In a highly competitive market, you need to deliver a great guest experience every time. A single hair in the shower and you could get a bad review that damages owners’ trust or stops future guests from booking with you.
And yet staying on top of your team’s operations and guest messaging is overwhelming even with a small number of properties. And adding more manual tasks is stressful when you’re already so busy. So where do you start? And how do you build out processes that continue to work as you scale?
Use our comprehensive Airbnb hosting checklist as a starting point.
Including tips for property set-up, cleaning, and marketing, it forms a guide you can use to help ensure an exceptional guest experience as you grow your business. We’ve also included message templates, real-life examples, and recommendations for automated tools.
Prepare your property for guests
We’ve all stayed in a vacation rental with dull decor, limescale in the shower, and a gate in the front yard that looks old and uncared for. And these are the properties we’re very unlikely to return to.
The good news is that it doesn’t require enormous time and investment to create a positive first impression for your guests. See our ideas below to ensure your properties are marketable and meet expectations.
1. Provide all the essential amenities
Use the following list to stock your property or check out our short-term rental inventory checklist for a more in-depth guide. These items might not generate customer delight by themselves, but their absence will be noticed by your guests:
- 2 bath towels per guest
- 2 washcloths per guest
- 2 hand towels per guest
- Toilet paper – more than you think you’ll need
- Feminine products – tampons, pads, and pantyliners
- Toiletries – include soap, shampoo, body wash, body lotion, toothpaste, disposable toothbrush
- Bed linen and pillows
- Reading light
- Hangers for clothing
- Alarm clock
- Wi-Fi access in every corner of each room
- Bedside table – be sure to have plenty of outlets for devices
- Universal adaptor
- Safe for valuables
- Tea & coffee
- Tea kettle
- Coffee machine
- Salt and pepper
- Pots and pans
- Dishes and cups
- Cleaning supplies (e.g. all-purpose cleaner, dishwashing liquid, disinfectant, and bleach)
- Pens and pencils
- Full-length mirror
- Books and magazines
- Board games
- Comfortable chairs
- Smart TV
2. Refresh your interior design
To stand out against the average property on Airbnb, you should tailor your short-term rental toward a target guest profile. This means deciding on what specific guest types you want to attract and furnishing the property to accommodate their needs and preferences. Take a look at the following ideas as examples.
Couples are looking for intimate, romantic spots where they can enjoy a memorable stay with few distractions. For that reason, it’s a good idea to:
- Create soft, warm lighting with bulbs of between 2700 Kelvin and 3000 Kelvin
- Include candles or fresh flowers by the bath or on a small table
- Create a welcome basket (more on this later)
To keep children entertained and parents relaxed, look to include these amenities in your property:
- A dedicated play area with board games and children’s books
- High chairs and kid-friendly cutlery/utensils
- Childproofed amenities to protect against the risk of potential hazards in the home
Digital nomads are often looking to set up a base where they can work and live for a long period of time. To cater to their needs, you should include:
- An ethernet cable to ensure a stable internet connection
- A dedicated workspace with plenty of power outlets
- An espresso machine because remote workers love their caffeine
3. Make sure your properties are safe
Even the smallest sign that your property is unsafe can harm your guests’ trust. To cover your bases, make sure you:
- Test your fire alarms and CO2 detectors once a month
- Test your appliances once every 3 months
- Reinforce all windows
- Cover exposed wires
- Notify guests of the evacuation plan (you could include this in a digital guidebook, which we explore later in the article)
|Pro-tip: You can use insurance solutions like Insuraguest, Safely, and SUPERHOG to build trust and give guests and homeowners extra peace of mind.|
Optimize your listings
OTAs like Airbnb no longer exclusively show vacation rentals. These days, you’re competing with hotels, motels, and hostels when you list your properties. Here’s how you can help your imagery and descriptions stand out.
4. Take high-quality photos
Airbnb research shows that hosts with professional images in their listings can earn up to 20% more than other hosts in their area. But you don’t need to hire a cameraman to capture high-quality photos. Instead, you can:
- Keep images simple. Declutter your space and let as much natural light in as possible.
- Highlight seasonal features that your target audience will enjoy. For example, for a young family, you could show a play area in your garden in the summer sun.
- Add image descriptions. These show extra attention to detail and, with the right keywords, help your listings show up in the search results by matching them with popular search terms and filters.
5. Write detailed descriptions
An effective Airbnb listing description will:
- Paint a picture of what it’s like to stay at the property
- Aim it toward a specific target audience
- Highlight your property’s best features and amenities
- Share practical information
- Point out local attractions, including events and seasonal activities
- Include house rules to set expectations and build trust with your guests
- Establish a welcoming tone that’s consistent across your listings and brand
Here is an example of what this looks like in practice:
|Pro-tip: Use a channel manager to make bulk edits to your listing descriptions and images. In just minutes, you could update property listings across a range of different channels and online travel agencies to include a new hot tub, for example.|
Be sure to check off all the amenities
Imagine this: You’ve spent hours taking the right pictures of your property and writing a compelling description but because you haven’t listed that you have air conditioning, you don’t appear in a filtered Airbnb search.
