5 Common Mistakes of New Hosts
Guests have many choices when booking on Airbnb and in many places, there is lots of competition. Listings that avoid these 5 most commonly made mistakes will stand out in a list of potentially hundreds of listings. Over the years I've spent hours and hours looking at listings. Sometimes it has been part of reviewing the competition, other times it’s been when I was looking to book a place. These are 5 easy ways to push your listing higher in the search results and to attract the most respectful guests.
- Pictures: According to Airbnb the most important factor a guest uses to decide which listing to book is pictures! (Assuming the listing is in the correct area.) The biggest issue I see that hosts have not properly staged their listing for photos. This could include not removing clutter, not ironing bedding or failing to set the bathroom for a guest. Another issue is that the photos that are too dark making the listing appear dreary and uninviting. The vast majority of today's smartphones offer the ability to edit photos, so there should be no excuse for dark pictures. Another common issue is the failure to include pictures of all the available rooms. Having pictures that show every room is important to guests – especially photos of the kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom.
- Short or non-existent House Rules: House Rules are a host’s ability to tell potential guests what is expected of them during their stay. Want guests to leave the space tidy on check out? Then it needs to be in the house rules. Other common house rules include, not to eat food in the cupboards or fridge, closing windows on check out, locking the door when they’re out and not placing certain items in the dishwasher. Sadly, not every guest will treat your home as you would. You need to be specific with what you allow and don't. Having a detailed list of house rules can also help in situations where you have to use the resolution center to recover funds for damage.
- No Damage Deposit: Airbnb allows hosts to hold a Damage Deposit for a reservation. Hosts can set this limit. The way a damage deposit works is just like it does when you book a regular hotel (for incidentals) or rental car (for damage). Airbnb places a “soft hold” on the guest’s credit card at the time of booking and releases 24 hours after check out, if the host doesn't make a claim against it in the resolution center. Since the hold is taken at the time of booking it can also be a way to deter problematic guests, since sometimes these guests do not have enough room on their credit cards for the reservation and the damage deposit. It's an easy way to avoid having to decline a potentially disrespectful guest since the request would never come through.
- Incomplete Amenity List: The amenity list is where hosts can really show off the features of their listing. Depending on the amenity guests may be able to "filter" their search to include certain amenities. Think a filter for listings that include free parking or air conditioning in warm climates. These amenities are important to guests – so don’t miss out!
- Host’s Profile is Not Verified: As hosts, we expect to host trustworthy guests. We want as much information as possible about a potential guest so we can make an informed decision about whether or not to host them. The same is true from the guest’s perspective. Unfortunately, there are lots of horror stories out there about Airbnb listings that have not lived up to expectations. Guests want to know that they’re going to have a safe and clean space. Show your guests that you’re a trustworthy host by uploading a picture of your photo ID, connecting to at least one social media network and having a profile picture.
In a short amount of time, you can polish your listing to attract the best guests. Fixing the 5 most commonly made listing mistakes won't cost you a dime and will allow your listing to stand out from the competition. What are you waiting for? Open up your listing up and make these small changes, your future guests will be glad you did.