Episode 068 - STRR - How to Get Your Listing Viewed on Airbnb…We ThinkSep 10, 2021
Airbnb’s algorithms are as secretive as Facebook's. No one knows exactly what it takes to make their Listing show up first in a Search. We do know a few factors that will boost your listings for sure because Airbnb has told us so. We also have some that we are pretty sure make a difference and a few that we hear help but we just aren’t sure. All of them will help you improve your chances of getting your listing in front of potential guests, though.
Transcript of this Episode:
Hi, this is Michelle, the master of money mindset, and you are listening to BNB dash boss pod.
And in today's podcast, we are going to give you a twofer two for one deal. That's right. This episode is actually two episodes. It was a longer episode and we're going to kind of cut it down for you and make it a little more palatable. It might be a tad long, but I'm going to be listening along and make sure that all the important parts get in there.
But we're going to be talking about how to get your listing viewed on Airbnb. Now we know their algorithms have changed a little. But for the most part, this is still true. Everything I think we stand on here was, was an, is very relevant today. Keeping your Superhost status is probably one of the best things you can do to keep your properties viewed, changing your listings, even daily, just going in and changing a picture around, adding a word, taking some words out, you know, just keeping it updated and.
All very good ideas, but we're going to cover all these ideas in this episode of the best of the short term rental revenue. So again, I'll be listening in piping in if I need to, or I might just pipe in at the end and give you some bonus tips that may have not been in here. But for the most part, I think this was fairly accurate.
And from what I remember, it still holds true. So I'll let you know at the end of this. So go ahead and take a look. And enjoy. We are going to talk about how to get your listening viewed on Airbnb. We think. Yeah, we think because we don't know, this is one of those things. People like Facebook algorithms and, and Airbnb's algorithms, we don't know it's a super secret, you know, it's like the, the what, the nine spices in the Kentucky fried chicken recipe, we don't get to know exactly how.
They do their algorithms in order to get your listings to show up first when a property is being searched for. But we think we've got a lot of clues. The clues are left by them and left by others. So these are ways that we know of. We ways that we are pretty sure. And some ways that we think might be, so you're going to get some yeses for sure.
This is going to help. Probably this will help. And maybe this will help today. This is like I said, it's a tricky thing. Nobody knows really how it works, but we know a few things let's talk about visibility. Now. Visibility means, you know, their, their ability to see you when they're searching on Airbnb for.
Being eligible and being visible. That's what air B and D B describes this as, and being eligible means that make sure your property is eligible. One thing I see a lot of people making mistakes in is they set these minimum and maximum days for guests to stay. And that that's fine and good. I mean, if you've got a legitimate reason why you want somebody to stay there a minimum of seven nights, blah, blah, blah, but just know.
You know, let's say a guest wants six nights and your minimum stay is seven nights. You're not going to show up on their radar at all. So you are not even eligible to see them, right. Or this is a big one. There's a lot of people who set a two minimum weekend stay or a two night minimum, and anywhere they want you to stay at least two or three nights.
Well, what's really weird is their calendar will start filling up in different ways. Leaving a gap of one night or sometimes two nights. Well, if you have a one night gap, you're never going to fill it. If you have a two night minimum, why? Because you're not eligible. None of your, none of your properties will show on any search.
For one night because it you've got a two night minimum. So you have to make sure that your minimum matches what you've got available and what you want out there. So make sure you are eligible for the search. Do you get it? You need to be eligible, which means watch your minimums and maximums. How I do this on the properties that I have listed on Airbnb is when they're further out.
You can set specific dates and say that these properties can only be rented by the week or by the month, especially in areas where I have properties. There's a lot of people who stay, especially in the wintertime for an entire month, at a time or several weeks at a time. So you can set that for weeks and weeks out, but as it gets closer to that date, Let's see, what are we we're in the beginning or the end of November.
So now dates in December and January should mostly be filled up. There's just going to be a bunch of little gaps in there. My minimum dates are going to go down because now I'm just trying to fill those little gaps in. Do you see what I mean? So I might even remove the minimum stays when it it's next month.
And I've only got, you know, a few scatter one days or maybe two days here. I might remove those minimum stays so that it's eligible. So that's on a search. So watch that. What's really cool too, is I should mention is that when you first get started on Airbnb as a newbie, they put you out there, man. They put you right in front.
And I really love that about Airbnb because it helps you get started. Helps you get booked. I always recommend when you have no, this is your first. You know, property and you have no reviews, no ratings yet price your property low enough to just make, make it those first couple months that you can book it, book it, book it, book it, book it.
You want to get a pocket full of reviews in there and have them all five star reviews. And once you get, you know, your first five or 10 reviews, then you want to go in there and then you can start playing around with your. But when you first get started, it's really nice because Airbnb puts you up front.
They put your property out there. They want to get you booked and they want to get you making some money. Why? Because if you make money, they make. It's that simple. And if they can get you to be a raving fan, it's easier to keep somebody as a property owner than it is to go out there and market for a new person to get on to Airbnb.
So they want to make you happy. They want to make you profitable. They want to see you make money. So that's a cool thing that they have for newbies. And then there's, long-term stay discounts anytime there's, um, somebody searching for. A week or a month, they look for discounts. So when people go to Orlando, a lot of times they get a week at a time.
