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3 Beginner Tips to Improve Your Airbnb Search Ranking

3 Beginner Tips to Improve Your Airbnb Search Ranking from MaidThis.com

With literally millions of vacation rental listings online, lots of hosts wonder how they can improve their search ranking on Airbnb. While it’s not an exact science, there are a few things you can do that could make a positive difference.

It’s important to remember that any changes you make won’t affect your listing ranking overnight. That said, to determine how well your changes are working, it’s important to sit on them for at least a month to determine their effect.

Here are 3 beginner tips to improve your search ranking on Airbnb and other short-term vacation rental sites. 

 

1. Invest in good photos. 

We’ve said it over and over (and you’ve heard it over and over from other short-term rental sources): PHOTOS WILL MAKE OR BREAK YOUR AIRBNB LISTING. Guests are more likely to click on listings that have great, professional-looking photos than ones that look like they were simply taken by the host on their phone. The algorithm on Airbnb will learn which listings tend to get the most action and push these to the top of search results over time.

Guests are looking for stellar photos that sell them a dream stay or vacation. Think about it in terms of how hotels market their properties. Hotels are really, really good at selling the appearance of their rooms and common areas because they have professional photos taken from the very best angles. 

The point here is not to over-sell what you have, but to be sure you can truly highlight all your best features. Be sure to choose a great lead photo, too, to entice guests to click on your listing when they’re searching through properties. 

 

2. Respond to guest questions ASAP.

The faster you can respond to guests, the better. In fact, you should stay in contact with guests well before their stay up until the time they leave

Airbnb tracks how quickly hosts reply to guest questions and booking requests. They keep tabs on how often a host replies in 24 hours or less – this is considered a good reply timeline. (Of course, the sooner you can reply, the better.)

Ideally, implement the instant book option for guests so you don’t have to worry about checking booking requests quickly enough (or turning them down which can also be detrimental to your ranking over time). Airbnb’s “What factors determine how my listing appears in search results?” help page explicitly mentions that allowing instant bookings can positively affect your search ranking.

Anytime you delay and wait for more than 24 hours to reply to guest correspondence or requests, imagine a negative “ding” on your Airbnb record. Over time, a build-up of “late” correspondence replies will negatively affect your ranking in search results.

 

3. Keep it super-clean.

This goes without saying, but guests expect a clean home. And we mean 5-star hotel-quality clean.

In the era of COVID, maintaining a clean home is more important than ever. Whether you’re rolling your sleeves up and doing it yourself or partnering with a company like MaidThis, it’s vital that you implement and maintain a coronavirus cleaning process.

Before the pandemic, guests simply expected a home to be squeaky clean and as good as what they saw in photos on the vacation rental listing. Now, they want to be sure they can’t possibly become ill from a previous guest or cleaner that may have been asymptomatic.

How do you accomplish demonstrating your cleaning systems in your listing? Harvest as many positive reviews as possible and ask your guests to specifically mention how they felt about cleanliness and safety. You can also download a free cleaning graphic from the MaidThis COVID Resource Center to add to your photo lineup.

 

Learning the ins and outs of the Airbnb algorithm is tough for all hosts, even those who are well seasoned. To maximize your occupancy potential, re-evaluate your listing a few times every year and make changes based on hints from Airbnb.

 

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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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Is It Still Worth Becoming a Superhost?

should i become an airbnb superhost?

Since the program launched in 2009, there’s been much debate in the Airbnb community about whether it’s worth becoming a Superhost. While the vacation rental market is more saturated than ever, the fact remains that Superhosts see significant benefits to this day. 

If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a Superhost, here’s what you need to know. 

 

What Is a Superhost?

A Superhost, as the name suggests, is the highest tier of hosts on Airbnb. These are the top performers who consistently deliver on quality and rent their property (or in some cases, properties) for a significant amount of time throughout the year. It’s also worth mentioning that though Superhosts can be hosts of Airbnb Plus listings, they do not necessarily go hand-in-hand. 

There are a few benefits to becoming a Superhost. For one, Airbnb prioritizes Superhosts and features their rental properties in newsletters and searches, allowing them to reach a wider audience and ultimately make more money. 

Guests can also choose to limit their searches to Superhosts, which especially appeals to travelers worried about falling victim to a scam. The Superhost badge lends you more credibility so potential guests will feel more at ease while booking. As a Superhost, you also have access to priority customer support that allows you to get help faster when you need it. 

Finally, there are a few additional bonuses, such as an extra 20% to your referral bonus and a $100 travel coupon after each year of Superhost status. And of course, you’ll have the coveted Superhost badge featured on your profile. 

 

How to Become a Superhost

The requirements for becoming a Superhost have changed a few times since the program’s initial launch. According to the Airbnb website, here are the current requirements for becoming a Superhost:

  • 90% or higher response rate
  • Cancellation rate of 1% or lower, except in the event of extenuating circumstances
  • Overall rating of 4.8 or higher in the past year
  • At least 10 trips or 3 reservations that total at least 100 nights

 

You’ll automatically be granted Superhost status once you meet all of the requirements, no application required. However, this is more difficult in practice than it looks on paper. The high response rate means you’ll need to reply to over 90% of inquiries within 24 hours, which can be difficult if you have another job in addition to your rental business. 

You’ll also need to make sure your rental property is immaculately clean and that you go above and beyond in your customer service. This can mean offering additional amenities, answering questions immediately, providing a guest care package, and more. The work required pays off in increased bookings and more revenue, especially in desirable vacation destinations. 

 

While you can certainly make money on Airbnb without becoming a Superhost, the flashy badge and recognition certainly give your listing a boost. If you only rent your property on occasion, you might not hit enough bookings to meet the requirements. 

