As the sharing economy grows, sites like Airbnb, VRBO, or HomeAway are attracting larger hoards of both guests and hosts. The expanding market is constantly changing as more people jump on board and the market moves beyond the “early adopters” phase.
Although this growth has created a healthy and expansive market of guests, it also means competition is becoming fiercer every day. When it was simply a matter of opening your doors as the only host in your neighborhood, getting business wasn’t too bad. Sure, you may not have booked your room(s) every night, but you also weren’t fighting for each guest with your neighbors.
Now, it’s time to start competing.
Some of the best hosts will further grow their businesses and capture more of the market; many other hosts will be left behind with open rooms and heavy hearts. Fortunately, many of you have likely already discovered the keys to consistently filling your listings.
Airbnb is About the Experience
Guests want to feel comfortable and relaxed. But unlike a typical hotel guest, sharing economy participants also want to share their experience with a host who treats them like a friend. Your guests expect to feel at home in a way a hotel simply cannot provide. Hosts who best create that feeling will always have the most bookings and highest rates!
You likely have already learned some useful tips through our blog on how to make guests feel at home. We have some more tips on how to set yourself that much further above your local competition and consistently stand out. Like a typical business, competing will cost some money; nevertheless, the results are worth it and you can often raise your prices to more than compensate for what you spend.
Here are three ways you can use custom designed Airbnb upgrades to get the experience-edge on your local Airbnb competition.
Inform Your Guests
First, you will want to create a custom house and neighborhood guide for your guests. On arriving, guests typically have questions related to your house (i.e. WIFI password, house rules), as well as the local area. Our guests often ask for directions to the nearest bus stop or grocery store, and for our personal recommendations for places to visit. A guide is a helpful and organized way to answer all those questions!
We’ve seen a lot of good ways to create a guide, ranging from homemade binders and guestbooks to custom apps. However, we weren’t satisfied with these options for our Airbnb listings. For one, we don’t like downloading extra apps that will only be used temporarily. Plus, some of our guests don’t even have smartphones! However, an app does allow your tech-savvy guests to always have the info they need on hand. This advantage is lost when you create a bulky guidebook or binder that your guests cannot take with them when on the move.
We solved both of these issues by creating a custom brochure with our house rules, WIFI and TV instructions, as well as a guide to local tourist attractions and nearby resources (i.e. grocery stores, gas stations, etc). We also included a section for a friendly written note so that we could personalize the guide for each guest! By providing a brochure, we give our guests a great low-tech option that is also easy to take around town. We began providing these brochures a month ago and already have guests raving about them!
Show Your Gratitude
If you want to take this idea to the next level, we also suggest writing a personal thank you card for each guest. It’s definitely acceptable to buy generic cards from the store. For our home, we created custom cards with an image of each room and a picture of both of our smiling faces. We feel this custom card takes the personal touch a step further. Plus, thanking your guests properly as they exit (right before they write their review) leaves a great final impression.
Do More Than the Basics
Our last tip is to consider providing more than just the basic amenities. Most sharing economy hosts provide the basics: clean sheets, towels, toilet paper and soap. Although many guests bring their own toiletries, we’ve found that some guests struggle to do this because of airport liquid restrictions or limited luggage space. Some hosts help by providing basic toiletries like bottles of shampoo and body wash. We take it a step further and provide hotel quality toiletries. Each bag of toiletries also features a welcoming note! This gives guests the feeling that you are thinking of all of their needs ahead of time. This level of service also allows you to compete directly for hotel guests who normally might not feel as comfortable staying in a stranger’s home. However, compared to a hotel, the personal note sets you apart as a kind and considerate host.
The New Wave of Customers
As Airbnb and the sharing economy continue to grow, the market is moving beyond the “early adopter” phase of guests who are excited and at ease with the idea of staying with strangers.
Many of the new Airbnb customers have been waiting to see how the idea played out worldwide and are now jumping on board because of the popularity. These new guests are accustomed to staying in hotels. If you don’t up your game and provide a similar experience to their hotel expectations, you’ll likely miss out on this new wave of customers.
On the other hand, what often makes your home appealing is the personal touch and comfort a guest would not experience in any hotel. If you can provide a hotel-level experience combined with the comforts of being at home, you’ll eventually be able to charge more than some of the nearest high-end hotels!
After seeing the benefits of providing our guests with these custom upgrades, we decided to offer help to other hosts who want to do the same.
Gain a competitive advantage by checking out BNB Kits to see what we have to offer!
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Use code “LearnAirbnb” to save 25% on your first order!
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