Picture this: you’re scrolling through your Facebook feed when you see an ad for a short term rental property in the town where you grew up. The photo looks great, and you click on it to learn more.
Once you get to the website, however, you realize that it’s not quite what you were expecting. The furnishings are outdated, the description is vague, and there is no indication of what kind of guests the property is meant for.
You click off of the site, disappointed.
What went wrong in this situation? The business didn’t take the time to create a customer avatar for their short term rental property, nor did they bother to update their website to reflect that avatar.
Creating an “Airbnb guest avatar” for your short term rental property is essential, particularly if you want to attract your ideal guests and convert them into bookings.
But what exactly is a customer avatar?
A customer avatar is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal guest. It takes into account factors such as age, location, lifestyle, interests, budget and more.
Creating an Airbnb guest avatar for your property will help you “dog whistle” to the kind of guests you want to attract by being laser focused on what amenities and services they’ll be looking for, and how to market your property to them.
Business travelers will have different needs than families, for example, so it’s important to be clear about who your ideal guest is before you start making changes to your property or marketing strategy.
Most Airbnb hosts skip this step because they think it’s not necessary, or they’re not sure where to start.
Creating an avatar may seem like a lot of work, but it’s worth it.
Not only will it help you attract the right guests, but it will also save you time and money for your marketing in the long run, and it can even make the difference between an empty calendar and a full one during the slow season.
This is because an Airbnb guest avatar will help you determine the following:
- The type of guests that you are attracting, where they’re coming from, why they are traveling to your area, and what their budget is.
- What kind of amenities and services your guests will be looking for, and whether or not you can provide them.
- How to market your property to your ideal guests using the right language, photos, and amenities.
If you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry – we’re about to walk you through the process step by step, then show you how to actually use it to create a listing for your property.
✅ Avoid the #1 Mistake most Airbnb hosts forget when furnishing their rental (see Do #4)
✅ Quickly verify ANY room in your Airbnb to see if it is compliant with important design principles
✅ Learn what drives guests CRAZY and makes them feel like creepy stalkers (see Don’t #7)
Creating Your Airbnb Guest Avatar – Step by Step
Before we begin, it’s important to note that you can (and should) create more than one avatar for your property based on the previous guests you’ve hosted and would like to attract again.
This is especially important if you live in a tourist area where the demographics of your guests change seasonally. You may want to create an avatar for spring breakers, for example, and another one for winter vacationers.
The reason for this is because sometimes your location will get different types of people coming in at different times of year, and you want to be able to adjust your marketing strategy (and property) accordingly.
And there’s only one way to know which one is right for you and your business…
You will want to experiment with different types of guests, and see which ones book the most often and leave the best reviews.
This process may take some time, but it’s worth it in the long run because you will be able to focus your energy on attracting the right type of guest instead of wasting time and money on marketing to people who will never book with you.
So get out your notepad and let’s get started…
Step 1: Start With Why They Are Traveling To Your Area
In many different industries, customer avatars are usually created by starting with the name and demographics of the customer.
However, when it comes to creating an avatar for your Airbnb property, we recommend starting with why they are traveling to your area first.
This is because there can be a lot of overlap in the demographic information (such as age, gender, location) of people who are traveling for different reasons.
But their motivations for traveling will be very different, and this is something that you can use to your advantage when marketing your property.
For example, someone who is traveling to visit family will have different needs than someone who is traveling for adventure.
And knowing the difference between the two will help you determine what type of amenities and services to offer, as well as how to market your property.
So the first step in creating your avatar is to determine the reasons why someone would want to travel to your area.
To do this, you can start by brainstorming a list of potential reasons. Then, you can use Google Autosuggest to find out which keywords people are using when they are searching for a place to stay in your area.
You can also look at the reviews of other Airbnb properties in your area, and see what type of guests they are attracting and what guests are saying; sometimes they can be very open about their motivations for traveling.
One of our favorite ways of determining this is to use a data analytics service like AirDNA, which gives you a breakdown of all of your competitors and how booked they are for different times of year.
By seeing which properties in your area get booked the most often, you can start to get an idea of what type of guests they are attracting and why.
Step 2: Determine Their Demographics
Now that you have a good idea of the types of guests that are traveling to your area and why they are coming, it’s time to start filling in the rest of their avatar with some basic demographic information.
This includes things like their age, gender, location, and income.
Pay attention to the reviews your competitors are getting and see if you can match up the demographics to your own list.
Then either select the most common one or which one you’d like to host more of.
Once you have a good idea of the age, gender, location, and income of your ideal guest, you can start to fill in the rest of their avatar with some more specific information.
Step 3: Determine Their Lifestyle, Interests, and Hobbies
It’s time to start getting into the nitty-gritty and getting specific as to who this fictional person is. This includes things like their lifestyle, interests, and hobbies. To determine this, you can again look at the reviews of your competitors and see what type of guests they are attracting.
You can also look at the photos they are using on their listing, as well as the language they are using.
Language is very important, because it can help you relate to your target traveler on a personal level and make them feel like you understand them, simply by using the same words and terminology that they do.
The more specific you can get with this information, the better.
For example, if a property is using a lot of reviewers using outdoorsy language and has photos of people hiking and kayaking, then you can assume that they are attracting guests who enjoy those activities.
In your list, write out things like what time they get up in the morning, what they like to do for fun, and how much time they might spend in your rental property.