Ultimately, if you have the time and dedication needed to pursue Superhost status, you’ll see it pay off in higher profits. Despite the fact that there are more Superhosts now than ever before, serious hosts still benefit from the added perks. 

 

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

5 Habits of Highly Successful Hosts

successful airbnb hosts habits

 

In the world of vacation rentals, if you’re not savvy, your listings might fall by the wayside. Successful Airbnb hosts don’t achieve their status by accident: There’s a strategy behind everything they do. 

Fortunately, anyone can improve their success rate by looking to these hosts for inspiration. If you want to level up your hosting game, here are 5 habits of highly successful hosts that you should channel. 

1. Be prepared.

Everyone in the vacation rental industry needs to come prepared with all the information they need to make smart decisions. Part of this requires research: Read up on your local ordinances to ensure that your listing is in accordance with the law. Hosts who are careless on this front can end up slapped with expensive fines or even banned from their platform of choice.

This preparedness should carry over to dealing with guests, as well. While you want to hope for the best, there are enough horror stories out there to prove hosts should take precautions before renting out their space. Assume that anything in the house could be broken and invest in the right insurance before you even start renting your property. You’ll be glad you did. 

2. Think like an entrepreneur.

Even if you use a website such as Airbnb to facilitate your vacation rentals, renting out your property is essentially running a small business. It’s important to periodically set goals for yourself the way you would with any business: What do you want to get out of hosting? What concrete steps can you take to get there?

Next, think about the resources you’ll need to provide the best possible rental experience and plan accordingly. You may need to budget for a professional cleaning service or for a co-host to help you out. Stay on top of your finances the way you would if you were running a company, even if you’re only a casual host. When it comes to tax season, there’s no room for error. 

3. Anticipate your guests’ needs.

Good hospitality is about more than just providing toiletries for your guests. The most successful hosts go above and beyond to understand their customers and anticipate their every need. Everything from the photos you include in your listing to the amenities you offer on-site will have an impact on a potential future guest. 

Evaluate your listing and your rental property from a guest’s perspective. From their initial search all the way to checkout, think about ways you can make their experience better. Even small gestures like a welcome kit can go a long way towards positively impacting their stay. 

4. Stay current. 

If you’re not regularly refreshing and updating your vacation rental listings, you could be missing out on valuable business. Successful Airbnb hosts look at their listings with a critical eye and know when to make a change. If your photos are outdated or you’ve made changes to your home that aren’t reflected in your listing, now is the time to fix it. 

5. Communicate. 

Clear communication should be at the heart of every interaction with a potential guest. So many negative guest experiences can be avoided through communication. When in doubt, over-inform. You want your guests to have all the information they need to feel comfortable during their stay, and any questions or issues should be addressed as quickly as possible. 

 

While there will always be some hosts who are more successful than others, you can increase your own success if you continuously try to improve. By working on these 5 habits, you can be sure to take your hosting to the next level no matter where you’re starting out.

 

At MaidThis, we take your Airbnb business seriously. Your guests’ comfort during their stay is equally important to us as it is to you. That’s why we leave no cushion unturned in our turnover cleanings. Learn more about how we can help you.

 

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

Stay Successful after the LA Home Sharing Ordinance – LA Airbnb Law for Hosts

airbnb host los angeles airbnb law

 

Recently, the MaidThis team had the pleasure of sitting down and talking with Matt Lockin and Henry Beam of Plushy Host. Plushy Host is a full-service vacation rental management company currently based in Scottsdale, Arizona, serving hosts across the U.S. 

We’ve worked with the Plushy Host team for quite some time in LA and in the Bay area. We rang up Matt and Henry to see if we could pick their collective brains about how hosts can successfully operate vacation rentals with the home sharing ordinance going into effect. 

Since the enactment of the 2015 “Airbnb Law” in San Francisco, Plushy Host has been helping their hosts continue to bring guests into their homes and make the most of the allowances the ordinance offers. 

Read on to learn more about how they do it, how they build their team, and why vacation rental management is so great for hosts.

The History of Plushy Host

airbnb cleaning serviceMT: Thank you, guys, for sitting down to chat with us for a bit. We really appreciate it and we know our LA audience will really appreciate the insight. 

Matt: We’re happy to help.

MT: Tell us a little bit about how where you both fit into the Plushy Host team.

Henry: We’ve been talking about this industry for years. Once Matt started, it was just a matter of time before I joined full time and we’ve been working on this for a while, many calls over the years to get where we are today but we couldn’t be more pleased. My job is the easy one – Matt’s the mastermind who forecasted the market and was able to see where the needs and voids were. 

We’ve organized Plushy in a way to really be able to help homeowners [with homes] of all shapes and sizes and in a number of markets around the country.

Matt thought it and created it. I couldn’t be more pleased to have him as an intellectual leader when it comes to short-term rentals, properties, property values, returns, procedures…I’m not sure there’s a question in this business that he can’t answer. Again, he makes my job that much easier. 

MT: So, Matt, as the “mastermind,” how did you get started? Do you have firsthand experience as a host?

matt lockin founder of plushy hostMatt: I’m partnering with Henry now, but I started with a different partner before there was the Plushy brand, the Plushy name. Previously, [my old partner and I] started out, and this was in, relatively speaking for the industry, pretty early days. We raised some equity, and purchased and converted homes and apartments, and did some mass re-leasing in Scottsdale and Phoenix, and Southern California. 

It started as an investment company in 2015. Well, end of 2014, beginning of 2015. That went reasonably well. It was a lot of work. We learned a lot of things, we made a lot of mistakes. It got to the point where, “We’re pretty good at this, we really do know what we’re doing. Let’s think about launching a third-party management company,” and that’s what we did.

