17 Airbnb Hosting Tips for Professional Property Managers

Jul 20 2023
10 Ways to Increase your Vacation Rental Earnings

Get tips on how to use Hostfully to optimize your vacation rental business and make more profit.


What’s in this article?

“At one point or another, every vacation rental business owner ends up wishing they could clone themselves to get everything done… When you automate parts of your business, you actually can be in two places at once. 

That’s what Concetta Cassidy, a vacation rental marketing specialist, said when we asked for her top tips on maintaining a great guest experience while growing a short-term rental business. To avoid bad reviews, remain competitive, and maximize revenue across your properties, you need to find tools and techniques that save you time.    

So, in this article, we give you tips from Concetta as well as insights from seasoned vacation rental manager, Connor Griffiths. We look at how you can:

  • Improve your listing visibility 
  • Find opportunities to maximize your revenue
  • Enhance the guest experience
  • Streamline your operations
  • Protect your properties and business 

Choose Hostfully as your all-in-one PMS solution

Improve your listing visibility

Connor currently manages 38 successful properties at his vacation rental business, Liftylife. And he’s always recognized the importance of “continuously refining listing content and expanding your online presence.” Here we look at how you can boost your listing visibility without spending hours on marketing each week. 

1. Optimize your descriptions and photos

When optimizing vacation rental listings at The Cheeky Pineapple, Concetta always offers the same advice: “Sell the experience, not the features.” This means avoiding:

  • Placing house rules first in the property description
  • Wasting headline space listing the number of bedrooms and bathrooms in your property 
  • Including a long list of amenities 

“Instead, you should try to paint a vivid picture that “makes the reader feel as if they’ve already been on a mini-vacation by the time they’re finished reading it… Include images that are going to ‘stop the scroll’. Then describe the property as if you’re walking the guest through it. Help them picture how they might spend their time there, and get specific based on your target demographic.”

An Airbnb listing description
Create a great first impression by including strong imagery in your listing description. Source

2. Identify a target audience

Both Concetta and Connor point to the value of selecting a few types of guest to tailor your marketing toward. Not only does this help you deliver a great guest experience (as we explore later in the article), but you can use this information to create an SEO keyword strategy that helps the right people find your properties. 

By incorporating terms such as “remote work Airbnb” into your listings and direct booking site, for example, you could rank more highly for digital nomads in OTA and search engine results. 

3. Keep your listings updated

To make your vacation rental listing stand out, you need to continually add information about new amenities, local events, and your latest deals. Got an event coming up in a nearby town? Include it in your listing title to show prospective guests that your Airbnb property would be a great place to stay. For example, you could write “Spacious Four Bedroom Near the Fringe” for a property in Edinburgh at the time of the Fringe Festival. 

To make bulk changes easier, you can use a channel manager like the one included in Hostfully’s property management platform. When you add an image or update a description, it will be updated across all booking sites at once, including on your direct booking site. 

4. Pay attention to Superhost criteria

Airbnb’s Superhosts properties are promoted higher up in the feed. So it pays to stay on top of the requirements for Superhosts. These are:

  • An average 4.8 rating from guests
  • A cancellation rate of less than 1% from your side
  • A 90% message response rate within 24 hours
Pro-tip: Use automated messaging to minimize your guest communication workload. With Hostfully, you can use templates to set up a message flow that reduces guest questions. We explore this in more depth later in the article. 

5. Distribute beyond just Airbnb

To avoid Airbnb’s fees and tight regulations, like the cancellation policies which guests can find off-putting, you should promote your properties more widely. Take a look at niche OTAs to find an option that suits you better or, as Connor and Concetta advise, build your own direct booking site.  

“A direct booking site gives you full control over your pricing, guest screening, and communication. You won’t find your bookings suddenly canceled for some mysterious reason that no one thought was important to share with you. And you won’t spend your precious time promoting someone else’s business when you could be increasing the visibility of your own,” Concetta Cassidy, Vacation Rental Marketing Specialist. 
A direct booking site for Northern Host Rentals, created on Hostfully
Build your brand with an out-of-the-box direct bookings site from Hostfully. Source

Find opportunities to maximize your revenue 

Empty spots in your calendar mean you miss out on revenue and make it harder to scale your operations. Here are three techniques to maximize your revenue without it creating hours of extra work. 

6. Ensure you can take on last-minute bookings

One of the main ways you can boost your occupancy rate is to tick Instant Book on Airbnb to indicate that you can take last-minute bookings from guests. However, to offer this service easily, you’ll need to:

7. Use dynamic pricing tools

To ensure you don’t price guests out or miss an opportunity to generate extra revenue, you should use a dynamic pricing solution. These tools use information about demand, seasonality, and historical booking data to set and adjust your property rates on an ongoing basis. And this means you’ll remain competitive no matter how the market shifts. 

8. Create strong upsell processes 

Connor told us you have to “seize opportunities for upselling add-on services such as early check-in and late check-out.” By researching the local area and building partnerships with local businesses, Liftylife has been successful at creating curated local experiences, which are promoted in digital guidebooks. 

Through Hostfully’s integration with Viator, you can also boost your revenue by getting an 8% commission on any services you upsell. 

Enhance the guest experience

As Concetta highlights, “When guests have a great experience, they talk about it. But when guests have a bad experience, they talk about it louder.” See our tips on getting great reviews as you grow your business, below.

9. Set up automated messaging 

By automating your guest communications, you can be responsive to guests’ concerns and inquiries. This prevents small issues (like a broken tap) from escalating into bad reviews. Here’s how the process works with Hostfully:

  • You create a small number of templates. It’s a good idea, for instance, to write a welcome message, a mid-stay check-up, and a check-out message.
  • You add variables for personalization. For example, you could add “NAME” and Hostfully will pull through guest names from your booking.
  • You use simple rules to queue the messages to be sent out. This would look something like “When guest leaves, queue X message.”
  • You can use the mobile app to respond on the go. Hostfully’s centralized inbox allows you to manage all your properties from a singular screen. 

