19 Airbnb Hacks Every Host Should Know

Navigation: Blog | Hosting
Updated: October 2, 2021

Author: Benjamin Harty

Hi, I'm Benjamin, Digital Media Strategist for Skyline STR. I have been involved in content creation for over a decade and love helping people develop strategies to grow their business. My wife and I are AirBnB photographers that are experienced in rental arbitrage and hosting on the platform.

Disclosure:
SkylineSTR.com is a participant in several affiliate programs and may be compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies at no additional cost to you.

Whether you’re looking to become a Airbnb Superhost or just trying to increase your Airbnb reviews, there are some Airbnb hacks that every Airbnb host should know.

There is a lot of competition in the Airbnb market, and these tricks can help set you apart from the crowd. It can be quite challenging to host your own Airbnb. However, if you know and follow the right hacks, you can make the process of hosting an Airbnb a lot easier.

Here are 19 Airbnb hacks every host should know:

  1. Optimize Your Airbnb Listing’s Furnishings.
  2. Spy on Your Competitors Occupancy.
  3. Utilize Automated Messaging To Give Yourself A Break.
  4. Surprise Your Guests With Early Check-in or Late Check-out.
  5. Use Dynamic Pricing To Optimize Your Revenue.
  6. Leave Instructions For Appliances and Electronics.
  7. Use a Wifi Smart Lock. 
  8. Boost Visibility With Social Media.
  9. Replace Your Mailbox.
  10. Hire a Reliable Cleaning Team.
  11. Use An Ozone Machine To Eliminate Odors.
  12. Have Puzzles or Board Games Available.
  13. Invest in Good Lighting.
  14. Provide Snacks For Your Guests.
  15. Get Good Photos.
  16. Keep Your Response Times Low.
  17. Threaten Your Guests With A Great Review.
  18. Use Noise Monitoring To Stop Parties Before They Start.
  19. Wait 14 Days Before Leaving A Review For Bad Guests.

Airbnb listings can be made successful in a number of different ways depending on what you are trying to accomplish. Let’s look at some tips that can help your Airbnb have a greater chance of getting more bookings and better reviews and ultimately making more money. 

1. Optimize Your Airbnb Property’s Furnishings

There’s nothing more aesthetically pleasing than soft, luxurious throw pillows all over your living area, but having unnecessary furnishings can add to your cleaning costs. Additionally, there are times when the guests aren’t as clean as they should be.

The cleaning of unnecessary items such as rugs or pillows is an additional expense and one that can get rather expensive depending on how frequently you do this. For the best results, consider using covers for sofas, couch pillows, bedding materials, and so on. They’re removable and easy to wash, and they won’t break the bank if there’s a stain or two.

2. Spy on Your Competitors Occupancy

Sometimes the slow season can make it difficult to make ends meet and it’s hard to know if there is a dip in bookings overall or just a drop at your listing.

If you want to ensure that your occupancy for Airbnb stays up, check out what your competitors are doing by checking their calendars on occasion. This is a great way of figuring out if it’s just you that has lower occupancy or if it’s also your competitors.

To get the most accurate information, you can use something like AirDNA to spy on how often and for what price other Airbnb listings in your area are getting booked. This is essential to help figure out which times of year might be better for hosting than others as well as adjusting rates accordingly based on demand.

3. Utilize Automated Messaging To Give Yourself A Break

Sometimes, guests want to book a property but require more information. For example, if your Airbnb is pet friendly and they have a dog in tow, the guest may need additional rules or regulations for their furry friend.

There are a number of automated messaging apps out there that can help you streamline your communication process with guests from start to finish. They make it easy to set up a system that can automate reminders, confirmations, and general information about your Airbnb property.

This ensures that everything is handled before the guest arrives at your Airbnb rental. If you need a some good ideas or examples of messages, check out our article on Airbnb message examples.

4. Surprise Your Guests With Early Check-In or Late Check-Out

This is a tip we got from our friends at AirbnbSmart. As an example, if your property is typically open for check-ins and check-outs at certain times in the afternoon and/or evening, you can use this to your advantage. 

You should set your Airbnb check-in time later than it’s actually available, and contact your guests a few hours before check-in, letting them know the room is ready early and they can check-in anytime they want.

This is one way to make your guests feel special and like they’re being catered to, even though it’s a routine part of your Airbnb hosting strategy.

