airbnb mistakes

Top 13 Mistakes Airbnb Hosts Make and How to Avoid Them

There are lots of things to bear in mind when you first start out as an Airbnb host, and you may not immediately get the results you were hoping for, which is why it makes sense to learn from the mistakes other hosts have made. Understanding the most common Airbnb mistakes hosts make can help you improve your listings and boost listings. With every Airbnb update, there are new Airbnb do’s and don’ts to take into account, so also read our post about the 2022 Airbnb Summer Release and how you can benefit from the latest changes.

In this article, you’ll find a list of the 13 most common mistakes made by Airbnb hosts, from which of these you can avoid and learn from.

 

 

Common Airbnb hosting mistakes – how many of these are you making?

1. Misleading or inaccurate listings

It can be very tempting to make your rental sound better than it is, but this is never a good idea. Not being upfront about your listing is the first way to get off to a bad start on Airbnb. More often than not, a misleading description that paints an inaccurate picture of your home will only come back to haunt you in the form of a negative review. You want your guests to know exactly what to expect from your Airbnb as soon as they’ve landed on your listing.

airbnb host tips

How to avoid this mistake:

Describe exactly what the property looks like, for example how many rooms you have and what’s included in each one, such as bed sizes, wardrobes, etc. Inform your guests about amenities, facilities, and the overall benefits your rental offers.

Don’t be afraid to set some boundaries or house rules for example, if guests are allowed to bring additional visitors or pets, if smoking is allowed, if there are any off-limit areas in the house, etc. Don’t embroider too much when describing things. Keep it simple and similarly, when it comes to photographs, it is better to be honest than trying to impress your guests with inaccurate images.

2. Not using the right keywords in your listing

Following the 2022 Airbnb Summer Release, properties are categorized via machine learning, which influences how your rental will be shown to guests. Which keywords you use are now more important than ever to ensure visibility on Airbnb.

How to avoid this mistake:

When you create your listing, it is very important that you decide which categories you would like your property to be shown in first. The next step is to ensure you mention these keywords, for example, vineyards or beach resort, in your description, amenities and also show this type of feature in some of your photographs.  Also, remember your property can feature in more than one listing.

3. Not using professional or high quality photographs

Images are extremely important when it comes to influencing hosts to choose your rental over another one, however as we said above, it’s not about misrepresenting your property, but rather about the quality of the rental image. Make sure you show of your vacation home to give your guests an idea of what to expect.

airbnb tips

How to avoid this mistake:

  • 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 makes the space look too cluttery: Keep the kitchen counters, coffee tables and work desks free of any clutter. Less is more. 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 to ensure your place looks bright and inviting. Wait for a sunny day too!
  • 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”.

For a more detailed guide, check out our article on how to take professional photos in your vacation rental.

4. No pricing strategy in place

A good vacation rental pricing strategy should take into consideration how the demand for your listing changes throughout the year. Make sure to stay up-to-date with industry trends and adjust your prices accordingly.

How to avoid this mistake:

Vary your prices based on the following:

  • Competition: 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.
  • Industry trends: Keep an eye on industry trends, for example in our Industry Forecast for Quarter 2, 2022, Lodgify highlights an expected increase in average daily rates in the runup to the peak season. This means, now could be a great time to increase your rates.
  • 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 the high or low season in your area to maximize profits throughout the year.

5. Not taking advantage of guest reviews

Airbnb is built on guest trust and the best way to build it is through their reviews. Travelers rely on others’ opinions to make the right decision for their trips. When potential guests are looking at your rental, they will always look at reviews written by people who have stayed there.

airbnb host tips

How to avoid this mistake:

By writing a review for each guest, you’ll get more reviews back. Not only will writing reviews build up trust for future bookers but also it will give you more exposure. Your name and profile will appear more often on the site so more people will be able to find your property. Overall, it will make you rank higher in search results

Remember that both guests and hosts need to write a review for either one to appear. Once your listing starts building up reviews, bookings will start coming in faster! It will also increase your bookings and build up your profile and reputation as a host

6. Not communicating effectively with your guests

How do you manage communication with your customers on Airbnb? Do you respond straight away? Or do you take a day or two?

airbnb tips

From the moment guests first get in touch with you until leaving a review after their stay, every communication impacts their experience. The time you take to respond, the way you respond and the completeness of your answers can make a difference to your guests’ experience at your Airbnb. It’s therefore important to show your guests that you care about their experience and that they are in good hands with you.

How to avoid this mistake:

Lodgify’s Airbnb property management software includes a set of automatic templates you can use to speed up communication with your guests. Any message you receive or send on Airbnb will automatically appear on your Lodgify account. Likewise, you can communicate with your Airbnb guests through your Lodgify account. All your messages are synced into one centralized platform.

Another way to improve guest communications, is by using a unified inbox for vacation rentals, where you can get an overview of all your guest communications from all your channels in one place at any given point.  This means you can always be up-to-date with the latest guest messages, and you are able to respond without delay.

7. Underestimating the workload

One of the main Airbnb hosting mistakes is underestimating the commitment, attention to detail, organization and effort required. Of course, the more properties you rent out, the more work you have. But even if you only list an apartment or a single room, there are many tasks involved.

These include cleanliness, replacing amenities e.g. toilet paper, coffee capsules, managing check-in and check-out, looking after the rental, etc.

