There has been a lot of uncertainty these past few months about the future of vacations and travel, and whether or not short term rentals will even survive this pandemic. In 2019, a short term rental host could easily earn some passive, supplemental income. Now, with COVID-19 impacting the world, Airbnb hosts are wondering if the market will rebound and bring travelers back to their Airbnbs, and passive income back into their pockets.
The fact is that people still want to travel and explore. RV rentals are up 1000% in some areas, as friends and families are looking at ways to safely travel and enjoy a vacation. I predict Airbnbs will rebound faster than hotels and resorts, as a way to safely isolate at destinations within driving distance of people’s homes. Hosts should be careful to follow cleaning guidelines for guests to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and also consider having at least 72 hours between bookings to allow for thorough cleaning and disinfection.
Being ready for when the travel market beings to rebound, and planning ahead to figure out just how much you can earn will depend on the amount of time and effort you put into being a good host. Do the bare minimum, and you’ll earn the bare minimum. Go above and beyond, and you’ll reap the financial benefits. The choice is yours, but if you want to boost your Airbnb income, here are four things I recommend doing.
Be a proactive communicator.
The key to maximizing Airbnb income is setting expectations, and one of the easiest and most effective ways to do this is by prioritizing communication. Start with your listing, being as descriptive as possible. You want to paint a picture of what it will be like to stay in your home. Highlight what makes your property so great and include lots of high-quality pictures.
You should also be clear about your house rules right from the start. This will help to avoid any potentially negative surprises which could impact your positive reviews. And remember to be responsive. If a guest sends you a message, whether it’s prior to booking or after they’ve arrived, get back to them right away. The more you cater to your guests, the better their experience will be.
It also helps to review your guests prior reviews, to see if there is a potential red flag that you should raise before check in, to make sure everyone is on the same page. For example, I just received a booking from a guest who is coming in town for a few weeks for the birth of their grandchild. One of their reviews mentioned the guest being unhappy about the lack of central heat and AC, even though they weren’t listed as amenities for that host’s listing. So I decided to send a follow up note confirming the amenities for my home, in case the guests hadn’t taken the time to fully read my listing. This helps avoid any confusion — and as the saying goes — happiness is expectations management.
Pay attention to the little details.
What makes a house a home? It’s those little details – the freshly cut flowers on the table, the smell of coffee brewing, the cozy blanket on the couch – that really make a difference. These same details can turn an ordinary Airbnb into one that guests are clamoring to book, again and again. Don’t discount the power of the little things. Leave a welcome basket with a personalized note to make your guests’ arrival more special. I’ve had several guests mention the welcome baskets in their 5-star reviews, which absolutely helps boost your Airbnb income.
Invest in things like quality linens and offer extra amenities to make your guests more comfortable during their stay. Be helpful by providing detailed information about things like nearby attractions and best hidden gems. Try to anticipate their needs. To really up the wow factor, I recommend getting to know guests a little before they arrive. This allows me to prepare my home for a more personalized stay. And trust me – that’s where the 5-star reviews come into play.
Make improvements to your home.
Oftentimes in business, you have to spend money to make money. If you really want to maximize your short term rental income, take a look around and see if there are any areas of your home where improvements could be made to make it even better for your guests. Don’t worry – I’m not talking about knocking down walls or building an addition. I’m talking a fresh coat of paint, maybe a few new pieces of furniture.
At the very least, make sure that everything in and around your home is in good working order. A broken appliance or a shower that clogs can really put a damper on guest experience. Take inventory on a regular basis and if something needs to be repaired or replaced, take care of it right away. Remember – if you give your guests the bare minimum, they’ll expect to pay the bare minimum in return.
One of the best things about renting an Airbnb vs. a hotel room is the feeling of home. A short term rental property is supposed to feel lived in, so don’t stress about making everything perfect. Yes, it should be clean and tidy. Yes, everything should be in good working order. Yes, you should provide your guests with at least the basics in care. But that doesn’t mean you have to turn your home into some sterile boutique hotel.
In my experience, guests love the little personal touches that make them feel comfortable and right at home — like waters and chocolates by the bedside. Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through, from your listing to your communications with guests to the décor of your home. Be yourself and your guests will reward you with positive reviews, referrals and repeat business, which will ultimately lead to more Airbnb income.