It also makes them feel much more welcome and excited to start their vacation ahead of schedule. In turn, this can lead to better reviews as well as more return customers!

Amazon does this all the time with their shipping estimates if you’re a Prime member, stating delivery times a day or two later than packages usually arrive, which leads to pleasant surprises and good will.

5. Use Dynamic Pricing To Optimize Your Revenue

One of the best Airbnb hacks you can use is to take advantage of dynamic pricing. This allows you to hedge your bets against market fluctuations, making sure that there are no huge dips or peaks in availability when guests’ search for a place to stay.

When it comes down to how much money you make on an Airbnb rental property, if you were to price it too low, you could be losing money. If your rates are too high for a certain period of time and no one is renting out your property, then you’ll have a similar issue.

This is where dynamic pricing comes in. We recommend using a tool like Wheelhouse to connect to your Airbnb listings to automate your pricing and detect sudden surges in demand. It’s easy-to-use, customizable and can save you so much time!

6. Leave Instructions for Appliances and Electronics

It’s ironic but true that we aren’t always as tech-savvy as we think we are. In a similar vein, this is true of the guests that come to your Airbnb listing.

Make sure you have a handbook with instructions for everything from navigating confusing appliances to technology. This is a welcome convenience for your Airbnb guests. This is also an excellent opportunity to show off the personality of your Airbnb, as well as your personality as the host.

Include a few funny anecdotes into your instruction book, along with a few cute drawings that describe what you’re showing them. Provide your phone number if they have any additional questions.

This tip is especially useful if you have smart TVs with fancy remotes, toaster ovens, and similar gadgets that not everyone gets to use in their daily lives.

7. Use a Wifi Smart Lock 

It’s convenient to have a keyless lock for your Airbnb listing, especially at 1am and your guest can’t find their key. This can help ensure your guests can get into the Airbnb property even if you’re not physically there to let them in.

We recommend stepping it up a notch and using a wifi-lock from Schlage, which easily generates a passcode that you can share with your guests. When they arrive at the location, they simply punch in the code you provided and the deadbolt unlocks.

You can reset the code as often as possible, so there’s no need to worry about people coming back with the old password. However, if you want to remain low-tech, check out our article on the best lockboxes for your Airbnb.

8. Boost Visibility With Social Media

Whether you’re using Instagram for marketing your property or you have a Facebook page for your Airbnb, you should be posting regularly to show it off.

The more traffic that you can send to your Airbnb listing then the higher in the search rankings you will go. You can also run paid ads to get traffic to your listing and artificially inflate your views.

When you post pictures on social media, people can click through and get more information about your Airbnb listing or share it with family and friends who may be interested in staying there too!

9. Replace Your Mailbox

When it comes to Airbnb hosting, the name of the game is to be one step ahead of your guests and one of the ways to do that is by replacing your mailbox with one that requires a key to access the mail.

This is because some guests may try to establish residency at your property by sending themselves mail. If your mailbox requires a key, this won’t be possible.

You can find these on Amazon or at Home Depot for relatively cheap and easy installation by yourself! This Airbnb hack will stop any unwanted guests from establishing

10. Hire a Reliable Cleaning Team

The backbone of any successful Airbnb listing is the reliability of the cleaning team. By using professional cleaning teams, you’ll be saving time in the long run, as they’re able to turn around your property and have it sparkling a lot quicker than you or I could do it ourselves. 

Nothing beats walking into a fresh vacation home that smells like it was recently cleaned. Guests won’t have to worry about dirty sheets, gross toilets, and so on. Not only that but hiring a cleaning team can result in jobs being created in the local community.

If you’re looking for cleaning services, be sure to check out our article on the best cleaning services for Airbnb.

11. Use An Ozone Machine To Eliminate Odors

If you’ve ever had a guest smoke in your property, you know how difficult it can be to get the smell out of your curtains, carpets and furniture.

This is why we recommend using an ozone machine to eliminate odors in Airbnb properties after any smoky guest leaves. It targets the nasty odor molecules that are stuck deep inside fabric fibers, eliminating them on contact while also deodorizing everything from the air.

Just make sure that your property is vacant for at least a few hours before turning it on, so that the ozone machine has time to do its job, otherwise it can actually be harmful to your guests health.

