Do you want to start hosting on Airbnb and you want to avoid doing beginner’s mistakes?
Airbnb can be a great platform to earn extra money as a stay-at-home mom, but you have to make sure to start it the right way to avoid headaches.
I started hosting on Airbnb last year, and believe me at first, I did some of those mistakes and I wish I had read such a guide before.
So here you go, follow this Ultimate Guide to be a great host and prevent bad reviews or even to have to refund your new guests!
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning that at not cost for you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
1- Not having a good pricing strategy
As for everything, to have a good pricing strategy is essential.
In Airbnb, it’s great because you can adjust your prices according to
- days of the week
- prices of your competition in your area
- period of the year
- big holidays
- number of people staying
- add discount for long-term stays (weekly or monthly discounts)
- add discount for early or late bookings
One thing that you need to take into account as well are the fees applied by Airbnb to your prices. Airbnb adds fees both to the host and the guest.
For instance, if your price per night is $39 then the price that your possible guests see is $45
Make sure when choosing your price that you will still be ok with it once Airbnb takes out its fees.
Moreover, be sure that your price is good based on the competition even after Airbnb adds up its fees to your guest.
2- Not to focus on the Hospitality
When we first started to host last year, my partner would be the one receiving the guest, even though I had been the one communicating with them online.
After a while, we quickly saw that this was not the right way to do it. People like meeting the host in person. They connect with the people that they had contact with beforehand.
That’s why, I would always suggest to be there to give your guests the keys, show them around, explain them everything, tell them what are the little things you left for them in the flat.
It can also be a good moment to give them your last tips on special events happening while their stay or on a good restaurant to enjoy their arrival in this new city.
You can also send them a little message the next day of their arrival telling them that you hope they had a good night and that they should not hesitate to contact you for anything.
This little extra step will benefit truly your communication and will help you to get good reviews!
3- Not putting little surprise in the flat for the guests
Another point to have a great Airbnb hosting experience without mistakes, is to put them a little surprise.
Depending on who is coming, the surprise might change. For families, I like leaving a parasol for the beach in the hallway. For a group of guys, a couple of beers in the fridge could be a nice surprise. In summer, you can put ice blocks in the freezer for them.
It doesn’t have to be much or cost much. However, it gives your guests a great start for their stay.
4- Rely only on Airbnb for your bookings
Every once in a while, and more often than we all would like to, I see in some Facebook groups for Airbnb hosts, that someone got kicked off the platform and is banned to host on Airbnb.
For this reason, I always say that it’s better to advertise on different platforms.
The best way is to have your own website and social media pages to have repeat guests come over and over.
If you need assistance for it, you can check my new course to offer you a step-by-step guide for it. From hosting, website creation, write website content, create social media pages and optimize it, I can share with you how to do all this here.
The other thing that you can do it to have your listing on different platforms to multiply the opportunities and lower the risks.
5- Not sending a Thank you Message Directly at check-out
If you send a Thank You Message right after check-out, the guests will be happy to see that you care about their stay and about their opinion.
You can tell them that you were happy to receive them at your place, you hoped they had a lovely time here and that you would be happy to get their feedback on Airbnb.
This way your guests will see that you care about their opinions.
6- Not checking the competition
Checking the competition in your area is a very important thing. If you are not doing it, this is a big mistake, which would affect your revenue.
For instance, last month, I was checking the prices of the competition for the coming weeks and I saw that because of a festival in my city the prices were really high.
There was a 300% increase in the usual rate, even double the room rate from what I usually put in the high season in summer!
As I saw it, I changed my rates for that week and still had a 100% occupancy rate for that period!
The big lesson out of it is: do not even while starting hosting on Airbnb, but also often at least once a month. It doesn’t take much time, but it can bring you better occupancy rate and more extra money.
Once a month, I am checking the competition in my area. The things to check are:
- what are the prices in the area
- which kind of places are people offering
- what are the reviews of the superhosts saying
- how full are they ?
- do they have more bookings than you for the same month?
By the way, did you notice the new feature of Airbnb hosting?
They have now new analytics for you to check your occupancy rate and your room rate in comparison with the market average.
7- Not using reviews to your advantage
Reviews are your best friend!! Don’t make the mistake to overlook them.
People will tell you what they love about your place and what they didn’t.
We all dislike bad reviews, and for sure, the goal is to prevent receiving a bad review.
However, a common hosting mistake on Airbnb is to think that the guests are wrong and not change anything.
Use those reviews at your advantage. They are helping you seeing things, you might have not thought about before.
So, here is a quick task for you: go read again your reviews and check if there is something you should add to your place or something that guests loved and that you should highlight in your listing description!
Reviews on Airbnb, bad or good, are like gold! Don’t overlook them!
8- Not having good hosting requirements
Be sure to avoid issues by having some requirements before accepting guests.
My advice would be to be sure that the guest already has good review, has a picture and put his ID on his profile.
Another important thing to be sure of is that they are booking for themselves, not for a friend or a family member. Otherwise, you will not be covered for any damage which might happen at your place!
If you have a big place, then you might suit bigger groups. In that case, make sure to say in your listing if you accept or not parties there!
If you are hosting in the place that you are going to stay as well, make sure to know who you are accepting. If you are alone, you don’t want anyone creepy coming into your home!
Make sure to add those requirements in your listing to prevent having to decline too many requests/bookings.
Airbnb takes into account how often you decline, so you don’t want this to prevent you from becoming a Superhost!
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Over to you – what are the biggest mistakes you did as Airbnb Host? Which ones of the mistakes above haven’t you thought about?
Share in the comments!
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I’m Natacha, a French vegan Airbnb host who has been working online for the past 4 years. I help hosts stand out and make more money online so they can have a good work-life balance!