My previous partner was on the real estate side, interested in the realty. I really loved the management side. I really like the ability to solve problems, and was just excited, you know? The industry itself is so exciting. 

He wanted to stay on the real estate side, so we parted ways. The current iteration of the company was launched. What are we? With all the changing technology, you’ve got vacation rentals. But there’s this urban side of things too, and all those things that are changing with Airbnb. That’s where things are headed, and marrying those two things up.

Again, it’s taken quite a while to figure out how you’re going to be remote, bringing in properties and managing properties that some of your operational people maybe never see, but your people on the ground do. It’s been a challenge, but it’s refined to the point where we do have all the processes and procedures in place. Adding not only more homes, but scaling on the operational side. Nothing works if you don’t have the operations figured out.

henry beam operations manager of plushy hostHenry: And we’ve dialed in our pricing tiers specifically to give people options. The 

higher pricing tiers are really a hands-off service for the owner – where the owner doesn’t necessarily have to do much in order to collect the revenue we help them generate with their short-term rental. 

Our lower-tier packages have more homeowner involvement… But at each price point, they’re all exceptional services and we do our best to add value – on the homeowner side, especially, but also, taking care of guests as well as we do is the name of the game.

This is an attention-driven business, meaning you have to always have attention for your homeowners and your clients; but you also have to always be attentive to the guests’ needs.

And as you probably know, every individual guest, you know – with a smile [laughs] – can potentially have different issues and we really try to do our best to work with everybody to get the best reviews we can, give the guests a great experience, a clean home, easy to get in, easy to get out, easy to understand, easy to enjoy. 

And then it comes back to doing a focused turnaround and getting the owner another solid booking.

Finding a “Loophole” in a Home Sharing Ordinance

airbnb cleaning serviceMT: We’ve recently been talking a lot with our host partners about the new LA home sharing ordinance.

Matt: Right.

MT: And working with you guys and having the opportunity to build a relationship with you, it’s been really interesting to hear about how you’ve worked through the home sharing law in the San Francisco area – that loophole, more or less. We know our LA hosts would be really interested to hear more about that.

matt lockin founder of plushy hostMatt: Yeah. I don’t know if I’d call it so much a loophole. The city, in LA Proper it’s pretty clear. Basically, in certain areas, shared space is still allowed. It’s not un-similar, or dissimilar from the way we’ve been operating in San Francisco in some ways. 

In a lot of ways, there’s, I guess you could call it a “shared space hybrid,” where there’s a certain period of time – 90 days, to be exact – where you’re allowed to [rent out] an entire space. 

Of course, we reserve those 90 days in San Francisco for the summer, which would be somewhat in terms of high season for LA, or Southern California. Then, the rest of the time we’re doing shared space.

It’s not a novel idea. It’s something that’s been going on for quite a while. There’s new management companies popping up every day, but they’ve not been operating with this sort of model where you’re doing both shared space and entire space, and doing it successfully. 

We’ve done better every year we’ve been doing it. It does take a little bit of figuring out, I guess, but that is what I love to do. Henry’s also an attorney, so he might be the one to add more here.

Henry: As I understand, West Hollywood, for example, has its own set of regulations, and so does Santa Monica. I believe West Hollywood has a provision where the owner actually has to be present during the guest’s stay.

 

matt lockin founder of plushy hostMatt: Yeah. San Francisco has similar language, and we have portions of it – whether [or not] it be shared space – it’s in the listing: Sometimes, owners do stay there. Sometimes, the owners stay there, sometimes they don’t. At least my take on it is, yes, [guests] need to know that it’s required. I think they do know. 

While we’ve been operating in San Francisco, sometimes the owner’s there, and sometimes they’re not. It’s really not something that we ask. It’s none of our business, but it obviously needs to be disclosed. 

If they’re not there, then [both guests and hosts] need to be aware that could be problematic. 

Now, the reality is that the city’s not keeping tabs on anybody either. They’re just not. I can appreciate why the city put it in there, to ostensibly make it more difficult. The reality is that no municipality that has passed a summer ordinance… It has never come up as far as I know. Boston, this is going to be happening. Very similar ordinance.

MT: New York, for example, has some kind of an ordinance, don’t they?

matt lockin founder of plushy hostMatt: Yeah. It got struck down by the circuit court. Same with Austin, and D.C. Well, D.C. is funny, because they all modeled it on this sort of, call it the “New York” model. It’s been struck down in three different circuit courts. 

I think it’s pretty clear, going about writing your ordinance in that manner is unconstitutional at this point. That is the way D.C. went, and the Mayor apparently refused to sign it into law. I don’t know what’s going to happen there but it is exciting to follow. 

The point is, that’s one way to go about it. This shared space hybrid, which LA’s… They [The LA and SF ordinances] aren’t identical, but it’s the closest thing to being constitutional, I think. San Francisco’s had it for a while, and it seems to work. Really, what they’re doing – they’ve got an exception there, too. For LA Proper, the real solution there is, you’ve got to go get the extended permit. 

MT: Right. There’s a lot of hoops to jump through.

Matt: Yes, and I think you have to be a good operator. What they’re doing is trying to get rid of the bad operators, right?

MT: Right, sure.

Matt: That’s what this is about. This is not about banning short-term rentals. They’re smarter than that. It’s about getting rid of bad operators, which San Francisco has done. The unit count’s way down, and there’s not nearly as many problems. 

You’ve got to jump through hoops. It can be costly to get it, but I think if you have a property that’s professionally managed with a group that’s been doing shared space and otherwise, I think that a lot of people are going to be able to get – the good operators are probably going to get their permits. It’s always going to come down to neighbors, right?

