Hey Airbnb hosts, started this list as an answer to a question but it turned up pretty big so I shared it as a separate post that I believe helped a lot of people.
Almost a year older in my Airbnb host age, I decided to update the list and add some stuff I gathered, plus some tips to new guests, who are scared or skeptical to start hosting. I gathered a total of 60 tips for you, the TL:DR (short) version with 25 is here: 25 tips to get booked
Hope it’s helpful to some people and please upvote it if you liked it.
A note to new Hosts:
You might skeptical to join the “dance” of Airbnb hosting. It is indeed a big decision, we all went through it.
Start by making a listing and not publishing it yet. Just create an account, add the photos you shot from your phone, spend an afternoon with a glass of wine and add nice descriptions and information in your listing.
Take your time, and when you feel like it just publish it and go live. Experiment with prices, photos and texts, start talking with potential guests.
Remember, you are not obliged to accept anyone unless you want to (don’t enable instant- booking). See how it goes, get a feeling of it, and when you feel ready, accept your first guest.
Now you are officially a member of the Airbnb hosts family, now keep reading:
Giving your listing a name
Some geek stuff here if you want to overdo it, if not, skip the next section below
Check in & beyond
In every occasion that you feel like you need to pick up the phone and talk to someone in charge, the bible to contacting airbnb is here: Dave & Deb's Community Guide.
That pretty much sums up what information I have gathered and tried during the past few months. Between my tips are other hosts’ tips that I found browsing through these forums and thought that were worth mentioning. I would love to mention their names as source but I realized rather late that I was just pasting them in a word document so I don’t have the names anymore. A big thanks to the community for their contribution and my sincere apologies for not quoting your names. I should also state here that those are a group of tips to help you out and to act as a reference, I wouldn’t carry any responsibility if your experience is different or if you screw something up :) (Mods: i x-posted this to the help, hosts and new hosts forums, feel free to moderate the x-posts if you feel like it)
Anyway, a set of tips to help you through your hosting experience, I hope it’s not very overwhelming and that it is helpful for new hosts that want to get in the game!
I’d also love to hear the opinion of some more experienced hosts.
Do offer your thumbs-ups if you found this helpful, dear sirs and madams.
Live your myth in Greece:
***[To view listings, hover over profile image and click, 'View profile']
That's totally true!
Keep in mind that people you are hosting are usually "tourists", they are on vacation and dont take some stuff seriously enough.
On the other hand you are a "professional" who accommodates them.
You should act like they never read your listing's description (and they rarely do) and like they dont read your messages (and they sometimes dont).
Take a deep breath and go on with the best mood possible.
Always keep in mind that AIRBNB will take your side on a problem if they see that you are seriously into hosting.
And also keep in mind that there are scammers and refund-seekers that will make your life miserable just to get what they are asking.
It's your house and you are the boss of the situation.
If you ever feel uncomfortable, call airbnb and ask for help.
@Harry Well done!
My only caution is the part about asking a guest to cancel if the situation calls for a host to cancel (failed to block dates, pricing incorrect, double booking with other sites, etc.). Airbnb now tracks guest cancellations and won't refund the service fee if the guest cancels more than 3 times per year. Also, if the host has a Strict cancellation policy, the guest will only receive 50% as a refund.
Asking a guest to cancel can backfire on a host, especially if Airbnb has to get involved for whatever reason.
Your point about limiting exterior shots is very good. I would also add that a host should never have an exterior shot that includes the house number. Nobody wants strangers knocking on the door or people being able to check a listing's calendar to see if the space is occupied.
At the Airbnb Open in LA last year Super Hosts were given a book called "Your Keys, My Home" which is about a couple who sold everything to travel the world on Airbnb. They also list many things that guests look for in listings (they avoid listings with too many exterior shots!). Wish all hosts and guests would read it! Here's a link: http://seniornomads.com/
Your very thoughtful essay is excellent, and I hope many new hosts will see it and take advantage of all you helpful tips. Especially the part about having a glass of wine while making sure their listing is set up the way they want it to be!
A toast to you!
Thanks @Clare , for the link to the nomads - I think I'll get that book and enjoy it :)
I was wondering about the reasoning behind avoiding outdoor shots of a listed home/house. For sure, I agree with not showing the house number. But I personally put great value into outside shots: as a guest it gives me a much better feel for the property, if it is crowded in any which way, the curb appeal, etc..and often enough a large part of my decision is based on that. as a guest,I actually avoid Airbnb listings that gives me no clues to the outside.
As host, I understand it makes some hosts feel vulnerable, but why exactly? What are the extra dangers in showing a few outside shots - as I do for my listing? I believe my outside shots are part of the appeal of my listing.
@Annette Outdoor shots are fine so long as the property isn't too identifiable. For example, I've seen Entire Home listings (not apartments) showing their house number. That's potentially a security issue.