There's we? We do, uh, almost all of our, our properties out there are week at a time there Friday to Friday or Saturday, Saturday, not usually Sunday to Sunday though. There's not nearly as many of the. But they will be looking for those properties. So you want to have, if that's your market, you want to have those discounts in there because having a discount, we'll put you higher.
On the visibility view, you'll be more visible with a discount. Now, there are a lot of people who argue that if you're doing short-term rentals, that it doesn't matter how many days they like the smaller stays. They like, like I said, you know, in those properties that we have, where they have 10 cleanings a month, they love those.
And that's pretty cool. I personally don't like them as much because you know what? I would rather have a whole bunch of long stays than a bunch of little short stays. But the reason why I like the long stays is because those people are so much easier to me. I know that sounds sad. But when I get a bunch of snowbirds going down to Florida or going into Arizona, hello, they just want to do their snowbird thing.
They they're, you know, they're older people, they're usually, you know, in their sixties or seventies and they are so. Much less trouble than younger people. I know that sounds so bad. And so judgmental and I don't mean to do that because, you know, I have millennials, my children, mostly millennials. I'm not saying that there are, but, you know, come on, be honest.
They really are. They just want to go and hang out and talk to the neighbor people and hang out, you know, in the yard. Sit on lawn chairs and have fun, man, sit and watch TV. I mean, I don't know what they do, but they don't want me bugging them. And that's the kind of person I am, but there are so many other people who love being more hands-on and if that's the type of person you are, then definitely go for it.
There's a lot more money to be made when you do. Well allow for shorter terms and you don't go for the long-term ones. There's a lot more money to be made in it. You can charge a higher price per night when it's one night, a single night at a time, even with a two night or three night minimum, you can charge more than you charge for a week because when people stay for a week or they stay for a month, they expect a discount because they're saying for that long.
They want to look around and they go, okay, well, this property is 250 a night, but if I stay there for a week, I want to be able to get it for, you know, 1200 for the week. They want a discount. And if you were to rent it by itself, you could probably rent out, always the weekends rent out really fast on properties.
So you'll probably get every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday booked and gone. And you might have a few filler days in between. So, if you can price your properties that your weekends pay for your entire month's expenses, then the rest is just icing on the cake. Just make sure that if you do decide whatever you decide, I'm not trying to sway you either way.
Like I said, it's because I live in snowbird country both times of the year. So when I'm in Florida, I'm in snowbird country, when I'm. Arizona I'm in snowbird country. So we have a lot of winter visitors coming down from Canada, coming down from Minnesota, coming down from Iowa. We, we always have acronyms for all our peoples who are there, all the peoples who are out here.
We got acronyms for them coming in, but they're basically snowbirds and they love to stay for a long time. I like those guests. They're easy. That's just me. I like free and easy. I'm getting old. I don't want to, I don't want to work a lot, you know, but when I was younger, I love talking to people. I love doing stuff.
I love being a lot more active and stuff. So if that's you then own it, just, you know, be who you are and let that shine through. As a host know. Be who you are and let your personality shine through. And like I said, you can make a lot more money doing those single days. So definitely be there when I said, um, that's a visibility, that's going to be your visibility in the search engines.
Now you're going to have to catch their eye. You want your thumbnail or your cover photo to be out there. It's got to grab their attention. Your cover photo is the most important photo. Because they're not even going to click on it if it's some boring, but photo and I'm keeping it claim here, it's seriously can not be boring.
It can not be . It can not be bad lighting. It can not be great out. It has to be a good photo. And we talked about the importance of photos before, but photos are critical. They are really critical. And Rachel talks about, you know, the, the things to have on your Facebook page, your bumper sticker. For instance, a bumper sticker, meaning that when somebody sees a bumper sticker on your car, they basically know a lot about you in a very short amount of time, right?
Because your bumper sticker says something quick snap, right? It has like a little blurb that says, I believe in this right. Adopt don't, you know, neuter or whatever. They want you to adopt pets and not buy them from, uh, you know, uh, Uh, puppy farm. So you'll know their belief system right away, looking at their bumper sticker.
It'll have something that grabs your attention, a picture or something, a little pop print, for instance, on that one. Right. And if you like dogs or you like pets, boom, your eye focuses on that because you're like, Ooh, I like pets. I like my. And you look at it and then you read it, right? So the T is first, the picture gets you, then the, the message or the title, the same thing is going to happen with your property, right?
So when you put your description of your property in there, you want to make sure that your photo grabs them quickly. That's going to get their attention first before your title is going to be your photo. The next thing that's going to grab them is the title. And most people, you know, they'll put something blahzay in there, three to, uh, three to townhouse.
Okay. So you got three to townhouse or, you know, whatever. And then you've got escape to the castle on this. Which one sounds better. Yeah. Come on. You want your title to grab people? You know, I give my properties all a name. It's like going to VA case in Puerto Rico. They don't have addresses on that island.
Every house has a name. And just imagine that every house that I have has a name, I know my properties by the name of the house. Because, I mean, those are the ones I'm listed on Airbnb. The other ones I don't care about. Cause I don't have to market those. But the ones that I list will have a name, your property should have a name.
