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Are You Writing Helpful Reviews for Your Guests?

write airbnb reviews

Writing reviews for guests is a major part of the hosting process, no matter how you look at it. That being said, there’s more than one way to write a review for Airbnb guests… but that doesn’t mean they’re all equal.

When things go smoothly, writing reviews is a breeze – but when things don’t go so well, it can be a challenge.

What habits have you allowed yourself to fall into when it comes to writing reviews, or have you created any habits at all? When a guest’s stay was great, are you reflecting that well? When things go awry, are you deflecting or placing too much blame?

Here are a few quick tips on how to write solid reviews, no matter the situation.

1. If it was a “bad” stay, evaluate your hosting behavior.

Obviously, there are some things that are completely out of your control and anomalies happen. However, as a dedicated and seasoned host, you probably know how to ensure your guests are comfortable and have everything they need.

That said, there are times when you do everything you can and for the guest, that’s still not enough. We’re not saying you should allow yourself to be pushed around, but before you tap the keys to write a negative review, look carefully at the situation and ensure there’s nothing else you could have done to fix the issue.

2. Be honest and specific.

More often than not, if things don’t go according to plan, we worry about being “unkind” and writing a bad review because of how it might reflect back on us as a host. We understand the hesitation, but honesty truly is the best policy.

If a stay was genuinely awful, be specific in your guest review about why that was. This not only gives the guests a heads up about their behavior (which, hopefully, they’ll be willing to change if they stay in future hosts’ homes) but it also gives potential hosts a heads up about what to expect from said guests.

If a stay was great, be sure to sing plenty of praises. In some cases, “short” reviews can be perceived as “negative” reviews for minorly “bad” guests. Don’t force that on your great guests.

All in all, be specific about what happened – good or bad. Great guests appreciate the compliments and bad guests get called out for their bad behavior.

3. Make it personal.

There’s plenty of software out there that will generate positive reviews for you or you may even have some generic reviews written and saved somewhere that you use when the time comes. No matter how you do it, we urge to you personalize your reviews every. Single. Time.

Great guests appreciate the gesture (as review writers themselves, they know the time it can take) and often, they’ll be willing to reciprocate and write a stellar review for you in return. This eliminates some of the “fluff” reviews that are left on your listing.

Let us explain what we mean. Here are two examples of guest reviews that aren’t helpful:

  • “Cindy was a great guest – we hope she will be back!”
  • “Jerry kept our home clean and followed our house. Great guest.”

 

These don’t give any specific detail to what went well during the review or give any indication that you had communication of any kind with your guests. If you’re specific, your guests will be, too.

 

Writing great reviews isn’t rocket science and doesn’t have to be a challenge! Don’t let a few lines of text worry you the next time you’re personalizing a review.

Happy hosting (and reviewing!)!

 

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Fill Vacancies through the Slow Season

slow season vacation rental vacancies

 

Busy season is coming to a close… Winter is coming!

Whether you spent the summer occasionally booked or filled to capacity, things are about to bottom out. Keeping your occupancy rate up is, for the next few months, going to require a little extra work on your part.

So how do you continue to rake in guests when things are quiet on the interwebs?

We have a few suggestions! Which one strikes a cord with you?

1. Create a package deal.

You don’t have to wait for a special event or a major holiday to offer your potential guests a great reason to stay with you. In fact, by offering a package deal that your competitors aren’t, you’re giving yourself an extra little edge.

Many hosts have the most trouble filling weeknight slots – weekends tend to stay fairly solidly booked. Offering special packages is a great way to fill some open spots during the week and entice guests to break away from their normal schedule for an unconventional rendezvous.

Whether you require your guests to stay multiple nights or not is up to you, but make their experience even more memorable by throwing in some pizzazz:

 

 

  • Design a “romantic getaway” for two: This may arguably be a bit overdone, but that’s only because it’s always a crowd pleaser. Throw in some traditional Valentine-esque additions to your guests’ stay, such as a bottle of wine, a box of chocolates, and a lineup of rom-coms to watch so they can enjoy a few of nights of mid-week romance.

 

  • Create a retreat and respite from work: Sometimes, people just need a break from their jobs. Why not offer guests a place to unwind? This works well for folks who may live nearby and just need a break from their own home. Getting away from a stressful environment can be, for some, as easy as living somewhere else for a few days instead of going home to their own place.

 

  • Let the guests focus on food: Give your guests the opportunity to get culinary! Consider subscribing to a meal kit and giving your guests the option to prepare meals for themselves via ingredients delivered to you or to their vacation rental door. This will require some major attention to detail and communication on your end, so be sure you’re well prepared to play chef-host.

