I’ve created these Airbnb commandments for all future, brand new, or experienced Airbnb hosts. They should be front and center in everything you do as it relates to Airbnb hosting. They’ll bring you to the all might level three Airbnb host status.
They’re a summary of my time working directly with Airbnb hosts in more than 56 countries and staying as an Airbnb guest for more than 1,500 nights.
Below, you will find four general vacation rental commandments that you can apply to everything you do relating to Airbnb hosting.
And, you will find a variety of specific commandments that your time is best used for.
They are in order of importance. You’ll notice the most important items have to do with confirming the reservation and the final few have to do with increasing the guest experience both online and offline.
If you’re an Airbnb host, you are an entrepreneur. Or, if that’s too scary think of yourself as a small business owner.
If you’re an Airbnb host, you are an entrepreneur. Click To Tweet
You are running a business. You’re providing capital investments in the form of buying furniture and paying for services.
You’re the marketing department by listing your space online to try and convince an FPG (future potential guest) to pay you.
You’re accounting in that you’ll be collecting payments and charging nightly rates.
Research and development come in the form of reading my blog and trying to improve your guest experience.
Now you have an online reputation to maintain. That’s public relations.
An entrepreneur’s greatest asset is their mind. Mostly what an entrepreneur does is think through a myriad of problems for the best solution.
If I can help shift your mindset from employee to entrepreneur, there’s nothing further needed as you’ll be able to grow on your own. You’ll eventually be my competition if you so choose!
Related Content: Airbnb: The Right Mindset. What makes you an outstanding Host.
Respect The Guests’ Attention
There is really only one commandment and it’s this one. That’s because most hosts’ are disobeying this one. If you keep this in mind in everything you do, you will be one of the most competitive Airbnb listings in your market.
What I’m talking about is really a combination of marketing and customer service.
To know if you’re respecting your guests’ attention, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Have you written with the fewest possible words in your online Airbnb listing?
- Have you simplified all processes for the guest (ie digital lock instead of a multi-step process involving finding a lockbox?)
- Have you provided instructions on how to use non-standard amenities in your home?
Have you made the guest experience as pleasant as possible?
Learn How To Be A Marketer
If you’re like most Airbnb hosts, you are an employee. You have a specific job that is unrelated to marketing. But when you’re an Airbnb host, you transform into an entrepreneur who needs to be a master marketer.
After all, you’re trying to convince an FPG to reserve your Airbnb listing over hundreds of others. That requires skill.
When it comes to marketing, it’s a two-step process:
- Ensure the FPG is a great fit for what you offer, then
- Get them excited about booking your space.
Related Content: Should You Become An Airbnb Host?
Communicate only that relevant information to your guest at the time they need it.
Specific parking or check-out instructions are not needed prior to booking (ie in your Airbnb listing house rules).
Likewise, what amenities you offer does not go into your digital guidebook. That would be something the guest needs to know before they book your space.
This is one of the reasons you need to be a regular Airbnb guest. You will discover good and bad things about how other hosts operate. It’s our version of a trade show.
Related Content: Guest Messaging Templates + Strategy
This encompasses everything from responding to guest complaints quickly and professionally to going above and beyond while your guest is at your property to thinking of nice gestures for your guest throughout the booking process.
Are you doing anything special that might set you apart from your competition?
I’ve recently started offering a unique travel itinerary specifically designed for this commandment. It’s not easy, but it separates you. I can almost guarantee the guest has never seen anything like it before.
If the guest left something behind, are you the type to charge them? Or, worse, think about how you don’t have to send it back?
If so then you’re failing this commandment. Even though it’s the guest’s fault for leaving something behind, it’s your mindset that we need to adjust. It seeps out in all of your hosting abilities, this is just a surface-level clue.
Related Content: My BEST Airbnb Experience Goes To Saigon, Vietnam
At all price points, a listing that has thought about a pleasant and functional interior design will always be more competitive.
Firstly, your listing will show better in photos. Secondly, your space will be more pleasant and efficient to use while the guest is there.
I think most Airbnb hosts think interior design has to be high-end and expensive. This is false. You don’t even have to hire anyone. At a bare minimum, you can think of a few ways to increase the look and feel of your space.
Related Content: Airbnb Interior Design Tips (Easy-to-implement)
There’s a reason why the founders personally flew to New York, their biggest market at the time, to take professional photos for some of their early hosts and why they offered it as a free service for years.
Photos present your space in the best possible light, pun intended.
