Not long ago, Airbnb was something of a curiosity used by mostly younger travellers looking for a quirky accommodation experience, and only appealed to those with somewhat alternative tastes. No longer. Airbnb has well over one million listings, and is present in over 190 countries. For context, the platform now has more hotel rooms worldwide than the largest traditional hotel group.
So the path to quick and easy Airbnb riches is a little harder than it once was because of one simple rule. Competition erodes prices. As more properties are listed on Airbnb, and hotels cut their room rates to compete, the chance to charge more for your listing falls.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any ways to increase the earning power of your listing. Follow our simple tips below and watch your earnings grow.
There’s an old saying that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. On Airbnb, that 100% does not apply. Research shows that not only do users judge a listing first and foremost by its photos, they often decide based on just the first photo viewable.
So there are two lessons here. First, if you plan to use your Airbnb for serious earnings, rather than just some pocket money on the side, it’s probably worth getting a professional photographer in for an hour to photograph your place – the investment will likely be around $100 - $200, but could pay for itself with just one extra night booked. And second, get the best possible photo of your home placed first when you upload your photos – you get only one chance to make a first impression!
Ok, experiential marketing is just a fancy way of saying that people are more willing to pay for experiences than “things”. This is especially true of travel. So when you are writing your listing don’t say something like “close to public transport and city centre”. You might want to say something like “a short stroll to a regular bus that will take you into the heart of the city where you can experience all that (insert city name here) has to offer”.
Remember, you’re there to sell the experience of travelling to your city, not sell your home, so don’t worry about telling travellers about the stainless steel taps or large bedrooms.
To keep your Airbnb stocked with every kind of food could easily wipe out any financial gains you could make.
But having some “staples” on offer is a really good way to get your property to the “higher” class of listing that allows you charge a premium price. A popular brand of coffee and tea (that isn’t the budget option), some fresh fruit in a bowl and a small bottle of milk are easy ways to tick this box. A current local magazine or tourist guide (which you can get free of charge) is also a nice touch.
In addition, having an single use toothbrush, toiletries and some toothpaste on offer for those who have forgotten theirs is a detail that you’ll earn plenty of 5-star reviews for! Guests appreciate these little gestures.
Research shows that we are more likely to pay more or revisit a business if we are pleasantly surprised by some aspect of the service. This can be as simple as a follow up call after a purchase or a relatively cheap added extra that is not part of the advertised price.
For Airbnb hosts, there is an equally simple offer: a bottle of wine and a block of chocolate sitting on the kitchen bench or dining room table on arrival. It’s no more than $20 spent, but does exactly what you want when it comes to getting that pleasant surprise. This in turn drives the likelihood of 5-star reviews, superhost status and the ability to charge slightly more for each room night booked.
It might be tempting to always allow single night stays so that you can more booked nights overall but you’ve also got to look at the costs of your stays. If you are getting a cleaner in, or adding little services or add-ons then your costs are better spread across multiple nights because they will work out lower on average. But if you are allowing just single night stays, then all those costs are only borne on one night instead. It might seem counter-intuitive, but limiting one night stays, especially during school holiday periods or around major events, when most guests want to stay multiple nights anyway, is a better way to maximise your return on investment.
Of course, for other ways to boost your Airbnb income, we encourage you to have a look at our great range of products (insert your hyperlink here) to help get the most out of your hosting experience!