The vacation rental industry has grown exponentially in recent years. More and more people have decided to use their extra rooms, second homes or other properties as short-term rentals. They have then turned to major booking portals such as Airbnb to further their reach and attract new guests. The relative ease of entry into the short-term rental market and the seemingly quick profits have created a high level of competition.
In order to stand out from the competition and grow your business as a vacation rental host or owner, you should be sure to optimize your listings on Airbnb and improve your management with Smoobu. How? Here are some tips & tricks.
Why optimize your listings
First, why is it important to optimize your listings and the management of your vacation rental? After all, creating a listing on one or more of the large booking portals allows you to receive bookings without too much effort, right?
Without a doubt, a presence on a major booking portals such as Airbnb helps you be seen by its users. However, especially if there are many other vacation rentals in the area where your property is located, optimizing your listing is critical for the success of your short-term rental business. Let’s talk about why.
Increase online visibility on Airbnb
Airbnb is one of the biggest portals in the world: millions of potential guests use it every day to search for the perfect vacation rental for their next holiday.
Given the many perks of listing on Airbnb, there are plenty of hosts using this very booking portal. Just think that in 2022 Airbnb recorded 6.6 million active listings globally! To make your property stand out in the sea of houses, apartments, and rooms available for short-term rental, vacation rental owners and hosts need to optimize their listings.
Only by doing so will you be able to appear at the top of Airbnb users’ searches. By optimizing your listing, you will exponentially increase your online visibility and the chances of your vacation rental being booked. By not optimizing it, you will miss several opportunities and might struggle to grow your business.
Streamline operations and grow your business with Smoobu
Every vacation rental owner or manager who wants to run their business professionally and efficiently uses a channel manager. While many of these software products exist for hotels, for short-term rentals the choice is smaller. Smoobu is an excellent solution for vacation rental hosts owning one or more properties, given the price-performance ratio and the large quantity of features offered.
Besides the basic function of automatic and real-time synchronization of calendars on the various booking platforms and on your direct booking website, Smoobu allows you to optimize your listings and the management of your vacation rentals in many ways.
By making full use of the various tools offered, you can manage all your listings, accounts, and messages from one place. Moreover, you will be able to automate various aspects of your business, thus avoiding having to spend time and effort on repeating a multitude of manual daily tasks. The benefits are large, and as a result you will have time to:
- Create and optimize listings on other booking portals, differentiating your listing and reaching a wider target audience.
- Focus on your relationship with your guests, creating unforgettable experiences and ensuring positive reviews.
- Build your brand and focus on different marketing strategies to grow your business.
- Use the time you have saved for your personal hobbies, whether they are related to the vacation rental business or not.
Optimize your Airbnb listings: 5 things you should focus on
How can you optimize your vacation rental listing on Airbnb? Here are the tips & tricks from the experts:
1. Accurate listing details
It may seem obvious, but the first step in optimizing your Airbnb offering is to review your listing. The pictures you use should be high-quality. They should show all rooms and exteriors, preferably with natural light. The title should attract the user’s attention but without overpromising. Be honest in your description and list the house rules.
The more your potential guests are able to immerse themselves in your vacation home, imagining scenes and moods, and feeling almost “at home,” the more chances there will be that they will decide to book it.
Your vacation rental should always be clean and in order when your guests arrive. The last thing they want to see at the beginning of their unforgettable vacation is traces of previous tenants. A good share of negative reviews from Airbnb users relate to dirty rooms or broken equipment.
So make sure to clean your vacation rental thoroughly, perhaps by hiring a specialized cleaning service, and do frequent check-ups of all appliances and furniture.
3. Essential amenities
First, be sure to provide the basics such as towels, bedsheets, pillows, soap, and shampoo. To that end, you may also decide to offer other amenities to make your vacation rental more attractive. Take a look at Airbnb’s list of amenities and decide which ones might be right for you. And remember to include them in your listing to inform potential guests!
When searching for the perfect accommodation for their next vacation, Airbnb users search for these 10 amenities:
- A pet-friendly space
- Free parking
- A pool
- A jacuzzi
- A kitchen
- Air conditioning
- A washer
- TV or cable
4. Easy check-in
The check-in process is usually one of the potentially stressful moments: guests have to make sure they arrive at the scheduled time. This can be difficult due to both possible transportation delays and having to move to a city or area they are unfamiliar with.
