How To Start Hosting On Airbnb
In 2013, my husband and I relocated from Europe to San Francisco. After several years of working in Paris in hotels, we made the big move. What could be more exciting?! After settling in our new life, new jobs and our new home, we decided to host on Airbnb. I’ve been hosting since 2013 and I am a regular user of Airbnb as a guest too.
Having previously worked in world renowned luxury hotels in Europe elevated my thinking around what it means to craft an experience and provide a level of service that is memorable for each guest. As an Airbnb host in San Francisco, I have put to work the same standards and here I am sharing them with you.
Assess Your Space And Current Living Area
Making a decision to host on Airbnb takes time and effort if you want to do it right. You can’t post a blurry photo of your bedroom and call it a day. Our first decision-making point was the frequency of our hosting activities. Second, how much space do we want our guests to use? Do we want them to be confined to the use of the spare room? The decisions you make will help define the type of host you’ll want to be, your time commitment from the moment a guest requests to book your listing and the level of experience that your guest will receive.
You Attract What You Sow
The Law of Attraction can get you what you want, by using the correct techniques of manifestation. In Airbnb hosting dictionary that means, how you brand and price your listing will attract a specific profile of traveler or guest. Do you want to attract a guest with impeccable tastes and is chill? Trust me, most Airbnb guests are going to be chill. Otherwise, they’d be spending over $400++ in a hotel. Taste is another story. As a host, it is up to you to decide on the personality of your listing then execute for that experience. For example, if you’re going for the minimalist Philippe Starck mood simply drape the room in white, get creative with lighting a few simple pieces of art deco furniture then add the cherry-on-top, a green apple. Voila you transported your guest to luxury chic Delano Hotel in your Airbnb. Like magic!
A Photo Is Worth A Thousand Words
Visuals are so powerful it can make or break your listing. Take the time to create the experience you’d like your guests to envision then capture that magic in multiple photographs. Are you selling your listing based on the 360 degree views of your loft? Did you highlight the natural light, spacious well-equipped kitchen or the whirlpool bath for three? Capture those details in the lens down to the soft plush towels that you promise in your listing. If you’re not that great with the camera ask the professional photographers to help you. This service is offered free by Airbnb. If you do decide to use a professional photographer, a few pro tips: clean the space, get some props! A few examples: a fresh basket of fruit, fresh flowers, fresh folded towels with a bar of French milled soap, maybe a bottle of wine or an amenity basket. Be creative think about the visual story of what your guests will experience the first moment they step into your Airbnb listing.
Finding The Right Words
Now we’re down to crafting your Airbnb listing. What do you want to say? What are your competitors saying on their listing? Yes, as an Airbnb host your neighbor around the block or two blocks over is a competitor. Don’t panic! Competition is good for business. It gives you an even greater reason to make an effort and differentiate your offer. Here are a few pro-tips:
- Research. Look for popular listings in your city that is a close comparable to what you will be listing. Read up on what they include, the size of their space, their pricing strategy, location and better yet be curious about what their guests said.
- Create your outline. The easiest thing to do is copy your favorite listing’s description then wordsmith it for your listing.
- Key differentiators. Location is King for many travelers. If you are in a prime spot a few minutes to popular destinations, highlight that and you’ll be able to command a certain price point after a few bookings and great reviews under your belt. Families who travel, cook most of the time to spend less. If you have an awesome kitchen and dining room area with a fridge stacked with goodies they can consume — make sure you highlight this in your listing.
- Spell check and grammar check. You don’t want to look sloppy at first glance.
- Favorite places. Give your guests something to look forward to. Curate a list of places most visitors are recommended to try when they arrive.
The hospitality industry has high and low seasons driven by demand. San Francisco being a tourist and business travel destination is almost always capable of commanding a higher price point. Based on what you are offering compare your listing to what your competitors are offering. A friend who is a fellow Airbnb host decided to set their Airbnb listing on the higher-end for a combination of reasons: they wanted to attract seasoned travelers who can afford to travel, they are in a prime location with sweeping views of the Bay, Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco and the property is spacious, well lit and well-furnished. Others use a pricing strategy solution like Beyond Pricing to help with their pricing strategy.
A Credible Listing
A credible and trustworthy Airbnb listing showcases references, reviews and validated information required by Airbnb. So how do you get reviews before your first booking? Ask your credible friends who are users and hosts of Airbnb to help you out.
Spread The Word
Congratulations! Your Airbnb listing is official! The next phase you’ll need to master is marketing that listing like a pro. Don’t be shy to spread the word in social media channels and especially your friends. Someone they know may happen to be traveling to San Francisco that very week. If you are a blogger, create a post on why you finally made the leap to host on Airbnb. Tell your story and be creative. You’d be surprised at the amount of response you’ll receive overtime.
The on-demand and sharing economy is a beautiful thing.
Moving to different cities and countries regurlarly is part of my routine. I enjoy discovering new cultures and ways of life. As a Hospitality and Event Management specialist I like to make synergies between industries and create networking events to meet new people every day.
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