August 08, 2017

Get Your Airbnb Business Started On The Right Foot

August 08, 2017

Get Your Airbnb Business Started On The Right Foot

If you own some rental units, a vacation home you only use a few weeks out of the year, or even an extra bedroom, you may be pondering starting an Airbnb business to convert those spaces into some extra money. Several years ago, folks like you would simply take a few pictures, write a simple listing and start renting their extra space. 

However, Airbnb has grown up quickly, and although the pool of potential customers has grown exponentially over the last few years, so have their expectations. Today, potential guests look to Airbnb rentals to be on par with hotels, bed and breakfasts, and other lodging options in terms of variety in options and pricing as well as professionalism.

Here are some tips to get your new Airbnb business off on the right foot.

1. Select Your Target Audience
Just like any other business, vacation rental management requires a strategy and a target audience. Being able to define the best customer for your particular space will help ensure happy renters in the long run. For instance, if you have a simple, small extra bedroom, you may be seeking traveling students who are looking for a safe, inexpensive place to sleep in your city. If you own a spacious vacation home with a hot tub and pool, you may target large families or groups of friends on vacation. If you have an attic or basement apartment in a city that draws a large out-of-town sports fan base, you may want to decorate it as a shrine to a particular team to add to the allure of a fan's overall trip.

2. Take Advantage of Tecnology
As the vacation rental business becomes more popular, side businesses designed to make the entire process easier to work with continue to surface. Invest some time in learning about these up-and-coming technologies that help you automate repetitive Airbnb management tasks. Existing technologies already automate some management tasks such as guest messaging functions. Calendar synchronization systems can now grab listing information from multiple booking platforms and automatically combine them into one schedule. Pricing tools exist that will automatically increase rates during weekends or high-demand seasons while lowering them during slower times and weekdays.

3. Convert Your Listing Into Marketing Material
Like all businesses, you need to market both your actual rental unit as well as your vacation rental management. Remember that your online listing must serve as your marketing, advertising and background information all in one spot. Invest time in the right photography. Gone are the days when you can snap a few photos inside and outside your vacation home and post them. Consider hiring a photography service who can help you use the medium to market and sell the particular image you want to portray. Think about your target audience and what would be most appealing to them. The same idea extends to your written description. Most potential guests will have short attention spans and be clicking through properties quickly. You'll want your written description to be accurate and complete while also communicating your personal marketing message.

4. Know Thy Competition
Spend some time not only checking out other vacation rental properties in your area, but also look into local hotels, bed and breakfasts, camping facilities and other lodging options. Again, consider your target audience. If you are trying to attract poor, traveling students, look at youth hostels or inexpensive hotels as your competition. What can you offer that they do not? If you are targeting families with small children, look at hotels that offer indoor water parks or playgrounds. How can you make your amenities more attractive than those facilities?

5. Protect Yourself From Damages
If you are renting your home, you'll want to contact your insurance agent to understand what your home owner's insurance covers and what it does not. Short-term renting is usually a special case that requires additional coverage. Although Airbnb management provides some insurance for its hosts, you'll want to be sure it is enough for your particular vacation rental unit. Consider any special, high-priced amenities you might have that require additional coverage.

6. Continually Improve Your Proccess
Any successful business must commit to continuous improvement. Begin by putting in place the systems that can help you get your business started quickly and successfully, but always look for ways to do things better. For instance, you can anticipate check-in and check-out processes, questions and systems, but until you actually have guests coming and going, you won't understand completely the problems and bottlenecks that might occur. If four out of your first five guests have to call you because they can't find a key or work your key pad upon check-in, you have a problem. If several guests complain about the same appliance giving them problems in their reviews, you may want to leave better instructions for future visitors.

7. Solicit Help When Needed
Many new businesses are popping up to make Airbnb property management easier than ever. Investigate possibilities that can help you run your business more smoothly and successfully. Many Airbnb hosts will hire professional cleaning companies to manage these tasks in between guests. Today, businesses that help convert a nearby local cafe or store into your personal front desk exist as well as mobile apps that can serve as an online key exchange. There are also specialty repair services that target Airbnb owners who find damage or other problems with their units and help manage not only the repair but the insurance claims.

8. Communicate Clearly With Guests
It's always a good idea to leave clear check-in rules and frequently asked questions for new guests. Be sure to post these rules on your listing as well, especially ones like no smoking, no pets or no children. Setting your expectations will also help you draw your intended target audience and screen out those guests who would be happier staying elsewhere.

Starting a new Airbnb business can be a fun and exciting venture. Taking the time to think through your business plan and your target audience as well as setting in place those companies and tools that can help you run things more smoothly will help you get your new business off to a great start.

Tagged: airbnb management