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Here’s How to Set Up a Vacation Rental Website (and Why You Should)

set up airbnb website la

In the age of Airbnb, it’s easier than ever to turn your home into a vacation rental property. That means there’s more competition, especially in popular vacation destinations like Los Angeles and Orange County. Websites like VRBO are so saturated with vacation rental properties that it can feel impossible to get noticed, which means hosts have to get creative in order to be successful.

Fortunately, there’s an easy way to stand out from the masses: By setting up your own vacation rental website.

Why You Need a Vacation Rental Website

Setting up a vacation rental website gives you the power to completely customize the booking experience for your clients. You can post incredible photos, highlight key features, and add your own personal touch so your clients can get to know you. In a sea of vacation rental properties, these extra steps can go a long way towards securing more bookings.

If you’re overwhelmed at the thought of creating a website from scratch, there’s no need to worry. It’s never been simpler to get your own personalized vacation rental website up and running.

5 Steps to Set Up Your Site

There are 5 major steps to take in order to get your vacation rental website off the ground.

1. Choose a host: The first step is to choose a host for your website. There are plenty of free options, like Weebly and Wix, as well as paid options like GoDaddy, SiteGround, and Squarespace. Each one offers different levels of customization, so choose one that’s within your comfort zone. Companies like Rentivo or Lodgify cater specifically to vacation rental properties.

2. Pick your domain name: This should be something catchy that captures the essence of your vacation rental experience. It needs to be easy to spell and shouldn’t be so long that a potential client would have a hard time typing it in. Search for a few preferred names – you may have to get creative if your first choice is already taken.

3. Design your site: Depending on the hosting service you choose, this could be as easy as dragging and dropping the page elements you’d like to have. Prepare to spend some time uploading quality photos and writing good, informative content that would answer a potential customer’s questions before they ask.

4. Optimize your content: Use a tool like Ubersuggest to discover what local keywords people are searching (for example, “vacation rentals in the Bay Area.”) Then incorporate these words naturally into your web content. You don’t want it to sound robotic, but you do want to capitalize on searches for those keywords.

5. Make it easy to use: The whole purpose of your vacation rental website is to secure more bookings, so you want it to have a simple interface. Include a contact form so people can get in touch, and head off potential questions with About and FAQ pages. Think about what features VRBO and Airbnb lack and be sure you include them on your website.

 

Overall, setting up a vacation rental website is a quick and easy way to stand out in a crowded market. With a little time and patience, you’ll have a slick website that shapes your customers’ rental experience from the very first click.

 

A vacation rental website can be the boost you need to see more business. If increased bookings leave you wishing for a turnaround cleaning service for your space, check out what MaidThis! can do for you!

 

Clean my
Vacation Rental


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  • Automated Scheduling
  • Cleaning Report with Pictures
  • Never a No-Show. Guaranteed.
Book Now

Testimonials

At first I tried to take care of all of the cleaning process myself, and it turned out to be a bigger headache than anything else. So a friend told me about MaidThis and its been fantastic. I’ve been working with my cleaners for a few months so far. I recommend you check out the service for yourself.
Brent
Airbnb Host in LA
90+

Hours
Saved

I definitely think that as a company we've been able to make more money, not only because we're saving money by using Maid This, but also because they're helping take a few of the necessary evils with doing vacation rentals off of the property managers plate.
Laura G
Airbnb Host in LA
90+

Hours
Saved

Blog

Getting Ready for Tax Season

airbnb taxes tax season airbnb

April 15th. (Insert yawn and/or low grumble here)

We love to hate it. It’s the dreaded American tax day and it’s knocking on our doors! Before you know it, it will have come and gone for another year – it’s just over 4 weeks away. Are you ready?

If you haven’t filed yet (if you have, good for you, early bird!), we’ve got a few tips to help you, hopefully, get the best return or lowest payout to the good ole IRS. Check out our suggestions below.

1. Keep meticulous track of expenses.

Some folks are really good about this and don’t miss a single expense. Others of us have good intentions but are sitting on a mound of receipts for which we can’t recall any details.

Make spreadsheets your friend and track every penny you spend. If you’re just starting out, consider taking the time (or hiring someone to help) you organize your receipts into one or a series of spreadsheets.

After you file your 2018 taxes next month, get started on documenting all your expenses so far from 2019 so you’ll be ahead of the game for next year. Continue with this pattern so you’ll remove the headache altogether for next time.

2. Consider what you might be able to write off that you hadn’t thought of before.

We all think long and hard about what we can “get away with” because no one wants to pay more in taxes, really. But there may be a few things lurking in your corner that you don’t realize you can take into consideration.

Here are a few ideas:

  • If you’re renting only a room in your home, wrap a portion of your mortgage or rent payment into your annual expenses.

 

  • Any and all fees collected by Airbnb, VBRO, etc. are deductible. You’re paying them out of your earnings, yes, but those are expenses you’d otherwise have in your pocket.

 

  • Any payments you make or fees you incur for services are expenses. Turnover cleanings from your MaidThis cleaning team, the serviceman who fixed the washing machine when it broke down a few months ago, improvements you’ve made to your home or rental, an annual HVAC inspection… all of these things affect both you and your guests, so they’re free game. If it’s part of running your business and keeping your guests comfortable, add it to your expense list.

 

 

3. Be prepared to pay “self-employment” taxes.

If you’re renting out your home or a room in your home for less than 14 days a year, the IRS isn’t interested in collecting taxes on money that you’ve earned in that time. Breathe easy.

For those of us who are running a side hustle or full-fledged business with our vacation rentals, however, it’s a different story.

Regardless of whether or not you’re renting out your place or a room in your place for more than 14 days a year, first of all, keep meticulous records of check-ins and check-outs.

If you are hosting more than 14 days per year, be prepared to pay self-employment taxes, especially if you don’t have another job or means of income.

From a self-employed standpoint, a good rule of thumb is to assume you’ll need to pay about 30% of your income back towards taxes. This covers Social Security, Medicare, and other federal taxes a traditional employer would deduct for you every pay period. As a self-employed earner, that’s all on you now. A tax specialist can help you navigate the best solution for this.

To play it safe, you can cover your bases and pay… or take a chance, cross your fingers, skip it, and hope for the best.

 

Going it alone and filing on your own is certainly the most cost-effective way to file your taxes. However, the smartest move is to find a tax specialist that can help you specifically with Airbnb and vacation rental tax subtleties, like the friendly folks at Shared Economy Tax.

