Understanding the five most common Airbnb mistakes hosts make can help you improve your listings. When you know which mistakes to look for, you’ll be one step closer to getting more bookings!
The most common Airbnb mistakes are:
1. Inaccurate listing information
Not being upfront about your listing will get you bad reviews. You want your guests to know exactly what to expect from your space. Let them know all of your rooms (including details like bed sizes), amenities and perks. Don’t be afraid to set some boundaries, though. For example, if guests are allowed to bring visitors or not, if there are any off-limit areas in the house, etc. – just keep it simple!
2. Uploading the wrong pictures
According to National Retail Federation, 67% of customers say the quality of the product image is very important for them to select and book a vacation rental. Make sure you showcase your vacation home to give your guests an idea of what to expect.
Tips for taking your own pictures:
- Take pictures with high resolution: They should be at least 1024 x 683px, but if you’re not sure of the size, go for the biggest photo size in your camera settings.
- Activity and neighborhood photos: If one of the best aspects of your listing is the location, your customers are going to want to know what they could do around the area – think amazing views, beaches, theme parks and tourist locations.
- Hide anything that looks cluttery: Do you really need to show them overflowing kitchen garbage in your photos? Show your guests how they’re going to find your place when they get there; clean and perfect!
- Get the light right: Turn on the lights or open the blinds, just make sure your place looks bright!
- Create inspirational photo captions: Forget about factual captions and write a sentence that explains the experience your guests can have in your rental. E.g. instead of just naming the photo of the balcony as “Balcony”, you could say “Relax and have a glass of wine on our balcony after a long day of sightseeing”.
3. No pricing strategy in place
Your pricing strategy has to take into consideration the demand for your listing throughout the year.
Switch your prices up based on:
- Competition: The first thing you have to do is study your competitors; start off by searching for properties in your area that have the best reviews and are similar to your own vacation rental. Study their prices and availability and create a table to compare them and estimate the maximum annual revenue for your listing.
- Special events: Festivals, marathons, conferences… special events will potentially bring you more guests and you can charge up to 5x your average daily rate. Make sure you research special events at the beginning of the year and plan ahead. You can also increase prices a week before special events for last minute planners – they usually have the most money to spend!
- Weekdays vs. Weekends: It’s a fact that hotels are fully aware of: guests travel more during the weekends and prices should be a bit higher to reflect this demand.
- Seasonality: Adjust your pricing based on high or low season in your area to maximize profits throughout the year.
4. Not taking advantage of guest reviews
Airbnb is built on trust and the best way to build it is through their reviews. Once your listing starts getting reviews, booking will start coming in faster! But if you really want to maximize revenue, leave guest reviews and prove to your future guests that you’re an engaged and active host that cares.
You can also use it to your advantage by including a couple of sentences about your listing like: “Chelsea and her daughter were great guests. They’re welcome back to my beach guest house in Vieques, Puerto Rico anytime”. If Chelsea tries to book another Airbnb, the host will look at her reviews and if he sees that you have a house in Vieques, he may save it for future reference and that will make you rank higher in search results.
5. Relying solely on Airbnb
The last and biggest mistake that most Airbnb hosts make is relying on a big listing site for your rental income. Airbnb fees can be quite high in the longrun; 3%(+VAT) host service fee every time a booking goes through and 6-12%(+VAT) service fees for Airbnb guests. And it’s probably going to become more expensive over the years.
Vacation rental owners can cut out the middleman by becoming less reliant upon Airbnb and other big listing sites like HomeAway or VRBO, at the same time becoming more independent and diversifying their business. With the right mindset, knowledge and tools, you can take control, generate your own bookings and earn more!
But, how do you do it? Get started by building your own vacation rental website. Use Lodgify to create your website and you won’t have to worry about your lack of online technical skills; it’s as easy as creating your Airbnb listing! There are over 30 beautiful, modern designs to choose from, and you can personalize all of the features to suit your taste.