Critique my listing - Scott in Vail, CO

Scott1598
Level 2
Atlanta, GA

Critique my listing - Scott in Vail, CO

2958 S Frontage Rd W B4 MLS-7.jpg

 

Listing:  https://abnb.me/fdQddYH8Kpb

 

First, thank you for taking the time to review and provide feedback to a new host.  We recently purchased this condo for our family use (1-2 months a year) and while we are not there we plan to have it available on AirBnB.  

 

The condo was previously listed as an AirBnB and received strong reviews so I hope to live up to the hosting standard set by the previous owner.  As it was just purchased we have plenty of work we plan to do to make the property more enjoyable for our family and our guests but asking for feedback as it is represented now - both in the current accommodation and how I have the listing presented to guests.  

 

Of note, the areas where are improving:

-Kitchen - new matching appliances including a chimney hood in place of the microwave, new countertops and tile backsplash.

-Downstairs bathroom - new shower tile

-Stairs - replacing stairs with spiral staircase to allow for more space in the living room with a goal to fit a dining area for at least 4.

-Living Rom furnishings - will replace carpet, get a new sleeper sofa and chair.

-Bedrooms - Possibly get new beds with headboards to offer a more inviting feel.

 

The condo is in a resort town so visitation is seasonal with summer and winter being high months and the months in between with a lower demand for occupancy.  

 

I'll add that I am also using Pricelabs to adjust pricing in line with the seasonal aspects of the market.

 

I welcome all feedback on the listing and sincerely appreciate your time.

Scott

26 Replies 26
Gillian166
Level 10
Hay Valley, Australia

2 weeks later...............why is this still pinned to the top? this whole section is out of whack, and it looks bad that no one in tech support is looking into it. 

Jenny
Online Community Manager
Online Community Manager
Galashiels, United Kingdom

Hi @Gillian166,

 

Thanks for pointing that out!

 

We've unpinned it now, so things should be back to normal.

 

Jenny


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Wendo86
Level 2
Nairobi, Kenya
Gillian166
Level 10
Hay Valley, Australia

@Jenny  @Sybe 
Can someone please look into this "New To Hosting" list and explain why older topics keep getting priority over newer ones? and no, it's not because there are more recent replies. There's a glitch here. 

Colette203
Level 5
Salmon Arm, Canada

Beautiful listing! There are a couple grammar errors in your intro...


Our light-filled, 2-bedroom condo in bustling West Vail is an ideal mountain getaway for your next adventure. Huge windows, exposed beams and high ceilings will bring warmth to your stay. Relax on the front deck or find a bench and take in the sounds of Gore Creek. The property is right on the free bus stop with access to Vail Village, Lionshead, shopping and dining.

Scott1598
Level 2
Atlanta, GA

Sincerely appreciate the feedback and I have updated the listing.  Certainly want to represent the listing in a professional, yet relaxed, way.

Naylor0
Level 2
null

Regarding your plan to remove the microwave: if you extend your peninsula countertop by the equivalent of two floor tiles, you could install a below counter microwave. Plus, you’d have extra counter seating without obstructing access to the kitchen. 

Re your stairs: could you fit a rectangular or square table with chairs under the existing stairs?  
You might play w/ your living area furniture layout too. Maybe rotate the sofa to either float in the middle of the room, facing the larger window. Then have armchairs flanking the window or even a small dining area in front of the window. 
Another option would be to rotate a small sofa to the wall with the smaller window and again, add some arm chairs opposite to create a conversation space. 


