In a crowded holiday lettings market, how can you make your property stand out from the crowd?
Guest relations tips for holiday home rental owners
The vast majority of apartment rentals in Europe are trouble-free, but scams unfortunately do exist – especially in the bigger cities. We’ve identified eight of the most common scams for travellers to watch out for.
Guest Post: There are around 4 million listings on Airbnb – great news if you’re looking for a place to stay. But if you’re a host, then you’re going to have to give some serious thought as to how you will make your pad stand out from the crowd.
How Does the Airbnb Review System Work?
Reviews provide valuable information, both host and guest have 14 days to leave an appraisal. You then have 14 days to respond to say thank you for positive comments or to offer a reply to any negative ones! Be sure you check out the Airbnb content policy prior to posting a review, just to make sure you are sticking to the rules!
Why Is It Important to Get a Positive Review?
Lots of positive guest reviews will lead to a higher SEO ranking, which means more exposure and more bookings. If you’re bookings result in great reviews then you could earn you the impressive accolade of Airbnb Superhost.
How Do I Get More Rave Reviews?
Just getting reviews can be tricky, as not all guests bother to leave one. Try to counter that by always following up – leave a review for every guest. This starts the ball rolling and will hopefully prompt your guest to leave feedback for you in return.
Types of Guest Reviews
Both guest and host can leave personal and public feedback for one another. As the name suggests public feedback refers to a review that can be seen by anyone visiting the Airbnb website (the general public), and private feedback can only be seen by the guest/host.
Hosts should keep in mind that guests are also able to give star ratings based upon their stay. This relates to ease of check-in, value for money, accuracy of the description, location of a property, how clean it was, and their experience on the whole.
As a host, you should also give careful consideration before canceling a booking. If you cancel on or after your guest checks in then be prepared for a public feedback on your listing page and profile. If you cancel a reservation that you have already accepted, you will receive automated feedback on your profile. You do get the chance to explain yourself, but make it good – potential guests don’t like hosts that make a habit of canceling!
Proven Checklist to Get a Positive Review
Guests have certain expectations – the five-star guest review gives you some indication as to what matters most. Disappointed guests may neglect to leave a review or offer negative feedback. As a rule of thumb a host should always:
- Provide Excellent Communication – respond to queries promptly and accurately, always keep your guests informed.
- Ensure Check-In Is Smooth – Will you be there to greet your guests or do they need a code to access a key locker? Make sure they know what’s happening!
- Give an Accurate Description – Does your property match the photographs and description on your listing? Underplay your place rather than over exaggerate.
- Present Clean Accommodation – Guests like to feel the property they are renting is super fresh and clean.
- Supply Details on Location – You can’t move your pad closer to the beach or away from a busy road. Be honest about its location! Make sure your guests know about local attractions too, closest shop, pub, park etc.
- Avoid Cancellations – If you do have to cancel then make sure you offer an apology and try to help your guest to find an alternative place to stay.
- Offer Value for Money – Adding a few extra touches can make the experience even better for guests. A bottle of wine and a box of chocolates can go along way!
Time to Be Proactive
If you want to bag yourself more five-star reviews then you need to be proactive. Avoid negative feedback by ensuring you offer a great overall experience. Encourage guests to leave positive accolades by writing a personal review for them, and mention how you would love to welcome them back at any time. Your chirpiness should hopefully be infectious and your guest will leave a positive review in return!
Thanks to Julia Shutkevych from AirGMS Technologies for her tips and checklist on how to get your 5-Star Airbnb guest reviews.
If you’re a host wanting to take your Airbnb game to the next level, you might already have your eye on the Superhost prize. Earning the Superhost badge means you’ve been recognized by Airbnb for your outstanding efforts as a host. And not only do you get to feel all loved and appreciated by the Airbnb community, you might well get a boost in business too.
So before we dive into our tips for nabbing that Superhost badge, let’s take a quick look at some of the benefits of having it.
Why become an Airbnb Superhost?
Better search visibility: Your listing will show up when guests use the Superhost search filter. Airbnb’s search algorithm also looks favourably upon Superhosts, so regardless of whether the filter is on or not, you’re more likely to show up higher in results.
