Do you plan on navigating the weird and wonderful world of Airbnb hosting? Great! Whatever your goals, renting out your home can be a fun and flexible way to generate some extra cash.
However, when you first start out as an Airbnb host, there are many things you need to keep in mind. It’s easy to make mistakes, which can lead to a whole host of problems.
To help you and your guests enjoy a five-star experience, we have created a list of typical mistakes that first-time Airbnb hosts make so you can avoid these yourself. Let’s dive in.
1. Misleading guests
Your Airbnb listing is the first impression you’ll offer prospective visitors, so it’s important to give them an accurate picture of your home. However tempting it may be, you should never exaggerate (or worse, outright lie) about the condition of your home when listing your property.
In fact, when starting out on Airbnb, the worst thing you can do is to be dishonest in your listing.
Why? When advertising misleads potential customers, it often results in a permanent breach of trust, bad feedback, and a decline in your star rating. This can lead to fewer future reservations and, consequently, a loss in profit.
Furthermore, Airbnb requires all hosts to engage in transparent advertising and communication; those who fail to do so risk being removed from the platform.
For your listing description, you should choose accurate (but compelling) terms to describe your home.
For example, don’t claim your Los Angeles property is a “stunning penthouse in the heart of the city”, if it’s actually a ground-floor apartment miles away from tourist attractions. Even if that’s the case, be honest and instead sell your property with helpful information on public transportation, local eateries, and hidden gems.
2. Poor communication
Never underestimate the importance of good communication for glowing reviews. Airbnb points out that “as a host, you can help guests feel comfortable and encourage good reviews by communicating clearly and promptly from the moment guests express interest in your space all the way until after they’ve checked out.”
However, for some new hosts, particularly those who live in a different time zone to their guests, work full time, or plan to manage many properties at once, keeping in constant contact with their guests can prove to be a challenge — if not impossible.
Fortunately, there is help available. With Airbnb’s quick replies feature, you can create templates, shortcodes, and scheduled messages to better organize your inboxes and support your customers.
Some hosts instead use property management services to ensure their guests have a warmer, more personalized experience, from the moment they view your property to the time they check out.
Frank Porter, for example, has a dedicated team that oversees the communication behind renting your property from start to finish, “covering all aspects of listing, hosting, and maintenance, as well as 24/7 guest management.”
3. Fixed pricing
After researching the going prices for similar Airbnbs, you may be tempted to set a firm nightly charge for your own listing. However, this can prove to be a costly mistake as your hosting venture needs a careful pricing strategy as any other company does.
You can (and should) increase your nightly rate at the busiest periods of the year, like school holidays, Christmas, and popular summer months — or when there are festivals or other special events in the area.
Because of the increased demand, Airbnb and hotel rates almost always rise during these times, as savvy hosts look to capitalize on holidayers willing to pay more for their accommodation during such periods.
On the flip side, you should offer discounted weekday rates, cheaper extended stays, or other perks to encourage more bookings during quieter periods. Understandably, knowing how to balance your pricing can be tricky, but handy tools such as Airbnb’s Smart Pricing can help new hosts.
Once turned on, this feature changes your nightly prices automatically based on demand — allowing you to put out a perfectly priced listing.