Re stairs: If you can keep them, then horizontal cables for safety as well as to maintain the open and light feel of the space.  I also find spiral stairs difficult to navigate, especially if carrying suitcases or when you need to move furniture.  Maybe consider a hybrid stair / ladder b/c it’s easier to maneuver if carrying large or heavy items.  If you make it slightly wider than the one pictured, you’ll still save considerably on floor space while having plenty of space to move items.9C957E76-DCF2-4137-A78C-8735F7F37A4C.jpeg

Michelle1851
Level 10
Littleton, CO

@Scott1598 I recently sold my condo in Vail.  Yours looks really nice, I would only suggest making it more cozy as people spend more time in the condo after skiing, Some throw blankets and rugs in the bedrooms would help and a table for making great meals as Vail is expensive for dining out.  Also you could show a photo of hot chocolate or coffee.  Your prices seem right in line, and I don't think your cleaning fee is excessive for Vail. One way to not worry about the stairs is to say not suitable for children under 12.  Most of my guest were couples or groups of friends. By changing your occupancy to 5 instead of 6, not only does it keep the wear and tear down but it shows that its suitable for 3 friends, many people from the front range come up and aren't necessarily wanting to share beds.  My guests seem to really appreciate the coziness. My first year was slow but my second year was crazy busy.  One thing I was surprised about was last minute bookings.  If your condo is clean and available, I would highly recommend same day bookings when possible.  I used to change my rates according to what hotels had available that day and it was not unusual to get  $6-800 a night last minute.  Most guests are very polite and just come to ski or hike not party.  

Scott1598
Level 2
Atlanta, GA

@Michelle1851 Thanks so much for your response and great to hear from someone in the same market.  In line with your comment we had the same idea that the place felt kind of cold so had three rugs delivered (one under each bed and a new one in the living room).  Also added new throw rugs and throw pillows.  We will take new pictures once we do some more significant work to the kitchen in the next few months and hope the cozier feel will allow those who book off current pictures to be pleasantly surprised.

 

Your comment on the table for meals is spot on and is my biggest challenge.  The living room is very small and there is no way I can think of with the current stair configuation to allow flow through the space and allow for a small dining area.  Maybe I will come across something in the meantime but the main goal is to relocate the stairs to allow more space for a dining area.  

 

Thanks for the comment on same day bookings as I do have it set to one day in advance for auto booking right now but they can request to book same day.  I may change that as my cleaner is very good about getting the place ready for the next guest but don't want to risk someone booking when the place may not be ready at check-in time.  Great food for thought.  I may also change from 6 to 5 people for occupancy.  It may be a stretch but we have one kiddo and the place could accommodate two families with one kiddo each and the kids could share the pull out couch.  The eating setup isn't great to accommodate those families and there would be more wear and tear.  I'll probably change it now that I think about it since I'm not sure my average guest would be targeted by me showing room for 6 instead of 5.

 

Regarding pricing I do have an automated pricing tool in place with PriceLabs and it seems to be adjusting prices as I have it set up but I will adjust some of the base pricing for the daily rate calculation if I see prices getting too high and a low occupancy.

 

Regarding your follow up note we agreed to replace the white fridge with a new, reasonably priced, stainless steel package coming so all appliances match and keep the place bright.  I liked the black appliances that were there but it is a small space and really want there to be a feeling of light and bright and also it's what we preferred for our personal use.

 

Thanks again for your advice!  We have been looking in the market for two years now so guessing, if your place was in our price range, that we saw it come and go and maybe even put an offer in on it but lost out to the 10-20 other people offering! 🙂

 

Michelle1851
Level 10
Littleton, CO

I did notice your white fridge, we had a fridge go out in Vail, its not easy getting it replaced there as deliveries are typically just once a week, I would probably switch that out now with a new one and not have to worry about it when you have guests.