Immediate trust: Guests who are familiar with the Superhost badge can spot it on your listing at a glance. This immediately breeds a better sense of trust: they don’t need to read your reviews to know that you’re a responsive, five-star host.
Priority support: If you need to call Airbnb’s support team, you’ll get expedited to the front of the phone queue just for being a Superhost.
Travel coupon: Superhosts who maintain their status for a full year receive a $100 travel coupon, so they can get involved in the sharing economy as a guest as well as a host.
As for how to fast-track your way to Superhost status, it’s all about understanding how the system behind it works.
How Airbnb awards Superhost badges
Superhosts are evaluated by an automatic process. So while it would be nice to imagine an actual human being checking out all the great work you’ve done and manually bestowing that little golden badge, the reality is more impersonal.
Every three months Airbnb will automatically evaluate you, the host, to see if you’re eligible for Superhost status. You have to have met all the Superhost requirements for the past 12 months up to the evaluation date in order to receive (or keep) your badge.
If you meet the requirements the Superhost badge will automatically be added to your listings and profile page.
Tips for achieving Superhost status
And now, the thing you really came here for: the secret ingredients to Superhost status success.
Netting the Superhost badge isn’t actually that hard, but you do have to meet all the requirements, and continue to meet them in order that your badge isn’t revoked at the next evaluation date. In order to meet all the standards, here are some key tips to bear in mind.
1. Screen guests properly
One requirement of being a Superhost is that you don’t regularly cancel bookings. While occasionally mistakes happen, like accidental double-bookings or personal crises, cancellations should be kept to a minimum. Always screen guests properly for this reason: you don’t want situations where you accept a booking only to cancel later because you’re unsure the guest is a right fit for you.
2. Get your responses flowing
Superhosts must have a minimum response rate of 90%. Make responding quickly a habit or a process. If you can’t be available to respond in a timely way, look at ways to automate or outsource responses. Hiring a property manager to take care of it for you means you’ll not only have your response rate sorted, you’ll also have more time and less stress on your plate.
3. Nail your listing description
Superhosts have to complete at least 10 trips per year to their listings. To bump up your bookings and hit that quota, put some time into crafting and re-crafting your listing description to make it shine. That means great copywriting, accurate information, and possibly tailoring your listing to appeal to particular market groups (for example, families, luxury travellers, or couples). Need help writing a listing with Wow-Factor?
4. Take beautiful photos
Descriptions are well and good, you might be saying, but it’s the photos people look at first. You’d be right: for the same reason as above, having great photos is paramount to getting potential guests to click through to, and book, your property.
5. Manage guest expectations
The other requirement of being a Superhost? Impeccable reviews, of course! At least 80% of your reviews need to be 5 stars. That means doing your utmost to give guests a positive experience. One thing to bear in mind: impressions of your property aren’t just based on how good it is, but on how good it is compared to guests’ expectations. Managing expectations means being honest in your listing about any downsides it may have. It means being clear about your house rules. And it means open communication with your guests.
6. Personalise the experience
Another key tip in netting those 5 star reviews: guests always appreciate is a little personalised touch to their stay. It might be a hand-written welcome card addressed specifically to them, or a customised recommendation of a local activity based on their interests. If you can make their stay just a touch more personal, odds are they’ll reward you with a handful of stars. And your Superhost badge won’t be far behind.
Looking to maximise the Return on Investment (ROI) on your Airbnb or Vacation Rental? Short of time every week to properly manage all the things that you need to do with an Airbnb or Vacation Rental?
Well, Airhosta can help.
Airhosta is an online marketplace that connects Airbnb and Vacation Rental hosts with very best service providers — from property managers to concierge experts to cleaners — and a whole lot more. Our mission is to help you find and hire experts and make managing your property easy.
Boy am I busy at the moment! And loving every minute I have to say. But when you are a service provider it’s often the case that you dedicate so much time to managing your clients, you don’t find the time to look after your own business. Do you find that with your holiday rental and the home where you live? You put so much time and effort into your holiday let business, your place of residence doesn’t get a look in! I bet some of you can identify with that, even though you don’t like to admit it.
