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Year-End Review for Short-Term Rental Industry

2020 Year-End Review for Short-Term Rental Industry from MaidThis.com

It’s clear to everyone that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected travel in unprecedented ways. Some hosts have struggled to maintain their businesses this year, while others in different parts of the country have enjoyed renewed success as restrictions have shifted throughout the course of 2020. 

Guesty has surveyed over 400 vacation rental owners to discover just how the pandemic has affected bookings throughout the year and has released their findings in their “Industry Report: State of the Short-Term Rental Industry Amid COVID-19.” 

Here are 5 of the most important takeaways for vacation rental hosts and the STR industry as a whole. 

 

1. Travel is more spontaneous. 

As the news about the pandemic seems to change every day, it’s becoming more difficult for people to make long-term plans. As such, last-minute bookings have become the norm. According to the hosts surveyed, 30% of reservations were made within 30 days of a stay, 40% of reservations were made within one week, and 15% were made the same day.

 

2. Families are looking for space. 

Lockdown has forced many families to cut back on their usual activities, which can be particularly hard on young children – especially if a family doesn’t have an adequate outdoor space for kids to run around and play at home.

Because of this, vacation rentals with large yards have seen a jump in popularity. If your property has a great outdoor space, be sure to highlight this in your listing to attract guests who are looking for a little more space. 

 

3. Digital nomads are thriving. 

With many companies switching to full-time remote work, employees are free to work from anywhere with a reliable wi-fi connection. Because of this, rental hosts have seen an increase in extended stays, with the majority being around 1-3 months in length. 

Earlier in the year, many travelers were looking to escape the city, so hosts in remote areas were more likely to see this type of extended stay. However, as the pandemic stretches on, people have begun booking stays in larger cities once again, so many hosts can capitalize on this demographic. 

 

4. Flexible cancellation can help. 

In the spring and summer, there was a rise in emergency cancellations, as COVID-19 restrictions progressed at a different pace everywhere around the world. Today, according to the report, the majority of cancellations occur 2-3 weeks before a trip, which is a significant improvement.

While those last-minute cancellations have tapered off, a flexible cancellation policy is likely to make guests feel more comfortable when booking their stay, especially as cases are on the rise in the United States. 22% of the hosts surveyed in the industry report have found that flexible cancellation was the most helpful strategy for their business in 2020.

 

5. Expect more bookings, but also more cancellations. 

Many travelers feel more comfortable booking an Airbnb than staying in a hotel. Guests report feeling safer in an Airbnb, as there are fewer common areas and shared surfaces, fewer people, and less guest turnover than in hotels. 

Because of this, travelers who would normally stay in a hotel for the holidays may book Airbnbs instead. However, COVID-19 is expected to spike after Thanksgiving. If regulations surrounding health and safety become more strict, more guests are likely to cancel their stays and decide not to travel at all for Christmas and New Year’s. 

 

While travel has changed beyond what we could have expected in 2020, it’s clear that many vacation rental owners are still seeing a level of success. The important thing is to understand the shifting trends and make adjustments to your business strategy accordingly.

 

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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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5 Tips for Writing a Killer Airbnb Description

5 Tips for Writing a Killer Airbnb Description from MaidThis.com

We’ve written in the past about the importance of choosing the right photo for your Airbnb listing. While a picture says a thousand words, you’ll still need a killer description if you want to attract the right guests. 

If you’re not sure what makes for a good Airbnb description, don’t worry. Here are our 5 top tips. 

 

1. Make the title catchy.

When a potential guest is searching for a vacation rental, they could be scrolling through hundreds of similar properties in a certain area. Make sure yours stands out right from the search results page with a catchy title that will make them want to click. 

Your title should be descriptive and let potential guests know what to expect. Instead of just writing “San Francisco condo,” be specific about neighborhoods, nearby attractions, or features that your property has to offer. 

 

2. Emphasize what makes you unique. 

Chances are, many properties in your area offer similar benefits in terms of home size and location. You’ll need to emphasize your own unique selling points in order to beat out the competition. 

