Airbnb can be an extremely rewarding business experience but operating short-term rentals profitably over the long term is not easy work. You need to be committed to the process and the clients and able to invest the time and effort into making your business a success. You should also be willing to educate yourself about the industry and grow your business into a long term success.
Airbnb was one of the first short term rental companies to join the market. It didn’t take long for several competitors to launch. There were plenty of copycats using the Airbnb business model. Some even garnered a great deal of success in some of Airbnb’s smaller markets but, in the long run, many of these companies failed because they lacked what Airbnb offered.
In addition to opening short term rental opportunities to everyday people, Airbnb has a strong technology team and focuses a great deal on marketing. These two things make the company stand out from many of the competitors in the market, some of whom had been operating for more than a decade.
Airbnb executives are clear about what they did differently to help them survive in this growing industry: they were and still are a technology-driven business. While they acknowledge how important hospitality is, they also know how much tech matters in the short term rental business. The majority of short term rental companies don’t do this and focus only on the hospitality side of things. They post their rentals anywhere unlike Airbnb where hosts list their rentals specifically on the Airbnb app.
To survive as an Airbnb host, you need to:
Offer a Pleasurable Vacation Rental Experience
Obviously, the first thing on your list is to provide short term renters with an enjoyable experience. This is an area in which many of the short term rental companies have managed to succeed. You need to offer a safe, comfortable, and inviting space for guests.
Renters want accommodations that remove the usual concerns they have when traveling. This includes all of the basics they would find in a hotel as well as things that you can offer because you’re operating a private property. It helps to make a list of all you could offer and then work from there. Maybe the property isn’t ready for renting in the dead of winter in a cold climate but you could aspire to make it comfortable even in frigid temperatures. Perhaps the outdoor area isn’t perfect for entertaining but you could add professional landscaping to your list of upgrades to achieve in the coming months or years. The more “perfect properties” you have in your arsenal of Airbnb short term rentals, the more long term success you’ll enjoy.
As you improve your rental properties, you should also think about how you communicate with your renters. The Airbnb app offers the perfect platform for communication between hosts and renters so you be sure to take advantage of it. Communication should take place before, during, and after the rental experience. Confirm your reservation, send a reminder or two in the days and weeks leading up to the rental dates, check-in with guests to make sure everything is running smoothly during their stay, and follow up after the experience to thank them and to ask for a review.
Keep your prices competitive and profitable. This requires some research about short term rentals in your area. You want people to recognize that you’re offering good value but that your rental isn’t so cheap as to raise questions about its condition. The right pricing strategy is an important part of surviving in the Airbnb short term rental business.
Utilize the Platform – Listing and Reviews
The Airbnb platform offers an opportunity to conduct business in an organized and professional manner. This starts with your listing. If you aren’t comfortable creating your own Airbnb listings, you can hire someone who has the experience to ensure they are SEO-friendly, appealing to renters and informative for renters. It’s also a good idea to work with a professional photographer when taking pictures of your property. A real estate photographer can help you get the best images that highlight the best features of your rental.
In addition to the initial listing, you should also consider how you use reviews to promote your property. What previous guests have to say about your rental is just as important as its description and photos. People want the peace of mind of knowing that renting from you is a great experience and that they can trust you. Making sure renters are thrilled with their experience at your Airbnb short term rental and that they are willing to share this experience is an essential part of your success.
Finally, consider how you want to scale your Airbnb short term rental business. Do you want to add more properties? Improve the existing properties? Assemble a team to help you with rental needs? The best way to survive in Airbnb short term rentals is to plan for the future.