It should be catchy. It should be something that people like it takes them away right away. And they say, yes, I want that. Just like the paw print, right? Just like the Paul print got them to look at you. Then they said, Hey adopt, you don't want to feed these puppy mills. You want your message to come out very quickly?
You want them to know exactly what they're being offered here. You wanted a romantic getaway for two, you know, if you had something like that, that tells them a lot. They're like, yes. That's exactly what I'm looking for. A romantic getaway, cozy cottage in the woods. Yes, that's what I want. You know, I don't want to hear a bland, old description.
I want to get away, right? So you want to give your properties a title, something that's going to sell them on the dream of what they, what they're going for. If they're going for a family vacation, if they're going for a romantic getaway, if they want to go skiing and they're dreaming of a hot steam bath in the snow, you know, something that gives them a taste of.
Of what they are going to get. That's what you want. And then you want the description to kind of do the same thing, to be an extension of that, because now you grab them with your photo and then your title got them. And then they were like, now let me take a look. Now they click on it. Right? When they click on it, you're going to draw them in.
You want your description? To be something like you want it to be like reading a story, you know, something that describes everything from, uh, almost like you want to do it in a romantic way. You don't want to be at like a hospital setting. You know, it's like two bedrooms, first, one king size bedroom with one king size bed, one bathroom with a full tub.
One bathroom with a walk-in shower. No, not like that. It's like, no, you want a wonderful description. Walk into your tropical getaway, your, your own tropical paradise. And, you know, as soon as you walk in, be greeted by the openness of the room, or, you know, you want to get, get creative, man. I I'm right now I'm being less creative.
Cause a crap load of properties are going through my head and I'm trying to focus in on one. That's my add going use this one as an example. No, this one. Okay. But, so for instance, when they walk in, you know, when, as you walk in the vaulted ceilings, you know, let you know how huge the property is, but then go into the cozy spa.
The sauna or something. I mean, you're going to describe it in a much better way than I just did basically like a menu. Right. So have you ever been to those restaurants where they just have this blahzay thing about the menu and it's like, oh, burger, this says two patties, cheese, and blah, blah, blah, on this burger.
But then you walk into another place and it's like, you know, bite into the crunchy, steamy bun. We have mouthwatering cheese. We'll take over your taste buds with it will pop with flavor, with a red peppers and the, you know, whatever you want that you want. You want to describe it in a way that it's like, amazing.
Like right now they're like, Ooh, I want that. That's what you want. You want your description to be an, I want that description, not too long, hit just the highlights and stuff. And that's the same when you list all your amenities and all the other things underneath it. List a bunch of crap. Nobody wants all that.
They just want the highlights. They want the highlights. If they want to see the whole thing, they'll go into your guest book and they'll start looking at all the different amenities. But most of the time, especially with properties where we have family getaways, you know, one of the things that people are looking for most there, and I don't list this in the description, mind you, this is not going to be part of.
My wonderful dinner description, but just on the amenities list, they want a washer and dryer. It's the craziest thing. But if I don't list that there, that's the number one question we get asked in an email that says, yeah, but do you have a washer and dryer? So guess what? Whenever it's a family vacation place.
That's one of the first things we list. So make the list of amenities because that's just a bullet point. Boom, boom, boom, boom. The list of amenities should include things that people are going to want wherever they're going. So if this property is by the beach, they want to know, Hey, do you got snorkel equipment?
Do you have surfboards? Do you have, what do you have? You have something for us to use there. Do you have bloke toys? You have sand buckets and shovels for our kids. That's what they want to know. Lots of toys available. You can, you don't even have to list them. You can say lots of. Toy amenities available.
And then if, if it's something they want, they can go deeper and dig into your book. So remember the description is going to be super flowery, right? You're going to, you want them to go? Yes, that is so what I'm looking for, you know, if they just want a weekend getaway and where it's quiet and stuff, let them know that this is the perfect spot for that.
This is the perfect spot to get away from work. If you don't have internet or really good wifi, Totally use that, that way. It's like we are so sick. We are so secluded out here, you know, get away from it all, turn off your cell phones and your computers, and just have a night away with no interruptions, you know, blah, blah, blah.
You can use things as to your advantage. Other people would see as a detriment. You can use to your advantage, but with your bullet points, you want to hit the high points. You want to hit the things that people would be looking for. If they were going to that location, like when people are going to Florida, we say, Hey, we've got rain jackets just in case we've got, we've got you covered.
In case it rains, you can put things like that. You know that won't tell them whether you have ponchos or umbrellas, but they'll know that you've got them covered. You want people to know what they're going to get? Use Rachel's bumper sticker theory. Okay. Use her title, make sure that you get the title, right.
Make sure that you get the photo, right. The thumbnails, those photos are super important and make sure that you get the description right, right. And juicy. You want them to be living in. Okay. Now, when you have a listing like that, you're going to be higher up because the more people you have viewing your listing that actually boost your listing.
I know that sounds weird. If a lot of people click on your listing, then it gets boosted up now. So we think we're pretty darn sure about this, but they even insinuate that when they're talking about how to raise your listings inside of Airbnb. So the more people who click on your listings, the more interesting you make it, the more people will click on it.
