Today, more than 50 million people around the world use Airbnb as part of their travel experience. While these soaring numbers have unlocked financially rewarding opportunities for many local house and flat owners, the sheer number of Airbnb listings means that it’s more important than ever to set your property apart by demonstrating a beautiful space that visitors can feel comfortable in. Yet, for the vast majority of us who lack interior decor expertise and rely on smartphone pictures uploaded to Airbnb’s site, it can often be difficult to accurately convey the potential of our room/property. In fact, just a few simple touches can make the difference in how your accommodation is perceived – and whether you get that booking or not.
Check out these 10 top tips – courtesy of Nakul Sharma, CEO of Hostmaker – on how to maximise the potential of your Airbnb listing.
1. Offer a personal touch
Having a characterful, clean place with comfy beds and fresh linen is certainly key to creating a comfortable space for guests, but demonstrating a personal touch is what takes a property to the next level. Take special care in the way you present your listing. For example, opting for brightly coloured accents conveys to potential guests a sense of design and attention to detail. Leaving tea mugs near the kettle thoughtfully and tasteful stationery and pens on the entryway table shows that you’ve thought about your guest and are offering them small things that will make their stay all the more comfortable and pleasing.
2. Eliminate clutter
It’s natural for a home to house many more possessions than a hotel. Yet, having excessive odds and ends splayed out in common spaces where people can see, simply looks messy- especially in pictures. Taking time to tidy up your spaces, put away any non-essential items can really open up your living spaces, making them appear even larger and more inviting than they are. Showcasing uncluttered, open spaces makes a home appear more welcoming.
3. A warm, sunny welcome
Pictures showing sun streaming through a clean, bright window almost always convey a feeling of bright positivity. Showing potential guests pictures of your home with natural light and sun is a simple, yet effective way of making your space look inviting and modern.
4. Choose a good angle
There’s a reason runway models pose at an angle – they know every photographed object has a ‘good side’. Your home is no exception. Taking photos straight on using a smartphone can make a space look flat and uninspired. Using a high-quality camera and photographing a room from an angle that fits as much of the room into one shot creates a high-quality image that presents the space in a more professional, aesthetically pleasing manner.
5. As clean as you can
It’s crucial that a guest arriving into an Airbnb property feels comfortable and cleanliness plays a large part in how well-received a home is. Let’s face it, not all of us have the time (or skill) to clean the place from top to bottom. Hiring a professional cleaner before you take shots of your space (and again before your guests arrive, of course!) can really make a place sparkle, generating pictures that show off your property at its orderly and clean best.
6. Be responsive
Airbnb’s search ranking algorithm is based on a number of factors at play, but host responsiveness is one of the biggest. Both response time (length of time it takes to respond to an enquiry) and response rate (how many responses to enquiries a host has) contribute to a host’s overall site ranking. Quickly responding to enquiries each and every time will increase the chances that your profile moves to the top of the list. Conversely, neglecting an enquiry for 24 hours will cause your average response rate to drop. More significantly, ignoring an enquiry for more than two days may even cause your profile to be shut down. To ensure your response rates are speedy and professional, stay on top of your Airbnb email alerts, and respond to enquiries in a friendly, helpful manner as soon as you hear that satisfying ping of your mobile phone alerting you of a new message.
7. Offer a versatile listing
It’s a myth that guests choose a rental based on price alone. Unlike staying in a hotel, Airbnb guests have the option to book the size, style, decor and location of a home that best fits their needs. Variables such as the unique character of the flat can be compelling for some would-be guests, so make sure to offer pictures that go beyond showcasing just the basics. If your home is a period house that happens to feature authentic Victorian fixtures, call that out in your listing. You never know – there may be someone out there looking for a cosy, Dickensian experience.
8. Employ a professional
As I’ve gone over, tips on presenting your home and photographing it properly can make a big difference in the success of your Airbnb listing. But if you’re truly at a loss with knowing where to start (or having the time!), hiring a professional Airbnb management service can make the difference between your listing getting lost amongst many, or becoming that “all-star” status listing. Professional photos have increased Airbnb profile views by up to 35% and have quadrupled the number of bookings.
And, if you’re looking to improve reviews of your hosting:
1. A warm welcome goes a long way
After a long day of travel, often the first thing on a guest’s agenda after setting down their suitcase is a strong cup of coffee (or tea, if they’re taking the British culture seriously). While you’re under no obligation to bonus amenities like tea, offee, shower gel and toilet tissue to your Airbnb guests, such these small details can make a massive difference to your guests and this will be reflected in their reviews. It certainly doesn’t hurt to ensure your listing includes pictures of the personal touches and ‘freebies’ a guest can expect when staying in your Airbnb rental.
2: You are your own best advocate
In addition to offering a nice, clean, and attractive space for guests, one important (yet highly overlooked) feature of an all-star property is… YOU! Being a good, attentive host can go a long way. Steps you can take to make guests feel welcome and cared for include meeting a guest at your door to drop off keys, rather than leaving them anonymously in a lockbox. Greeting guests with a friendly smile and helpful attitude makes them feel comfortable and confident in their decision to rent your property using Airbnb.
Words: Nakul Sharma, CEO of Hostmaker