While throwing together an Airbnb listing and watching the bookings roll in is every host’s dream, it often takes a little more planning and strategizing if you want to truly maximize your property’s potential.
That in mind, here are six key strategies you can use to get those bookings really rolling.
Strategy Number 1: Supercharge Your Listing
When you're up against a bunch of other properties, your listing needs to be more than adequate: it needs to shine. That means a catchy title, a well-written description, and beautiful photos. If possible, your listing should sell the experience of staying at your place, not just the place itself. Both your words and photos should paint a picture and make the potential guest excited for the moments they'll have at your property.
When it comes to updating your listing, you should see this as an ongoing strategy. Keep tweaking and refining it to make it the best it can possibly be, based on what's working and what's not.
Strategy Number 2: Use Social Media
Social media can actually be a great strategy for netting extra bookings. Firstly, it can help people find your property by "word of mouth" when it's tagged in posts. Secondly, getting people to click through to your listing from social media — even if they don't end up making a booking — means your listing gets more page views. This may not sound useful, but since Airbnb's search rankings take this into account, it can give your listing a boost in search results. And that means — you guessed it — more people finding your property. Instagram, Twitter and Facebook are all worth testing out as part of your social media strategy.
Strategy Number 3: Be Your Own Guest
Have you ever considered what it would be like to be a guest at your place? Here's an exercise you can do: put yourself in your guest's shoes and try doing everything from searching for accommodation to reading your listing to actually staying at the property. Is the information you receive sufficient? Is check-in easy? Is the place as clean as a stranger would like it to be?
Changing your mindset to that of the guest allows you to pick up on things you might otherwise miss. And in doing so you can improve in a bunch of different areas, from a clearer listing description to a better in-person experience.
Strategy Number 4: Choose a Target Market
A lot of hosts list their property without really considering who it's right for. Of course there's no requirement to target any particular audience, but it can be a great strategy to really concentrate your efforts on one market. Think of it this way: in trying to appeal to everyone, you risk appealing to no-one.
If you want to appeal to families, think about what you can do to your property to make it even more family-friendly. Maybe that means adding safety features, or including kid's activities in your guidebook. If you want to appeal to couples, set your photos up to look romantic and cosy. If the business crowd is better suited to your place, be sure to offer things like 24/7 check in and support (property management companies like Pass the Keys definitely comes in handy here), fast WiFi, and a comfortable workspace.
Strategy Number 5: Make Booking Easy
The less barriers there are in the way of people making a booking, the more bookings you'll get. So what does that mean exactly?
Consider things like turning on Airbnb's Instant Book, if you're comfortable without a rigorous guest screening process. This means people who are booking last minute or simply prefer not to wait for a reply will be more likely to choose your place. You can also think about lowering your minimum stay to capture guests who only want to stay for, say, one night; and opening your calendar up to as many available dates as possible to capture the widest number of potential guests.
Strategy Number 6: Get Seasonal
Demand for most properties falls and rises depending on seasons and events. You can use this to your advantage to maximise profits in the high season; but don't forget to also put strategies in place to minimise losses when demand is lower.
In the off-peak season you can play with pricing to make your place more competitive and more appealing. While dropping your nightly rate is one way of doing this, there are also other options. For example, you can offer special deals, set a higher percentage discount for weekly/monthly stays, or eliminate particular charges (like extra person charges). This can help ensure you're netting all the bookings you want — all year round.