So, are you ready to file? Don’t worry too much and certainly don’t delay – April 15th will be here before you know it! Stay tuned to your inbox for tips on how to get organized for next year and avoid the tizzy.

 

Clean my
Vacation Rental


single-blog-sidebar-vacation-rental
  • Automated Scheduling
  • Cleaning Report with Pictures
  • Never a No-Show. Guaranteed.
Book Now

Testimonials

At first I tried to take care of all of the cleaning process myself, and it turned out to be a bigger headache than anything else. So a friend told me about MaidThis and its been fantastic. I’ve been working with my cleaners for a few months so far. I recommend you check out the service for yourself.
Brent
Airbnb Host in LA
90+

Hours
Saved

I definitely think that as a company we've been able to make more money, not only because we're saving money by using Maid This, but also because they're helping take a few of the necessary evils with doing vacation rentals off of the property managers plate.
Laura G
Airbnb Host in LA
90+

Hours
Saved

Blog

3 Steps to Get Ready for Spring

airbnb spring preparation

 

Spring is coming!

It’s the season of beginnings and rebirth – so why not check out how things are going in your vacation rental?

Prepping for spring and the busy season doesn’t have to require a ton of extra effort on your part. Here are 3 quick steps to take to get ready for the next high season.

1. Clean all the less conspicuous nooks and crannies.

When your cleaning team does a turnover job, they scrub all the “usual” areas that everyone sees. However, there are certainly spots that go without special attention from check-out to check-out.

When we say “all the nooks and crannies,” we’re talking all the little places in your home you never think about:

 

  • Inside cabinets, closets, and drawers.
  • All the exposed baseboards.
  • Windows (inside and out) and blinds.
  • Inside and behind the oven.

 

There’s a lot to think about when it comes to your vacation rental and the revolving door means more wear, tear, and dust on your stuff. Spring is the perfect time to give everything a good go-over with a fine-toothed comb.

Ask your cleaning team to add some extra tasks to your next turnover cleaning. Trust us: It’s money well spent.

2. Inspect your linens.

With so many folks coming and going, your linens are in a constant state of recycling. Depending on how long your guests stay and how often you have guests booked back to back, you may be washing towels and bedsheets multiple times in a single week.

Let’s face it: Your linens take a beating. It’s a good idea to give your linens a good go-over at least once a year, but ideally, you should do it every 6 months to be sure there are no rips, stains, or other marks of imperfection.

When you replace your linens, don’t automatically toss them in the trash! If your things are still usable and in decent shape, donate them to a secondhand store like Goodwill or the Salvation Army, or drop them off at a shelter.

3. Refresh your welcome packet.

How often do you go through your welcome packet or canned messages to make changes? Or, more importantly, when was the last time you did it?

If you haven’t made any changes since putting things together, now is the time:

 

  • Check on the reliability of the information you provide. Is it still accurate and up-to-date?
  • Add helpful tips or “bonuses” if you’ve made a few partnership contacts in your community.
  • Remove old and expired coupons or outdated event information.

 

Guests love a well-stocked welcome packet, so make sure to give yours a little shine up every once in a while.

 

Don’t wait too long before getting to work on your spring checklist. Before you know it, the high season will be here and there won’t be time to prepare – you’ll already be knee deep in bookings!

 

No matter how you go about preparing for a new year, give it all you’ve got. After all, your guests will appreciate it more than you know.

 

Clean my
Vacation Rental


single-blog-sidebar-vacation-rental
  • Automated Scheduling
  • Cleaning Report with Pictures
  • Never a No-Show. Guaranteed.
Book Now

Testimonials

At first I tried to take care of all of the cleaning process myself, and it turned out to be a bigger headache than anything else. So a friend told me about MaidThis and its been fantastic. I’ve been working with my cleaners for a few months so far. I recommend you check out the service for yourself.
Brent
Airbnb Host in LA
90+

Hours
Saved

I definitely think that as a company we've been able to make more money, not only because we're saving money by using Maid This, but also because they're helping take a few of the necessary evils with doing vacation rentals off of the property managers plate.
Laura G
Airbnb Host in LA
90+

Hours
Saved

Blog

Increase Your Occupancy Rate this Valentine’s Day

increase airbnb occupancy valentines day

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. If you’ve still got availability in the month of February and are looking to increase your occupancy rate, there’s no better time to exploit a holiday to get a few more bookings.

We’ve got a few tricks up our sleeve to recommend but whatever you do, don’t delay! The holiday will come and go before you know it. The longer you make your stand-out deal available, the better.

Here are 3 foolproof tips for using Valentine’s Day for your booking advantage.

1. Update your listing to include some V-Day bonuses all month long.

Before you go changing things in your listing, we recommend that you copy and paste your current, “everyday” listing information somewhere where you can access it and bring it back later, like a Google doc. That way, when your special is over, you can easily revert your listing back to the way it was.

Start by changing your listing header to include something about Valentine’s Day. If you’re throwing in a little something extra, like a bottle of wine or romantic add-ons, mention it in your headline.

Be sure to describe these things more specifically in your listing, too, so you can bait and hook guests who click on your listing.

We recommend running these specials all month long and here’s why: Valentine’s falls on a Thursday this year and, as always, couples don’t always celebrate on the actual day or weekend. February is a month-long love fest, so don’t take away your special offer too soon.

2. Advertise your place on Facebook and Instagram.

You don’t have to have a vacation rental website to advertise on Facebook. While you do need a Facebook page or, in the case of Instagram, an Instagram account, to advertise on each platform, both are quick and easy to set up and don’t need to be flashy to get your point across.

When it comes to advertising on these two social media giants, Facebook and Instagram are now one entity so you can prepare for two things at one time if you’re vying to advertise on both platforms. The best part is that marketing your Airbnb listing through Facebook is incredibly affordable and you don’t need to be a social media or marketing whiz.

That said, if you’re not familiar with Facebook ads, diving in can be overwhelming. There are so many choices and options for where to place your ad and how to set it up – but don’t let it scare you! Dive into some solid how-to articles (get started on your new Facebook page by following steps from this Buffer article and get tips for ads from this article by Hootsuite) and dip your toes into the social marketing game.