Henry: I can hop in and clarify a little bit. The LA ordinance for LA Proper, to me, it does two things: One, it caps it at 120 days a year, and they don’t necessarily differentiate from hosted, and un-hosted stays. It’s just a flat 120. 

If you want to extend the rental days, you’ve only got a few criteria to meet. It’s not necessarily a $5,000 application. It could turn into that for a discretionary review, but the standard application for registering or renewing – either a first time or a continual home sharing permit – is only $85. It then goes up for an extended home sharing as a review fee of $850, so it goes up about 10 times.

Matt: And if you’re not in compliance?

Henry: Right. So that’s when you need a discretionary review, if you had more than one citation within the past three years. If you don’t have a citation, then you’ve got basically an $850 review fee, and only a few elements to get through. It’s really not terribly cumbersome. 

The first would be, you have maintained a valid home sharing registration for at least 6 months, or have hosted for 60 days. The host has to provide proof of mailing of notification of the extended home sharing application to adjacent, and abutting owners and occupants.

So basically, put your neighbors on notice and let them follow the procedures to objecting, if they are so inclined. 

The second is the host home sharing registration has not been suspended or revoked within the past 2 years. That’s one of those clear guidelines that I’m sure most of the cities will implement at some point. You don’t get too many shots at the apple if you want to host more than the 120 [days]. 

Finally, for administrative approval, the host must have been issued “no more than one citation within the prior 3 years.” If you have more than one citation in the past couple years, you’ve got to go through the discretionary review process. That’s where they hit you with that $5,660 application fee.

MT: Wowza.

Henry: Right?

matt lockin founder of plushy hostMatt: Yeah. The point is, you don’t want to get there. [Vacation rentals] need to be operated, obviously, in a manner where you’re not getting to that point. 

We’ve been operating in Napa, and in Saint Helena where there’s only 25 permits. If you talk outside after 9:00, you’re going to get complaints, and the cops get called. It’s just one of those kinds of places. 

You’re doing the noise monitoring, you’re doing cellphone counters. There’s a lot of things you can do from a management side of things that I think some owners are going to do, and some will need to do it. Frankly, you really need to have everything dialed in 24 hours a day, because stuff happens at night when you’re talking about noise.

I think we have a way to go about it in terms of helping getting through the permitting processing, the steps you need to take. Then, everybody is going to be starting the 6-month period. Getting people through that, and then obviously, it’s going to be a lot harder to operate. There’s a lot less room for error. 

We’ve been doing this in places where it’s even more onerous, and we’ve been successful doing it. I think I feel pretty confident that we could help in that regard. Plus, having the experience in dealing with these ordinances, and the legal side of things.

The other side of it is, in these other areas of town, and there are many where the shared space kind of hybrid thing is the only thing that works. Maybe owners that don’t necessarily want to go get a permit, or they do notify their neighbors and they’re not allowed to get the entire space for 24/365. I still think there’s solutions. 

It took us a while to get there in terms of figuring it all out. Part of it is MaidThis, though. Your team is in San Francisco, and I’ve had good luck with your people in LA too. We wouldn’t be able to operate there if you guys didn’t have such a great team there. 

Creating a Dream Team

MT: Right. Systems, absolutely.

Matt: Yeah, yeah. A lot of that’s Henry. Henry decided to come on board.

Henry: It’s all that guy, right there.

matt lockin founder of plushy hostMatt: No. No, I mean, I can answer the questions and I don’t get stumped almost ever, right? Putting the pieces together, that’s definitely Henry, and being able to manage people. I don’t think I’m the best people manager. Probably too much of a pushover, frankly. [laughs] 

Anyway, so it works, you know? It’s working. Mostly, it’s just exciting. We’re small. We’re tiny compared to most of the companies that are out there. I think we provide a lot more.

That was the hard component. It was like, anybody can get in there and really just be, like, a booking agent. I get all that. I get how it works. To really be building out, it’s exciting. I don’t know which direction it’s all going to go. I just know it’s all exciting.

airbnb cleaning serviceMT: We think, too, from the standpoint of the size of your company, Airbnb guests choose Airbnbs because they want to have that sort of smaller, more intimate experience with someone that’s a local, right?

Matt: That’s true.

MT: For hosts, there is a sense of camaraderie and teamwork working with a smaller boutique company that really caters well. There is that sort of relationship that doesn’t exist when a much larger “big box” company that does some of what you guys do. I think size is relative. The relationship is clearly what matters to your clients.

matt lockin founder of plushy hostMatt: It matters to us too, because again, we offer more. We’re even taking risks in our top tier. If something’s damaged, we’re paying or helping to pay for it quickly. 

We have [potential] clients inquire all the time. We’re sitting around, it’s not just Henry, it’s not just the owners. It’s operations folks, it’s homeowner reps. Together we decide if we want to take this owner on. It’s equal parts home and homeowner.

You could have a great property, but if the owner’s not holding up their end of the bargain – and again, we’re doing a lot more, so it is important. That’s sort of the other reason why we have grown slower. I would rather have a couple hundred clients that I had for 30 years or whatever than a thousand clients that I have for three months, and they realize it’s a joke. You know what I mean?

That’s the difficult part, is figuring out the hard parts of this; waste management, for example, and on and on. It’s funny that I remember when we first started, even solving access, and the smart lock options that were out there just even four or five years ago compared to what’s out there now, and how that’s getting streamlined, and directly integrated into Airbnb. There’s problems like that. I remember when you couldn’t even change your title in Airbnb internally. They have a naming convention. Seems like a silly, small thing.