To make this step as easy as possible, be sure to provide accurate and detailed check-in instructions. You can, for example, decide to include them in Smoobu’s Guest Guide.
Moreover, consider offering self check-in, so your guests can arrive at your rental whenever they want and, even for you as the host, there will be no worries or timelines to calculate.
5. Proactive communication
Guests prefer hosts who respond promptly to their messages. Of course, you don’t have to respond after one minute, but you also can’t wait hours, especially in case of emergencies.
By managing all your communications on Smoobu, you will be able to respond promptly to messages, both on Airbnb and on other connected booking portals.
Optimize and streamline operations with Smoobu
Once you’ve optimized your Airbnb listing, it’s time to optimize your connection to Smoobu and streamline other key aspects of your short-term rental business. Let’s see how:
Optimize your Airbnb listings on Smoobu
Through your Smoobu account, you can create and manage all Airbnb settings related to your listings. As their Preferred Software Partner, we are proud to say that the interface between Smoobu and Airbnb is highly efficient and comprehensive!
Set up your prices and other aspects such as maximum and minimum length of stay, prices per additional guest, cleaning fees, pet fees, additional fees, rule sets, check-in and check-out days, lead time, and more!
Automate your communication
Guest communication is one of those tasks that take up most of the host’s time. In fact, to ensure a complete and hassle-free guest experience, vacation rental owners and managers need to send a plethora of emails on a daily basis: booking confirmation, check-in instructions, useful information about the property and area, welcome messages, check-out information, and more.
On Smoobu, you can create automatic message templates and decide when to have them sent: at the time of booking, the day before arrival, etc. These messages are sent directly through the connected booking portals. Those who book with Airbnb will receive your messages directly on Airbnb.
Create a digital Guest Guide
Given the fierce competition in the vacation rental field in recent years, hosts can’t just offer their guests a roof to sleep under. They have to provide them with an all-around experience.
To help you in this endeavor, Smoobu provides its hosts with a customized digital Guest Guide that can be sent to guests and accessed by them before, during, and after their stay. In these guides, you can:
- Share tips & useful information. Decide what you want to share with your guests: house rules, emergency contacts, a list of the best restaurants and bars in the area, must-see attractions, hiking trails etc.
- Provide interactive material. You can upgrade your digital Guest Guide with integrated maps, a WhatsApp contact button, video instructions for your Airbnb self check-in, and much more.
- Offer extra services & increase profit. Bike and sports equipment rental, tickets for events or museums, a picnic basket with local products: the possibilities for upselling are limitless.
Grow your business with Airbnb & Smoobu
By fully utilizing the features offered by Smoobu and Airbnb and optimizing your listings, you can effectively manage your vacation rentals and save a lot of time. In addition, there are a couple of things you can do to grow your business. Here are some expert insights to grow your business with Airbnb and Smoobu.
One of the key determinants of the success of an Airbnb listing is guest reviews. Reviews range from 1 to 5 stars and will appear on your profile only when you have received at least three.
Both your listing’s ranking in search results and the actual decision of potential users to book your accommodation depend on this factor, therefore:
- Put hosting quality first and provide the best experience possible. It may seem obvious to you, yet this is the best way to get positive reviews!
- Let your guests know that reviews are important to you and to the growth of your business, and that you would highly appreciate their support. Tell them this in your pre-arrival automated message, in your welcome message, or personally during check-in.
- Encourage your guests to contact you during their stay and be available to them if they need you. By solving potential problems on the way, you will avoid negative reviews!
- You can also decide to send a personalized message to your guests at the end of their stay thanking them for choosing your vacation rental and reminding them to write a review.
- Ask your guests for private feedback, especially when you are just starting out. It’s a great opportunity to ask guests for constructive input that doesn’t penalize you or get shown publicly.
- On Airbnb, you have 14 days as a host to review your guests, and vice versa. We recommend you do this right after they leave your vacation rental, when the experience is still fresh. Leaving a review for your guests is a chance not only to show your gratitude and provide helpful feedback, but it also reminds them to review you.
