Finding an investment property, as complicated and time-consuming as it is, is just the first step in actually listing, fixing up, and renting out your place. If you are looking to get involved with a site like Airbnb, there is a lot to know about how to get started. First, you need to know how to make a profile. Next, you need to understand what a good listing includes. And finally, you must understand how to market your profile to the world in order to start making money on Airbnb.
Making an Airbnb Host Profile
The first thing you need to do to market your investment property is to create a profile on the Airbnb site or application.
- Go to airbnb.com/host. Click on “Start Hosting.”
- If you already have a guest profile on Airbnb, the site will ask you if you want to continue as this profile. If you would like to make an account for someone else, click “More Login Options.”
- Once you confirm your profile, the first question will prompt you to list what kind of place you have. You can choose between private rooms (the guest has their own space), shared rooms (the guest and host share a common space), or entire houses. You will also list what city you are renting in and how many guests you can accommodate.
- Next, you will choose the type of property. One of the draws of Airbnb is that you can put a lot of different types of homes on the site. You can choose things like boutique hotels, bed and breakfasts, boats, or even castles!
- Finally, the site will prompt you for more details, such as the type of beds available, how many guests can stay, how many bathrooms there are, the exact address of the property, and more.
Once you complete these basic steps to make a hosting profile, you can get begin ramping up your profile and adding more information.
Bulking Up Your Profile
We all know that you only get one chance to make a good first impression, so make sure that your first impression as a host is a favorable one.
First, consider your profile picture. It is crucial that you have a good profile picture that shows your real personality and also showcases other individuals who may be at the property (significant others, family members, etc.). Make sure you smile, the picture is good quality, and it shows some aspects of your personality.
Update Your Contact Info
After carefully choosing your profile picture, it’s time to add contact details. Make sure to add an email address and phone number that are accurate and that you have access to. Don’t worry, none of these details will float around the web without your permission. One of the benefits of Airbnb is that guests can expect a concierge service. Make sure you are reachable at all times to ensure that you’re not missing out on future bookings.
At its core, Airbnb is a social media platform that connects peers with other peers and develops connections between them. Show your social side with at least 50 words. This could include likes, dislikes, interior design styles, or even favorite foods!
Also, make sure to share your profile on other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. If you are serious about getting exposure on your property, social media is a great way to do it.
Verify Your Profile
As vast and informative as the Internet is, it is also full of secrets. We all know that secrets are the last thing you want when renting out your home to strangers or renting from strangers, which is why Airbnb enlisted its verification software.
After putting in all your contact details, make sure you verify your profile by scanning in a state ID, driver’s license, passport, or other form of ID.
Optimize Your Listing
Once you have your profile dressed up to the nines, it’s time to optimize your listing with great descriptions and photos. Too often, hosts get intimidated when listing their property because they don’t think they are good writers or don’t know what to say. Luckily, there are some helpful tips from Airbnb pros to help you overcome this hurdle.
As nice as it might seem to have a professional writer at your disposal, writing conversationally is actually more effective when it comes to Airbnb. By writing like you would talk to a friend, guests will know you are a real person and get a feel for your personality.
One way to get started is to sit down with someone and explain your property out loud (this is also a writing exercise that can be used in other ways, too!). The way you describe the place in this scenario is likely the most accurate way to describe it to others. Bonus points if you can get the person you are talking to to write down what you’re saying!
In addition to writing conversationally, make sure you keep it short and sweet. In the age of the Internet, readers have very short attention spans. Writing a description that highlights the key points, while cutting the fat, will be the most effective.
The Devil is in the Details
What do you look for when you rent a space or stay at a hotel? Comfy beds? New sheets? A view? Including small details like these might be the difference between someone booking with you and someone booking with your competitor. Some things you might want to include:
- The sleeping arrangements, including the types of sheets, pillows, bedding, etc.
- Entertainment areas, such as a patio or large common area
- Some ideas for how to use the space, such as suggesting a dinner party, taking in Chinese food, or enjoying a glass of wine on the veranda
Here is an example of a good description, courtesy of Holly on Airbnb:
“Your space is a separate and private 240sq ft open beamed studio with a concrete countertop kitchenette including a stainless steel microwave, 2 burner stove top, sink, and fridge.