All these sort of problems, I was hoping somebody in the ecosystem would start solving these problems, and they are now. It’s just really cool to see it coming together, and aggregating certain technologies that they have solved problems. There’s still a lot of them out there, but it feels like it’s moving in the right direction. What do you think, Henry?

Henry: Oh, I certainly do.

MT: Yeah.

Henry: It’s interesting. I think a good example would be the first-time Airbnb host. They might get through the first two or three bookings and think, “It’s not too big of a cumberance.” Then, something comes up they’ve never heard of before, and then something else comes up they’ve never heard of before. 

Then, they don’t know how to solve it, and something else comes up, and another. Traditionally, it’s been really hard for people to effectively manage, or really understand the breadth of issues that can come up between a guest and a rental. 

Matt’s done an incredible job of utilizing his knowledge base to effectively and efficiently solve guest issues, refining the process, and implementing software to solve them. We’re getting lucky because we’re getting more and more support from software to make it easier and easier. It just reinforces the procedures and policies that we have put into effect. 

We love it, and the better the ecosystem gets, as Matt says, the better everybody is going to be. I think the management companies who really have experience, and really understand the day in and day out requirements of this business are just going to excel. 

Unfortunately, I think some on the lower end may filter out, because it’s just too much. You can’t jump proper structure in this business. One brick leads to the second and so on. It’s like that class that I failed back in 1999. If I read the first two weeks, I probably could have understood week three and week four, but I jumped in at week four and I was lost. Probably not the best analogy, but it’s close. 

You build the strongest systems piece by piece and no amount of marketing can replace dedicated knowledge and diligence. I did fail that class, but it’s okay. The good news is I was able to make it through law school with flying colors, so maybe one day I’ll re-take it, but Matt and I have many guests to care for so that is the priority for now. [laughs]

We do a great job staying on it. If there’s new software, we look at it, and we’re always looking to evolve with the bigger system – Airbnb, VRBO, Booking.com  and everybody else. As long as we keep that mentality, I’m exceptionally optimistic that we can stay on the cutting edge of this emerging industry, which is a huge key to the success of any company in this day and age. 

Running Remotely

airbnb cleaning serviceMT: That’s great. So, the company is based in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area. Where is the home base of the company, more or less, currently?

Matt: It has somewhat moved around for a time period. For a while, we had more people in New Orleans than anywhere. There were sort of office sales, and all the rest. We have settled on Scottsdale. When did we ink the lease, Henry?

Henry: I believe it was back in April 2019. Scottsdale is a premier vacation destination almost year-round. 

matt lockin founder of plushy hostMatt: It has moved around, frankly, depending on which employees we have where, but it’s now got to a point where it’s settled in Scottsdale, yeah. 

Here’s the funny thing. We get asked this question all the time. I love this question when someone’s like, “Well, wait a second. I don’t understand. You guys are based in Scottsdale, and my property’s in Newport, Rhode Island. I don’t understand. How does this work?” They’re very confused as to how that works and why it really doesn’t matter. It’s processes, procedures.

The way we go about our onboarding, our maids – which again, MaidThis and the team has done such an exceptional job for us. We’re all over the country. Explaining the processes, procedures, and the people involved, and the fact that we do have people on the ground. They don’t have an office over their head, and therefore we don’t have to charge you 40% in management fees, right?

MT: Right, right.

Matt: As far as how we go through everything, it wouldn’t matter. I always use the analogy, we have properties that are blocks away that the people who are making the decisions, and making the machine work, have never seen and will never see. 

My other favorite one. I’ve just got to tell one quick anecdote. There’s a movie producer from Hollywood that was in Boston shooting a Sarah Silverman movie, calling a management company in Scottsdale to manage a house in Atlanta that no one had ever seen.

This guy bought it, sight unseen. He looked at the pictures and did the video walkthrough. I think that’s a really good example of how this works for [Plushy Host]. Neither of us has seen it, we had a smooth onboarding and its working just like it’s supposed to. 

I did put eyes on it. I’m from Atlanta originally, so I eventually did see it personally. Again, it’s like, that’s where we are these days. It’s happened so quickly. I still think no one really realizes. It’s going to be a very different world. It’s only getting faster, so it’s exciting times, for sure.

airbnb cleaning serviceMT: Yeah, for sure. It is obviously a very remote situation where you can “work” anywhere even though you’re officially based in Scottsdale.

How do you normally go about choosing your local people on the ground, where – even in a situation like this situation in Atlanta that’s so unique – where the person that purchased it and owns it, and the people technically operating it, haven’t even ever seen it? How do you go about choosing, if you expand into a new city for example? What’s the process for that?

matt lockin founder of plushy hostMatt: That is the big cut. That is the big question, is do we have properties there, or nearby, or have we had properties in the past? Sometimes, owners come and go. They’ve got to sell their property, a number of things can happen. We have a pretty robust network depending on where you’re talking about. 

It just so happens that certain areas of the country tend to do better than others in terms of revenue. It just so happens that’s where our calls come in from generally. It just so happens we either have properties there now, or we have in the past. Again, in the beginning it was super difficult, right?

Your first five properties are a lot harder than the next five, or the next five. Getting a critical mass of properties in an MSA was the big hurdle for some of the major markets. You talk about Atlanta, or the panhandle, or New Orleans, or Southern California, or any number of the cities that we’re in. 

Those were relatively easy, because we’ve been working with a lot of the housekeepers for years now, and we try to go within the network. That’s the thing that I really love in this business.

