Okay, so you’ve decided to list your room/property on Airbnb. What’s next?
Once you’ve signed up as a host, you’ll be prompted to provide details about your space. You’ll want to give this some thought because a well-written listing can be a huge advantage to increase bookings.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind while listing your space that will appeal to travelers, help score you a good host rating, and keep your guests happy.
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1. Be Honest:
A surefire way to end up with an unhappy guest is to exaggerate details about your property, so be completely honest about what you put in your listing.
This may seem like a “no sh*t” tip, but it’s easy to find yourself over or under exaggerating certain features of your property, even if that’s not your intention.
For example, if you live 30 minutes away from the city center, don’t advertise 15-20 minutes in your listing because you think it will help to increase bookings. This only results in a disappointed guest and a lower host rating for you.
One of the lessons I’ve learned as a host is that not all travelers want to stay in the heart of downtown, so you might actually be limiting potential bookings by not being totally transparent.
I live about 25 minutes outside of downtown Seattle and I have a friend, Erin, who lives only 10 minutes from city center.
Many would assume that Erin would be able to charge more for her property and that her space would be booked more often than mine. Heck, I made that assumption, too.
Turns out, I was able to get the same nightly rate and was sometimes booked more often (and for longer periods of time) than Erin.
Point being: Travelers have a variety of needs which means there’s a pea for every pod. You’ll find someone who’s target accommodations matches your listing.
Be honest about your accommodations and location, and you’ll receive a higher host rating.
2. Be Specific:
I once stayed in an Airbnb in Atlanta where the host advertised a complimentary continental breakfast in her listing.
This was appealing to me because it meant I didn’t have to leave the house every morning to request a Lyft and spend an additional $20 on breakfast. This simple offer became one of the reasons why I ultimately booked the property.
When I think of a continental breakfast, I think of pastries, fruit, coffee/juice, yogurt, etc… and I assumed this is similar to what would be provided by the host.
However, when I arrived at the property, I quickly realized her version of continental breakfast consisted solely of a box of instant oatmeal packets and a bag of apples. This wasn’t what I expected and ultimately ended up going out for breakfast during my stay.
I was quite disappointed, but it served as a learning experience.
I too include continental breakfast as part of my listing, but I had never specified what was included. I quickly edited my own listing to include that I would provide juice, pastries, fruit and yogurt so potential guests knew just exactly what they were getting.
Rule of thumb: Read your listing and if there’s anything that can be left to subjective interpretation, be more specific.
3. Highlight Desired Features in your Headline:
Think about what qualities of your space might be appealing to travelers and showcase them in your headline.
For example, I’ve noticed that many travelers prefer an attached private bathroom. If you’re renting out your guest bedroom and it has an attached bathroom, include something like “Guest quarters with private bathroom” or “..with ensuite” in the headline.
Do you have a view of the woods? A peek-a-boo view of a lake? Close to public transportation?
Whatever it is that makes your space unique, be sure to include it in your headline to attract more views.
In a sea of headlines with common descriptors such as “cozy apartment” and “beautiful spare bedroom”, be the “Colorful Guest Boudoir Near Park” (insert your personal headline here).
4. Include Answers to Common Questions:
When I first started hosting, I noticed that I would often get inquiries from travelers asking how far I was from the airport or downtown, among other places. I began to include this FAQ in my listing so it was clear before they booked. (It also saves you time since you’ll be getting fewer messages asking these types of questions.)
Another common question I received from potential guests was whether or not there was street parking, and if so, was it free? I started to include this answer in my listing as well.
The key to writing a great Airbnb listing is to address common questions before the traveler feels they need to message you. With all the properties on Airbnb, many travelers will oftentimes just skip to the next listing instead of bothering to send an inquiry, so be proactive!
5. Take Clear Photos:
I know, I know. This seems obvious, right? Au contraire!
I did a quick search of the properties on Airbnb in my neighborhood and I counted at least 4 listings with blurry and/or dark photos. With all the photo editing programs and filters on smartphones, uploading a quality photo on Airbnb is simple!
Here’s a picture of my master bedroom that I took with my Android camera and lightened up with the factory installed photo editor.
Travelers are more likely to book your space if they can clearly see what they’re reserving. Oh yeah, don’t forget to turn your lights on to create a warm environment.
(I would encourage you to take advantage of Airbnb’s free professional photography service, if you’re eligible. Click the link for details.)
Remember, crafting a great Airbnb listing is an iterative process and you’ll revise it many times over the course of your hosting experience. Use some of the tips above and you’ll be on your way to creating a listing that results in increased bookings.
What questions do you have about the listing process? What tips have you found helpful? Drop me a line in the comments section.
This post was proofread by Grammarly