3. Get in touch with your “best” previous guests.

We always recommend ringing up your previous guests and offering them another great stay. If they were happy before, chances are they’d love to visit you again.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when running through your guest Rolodex:

  • If your guests live far away, they’re less likely to take you up on your offer. However, if your guests live close, they’re better candidates to whom you can reach out.
  • If you have guests that have stayed with you multiple times already, add them to the top of your list.
  • Offer all your guests a special bonus for referring new friends of theirs to your place in the month of February. Don’t forget to follow through with whatever you promise.

 

Don’t let a great opportunity pass you by this month. February is a great time to try out a few new things for a short period and track the benefits.

 

Clean my
Vacation Rental


single-blog-sidebar-vacation-rental
  • Automated Scheduling
  • Cleaning Report with Pictures
  • Never a No-Show. Guaranteed.
Book Now

Testimonials

At first I tried to take care of all of the cleaning process myself, and it turned out to be a bigger headache than anything else. So a friend told me about MaidThis and its been fantastic. I’ve been working with my cleaners for a few months so far. I recommend you check out the service for yourself.
Brent
Airbnb Host in LA
90+

Hours
Saved

I definitely think that as a company we've been able to make more money, not only because we're saving money by using Maid This, but also because they're helping take a few of the necessary evils with doing vacation rentals off of the property managers plate.
Laura G
Airbnb Host in LA
90+

Hours
Saved

Blog

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!

Testimonials

Blog

How One Airbnb Host Grew Her Business to 9 Airbnb Properties

davida horn airbnb host interview

Recently, we at MaidThis! cleaning had a wonderful opportunity to chat with and interview Davida Horn, an LA-based Airbnb and vacation rental host. Davida manages a whopping 9 properties throughout the Los Angeles area and has tons of wisdom to offer other hosts and hosts-to-be. (If you’re a new host, she’s got some great advice!)

Check out our interview with Davida and learn more about the systems she uses to keep herself organized and sane, what systems she uses to communicate with her guests, and her “hands-off” method for earning dozens of 5-star reviews.

 

 

 

 

***************

 

 

MaidThis!: It’s so nice to chat with you, Davida! Thank you for taking the time to talk with us.

Davida Horn: It’s nice to talk with you, too. Thank you for the invitation.

MT: Of course! Well, to start us off, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your business?

DH: Well, I have two businesses. My main business is that I’m a bookkeeper: I pay people’s bills for a living. It just happens that several of my clients have other properties and as Airbnb and VRBO became popular, they decided to rent them as vacation rentals instead of just “regular” rentals. Through our years of working together, they asked me to manage them.

I don’t actually own any of the properties that I manage – I’m what Airbnb calls a “co-host.” Airbnb has a special system, though it’s changing, for co-hosts that allows the co-host to see everything that the host sees. VRBO does not have the same setup at all.

But I’ve been managing rentals for 5 years.

MT: Okay, interesting. So, how many rentals do you manage?

DH: Currently, I’m managing 9.

MT: Nine! Wow, that’s a lot!

DH: It is a lot!

Staying Organized

MT: Because that’s a lot, how do you typically try to keep things organized? What kind of systems do you use to help you manage so many properties?

DH: I’ll just be honest: It’s challenging! In several of my listings, I have different situations – they’re not all the same. One is owner-occupied and is rented a couple of months out of the year when she goes away. Another one is two bedrooms in a house, so the owner lives there and we kind of co-work together.

For the ones that are regular, full-time, 100% vacation rentals, it’s just become my job. I do less bookkeeping and I do Airbnb management. Every day, I check each calendar and when there’s a booking, I schedule the cleaning – everyone has a different cleaning situation. I have to communicate with [the cleaners and sometimes the owners] and set up a schedule for the month.

I mean, it really varies. I do use a service called HomeOn to help me keep things a little more organized. Obviously, one of the benefits to HomeOn is that it’s linked to the Airbnb calendar, and it instantly creates a cleaning schedule which takes a ton of work and pressure and thinking out of managing things.

There’s no brilliant system that I’ve discovered other than paying attention every day to every one – you know, going in every day and looking at the calendar and the bookings for each one.

MT: Gotcha. About how long do you think you spend every day doing that?

DH: I would say it absolutely varies between 5-10 minutes to a couple of hours because sometimes, you know, a guest has an issue and that’s what can be time-consuming.

MT: That makes complete sense. So, it can take quite a bit of time. Are any of your properties also listed on multiple vacation rental sites?

DH: Yes, 4 of them are listed on both Airbnb and VRBO.

MT: Got it. So how do you reconcile that? Have you ever had an issue with a double-booking coming in – one from both sites?

DH: So, Airbnb and VRBO do have linking calendars so that once a booking happens on Airbnb, it updates pretty quickly on VRBO. I can’t say it’s 100% foolproof, but I, personally, have never had any issues. I’ve heard of other people having issues but it’s very rare.

MT: That must be a relief! A little less for you to worry about.

DH: It’s a pretty good system.

MT: How often do you visit your properties?

DH: I try to go every couple of weeks but, the better the cleaner, the less I have to go. That’s a big deal to me, is to have people that I can rely on so that I don’t have to go since they’re already there. I don’t want to have to go. Since they show up, one to two to three times a week. Ideally, like twice a month but sometimes, more often.

Working with Guests

MT: And how often do you end up communicating with guests?

DH: I send them an automated welcome message 3 to 5 days before arrival. A lot of times when they arrive, I won’t even hear from them. It’s self-check-in so a lot of times, I’ll either check-in with them later that day or in the morning and just make sure everything went smoothly.

And then I tend to leave them alone mostly and maybe check in every 3-ish days, depending on how long the booking is. The booking can be anywhere from 3 days on. So, usually, if the guest has an issue, they’ll usually contact you. They welcome a “Hey, how’s everything going?” once in a while, but they don’t want to hear from you every day just like when I’m on vacation – I don’t want to hear someone – you know, it’s nice to say “How are you doing?” but I don’t need them to do that every other day.

I’d say every few days and if they’re there for a couple weeks, you know, I’ll go for a week without reaching out to them unless there’s something we need to talk about.

MT: Do you typically only communicate with guests through the listing portal or do you have an external email system or something else that you use?

DH: They tend to text me privately. I leave them my phone number so they can reach me directly. But yes, I do use the Airbnb and VRBO apps a lot. I love the Airbnb app – everything happens on my phone, text messages, everything happens on my phone. It’s one of the perks for working with Airbnb, that you can work from anywhere.