MaidThis’s referral service is outstanding. You really are the exception to the rule. It’s one-off housekeepers that work incredibly hard. We pay them well. We pay them incredibly well, and they work incredibly hard. They are independent contractors, but they do so much more than just the housekeeping. They’re really a part of the team. If it’s a new market, then there’s a process to that as well. We’re up front, and straightforward. We don’t hide the ball.

We explain how we do things with an owner, and if it’s a new market we say, your onboarding’s going to take an extra couple days or could take an extra couple weeks, and this is how your onboarding specialist is going to go through it. 

If we have an issue, this is not the first new city we’ve been in, and if we have an issue you’re going to hear about it. We’re not going to onboard if there’s a problem. We’ve done, I think the most difficult was probably the house in North Aspen on 60 acres, in the middle of nowhere. It was gated. That was in the early days too. We had that one done and operated it. That’s probably the most difficult it was going to get.

It can be challenging in some of the traditional vacation rental markets where the labor pool is thinner, or it’s already spoken for. There’s a lot of unhappy housekeepers out there, and staff that frankly are not treated right, and are not paid what they’re worth. 

We have pretty good luck about… Well, it’s not luck. We have a good way of going about finding talented housekeepers. When you’ve been doing it while, there’s a way we want it done, and we explain it. 

When you’re in this business for a while, you can tell pretty quickly whether or not someone should be your first cut. Occasionally, if we’re opening in a new market and it’s not working out, we always have someone else we’re going to go to. There’s so many tools out to find housekeepers; quality ones. Again, as the ecosystem grows, there’s so many housekeepers that have specialized in it, and if you know where to look you can find the talent.

Building Systems that Win Every Time

airbnb cleaning serviceMT: A lot easier to do it, yeah. I hear you. 

Let’s talk a little bit more about systems. Obviously, I know that’s such a huge important part of your business, literally from the ground up. What kind of systems have you used in the past that you’re continuing to use? 

Matt: [laughing] You want the secret sauce. I’m not giving you the secret sauce.

MT: [laughing] Well, you don’t have to give it all away.

matt lockin founder of plushy hostMatt: I’m kidding, I’m kidding. Again, I think everything revolves around the cleaning. If you don’t have clean access, you don’t have good access, and you don’t have good cleaning, then you have nothing. 

I would say, the majority of processes and procedures, and the systems that are in place are to streamline, and check, and double-check, and re-check housekeeping, and access, honestly. 

Now, when a guest needs something there is a procedure there too, as far as what they’re instructed to do, and whether or not they follow it who knows. Guests need to reach somebody 24/7, which brings in the guest services side of the systems.

Really, so much of it, if you have your cleaning procedures done, and how you’re scheduling, and how you’re checking, again, it goes back to everything from checking for damages, and resetting thermostats, and all the other tasks that housekeeping needs to do in a lot of cases. 

It’s also software, obviously. A lot of it’s automated, or the housekeepers have been trained on how the software works, and they’re getting automated messages and all that’s great. 

But really, it’s people. We’ve been really fortunate that some of the core group in terms of operations, it’s something where people still pick up the phone when there’s an owner or a housekeeper. 

There are still a lot of procedures that require escalations, and a human on the phone. Maybe I’m just a really, really old millennial, like, barely made it kind of old. I still feel like it’s great, all the things that technology’s doing. It’s allowing us access to this market, and this new ecosystem but a knowledgeable person still can’t be replaced. 

At the end of the day, you’re still dealing with homes, and in a lot of cases very high-end homes. This is someone’s vacation, and sometimes the nicest vacation someone may ever take, depending on the type of home, and when it is, and who it is. 

It necessitates communication and people. That’s been another challenge. Henry helped put some of that together too, as far as, how do we make sure that we have around-the-clock coverage without a call center. That was challenging but we did it with flying colors.

Henry: It comes down to relationships.

MT: Yeah, it does.

Henry: It’s comes down to respecting the people you work with, having a common vision, and focusing in on what we’re here to do and that is offer great hospitality for short term rentals. We take care of somebody’s home, their investment, and take care of the homeowner, make sure the guest is having the absolute best stay they possibly can. It all starts fundamentally with good, solid people, good training, common vision, and solid relationships. 

Once you have that, then the technology can certainly facilitate whatever you need it to do. I think, at least in my experience with Plushy Host, we’ve done that, and we’ve done that over, and over again. Every opportunity to bring in the right people, bring in the best talent we can, and put that talent exactly where it needs to go. This is our company-wide strategy and we look at ourselves as a giant team. It’s often that everybody can be looped in on one project. Well, not often, but everybody’s talking, everybody’s communicating…

matt lockin founder of plushy hostMatt: Wait, wait. Now, you are giving away the secret sauce! [laughing] The real secret is that, whether you’re an owner of the company, or you’re in operations, or you’re a housekeeper in Charlotte, everybody is part of the team.

Nobody, not one person is expendable, and everybody is completely needed or the whole thing collapses, honestly. At least we treat it that way. 

It’s been interesting, because, how large can you grow, and how many people can you add and have this team model? How to be efficient, but it’s interesting because it is dynamic, and people shift. 

As we’ve had people move up in the company, they know how to do more things. Everybody knows how to do everything… Not everybody, but people can shift and pivot. I do think there’s a way that we’re going to continue to grow in scale where it’s very dynamic like that. 

Some of it’s a fairness thing, but another part of it is, it’s just so much more efficient to have everybody chime in. The top-down rigid structure, I just don’t… If we had 10-thousand units overnight and we just didn’t care about the way this thing grew, then maybe. We would have to be a top-down command kind of thing. This has all been Henry, though. Putting the people together, and how the team’s structured is exceptionally important. Henry is very good at it. It’s a good partnership in that way.