10. Create digital guidebooks

A digital guidebook helps welcome your guests to the property with insights about directions, amenities, and local services. And with Hostfully, you can add maps, images,  and videos to give guests the independence they desire while reducing the number of questions they ask. 

 A Hostfully-created digital guidebook
Give your guests an interactive experience with Hostfuly’s digital guidebooks. Source

11. Tailor your offering to your target audience

Once you’ve decided on a type of vacation rental guest to target, you can improve their experience by providing amenities and services that are ideal for their specific needs and preferences. You might, for example, provide an ethernet cable, coffee machine, and smart TV for digital nomads. You could also partner with a cafe to host a local networking event. 

Concetta also advises that you read your competitor’s reviews and take note of what their guests absolutely loved about their stay. She says, “If there are little things that you don’t offer, then you probably want to consider offering them, too.”

Streamline your operations with automation

Connor points out, “As you scale, streamlining your operations becomes more and more critical.” A stray hair in the shower or missing toilet paper can lead to a bad review that hurts your business. And issues like broken appliances or a double-booked cleaner can quickly throw your teams into chaos. In this section, we take a look at how you can make managing a growing team easier.  

12. Integrate scheduling automation software with your PMP

By integrating scheduling automation tools with your PMP you can save time and stress when ensuring that every clean is covered. For example, Hostfully integrates with Breezeway, Operto Teams, Turno, and EZCare to sync reservation data with staff availability information and automatically create the optimal cleaning schedule for each property. 

You’ll also be able to access a unified inbox where your team can flag maintenance issues on the go so you can quickly create tasks.

Hostfully’s unified inbox
Keep on top of guest and team issues in a unified inbox.

13. Document your processes

Connor emphasizes the importance of “establishing processes and guidelines for your team to follow. Start by defining clear objectives. Then create documented procedures for each task and process.” 

One such document that makes onboarding easier and ensures a consistent level of quality across your team is a vacation rental cleaning checklist. This will include:

  • A list of toiletries your staff should restock
  • Reference photos to ensure cleaning standards are upheld
  • A description of who is responsible for testing appliances and how often

14. Use a vetted marketplace for qualified cleaners

If you’re struggling to hire enough trusted staff for a larger number of properties or need to plug a gap while one of your team is off, vetted marketplaces are a great solution. You should look out for a service, such as Turno, which runs reference and background checks and connects with your PMS so you can manage temporary and full-time staff in the same place.  

Don’t forget: When you sign up for Hostfully, you get lifetime access to Turno’s cleaner marketplace too. 

Protect your properties and business

Even with great processes in place, a single difficult guest can wreak havoc on your reviews, properties, and relationships with neighbors. In this section, we look at how you can use Airbnb managing tools to minimize the risk of this impacting your business. 

15. Create guest screening processes 

Guest screening processes, such as review checks and Airbnb profile assessments, can protect your business from risky guests. You can also reduce the time this takes by integrating automated screening tools with your property management platform.

For example, Hostfully integrates with Autohost, Safely, and SUPERHOG to flag potentially problematic bookings in seconds. These tools all use identity verification and criminal record checks to provide you with vital insights.

16. Use noise monitoring tools

You can help prevent guests from hosting loud parties with a noise-monitoring solution. These devices notify you as soon as noise levels reach above a certain threshold so you can send guests a text before your neighbor relationships or property contents are damaged. 

Pro-tip: By integrating noise monitoring tools with your PMS, you can respond to noise complaints more quickly. In just a few clicks, you can check the current noise status at your properties and then find guest contact details to send them a templated message if there’s an issue. 

17. Run regular maintenance inspections

As Connor says, “Regular maintenance checks are critical to identifying and addressing issues before they become major problems.” To make this process easier, you can integrate solutions like Breezeway and EZCare with a PMS such as Hostfully to automatically set up reminder tasks. 

Automation makes it easy to grow your vacation rental business

To streamline your operations and maximize your revenue while providing a great guest experience across a growing number of units, you can look to these Airbnb tips:

  • Improve your descriptions by focusing on the experience
  • Identify a target audience to optimize your communications and upsell strategy
  • Keep on top of updating your listings 
  • Provide digital guidebooks with tailored experiences
  • Create documented processes for maintenance and cleaning

To save time and create truly scalable processes, you’ll also need to use automated solutions such as dynamic pricing tools, automated guest messaging, and task scheduling software that integrates with your property management platform.

As Conetta says, “If you make things easy for yourself, this will trickle down into every other aspect of your business. When you automate your communication, marketing, and other areas, you’re saving your guests a phone call (or several) to find out the information they need to know. There’s nothing that encourages five-star reviews quite like a seamless experience from start to finish.”

Choose Hostfully as your all-in-one PMS solution

Frequently asked questions about Airbnb hosting 

How do I host a successful Airbnb?

To host a successful short-term rental property on Airbnb, you need to optimize your marketing, streamline your operations and go the extra mile to deliver a great guest experience. And to manage all these tasks effectively, you’ll need an automated solution (such as Hostfully) that helps you save time by:

  • Helping you stay in constant contact with guests through automated messaging and digital guidebooks
  • Streamlining task scheduling and management 
  • Making it easy for you to update your Airbnb listings at once

How do I impress guests on Airbnb?

By going above and beyond with communication, amenities, and tailored offers, you can impress guests and get great reviews on Airbnb. Strategies you can implement include:

  • Using automated messaging to improve your response times
  • Sharing digital guidebooks with key information and recommendations
  • Adding touches that are specially designed for your target market