You might want to point out a specific amenity you offer, nearby attractions, the size of the yard, pools or jacuzzis, or anything else that might appeal to a potential guest. 

If there’s nothing unusual about the property itself, you can create a unique selling point by going above and beyond. Include gaming consoles for guests to play, provide equipment for outdoor recreation, throw in passes to local activities, or feature other bonuses that will entice guests to book. 

 

3. Know your audience. 

If you try to cast too wide a net with your target audience, you might not end up attracting anyone. It’s better to be specific when writing an Airbnb description so you can win over the type of guest that’s most likely to book. 

For example, if your property is a big house with a yard, you don’t want to target couples looking for a romantic getaway. Mentioning family-friendly activities in the area is likely to be much more persuasive to your potential guests. 

 

4. Keep it short and sweet. 

Many people don’t have the patience to read a wall of text. If all your information is crammed into a single, long paragraph, people might close out of your listing before they even see what you have to offer. 

Consider the fact that many potential guests will be looking through multiple properties before making a booking decision. You want to make it as easy as possible for them to find out what they need from your listing, even if they’re just skimming.

Use strategic formatting like paragraph breaks to make your description easy to read. If there is any really relevant information that a guest should know before booking, or something you think is sure to wow them, put it near the beginning of your listing so they won’t miss it. 

 

5. Answer the FAQs.

If your guest has questions about your property, they probably won’t reach out to you unless they’re really serious about booking it. That means you might be losing out on more casual browsers if you don’t include all the information they need up-front. Anticipate everything your guests will want to know about your property and include it in your listing. 

 

You don’t have to be a professional writer when writing an Airbnb description for your listing – it’s all about the strategy. By keeping a potential guest’s needs in mind, you can create a description that targets your ideal audience and converts their browsing to bookings. 

 

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Vacation Rental


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

Blog

What Do Airbnb Management Companies Do?

What do Airbnb management companies do? from MaidThis

Whether you’ve been hosting for a while or are just starting to look into becoming a host, you might have noticed that many property owners use an Airbnb management company to handle the day-to-day tasks that go along with maintaining a vacation rental home. 

These companies can be costly, but are they worth the price? Here’s what you need to know about what Airbnb management companies can do for you.

 

What Airbnb Management Companies Can Manage

Airbnb management companies deal with a lot of the minutiae of operating a vacation rental property, including:

 

  • Rate optimization
  • Customer service
  • Check-in assistance
  • Maid and laundry services and/or management
  • Listing management and marketing
  • Property inspection and maintenance
  • Damage repairs

 

These companies can help you secure more bookings by improving your listings as well as providing 24/7 assistance for your guests. For many, this is a convenient way to make passive income from your rental property without having to deal with a lot of the downsides that being a host can entail. 

 

Do I Need an Airbnb Management Company?

Although useful, Airbnb management companies aren’t right for every property owner. Here are some factors that might come into play when deciding whether you want to take the plunge:

 

  • Price: Airbnb management companies typically take a percentage of the nightly profit from your property as commission, usually around 10-20%. You’ll have to consider whether this works for your budget. 
  • Proximity: If you live in another city or state from your rental property, it might give you peace of mind to have a local company to manage your rental property. If you live in town, it might be easier and more cost-effective to do it yourself or to hire an assistant to help you out instead. 
  • Skill: Many people are just not good at maintaining their listings or marketing their rental properties. In this case, you might actually be losing money without an Airbnb management company to help boost your business. 
  • Local knowledge: Out-of-state property owners might not be as knowledgeable about the area as a local property management company. In this case, the company is better equipped to answer guest questions and assist them if the need arises.

 

If you decide that hiring an Airbnb management company is right for you, here are a few to consider:

 

 

It’s important to do your research and choose an Airbnb management company that works for your budget and provides service in your area. You should also read client reviews and testimonials to make sure the company delivers what it promises. When you do find the right company, you’ll likely find it to be a great partnership. 

