Airbnb ‘Superhosts’ raking in more than $1,000 a month share their best tips for free.
These classes want to make you the host with the most.
Almost 3,000 people have signed up for Udemy.com’s current online course “Airbnb: Our Insider Tips and Tricks for Successful Hosting,” which aims to set home-sharers up for success for $55 (marked down to $10 for a limited time.)
The course includes a one-hour video you can watch on demand, as well as three articles and other subscription-only resources to help wannabe Airbnbers create a hosting strategy, attract the best guests and avoid common listing mistakes.
No wonder it’s a hot topic: Airbnb hosts average $924 a month, according to Priceonomics. That’s more than anyone else in the gig economy (TaskRabbit workers were a distant second at $380 a month.) But there’s some penthouse-sized discrepancies in that haul, with some Airbnb hosts pulling in less than $200, while others rake in more than $10,000 monthly.
So Udemy has a dozen other archived home-sharing classes, including two recent webinars “Airbnb Entrepreneur: Become the Best Listing in Town!” and “Airbnb Hacks for Maximizing Profits for your Pad” for $95 and $200, respectively.
And the growing cottage industry of hosting hacks include sites like the LearnAirbnb Hosting Master Class, which includes a two-hour step-by-step video walk-through of how to create the perfect listing, as well as a seven-part video series to getting your listing ready and delivering a great guest experience with fewer headaches, for $299.
Or the $197 AirbnbSecrets course includes more than a dozen video modules with best practices on taking photos that will sell travelers on your space, how to build reviews and how to keep track of your income and expenses.
Of course, Airbnb “Superhosts” – seasoned listers with five-star ratings making up 80% of their reviews – are also happy to share their tried and tested tricks to help newbies give their guests a great experience. Here are 10 home-sharing tips they shared with Moneyish, with more available on the Airbnb blog.
Be responsive. To be a Superhost, in fact, you’ve got to have a 90% response rate to your guests. “Put yourself in the traveler’s shoes – they are online and interested NOW,” said Superhost Michelle Faulkner, 48, who’s almost able to cover her mortgage with the extra $2,000 she makes renting rooms in a farmhouse on Boston’s North Shore. “Take advantage of that by responding right away if you can, even if it’s just, ‘I wanted you to know I got your message. I’ll be back at my laptop in about an hour, and I’ll send you a longer message then, answering all your questions.’”
Post great pics. Jenna Robbins, who pulls in about $3,000 a month, credits her beautiful photos and detailed captions with being able to rent out her two-bedroom Playa Del Rey, California condo enough to pay for traveling the world. She suggests making sure photos are well-lit and show the room, versus close-ups of individual items. Two photos per room suffice, and they should have specific captions that say whether this is bedroom one, bedroom two, etc. “In terms of crafting my listing, I made sure to use a lot of keywords and mentioned nearby points of interest,” she added.
Brighten your decor. When Peggy Farren, 58, first started with Airbnb, her largest available room with a private entrance and private bathroom in southwest Florida was not renting as well as two smaller rooms with a shared bathroom. “What I found was that the decor was too generic,” Farren told Moneyish. She now earns $4,500 a month from mid-January to mid-April. “Once I spiced it up with bold color and big pictures, it started renting much better. One of the main reasons my rooms rent so well is that they stand out in the listings.”
Price it right. Many superhosts said Airbnb lowballs its suggested prices. “I won’t set the price below a certain threshold,” said Faulkner. “We know our place is worth more than others in the area because of the unique location and experience we provide.” Farren agreed. “I play around with the pricing regularly,” she said. “I’m not sure why people are willing to pay more or less at times, I just know they do.”
Don’t try to hide anything. Be as clear as possible in the description about any caveats at your place that could cause complaints.”I focus on the positives, but I do warn guests of potential issues,” said Faulkner. “The upstairs guests have to carry their suitcases up a spiral staircase, which is not easy, but since they are forewarned, they don’t seem to mind. I live behind a commercial space, so there is noise when they empty their dumpster at 5:30 a.m. each morning. Again, it’s in the description.”
Clean everything. Your space should be spotless, with clean sheets on the bed, fresh towels in the bathroom and the floors vacuumed and mopped. And make sure the TV remotes are easy to find. “Five-star hotels have two inspections after each room is cleaned,” said Farren. “While I don’t have two inspections, we clean and double check cleanliness: Under the beds; everything is wiped down on every shelf; and the bathrooms are checked thoroughly to make sure there is not one hair or piece of dirt.”
Offer flexible check-in and check-out times. Affordable flights are often outside standard check-in and check-out times, or sometimes traffic or flight delays impact when a guest can get to your door. “We aren’t rigid about check-in and check-out. If we don’t have another guest coming, we’ll let guests stay as late as they want,” said Faulkner. Even if you can’t accommodate your guest before a certain check-in time, let them drop off their bags at your listing. Or leave the keys for them in a lockbox with a passcode.
Be informative. Leave a laminated sheet or a binder on the kitchen or coffee table with the rules of the house, emergency contact numbers, discount coupons for area attractions, the wifi password, etc. “I have a stack of tourist brochures, and I also have tips and suggestions on a sheet of paper in a plastic sleeve in each room,” said Farren. “I try to be as helpful as I can to be sure they have a great time while visiting my town.”
Leave little gifts. Personal touches make guests feel more welcome – and more generous in their reviews. Superhost Andrew Bard, 39, who makes $1,100 a month renting out two rooms in a Civil War-era home in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, gives his guests local freebies like handmade soaps and lotions from one friend, and honey made by another. “Guests love that I have samples for them to try,” he told Moneyish. “They want local things and cool stuff to do and see that they can’t get at the Holiday Inn.” Faulkner ageed. “When we know it’s a guest’s birthday, we leave a cake and balloons in the kitchen,” she said. “When we know people are arriving on a late flight with a toddler, we leave kid-friendly snacks. And we always leave a bottle of wine.”
Don’t take all bad reviews personally. No matter how hospitable you are, or how clean and gorgeous your place is, some people will still find something to complain about. “Around 8% of the people are just complete crap. They’re condescending, rude or passive-aggressive nit-pickers. You’ll not make them happy. Let it go,” said Bard. “Focus on the 90% that will appreciate what you’re doing for them, are happy to be sharing time in your home with you and are there to experience something different than a hotel. Do your best, and things will work out.”
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