog, or if you’re concerned about the pets soiling your carpets, ruining your furniture or making too much noise, think twice about allowing pets.

By offering two or more bedrooms with different bed configurations and promoting your property as “family-friendly,” you’re more apt to attract parents traveling with their kids. If you’re looking to provide family-friendly accommodations, you may want to include a video game system, board games and/or toys within your list of offered amenities.

Related: The Key Factors to Consider Before Becoming a Travel Host

Your commitment as a host. Are you willing to prepare meals for or dine with your guests, act as a tour guide, or socialize with your guests? Beyond the bare mini­mums of what’s expected from a host, what else will you offer?

In short, ask yourself, what makes your property so special or unique? Why will people want to stay with you? These are two of the most important questions you’ll need to address, promote and showcase within your Airbnb heading, property listing, photos and personal profile.

Your Airbnb personal profile and property listing should reveal a lot about you

One of the key reasons why Airbnb works as an online community is because hosts and guests alike are asked to create their own personal profile, which is publicly displayed on the service. Potential guests can look at a host’s profile, in addition to their property listing(s), to help make a more educated decision about where to stay. Meanwhile, hosts can review the profile of each prospective guest before making a decision about whether or not to accept a requested reservation.

Your online presence with Airbnb has the following important components:

  • Your personal profile
  • One or more photographs of you
  • Your property listing
  • Photographs that showcase your property
  • Your personal ratings/reviews
  • Your property’s ratings/reviews

Your personal profile introduces you as a person to potential guests and includes a list of identification/contact-related details that have been verified by Airbnb. After Airbnb reveals your identity, your profile will automatically receive and display a “Verified” badge, which helps enhance your credibility on the service.

Your profile page also includes photos of you, details about where you’re from, how long you’ve been a member of Airbnb and a summary of your reviews. Guests often build up a collection of personal reviews that will also be displayed as part of your profile.

The About Me section of your profile can include additional at-a-glance information about you. Ideally, the information you provide can make you come across as more appealing to potential guests who share things in common with you. As a host based in the United States, if you’re fluent in French, for example, and promote this within your profile, travelers visiting from France may be more inclined to stay with you because you speak their language.

Keep in mind that every piece of information that’s requested by Airbnb to include in your personal profile or property listing can help you showcase yourself and your property in a positive way, based on the information you choose to provide. While you always have the option to refrain from sharing certain pieces of requested information, the more forthcoming you are, the easier it will be for potential guests to virtually get to know you, so you can begin building credibility and trust before you begin communicating with or actually meet potential guests.

Last but not least, what you say within your listing is important, but the visual images of your property (the photos) you showcase will ultimately play a huge role in the decision-making process for your prospective guests. Thus, it’s essential that your photos truly showcase your property in the best possible way. Show them the outside as well as specific areas within the property they’ll be utilizing, such as the bedroom(s), bathroom(s), kitchen, patio and/or living room area.

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Entrepreneur: Startup

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