 

 

  • Be creative!: The best part of creating package deals is that the sky is the limit! There’s no wrong way to build a unique stay experience for your guests. Go with your gut and plan something you would enjoy. Chances are, you’ll find guests who will love your ideas, too.

 

2. Reach out to previous guests and cut them a deal they can’t pass up.

Every host has a few “favorite guests” they’ve had stay and chances are, the list is fairly short. It never hurts to reach out to folks you’ve hosted before and invite them back for another fantastic stay with a twist.

Offer them the opportunity to stay with you and consider sweetening the invite with one of your fancy package deals or simply at a slightly discounted nightly rate.

This will likely work better if your guests don’t live terribly far away and won’t always work out but it’s worth a try every once in a while. Be sure not to constantly be hitting up your previous guests – that’s a good way to turn fans into enemies.

3. Lower your nightly rate.

If all else fails, drop your nightly rate in the middle of the week. This is a wise thing to do anyway, to a point.

You’re far less likely to stay consistently booked if you stick with your summer rates through the fall and winter. Drop slightly across the board – this may take a little trial and error – and if you spot vacancies a week or two ahead, start dropping the rate on those nights only little by little until you either get booked or time runs out.

Remember, as you make changes to the costs for your guests be sure you’re not messing with your fees to ensure you cover yourself for cleaning costs and other expenses.

 

Pulling in bookings during the slow season isn’t impossible, but it will take a little elbow grease. No matter how you go about pulling in guests, don’t forget that even if you find yourself spending a little more to bring in guests, don’t lose sight of the reality: Some money is better than no money!

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Why Are Local House Cleaning Services Better Than Individual Cleaners?

Local house cleaning servicesWhat does the best cleaning service Playa Vista have to offer? The most obvious answer is that no one does a better job at making your home look absolutely immaculate than the pros. But then again, individual cleaners can do the job just as well. Or can they? As it turns out, in comparison with individual cleaners, local house cleaning services win by a mile. Read on to see all the things they have going for them.

Availability

Imagine receiving a phone call from your high school BFF announcing she is back in Los Angeles and would love to come over and see your beautiful home. Since you don’t have the time to do all – or any – of the cleaning yourself, you’ll reach for professional help. But if your cleaner is unavailable, you have to take your chances with a replacement – if you can find one at such a short notice, that is.

With professional local house cleaning services, however, such a scenario is not likely to happen. They always have a back-up plan and they are always at your beck and call to deliver premium quality services.

Training

Professional local house cleaning services in Los Angeles (at least those worthy of your time) strive to maintain and raise their quality standards. This means not only providing theoretical and hands-on training to their newly-hired employees, but also ongoing education to seasoned employees with years of experience.

Individual cleaners, on the other hand, are not likely to take the same approach to their work and professional development. They’ll go about cleaning your home as they go about cleaning their own, but that might not be good enough.

Guarantee

Top professional house cleaning referral agencies like MaidThis offer 100% satisfaction guarantee, in black and white, which leaves little room for misunderstandings of any kind. If you, the customer, aren’t completely satisfied with the service, the company will go out of their way to make you happy. This might not be the case with individual cleaners.

Costs

As for the actual cost of the service, it largely depends on what matters to you most. If your number one priority is to spend less money, then you might go for the individual cleaner. However, the service might fall short of your expectations. And you never know who might show up. With reputable referral agencies for local house cleaning services, no such risk exists – they always deliver and they match you with vetted cleaning professionals.

Local house cleaning services save you the hassle and guarantee satisfaction

We’ve set out to make a persuasive case in favor of local house cleaning services, and the cleaners MaidThis works with are here to prove it. By teaming up only with the best cleaners, we make it our business to make your home spick-and-span and earn your trust time and again. Call us today and we’ll go above and beyond to provide you with the ideal house cleaning package!

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3 Tips to Save Money on Airbnb Utility Costs

save money airbnb utilities

When it comes to running a successful vacation rental business, saving money where you can means higher profits and more cash in your bank account. That’s just a no-brainer.

So when you don’t live in your vacation rental full-time (or even if you do), how do you cut costs without cutting corners? Make some small adjustments to lower your utility bills.

While you may not see a significant change right away, over time, you’ll be able to see a steady decrease.

Here are 3 easy things you can do to lower your energy costs.

1. Trade out your traditional, “incandescent” light bulbs for energy efficient bulbs.

This is likely the tip you’ve heard over and over, and if you haven’t already changed your old, incandescent light bulbs or stopped buying them, what the heck are you waiting for?

