Toronto, Canada Community Manager
I started hosting in March. I'm excited about the response. I'm almost booked through October! Although that's great news, I'm a bit unsure about all of the things I need to do to "stay excited"! I'd really appreciate any tips about how to make me stay in love with hosting! I've read several posts from hosts that feel overwhelmed about the process and upset about how guests treat the properties. I just spent quite a bit of money upgrading my home and adding every amenity I could.
What do you wish you'd known from the beginning?
Hi @Stephanie2534, welcome to the Community Center! I was just wondering whether you have seen the replies here?
Thanks for the reminder. I've been so busy putting in some upgrades to the property that I haven't had time to come back to the community. This morning, my second guest arrives. It's his birthday, so I got a friend who makes excellent treats to make a birthday box of cookies for him.
It doesn’t look like you are booked anywhere near through October - did you get quite a few cancellations? If so, you might want to revisit your cancellation policy.
Well...for me...after only three weeks or so advertising, I consider me significantly booked through October. Perhaps that's what I should have indicated. I wasn't stating that I was totally booked up...only that I was "almost" booked.
As a brand new host, that's probably all I should have right now as I work out a "strategic" plan for how I am going to manage the properties. By the way, have you created a working strategic plan for your property that includes promotion, maintenance, etc.
@Stephanie2534 Creating a strategic plan is a good idea. What I did was ramp up over time. I had a management company manage my place the first couple of years, with me taking Airbnb for the billing and guest communications, and the management company doing all the maintenance, cleaner scheduling, and all the rest of the guest management from other platforms. I learned absolutely everything from them, from what type of beds to get, to how to provide proper documents for guest rules, welcome instructions, etc., to how to handle problem guests.
Through the management company during those years, I got to know the various maintenance, A/C, plumbing, appliance, and electrician companies in the area. I got to know and reward my excellent cleaners, which I quickly learned is of the utmost importance. Eventually, I felt confident enough to take over all the platforms on my own.
As far as strategy, for me it was formulated organically over time. I purchased and made a list of household items, and a maintenance schedule for when the various items would need to be serviced and likely replaced. I kept a very close eye on the competition to make sure my prices, quality and presentation were at least in line with the others, and tried to exceed their offerings where I could. I studied my property and area using AirDNA, which is an excellent source for determining occupancy, RevPAR, ADR, etc. I created spreadsheets to keep track of every guest, with associated stay dates, payouts, expenses and taxes. I prepared templates for guest communications, which with only 2 properties I modify and send out manually.
I never had a formal business plan, but I think it would be a great idea to have one, especially if you plan to scale out into additional properties.
I didn’t know how to do any of this when I purchased my first property. Some knowledge comes from doing, and you’ll run into many situations you didn’t plan for. Luckily, there are lots of resources with thousands of other hosts to learn from. I especially learned a good amount from this forum, which saved me from learning many lessons the hard way.
@Stephanie2534 Be positive. The few bad experiences come here - The many excellent stays are never mentioned!
Your booking successs is great but I do wonder if you are too cheap?
Thanks so much! That's encouraging!
I thought about raising my prices, but I wanted to get through a couple of months of hosting first. I compared my prices to the places around me and I do see some that are priced higher.
I think I'd really like to get some great reviews before raising the prices. What do you think?
@Stephanie2534 I believe, with no data, that a newbie host needs to be 5-10% cheaper than those with good reviews so the people will take the risk of booking with them. As such your plan feels very sensible to me.