Opening your home for others to use provides entrepreneurial hosts with opportunities to expand their customer base and their income. Hosts are now beginning to understand how to leverage what is around them to attract new guests but also keep them coming back. As we know, repeat business is cheaper to acquire than new business and you can see how savvy hosts can leverage tried and true business tactics for their bnb’s. Whether you’re a serial entrepreneur, or a small business, here are some strategies every host should know.
Why are you starting a business? Explicitly defining your motivation and goals is just as critical for a host as it is for a small business owner. Running short term rental is a sizable commitment, you should have a clear understanding of why you’re doing all of this in the first place. Making money might have been the top motivator, but go beyond just that. What other goals did you have in the beginning? Are you hitting those initial targets? And what goals do you have for the future?
After defining your big picture goals, move on to identifying your strengths. These are your very best qualities or skills, the advantages you bring to entrepreneurship. Any business you create should maximize these strengths. The same logic can work wonders with running a successful short-term rental. If you can clearly articulate the two or three qualities that make your short-term rental unique, you can design a guest experience that accentuates these features. As guests, we’ve seen all sorts of short-term rental superpowers: farm animals, art collections, professional cooking equipment, a hot tub, wood-burning fireplaces, business wifi, amenities for families, proximity to everything. Your short-term rental’s superpowers should be the keystone of your online photos and description, and easy for guests to enjoy.
What guests are looking for varies just as much as short-term rentals themselves. Focus on attracting the guests who will appreciate your short-term rental the most. Pinpoint who your ideal guests are, and market directly to them: perfect for a romantic getaway; ideal for a family with school-age kids. Good short-term rental experiences boil down to finding the right fit. As waves of potential guests flip through online listings, your goal should be to siphon off your ideal guests the moment they land on your page.
Too many short-term rentals have generic names littered with vague adjectives. As potential guests, all the beautiful, cozy, charming places blur together during a search. Name your property the way you’d name a business. You wouldn’t start a restaurant and call it: Cute Restaurant with Delicious Food Near Beach. Lose the adjectives and take a firm stance with a name that’s all your own. Be succinct, memorable names easily pop up in conversation and propel word-of-mouth bookings. From there, hosts can build out their brand with all sorts of clever tactics: personalized trail markers, uncommon amenities, a distinctive interior design, coffee cups with customized logos, an eye-catching Instagram feed.
Focus on the customers you have now. For a short-term rental host, this piece of advice is perpetually applicable: focus on the guests you have today. As short-term rental starts to gain momentum, the list of next steps can be exciting: more frequent bookings, raising rates, upgrading the space, improving the photographs. But these goals should never eclipse the importance of investing in the guests you’re hosting right now. Remember: their recommendations unlock all of those future milestones.
Listen to your customers. The easiest way to know what they want is simply to get brave and ask. Short-term rental reviews are consistently inflated. A super simple tactic is a suggestion box. The irony is that by asking for critiques, we became all the more attentive to everything they had already done to make our stay so lovely. By asking your guests for suggestions–whether it’s on paper or in a quick text after checkout–you demonstrate your commitment to the quality of each guest’s stay.
Is your short-term rental profitable? That’s a question every host, just like every business owner, should be able to answer quickly and backup with data. The money that goes into maintaining a short-term rental is substantial: all the utilities, amenities, cleaning supplies, furniture, decorations, welcome gifts, linens, and the never-ending one-off runs for toilet paper, paper towels, and shampoo. These expenses add up. They should be tracked and evaluated in light of the money your short-term rental brings in so that you can pinpoint exactly how much you actually profit from each booked night. In turn, these calculations should inform the nightly rate you set. More broadly, these numbers will help you evaluate your progress towards your overarching financial goals.
Just as your short-term rental’s expenses can unexpectedly creep up, so can the time you devote to maintaining it. Once you’ve figured out how to consistently provide a five-star stay, it’s time to optimize the steps that go into creating that experience. The ever-versatile 80/20 rule is once again applicable. As you work to streamline your Short-term rental maintenance, ask yourself this pair of questions: What are the 20% of the hosting tasks that account of 80% of the results? And what are the 80% of the hosting tasks that account for only 20% of the results? The latter tasks deserve some scrutiny.
Just as business owners strive for repeat customers, short-term rental hosts should strive for repeat guests: the family that comes back for a week each summer, the business person who books your place every time they are in town, the couple who returns for their anniversary year after year. Here are a few strategies you can use. First, you can offer a discount to guests you’d love to host again. Second, find a way to stay connected with guests you’ve hosted. Facebook pages or Instagram feeds that allow guests to stay up-to-date with the goings-on at your short-term rental. This tactic works especially well for vacation destinations.
Connect with the competition. There’s so much to be gained from connection and collaboration and little to be gained from hoarding your knowledge. Whether you start a local coffee group for your neighbourhood hosts, attend broader meetups in your region, or share what you’ve learned on the online short-term rental forums, your generosity will make you a more thoughtful host and contribute to a better short-term rental community.
Highlight what you love and what you know. One of the reasons for the popularity of Airbnb is that people want to immerse themselves with the locals. Who better to advise your guests of what is great or what you love than you. AirRentalz offers hosts the opportunity to work with others to cross promote services. It could your local restaurant or day spa. It may include local sights and attractions. In addition AirRentalz affiliation program also allows hosts to market great brands and products. AirRentalz offers this service to all hosts that list with them.
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