Sure, energy efficient bulbs are more expensive, but they last exponentially longer and can save you a bundle of money on your electric bill.

You have a couple of choices when it comes to choosing more energy efficient bulbs: You can go with LED bulbs or CFL (Compact Fluorescent Light) bulbs. To put things into perspective, here’s a quick cost and usage breakdown for what would equate to a 60-watt incandescent bulb:

 

Incandescent CFL LED
Cost Per Bulb $1-1.50 $2-3 $4-6
Hours of Use 1,200 hours 8,000 hours 25,000 hours
Total Lifespan 0.14 years 0.9 years 2.85 years
Cost over 1 Year $10.95 $2.29 $4-6
Cost for 25,000 Hours ~$31.25 ~$9.38 ~$6

 

Now, $11 per year for incandescent light bulbs might not seem like much, but stop to consider that the $11 is for a single bulb… And how many do you have in your lamps and light fixtures throughout your home? Probably more than one.

In the end, it’s worth it to buy the more expensive bulb upfront.

Want to know more about the differences between LED, CFL, and incandescent bulbs? Check out this handy guide from The Simple Dollar.

2. Reset your hot water heater temperature.

The average hot water heater temperature can generally be set as high as 140 degrees Fahrenheit – that’s hot enough to straight-up scald someone. Though this tends to be the default setting, it’s unnecessary for most households and for more than one reason.

Aside from the burn risks, according to data compiled by the U.S. Department of Energy, setting your water heater temperature too high can drive your annual energy bills anywhere from 4-22% higher than they might otherwise be. Seeing as you have little control over how much hot water your guests use or how often they run the taps or appliances in your place, doing what you can to lower your energy costs is a win.

Experts recommend setting your water heater at 120 degrees. This is still hot enough to deter any bacteria growth and won’t mean cold showers for anyone staying at your vacation rental.

3. Do an insulation check.

If you have leaky windows, door seals, or ductwork, you could be overpaying to cool your home every summer. Like your mom used to tell you, you’re not paying to air condition the outside!

Checking your seals and insulation isn’t as challenging as you think – here are a few tips on how to do it yourself. Alternatively, you can always hire a professional to check your place for you.

 

Saving money on expenses is a fantastic way to increase your take-home pay from every booking you secure. It doesn’t have to be difficult, either. All it takes is a few conscious changes and, before you know it, you’ll be looking for other ways to save a dime or two.

 

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Is It Time to Invest in a New Vacation Rental Property?

airbnb real estate investment

This week, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates a quarter of a percent. Despite the minor increase, it’s still a great time to buy a home for first-time shoppers or a new home for those looking to move or add investment properties.

California’s real estate market is doing well overall and homes that go on the market sell incredibly fast. In fact, in some areas, homes are selling in as little as 18 days on the market! Now that’s some fast turnaround.

california real estate days on market

Let’s Talk Mortgages

According to a report from the first tuesday Journal, a California real estate reporting journal, the average fixed mortgage rate in May 2018 was up by just 1.12% (4.43%) from its lowest point over the last 30 years (3.31% in December 2012). For comparison, the highest average fixed rate over the last 30 years was an astounding 9.62% in January 1991. Though average rates have fluctuated significantly over the last 3 decades, the current numbers are still promising and offer a positive outlook for those interested in purchasing real estate in California.

All in all, things aren’t “bad” in the Golden State.

Reasons to Invest in a New Vacation Rental

If you’ve ever considered purchasing additional real estate as an investment, now might be a great time. Despite the Fed raising rates across the board, California averages are nothing to scoff at.

As they say, “There’s no better time than the present.”

Rates will likely continue to rise steadily over the next several quarters, meaning you’ll save a little more money on your investment if you can get in now.

Here are a few other reasons why taking the plunge and adding another vacation rental might be a wise investment:

 

  • You’re spending money to make money. If you’re really serious about making your vacation rental business an actual business and taking things beyond just a side gig, adding another property could potentially bring in significantly more income. LA is still very much a hot vacation spot; it all depends on where your new place would be located in town.

 

 

  • Property taxes may not be as bad as expected. Thanks to the most recent tax overhaul from Washington, D.C., the federal government will cap property tax deductions on returns filed for 2018 and beyond at $10,000. That doesn’t go very far in California and state politicians have been working to do something about it. In January, California state Senator Kevin de León spearheaded a bill that would allow taxpayers to donate money to the state in exchange for a lower tax bill. Senator de León isn’t the only one working on a solution: Assemblywoman Autumn Burke is working forward a similar solution, too.