Don’t forget to check off your amenities on Airbnb so you show up in searches when guests look for specific amenities.
Set the right pricing
A key part of setting up your listings is ensuring that your nightly rate is optimized—too high and you could price out guests in your area, too low and you’ll miss out on revenue. In this section, we look at how you can design a pricing strategy that works as you scale and consider which Airbnb pricing tools can help.
6. Conduct market analysis
To find the average nightly rate in your area, you should look at properties with a similar number of rooms and amenities on Airbnb. You can save time on this by using an analytics platform like Key Data. This software compiles data about locations, property types, amenities, and pricing in seconds.
7. Design a pricing strategy
Once you’ve used market research to establish a base rate for your property, you should build out a pricing strategy that includes customized rules based on core factors like seasonality, your target audience, and the amenities you provide.
For example, you can decide what discounts to offer for advanced or last-minute bookings (which you can easily bulk edit for Airbnb properties with Hostfully).
8. Use dynamic pricing tools
The easiest way to ensure that you maximize your revenue each night is to use a dynamic pricing tool. These pull through information about demand, seasonal fluctuations, competitor pricing, and historical booking data to automatically set your nightly rates.
Hostfully integrates with multiple dynamic pricing tools to automatically update rates and availability across channels.
Give your guests a good welcome
A great welcome can soften even the pickiest guests, but you don’t need to roll out the red carpet and bring out the Champagne. Instead, discover two easy tips to create a memorable first impression.
9. Create a welcome basket
A welcome basket gifts bonus amenities that surprise and delight guests. Yours might include:
- Locally produced treats, like a luxurious brand of coffee or soap
- Essential items your guests may have forgotten, such as toothpaste and slippers
- Items that are tailored to your target guest profiles’ needs—for example, chocolates, notepads, or a cuddly toy
10. Share a customized digital guidebook
Before your guests even arrive, you can give them access to a digital guidebook that contains essential insights and tips for their stay. These could include:
- Directions to the property with annotated pictures
- Access details and instructions
- Wi-Fi codes
- Information about amenities and tips on their use
- House rules
- Recommendations for local services and what to do
With Hostfully, it’s easy to add dynamic content to your guidebooks, too. You can strengthen your brand with images and logos, add a video of the local area, or include a map to make it easier for guests to find your property. We can also translate your content into over 15 languages.
Maintain effective communication with guests
To ensure that small issues don’t escalate into bad reviews, you need to maintain contact with your guests. Luckily, Airbnb management software automates communications so you don’t need to be glued to your phone. Here we look at how.
11. Make sure guests have key details pre-stay
Modern Airbnb guests expect to have all the information they need at their fingertips. So you can boost guest satisfaction by sending a message with these key details before they arrive:
- Arrival information including parking details and access credentials
- Passwords for Wi-Fi access and smart devices or accounts
- Your digital guidebook, as discussed above
- Your check-out policy
By using an automated messaging tool like Hostfully, you won’t have to type out this message every time you get a new guest. Instead, you can use message templates and triggers—for example, “at check-in, send X”—to set up a message flow that automatically kicks in when you get a booking.
12. Check in during their stay
To ensure that you’re available for guest questions, you should queue a mid-stay check-in message. This can look be something as simple as:
This is just a quick check-in to make sure you are enjoying your stay with us.
Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help or if you have any questions!
The “[NAME]” section in this message is just one example of a variable that can be automatically personalized with Hostfully. Our platform pulls through details from your bookings and information about your properties to auto-fill these “short-codes.”
13. Follow up after their stay
To encourage good reviews and receive feedback that helps you keep improving, you need to follow up with guests after their stay. You can save time on this by queuing an automated message for the same time as Airbnb asks for a review—after checkout and 14 days after a guest’s stay.
Build scalable processes
Automated tools are essential to saving you time as you manage tasks like messaging guests and updating your listings. But, to create scalable, efficient processes, you need to bring everything together in one place. And this requires a property management platform (PMP) that reduces your workload and replaces manual tasks with automated processes.
Hostfully integrates with your tech stack, allowing you to create streamlined workflows and processes for the following solutions:
- Accounting tasks
- Cleaning and team management tools
- Dynamic pricing tools
- Guest screening and insurance
- Marketing automation
- Noise monitoring
- Smart locks
Using an Airbnb checklist to ensure stellar reviews as you scale
Bad reviews could hurt your owner relationships and affect the booking choices of future potential guests. So, to ensure a great guest experience with every stay, remember to:
- Provide all the basic amenities
- Create a property experience that’s tailored toward a specific type of guest
- Ensure guests are safe throughout their stay
- Optimize your listings and create a structured pricing strategy
- Create a great impression through creative solutions such as welcome baskets
- Maintain effective communication throughout the guest journey
To set up these processes in a way that’s sustainable as you scale, use automated tools. With a property management platform and trusted partner like Hostfully, you can reduce the time it takes to manage guest communications, your listing, and your team.