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News, stories, and insights from within the vacation rental industry.


5 Tips On Becoming A Better Host

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Home sharing marketplaces like Airbnb, HomeAway, and 9flats give people the ability to earn extra income by renting out their living spaces. In some cases, people are known to purchase second homes just to rent out on Airbnb.

As of November 2013, Airbnb reportedly has over 350,000 hosts listing rooms and full houses around the world. This explosion has been a big reason why sharing economy has reached a market size in excess of $3.5 billion dollars, and is quickly turning into a relatively easy way to help cover your rent or mortgage.

At Smart Host, we’re dedicated to helping hosts increase profit and eliminate any unknowns they may have when it comes to their listings. While our efforts are focused on how hosts determine the prices they charge, we believe that hosts can quickly increase their ratings and nightly rates by trying out these five quick tips.

1. Invest In A Care Package For Your Guests

A bottle of wine, thank you note, or a gift basket will go a long way and help your guests feel like their visit is special to you. Some of the Airbnb’s our team have stayed in over the years felt too transactional or hotel-like. Going the extra mile will have your guests feeling like they are staying at a friend or relative’s house.

2. Respond To Every Message

Airbnb and other marketplaces display the time it takes for interested renters to get a reply back from the host. The one advantage a hotel transaction has over a home sharing rental is the immediate gratification. Some sites offer “instant booking”, but these listings are priced higher than average to protect the host. A host also loses the ability to properly screen their guests, especially if you are also living in the space you’re renting.

An quick response to every message will increase the chances of renters sending requests for you to rent, and give you a better position in the listings. Even if you are declining someone the rental, it’s still worth your while.

3. Always Keep Your Calendar Updated

Keeping your calendar updated will save both you and the guest a bunch of time. It’s an extreme pain to send a message to rent a place, only to get an email back saying it’s been rented or not available. An updated calendar will save you tons of space in your inbox, and give renters confidence when sending you a message to rent.

4. Either be available to help, or hire someone to help during a stay

It’s common for hosts to rent their living space out when they are traveling. It’s actually one of the main reasons why home sharing marketplaces are so popular. You get paid to go on vacation! However, it’s easy to forget that you’ll have people staying in a place that they are not familiar with. It’s extremely important to have a strong connection with a neighbor or hire someone to look after your renters when your on a beach or hitting the ski slopes.

5. Hire someone to take amazing pictures

This tip may sound like common sense, but the definition of a “professional” photo varies by who you’re speaking too. It’s absolutely crucial to the success of your home sharing business to have top notch photos.

Hire a professional photographer to come in and take photos of every spot of your space. The bathroom is important, as well as the amenities like the kitchen as well as any views you might have. Even Airbnb will come to your place and take the photos for free.

Overall, following these simple tips could mean extra money in your pocket each week. Considering the nominal costs to invest in these tips, what do you have to lose?

Smart Host

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