 

 

 

 

  • You don’t have to spend a fortune. There’s something out there for every price point. You don’t need to invest in a huge, multi-bedroom home. Consider looking for a small place with enough room to host 1-3 people. If you can afford a bigger place, great. If not, stick to your budget. There will still be guests looking for what you’re offering.

 

Is it time to invest?

Ready to start shopping?! It’s all very exciting, but be sure to think things through before jumping into local real estate listings.

Here are a few questions you should ask yourself if you’re considering buying an investment property:

 

 

  • What can you put toward a down payment? These days, having a down payment is key. Lenders are less likely to offer money to cover this expense.
  • How will you manage both (or all, if you already have more than one vacation rental) of your listings efficiently? Will you enlist the help of a vacation rental management company? Will this be your new full-time job? The logistics are important.
  • Can you charge enough each night to cover your new mortgage payment each month? It’s important to do your research and have a good idea of the going average nightly rate and whether you can charge as much or more based on your home furnishings, location, and so on.

 

 

 

There’s a lot to consider when thinking about adding real estate to your investment plan. However, it has the potential to be lucrative long-term and worth the expense.

 

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Cleaning Service Redondo Beach Shares the Ultimate Spring Cleaning Checklist

Spring cleaning checklist by cleaning services Redondo BeachOut with the old, in with the new! Spring is a time to start fresh, so premium cleaning service Redondo Beach has composed an amazing and helpful spring cleaning checklist to make the process go faster.

Your home will benefit from spring cleaning, and so will you, as you make some extra room, clear your mind and realize that less really is more. Once you’re done, you’ll want to show off your ideally clean and tidy home to all your friends. After all, completing a full-on spring cleaning project calls for a celebration!

Prep is the cornerstone

Not only will a well-thought-out preparation for this massive undertaking save you time and energy, but also help you be more decisive. Haven’t worn a T-shirt in over a year? Give it away or repurpose it. Get some boxes, categorize and subcategorize. Overthinking what stays and what goes only creates a vicious circle. Once you start decluttering like you mean it, you’ll find yourself astonished at how much of the stuff you own is totally redundant.

Cleaners must be good and ready. You’ll need to do some extensive vacuuming, so make sure your vacuum cleaner is perfectly clean itself, ready to tackle every single speck of dust in your home. As for cleaning supplies, don’t let yourself get distracted by too many choices – stick to the essentials. Don’t forget a disinfectant so you’ll know you’ve done an utterly thorough job.

Finally, any helpers (household members or friends) must be completely up to the task. In other words, if they can’t stand the heat, they’ll just be getting in the way.

The checklist

  • Cleaning household appliances – the dishwasher, the washing machine, the fridge and other household appliances must be squeaky clean so as to operate more efficiently.
  • De-gunk the kitchen – every element of your kitchen could, ironically, be the greasiest and germiest. Get scrubbing!
  • Thorough dusting and vacuuming – your vacuum cleaner is your must-trusted ally in this endeavor, as you’ll literally need to vacuum everything (even the ceilings and light fixtures). However, it might be wise to have a professional deep clean the carpets and upholstery. As for the curtains and rugs, they can go in the washer.
  • Make those floors shine – microfiber cloth and a strong cleaning solution is all you need to make floors perfectly spotless and looking beautiful.
  • Remove dust and debris from vents – this is not only about cleanliness, but also about energy efficiency and overall health.
  • Clean the plumbing – spring is also a time to clean the often neglected drains and get rid of those nasty odors.
  • Make the bathroom spotless – apply a cleaner to the grout and tiles, scrub with a brush and rinse. Once all the bathroom elements are absolutely stain-free, you’ll thank yourself.

Time for spring cleaning? Cleaning service Redondo Beach rushes to your aid!

For your home to wake up from its winter sleep looking splendid, and stay neat and tidy after the spring cleaning is done, you’ll need a helping hand. MaidThis offers impeccable cleaning service Redondo Beach so you can enjoy your home in all its glory this spring. Give us a call and let us wow you!

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Apps to Simplify Chores

Apps - best cleaning service downtown Los AngelesHousehold chores needn’t be the bane of your existence. There’s a lot you can do to make them more palatable (like including music in the process) and less complicated (for instance, by organizing your cleaners in a more practical manner). But like with all other things in life, it is wise to do your research beforehand. For a refreshing update of your household management skills, the best cleaning service downtown Los Angeles did some of the research for you.

We share with you the most useful free apps – conveniently categorized – that are guaranteed to simplify dealing with chores. Make the most of our Black Mirror-esque reality and use technology as a powerful tool to make your life and your house cleaning easier.