Right now we are writing content, developing websites and brand strategies for clients, and running their social media channels. It’s been so busy we had to decline an invitation to speak at the VRMA European Conference in Amsterdam this March. There’s always next year! Are you going? I’ll be writing on the conference for my next article.
As busy as I have been, I always have time to collaborate with Vacation Rental colleagues around the globe and I wanted to share some of the content here on our Rental Tonic blog. Enjoy, and I promise we’ll be back to regular writing very soon!
How to Market your Vacation Rental to Business Travellers
If you haven’t thought about attracting the business travel market, it’s about time you start. The business travel market is worth 1.2 Trillion dollars and there was a 57% growth year on year in 2016 for business travellers using Airbnb and HomeAway to book accommodation.
I spoke to vacation rental software experts, Lodgify about what owners and managers need to do to attract the business traveller.
Why Guest Experience Matters
I had a super interesting conversation with Jonathan from property management and guest experience experts Vreasy on why the guest experience matters so much in today’s market and what you can do as an owner or manager to build a more memorable vacation rental business.
If you want to achieve full calendars and happy, repeat guests, you need to read this article on the guest experience and start considering if your standards are high enough to entice guests back for more.
Top 10 Tips for Family-Friendly Vacation Rentals
In 2015, according to the ABTA Consumer Survey, 38% of British consumers took a holiday with their immediate family, and 20% took a holiday with their extended family, that’s grandparents, uncles, aunts, etc. In terms of global figures: family holidays represented around a third of the market, that’s 115 million annual holidays!
So if you have space, and you don’t mind welcoming children to your holiday home, you need to think on how to furnish and market your holiday let to attract families. Family holidays can take painstaking organisation and lots of patience, so when a family finds the perfect accommodation, they repeat book time and again. Don’t leave it to chance to attract families to your holiday home, read this article and make it happen!
Why Holiday Homes Don’t Make A Profitable Property Investment
Ok, Ok. I know. But if it’s decision time and you are not sure whether to buy that second home as an investment or not, there are a number of factors that need to be taken into consideration before splashing out. This articles covers some of the cons of owning a holiday home.
And if you are in the decision-making process, please do get in touch with our Rental Tonic team. We’re always happy to give your a virtual assessment on your vacation rental business plan.
How to Convert Enquiries into Bookings for your Holiday Cottage
Your holiday home is one in a million. Or should I say one amongst a million of other holiday homes listed on the likes of HomeAway, Airbnb and my partners for this article, Direct Holiday Cottages. In fact every holiday rental is unique, but as an owner you have to work hard to create a home-from-home experience and to convert enquiries to real bookings, there’s a few things you need to do, to make your property be that ‘one’ in a million potential clients want to book.
How Rich Guest Profiles Can Transform Your Holiday Rental Business
An oldie, but one of my favourite articles. I am a firm advocate for enriching the guest experience, and one of the most effective ways to do so is by profiling your guests and personalising your communication and experience. Check out this article I wrote for Spain-holiday.com on how to harvest guest data and use it to create a rich personalised experienced pre, during and post-stay.
Finally don’t forget our Rental Tonic team is here to support you in the creation of an enriching guest experience and in developing all of the marketing tools and resources you’ll need attract to your ideal guests.
Working in the holiday rental industry and living in a tourist destination I have a high tolerance level to holidaymakers, but this summer season we have had some particularly bothersome renters, who would annoy even the most patient of neighbours (like me!)
Holiday rental owners have a responsibility to protect both the communities they live in and the local neighbourhood. And let’s face it, nobody wants the nightmare of turning up to do a changeover to find a wrecked home, after some particularly disrespectful guests have left their mark.
If you want to create a successful and long-term business out of your holiday rental property, you definitely don’t want to fall out with your neighbours. To ensure your renters love your neighbours as much as you do, there are a few things you need to prepare and communicate before they arrive. After all…
Happy guests + happy neighbours = a perfect combination!
1. Vet your guests
Part of our duty, as conscientious holiday rental owners, is to vet potential guests before confirming a booking. We have a responsibility to protect our industry; to stop holiday rentals gaining a bad reputation, by allowing unruly guests to stay in our local communities.