MT: Your guests have left a lot of great feedback. What have you found to be the best way to get guests to leave reviews for you? Where are they leaving said reviews?

DH: You know, that’s interesting you ask that! That’s been a recent topic of discussion in one of the Facebook support groups I’m in – about leaving reviews. I was asking people, “What’s your system for asking people to leave reviews?” because I don’t have one – I don’t ever ask anybody to leave a review. I don’t know. It’s weird – if I was checking out and somebody said, “Don’t forget to leave me a 5-star review!”, for some reason that would just irritate me or rub me wrong. I don’t know.

So, I have not. A lot of people do find an eloquent way to ask. Airbnb frowns upon anything that’s under 5 stars, so it’s actually imperative for [hosts] to get 5 stars, but I just focus on having the space be as nice and clean and perfectly matching the representation as it is online.

You can’t please everybody, but I try. I’m an instant responder, so if anybody ever messages me, they’re getting a message back within minutes. So I try to just be really available and have the space be stocked and clean.

You know, I have some properties that are a block from the beach, so that just helps – having a good space and a good location. It’s not downtown LA, and in the middle of Skid Row. So, you know, it helps.

But still, there’s always somebody that doesn’t like one thing… It just happens.

Anyways, to answer your question, I don’t specifically ask for reviews. I just leave it to, you know, what it is. (Laughs)

Words of Hosting Wisdom

MT: Sure! That’s really interesting. So, what advice would you give to struggling hosts or hosts just getting started?

DH: Oh, goodness! Well, one of the things I’ve found most useful is playing with the prices – weekly. You know, the weekends are usually booked, depending on the location and usually, there’s the stragglers in the middle of the week that are left empty.

If it’s empty within a week of the current date, I’ll drop the prices because some money is better than no money! And if you drop them low enough, you can usually always get a booking. So, it just really depends on what your situation is.

But, you know, if your normal rate is $150 a night, it’s better to get $99 or $89 than nothing. So, be willing to play with those prices in the middle of the week on the current, upcoming week or two.

I’d say beware of the travelers who have not been verified… if they don’t have previous reviews. Although they can be outstanding, they’re also the most likely to be difficult and scam you because you cannot see reviews from prior hosts stating whether they were great or not. So, that is a very tricky area because it can be totally fine or it can be totally disastrous.

I’m learning from my newest account that sometimes, there are people out there that are scamming new hosts! They’re people with accounts that don’t have reviews. Maybe they’ve set up an account through a friend or something like that and there are no reviews. So they’ll go in there and start complaining about things to try and get a free stay… And they tend to look for new, inexperienced hosts that don’t have a lot of business. So, I think that is a thing – I’m not 100% sure but that seems to be the consensus.

And outside of that, expect that there’s no “off” switch. To be available at all times. You need to be a very fast responder to inquiries and other things. If you don’t respond fast enough, they will go somewhere else because there’s a ton of competition, the market’s saturated – it’s different than it was a year or two ago where you were kind of the only one doing it.

Now, in the winter, it really slows down or it can really slow down and you might have to lower your prices more than you would have in the past because there’s so much competition.

MT: Right. So, when you start to look at lowering your prices – whether it be for a seasonal change or whether it be, like you said, you have some openings the following week – what do you typically do for that? Do you set at a certain percentage point or do you guess?…

DH: I just make a guess based on past experience. My experience is that my 1-bedroom at the beach that, in the summer, easily goes for $165, I will have a hard time getting even $125 in the winter. It seems that not until I drop it down to between $99 to $95 to $89 can I for sure get booked. It’s just what I’ve experienced.

So, I just start high and gradually go low until I get a booking so that I don’t get nothing for that day. I just keep testing.

MT: Do you ever look at similar properties in the same area to see what they’re doing?

DH: You know what, I don’t. I just try to get a booking. It almost doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing if mine is still empty.

Balancing Guests for Full-Time Live-In Hosts

MT: So, you said earlier that you have one property where the host lives full-time in the house and rents out two rooms. Is that also on the beach or in the city?

DH: No, actually, it’s in the inner city in a very ethnically diverse neighborhood above downtown LA. I’d say that although his house is very nice on the top of a hilltop, it’s not a high-end neighborhood by any means.

He still booked a lot. It’s a lower rate, but it’s full and it makes him great money at a nightly rate. He basically works during the day and he doesn’t have time to respond to inquiries. I book the cleaner and respond to things.

MT: Does he have any specific house rules that guests are expected to follow in the kitchen or anything like that?

DH: You know, he’s very easygoing. There’s only one shower even though there’s two bathrooms and he just states in his listing that he uses it before work from 7-8 on weekdays. So, it’s just understood that it’s going to be off-limits for an hour 5 days a week. Never had any issues – he’s a very social guy.

He has about 70 reviews in a year. The reason I decided to take his property on (because it’s not necessarily what I would normally do) was because his reviews were so great! Everybody was like, “This guy is the greatest guy!” “He’s so nice” “He’s so friendly!” And I was like, “Okay, sure! I’ll help you out and respond to a few emails.” And he’s been awesome.

MT: So, in LA, there’s a lot more potential hosts out there like your client – that could afford to rent out a room in their apartment or their house than there are hosts who can afford to purchase a whole other property.

DH: I think you really have to be the kind of person that’s into that. You really have to be a social person that’s comfortable with the ins and outs of people’s different ways. You’re not just getting used to one roommate, you’re getting used to a lot of coming and going.

I just think it’s not for everybody and it obviously really depends on the space.

The other thing to consider, though, is that it’s usually going to be at a lower price point than if you were renting out the entire space. Therefore, you’re going to be charging a lower cleaning fee. A lot of people that are renting in their own home are doing the cleaning themselves, and that’s fine, but it’s also a lot of work.

So, if you want to outsource it, it can be a process to find something that will work. We went through a bit of a process to find somebody on Craigslist that would be so local, that would be willing to just come for an hour to an hour and a half, here and there, for under $40…

So, that’s the biggest consideration. If they’re willing to clean themselves or if they have someone who can help them at a price point that’s worth it to the person and that they’ll be consistent and reliable – which is the most difficult part of the business! Finding a good cleaner that presents well, that will show up on time every time and have it done. That is the biggest challenge.

Thoughts for New Hosts and Managers

MT: Do you have any specific advice for people interested in becoming property managers like yourself or just getting started with hosting their own places?