Your private bathroom is roomy with a shower (wash rack) toilet and marble topped vessel sink valise.
The main open room has a comfy queen bed with 6 pillows, quilts and a comforter as well as a comfy futon couch that can be used as an additional bed. Linens,towels, washcloths and bathrobes are all provided.
The concrete floors are great when it’s warm weather but even with the throw rugs you might want to bring slippers in the cooler months. The heater/air conditioning unit is quiet and works great.
There is a small covered front porch to hang out on with beautiful views of the Figueroa Mts.”
Look at those details! Holly’s guests know exactly what they are getting.
Marketing Beyond Airbnb’s Site
After drafting a listing that you are proud of, it’s time to get as much mileage out of your property as you can. Here are some ways you can market your listing beyond Airbnb’s site.
Sharing is Caring
Sharing on social media is a great way to promote your rental property in front of your friends and their connections without much work on your part. Every time you post a new listing, share it on your social channels and encourage your connections to share it as well. Airbnb has integrations with multiple social media channels, so this process is seamless and easy. If you know of friends visiting your area, send them your listing. They could potentially be your next booking!
In addition to sharing on social media, Airbnb also allows users to embed their listings on other websites. Here are instructions on how to embed your listing, according to Airbnb.
One of the ways Airbnb helps hosts and guests build their profiles is by offering references. According to the site, “References help people throughout the Airbnb community get to know you, and feel more comfortable booking a reservation with you.”
References are different than reviews because they don’t have to come from someone who has stayed at your property. While reviews are only allowed by guests that have stayed at your place, references are just a way for the Airbnb community to connect and promote each other.
You may be hesitant to request references from people you know, but these references build a stronger relationship of trust and help you get your profile going, especially if you are just starting. You can request a reference through the Airbnb site, through email, or through social media. Thanks to Airbnb’s integration with Facebook, for example, you can request a reference from your Facebook friends (granted that they have an Airbnb profile with a picture).
SEO is one of those marketing terms that has been buzzing around for the last few years, and many people are still scratching their head wondering what this term means. Simply put, SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a factor that determines how highly a person or business is rated on search engines like Google or Bing.
Search engines are always changing their algorithms, so SEO “tricks” that worked a few years (or even a few months) ago may not work today. That being said, you can use SEO to your advantage to get more exposure for your listing. Below are some tips you can use to optimize your listing for SEO purposes:
- Make sure your calendar is up to date and all your booking availability is accurate. Both Airbnb and search engines will ding your listing if it shows incorrect data. After all, if someone is looking for a getaway and your availability is still stuck in 2015, they will pass up your listing.
- Price your property appropriately by researching your competitors and leveraging the market. You don’t want to be the cheapest listing on the market because you won’t attract much of a paying clientele. You also don’t want to be the most expensive listing because people will go elsewhere and find a better deal. By setting a realistic price point, Google and other search engines will promote your listing, as well as Airbnb themselves.
- Responding to all inquiries in a timely manner will put a great “response rate” on your profile and encourage others to reach out. While this won’t necessarily help for outside SEO, it looks good on Airbnb and shows guests that you care about their booking.
A Quick Recap on Airbnb Marketing Strategy
While finding an investment property or vacation rental was difficult pre-Revestor, much more work goes into making sure your listing is searchable and optimized.
First, make a profile on Airbnb and sign up your property. Include a clear profile picture that shows your personality, accurately describes your listing, and includes details that really sell. Think about what your guests would want to know, and exceed it. After all, a happy guest is an informed guest.
After making a profile, bulk it up with all the details mentioned. This will really set your listing apart.
Once you have a listing you are happy with, share it on social media and with your friends and family. Who knows which one of your connections might have a friend or family visiting the area soon and would love to recommend you as a host!
Speaking of recommendations, ask your connections for references – Airbnb’s way of letting people leave reviews without having stayed with you. These references will build up your profile in the beginning before you have any bookings.
Lastly, consider the factors that go into your Airbnb SEO, as well as the factors that influence your SEO with search engines like Google. By keeping your availability up to date, pricing your property appropriately, and responding to inquiries, you will stay top of mind when users are searching for places.