Sherri176
Level 2
Fort Worth, TX

Please do not get rid of the microwave

Sherri176
Level 2
Fort Worth, TX

The metal bed frame makes the bed look uncomfortable maybe try adding a bedskirt to hide the metal frame. Maybe add a few small pictures in the bathroom like if somebody’s skiing or something wintry! Anyone who says your pictures are boring is wrong your place looks beautiful. If you really want to match the appliances just buy a black fridge no need to buy all stainless steel. Go for some thing with glass shelving instead of metal it looks nicer. Maybe create an itemize list of the cost of every item in the home leave it in a guest book… this will help in the future should you need to replace something. I haven’t charged anybody for missing items so far I just do a tax deduction every time I have to buy something, So if I buy a set of bedsheets three times in one year than I have the receipts for all three purchases and that is part of my tax deduction. Always have extra comforters and extra sheets . Do not make these available to the guest, I know this sounds rude but please read more ….they are for your next guest in case the previous guest ruins the existing ones . Of course I always provide a faux  down comforter, and Heavy tight knitted blanket. I always leave a guest book on the pillow along with two fancy chocolates and a Health kit that includes a facemask gloves and a sanitary wipe. I buy an inexpensive half-inch white folder from Walmart that has a plastic sleeve on the front I insert a welcome to your Airbnb note with the customers name. Then for the next several pages I type up specifics about the home and the area I also add in the address and phone number to the police department fire department and nearby restaurants and grocery stores. I include the Wi-Fi code and any specific rules about the home that I put in my listing but I’m reminding them in their booklet. All pages in the booklet are inserted into plastic sleeves. There are about three spots where I specifically name out the guest in these pages so I do discard every time and put brand new welcome pages and resource pages into each guest’s book.  I feel the current stairs are fine and you shouldn’t waste your money on new stairs. If there is a concern they are not child friendly then you must notate that in your listing. If there’s a possibility somebody will bump their head somewhere you must notate that in your listing. It looks like your current price is about $230 a night that seems extremely high to me. Even if you had a hot tub. I know there are air B&Bs out there that cost this much per night and some that cost wayyyyy more, be clear on your value. If it’s worth $230 bucks a night make sure people know what a gem this place is! Everything that is amazing …make sure it is in your listing!

Tania646
Level 2
null

There's also an open area with no rails at all?? That's a problem.

 

I assume you'll get a commercial insurance policy like one from Proper.

Scott1598
Level 2
Atlanta, GA

@Tania646 

Thanks again (again!),

I am concerned with the rails - more with the horizontal space between them allowing for little kids to slip through - which I am addressing immediately.  We are getting all new railing put in once we get new stairs in.  I don't see where you see an open area for the rails other than where the stairs come up.  If looking up from the stairs the railing does attach to the wood wall which does not slide.  So the left side slides to open or close the entry/exit from the stairs but the right side does not slide, is permanently fixed, and the railing is well secured into that fixed wall.

 

We do have a solid insurance policy (my wife is in the insurance industry) but hope to avoid using it so want to have the stairs and railing set in a way that are safe and secure.

Thanks sooo much!

Tania646
Level 2
null

I'm surprised that it looks like there is sit down space to eat just for two people.  Am I missing something?

Have you thought about building in the $175 cleaning fee into your nightly rate?  You could do this IF you had a good idea on what the typical duration of stay is.

Scott1598
Level 2
Atlanta, GA

@Tania646 

Thanks again!  Yes, the stairs and eating are my biggest hurdle right now.  The living space is small and the current stairs take up a considerable portion of the living room space so there is not room for any sort of table for at least four.  We do have two barstools (soon to be three) at the kitchen countertop but getting a table for four is important for us to provide for our guests but also for our family to use when we stay since meals are an important part of our daily routine.  

 

So, I hope to get the stairs moved (more interior to the unit) that would open up room in the living room so we can get at least a small table and slide 2 stools under it and allow guests to pull it out and use the other two stools at the countertop to have four chairs.  Welcome all other ideas on how to allow for dining for 4 to 6 that take up minimal space when not in use and not too much of a hassle to set up if guests want to use it for meals.

 

Regarding the cleaning fee - great suggestion and would love to learn more.  I could certainly build the $175 cleaning fee into the nightly rate.  I fully appreciate that a guest staying two nights (my minimum) may think $175 is high ($150-$200 is average for a two bedroom in Vail for cleaning) and I would agree.  If I build, say $50 additional into my nightly rate and remove the cleaning fee I'm concerned at the time of searching for a place it would show my nightly rate higher than others who do not embed cleaning into their nightly rate and would remove me from their consideration before they are able to compare total cost.  I'll look more into this but welcome any additional thoughts.


Thanks again!

Tania646
Level 2
null

Well, a higher nightly rate is a concern because Airbnb shows it in a bigger font.