Henry: It’s a simple formula. You hire good people, you treat them well, you get everybody on the same team. You take your team out, you do the best work you can do week after week. It’s not complicated, but we’ve done a great job, and we’ve got an incredible team. We do. We’ve built an absolute powerhouse team and I’m exceptionally proud of all of them.

 

 

We’re so grateful to have had this incredible opportunity to talk with Matt and Henry from Plushy Host and to learn more about what makes their business tick. Both were very humble during our conversation, but we’ve got to say, they know what they’re doing and they’re well positioned to help hosts in LA navigate the waters of the new home sharing ordinance. 

To learn more about their business, visit the Plushy Host website. To get started with their host application process to work with them, schedule a call with the Plushy team.

 

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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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Bad Airbnb Review? Respond with Grace

respond to bad airbnb review

 

A bad review is every vacation rental host’s worst nightmare, but if you’re in the game long enough, it’s likely inevitable. Fortunately, Airbnb allows you to respond to bad reviews so you have a chance to tell your side of the story. 

While a negative review might raise a red flag for future guests, the way you respond will tell them a lot more about who you are as a host. A good response will let future guests know you value their experience. 

Here are 3 ways to turn a negative review into a positive situation for you and your guests. 

1. Don’t take it personally. 

When you see a negative review, it feels like a personal attack. More often than not, however, your guest isn’t trying to ruin your life. If a guest has a bad experience in your rental property, their motivation is likely to warn other guests or to have their problems resolved, not to make you feel bad.

Keep this in mind and try to detach from your ego before you respond to a negative review. It’s not about you: It’s about how your guest’s expectations differed from what they experienced. That’s the part that you need to address in your response. 

2. Be professional. 

If you’ve ever worked a customer-facing job, you’ve heard the old adage that “the customer is always right.” While we all know the customer can sometimes be wrong, 🙂 the important thing is to treat every guest complaint with respect. 

Keep your response short, apologetic, and to the point. Don’t be rude or defensive, as this will come off badly to future guests. Rather, acknowledge where things went wrong and what you’ve done to fix it so potential guests won’t have to worry about a repeat experience. 

If the bad review is unfounded, you can acknowledge this too. Just make sure you do it in a way that comes off as explanatory, not demeaning. Your response should show humility and a desire to make things right. 

3. Take note for next time. 

Finally, the best thing you can do when you receive a negative review is to use it as an opportunity for a learning experience. Regardless of how unkind a review might be, ask yourself, What can I take away from this? 

Maybe there really was something amiss during the guest’s stay that you can fix, or maybe there was a communication issue that you need to work on. You can update your listing to clarify what guests should expect. In the event that the guest is the problem, there might have been some red flags you noticed early on that can help you weed out problem guests for next time. 

 

At the end of the day, while a negative review is never a pleasant thing to wake up to, it doesn’t have to ruin your mood. If you respond with grace and make a genuine effort to fix the problem, future guests will be impressed. 

 

At MaidThis!, we pride ourselves on the quality and reliability of our work. For a cleaning service you can rely on time and time again, check out what MaidThis! can do for you.

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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
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Hours
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Flip It or Drop It: Is It Time for a New Mattress?

new mattress airbnb host

Most vacation rental hosts want to go the extra mile for their guests, but there’s one glaring amenity that often gets overlooked: The mattress. Although it’s great to provide your guests with snacks or other care packages, they likely won’t enjoy their stay as much if they can’t sleep well on your mattresses.

A good night’s rest is the foundation of a happy vacation. The mattress you provide can be the difference between a good review and a mediocre one.

You Need a New Mattress If…

To really evaluate your mattresses, you’ll need to actually sleep on them. You’ll want to consider replacing a mattress if:

  • It’s over 8 years old
  • You notice any visible lumps or sagging in the mattress surface
  • You wake up with aches and pains after sleeping on it
  • You toss and turn in your sleep or are unable to get comfortable
  • Your allergies flare up

If you’re not sleeping well on your mattresses, chances are your guests aren’t, either. Regular mattress replacement is a must to guarantee that your guests feel rested and well-cared for.

How to Buy a New Mattress

A mattress can be a big investment, but you don’t have to spend a fortune if you don’t want to. There are plenty of affordable mattresses on the market today. The trick is to shop wisely in order to get your money’s worth.

When shopping for a new mattress, it’s important to consider a few factors. Price is a big one. Mattresses can easily run you into the thousands of dollars, so you should establish your budget beforehand in order to decide what you’re willing to invest.

The next thing to consider is whether you want a firm or soft mattress. Mattresses tend to become less firm over time, so you’ll get more bang for your buck if you opt for a firmer mattress at first. You can always purchase a mattress topper to use if your guests prefer a softer mattress.

Finally, you should buy your mattress from a company with a great return policy. You don’t want to be stuck with a mattress that your guests don’t love. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback on the quality of their sleep so you’ll know if changes need to be made.

Mattress Vendor Suggestions

If you’re not sure where to start shopping for a new mattress, here are some places to look:

  1. Amazon: Believe it or not, you can secure quality mattresses on Amazon without spending a fortune. If you’re on a budget, this is a great place to start.
  2. Sleep Number: If you want to guarantee your guests’ comfort, opt for a customizable mattress like a Sleep Number. Since your guests will be able to adjust the settings to meet their own needs, you won’t have to worry about anyone finding your mattress too firm or too soft.
  3. Purple: Purple is taking the mattress world by storm. Their Smart Comfort Grid promises more comfort than standard memory foam for a science-backed sleeping experience.
  4. Overstock: Overstock.com offers name-brand mattresses such as Serta, Seely, or Tempur-Pedic for discounted prices. The site also offers coupons like free shipping to make your purchase more affordable.
  5. Local mattress stores: You can find great deals on mattresses by shopping local. It’s common for mattress stores to offer deep discounts around holidays or during a liquidation sale.

