My name is Jennifer and I am an Airbnb Host for almost two years at this time. I have rented to hundreds of clients and have been a Superhost for over one year. In the beginning I didn't get that many bookings, however currently I am 90% fully booked every single month.
This is what I did, to get more bookings per month:
In the beginning when I didn’t receive reservations I had pictures made with my mobile phone, they weren’t that great so I changed them. I learned that people are attracted by great pictures. I mean, ask yourself this question. Would I stay in my own place just looking at the pictures I currently have on Airbnb?
I paid a professional photographer to make great pictures of everything my apartment, the building and the neighborhood have to offer. I have uploaded over 20 pictures per apartment and assured that all important details are being shown, this way my guests now exactly what they’re going to find without even reading the description.
When writing your property description be as clear and specific as possible, assure that all small details are inserted so potential guests won’t have to send you emails asking for details. It is also very important that your description is attractive to read, and makes the guest feel like they want to stay in your apartment. Once writing a great description about your property, the building, neighborhood etc. Assure that you adjust it into different languages if possible. Most of my current guests are from the United States, therefore I have my descriptions both in English and Spanish.
Another detail is spelling, try to avoid spelling mistakes as this will look unprofessional.
Once your profile has been setup correct, you will see that the first requests and reservations will come in soon. A great way to stay up to date with what is happening and to respond in a timely manner is to download the Airbnb mobile app. I use this on a daily base to stay up to date, as I will receive a text message each time I have a reservation or request I am able to respond quicker. Assume that guests may write several properties, your timely respond is key to be able to get the reservation.
When responding to guests try to respond in a friendly and professional way, in their own language if possible and respond as quickly as possible.
After having a complete profile and receiving your reservations, key is to give them a great experience. I always try to overachieve their expectations as this will result in happy guests, great reviews, returning guests and even more guests because of the great reviews.
This is what I am doing: try to make people feel welcome in your accommodation. When a person comes to your place assure a great check-in. Confirm arrival time, who is going to check them in, address details or maybe transportation. Try to surprise them by adding something personal from the Dominican Republic, a personal welcome letter, sweets or a bottle of wine could make a big difference in their first impression.
During the stay keep in contact with your guest to verify that everything is going perfect, be there for them. When checking-out make them feel welcome back and always try to receive as much feedback as possible to improve. Assure your write a constructive review, so they will write you a review back.
Having competitive prices is key. Just take a look around on Airbnb to similar properties in your area who are highly ranked in the search, try to match their rates. Once you have a great profile and good reviews you could eventually higher the price when you are getting enough reservations to fill up the whole month.
Also keep in my mind that you offer specific prices per day, week and month. The longer a guest stays often the better the rate should be to be competitive in the market. Also keep in mind that prices may vary regarding the season. In the Dominican Republic, winter is in most places high season and summer low season. It is advisable to adjust your prices accordingly.
Try to keep your calendar up to date so you won’t have to tell potential guests that your property is already booked. To get more reservations you can turn on direct reservations, in this case people could book directly without having to request if the apartment is available first.
I hope that the above advice helps you to get more reservations. If you have any questions, then feel free to ask me.
Please find my properties here: [link removed]
Thank you to Jennifer for constructive and very useful information regarding hiring out my apartment in Johannesburg. After three months of having no queries or bookings, I received a text message on the Airbnb app yesterday morning and immediately responded to the guy who was a Londoner coming to Johannesburg for a month or so. I have a note on my website about weekly and monthly discounts. I made him feel totally welcome and pre-approved the application, never to hear from him again. Do guests shop around for the biggest discounts and how much of the booking is really done through airbnb and not between client and Host. I seem to be failing in this venture, my apartment is lovely, the write up is welcoming and the rate is highly competitive if not cheaper than most others...thanks Pippa
You have a lovely, competitively priced room/suite.
I have 3 small changes to increase bookings.
1. Accept couples.
When I started I too feared couples - They use more utilities and threaten to be a political power of two versus little old me.
But I was happy to discovered my fears were unfounded. In many ways, couples are easier. They entertain themselves more, i don't I have to worry about their social comfort. They are usually out and about more. Just as importantly, couples make up about 4 out of 5 of my bookings - that means 4 times more bookings!
2. Get verified.
That green check instills trust in guests.
3. Improve photos.
Your main picture needs a color in it. Some bling to show off. Neutral is good, clean and tidy is good, but guests' eyes want a little something extra. Also reconsider your selfie to show a big smile.
I guarantee your bookings will increase with these small, easy changes.
You have also eluded to your lack of bookings due to something nefarious Airbnb has done.
I am not an expert at what is happening inhouse, but I can offer some thoughts of how to improve your ranking
Continually changing your listing seems to improve the ranking:
New pics, new pricing, get verified.
Aribnb may be punishing you for your cancellation. IDK. Through some miracle, you may have to get that first booking to break this curse.
cancellations/ not approving requests can have you blocked from the site for a month or longer if more than 2-3 in a row.
Think of yourself as a hotel. How would you feel if you chose a hotel but they said no?
make your restrictions clear in your description such as no smoking no pets etc
I agree @Paul154, couples make up a large percentage of my short-term guests. They are usually super easy to host as they are out and about the majority of the time and, when they are at home, they keep to themselves a lot even if they are very friendly and sociable. They are away on holiday together to spend time together after all! I wouldn't be keen to host couples long-term though and have never taken them as lodgers.
@Paul154 I totally agree about the couples thing. I wouldn't want to share my home with couples long term, but they do make the easiest short term guests and my Airbnb business would not survive without them. The majority of my bookings are couples and they are seldom a problem.
@Pippa3, I like your listing. It may sound silly, but if your photos were taken the wide way instead of the tall way they would do a better job of showing your property. Tall photos look very tiny when guests browse AirBnB on their computer
Every point in Jen's message I totally agree on. With HD pics and a thorough solid description of the prop and the surroundings will increase bookings. One other thing that helped me in the beginning to establish a solid 5 star review and continuous bookings is the price. Start with a lower price then gradually increase to market price. Lastly, I also send guests a short list of local eats and to do's, they seem to really appreciate that which translates to hood reviews and bookings.