DH: I don’t have fabulous words of wisdom, to be honest, because it is harder now than it’s ever been. Again, the market’s saturated. So for me, as a co-host, it’s been harder to find properties to take on – it’s been months in the making just to get one. There are so many people doing what I’m doing and there are so many companies popping up and doing what I’m doing, that it’s no longer just people. So, now you’re competing with companies…

As far as getting started yourself, that’s the best bet: That’s the best thing you can do is to have a profile, have professional photography done (it makes all the difference in the world), and have a desirable space and a desireable location. Period. That’s all I can say.

And then you’re just going to be competing with everybody else in terms of your amenities, your decor, and your location.

MT: Do you have any final advice for hosts or maybe a good story you can share with us?

DH: Let’s see… A good story. (Laughs) Well, trust your gut.

When people are pushy before they – just do a little investigation into people. My worst story is that somebody contacted me and wanted to arrive same-day. We hadn’t scheduled cleaner because we weren’t expecting same-day guests and I said, “Hey, it’s not clean,” and they said, “No worries, we’ll clean it.”

And they were pushy and I went against my better judgment. I even googled their email and there were some unfavorable things that came up but I didn’t want to be discriminatory… Two days later, my client called me and was like, “Why is the SWAT team at the house and the whole block is shut down?!”

So, if they’re a little bit pushy or too aggressive or too eager to get in or willing to take it without it being cleaned or don’t have any reviews… don’t take the chance because it’s not worth it.

I will say this: In 5 years, that’s my worst story and I have 3 other maybe “bad” stories that just amount to difficult guests, just difficult people. But I’ve heard all sorts of horror stories and in 5 years, with multiple properties, I’ve had almost none. It’s been really great most of the time. It’s very lucrative and that’s why everybody’s doing it now. It’s just a great business.

I mean, there’s some really great guests! I had one girl that had never used Airbnb before and she was so nervous and asking me a million questions. I had to prompt her to get her ID verified and put a photo up. And I was a little concerned – like, “Who is this girl?” She was asking a lot of questions – she was asking if there were security cameras inside which made me go, “Well, why are you asking that?” She was so nervous. But long story short is this girl left a $50 tip. I’ve never had anybody leave a tip in 5 years. Her nightly rate was only like $75 a night, it wasn’t a high-end place, it was just a decent space and she left a $50 tip. It was just really nice – people don’t do that. So that’s one of my best stories.

 

It was a pleasure speaking with and interviewing Davida! She has some great nuggets of advice for other hosts and managers. No matter where you are in your hosting journey, it’s always helpful to hear from others in your shoes.

 

Ready for your next turnover cleaning? Schedule for your check-outs now!

 

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How Often Do You Need to Replace Linens in an Airbnb?

replace linens airbnb vacation rental

Being a vacation rental host requires a lot of attention to detail. To ensure you get great reviews from your guests, it’s up to you to ensure your place is looking just like it does in your listing photos.

Part of maintaining a stellar vacation rental is discerning when it’s time to replace linens and other things in your Airbnb. From sheets and towels to the carpeting, everything has to be considered.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the things you should be prepared to replace and when you should be doing it.

Linens

Your linens really go through the ringer if you stop and think about it. Depending on how busy your vacation rental gets, they get used A LOT and then get washed after every guest has checked out. That’s likely more wear-and-tear than what you put your own linens through at home. Before you know it, your vacation rental sheets and towels can start to look a little ratty….especially if/when your guests use the towels to clean up spills or makeup – ahhhh!

All that being said, it’s wise to replace your sheets and bath towels with some regularity. Here are some recommend timeframes:

 

  • Sheets: If you’ve got a high occupancy rate year-round, aim to replace your sheets every 6-12 months at least. If you’re not booked as frequently, once a year should do it. Obviously, if you find any kind of ripping or tears or if stains pop up on your sheets, toss them out immediately and replace them.
  • Pillows: Pillows can be washed but even the best washing machine can’t rid them entirely of loose dead skin cells and germs that accumulate over time. The best option is to replace the bed pillows at least every 6 months.
  • Bath Towels: It doesn’t take long for bath towels to start looking worn out. Again, depending on how consistently you’re booked throughout the year, aim to change these out every 3-6 months. This is especially important if you provide white or light-colored towels as they’ll show signs of wear faster than darker towels.
  • Hand Towels: Stock up on hand towels. These take a real beating and should be replaced at least when you replace your bath towels. It’s smart to buy extra hand towels when you buy your bath towels so you’ve got a few on hand if you should ever need them.
  • Kitchen Towels: If you choose to provide kitchen or tea towels to your guests in addition to paper towels, plan to replace these every 6-12 months. Unlike your other linens, kitchen towels may not get used as much; it all depends on how regularly your guests cook. Check these often and look out for signs of wear or stains. These are the least expensive and, arguably, the easiest linens to replace, so don’t dilly-dally!

 

 

When replacing linens, don’t be tempted to take the cheap route. Consider this an investment in your business and purchase at least mid-range sheets and towels for your guests. If you enjoy the hunt, check out discount stores like TJ Maxx, Marshalls, or Stein Mart. If you’d prefer to skip what can sometimes turn into a wild goose chase, the Threshold or Fieldcrest brands from Target or this option from Amazon* also a good bet.

You certainly don’t need to purchase top-of-the-line linens, but be sure to consider quality over price when you shop… After all, the goal is to limit headaches AND get you that 5-star review!

Appliances and Home Mechanical Necessities

Chances are, your major appliances and home mechanical systems (like your HVAC) don’t get much use if you’re renting out your entire home. The washing machine, dishwasher, and kitchen appliances likely don’t see much use until your guests check out and your thermostat runs consistently without much thought. Thankfully, that probably means they’re in fairly good shape and you won’t need to replace anything anytime soon.

If you rent a room and live in your home full-time, you’re operating things often enough that you have a leg up in this department: You can spot things before anyone else does. If this doesn’t apply to you, however, you must remain vigilant!

Unlike linens that should be carefully monitored and replaced at the first signs of overuse, appliances are harder to plan ahead for. We simply expect these machines to function properly until the day… well, the day they don’t.

It would be silly for us to suggest you to sit in front of your dishwasher or washing machine and watch for glitches or sit idly and wait for the thermostat to act strangely. However, keep a watchful eye on these things anytime you do a walk-through of your vacation rental.