 

Your mattress matters more than you might think. Don’t underestimate the importance of a good night’s sleep. If your guests can’t get comfortable on your outdated mattress, they won’t be afraid to make it known.

 

 

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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
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Should You Increase Your Nightly Rate?

increase nightly rate airbnb

 

Spring is a great time to re-evaluate things: Did you set goals for the new year? Time to revisit them and make sure you’re on track. Do you want to achieve something special this season? Write it down and make a plan.

When it comes to your Airbnb business, the majority of your success hinges on your nightly rate. Set it too high and you may be missing out on bookings. Set it too low and you may be missing out on money.

If you’re not sure how to determine your ideal nightly rate, here are 3 easy steps to help you find that sweet spot.

1. Look at your occupancy rate over the past year.

This can be a challenge if you don’t consider yourself to be much of a “numbers person,” but it’s well worth the effort.

Look back over your records from the past 6-12 months: How often did you have vacancies when you didn’t want them and what was your nightly rate?

Now, if you were booked a good amount of the time and are, overall, happy with your performance, look closer. How many weekends were you unwillingly vacant that you would have preferred to have been booked?

If you had few – or even better, no – vacancies over weekends over the timeframe you’re observing, chances are you can stand to raise your rate.

2. Look at your competitors in your area.

Spying on the competition is one of the best ways to get top-shelf information.

Run a search on other vacation rentals in your neighborhood. What’s their availability like over the next 4-8 weeks? Based on their photos, listing description, and reviews, do you think they should expect to be booked more or less than what they currently are?

Now, zero in on the money: What’s their average nightly rate? Again, based on a quick overview of their place, do you think it’s worth what they charge for an average or nightly rate? Do you think guests would be willing to pay more for their place and if so, how much? What about the opposite – are they charging too much? Should they lower their rate?

As a fellow host, you’re a bit of an expert. Go ahead –judge the competition and compare your notes to your own listing’s details.

3. Run an experiment: Raise your rate just a tad.

We don’t recommend doing this with vacancies that are just around the corner. Instead, look further into the future, a good 4-8 weeks ahead.

Keep yourself focused on your project. This will take some true observation skills.

Start small here – don’t get too excited. You know the (horrifying) anecdote about the frog in the pot and how he doesn’t notice as the water gets increasingly hotter? Apply the same principle here (without harming any amphibians).

You might begin by adding a small amount, say, $5-10 a night. Alternatively, go with a percentage instead, like 1-5%. Anything above $10 or 5% might be too high to really track differences, so be mindful of your price hikes.

Give it some time and watch what happens. Keep increasing your rate, little by little, until you hit a place where you either no longer feel comfortable inching higher or you start to see a (minor) dip in bookings when you think there shouldn’t be. Go back to that last “comfortable” rate and stick with it through the high season.

 

Finding your ideal rate truly is a science and requires a bit of elbow grease and patience. But for those who put in the effort, the payoff is (literally) worth it.

 

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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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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.

 

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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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3 Lessons You Can Learn from Being a Vacation Rental Guest in Your Own City

airbnb guest vacation rental host

 

There’s something enchanting about being a guest in your own city. Have you tried it?

Getting out of your own home and trying out a new place can give you a new perspective on the city or give you a whole new way to explore and learn about new (or some of your favorite!) neighborhoods. There are few “downsides” to being a townie on a trip.

In fact, have you considered what you could absorb just by “spying” on other hosts? There’s a wealth of knowledge and hosting tips to be found just by doing a little in-person research.

Here are 3 things you can learn from being a vacation rental guest in your own city.

1. What “works” and what doesn’t when it comes to comfort.

This is a great time to weed through listings and find a few that have things you’ve been considering adding yourself – a Netflix subscription, a video game console, a specialized work or exercise spot… Whatever it is you’ve been thinking about, seek it out.

Alternatively, seek out things you love and wish you had in your own place, whether or not you plan to add them to what you offer in your place.

Now, book a stay and – here’s the key – stay like you’re an out-of-towner. Plan some activities out of the house and scope out the neighborhood. Act like you’re on vacation!

Think about how likely you might be to use that video game console. Would you use the yoga space?

Do some soul searching: Is it worth the investment to include that shiny, new thing? Because maybe you’ll find that it isn’t.

Get creative, think outside the box, and leave no stone unturned.

2. What you’re missing in your own vacation rental.

Plenty of guests choose Airbnb or other vacation rental sites because they like to feel a sense of “belonging” in the city where they stay. Others like the “homey” feel as opposed to the stark, stiff feeling of a hotel. Whatever their reasoning, as a host, you can play that to your advantage.

Take time to look around you and see what creature comforts you appreciate most. If possible, think about how you can incorporate them into your own place. Alternatively, consider the inverse: What are you offering to your guests that your host isn’t? As a guest, how does that make you feel? How much better would your stay be if you had those things?

3. How to improve your listing description.

This is one task that will require a keen and careful eye.

Early on during your stay, pull up your host’s listing description and go through it while “walking” their place with a fine-toothed comb. What were they specific about in their listing and do their promises live up to reality?

What things do you see that are missing from their description that might be helpful to first-time guests to the city? Alternatively, what’s missing from their description and also nowhere to be found that might be helpful?

Keep a list of these things so you can refer back to it when you review your own listing.

 

Who knew doing research could be so much fun? This year, take a few moments to really scope out your competition and get out of the house to do it. Make this a fun project and see how much you can benefit from it.

 

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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.
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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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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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