If you underestimate the workload and don’t keep up with any of the tasks, your business will be below the standard expected by the guest. This can seriously damage the reputation of your rental and this could lead to negative reviews and a decline in bookings.

How to avoid this mistake:

So it’s important to stay on top of all your tasks by being planned and organized. Make a list of everything that needs to be done between each guest turnover and prioritize the most important tasks.

8. Not knowing the laws and regulations in your area

With the rapid growth of Airbnb, the legal situation in many states has  become stricter in order to regulate rentals via the platform. Especially in recent years, the law has gradually adapted to Airbnb’s growing expansion by trying to regulate its use. Some major US cities have introduced bans on Airbnb.

short term rental law

The rules differ from region to region and state to state. One mistake you should therefore not make under any circumstances is not to inquire about the legal regulations where your rental is located.

How to avoid this mistake:

Find out whether you are allowed to rent out your property as a short term rental, how many square meters can be rented to guests and whether you need a license or permit to do so. Never rely on second-hand information, check it out for yourself.

Not knowing about the legislative situation in your area regarding renting out on Airbnb can be a huge mistake for hosts. So, be sure to take taxes, licenses, and laws into consideration. You don’t want to end up with a hefty fine!

9. Not taking any security measures

Of course, trust between hosts and guests is a fundamental part of renting through Airbnb. Nevertheless, you should take the necessary security measures to protect not only you and your property but also the well-being of your guests.

vacation rental insurance

Ensuring the safety of your guests should be a top priority. Consider some simple measures, such as installing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, providing a first aid kit and emergency phone numbers.

How to avoid this mistake:

Even if you trust your guests, unfortunately, travelers can sometimes abuse your trust. For this reason, you should always draw up a rental agreement contract and consider taking a deposit. 

It’s also advisable to have house rules for your guest to sign. Guests are obliged to abide by these rules (e.g. no smoking in the apartment, no additional visitors, etc.) This will give you more security and protection when renting out your property.

You should also avoid leaving valuable items in your apartment and implement safety measures to protect your rental against break-ins, especially when it’s unoccupied.

10. Assuming guests will be forgiving

Not all guests are equally demanding, but if you are new to vacation rentals you need to understand that this industry has grown immensely in recent years and that it is extremely competitive. Don’t think for a second that guests won’t expect high standards. You are competing with boutique hotels.

How to avoid this mistake:

First impressions are very, very important – so ensure your guests’ first impression is a great one.  One way to ensure that, is to have what is known as a Standard Property Appearance (SPA) guide to inform your housekeepers or cleaners of the way you want things to look in every room.  Every detail counts.  The other way to ensure guests are happy, is to check in regularly and address any concerns early on. Effective communication goes a long way.

11. Going way over the top with decorations or themes

Your listing should reflect what makes your property special, but unless you have a unique property that fits into one of the new Airbnb categories of the 2022 Airbnb Summer Release, e.g. a castle, it is better not to try to hard to make your property fit a specific theme. or go over the top with your interior decorating styling.

How to avoid this mistake:

Unless you have a very specific “unique property” such as a historical building, it is best to keep your decorating and theming to a minimum and give the guest a blank canvas to create their own ideal holiday space.  Less is more, so opt for an uncluttered and Scandi-look.  For inspiration, also read our post on Airbnb interior design tips to make your rental more inviting.

12. Not having sufficient or the right insurance

Many hosts make the mistake of not taking out insurance for their short-term rental business. If your business isn’t well protected, little can be done to resolve problems once they’ve occurred.

airbnb host tips

Whilst Airbnb does provide $1 million property damage protection for hosts, this will only cover damage to the property caused by guests. It doesn’t cover damages caused by floods, roof leaking, or anything else. Protecting the property is the host’s responsibility.

How to avoid this mistake:

Make sure you take out insurance that covers your property in case of damages. Remember that your current home insurance may not automatically cover your property for renting out rooms to guests.

13. Relying solely on Airbnb for bookings

One of the biggest mistakes many Airbnb hosts make is to only rely on Airbnb for bookings.  Initially, it is a good business strategy for vacation rental hosts to list on more than one channel to ensure the property get wide exposure. However, online travel agency  (OTA) fees can add up in the long run.

Vacation rental owners can cut out the middleman by becoming less reliant upon Airbnb and other big listing sites such as Vrbo and Expedia and creating their own professional website to generate  direct bookings to earn more!

How to avoid this mistake:

So 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 a lack of technical skills; it’s as easy as creating your Airbnb listing, and your calendar will be synchronized across all the channels, so you will never have to worry about double bookings! Choose from over 30 beautiful, modern designs and you can personalize the features to suit your taste.

Learn from the most common mistakes made by other Airbnb hosts and to avoid making the same ones in your business. For more tips on how to increase your revenue through Airbnb, download our free guide below and get the most out of your business!

Disclaimer: Lodgify is an Airbnb Preferred Software Partner. This post, including any claims or statements within, is solely from Lodgify and is not endorsed by, directly affiliated with, authorized, or sponsored by Airbnb in any way.

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  1. I would like to know about the payment of the website and the monthly service charge.
    Regards Rudi Bisschoff

    1. Hi Rudi, Lodgify fees start from $12 per month. Our pricing is tailored to your business with no setup fees or obligations. There’s also a 7-day free trial. For further details on pricing plans please click here or send an email to marketing@lodgify.com and we’ll be happy to help. Thanks!

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