Put on your marketing hat! Sell, sell, sell. Think about when you’re booking a hotel room, would you book the dark photo option or the bright and colorful option?
Related Content: Airbnb Photo Tips: 5 For Higher Occupancy
Related Content: Use Your Phone to Take Better Airbnb Photos
And, specifically, the cover photo is the most important of all….
This is the single most important factor that has the most direct effect on your success. Think about this from the beginning.
You need a cover photo. Of course, you will be required to choose one, but you need to do better.
Do you have a stand-out feature in your home? An expansive deck? A unique rain show? A gigantic painting above your couch? An elegant centerpiece on your dining room table?
If not, then think about what angle would most grab the guests’ attention.
When you find that angle, what can you add to it to further grab even more attention?
Depending on what room, you might want to add some bold colors in the form of a painting, flowers, extra furniture, pillows. Etc. Make it stand out!
Related Content: 3 Most Important Sections of Your Airbnb Listing
Airbnb has de-emphasized the title in recent months to the point where some guests probably don’t even see it until they click on your listing, but that’s ok. It’s still important.
You should add your most sought after amenities to your title. Let’s say you live in a big city, in a popular neighborhood, and cater to families. The rooftop hot tub is definitely cool, but your parking is actually the thing that thing is more sought after because fewer of your competition has it.
Your garage, though not glamorous, sets you apart from the competition. So you’d put this first, then maybe the rooftop hot tub depending on what else you offer.
Don’t worry if you’re not a luxurious Airbnb, how about any of the following:
- Keyless Entry
- Smart TV
- 100MBPS Wifi
- Early Check-in/Late Check-out
- Full Kitchen
Related Content: Master Your Airbnb Title: 5 Do’s And 4 Dont’s
Related Content: Airbnb Title Generator (Free tool)
Manicured Airbnb Listing Text
I’m going to take a peek at your listing right now. Give me a moment.
Ok. I’m back.
You have opted for what 99% of Airbnb hosts are doing. Block paragraphs of text. Digital poop.
Remove the fluff. Add bullet points.
Respect the guests’ attention (see above) and get them excited about your space by hitting them with all the cool things it offers. And don’t make them dig through text to find it.
Remember when you were a little kid and someone visited your school to introduce a competition with prizes? When the speaker introduced these prizes do you remember going crazy? Maybe it was selling wrapper paper and each roll you sold got you another entry to win this cool stuff. One by one:
- a crayon set!
- An action figure or barber doll!
- A bicycle!
- Some other random toy that kids love!
This is like your text. Just hit the FPG with one thing after another. Fully equipped kitchen. Onsite washer and dryer. 60” Smart TV. Keyless entry. Luggage storage. Garage parking. Rain showerhead. Memory foam mattress. 50Mbps wifi.
Related Content: Master Your Airbnb Description
The ultimate efficiency tool. Say goodbye to all of the following questions:
- Where can I park?
- How do I get in?
- Where’s the garbage?
- What’s the wifi password?
- How do I use the TV?
- Where do I leave the keys?
- Where’s the nearest grocery store, gym, etc.?
A digital guidebook accomplished two things.
First, it saves you, the host, time in answer basic and standard questions. Second, it saves the guest time in not having to ask you, the host, and having to wait for your answer.
Plus, this tool is seldom used that once the guest opens it up and sees how useful it is, they’ll understand they’re dealing with a different type of host…and OptimizeMyBnb.com Airbnb host.
Related Content: What Info Goes In My Digital Guidebook?
Honorable Mentions: Airbnb Commandments
If you have the option of traditional physical keys or a digital keypad, which one respects’s the guests’ attention more? You are correct if you answered keyless entry.
It’s easier. There’s no chance the keys can get lost. The guest doesn’t have to coordinate with each other when the host doesn’t provide enough keysets.
Taking it a step further, if you are deciding between keyless entry options and one requires the guest to download an app and the other does not, which should you get? You should choose the one which most respects the guests’ time which in this case is the option without having to download an app.
You want to communicate the most information to the guest in the least amount of time (and words). Does your guest need to know check-out info before they even booked your space? Probably not.
First, you are communicating sellable information and any information that would drive away guests who aren’t a good fit. Elderly or handicapped guests are not a good fit if you are on the 6th floor without an elevator.
You need to respond rapidly to inquiries and all guest messages. You can further optimize with automated messages to check-up on the guest and send check-out and review reminders.
Which of the above is your ultimate Airbnb commandment for a successful vacation rental?