With hundreds of “second-home owners” and investors jumping into the rental industry each week, you’ll need all the help you can get. Let us teach you the secrets of veteran owners so you can start making a profit quickly.
Not only are we going to give you tips on precisely how to list your vacation rental property, but we’re also going to teach you to maximize your potential bookings, and earn more revenue.
Make Sure Your Listing is Accurate
As potential renters are looking for properties, you typically get one shot to keep them from scrolling. It should go without saying that your Airbnb listing should be incredible… and sometimes it can be tempting to fudge the listing (even just a little) so it stands out. It’s one thing to make sure your listing is stellar, but it also has to be up-front and honest.
Starting out, some owners are chomping at the bit to get their first booking, so they (sometimes without realizing it) build a listing that oversells the property.
Think of it like this: your Airbnb listing is a lot like an online dating profile. Nobody wants to see one thing online and be surprised by what they get in person.
Don’t exaggerate your description, and don’t use misleading pictures. Your listing should match the experience that your potential guests will actually experience if they book with you.
It’s absolutely imperative that your listing information is accurate and sets realistic expectations. If not, you might get bookings at first, but you can be certain you’ll eventually start getting negative reviews and cancellations.
Reviews Are Gold – Treat Them That Way
One of the biggest pitfalls new renters run into is not being educated on the supreme importance of your reviews. These are proof of what other people think of your rental and hold tremendous weight with potential renters.
Additionally, remember that “no reviews” can be just as damaging to your listing as negative reviews. The fact that no one has anything to say can be offputting. It’s important that you actively seek reviews for your Airbnb listing, but you want to strike a balance. You don’t want to ask someone for a review only to be blindsided with a two-star lashing.
There are a few ways to seamlessly get more reviews. Try this strategy to get more positive reviews (and more reviews overall):
Check-In With Guests
Check-in with your guests during their stay. You don’t want to be overbearing, but check in every day or two to make sure they have everything they need and are having a great stay. You can ask them point-blank: “Is there anything you’re not enjoying about your stay?” This will help you identify (and fix) potential issues that would earn you a negative review.
Review Your Guests
Remember that reviews are a two-way street. You have the option to review your guests just as much as they have the option to review you. Wait until the end of their stay, and then (if they’ve earned it), give them a great review. This makes it much easier to ask for one in return.
Ask for Reviews
Don’t be shy. If your guests have expressed that they’re having a great stay each time you’ve checked in with them, you can (and should) ask them for a review.
There’s a way to ask them that will get more results. You can say something like:
“You seem to have enjoyed your stay. Airbnb is very strict about the standards they expect from their hosts. I’ve left you a great review because of how much I’ve appreciated having you as a guest. Would you mind leaving me a 5-star review to show Airbnb that I’m meeting their standards? It would help me out a lot.”
Conversely, if you know that things didn’t work out with their stay (or are feeling unsure), don’t ask guests to review you (and hope they don’t do so on their own).
Don’t Set and Forget Your Pricing
The Airbnb market fluctuates just like any other. Many owners will do some initial research of nearby properties and land on a price for their rental. And that’s it. In their minds, they check off the “decide the price” box on their to-do list. This is a mistake. Your vacation rental pricing should be dynamic based on all kinds of variables.
Keep an Eye on Competitors
This is an easy one to do fairly often. At least once every week (or two at most), do a search in your area to see what the rest of the market is charging. Does it look like everyone else’s price jumped up suddenly? Maybe they know about a local event that’s going on. Does it look like other’s prices dropped? Maybe the market has gotten more saturated and competitive.
Now, this doesn’t mean to make a kneejerk reaction to change your prices, but it does mean that you should be diligent to keep an eye on what other nearby rentals are doing to stay competitive.
Keep Track of Special Events
When a special event is happening nearby, you’re going to have a higher number of people interested in your property. Things like conventions, marathons, concerts, and music festivals can get you 3-5x more than your average booking price. Fans of these events are often very in-tune with the dates they’ll be occurring and will try to book early to secure their spot. Keep a watchful eye so you can time your price increase to line up with when these travelers might be looking for a rental.
Time of Year
If people are looking to book during popular travel times you can often charge more because of the fierce competition.
In Cape Coral, peak seasons can increase in the summer as travelers are looking for their dream beach vacation (a summer holiday like the 4th of July can get you even more for your already increased rental).
With such a temperate climate all year round, don’t count out winter holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas for an increase in price either. While it’s frigid and snowing in many places, the sun will still be shining in sunny Florida.
Don’t be afraid to raise (or lower) rates based on what the market is doing.
Bonus Tip: Keep an eye on what people are paying on weekdays versus weekends. There are often opportunities to make more money on Fridays and Saturdays.
Does This Seem Like a Lot?
It can be. Much of what we’re suggesting requires a good amount of time and attention. It can be a challenge to get started in the business of vacation rentals, and even more difficult to do the legwork to keep up with everything and ensure you’re profitable.
Here at Sunshine Cohosting, we can help you make sure your listing is superb (and optimized for bookings), as well as facilitate more reviews, and manage your listing’s price with a watchful eye.
If you’re a host that looking for any level of extra support, we can help you check guests in and out, handle all marketing and promotions, and even help with property repairs and cleaning.
We’re the leading vacation rental management experts and local service providers in Cape Coral and surrounding areas.
Let’s talk today to see if we can help you with any of your vacation rental needs.