More people who click on it, the higher up it is. Inside the search engines. Okay. So keep it there, man. Keep it there. Also, I know that I said, you know that sometimes you can use those things to lead people in. If you didn't have wifi, but I'm going to tell you right now, wifi is probably the number one thing that anybody wants anymore in any property.
And I don't care if you're a remote pup property and Bally people want Wi-Fi. They want to make sure you have good internet. I'm just going to tell you right now, I'm not going to beat around the Bush pay for the best internet that you can afford because the quicker, the easier it is, the better for people.
You don't necessarily have to have cable. We have cable and a lot of our properties because it's included with the HOA, but you want to have, you really, really want to have fast internet because people want fast internet. And especially Americans, we're super spoiled. If you travel outside of the country, anybody who's ever traveled outside the country knows you get to another country and you start using the internet and you're like, what is taking?
So you feel like, um, the old AOL thing is going on, like you're connecting with a phone and you can almost hear the modem, like, like, oh my gosh, what is taking so long? We have really great internet here in the United States and we are super. So that means if you got an American stain with you, you better have fast internet, or they're going to be putting in all kinds of reviews on there.
The internet was so slow. I could never connect, blah, blah, blah. And that is not what you want. You want good reviews. So if you're offering internet, if it's one of your amenities, make sure it is up there. And I would always try to offer internet. I'm just gonna say that real quick. I want to touch on two.
There's this great new show on Netflix. I'm loving it. It's called stay here. And it's about a short term rentals. This is so cool because honestly, we are, you are listening to this. We are all getting in on the beginning of this wave now, who knows how long any wave last, but right now, boom, we're all on our boogie boards.
We're all on our surf boards and we are all on the same wave. So get on board. Let's ride it right now. There's a bunch of new shows coming up all about short-term rentals and the stay here is super cool because every property they fix, they get this, this photographer. And the shows that I've seen, it's always been the same photographer, even though they're in different locations, but they drag the sky.
And it shows you exactly how to take your pictures. So many people take the most boring pictures. Like, yes, here's the refrigerator and here is the couch and here is the, you know, they're taking these boring, boring pictures, but honestly, when you set, you know, a glass of glasses of wine with wine bottle and the cheese tray out and some crackers on the table and you, you stage.
As if people are enjoying it, you put a nice throw across the back of a couch or something you can see when you watch that show. And like I said, it's a Netflix only. So you got to go to Netflix and it's called stay here. S T a Y H E R E. Stay here the way that they do their photos mazing, it really shows you what people want.
They want the dream. So yeah, they want to see. What the layout of the property is they want to get an idea of it, but what they really want is the dream. You want the coziness, if there's a fireplace and stuff, man, have the fire going and have the beautiful logs around there, or have these tastings, everything to get them into the, into the, the feeling of the picture, into the feeling and the mood that they would have if they were staying there.
Right. So they had. They had this lady who lived by the beach and it was just amazing watching him take the pictures. I was like, oh yeah, I love this guy. We're gonna have to find out who this photographer is and have him come take some of our pictures and stuff, but you want people to live the dream. You want them to see it as if they're staying there.
You know, look, here's a wonderful, soft, cushy bed, you know, not just the bedroom you want the bed and the pillows. You want them to feel how comfortable the bed is. Not just the table and the chairs you want to like, oh, look at this is we're going to be having wine there and all these cheeses. Right? So you want all of that.
You want people to live this dream, so make sure that those photos are being taken well and you can get some really great ideas from that new show on Netflix. Thank you, Netflix. Okay. Another tip is changing your pictures often. Now this is one of those tips that we think it might help, but we're not really sure.
But a lot of people say that changing that thumbnail photo often, or changing a tiny bit in your description every now and then just a word or two, and then clicking, save and updating it. We'll throw it back to the top of the pile. Not sure if that's true, but even if it isn't, I always like to have at least two photos, at least two that I really like to be the front, you know, to draw people.
So, um, a lot of times it's going to be either the bedroom photos showing us nice comfy bed or some, some part of the living room or something. It's something that shows, you know, it could be. Uh, it depends on what you're going for. If you're going for a cozy little place, then you might want the fireplace, this wonderful intimate couch with a little fire blazing across from it, whatever it is, pick out a couple of photos and you can switch between the two thumbnails every now and then.
And some people even, I know, do it every day. They switched the photos out every single day and do that so that they can boost their, their listings. They're visible. But nobody knows for sure if that works or not. That's one of those what ifs we were not sure, but you can change the order of your photos.
Want to make sure that people are seeing all the amenities, not just the inside of the place, but the outside, the area around, but not too many photos of things like that. Just you want to hit the highlights of the area around you. And you want to make sure that you're highlighting on where they're going to be staying, because that's really what they want to know.
I've seen some people who put 90 pictures of the wonderful outdoor area and like maybe three or four pictures of the inside of a place. And you're just like, really? I can't even tell what any of this looks like. So why would I stay there? Because that, just to me, looks like you're rolling the dice and nobody wants that.
Obviously you want to know where you're going. You really want to know where you're staying and what it looks like. So make sure, make sure the things in the back of your photos are okay. We were looking at a place, uh, yesterday because we have to go away for a convention and literally I'm not even kidding.