House Cleaning and Organizing Apps

Once you enter the list of chores and how often you should do each, OurHome will remind you when it’s time to do them, until you mark them as complete. It’s also great if you share your household with others as you can distribute chores between household members.

In the spirit of getting your kids more excited about cleaning, Chore Monster is a cute app to inspire kids to do some of the easier chores so they are rewarded adorable Monster stickers.

Brightnest will make your life incredibly easier by sharing with you handy and interesting cleaning tips and tricks.

Wunderlist is an amazing way to organize your chores like a pro and share them with other family members, with helpful reminders and notifications.

GoodHousekeeping@Home is an awesome app with helpful guides on all you will ever need to know about efficient housekeeping.

Wardrobe Closet Make-over Apps

Project 333 is an excellent way to teach yourself discipline when it comes to impulsive shopping. It helps you take a minimalist approach (also useful for housekeeping in general) so you stick to 33 items per season.

Closet Space is an app that all you fashionistas are bound to love. Not only will it help you reorganize and categorize your wardrobe to save time and energy, but also comes equipped with amazing style and outfit recommendations.

Grocery Shopping and Cooking Apps

Remember the Milk is a go-to app for creating shopping and chore lists and sharing them with others.

Eat This Much helps you plan what you’ll cook each day of the week. It also features recipes so you’ll have more diversity which everybody in your household is bound to appreciate.

Put your home in the hands of the best cleaning service downtown Los Angeles

Here at Maid This, we take great pride in being heralded as the best cleaning service downtown Los Angeles by our loyal customers. We know you have a lot going on, so let us take some of those things off your plate. We promise that our trusted and truly amazing team can turn your life around, so grab that phone and call us today!

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An Easy Guide to Organizing Your Closet (Part 2)

Tidy Clothes - Cleaning Service Orange CountyAs promised in the first part of the guide, here’s the part two of how to organize your closet (and keep it that way). When we left of, you had just ripped apart your closet and if you haven’t sought cleaning service from Orange County’s best maid service, you’re still faced with some huge piles of clothes and a giant mess. Well, it’s time to sort it out.

Label/fold/put away

If you have followed the guidelines, what you are left with now is a selection of clothes you want to keep, semi-organized according to your own standard (type, color, material, season). Now it is your task to fold them and put them back in their place; again, with your own preferred method in place. Tedious work, undoubtedly, but it needs to be done.

Rearrange

If you’ve been battling the lack of storage space, consider doing something different this time. Maybe don’t use as many boxes this time. Or, put your shoes on a rack, rather than keeping them in their respective boxes on the floor of the closet. My personal favorites are hanging compartments. They are exactly as they sound. Compartments for your smaller stuff, like socks or accessories which just sort of hang from the top of the closet, where empty space would have been. Practical –yes, more organized- double yes.

Keep it that way

Ok, this one requires a bit of day-to-day effort. It’s fairly simple. Every day put aside 10 minutes, no more, to put your things back into their place. It sounds stupid and too simple to work, but in fact, it’s the simplest plans that often do the trick. In the long run, you are saving yourself doing another one of these huge clean-ups by doing a series of smaller ones. After a week of two of this regimen, it will feel like a normal part of your day, not a dull chore.

Get one – lose one

This is a very simple mechanism of not overfilling your closet again. For every new item of clothing you want to put in the closet, you must give up one which is already there. If it sounds harsh, remember the clutter from the beginning of this ordeal. This is the right thing to do. As you get new things, you will want to wear them more, leaving your older clothes just sit in your closet. And then, a year from now, you are back at the start of this process and you ask yourself “Have I used this in the past year?”, and get a “Nope, not even once.” as a reply.

Think before you shop

This is less about keeping the closet organized and a bit more about you personally. Look at your clothes. Look at your favorites; can you see who you are? Do you go for a certain color, or fabric? If you are able to identify what attracts you to the clothes you buy, you can choose to be more selective. This will in turn implicitly decrease the likelihood of cluttering in your closet.

The fallout

So, the deed is done, you’ve organized everything, your closet is finally in order. And you have (hopefully) taken steps to keep it that way. Now what? There’s a tip going around the internet saying that if you take a picture of your well-organized closet, it may stay like that longer. I don’t know about that, but what I do know is that you are now faced with the fallout of cleaning the closet. There are boxes, labels, rags to be thrown out, floors to be cleaned, all of it. And you don’t feel like doing that on top of everything you’ve already done. Luckily, you don’t have to. You can hire the best and most reliable cleaning service in Orange County to do it for you. And with flat rates and hourly cleaning options, you can find the best fit for yourself. Contact Maid This! now to find out more.

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