Hosting quality & Airbnb Superhost
Once you put all the above tips into practice, prioritizing hosting quality, you might become an Airbnb Superhost. This way, you will get a recognition badge next to your listing and more visibility online. To become a Superhost you must:
- Maintain a 4.8 overall rating
- Maintain a 90% response rate or higher
- Complete at least 10 trips or 3 reservations that total at least 100 nights
- Maintain <1% cancellation rate or lower
Airbnb’s users will know that if they book with a Superhost that the experience at your home will be a pleasant one, given your experience as a host, your responsiveness, and the positive reviews you have obtained. This way, you will easily get more bookings and be able to grow your short-term rental business!
Smoobu offers more than 30 integrations that allow you to upgrade your offering and manage a whole range of aspects related to your vacation rental business.
- Payments: manage different payment methods, such as PayPal and Stripe for credit card payments.
- Dynamic pricing: pick a tool that analyzes the market, holidays, and competition prices to give you the most accurate rates per night.
- Online check-in: if you need additional information and documents for check-in, one of our integrations can help you automate it.
- Smart locks & home: make your vacation rental more tech-savvy with smart solutions that can help you with self check-in, for example.
- Cleaning & Maintenance: automate with one of our integrations contacts with cleaning services, last-minute requests, rates, and much more.
- Luggage storage: when check-in and check-out times do not coincide with flights, guests often need a place to store their luggage. Fortunately, we have integrations for this.
- Others: if the integrations above were not enough for you, we have others covering different aspects of your vacation rental management.
Digital marketing tips
With the time saved by optimizing your vacation rental management on Smoobu, you may decide to implement marketing strategies to grow your short-term rental business. Clearly, major booking portals such as Airbnb invest heavily in online and offline advertising, which means you will benefit from their reach.
However, to set yourself apart from the competition, marketing your vacation rental business is not a bad idea. Let’s take a look at the most common digital marketing strategies for hosts.
- Target group analysis. First, it is important to understand what kind of guests usually book your vacation rental. Depending on the location, the activities offered in the area, and the size and rooms of your rental, you may attract different types of guests. It could be couples looking for a romantic weekend getaway, large groups of friends, people traveling for work, families with young children, and perhaps a dog in tow. Defining your target groups helps you optimize your offer by creating a tailored accommodation and listing.
- Branding / brand identity. Maybe you already have an idea in mind for your business: you want to offer sustainable rental in the middle of nature, apartments in the center of vibrant cities full of history, etc. Whatever the concept behind your vacation rental business, turn it into your brand identity. Create a logo and be consistent in your communication. This way, your guests will be able to recognize and remember you. It could help you, for example, in case you have more than one property on the market.
- Direct booking website. Clearly, having your own direct booking website is important for developing your brand. In fact, here you will have room to develop your story to the fullest, sharing with potential guests all the material you deem necessary.
- Social media. Millions of people use social media every day. Therefore, a presence on these channels is critical. Our advice is to set up an Instagram page, as it is the most popular social media for users between the ages of 20 and 35. There you can share photos and videos of your vacation rental, attractions in the area, events, local foods, promotions, and whatnot.
- Paid marketing. If you have some money to invest, you might consider paid marketing. This marketing strategy allows you to target specific users based on location, age, interests, behavior, and keywords used in their searches via Google, Bing, and other search engines. It’s usually better to turn to specialists to create efficient paid ads. Paid media can be very useful in getting the word out about your vacation rental business, filling the off-season, maximizing your occupancy rate, and more.
For any vacation rental host or owner, optimizing their listings and vacation rental management has many benefits! By spending some time to improving and automating daily operations, you can grow your business exponentially.
If you use Airbnb but haven’t tried our channel manager yet, today is the day to do it! Try our 14-day free trial and discover if Smoobu is the solution you’ve been looking for to efficiently manage your short rentals, whether on Airbnb or other booking portals.
Table of Contents
- 1 Why optimize your listings
- 2 Optimize your Airbnb listings: 5 things you should focus on
- 3 Optimize and streamline operations with Smoobu
- 4 Grow your business with Airbnb & Smoobu
- 5 Conclusion