Make Your Airbnb Listing Stand Out

Recently the mansion from American Horror Story‘s first season Murder House was listed on Airbnb…and just as fast as it showed up, it disappeared.

A guest was able to stay at the 9.5 bedroom estate and the reviewer stated:

“The house was fantastic: Full of history and carrying her scars and scratches from a long and eventful life with pride. Beds, blankets and linens were top class, kitchen well equipped and our party of five made good use of it, both for relaxation and as an alternative meeting place with colleagues from Hollywood. If you are looking for something soulful, and do not expect everything to be brand new and shiny, this place is it.”

What does this mean for me as a host?
So what, it’s just a big old house that was on a TV show…

Well that may be true, but it points out the fact that non-traditional listings can attract a lot of attention because they offer a unique experience that is not replicable. Guests will pay a premium for this.

In the future, Airbnb will be filled with novelty and one-of-a-kind listings like this. The basic room/home accommodation will become commoditized and prices will drop. This is just a rule of economics: supply and demand.

The one way to keep your prices high is to offer something that NO other host can deliver. If you don’t own a TV home, you’re still in luck.

To help make your listing more appealing, think about the extras that you can offer that no other host in your market can. Are you friends with the doormen at the exclusive local hot spots? Or can you get tickets to a regularly sold out attraction?

How can I make my listing stand out?
Offering intangibles like access to high-demand attractions are incredibly valuable and can make your listing stand out to guests that are looking for the royal treatment.

Here’s how to find the add-ons you can offer in your listing:

  1. Think about all of the valuable personal connections you have in your area.
  • Restaurant managers, club/bar owners, promoters, event coordinators, etc.

2. Think of all the high-demand attractions that guests frequent in your market.

  • Theme parks, concerts, sports games, ski resorts, concert halls, theaters, etc.
  • If you have season tickets to sports teams or venues, those are always in demand.

3. Think about all of the add-on amenities you can offer in and around the property.

  • Bikes for transportation, boats for recreation, kitchen stocked with food/drinks, etc.
  • Create a list of the possible add-ons you can offer and place them in your listing.
  • In the summary of your listing quickly let the prospective guests know you have additional offerings and name the top two.
  • In the description make a header that says “Other Benefits of Staying Here” and make a bulleted list of all the add-ons and their respective price. Here is a video about bulleted lists.
  • Insert a picture that has a photo collage of two or three of the most popular add-ons
  • Add these to to the Local Recommendations section of your Coral Guide as well and tell the guest to look them over the first time you send the Guide over after booking.

How to collect payment
Some of these add-ons should be included in the price of the rental. That’s what makes your listing attractive and more valuable to the guest. Things like bikes, some food, and maybe even a few snacks are good things to include in the price.
Now yes, not all guests will appreciate nor take advantage of the higher priced amenities, so don’t roll them up into the nightly rate. With these, just let the guest know they are available upon request for an affordable extra charge.
Charging for these add-ons does not need to happen through the Airbnb platform. In fact, I don’t recommend processing the payment through Airbnb because you will get charged the 3% fee and taxes will get kinda messy next year.
Instead, try a simple exchange of cash or Paypal/Venmo. Better yet, there is even an app specifically for this, HonorTab. Check it out and see if it makes sense for you to implement it in your Airbnb business.

P.S. Joe Gebbia spoke at TED recently. The video is not ready to view yet, but a write up on BBC is available.

P.P.S. Our State of the Airbnb Hosting Industry report comes out next week and I am excited to share our findings with you in the upcoming Digest!

This article originally debuted as an email newsletter to our Weekly Digest subscribers on 02/24/2016. If you’d like to receive our weekly newsletter featuring hosting tips, tricks, and resources please subscribe by signing up for Coral.

This article was written by Jim Breese. Jim is an Airbnb Host Educator and creator of, a premium source of information to help you become a smarter Airbnb host.

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