The type of guest you allow to rent your home, should depend on where you live, the type of property you own and the community you represent. If you live in a small complex or urbanisation, where a high percentage of residents are owners or year-round renters, it doesn’t make sense to accept a group booking of young party animals. That’s just not great for community spirit!
2. Share community rules and regulations
This summer a group of young lads stayed in our urbanisation, who decided to swim naked while young children were in the pool (including mine!); brought bottles of alcohol (no glass allowed) to the pool, and proceeded to get drunk every day by the pool, break furniture by using it as floating goal posts, and generally cause quite some havoc. Funnily enough, the other holiday guests didn’t want to use our pool and probably wouldn’t want to return. So, the owner who allowed this group to book their home, probably affected future bookings of other owners in the urbanisation. Vet your guests!
Your contract should include the main community rules that visitors must abide by, such as swimming pool etiquette, parking and noise pollution. And reiterate those rules on arrival in your welcome information. You can set out the information in a friendly and comfortable manner, rather than as a schoolmaster laying down school rules.
3. House etiquette
Guests will respect you and your property a whole lot more if you create a guest-friendly etiquette list. You could even create a fun list and frame it. Include green rules on water and air con usage, and a little reminder that you enjoy a happy coexistence with your neighbours and want to keep it that way!
There are friendly and fun ways to impart rules, which don’t put your guests off for future bookings! Here’s one I created a while back for an article on preparing an eco-friendly holiday rental.
4. Encourage them to meet the neighbours
I have a great relationship with my neighbours and am always happy to help visitors with anything they need to know about the house or neighbourhood. If you let your guests know that your neighbours are residents, it might instill a little more respect in how they treat the community, instead of arriving with the idea that this is a ‘pure’ tourist complex, where everyone is in ‘holiday mode’.
5. Highlight the law in your area
If guests know that a neighbour or community has the right to make a complaint against them for untoward behaviour, they may think twice about stepping out of line. New holiday rental regulations in Spain mean a community can complain to the police about a renter’s behaviour and the owner has the right to give them 24 hours notice to leave.
6. Guest ratings
The introduction of guest rating systems hasn’t been received with the greatest of enthusiasm by owners. Many of whom don’t have personal, face-to-face interaction with guests. However, over the long-term, if a guest profile can be rated based on how they treat accommodation, it could save you from having a bad guest experience. Something we definitely want to avoid.
I received a five star guest rating this summer, during a stay in Cornwall, and was so delighted to receive it, I was eager to continue to be a great renter in the future. Just as an owner feels when she receives five star ratings from guests.
Maybe I am feeling particularly disgruntled about having my peace shattered this summer, and, of course, I don’t want you to put your guests off! But the experience made me realise that responsible owners must take action to protect our communities and the reputation of our industry.
Before I go, I came across Noise Aware, a nifty little device that sends you a noise violation alert if your guests exceed the noise limit during designated quiet times. It’s noise protection for short-term and vacation rentals. What’s not to love!
Dive bombing by Elliot Moore
I know many owners here in Europe are preparing to welcome their first holiday rental guests of the season as the Easter break begins. The old adage “first impressions count” is never more important than when trying to run a holiday business, so why should a holiday rental be any different to a quality hotel? Guests have the same needs; they may be stressed out from finishing up at work, tired from the journey, possibly with over excited children, and all they want is to arrive and find everything perfect so they can get straight on with the job of relaxing and having a good holiday. Read more
Self-catering holidays used to be simple affairs: rudimentary facilities and little opportunity for holidaymakers to find out much about where they were staying before they arrived. That’s all changed with the rise of the internet and social media. Read more
A couple of weeks ago I received a lovely email from one of our villa owners in Spain, with a glowing testimonial from some repeat guests she had staying. The villa is marketed by an agency we work with, family holiday specialists Tots to Travel, with whom the guests had booked their stay. Read more
Are you a non-resident holiday rental owner? If so it’s likely that sometime in the next few weeks you may be going to visit your property to check it at the end of the summer season and prepare it for winter. Read more