It’s smart to ask your guests to report anything that seems “off” if they operate any of your appliances but it’s even better if you can catch wind of trouble before your guests see it.

If you don’t visit your vacation rental often, ask your cleaning team or management company to let you know if they notice anything operating oddly when they conduct turnover cleanings or walk-throughs. They are your best reporters.

Carpets

Carpet is a lasting floor covering and doesn’t need replacing often. That’s probably a relief, considering how expensive it can be to make a flooring change.

The frustrating thing about carpet is that it doesn’t wear evenly. Heavier traffic areas like the living room, hallways, and bedroom doorways show their age more rapidly; the aging pace increases if shoes are worn inside the house or if you have or allow your guests to bring pets.

Generally speaking, carpet should last anywhere from 7-10 years after it’s been installed. With proper care, you could get as many as 15 years out of it.

To avoid the need to replace carpet before its average shelf life, here are a few tips for keeping it looking as new as possible:

 

  • Invest in doormats. Doormats at the front entrance and any other doors leading outside with greatly decrease the amount of dirt and dust carried into your vacation rental from your guests’ shoes. This is your best first line of defense.
  • Vacuum often. Some sources will suggest you vacuum every day while others will recommend once or twice a week. Daily vacuuming in a vacation rental is likely next to impossible – you certainly shouldn’t ask your guests to do it! However, be sure to run the vacuum after every checkout. If your guests are staying long-term, offer them basic maid services weekly or bi-weekly to ensure your carpet is getting the care it needs.
  • Shampoo or steam your carpets. With so many people coming and going, you’ll want to shampoo your carpets or hire a professional to clean them more often than the average homeowner. Don’t wait for things to start looking dingy or because you need to work on a stubborn stain. Aim to deep steam clean your carpet every 6-12 months. Resist the urge to overdo things, though. Too much of a good thing can be damaging. Hint: just ask MaidThis to arrange this for you during a turnover cleaning…..we have a partner company who can totally help with steam cleaning. 🙂

 

To know when it’s time to recarpet your place, look out for visible signs of wear through main walkways. When a deep cleaning doesn’t do much to revitalize it, it may be time to go shopping.

 

Ensuring your guests are happy should start before they even arrive for check-in. By keeping a watchful eye on your place and replacing or revitalizing things before they show they need it, you’re setting yourself up for great reviews and referrals.

 

*This is not an affiliate link.

 

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At first I tried to take care of all of the cleaning process myself, and it turned out to be a bigger headache than anything else. So a friend told me about MaidThis and its been fantastic. I’ve been working with my cleaners for a few months so far. I recommend you check out the service for yourself.
Brent
Airbnb Host in LA
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Hours
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I definitely think that as a company we've been able to make more money, not only because we're saving money by using Maid This, but also because they're helping take a few of the necessary evils with doing vacation rentals off of the property managers plate.
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Airbnb Host in LA
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Airbnb Plus in LA: What It Is (and Why You Should Care)

airbnb plus LA

If you’re like any responsible Airbnb host, you keep up with the latest and greatest news from the company that changed travel accommodation. The most recent update to come from the vacation rental giant is “Airbnb Plus” – a program that sets out to separate the elite listings from “the rest.”

But what exactly does that mean? And as a vacation rental host, why should you care? Here are the basics on “Airbnb Plus,” why it matters for you as a host, and how you can score the newly-coveted title.

What is “Airbnb Plus”, anyway?

According to Airbnb, vacation rentals that qualify as “Airbnb Plus” rentals meet “the high standards set for quality and comfort.” Roughly translated, that means homes approved for the “plus” list are, for starters, above average: They’re likely in a higher price range and offer many of the amenities someone might expect or actually have in their own home. The idea, essentially, is that “Airbnb Plus” rentals are the “first class” of Airbnb listings.

Airbnb already has the “Superhost” program, which is geared towards the host. The “Plus” program is Airbnb’s way of grading the property as well and providing a ranking for that.

Why It Matters

As sites like Airbnb became more popular, it became harder and harder to appear unique in a sea of vacation rentals. It was a challenge to stand out and getting there required an additional investment of time (and often, money).

But suddenly, as a host, you’ve been presented with a brand new way to set yourself apart from all the other listings in your city – all thanks to this new “Airbnb Plus” thing. As an approved “Plus” host, you get some pretty awesome extras:

 

  • A new, verified “Airbnb Plus” badge

 

  • More visible, elevated listing – you’ll literally stand out from others within the same city
  • A newly designed listing page
  • Updated photography courtesy of Airbnb’s platform
  • A cohesive photo tour to help your guests see themselves in your home

 

Getting branded with a “plus” is like money in your pocket. According to Airbnb’s research, 73% of travelers are willing to pay more for a quality, comfortable place to stay. Ultimately, that means more bookings and higher revenue.

“Airbnb Plus” in LA: What Can You Do to Make the Cut?

Los Angeles is one of 13 international cities where Airbnb has launched the “Plus” program, so, yes! You can achieve Airbnb greatness.

Getting the stamp of approval is tough, however. These homes are graded on a 100-point  checklist covering 4 main categories: Thoughtfully Designed, Comfort, Well-Equipped, and Well-Maintained. Airbnb wants to know that your place is, above all, comfortable, immaculately maintained and kept clean, and incorporates a cohesive design.

Not only that, but there’s a bit of fine print:

 

  • A rep from Airbnb actually physically comes to your place to scope it out and “grade” it. Nothing is based on pictures and hearsay. It’s all seen and verified by an Airbnb staffer.
  • All approved hosts have approval ratings of 4.8 or higher. Hosts are expected to maintain their ratings, too.
  • Approved hosts are dependable. “Airbnb Plus” hosts accept 95% of booking requests and haven’t canceled on a guest at all in the last 12 months.
  • Hosts aren’t approved for free. There’s a nonrefundable $149 application fee. Whether you make the cut or not, you’ll still get some valuable feedback on how to improve your vacation rental and try again or simply to improve the comfort of your guests.

 

 

So….is it worth the hassle for you?

It really depends on what type of property you want to pitch and how buttoned up your operations are. If you go through the hassle of getting “Airbnb Plus” certification, will you be able to sustain it? Make no mistake, there is heightened pressure to make your listing the best possible. Guest expectations will be higher for any property that is on the “Airbnb Plus” program. BUT, you’re definitely going to get more business from this.

