As Airbnb becomes more popular, you have to set yourself apart. In my local area of West Michigan, the lakes are the main draw. A few years ago when we rented our own property it was located across the street from an inland lake, with access a public boat launch nearby and Lake Michigan just a mile or so away. It rented easily, every day, every summer. However now there is much more competition. In addition, more travelers are renting STR’s (short term rentals) instead of hotels, so their expectations are getting higher.
So how can you set yourself apart? Here just a few of the many ways:
- Cleaning Standards
- Pet friendly
- Host-Cohost style
- Flexible on minimum nights
Lets break it down:
Design-Besides the location, how your STR is designed is the main reason your potential guests will rent your Airbnb. If it’s tired, boring, uncomfortable, etc. no one will want to stay there. They want somewhere they can relax and make memories. They don’t want to remember that it had a musty smell. Or that the listing said it could sleep 10, but come to find out it only had seating to eat for 4.
Cleaning Standards-When the guests walk into your Airbnb for the first time, they are going to notice if it is clean. This is one of the largest factors in their star rating. Is it visibly clean? Does it also smell and feel clean? Does it appear as though they are the first ones to ever stay there? There should be no stains or hair on the linens, no dried spills on the counters, and no old food particles in the microwave! Airbnb has a cleaning guide on their website and its phenomenal. Go check it out.
Amenities-Besides the town amenities, what does your STR offer? Is there lake access, a boat dock, or a fire pit? How about the parking? If you sleep 8 and 4 couples book, are there room for 4 cars? Make sure you list everything, even if it seems obvious…like a stove. What kind of stove? Is it gas or electric? If someone loves to cook, this could sway their decision.
Pet friendly-This is a big one. So many people can’t stay in a hotel because they will be traveling with pets. Which seems simple..just put them in a kennel right? Wrong. I’ll use myself as an example. I have a small 12 year old dog and a medium sized 2 year old black lab. The old one has never stayed in a kennel and is super anxious. So we need someone to come stay at our house with him. But the 2 year old is very high maintenance (read spoiled) so she ends up being a lot of work for whoever dog sits. So it’s just easier if they come along. There are multiple reasons people travel with their dogs, and there are not many pet friendly rentals (in my area anyway). So this is an easy way to set yourself apart. As long as you are willing and able to take on the extra cleaning and possible damage that can occur.
Host-Cohost-There are different hosting styles. There are everything from hands off hosts that guests never interact with, up to concierge types that know the area and can give recommendations, tours or experiences. Some stay on site in a different house or floor. Some live down the road. What style do you want to offer your guests? Adding your style to the description in your Airbnb profile can set you apart.
Flexible on minimum nights- When you live in vacation type town, many short term rentals only offer weekly stays during the summer months. But there are a lot of people that just want a long weekend. I suggest 4 night minimums if you need to rent as much as possible, but are ok if your calendar isn’t completely full. You will probably end up with Monday-Wednesday nights open, for most of the summer. However if you set your minimum to 3 nights, you may get your weeknights filled as well, but it’s a bigger financial risk to you. I never ever recommend 1 or 2 night minimums. The expense of the turnaround just isn’t worth it. Not in my area anyway.
Have questions? Reach out via my contact me form or schedule a free 15 minute call if you are considering design or co-hosting services.