The holidays are just around the corner. Are you ready for the busy booking season? From taking advantage of the high demand to adding festive touches throughout your space, there are so many ways to make the most of this time of year. Here are our top 10 tips.
1. Get ahead of the rush
Did you know that New Year’s Eve is one of Airbnb’s most-booked nights of the year? “We usually get bookings for New Year’s Eve as early as August,” say Branka and Silvia from Zagreb, Croatia. And it’s not just the New Year. Guests typically make their travel plans months in advance, so it’s never too early to update your calendar for the season. What you don’t want is for someone to book your space before you’ve had a chance to update pricing, availability, and other requirements.
2. Plan your calendar
Are your holiday plans set? Be sure to block off any dates in your calendar when you won’t—or might not—be available to host. And if you’re listing your space on other websites, use the calendar sync feature to avoid double bookings and associated cancellations.
3. Take note of special events
In addition to holidays like Diwali, Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa, some cities have special events that draw lots of visitors. Are any popular local festivals or concerts on the horizon? These dates will be important to know as you set your calendar. Stay in the loop about what’s coming to your area by connecting with your local tourism bureau, joining social media groups, and signing up with an event app or website.
4. Play with pricing
Do a bit of market research to figure out how to best price your space for the season. That means looking at the competition, whether it’s other Airbnb hosts or local hotels. Another option? Turn on Smart Pricing, which will automatically update your nightly rate based on your settings and over 70 factors that can influence price, including seasonal demand. Just be sure to set a minimum price so your rate will never fall below a number you’re comfortable with.
5. Consider a minimum-stay requirement
Once you have a sense of all the holidays and other important dates, customize the settings in your calendar. Many hosts choose to set a minimum-stay requirement for popular dates. Requiring guests to book a minimum number of nights can mean less time managing your space—and cleaning!—while maximizing your earnings.
6. Revisit your House Rules
With all the upcoming festivities, now’s a great time to clarify what guests can and can’t do in your space. Are they allowed to host a New Year’s Eve party? What about having a few family members over for Thanksgiving dinner? You may want to make your House Rules more strict or lenient this time of year and remind guests that they need to agree to these rules before they book.
7. Welcome families
For parents traveling with children, a family-friendly space can be its own cause for celebration. Attract more guests and make their experience even more enjoyable by stocking up on the amenities families love, like a crib, high chair, toys, and board games. Consider also providing info to help your guests make the most of your city. Superhost Elsie from Nashville puts it in her guidebook. “Having a dedicated space in your guidebook for activities to do with kids makes all the difference.”
8. Add a festive touch
Want to create an extra special stay for guests? Let the season inspire you, from bringing in festive holiday decor to sharing local foods and traditions. “[Guests] really appreciate the extra effort and ‘homey’ feel of the house,” say hosts Kelly and Larry from New Braunfels, Texas. “I am happy when I see them on the porch with the pumpkins lit or by the Christmas tree sipping hot chocolate in the mugs I left for them.”
9. Keep weather in mind
Does your area get lots of snow during the holiday season? Or maybe your summer starts in December. Visitors might not be familiar with your region’s typical weather conditions. Consider stocking your space with any must-have items like umbrellas, snow shovels, or even sunscreen—these types of amenities go a long way toward making guests comfortable. And remember to provide any need-to-know instructions. For example, host Monica from Ormstown, Canada, tells guests: “The driveway is cleared by one of our tractors when it has stopped snowing; the front steps and landing is the responsibility of the guest.”
10. Don’t forget about safety
Speaking of weather, your gas heaters, generators, and chimneys may be used more in the colder months. With that use comes an elevated risk of home fires and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Outfit your space with one or more fire extinguishers, along with a smoke and CO alarm.It’s also a good idea to have chimneys and heating vents serviced annually, checking for things like blockages and corrosion. It’s a hectic time of year—take a few simple precautions and make safety one less thing to worry about.
What are your tips for festive, fuss-free hosting over the holidays? Share in the comments below!
Remember you must have the necessary food hygiene certificates and inspections when offer food even shop bought, in the UK.
I have a hygene certificate but wonder what happens if someone [over] eats or drinks something that upsets them, that's nothing to do with you?
Dealing with the public can be tricky - so we hosts have to think of all eventualities!
Have a good Christmas yourself.
Ask ahead if they have any dietary restrictions or allergies so you can adjust your menu to suit their needs, if they get sick, you are covered.
I always keep a fresh bottle of Pepto-Bismol in the cupboard in the bathroom. When it’s used I throw it out and put in a fresh small bottle.
Ludmila, Super Host “Top of the World” Fallbrook, CA
This is a lovely sentiment @Margaret825, do you often host guests over the holiday period?
I don't mind hosting during the holiday period of December and share with my guests the decoration of my christmas tree if they wish to do so. This year I am hosting musicians so they certainly are most welcome to participate in the festivities of my house! I am just lucky isn'it? I have a piano at home so I invite my guests to play it whenever they wish.
Aww this sounds really nice @Leila34. Do you know what type of musicians they are? I think all the lovely music at this time of year is one of my favourite parts.
Do you play the piano yourself?
No Lizzie, we are normally too busy and spend time away ourselves, but the opportunity came this year so I thought it would be nice to carry our “home away from home” motto through all the way, after all, it is the season of giving.
Yes, I think if you are hosting over the holidays, be mindful of solo travelers who may want to be included. Last year I was in Madrid for New Years, and I was staying in a room in the house of the host right in the middle of the city. She went to a party, and I was wishing that I would have been invited. Maybe special experiences for solo travelers during the holidays would be nice; there are people who have recently divorced or have never married who might feel alone during the holidays ??