The MaidThis! Opinion: In short, yes it’s worth going for this accolade. As people have started to discover that they can make money by listing their place on Airbnb, the supply of homes (especially in large cities like LA, SF, NY, etc.) is skyrocketing – meaning way more competition than before! You need some sort of competitive advantage to ensure your home isn’t just a commodity (think low rates), and the “Airbnb Plus” program is one possible avenue to make yourself stand out more against the competition.

If you think you’re ready to be graded, head over to Airbnb’s host signup page.

 

“Airbnb Plus” is the new “super host” and if you want a spot on the list, you’re going to have to truly go above and beyond to demonstrate to both Airbnb and your guests that you’ve got a stellar place to stay. But rest assured, all that hard work will definitely pay off. If you plan to apply for “Airbnb Plus,” we wish you the best of luck!

 

Part of earning the “Airbnb Plus” badge of approval is maintaining an impeccably clean home. MaidThis! Specializes in Airbnb turnover cleanings for vacation rentals in LA, Orange County, and San Francisco. Learn more about how we can help you achieve “Plus” greatness.

 

 

 

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At first I tried to take care of all of the cleaning process myself, and it turned out to be a bigger headache than anything else. So a friend told me about MaidThis and its been fantastic. I’ve been working with my cleaners for a few months so far. I recommend you check out the service for yourself.
Brent
Airbnb Host in LA
90+

Hours
Saved

I definitely think that as a company we've been able to make more money, not only because we're saving money by using Maid This, but also because they're helping take a few of the necessary evils with doing vacation rentals off of the property managers plate.
Laura G
Airbnb Host in LA
90+

Hours
Saved

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5 Ways to Boost Your Vacation Rental Bookings in the “Off-Season”

It’s here: The pumpkin spice latte. And everyone knows the arrival of the #PSL is what officially ushers us into fall. Kids are going back to school, things are slowing down (in a manner of speaking), and everyone is getting back to work and traveling less.

Basically, “winter is coming.”

winter is coming

In this day and age, marketing your vacation rental successfully means doing more than just creating a listing on a vacation rental platform, especially during the “off-season.” If you’re living by the “build it and they will come” mentality, you’ll probably be waiting a long time with few guests checking in.

To survive the annual “dry-up” of vacation rental guests, here are 5 ways to boost your vacation rental bookings this fall.

1. Adjust your pricing to be more enticing.

Though it may be tempting to keep your rates at their high-season level to help alleviate some of the pain of vacancies and slower seasons, it’s not the wisest choice. One thing you definitely don’t want to do is raise your rates during this period.

Do some research and look at how rates are changing around your area. How do they compare to yours? What fluctuations are happening with your competitors’ pricing over the next few months? As you make changes to your own rates, remember to keep in mind your recovery costs. Be sure you’re not cutting guests such a good deal that you’re pulling cash out of your own pockets.

If you want super-detailed information (and if your listing is on Airbnb), consider starting a relationship with AirDNA. AirDNA breaks down a great deal of data for Airbnb listings across global markets, including market summaries and revenue tracking.

2. Run specials for one- and two-night stays.

During the off-season, folks are less likely to be taking lots of time off for long vacations. Instead, they’re more likely to have only weekends or single nights to get away.

Consider creating a specialized package deal that includes some extra goodies for guests who stay with you over a weekend or whose “weekend” may fall during the week. Reach out to local businesses and see about getting free passes, gift cards, or discounted deals to offer to your guests as part of your special package.

3. Temporarily remove your minimum night requirement.

During high season, it makes sense to have a minimum stay requirement. As more people are vacationing and are likely to need a place for several days at a time anyway, it doesn’t hurt you to discourage single-night guests.

In the low season, however, the opposite is true. In many cases, you must consider whether any guest is better than no guests. A booking is a booking, no matter how you slice it.

Do your potential guests (and yourself, for that matter) a favor by removing your minimum night requirement. You certainly don’t need to do this for an extended period, just as you move through the slower season.

4. Remove your “Request to Book” button and let guests book instantly.

Some hosts prefer to screen every potential guest that wants to stay in their home while others are less concerned. If you’ve ever hosted nightmare guests, you probably prefer to sit comfortably in the “request to book” camp. We get it and can completely empathize. However, we also know you could be costing yourself potential bookings.

We live in a world fueled by instant gratification. We do almost everything online these days with the click of a button: purchase airline tickets, rent a car, buy new headphones and suitcases from Amazon… If your guests were booking a hotel, they would experience the same instant gratification we all live for. You can do the same by kicking your “request to book” button to the curb.

By giving your guests an opportunity to book directly and know they’ve secured their stay, you give them peace of mind and heighten their excitement. Not to mention, it will cut down your administration responsibilities significantly. Instead of spending so much time screening, you’ll be able to jump right in to welcoming your guests and preparing for their stay.

5. Turn your self-advertising up to the next level.

It’s no longer safe to assume your vacation rental listing platform is doing enough to market your place. You’re swimming in a sea of many, many other vacation rentals and standing out is getting more and more challenging.

If you don’t want to spend the time or money to make your own vacation rental website, start taking advantage of the free tools at your disposal. Social media is a powerful medium and platforms like Facebook and Instagram could be your new best marketing friends.

Create an Instagram account specifically for your vacation rental. Don’t worry about feeling like you’re not a photographer – there are plenty of resources out there on how to build a rockin’ Instagram account.

Pro Tip: If you’ve got more than one vacation rental in the same area, it’s okay to keep them all together under one umbrella account. If you’ve got listings in starkly different areas, such as different cities or states, it’s better to set up separate accounts for each.

Post images of your space throughout different seasons to give potential guests an idea of what things will look like when they stay. Share images of local eateries or activity locations that would be fun to visit. All in all, keep it light and show why your place is exciting and worth booking.

Be sure to load your images up with hashtags that fit. These could be anything from tags that describe your location, the season, specific activities you’re doing, or anything else that relates. Don’t be shy! Stack those babies up.

Hashtag winning.

 

Don’t let the season slow-down discourage you. Just because the off-season is starting doesn’t mean you need to worry or spend a fortune to keep your occupancy rates up. Put a few of these tips into action and before you know it, your schedule will be busier than you expected.

 

Need some help preparing for your next guests? Learn more about how MaidThis! helps vacation rental hosts with turnover cleaning.