 

A property manager can give you peace of mind and take many tedious responsibilities off of your plate. Ultimately, the decision to use a property management company is up to you, but many hosts find that it’s more than worth the price. If you’re burnt out on the daily management of your rental company and struggling to keep up with hosting duties, hiring a property management company can be a game-changer.

 

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

Grow Big: Expanding Your Airbnb Business to Other Cities

Expand Airbnb Business to Other Cities with MaidThis

If you’ve seen a lot of success as a vacation rental host, the next logical step is to think about how to expand your Airbnb business. Buying a new vacation rental property in a lucrative city is a tempting prospect, but there are a few things to consider before taking the plunge. 

Here are 4 major things to keep in mind before expanding your Airbnb business to other cities. 

 

1. Do your research before expanding your Airbnb business.

If you’re planning on expanding your Airbnb business, you can’t just look for the most affordable property on the market. You need to first do your research and make sure the city you choose to buy in is popular with potential guests. 

Some cities are more lucrative than others; you might pay more up-front for a rental property in a high cost-of-living area, but you’ll be able to rake in more money down the line if it’s a vacation hotspot. There are many destinations, such as Las Vegas and Orlando, that have remained consistently popular with vacationers for many years. 

However, don’t only look at popular vacation destinations. Since the onset of the pandemic, travel habits have shifted in a big way. Many people are looking to escape to more remote locations, such as cabins in wooded areas or properties close to national parks and other outdoor attractions. 

When researching potential property locations, keep in mind that many areas will have peak- and off-seasons. Be sure that you’re financially stable enough to weather the slower periods and know when to expect them. 

Some locations offer year-round activities that may help you attract guests no matter the season, but others see most of their visitors in a shorter time frame.

You should also look into local rules and regulations governing Airbnb and other property rental services. Many cities are making it harder for hosts to homeshare, and you’ll want to be sure you don’t run afoul of any laws when looking to grow your business. 

 

2. Consider hiring a vacation rental property manager.

The problem with expanding to a new city is that if you don’t live there, you’re not likely to know much about the area or what activities there are for tourists to do. It will also be more difficult for you to tend to maintenance duties on the property or troubleshoot if a guest is having an issue.

Because of this, you might want to factor in the cost of hiring a property management company into your new investment. A rental management company can help you handle customer service, provide on-site assistance, and deliver deep local knowledge to your guests to help them have the best possible experience on their trip. 

Although property management companies take a percentage of your profits, they can save you a lot of time and hassle. Ultimately, you might end up making more money with a company to help you optimize your services. 

 

3. Prepare for the worst.

The global pandemic of 2020 showed us that no industry is completely untouchable when it comes to unforeseen disasters. That’s been especially true for the vacation rental industry. Before expanding, have a plan for what you would do if another illness, bad weather, or local regulations create a sudden drop in tourism in your new city. 

With the pandemic in particular, hosts have suddenly found themselves investing more in cleaning services and ways to make their vacation rentals more sanitary. It’s a good idea to have an emergency fund on hand for every property you own, both to insulate you against unexpected lean times and to help you adjust to any massive changes you might face. 

 

4. Put in the work.

Many properties for sale will not immediately be ready to host guests. Some have outdated appliances or decor, some have a strange number of bedrooms or bathrooms, and some have been neglected to the point of disrepair. It’s likely you will need to put some money into the property before you can start seeing significant returns on your investment. 

Be prepared to pay for remodeling and/or landscaping services to make your property more attractive to potential guests. A few upgrades can go a long way towards making a vacation rental more appealing to potential guests. 

 

While expanding your Airbnb business can lead to another lucrative stream of income for many hosts, it’s not a decision anyone should take lightly. It’s important to understand what you’re getting into before you buy. With a little strategy, however, you can grow your business and maximize your profits in a whole new place. 