As the authors of the book I mentioned say, too many photos of the surrounding areas, landmarks, etc. makes a guest feel that the host is over compensating for a less than par listing. What they are trying to say is that if there are 3 photos of the listing and 10 of the surrounding area (Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty, cafes, street scenes, etc.) it makes them wonder about the listing. I have about 30 photos of the interior of my listing with 14 of the surrounding area...wineries, wildlife, and so forth. Promoting everything but the listing can backfire.
Yes, get the book....it is very interesting to get these guy's guest point of view on many subjects. I have it in my listing for my guests to read!
@Clare , a yes.. I was strictly thinking of ouside shots of the property, not landmarks in the vicinity. yes, if those take over, instead of highlighting the listing, that's not so good.
But going back to being identifiable as a property by an outside shot - which mine probably is for anybody who really wants to find out about it - what do you see as the specific, Airbnb related risk, in that? I mean, anybody can drive by my neighbourhood and decide to target my house for a robbery, or for whatever. How do photos on Airbnb make it more vulnerable? Thanks!
@Annette Looking at your listing, I don't think you have anything to worry about since you don't have your house number in the photo.
But for those that have a photo with a house number, it wouldn't take too much investigation using the map to find the place. Couple that with the fact that anyone can look at a listing calendar and figure out when it is unoccupied, it could lead to trouble. Maybe not in Prescott, but keep in mind that people in this community are from all over the place and in different types of communities where safety might be more of an issue.
I have an exterior shot of my listing (photo by Airbnb!) but you can't see the front of the house from the street.
@Annette how correct Annette, your outside shots are critical for your listing and make me wanna go there. My cover shot is outside showing the private patio and front of cottage and I think it is what works best for my place. It doesn't show any identifiers so I am very comfortable with it. My guest are telling me that my pics are true and accurate and they love that. I think and have seen folks locally showing outside shots with numbers and I pointed out one to my husband the other day - the place is on an obvious street and even some other shots show the name of the complex - that's like publishing the address to me. I take the security issue seriouly and don't do IB because of it. I guess different strokes - I think part of the appeal for some is the expectation and excitement of arriving at this special place that they have booked. But with technology if they know exactly before booking they can google earth and look at place, neighborhood, etc....................I don't know am I off base here??
Thanks for the Nomad link! I just found this forum and have learned more in ten minutes than the last two years! Thanks to all for sharing and making Airbnb the best "hotel chain" on the planet!
Thank you for your kind words!
Also thank you for the input on the details about cancelation, i did not have such insight on that matter.
In any case, (in my experience) calling airbnb and explaining what's wrong, will usually get you out of the hard situation unharmed.
Your exterior shot point is also very correct. Avoiding to pinpoint the exact location of your listing is very important, but at the same time giving the guest an idea of the general neighborhood is nice too :)
I wish airbnb organizes an Open event in Greece, would love to meet with fellow hosts around the world!
Thank you for the information. It was helpful and many things sound familiar.
The one thing that you referred to about calling airB&B I find interesting. I see no phone number. I really don't see anyway that you can get in touch with them.
I also own two bedroom, Kitchen living room and very large Porch right over the ocean. The house is very artfully decorated. It has no mosquitoes but hammock's and outdoor furniture, lovey breezes to keep you cool Beautiful sunsets and in any hotel this room would cost you $250. But airbnb has driven me down to $89 per night and they keep sending me notices that I can come down from $18-$45 if I wanted to book more regularly as places around me are doing so. Places around me are not my stunning home.
Then they want me to except for one night minimum. This is a two bedroom house. I pay my cleaner $75 to get it back in shape at this point I would be giving it away or losing money. If someone stays for a week they give them a 10% discount so it's only $80 per night.
I live right next store and offer people is much privacy As they would like or as much information how About the local area boat excursions diving and surfing and anything you could possibly want.
I have gotten the best reviews from everybody who stays there but I make the effort.
I just feel like air B&B expect so much. Like a woman made an offer to me to stay for two weeks and take photographs for me and only pay me $40 dollars a night. I didn't want photographs and I didn't want $40 dollars a night and I very politely told her so I declined her offer. Air B and B gave me the third degree on why declined her so I see what you mean about declining people but it seems people could ask for anything if they know you will get penalized for turning them down. Another woman want my house for a month for $600 because that was all she could afford and again I had to decline and got the third degree from air B and B.
So how do you get them on the phone where did you find your phone number? Anybody else out there making phone calls and getting through.
The Best Guys,
Ginger-Ginger's on the sea,Isla Bastimentos,Bocas del toro,Panama
Hey @Ryan And Stacy,
Thank you for your constructive input!
Summing up, 3 things:
1. lots of people find it hard to contact airbnb, i have updated my main post with another host's "bible to contact airbnb" link, so you can solve that here: Dave & Deb's Community Guide.
2. IGNORE airbnb's suggestions about low and max prices. Do see what airbnb suggests but in no-case take it as the correct one. Price your own house at the price you want to rent it out. Check the competition's prices and adjust accordingly.
3. "Low prices attract the towel thiefs". When you feel confident and like it, adjust the price on what you believe your listing is worth. Guests insisting on an UNREASONABLE discount will be the worst guests ever. You will probably regret hosting them at all.