 

But if the prospective guest looks at the total cost, which is right underneath, and compare total costs you are not disadvantaged.

 

You might need to wait to see what your average stay is.  For example if most of your stays are four nights, and a few five nights and two nights, you can do the math of whether you breakeven on the cleaning fee by assuming for night stays.  You make a little more on longer stays, lose a little on short stays.

 

The benefit, some say, is that people take a little better care of the property because some people say to themselves. "Why should I do anything?  Look at the cleaning fee I'm paying."

 

Guests might not understand that the service fee goes to Airbnb. So they might think: "Wow!  This Host is charging me a service fee, a cleaning fee, a fee for extra guests. I'm getting killed on fees."

Tania646
Level 2
null

Looks beautiful!

 

Some wordsmithing: How about:  Your living room connects to an open, fully-equipped kitchen. The main floor has one bedroom with vaulted ceilings, more windows and a full bathroom. Your second floor has a private bedroom, vaulted ceilings and a large bath with jacuzzi tub and skylight. Your front deck has seating [for how many?] and you have a private parking spot if you bring a car.

 

Safety issues: 1) Are those interior stair rails conforming to code? They wouldn't pass code in MA. Looks dangerous for children. 2) Who sweeps/shovels the outside steps and deck for snow?  Do you provide a shovel?  Ice melt?

 

Scott1598
Level 2
Atlanta, GA

@Tania646 ,

Thank you sooo much for responding with all of the thoughts.  I will respond to each.

 

For the wordsmithing is your point that I'm too wordy and I should be more direct in my description of the space?  If so, my wife reviewed recently and had similar feedback so is helping me make it more direct (she's Russian and from Chicago so really good at being direct!).  I was reading that it's preferred to describe the feeling and experience of a space so may have been too wordy in my description.  I will certainly add the number of seating for outside (it's 2).

 

Safety issues:  2) The HOA shovels snow and a shovel is provided.  1)The stairs are not to code and one of our main concerns when we bought the condo.  I would say that the stairs are better than many other condos in the area that use a ships ladder or similar to get up to the loft.  That said, we are investing in some renovation with stairs being at the top of the list.  We are likely to put in a spiral staircase that conforms to code.  We are also concerned about the railing and all up the stairs and across the entire loft we will put in more robust railing to limit small people from fitting between the gaps.  We have been in Airbnb's with a 2 year old so want our guests to be safe.  In the meantime I have the following wording in my description:

 

Tons of rustic mountain charm comes with some quirks that were fine when they were built. While we have made some updates please make note when accessing the loft. The stairs are comfortable but steep by current standards.
The incredible structural beams that run through the space also limit head height at the top of the stairs and when descending so please watch your head. Once you are in the loft the vaulted ceilings bring plenty of height.

 

 

Scott1598
Level 2
Atlanta, GA

Sincerely appreciate the feedback @Kate867  and @Gordon0 !  I should have mentioned why we are considering a spiral staircase.  At the top of the current stairway we are concerned about head height upon entry to the loft.  We are limited by the distance between the two, huge, structural beams that run the width of the condo.  The lower beam is what holds the stairs up but the top beam has only about a 5" (1.524 meter) entry point.  We anticipate many bumped heads and do have a sign at the top of the stairs but imagine that will not fully remediate the head-butting.  The current stairs also take up a large portion of the small footprint in the living room where we would hope to allow for more seating or a small dining table.  

 

The plan is to move the spiral staircase behind the current beams so as you enter into the loft you are already on the other side of the beams and on the interior of the loft where the ceilings are high.  Welcome any other thoughts if you all have had to reconfigure stairs.

 

@Kate867  - excellent idea on the glass screens over the tub and we have started to price them out. 

 

@Gordon0 - love the suggestion of some newer summer pictures and totally agree.  Also, appreciate the tip on the wall-mounted headboards which we will add for more warmth and comfort.

 

My wife just put in an order of new "little" things like new rugs, towels, mugs, etc to help add a more inviting feel while not cluttering the small space.

 

Thanks again and sincerely appreciate the time and advice you are offering.

Scott

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