Step 3: Determine Their Personality
This is one of the more important steps in creating your avatar, because it will determine how you market your property and what type of language you use.
To do this, you need to put yourself in the shoes of your ideal or target traveler and think about what type of personality they might have.
Do they enjoy trying new things or sticking to the familiar?
Are they more spontaneous or do they like to plan everything out in advance?
Are they an extrovert who likes to be around people or an introvert who enjoys peace and quiet?
The more specific you can get with this information, the better.
By getting into the mind of your target traveler, you can start to understand what type of vacation experience they are looking for and how you can provide that for them.
Step 4: Determine Their Preferred Amenities
Now that you have a good idea of who your target traveler is, it’s time to start thinking about the amenities they might prefer.
This includes things like whether they want a kitchen, a pool, or a hot tub.
Do they prefer to be in the heart of the city or away from all the hustle and bustle?
Do they want to be close to public transportation or do they prefer to have a rental car?
Are they traveling with pets and do they need to find a pet-friendly property?
Remember, you are trying to attract a specific type of traveler and the more amenities you can offer that they are looking for, the better chance you have of getting their business, particularly if you have higher quality amenities that they actually care about.
Step 5: Determine Their Frustrations and Pain Points
Have you ever been a guest and experienced something that was so frustrating that it put a damper on your whole vacation?
Over time, travelers learn what type of things frustrate them and they start to look for properties that can alleviate those frustrations.
Are they tired of hosts that are never around when they need them?
Do they hate having to meet their host to check in, or might they be concerned about getting a list of checkout chores on their last day?
By understanding what type of things frustrate your target traveler, you can start to position your property in a way that alleviates those pain points.
This can be something as simple as offering a self-check-in option or being very responsive to messages and questions.
Step 6: Give Them A Name
Finally, once you have all of this information, it’s time to give your target traveler a name.
This might seem like a silly step, but it can actually be very helpful in humanizing your target traveler and making them feel like more than just a market demographic.
By giving them a name, you can start to think of them as an actual person with specific needs and wants.
This will make it easier to market to them and to understand what type of language and messaging they will respond best to, because you can begin to picture their reaction as they skim your listing.
Example Airbnb Guest Avatar
So what is all of this going to look like in the end?
Let’s say you are renting out a private room with an ocean view on the coast of New York.
Your ideal target traveler might be a young professional named Sarah who is looking for a place to stay for a weekend while she forgets about work and enjoys the beach.
Here’s what it might look like.
-28 years old
-Works as a marketing consultant
-Lives in New York City
-Single, no kids
-Enjoys going out to eat and exploring new neighborhoods where she might someday retire
-Prefers to take public transportation or use ride sharing apps rather than renting a car
-Has a small dog named Benny
Interests and hobbies:
-Enjoys traveling to new cities and exploring different cultures
-Likes to find unique restaurants and bars off the beaten path
-Hoping to learn more about photography while on vacation
-Outgoing and social, but also enjoys quiet time to herself
-Likes to be spontaneous, but also likes to have a loose plan for each day
-Thrives on trying new things, even if they’re a little bit out of her comfort zone
-Wants a private room in a shared apartment or house
-Preferred location is in a safe neighborhood that is close to public transportation
-Wants to be able to cook some meals in the kitchen
Reason for traveling:
-Looking for a relaxing vacation where she can unwind and escape the hustle and bustle of her everyday life so she can clear her mind and come back refreshed
What she’s looking for in an Airbnb:
-A quiet place to stay where she can work on her laptop
-A clean and modern space
-Close to public transportation
-A helpful and responsive host
-Self check-in available
-No hidden fees or charges
Frustrations and pain points:
-Hates feeling like she’s bothering her host when she has a question
-Doesn’t want to have to coordinate timing with her host for check in/check out
-Hesitant to book an Airbnb that doesn’t have many reviews
-Worries about her dog being a nuisance to other guests
Using Your Airbnb Guest Avatar To Create Your Listing
Now that you have your ideal target traveler in mind, it’s time to start thinking about how you can craft your listing to appeal to them.
Remember, the goal is to make them feel like your property is the perfect solution to their travel needs.
To do this, you’ll want to use language that speaks directly to their needs, interests, and pain points.
For example, if you know that your ideal target traveler is looking for a place to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of their everyday life, you might want to use phrases like “unwind” or “get away from it all” in your listing title.
Your photos should also reflect what your target traveler is looking for.
If they’re interested in photography, make sure to include some shots that show off the best views from your property.
If they’re looking for a clean and modern space, be sure to only include photos that show your property in its best light.
Finally, remember to include all of the amenities that your target traveler is looking for, such as self check-in or pet friendly accommodations.
Here’s what the listing description might look like:
Airbnb Guest Avatar Listing Description
Photos Tailored To The Airbnb Guest Avatar
- View of the ocean from the property
- Guest room with a comfortable bed and modern furnishings
- Fully equipped kitchen
- Pet accommodations
- Self check-in process
- Common area with plenty of seating for guests to relax and socialize
Of course, this is just a simple example and you’ll want to tailor your listing description (and photos) to appeal to your specific target traveler.
Sometimes more information is better, but try not to get too bogged down in the details.
For more examples of well written descriptions, check out our 20 Airbnb Copywriting Examples.
The most important thing is that you have a clear idea of who your target traveler is and what they’re looking for in an Airbnb.
Once you have that, the rest will fall into place!