Airbnb has become incredibly popular in recent years. Millions of people are using the online marketplace to book lodging and plan incredible adventures all over the world. In fact, Airbnb has hosted 400 million guests since its launch in 2008.
Airbnb is a great way for people to turn their unused or extra space into a business. As a business owner myself, it got me thinking about how Airbnb entrepreneurs, many without previous experience running a business, got to be so successful on the platform.
So, how can new business owners utilize Airbnb host best practices for their own success? Check out these four tips that new businesses can learn from Airbnb hosts.
1. Do your research.
Before starting your journey as an Airbnb host, you need to do research to find out whether you need a permit or a license, what other hosts are offering on Airbnb, what qualifications make them “superhosts,” how much to charge per night and so on. Doing this research helps you learn what’s expected of you and lets you pick up tips from other successful hosts on the platform.
New business owners need to do the same. The more research you do on the market, your target audience and your competitors, the better prepared you’ll be to turn your new business into a successful one.
2. Create an eye-catching listing.
The key to making Airbnb users book right away is an eye-catching listing. But, creating an awesome listing isn’t as simple as writing a few sentences about the property, posting a single image and waiting for the bookings to start rolling in.
A great listing includes high-quality photos that shows off the best aspects of the property, an interesting title that stands out (think: “Family-Friendly Beach House in Key West,” as opposed to “House in Key West”) and an engaging summary that includes what’s special about the place and why users should want to book it. It’s also important not to exaggerate — exaggerating or lying about what the property has to offer will only upset guests when they come to stay.
If you’re a new business owner, take the elements for creating an eye-catching listing and apply it to your website. Your business website is how many users will discover you online. So, it needs to grab their attention and make them want to buy from you. Your business website should include stunning product images, have a great headline and include engaging and accurate product descriptions that don’t mislead the consumer.
3. Be a good host.
As an Airbnb entrepreneur, customer service is important. Airbnb hosts who provide the best customer service for their guests will get the best reviews. This can lead to more bookings, more word-of-mouth recommendations and even repeat visitors.
First, providing the best customer service means fixing issues promptly — if the fridge or the wifi suddenly stops working during a guest’s stay, the problem needs to be fixed immediately, with an apology for the inconvenience.
Being responsive is also key. Airbnb keeps track of response time, and poor response times will disqualify hosts from achieving “Superhost” status. Finally, welcoming guests with little tokens of appreciation will make their day. This could be something as small as a greeting card or a more extravagant gift like a complimentary bottle of wine.
All of these tips apply to the customer service your business provides as well. Customer service is key to retaining your new customers. In fact, as reported by Business News Daily, eight out of 10 customers say they’d switch to a competitor due to poor customer service. So, you need to fix customer issues promptly, respond to inquiries in a timely manner and delight them at the same time. Think about what would make your customers smile.
4. Build trust.
Building trust is key to finding success on Airbnb. The more trusted your listing is, the higher it will appear in Airbnb rankings, which means more bookings. You can build trust by getting reviews and building up your ratings. Most people read reviews of a company before choosing to purchase from them. In fact, according to statistics from BIA/Kelsey, 97% of people read reviews for local businesses.
This clearly applies to your new business as well. Online reviews act as a form of social proof. When consumers see that others are happy customers of your business, they’ll be more likely to give you a shot as well.
So, put your focus as a new business owner on providing the best to your customers. As long as you provide a quality product/service along with great customer service, you should have no problem collecting five-star reviews.
Surprisingly, or maybe not so surprisingly, Airbnb hosts and new business owners have a lot in common. So, you can stop overcomplicating things and start a successful business by following just four steps: Research, create a professional website, provide outstanding customer service and build trust.