They had the pictures. In the background, often a distance, you, they were showing a picture of the living room, but you could see the dining room off to the side. And it was a folding table with folding chairs, like a card table. I'm not joking. But then these showed this beautiful table and you're like, well, which table is it?
It didn't even look like the table was in the same property. It didn't look like the same color rooms. Anything, it didn't look like the same size, anything. So it was very confused. I was like, Hmm. Maybe they just, they went somewhere and they bought this table and they're going to put it over there. And at that time that they took the pictures, they didn't have a table.
And you're just wondering, right. But you want to make sure that everything is congruent, that it all looks like, be aware, be very aware. At what you have in the foreground of your pictures, that, you know, you might be focusing on the bed, but you know, if you got the patio door open and there's a guy streaking down the road, you want to know about it.
So be aware what's going on around the picture. Just take a look, okay. Be aware of it. And also you want to make sure your prices are comparable. Now there's a lot of argument about pricing. People say that you should compare your prices to other prices of stays in the area. And that's true to a point, but I always base my prices on the prices of the hotels in the area, because if a person can be a hotel.
And get a much better place than I know I can book that. Or if my place is a lot better than a hotel, you know, because it's got a kitchen or whatever, and they're like, dude, I could pay 250 a night for a hotel, but if I pay 2 75 or 300 a night, I could get this place and have my own kitchen and everything, a lot more room, you know, a living room and stuff.
So the kids could be separated from me. I mean, think about that. So I compare my prices to a lot of different variables, but your price is going to have a lot of, it's going to have a lot of leeway in your visibility, in the search engines too, because people will search by price. They can set their price.
I want to look for a place between 102 hundred and 50 a night or 200 and 400. So they'll set those boundaries. So it's one of the people's biggest decision factors, because if they can't afford it, they're not going to stay there. And they're going to set those prices when they go in there. Right. So stay competitive, stay around what everybody else is staying around, unless you're way better than them.
Right. And unless you're places way crappier, you want to be a little bit below, right? What a bargain we have. There's only a few roaches on the bed, but you want to be competitive. And comparables. So you want to know what's going on, always be aware of the market. It's just like buying any rental property.
You got to know what the run's going for in the area before you buy that property. Because how are you going to know if you're overpaying for it? The same goes with pricing. You can't overprice your place because you won't get the bookings, right? You won't even get them at the end. People are going to just, they'll say, I'm not paying that for this place.
So make sure you're staying competitive. But don't be cheap about yourself. Don't undervalue your place because you know, except for in the beginning, when you want to get those ratings in there, obviously I think those first couple of months, yes, you might want to keep your prices a little more competitive, but once you get the reviews and stuff going, don't undervalue your placement.
You got to pay rent and all this other stuff on there. There's a lot of stuff that goes into keeping a place up. Get to the end of the month. And you only made 50 bucks, man. You could've made 50 bucks doing a lot of other stuff or a lot easier. You know what I mean? You could have Mo mowed the lawn two times and you wouldn't have had any of the trouble that you had pain, all this stuff.
It's not worth it for 50 bucks, man. You got to make a little bit of profit you're in business to make money. All businesses are in business to make money. Obviously we are always there to serve. Number one, we want to serve. But why be in business, if not to make money, just admit it. And if you want to be a Superhost, um, Airbnb says that being super host doesn't boost your listing, but all of the things that you have to do in order to be a Superhost all contribute to boosting your listings.
So the things that, the factors that make you a Superhost are things like having higher rates. So keeping your ratings above 4.8, that's 4.8 out of the five star ratings. You want to keep your ratings high and you want to be responsive. Responsive means when somebody requests your room or your, or your property or your house or whatever it is when they request it, they're going to send like this a little ding to you and you have to respond within 24 hours.
Now that's easy. I respond super cool. Because it gets sent right to my phone. So unless my phone is off when I'm recording, like right now, the phone is off because you know, I even have to remember to turn Alexa off sometimes. Cause she's bugged me. It's like, you know, your package is arriving, you know, like, thanks.
Thanks, Alexa. You want to be responsive. You want to make sure that you're answering them quickly because here's the deal to think about you when you go online to buy anything. You see it and you ask about it, but then what do you do? If, if they, you know, if they're not responding, what do you do? You go next, right next, you go to the next property.
And if there's somebody who will allow you to book instantly, as opposed to somebody who takes requests, you're going to take the instant book and it's going to be too late, too little, too late. So the quicker you respond, the more likely you are to get the reservation. And you want to be active. You want to have at least 10 plus days a year, you can do that right away.
When you first get started just by, you know, like I said, keeping your price low, um, keeping your minimum stay off when you first get started. So you can get a whole bunch of stays in one, and that's going to help you get your activity way up. Reliability. You want to have zero cancellations and that's a good thing.
You don't want to cancel on people. You don't want to allow people to book and then change your mind. Why would you do that? This is a business. Don't change your mind. I have a friend who lives in Hawaii and she had to cancel her her reservations because of the, the lava flow. And I mean, that was sad. She ended up actually losing her house, but first she had her house booked out.
It was down in vacation. And she had had the property out, but they closed all the roads. First when the volcano first started to erupt. So she had to go and cancel her reservations. And Airbnb was all ticked off at her and she's like, look, I have no control over this. I would love to not cancel, but there's a volcano erupting and they've closed all the roads.