 

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

How to Become an Airbnb Co-Host or Vacation Rental Property Manager

become airbnb cohost vacation rental manager

With vacation rental property management companies on the rise (and let’s also acknowledge the fact that these entities are nothing new when it comes down to it), marketing yourself as a vacation rental manager and landing a management gig is tough. The competition is fiercer than ever.

So if you want to jump into the property management pool, how do you get started? We won’t deny that it will be a bit of an uphill battle, but we’ve got a few tips to help you seal a deal (or a few!).

Finding Opportunities

Perhaps one of the most head-scratching roadblocks when it comes to getting started in vacation rental management is knowing where to track down hosts and owners who are looking for management (or as Airbnb refers to it, “co-hosting”) help. You can’t just go knocking on doors, can you?

Not exactly. But you can use some of the tools already at your disposal.

1. Tap your contacts.

If you’re already an entrepreneur of sorts like our friend Davida Horn, who started her management gigs via her relationship as a bookkeeper for her clients, use that “in.” If you’re already offering a service and happen to know or work with vacation rental hosts, talk to them about the possibility of helping them manage their property.

2. Become a really good local guest.

This is just smart all the way around: Being a great guest means you probably also know what a great host is like. But use your local vacation rental stays to your advantage – use this as a way to meet and get to know other local hosts in your area.

Sure, you have to pay to stay, but you’re also building relationships. If the host you’re staying with isn’t interested in getting management or co-hosting help, perhaps they know someone that is.

Put simply: It pays to know people and the more people you know, the more you could potentially get paid.

3. Search the interwebs.

There’s a possibility that you could find someone asking about where to find a vacation rental manager on a number of job boards and, more importantly, this may also be a good place for you to list your own availability.

You can also look on industry-specific websites like Airhosta. Airhosta matches potential co-hosts and property managers with hosts looking for help with their listing. Check it out!

Land the Gig: Stand Out from the Crowd

Now that you know where to search, who to talk to, and what to look for, the next step is ensuring that once you start exploring those avenues, you look the part and have a stellar sales pitch.

Don’t forget you’re selling your skills as a co-host or vacation rental manager! Your professionalism and preparedness matter.

1. Organize a management proposal to show off your expertise.

Ideally, you should have some experience as a host yourself so you can prove once and for all that you know your “stuff” and can handle helping your potential clients’ guests and running the show from the backend.

Show your potential client your plans for:

  • Incoming guest inquiries and general communication
  • Check-in and check-out procedures
  • Turnover cleaning
  • Emergencies
  • Maintenance and general upkeep

 

We’re just scratching the surface here – overprepare so you can show yourself at your best.

2. Focus on what sets you apart.

As we said before, vacation rental management is nothing new and it seems like everyone is getting into the business these days.

What do you have that makes you different – or arguably better – than the other individuals and companies you’re competing against? Don’t be afraid to be confident about what you can offer. That’s likely to be your biggest selling point.

3. Set a reasonable (but competitive) rate for your services.

Typically, vacation rental managers and co-hosts take a percentage cut of the rental rate secured by the actual host. A number of sources online suggest anywhere from 10-25%.

Setting your own rate can be a little tricky because you don’t want to undersell yourself, but you certainly don’t want to oversell, either. Look at your experience and what unique points you can offer, and set a rate for yourself.

Consider developing a tiered option, too, to give your host more flexibility. If guests stay longer, perhaps your percentage cut could be a bit lower.

In the end, you have to do what’s best for you and feel confident that you’re getting back what your services are worth.

 

It’s no cakewalk getting started as a vacation rental manager or co-host, but the payoff is often well worth the legwork. If entrepreneurship is something you’re striving for and you’re passionate about hosting guests and visitors to your city, this may be a great “job” for you. So what are you waiting for? Get started!

 

Need help deciding how to show your potential hosting clients how you’ll handle turnover cleanings? Let MaidThis! help! We provide Airbnb and vacation turnover cleanings to dozens of hosts and have an exclusive team of cleaners whose sole responsibility is turning over vacation rentals. Give us a shout for more information.

 

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