Thinking back to when you first joined Airbnb, before you got your first booking.
What did you do to make your listing attractive, to entice your first guest to book your home?
Did it take you long to welcome your first guest?
Well for me, Airbnb was an unexpected event which literally saved my A**
Whilst staying in Singapore for a few nights while waiting for my saxophone to be repaired I was listening to the radio in my hotel room and a short news item sounded talking about Airbnb. I had never heard about Airbnb and it was something which was on my mind on how to rent out my villa in Bali.
It was funny as I had to scramble around to find a pen as the wording Airbnb so new to me, I was worried I may forget, as it happened, I lost the paper and did remember the word Airbnb and the rest is history.
I had no real plan or experience in letting out property to strangers, therefore many mistakes were made and a great rush of ideas ran through my mind during the first year which caused lots of anxiety as I knew what had to be done to improve matters. I was extremely lucky with the first guest as they wrote a good review but after that the reviews were mediocre but I was thankful to the guests who privately told me where I could improve.
From that day onwards it became an addiction or rather a hobby to make everything wonderful and to make the guests feel happy. In the beginning I papered over the cracks with my personality and friendly approach which made up any shortcomings that were still lingering.
I had a lot of contact with the guests who came to the Villa as I lived next door and it was easy for me to assist them and for me to learn more about what they really want from an Airbnb. I was also lucky because my wife could make scrumptious food and in the beginning we offered this as an extra service and complimentary breakfast on their first day.
After a few years of hosting we finally became a super host which was the goal as I could see the many benefits of being a super host on the Airbnb platform. Now in my fifth year I have encountered many types of people and rarely do I feel anxious when the new guest arrives.
I now have everything perfect for hosting but still tweak, for example moving furniture around matching different colours and improving the interior to produce a calm relaxing environment. This is something I enjoy and did not realise I have a little inner talent within this department. I know it can be expensive to update your property but it’s well worth it if you’re in for the long haul.
I also learnt a few wise things on the way in relation to mixing and socialising with this guests. In the early days I was always happy when the guests would invite me in for a drink as why not this is life and people are fun. However some guests like to drink far too much which does not mix with my character but on one occasion because the guest was a music fanatic and a professional drummer in his younger days we stayed up late till 3 am swimming naked together in the pool and making music while his wife and daughter trying to sleep.
It was only when his wife stood outside the bedroom and shouting to the husband that it’s now nearly 4 am and she has not slept all night and would you stop making that noise and come to bed. Well looking back how embarrassing that was for me, I’m not too sure about the husband but for me it was the final time in getting really close to the guests as you need to distance yourself and to act professionally as you never know when it all might go wrong.
Wow what a story indeed Andrew. For us when we first started out we were invited by some of the guests and vice versa to sight see around our little island of Barbados. As hosting and our own busy lives grew, we realized some guests just want to be left alone and some want to explore the island with us. Either way, meeting them at check-in and check-out and at times popping over allows us to ensure our guests are totally enjoying their stay.
I bought a house that needed a ton of work in a great location where I grew up. I overpaid so I knew I needed to get the listing up right away. I got permission from the prior owners to list the house before the purchase date as long as I blocked off all the dates prior to me owning the house. Sure enough, I was getting booking almost immediately. This was about 5 months ago, and I am still amazed those first couple months I survived without a bad review. In fact, I got better reviews the first couple months then some of my more recent ones. I tend to think since I updated my cover photo with an awesome shot that it's driving in more people with higher expectations (which is fine I need to improve). I try to be upfront with renters the house is under renovation and we are a small operation so we don't have the money to throw around to do a quick flip.
It's been a rollercoaster, I've had some highs and some lows I've never experienced before. Some people can be beyond rude. I keep telling myself if I keep doing upgrades and start getting a repeat base that the bad reviews will ween themselves out.
Fortunately I had a friend who had been doing it for a year and she was eager to answer my questions which helped a lot. I did a lot of Goole work and I am just getting started on airbnb and have much to learn myself.
We had no idea what to expect when we started listing. We had great pictures, and modeled what we saw other successful homes in the area were doing. We got our first booking the first week we went live, and have loved the results ever since.
Now we manage for other in the Seattle/Tacoma area. It is our pleasure to serve other owners by taking over the hardest parts of hosting.
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I think 3 major things helped us out with getting our first guest.
1. My husband wrote out our listing description; he’s great at writing! We were also very honest with our listing and included that we have light traffic.
2. I’m a professional photographer so taking great photos and then editing them is my specialty. Great pictures can really show off your space and how clean it is!
3. We did the discount for the first 3 guests and also kept the price down lower.