There's no way to get to the property. Right. And it ended up, she actually lost the property. The property is now was very, you could look out her back, we've stayed at her property. You could look out though the windows and the ocean was right behind you at night. He was so beautiful, so lovely. And now it's a mile from the ocean there.
It's covered with lava. All the houses are gone. And the lava goes out an extra mile out into the ocean and all the tide pools are gone and stuff there. It's really, really sad. But the thing is sometimes you got to cancel, you know, and there's nothing you can do about it, but do your best to not cancel.
If you cancel one time, boom, you are not a Superhost. So you want to make sure that whenever you open your calendar, Those dates are really available, that nothing else is going to go on. And if you open it and somebody books it, you can not cancel it. Okay. Or for fear of losing your Superhosts because Superhosts is really important.
If you're a Superhost, all those things, all those factors are going to put you higher in the visibility on every search. Okay. So the acceptance of reservations has gotta be 80%. Now I kind of have a hard time with this. We, we have ours on instant. Instant booking means. Well, I'll explain that in a second.
But instant booking allows people to book right away. They don't have to call me and I don't have to text them back and answer it as long as they meet certain qualifications, right. They can book instantly, but if they don't meet those qualifications, then they have to answer me, you know, ask me and I'll get a text message.
It says, hi, this is Cheryl from Virginia. And I'm coming in. And we want to stay for three nights, blah, blah, blah. But they don't have anything. They don't have a picture. They don't have their government ID down, you know, downloaded or uploaded yet. They don't have any reviews. Those aren't the people I want in my place, because honestly, I would rather have people who already have good reviews.
I need people to have their government IDs, you know, stored there in Airbnb. Airbnb, doesn't share it with you, but at least, you know, that it's there. And they used to say that it matched the payment ID. So if you're, you know, if John DOE was the, on the driver's license, then John DOE would be on the credit card.
But I don't know if they still do that. Somebody told me that. But at the same time, I want to know that these people are real people. And it also helps me with the extra insurance I have. Now, Airbnb has a million dollar policy for you as an Airbnb host that they include. That's, that's part of the fees that you pay to them is your property is covered, but here's the deal that is totally up to them.
That is there. It's completely at their discretion, whether or not they're going to cover a property. And so I like to be a little more safe. Now, when you're first getting started, you may or may want to take risks. I don't recommend taking risks. I've I have friends who have short-term rentals. There's a guy who does an arbitrage.
Um, here in Phoenix, he had a property that was just ripped off, not too long ago. So he walked in, he even did a FaceTime live with it and he walked in and he's like, Oh, my gosh, they ripped us off. Like the TV is gone, the couch was gone. Like you walk in and he goes, Hey, it looks like a dance floor. No, this used to have furniture in it, but they actually moved the couch into the hallway.
They were trying to get things out, but I mean, it, they rip you off. I mean, people will actually steal from you. And that sucks. That sucks. It's sad, but it's reality, but it's less likely to happen with guests who have stored their government ID or who have traveled before and have reviews with other people.
Now, if somebody has their Facebook profile linked to their Airbnb and they have their government ID downloaded, but it's the first time they travel. I may do it. So it's just going to be completely at your discretion. Do you want to take those chances? But I figure if they've got their Facebook, you know, I'll even say if they request it, I'll say, look in order for you to stay with me, I'm going to need you to download your government ID with Airbnb.
They do not share us, share it with us as hosts, but we need it for our insurance to make sure that, you know, will be covered extra. And then I also make sure that I tell them that, um, I still say that they'll match it with their payment method. And you wouldn't believe how many times? I don't know if it's true.
I'm like, I don't know if it's still true, but it may or may not be their policy, but there's a lot of people who won't answer back after. Download your ID and they'll match it to your payment method and then they'll stop and you won't get anything back from them. And you're like, well, that's probably good news.
So I love that little feels almost like a threat. Like they're going to match your ID with your payment method and if it doesn't match, you will not get it in. And you're like, ah, they, they just don't do it. That's cool. I would rather have people not answer me back and know that I made the right decision.
Then there's other people that go, oh, I'll do it right away. How do I do it? And I just give them the link where they can do it. It's super easy on the app. If they do it on their phone, it's pretty easy on a computer, except for you're going to have to download the picture, but way easier on the app, way easier on the app.
And it's, it's just a simple step. So. To upload their government ID. And I asked them to link their Facebook page. If they do those two things for me, then I know that this is most likely who they are. So I'm like, all right, now I'm feeling a little more comfortable. I'll do that for you and reviews. They want your reviews, you to do a reviews.
I should say they want you to do at least 50% of your reviews. A hundred percent ladies and gentlemen, you should always be leaving review. When somebody stays at your property, you leave a review for them. As soon as you leave a review, their review shows and you don't get to see each other's reviews until they're both left.
They leave you one, you leave them one and then boom, they open them both up for you guys to see. I kind of makes it like a fair game, but then you can always leave a response to, and I recommend always, always, always leaving. People, you know, it's like, oh, I love the little place. Thank you, Michelle, for this and that.
And it's like, my pleasure. Can't wait to see you and host you again. You know, it was great talking to you about X, you know, I'm wishing you luck in your, you know, marathon that you're running, whatever you just want to make sure that you want to form a relationship with people, because I'm going to tell you something.
