As an investor, there is nothing worse than being stuck with a property in a dull market. And so you always hear the axiom in real estate: “Location, location, location”. It’s true, but beyond choosing the right location for investing in short-term rental properties, there are other crucial Airbnb tips you need to know as a new or potential Aiibnb host.
21 Airbnb Tips and Tricks for Hosts in 2021
1. Set your goals.
Why do you want to become an Airbnb host? To make a few extra bucks? To make monthly side income? Or build a serious Airbnb business that has the potential to become your primary income source? You need to be clear on your primary motivation for wanting to invest in Airbnb rental properties. Because your goals will determine the amount of capital and planning you’ll need for your Airbnb business model plus the level of work and risk you’ll be taking on.
Related: Is Owning an Airbnb Profitable?
2. Map out your ideal Airbnb guest.
Is your ideal guest a cost-optimizing business traveler? Or a couple looking for some getaway? Of course, you’ll have more than one type of Airbnb guests. You could have families with children and even large groups of friends. But there will be a predominant type of customer your space appeals to. Understand this ideal customer, their motivation, lifestyle preference, and the kind of amenities they’d love.
3. Analyze the property and the neighborhood.
More so than the other Airbnb hosting tips on this list, this one is especially important if your aim is to build a thriving Airbnb business. You should know the cap rate, cash on cash return, rental income, and occupancy rate that you can expect from your Airbnb investment property. Fortunately, Mashvisor provides all the real estate investment tools you need to do rental property analysis. You can use Mashvisor’s Airbnb income calculator to analyze not only your Airbnb income potential but also what expenses, cash flow, and return to expect. And Mashvisor’s neighborhood real estate heatmap tool gives a quick glance of property prices, Airbnb rental income, Airbnb occupancy rate, and Airbnb cash on cash return for neighborhoods in any city in the US housing market.
If you’re wondering how to start an Airbnb property business, check out the best cities for Airbnb investment in 2021.
4. Price it right – use real data.
Without reliable rental comps data, setting Airbnb pricing can be hard. You might be pricing your listing wrong compared to competitors and that could hurt your chances of getting bookings. One way to set up the right Airbnb daily rate is to search the Airbnb platform for similar listings in your location and see what rates they are asking for. A more time-efficient way to do that, however, is to look at the estimated Airbnb daily rate which Mashvisor provides for each property listed on the website. Moreover, you can see a list of Airbnb rental comps which this real estate investment software uses for its estimates. Don’t forget to factor in the guest service fee, taxes, and any additional fees you want to charge (e.g., cleaning or extra guests). Furthermore, note that your price shouldn’t be static (as will be mentioned as we proceed with this list of Airbnb tips for hosts) and should be adjusted depending on supply and demand.
5. Stay up to date on legal and tax requirements.
Airbnb laws vary by city and by state. For example, in 2016, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a law which prohibits renting out a space for less than 30 days if the landlord isn’t living there. This essentially made Airbnb New York impossible for real estate investors. And in places where Airbnb is legal, there are taxes or requirements to fulfill. For example, in the California real estate, Airbnb guests have to pay a transient occupancy tax (12% of the rent), which is collected and paid by the host.
6. Make a great impression with outstanding photos.
Short-term renters have many options to choose from, which means your photos are a make it or break it deal. The fact is, you don’t need professional photography. With a good smartphone and a great angle, you can create a tip-top impression that’ll lead to more bookings. Try these Airbnb tips for your photos:
- Keep the space pristine.
- Keep in mind that the ideal number of images for optimal Airbnb listings is 15, but prospects pay more attention to the first 5.
- Take pictures during the day. Open up windows to allow for maximum lighting.
- Don’t show unrealistic amenities. Don’t capture whatever is not included in the booking.
- Pay attention to corners as small spaces can reveal a lot of depth and dimension.
7. Honesty is not just the best policy, it earns great reviews.
A combination of an excellent listing description and great photos can work wonders for your occupancy rate, but beware of false advertising on your Airbnb profile. There are few things guests detest more than getting their hopes up and then feeling disappointed that you’ve failed to deliver on some of your promises. Hence, one of the most important tips for Airbnb hosts in 2021 is: Make a great pitch but don’t oversell, as that could lead to more cancellations and negative reviews.
8. Raise your options by setting a lower minimum night stay requirement.
If you want to treat your Airbnb rental investment as a business, you need to pay attention to guest needs. It may seem smart to allow a 5-night minimum stay as that would mean less frequent turnovers. However, successful Airbnb hosts have found it more effective to lower the minimum night stay requirement. What this means is that people who travel frequently for work or just want short weekend getaways can book your place. Increased options within your Airbnb business plan, while it might result in more work, would result in a higher occupancy rate.
