The property rental and sharing industry has allowed millions of homeowners to monetize their empty rooms or additional properties rather than let their properties sit idly while the real estate economy heals. Thanks to services like Airbnb, property owners, property caretakers, and home maintenance service providers like gardeners, plumbers, painters, and handymen have found themselves a very lucrative honeypot. In fact, around 38% of AirBnb hosts today consider themselves self-employed, with rentals or long-term letting as their main source of income.
Although AirBnb reports that their revenue has hit an average of a whopping $900 million every year, for the past four years, majority of hosts– around 75% in particular, tend to only make a mere $10,000 annually from their rental properties. This report, released by EverBooked and LearnAirbnb, best presents the stark reality that exists on the platform: competition is unbelievably high.
If you are a property owner looking to improve your game, here are a few changes you can possibly make:
Encourage Guests to Leave 5-Star Reviews
Every host covets those shiny 5-star reviews. Having enough 5-star reviews may also help you qualify for the SuperHost status. Always encourage your guests to leave you 5-star reviews. Communicate with them regularly, and let them know, explicitly or subtly, that you are working hard towards a 5-star review. If necessary, let them know that Airbnb does not look at 4-star reviews in a positive light, and too much of it can affect your host rating, as well as affect your Super Host qualification.
Many hosts have gone as far as leaving little notes that explain the rationale behind Airbnb’s rating system. Some have said the little educational tip has worked for them, others have considered it to be invasive and inconvenient on the part of the guest since it pressures them to understand the rating system in the point-of-view of the host.
One workaround to this is to accommodate as many guests as you can and to encourage each of them to leave a review or at least 3-stars. More reviews are seen as a positive sign in the Airbnb sharing world, so don’t scoff at 1-night stays just yet. If you do accommodate them, encourage them to leave you a review no matter how brief their stay was.
Deck Your Halls.
A great interior, and great photos of said interior tend to attract visitors the most. People who go on AirBnb tend to judge the comfort of a property with their eyes first. That being said, renovate your property from time to time or when your old interior no longer looks appealing. Look at the presentation of your property from the point-of-view of potential guests and you can never go wrong. It also helps to look at things from your guests’ side, or to empathize with how they may feel about your property so you can improve your service and accommodations to meet their needs. Those who succeed at understanding their clients tend to succeed in their business, and this holds true in the real estate business.
Another effective way to attract guests is to have what other rental properties may not have. For example, most small apartments for rent do not have ample room for an office. Get ahead by turning a corner of your property into a conservative workspace by installing a programmable standing desk. Ergonomic furniture like these scream work, productivity, and “home office” from the get-go, and you may even qualify for Business Travel Ready status by having them available.
Stay Competitive in Terms of Pricing
Guests tend to filter their searches in this order: first, they look at the location, then the price, and finally, the features of the property, or the whole look and feel of the property itself. The price point can make or break deals, but if you want to come out of every customer negotiation alive, always select competitive prices for your property. Find out what your competitor charges and stay within a fair range. You wouldn’t want your property to be more expensive than your competitors’, and you wouldn’t want to charge too low, either. The former could turn off all potential guests, while the latter could attract abusive guests (which there are plenty of, on the platform).
The keyword, then, is competitiveness. Know how much your property is worth depending on the season, and charge what you feel is just, while considering the location, number of guests, and the features of your property.
Privacy is Paramount.
Finally, it is also important to understand the kind of guests that search for properties to rent, on Airbnb. Airbnb caters to families the most, hence, full houses or apartments will always get a bulk of inquiries compared to small rooms or shared space. If all you have for rent are shared spaces, naturally, you will be catering to a very narrow group of customers. Usually, only couples, friends, and individual travelers will opt for shared rooms or dormitory-type accommodations. If you want to fare better in the home sharing economy, co-host a full home or full apartment rental, or save towards a dedicated apartment that you can let.