There's a lot of people who stay with us over and over and over and over again. Why. 'cause we, we become friends. You, you form a relationship with people. You care about them. They know you care about them. You start to know their likes and dislikes. You can put little things in there that you know, that they like, you know, if they talk about, um, oh, every time we go to Disney, we, you know, or to universal, we, we hit that voodoo doughnut place, you know, right there on, on city walk.
So what do you do? You take a short trip to city walk right before they come and you put a few donuts in there. From voodoo donuts place. What does that cost you? Like less than 10 bucks. And they love that because you remembered they loved voodoo donuts. Hello. And I always, you know how I remember because it's in my comments from last time, I make sure that I comment on the things that I know, and sometimes I can do it in private comments.
So, you know, it's not something everybody else sees, but the private comments going back and forth between us. So when they book again, I can see that we have that conversation going because. Keeps going in there, that message keeps going. And what's really cool is I can see all those old things and just play on them.
And people love that. They know you care. So you want to do that. You want to be that person. Remember not only are you receiving good reviews, but you're leaving good reviews. You're leaving people, stuff that says, Hey, if I really felt special and I am really grateful for you saying in my. So, thank you so much for using us.
We hope we get to see you again. Next time you visit. So, you know, let them know that you care and let them know that you're grateful. Now, another thing that might show up in the listings and your placement is going to be the location. So obviously this is a kind of funny thing that they do an Airbnb that they don't do it other places, but they look where other people book.
So let's say for instance, where did we say we were going up to Quebec, Ontario, Ontario. Where, where are we going? We were going up to Canada sometimes. Let's use Ontario. So we're going up to Ontario and we put in Ontario, guess what places they're going to show that are going to pop up on the location thing.
When I put in Ontario, they're going to show where others book most. And that's kind of weird because they're not asking you, you know, what plays you want, what area of town you want to be in. But they're going to say the majority of people who go to Ontario state. Here's where people book the most. So if your property is booked out more often, you're going to be placed higher on a search.
So it does behoove you, if you aren't doing the monthly and weekly rentals to do that because you'll have more people staying in your place and the more people that stay in your place and they have booked with you, the more likely your place is going to show up on the search. And they also use like a thing where they think most people are most likely to book.
So let's say if you do Orlando, they're going to put you down, you know, towards Disney world, because most people would book somewhere by Disney. It's because the majority of people go to Disney world. That's going to be the number one place. But if you are, uh, you know, if you're like a Harry Potter fan and you want to be at universal, you're going to have to search a little bit harder, go to the you're going to have to go to the maps, click on the maps, go up the for a little bit and boom, you're going to be staying over that way.
So you're going to have to make a little more effort, but they're going to show people where the most, where they're most likely to book where most people have booked before. It's just not as great as it could be, but I wanted to cover real quick to the instant booking. You're going to do these things because you want to get boosted in the algorithm and instant bookings, get boosted in the algorithm.
They've talked about this and they've admitted this. If you have instant bookings, you get boosted in the algorithms. So instant booking is pretty cool, but if you do, you know, do these things. Yeah, you want to accept bookings and, and you want people to be able to book with you right away without asking you, but you want to be careful.
So these don't require your approval, but you can have all these things checked on them. So when they do an instant booking, they're going to have to check. The guest is going to have to say, yes, we accept the house rules. And we agree to abide by them. They check like a little agreement thing. They're going to have to have their government ID then.
And they will only have positive reviews on their feedback. So they're going to have to have positive reviews from all the other hosts and they can also send you a message. You can set this little questionnaire up. It's kind of cool. So we say, Hey, it's an automatic, it's like a bot, right? So as soon as somebody uses the instant booking, a little question comes up for them and says, hi, I'm Michelle.
We'll come to wherever they're Seren. Right. And then it says, Hey, why are you coming in? Or who are you coming in with? And why are you coming in for, for pleasure or for business, blah, blah, blah. And it just asks them a couple of questions in a really nonchalant. And if their answer, the reply to that question is just like, you know, if they say we're coming in for the murder Fest, but I'm just saying if they, if they say something that just was like, you know, your little ding, ding, ding, your spidey senses, get all a tingle.
And you're like, yeah, I don't like this. This doesn't sound right. And you start looking into this person. You don't feel comfortable with it. You can cancel that for. They allow you that one free message. So when they reply to your whatever question you put out there, when they reply to that, that one message comes in.
You can cancel after that. If you're, like I said, your spidey, spidey senses are all a tingle and you're like, no, no, no, I don't like this answer. These people sound like, you know, crazy people and I don't want them in my place. So don't worry about that. You can set an advanced notice too. So you can say we'll accept people from the same day or at least one day in advance or two days or three days in advance.
Now we're going to talk about this because the trip length is automatically set on 14 days, unless you set a different, so they can stay as long as 14 days, unless you set it different. But they can only book out as many days as you set too. So like if they're coming in today and they want to come in today, you might have, you need an advanced notice.
I always recommend an advanced notice. And the reason why I do is because I have a cleaning company for all my properties, I do not clean my own properties. And I have to make sure that if somebody is coming in right away, that I've my cleaning company is available. And I want to know. So I always look out, I'm always on the lookout for my cleaning company when they're getting booked up.