9. Automate Airbnb turnover operations to free up time.
From cleaning and restocking supplies to repairing damages, you want to have systems in place to cover as many Airbnb hosting tasks as possible. While this would mean you outsource some of this stuff at a personal cost, it gives you peace of mind. However, with professional property management, keep an eye on those costs so you don’t eat up all your cash flow.
10. Stay in contact with current guests and give them simple to-dos.
Your guests would usually have questions, especially when they are new in town. One of the most important Airbnb tips for beginners is to keep the communication lines open. Your guests should have your contact information so you can answer any question they have. Be sure to leave them a list of house rules and provide additional information to help them navigate the area.
Aside from these, you should create a simple checking out to-do list for your guests to help with turnover, e.g., guests should report any damages, leave dirty towels in a collection plate, and place trash bags in the appropriate containers.
11. Use flexible pricing to your advantage.
Many markets have peaks and troughs. And there are things that happen in the area that affect supply and demand. For example, if there’s a big event in your neighborhood, you might have a chance to increase your daily income. And during low periods you might need to bring down pricing. So, another one of the best Airbnb tips and tricks is to keep an eye on other listings in the area, follow up on travel trends, and maintain good relations with neighbors so you know when to raise or lower prices.
12. Ask for 5-star reviews. It’s easy.
Prospective guests would be reading your reviews as they check through listings. When you have many negative reviews, you’ll obviously lose a lot of bookings. But getting 5-star reviews doesn’t have to be difficult if you offered what you said you would and kept up the lines of communication.
As your guests check in and also when they check out, a simple hack is to send out two texts, and you can automate these with an online tool like iGMS: one at check in, that keeps them assured that you want their stay to be splendid, and the other at check out that requests for a 5-star rating in a non-pushy way.
13. Allow Instant bookings for verified guests.
Instant booking allows a guest to book your space directly without having to send you a reservation request. As a rule of thumb, you should only allow instant booking for verified guests who already have good reviews on Airbnb. This saves you the back and forth of having to onboard them as new guests when learning how to run an Airbnb property in the most efficient way.
14. Use neutral colors and don’t go overboard with interior design.
You have your personal design preferences, but it’s a gamble to think that your guests would love your stylish kitchen decor. With Airbnb rentals, and as many Airbnb tips from experts recommend, you should stick with the basics: clean up the space, use neutral colors, and declutter.
15. Make your house rules as simple and clear as possible.
The reality is that you’re inviting strangers into your home. They don’t have the same obligation to take good care of the home as you do. Therefore, you need to assess your ability to be assertive and perspicuous with regards to your house rules before you start your Airbnb business.
16. Keep Covid-19 safety precautions in mind.
2021 Airbnb tips related to the Coronavirus pandemic include providing nose masks, hand sanitizers, and sanitizing wipes for your guests. Even with the presence of Covid-19 vaccines, it’s still a good idea to take precautions.
17. Focus on guest experience to garner great reviews.
Can you offer your guests a way to save money on food or services in the area? A guide to local hotspots? Or simply be responsive when they call? Then you could score more points with guests.
18. Throw in a couple of amenities for free.
As people browse listings, they are faced with overwhelming choices. You want to optimize yours for your ideal guest. Is your ideal guest a traveling businessman? Would they love a hot tub? If it’s a family, they’d probably cherish an outdoor grill. Make sure that any extra convenience you’ve thrown in is included in the listing description.
19. Measure cash flow monthly.
Track all your expenses including labor costs and subtract these from profit. Are you still getting positive ROI? If not, you need to rethink your expenses, how you manage your Airbnb business, and whether you are following all Airbnb tips.
20. Maintain good relations with neighbors.
If you constantly get noise complaints from neighbors, your Airbnb business may be short-lived. On the other hand, when you have a good relationship with your neighbours, they might be able to furnish you with information that will lead to increased profits.
21. Get additional insurance coverage.
Your home insurance plan doesn’t cover short-term renting. And while Airbnb has a host guarantee that promises up to $1 million in the rare event that guests damage your income property, it’s not insurance. You need additional insurance, especially if you’re dealing with an expensive property.
If you are still unsure how to start an Airbnb business, just follow the 9 steps outlined in our video below:
Ultimately, the most important to-do when you want to start getting monthly revenue with Airbnb is to take the first step. These 21 Airbnb tips can be your guide, helping you avoid the common mistakes new short-term rental property investors make.
If you still don’t have an investment property to list on Airbnb, start your rental property search now. Sign up for Mashvisor to turn 3 months of research into 15 minutes.