First Time Hosting in Airbnb — Tips & Experiences
Our first time hosting in Airbnb. Miguel has always been interested in real estate. When he got the opportunity to get a unit in Wind Residences, the first thing that came to his mind is to rent it out on Airbnb.
A lot of people said that hosting in Airbnb means easy money. How could we say no to that? It could be; it could be not. But, I know for a fact that a lot of work and effort is needed.
We know we can sell this because of the view of the Taal Lake from the balcony.
We made the unit available for bookings as soon as the basic furniture and appliances are there. We wanted to get its interior done, but it’s not yet part of the budget. At least for now.
When we shared for the first time that our unit is available in Airbnb, the starting price was PHP 2,500 + cleaning fee + Airbnb service fee. Unfortunately, we only got few bookings, only on weekends, probably just an overflow of the other units in Airbnb.
It was a lesson learned; we reviewed our competitors’ units and prices, and we thought that we should lower our prices because design-wise, it’s not up to the price that we set yet.
We often review the prices of our competitors and we lowered our nightly rate just to see who our target market is.
It worked! We were almost fully-booked in August and September, and we were able to reach our target.
Miguel and I needed to do constant research on what we should know about hosting in Airbnb for the first time. Obviously, there are different tips from different people so we always do a trial and error approach.
We test things first and see what would happen. If it didn’t work, try something else. Our strategy is not yet 100% set, but here are the few things that we learned as first-time hosts and what you should know if you are planning to host too.
Things we learned hosting in Airbnb for the first time
1. Automate everything
During our first few weeks, we respond to inquiries, send check-in instructions and send check-out instructions manually. Although we didn’t have that many guests at first, we both feel that it is too time-consuming and it drains our energy.
Aside from that, Miguel also has to contact our caretaker since she’s the one who will meet the guests, and make sure that everything is in order.
When we started to receive several booking requests, sending messages and keeping track of everything became challenging. So, I looked for automated messaging tools that we can use in Airbnb.
Smartbnb has more features and more expensive than Superhost Tools. We didn’t try Smartbnb anymore, but we tried Superhost Tools for 30 days for free. Then we subscribed to Superhost Tools for only $5 per listing per month.
It works as expected; we are able to automate the sending of messages to the guests. The only manual things that we do now are sending a text message to our caretaker, responding to the guest’s inquiries and approving booking requests (if guests are not able to book instantly).
Automating the majority of our hosting tasks helps us focus more on the guest’s needs because we stopped doing repetitive tasks manually.
2. Try to stick to your schedule
We love prioritizing the needs of our guests. We encountered a few guests who requested early check-in or late check-out, and even both. In our experience, it somehow disrupts the flow & the schedule of our caretaker and her cleaners.
As hosts, we didn’t mind letting our guests stay longer as long as no one booked the unit on that same day. As a first-timer, I became too excited and too accommodating, that I offered late check-out (from the usual 1 PM check-out to 5 PM) to almost every guest in one month. I only realized then that it became a rough situation for our caretaker and cleaners.
We still allow such requests and offer late check-out, but not too often now.
3. Respond to messages as soon as you can
Having a high response rate improves the ranking of your listing. This means that your listing will be on the first few pages when guests search for accommodation.
Not only messages, but you should immediately approve/decline pre-approval requests. This boosts the ranking too.
The time difference between Stockholm and Manila helped us manage our listing. If Miguel is unavailable, I usually respond to the guests instead.
We thought that maybe our fast response was the main reason why we were at the top in the first place.
Since it is our first time hosting in Airbnb, this post helped us improve our Airbnb ranking.
4. Constantly review the prices
Although there is a smart pricing feature in Airbnb, we still review our prices more often and increase/decrease the prices depending on the demand and Airbnb’s suggestions.
For the unbooked nights, especially on weekdays, we lower our prices so someone will be enticed to book it.
5. Respond to each public review
We read from a blog previously that it would help your listing if you respond to each public review. In may sound a bit of work, but if I were a guest and I check the reviews, I would immediately jump to the ones that have a reply from the host.
Usually, hosts respond only to negative reviews. My first instinct every time a host responded to a specific review is the guest probably complained about something & the host is being defensive against it.
Experiences with our guests
- We appreciate it when guests send their photos during their stay and mention about how much fun they’re having.
- We had a few guests who are writers & told us that they booked our unit because it gives them tranquility.
- Aside from the public reviews, we often get longer private reviews and positive feedback.
- A guest broke something, but we didn’t expect that he’ll mention it and offer a replacement.
- Some guests do not follow the maximum number of allowed guests. We can accommodate more than 4, but the Wind Residences administration is strict about the number of persons per unit. Thus, we have a maximum of 4 only.
- Some guests flushed unnecessary stuff. The unit has been in use for 3 months only, and yet we already had clogging issues.
- People rarely read the descriptions. We often get questions that could be answered if they read the descriptions.
- Some guests would like to pay outside Airbnb either through PayPal or bank transfer. Unfortunately, this is not allowed and it is against the Airbnb terms & conditions so we had to decline such requests. It’s also for our & the guest’s security.
We had more experiences but these are the memorable ones. Luckily, the negative experiences aren’t the worst and we never had a horror guest… yet.
How we got the Superhost status
Yay! We got the superhost status already! Honestly, becoming a superhost is within everyone’s reach. Maintaining it though will be difficult! Airbnb assess your requirements to become a superhost every quarter (January 1st, April 1st, July 1st, and October 1st, every year). Hopefully, we will still be superhost in the next assessment!
- Completed at least 10 trips OR completed 3 reservations that total at least 100 nights;
- Maintained a 90% response rate or higher;
- Maintained a 1% percent cancellation rate (1 cancellation per 100 reservations) or lower;
- Maintained a 4.8 overall rating.
You can keep track of your progress in your hosting dashboard so you will know what your current status is. We didn’t apply for the Superhost status; Airbnb automatically gave us the Superhost status.
We both appreciate our caretaker because she’s hands-on and she has a lot of experience managing the property and interacting with guests. Aside from that, she knows the entire rules & regulations of Wind Residences.
Overall, we still enjoy hosting in Airbnb despite the ups and downs, but we both decided that we will not do this again. At least not now. We would still prefer long-term leases over hosting in Airbnb. Who knows what can happen in the future; we are still in the early stages of hosting in Airbnb anyway.
Are you now interested in hosting in Airbnb? Signup here and start hosting. 🙂