The 5-Step Marketing Blueprint For Airbnb

By Benjamin & Sheila Harty
Skyline STR

Note: The following 5-step training was originally given out to our email subscribers in August 2022, and is the exact method we used to turn around a -$10,000 loss during the slow season. If you would like trainings like this and you aren’t on our email list, click here to join for free.

Introduction

Do you know what the most successful Airbnb’s have in common?

I don’t mean the ones that you see on TV or in magazines. I mean the real-life, everyday hosts who see consistent bookings and high ratings from their guests.

These are the ones that are booked all year round, without having to drop their prices or offer discounts, because they have mastered the art of travel.

Hotels have been doing it for years. So well is their efficiency that they have been able to consolidate as a global industry while cramming travelers on top of each other in tiny rooms to maximize profit.

But Airbnb and other short-term rental services have provided the opportunity for everyday people to tap into this lucrative market.

And in the beginning, there was a golden age whereby everyone was able to make a killing just by listing their spare room or empty apartment on Airbnb.

But as more and more people figured out that they can end the 9-5 grind of traditional employment and become their own boss, the market has become saturated.

So how do you ensure that your listing is consistently booked? How do you set yourself apart from the thousands of similar offerings in the same area? How do you join the ranks of those successful Airbnbs?

When surveying our audience, we asked what made the biggest difference in the success of their short term rental businesses, and the answer was clear:

The answer is simple, but not easy: a well-executed marketing strategy that extends well beyond just creating a listing. A marketing strategy that cuts through the noise and reminds your very best guests why they should choose you over the competition.

Without it, you might be able to get by for a while just riding on the novelty and excitement of being a part-time landlord.

But in the long run, if you want to consistently attract the right guests, increase your revenue, and establish yourself as a go-to destination for travelers…You’ll need to put all of the pieces together in a well designed marketing strategy.

Think about it.

You can get people from all across the world to onto your listing, but once they are there, what do they see?

Answer: all of your competitors!

All it takes for you to lose the booking is for your potential guest to scroll down a little too far and see a listing that’s just a little bit better than yours.

You could have the most beautiful, well-designed Airbnb in the world, but if you don’t know how to market it to get travelers to take action, you’ll never reach your full potential.

Learning, The Hard Way!

My wife and I figured this out the hard way when we first started out as Airbnb hosts. We made the mistake of relying too much on the peak season, because that’s when people naturally tend to travel more.

Bookings were filling up fast because of the events in our area, and building up our confidence that we were doing everything right. Turns out, people weren’t booking with us because of our amazing hosting skills or beautiful space.

They were just booking because they had no other choice during that time period because all the other Airbnbs were booked.

But as soon as peak season ended, so did our bookings. And it took us a while to figure out why.

We updated our photos, furnishings, and even purchased market analytics for our area so we can see just what the heck was going on!

Soon we discovered that it wasn’t just our listing that was the problem, but our entire market was slow. Dying off to almost nothing during the off-season.

So who do you think were the ones able fill up their calendars, leaving the table scraps for everyone else?

You guessed it, the ones with the best marketing strategy!

To them, their calendars were full and they never had to drop their prices or offer discounts (in our case, as low as $30/night!)

We eventually figured some things out, but not without trying just about everything under the sun first.

By the time we dialed in our marketing strategy, we were negative $10,000, in the hole. Our life’s savings gone in attempt at financial freedom with Airbnb.

But we were able to double our occupancy and turn our listing around.

In order to prevent this from happening to you, you need to make sure that your listing is as strong as it can be – and that starts with having a killer marketing strategy.

Marketing Is Not Linear. It’s A System…

As hosts, we like to think that travelers click onto our listing, look at a few pictures, then make a reservation right away. But that’s not how it actually works.

Instead, travelers are quickly scrolling around and tagging their favorites, opening up a bunch of browser tabs, and having discussions about all of the different pros/cons each place has to offer.

Rarely is it ever a single aspect of your listing that “seals the deal.”

I like to think of it as an ecosystem, with all the different parts working together to attract, convert, and retain guests.

(Note: To self…draw a cleaner diagram before anyone actually finds this page.)

Each system, by itself, can only be so effective. But when you put them all together, it becomes a force multiplier.

So in this guide, we’re going to show you the 5-step marketing blueprint for Airbnb that we used to get ourselves out of the deep end and into the deep pockets with better guests and more bookings at higher prices.

But it’s going to take some work on your part.

You see, a successful marketing strategy requires you to put yourself in your guest’s shoes and think about what they want.

It’s not enough to just have a beautiful listing – although that definitely helps. It’s not enough to have a great design or beautiful looking brand. Again, that helps too.

But what it really comes down to is knowing your audience, creating a space that caters to their needs and wants, and promoting your listing in the right places.

Your potential guests are going to be bombarded with choices, and it’s up to you to make sure that your listing stands out from the rest.

But it’s more than that…

It’s your moral obligation to make sure that your guests don’t fall victim to lazy hosts with cheap listings and terrible experiences.

In order to do this, you’re going to need to understand your audience and design your space with them in mind.

You’ll also need to create compelling photos and write a description that sells.

And finally, you need to promote your listing to make sure that it’s seen by as many people in your target audience as possible.

You don’t need to be a marketing expert or hire an expensive agency.

The good news is that you can do just about everything from the comfort of your own home, and the only tools you’ll need are a smartphone that can take pictures and a way to upload them to social media.

And we’re going to show you how.

So without further ado, let’s get started!

P.s.

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