And as soon as they start booking up, then I take my advanced reservations and I make it farther and farther out so that they can get somebody in there to clean it. So if somebody is only staying for one night and let's say they, if I had an instant book and I had it so that they could have a same day reservation, that means that my cleaning company would have to be available tomorrow morning.
Because they could come in, they could say tonight, they could check out tomorrow morning. And I got to make sure that my cleaning company is going to be available to go clean that property. And that doesn't usually happen on a one day. Notice my cleaning companies, I know need a couple of days notice, so I'm very careful.
Now, if you're cleaning your own places or you know, that your place is, you know, super great at that or whatever, then you don't have to worry about that. You can do same day and that's okay. When people are kind of going through town or something, same days. Usually, usually not always, but usually end up being a one night or two night max.
They don't stay very long because usually they're driving through and they're like, okay, I'm driving through Phoenix and I'm getting really tired on my way to LA. And I just got to pull over for the night. Let me just see what's here. That's kind of what they are. And, and that's why they're same day.
Most people plan. Um, most people plan, I think a couple of months out and now it's getting more 30 days and now there's, you know, it depends on the season too and where you are, but if it's a high season, people plan farther out. So if people know that they're going, for instance, um, to Hawaii in may.
They're going to plan ahead because may is a very big season. I mean, that's when the, the whales are out there and all this stuff is going on. There's a bunch of different festivals and things like that. So, you know, you know, um, the gem festival down in Tucson, um, where do I go? Every single Halloween. I am at my place in Florida because I'm there for Halloween horror nights.
And. The food and wine festival Epcot center, my favorite things like, you know, where you're going and you know, it's going to be busy. You know, spring break is busy at Disney, you know, summer's busy at Disney. So, you know, the times of year. That are busy and, you know, if you're going to an event or something that's busy at that time, you're going to plan it a lot farther ahead than if you're on a road trip and you're just driving through because your buddy needed to pick up a car in Texas and then get it to LA.
Right? So you plan ahead for different things. And then those things, you know, those things you know about in advance. So just know that nowadays people are more and more booking out in the same month that I don't know what's happening. But in my mind, I am a planner, but I guess people are just becoming less and less planners.
So you can do that. It's totally up to you. What's really cool about the instant booking is you can do a lot of those settings yourself. And if there's something that you don't like, don't do instant booking. I also sent a set mine at a very, I have a strict cancellation policy. People see, you know, once they book it, they got 24 hours to change your mind.
After that boom, a hundred percent of that money is. And I don't change that. I am very strict about my cancellation because I need to be, I have, you know, I have a lot of properties. I have a lot of expenses and a lot of times, like I said, my properties are booked out for a complete month or so. Imagine if somebody had rented your property out for a month or two, and then they changed their mind the day before.
If you didn't have a strict policy or seven days before, even seven days before. Now seven days before their two months day, you've got a two month opening in your, in your calendar. That would not be a good thing. So I recommend as soon as you can, when you're first starting out, go ahead and be a little bit more lax, Daisy.
But as soon as you can go strict go strict cancellation. And I don't think that has anything to do with. Your ratings actually. Yes, it does. Having these strict cancellation policy affects people's search because you can search by cancellation policy. So if you are looking for something that's less strict, which is what most people are looking for when they put that into their search.
It just means that they want the ability to be able to cancel and get their money back and that will affect you. So yes, it will affect the searches that you get. And the amount of times you get seen, when you have a strict cancellation policy, you are less seen, and that's just a fact, however, your income is way more protected.
So people are less likely to cancel because they know you have a strict policy. And you're going to save your income. So I think it's very important to have a strict cancellation policy. I do not ever like going to a less than strict cancellation policy. I don't do it if you want to. That's totally fine with you, but us.
We keep it at strict all the time. We find that we get a better clientele actually, who take things a lot more seriously. So that's completely up to you. I thought I'd intervene, Eric, and I'll let you continue. Then go ahead, do it. You still have that opportunity to cancel. If they send you back something that makes you think they're a serial killer, right?
So just cancel them. Boom. They're canceled by and the same day. Just watch out. You just want to be careful with your cleaning companies. So just making sure you know that your pictures and everything are great, your title doing Rachel Miller's, you know, bumper sticker thing there. I love her. She's so sweet.
Want to hire a Virtual Assistant but don't have a clue about how to get started...
We've created a program just for you inside our membership, VA Advantage. Not a member yet? We've got you covered, too. We've made this program available for "outsiders" for a limited time and for less than $20. Grab it now before it's too late!
Go and Grow...
If you want to become financially free, you need the right education. That’s why we created our Mini-Courses on investing in Short-Term Rentals. If you are serious about investing your time and money into an Airbnb (aka Short Term Rental), you need a system. Our courses are jammed packed with everything you need to know to create massive, passive income. Plus, they're affordable.
and take a look at July's BNB Budget Makeover Series inside our blogs...
This month, we give you loads of great ideas on using your orphan days to make inexpensive changes to your properties. Begin here, with Budget Room Makeovers: Weekend Projects for Under $1000.
Don't miss a beat!
New articles, blogs, podcast episodes, and courses delivered to your inbox.
We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.