12. Have Puzzles or Board Games Available

Even at Airbnb locations with historically nice weather, sometimes there’s a rainy day that calls for a nice puzzle or board game. Make sure to stock some different types of games for those with different tastes, and some games suitable for children for families. 

Puzzles are also a great pastime for those spending the night in an Airbnb. Try getting some puzzles that represent your community. For example, if your property is located in San Francisco, you can provide your guests with a “We love San Francisco” puzzle. It adds a sweet touch to the experience!

We also have an article on the best board games to put into your Airbnb.

13. Invest in Good Lighting

Investing in good lighting can take your Airbnb property from boring to Instagram-worthy in a few simple steps. Not only that, but certain lighting can affect your guest’s mood, making them more likely to relax. Let’s face it, the more your guests relax and enjoy themselves, the higher your rating will be!

Try looking into blue lighting, which can quicken the relaxation process. Alternatively, you could opt for a bolder touch, using red lighting for a romantic effect. Classy lights encourage people to come back and book another stay or recommend your home to their friends and family.

14. Provide Snacks for Your Guests

Providing snacks for your guests is another great opportunity to sneak in a bit of local history and character. You could, for example, include a bottle of wine from a local vineyard, some honey from the beekeeper down the road, or some of your town’s special salt water taffy.

Have fun with your snack selections, and you can be sure that your guests will also have a great time eating them! If you want to take it a step further, provide vegan and gluten-free snacks, so everyone has something to enjoy.

15. Get Good Photos

Good photography is as important in the vacation rental industry as it is in any other aspect of real estate or hospitality. You need to have high-quality, professional photography in order to get more higher-paying travelers to book with you. Those iPhone photos aren’t going to cut it!

Try contacting a reputable real estate photography company in your area that might also handle vacation rental photography. This way you know that the images are high-quality and can give your property a professional edge.

We’ve also got some articles on how to take good photos of your Airbnb, if you want to get an idea for yourself .

16. Keep Your Response Times Low

It’s pivotal that you answer queries of potential guests right away in order to increase the likelihood of them booking with you. In addition to the fact that everyone likes a speedy response, the fact is that you’re practically assessed on your response time!

On Airbnb’s website, they mention that a response rate is calculated by the number of new inquiries and reservation requests you respond to within twenty-four hours in a thirty-day time span.

This response score is shown on your public Airbnb profile and is visible to potential guests. It’s reasonable to assume that the lower your response score is, the less likely you’ll be to get bookings.

The bottom line is that if at all possible, you should try to reply to people as soon as possible.

17. Threaten Your Guests With A Great Review

One of the best ways to make sure that your guests leave your place in the best possible condition while also simultaneously encouraging them to leave a review is to send them a special message on the day of their checkout.

We usually say something like:

Hey Guest,

Just wanted to check in and remind you that check-out is at 11am! We hope that you enjoyed your stay and that we provided a 5-star experience for you. Thank you so much for being awesome guests, we look forward to leaving your review!

This message reminds them that you’re counting on them for a great review in order to maintain the five-star rating and implying that you’re about to leave them a 5-star review as well, even though that’s not what you said.

In most cases our guests have not only checked out on time, they left the place clean and submitted their reviews for us within 24 hours.

18. Use Noise Monitoring To Stop Parties Before They Start

If you want to be sure that your Airbnb isn’t going to turn into a party hostel, then it’s best if you set some ground rules for guests. One of the most effective ways is by getting noise monitoring equipment.

Units like Minut looks just like a smoke detector and will monitor the sound levels of your space at all hours of the day and night, giving you accurate information about what’s going on.

Once the average noise levels start to get above a threshold that you can set, the app will alert you of the high levels of noise. You can then make a judgment call about whether or not the guests are being too loud, and if you need to say anything to them.

Check out our article on party prevention devices for a more in-depth look!

19. Wait 14 Days Before Leaving A Review For Bad Guests

Sometimes you’ll come across guests that are just downright awful, and it might seem like the best thing to do is leave an immediate review for them.

This isn’t always the case though!

Airbnb gives you fourteen days after checkout in which you can submit a review and they will only become public once both parties leave their review, or the 14 days have passed.

If your guest is likely to leave you a bad review, it can have a major impact on your business and future bookings. In order to minimize any damage their review might bring, wait the full fourteen days before submitting your review.

In many cases, you will be able to get more bookings during the 14 day review period that can help offset a negative score, then time your reviews of other guests to push the bad review below the fold.

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