Clean my
Vacation Rental


single-blog-sidebar-vacation-rental
  • Automated Scheduling
  • Cleaning Report with Pictures
  • Never a No-Show. Guaranteed.
Book Now

Testimonials

At first I tried to take care of all of the cleaning process myself, and it turned out to be a bigger headache than anything else. So a friend told me about MaidThis and its been fantastic. I’ve been working with my cleaners for a few months so far. I recommend you check out the service for yourself.
Brent
Airbnb Host in LA
90+

Hours
Saved

I definitely think that as a company we've been able to make more money, not only because we're saving money by using Maid This, but also because they're helping take a few of the necessary evils with doing vacation rentals off of the property managers plate.
Laura G
Airbnb Host in LA
90+

Hours
Saved

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7 Ways to Make the Most of Your Airbnb Investment Property

airbnb investment property

Making the most out of your Airbnb investment property means doing everything you can to maximize returns. This means not only being aware of the finances that come with a vacation rental, but also how to appeal to travelers to keep them coming and paying.

Here are 7 ways to ensure you’re getting the most out of your vacation rental property as you possibly can.

1. Research average rental income & occupancy rates.

Before buying a vacation rental investment property, have an idea of the expected returns and if the area actually receives traffic from Airbnb users. You can do this by searching Airbnb investment properties and find the average rental income in an area and the predictive analysis of a property.

Look at the average Airbnb occupancy rates and how each property type correlates with occupancy rates and rental income. For example, if one bedroom is added to the property, then occupancy rate and income go up by X.

You’ll also be able to view how other properties are performing. This is another great way to understand the potential of your Airbnb investment property. See bookings, reviews, descriptions, features, prices, seasonality trends, and more.

2. Make your listing a destination, not just a rental.

The beauty of Airbnb is being able to stay at a unique property every time and everywhere you travel. Don’t let your property be a boring cliché. You can avoid making your vacation rental dull by giving it its own identity and charm. If there are weird paintings or a displayed collection of Beanie Babies, keep them! The uniqueness adds to your guests’ experiences.

With that being said, make sure you can provide guests with anything that will enhance the experience. If you have great features in your home, add some highlights to show them off. For example, a sign on the balcony window that says “Beautiful Sunsets Are Enjoyed Here” is a memorable accent in your property and will get users excited to use the balcony.

Finally, include all those amenities guests love – towels, laundry detergent, shampoo, etc. Try being your own guest and provide all the amenities you would expect to find. Get users to remember you property so they can keep coming back and leave positive reviews.

3. Create a strong profile and ask for positive reviews.

A profile is the apple of the user’s eye. Create a salient profile with professional photos, detailed features, and clear rules.

Photos are the most crucial factor in getting bookings. The photos should help the traveler envision themselves using and enjoying the property. Make sure to include photos of the entire interior and exterior of the property, but don’t stop there. Take photos of the cup of coffee and book next to the fireplace. Take photos of the views. Airbnb offers free access to professional photography, so take advantage.

Your profile should be very clear in terms of rules and what is provided in the property. Include a picture and description of yourself. The more transparent the profile, the more comfortable the guests will feel.

After inspecting the profile, the reviews are the next most important thing. Believe it or not, the number of reviews is what increases occupancy rates, not necessarily the ratings. The more reviews you have, the more relieved users will feel knowing so many people have stayed at this property. Your SEO ranking also goes up, which means your listing will be closer to the top of a search page. Don’t misunderstand – positive reviews are crucial, but multiple good reviews are better than one outstanding review.

4. Set the right price.

If your listing is new to Airbnb, make sure to not set high prices from the get-go. People are less likely to pick a new listing with no reviews; high prices will make them even more reluctant to do so. Start by charging comparatively lower prices and when there are reviews that vouch for your amazing service and property, start raising your rates.

It’s customary to take advantage of peak season to maximize returns. During weekends and holidays, raise your prices. If you’re not getting booked, your prices are too high. If you consistently have a 100% occupancy rate, your rates are too low. Don’t lose returns on your investment property because of poor pricing strategies.

Make sure your property has a positive cash flow. This means taking into account monthly expenses (these may or may not be applicable) and potential income:

Here’s a breakdown of  common monthly costs:

  • Mortgage Payment (principal + interest)
  • Property Tax
  • Insurance
  • HOA Fees
  • Property Management Fee
  • Cleaning Service Fee
  • Maintenance Fee
  • Vacancy Provision
  • Airbnb Costs (3% Host Service Fee)

5. Clean. . . Spring clean!

Isn’t it a shame when a guest is disturbed because the toilet was overlooked or neglected? When it comes to cleaning, be meticulous. Dust every nook and cranny and clean the bathrooms twice. You don’t want to lose income or positive reviews just because the property was not properly cleaned.

You can always hire cleaning services like MaidThis! to ensure turnover is completed in a timely, efficient manner. We’ll be sure to take care of areas guests pay attention the most and how to exceed their expectations. We’ll even let you know when you’re running low on supplies.

6. Location, location, location. Get the best or fake it til’ you make it.

Location is the #1 most important rule in real estate and in having an investment property. You can search for top Airbnb neighborhoods and cities but you want to make sure your property has proximity to all the sought-out attractions. With Airbnb travelers, they care about getting to the best amenities and having access to public transportation. If you have an optimal location, you can also use that to your advantage when pricing.

If the location is less-than favorable, then make the property spectacular. Also, tell travelers about what they can enjoy in that particular area. Maybe the property is not downtown, but it might be close to a park or restaurants. Give as much detail as possible and be honest about how far away attractions are. Remember, that also means the rates have to be very reasonable.

7. Get verified and sort out legal stuff.

Getting verified as an Airbnb host and accepting guests that are verified will help in getting more bookings. Users will know reviews aren’t phony or fake if they’re coming from verified guests.

Make sure to know the rules and regulations for owning a short-term rental property in your city. These rules may mean you have to obtain a license, a registration number, or pay certain taxes. If you’re not legal, your listing could be banned from the site, result in fines, or cause you to lose your investment all together. Better to be safe than sorry!

 

Joining the world of Airbnb means meeting people from all over the world and making a great investment. There are plenty of resources out there to help you follow these tips. Remember as an investor, due diligence about the right kind of property, pricing, and location is crucial. As a host, communicate well, be hospitable, and have fun!

 

This blog was written by Mashvisor, a real estate analytics platform that enables real estate investors to easily find and analyze Airbnb and traditional investment properties.   

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