Are you really making as much money as you can from your rental? We all assume we are but pride cometh before the fall! A veteran host can develop a vice that is causing them to lose rental income. A newbie will blindly jump into the business without realizing they are committing a cardinal hosting sin. Make sure you are not missing out on income by falling subject to one of the seven deadly sins of rental hosting.
Pride - Don't assume your rental is priced correctly
Not pricing your rental correctly will make or break your business. All too often, hosts use the set it and forget it strategy. They determine a price when they first start renting and never change it. But not adapting to changing factors will cost you a lot of money, so it's important to develop an on-going pricing strategy. Your strategy should include regularly checking comps in your area, figuring out how much you can increase your prices on weekends, should you decrease your price to encourage last minute bookings, learning how rental prices fluctuate over the course of a year, and taking note of any major events happening in your area that could allow you to dramatically increase your rental price. Pricing is the bread and butter of your business so make a plan to look at it every so often and adapt to changes
Envy - Don't want more bookings without being prepared for them
Do you find yourself spying on listings in your neighborhood and wishing you had more bookings like them? If you're not getting a big enough slice of the pie it could be because you're not prepared. A major part of the short-term rental market is a traveler's ability to book and stay on the same day. Which means there can be a lot of one-night bookings that happen back to back. So in order maximize your income, you need to be able to keep your rental ready for bookings at all times. Do you have 2-3 sets of towels and sheets that you can quickly change out between each guest? Are there extra guest toiletries so you can refill them at a moment's notice without having to run to the store? What is your cleaning plan and do you have cleaning supplies for those quick turnovers? Preparation is key to a profitable rental so make sure you have everything you need. Stock up on your rental supplies.
Gluttony - Don't spend more money than you need to
In the beginning, when you're not sure how many bookings you will get, it is understandable not to make too much of a financial commitment. But quickly you find yourself constantly running to the store, and rebuying the same things in small amounts over and over. You end up paying more for less whereas if you would buy in bulk it would save you money. Hosts get caught in a cycle of only buying what they needed exactly when they need it. Over time, operating like this wastes time and money. Once you know your rental is booking regularly, reinvest some of your income into bulk supplies. Buy extra stain remover so you always have it when stains happen. Make sure you have plenty of guests toiletries so you are not constantly running out to the store for those last minute bookings. Get that extra blanket that will make guests happy, keep them from constantly adjusting the thermostat, and make your bed look more appealing in listing photos. And even get that luggage rack to protect your furniture from damage. You can get almost everything you need now!
Lust - Don't become jealous of your guests
It can be tough when you spend money and energy on a rental and it feels like your guests are the only ones enjoying the fruits of your labor. Often, your guest accommodations are nicer than your own with newer and upgraded items you couldn't justify buying for yourself. Or, the guest room is always cleaner than your own because you keep it spotless. We get it. We all want nice things. And, who wouldn't want to have a room that is magically clean all the time? It can be hard when you want to experience these things for yourself but you need to keep your eye on the prize. This is a business that is about bringing you long-term income. You bought that memory foam mattress and pillows as an investment to increase bookings, not so some stranger can sleep better than you. Stay strong and soon enough you will have the money to buy yourself a memory foam mattress and memory foam pillows before your trip to the Caribbean...
Wrath - Don't let anger at one guest carry over to the next
Guests can and will rub you the wrong way. There's no doubt about it. These guests are strangers in your space and it's hard not to, at some point, get pissed off at one of them. But whether you're a new host who is not familiar with how to handle troubling guest or you've been hosting for a while and find yourself with a growing resentment towards guests, you need to find a way to shake it off. This is especially true when a guest leaves a negative review. When a guest chooses to write a review and publicly criticizes you, how can you not take it personally? This is when you need to separate your personal feelings from the fact you are running a business. Respond quickly and politely. Make sure to address any possible concerns that future guests might have based on that review. And don't get into a back and forth battle, but calmly and politely state the facts and move on. If you find yourself perpetually angry at guests for even the smallest things, maybe it's time to take a short break from hosting. There's nothing wrong with taking a break. That's the beauty of this business. You can start and stop hosting whenever you want and you should take advantage of that.
Greed - Don't get so money-driven that you neglect your guests
When you look at your calendar and see all your bookings, it is exciting to think about all the money you're making. And, you should celebrate because you've worked hard and it's an awesome achievement. However, don't let your desire to make even more money cause you to neglect your current guests. Make sure the room is as clean and as ready to go for the first guest as it is for the next guest. If you get sloppy, all of a sudden those 5-star reviews become 3-star reviews and those bookings start slowing down.
Also, yes, you will have more money in your pocket by not buying your guests toilet paper or shampoo or cotton swabs. However, these amenities have quickly become something most guests expect when they book a short term rental. More and more, hosts are offering the standard amenities that one would find in a hotel. To save yourself money, we suggest buying your guest toiletries in bulk. You'll save money by buying in larger quantities and you will have a supply on hand for easy refilling, as needed. Remember, happy guests mean great reviews which will get you more bookings and more money.
Sloth - Don't get lazy about cleaning your rental
If you clean your own short term rental, you may at times feel overwhelmed by all the cleaning. You are not alone as many hosts get burnt out by their constant cleaning duties. Back to back bookings, in particular, can make you feel like you're on a continuous cycle of cleaning with no end in sight. If you become worn down by the task, you might start to slack on the job and your rental will start to look less clean with each booking. Will my guests notice if I don't vacuum this time? Will they really care that I didn't dust the shelves? As you get accustomed to subpar cleaning standards, your reviews will slowly start to suffer. Small things can be forgiven from time to time but, eventually, a tipping point will be reached and a spurt of bad reviews about how dirty your space is will be the kiss of death for your short term rental.
If you find yourself exhausted and slacking on your cleaning duties, don't be shy about taking a day or two off of hosting and giving yourself a much-needed break. Also, take this time off to reassess your cleaning strategy. Is there some way you can make the cleaning process faster or easier? Do you have all the cleaning tools and supplies you need to get the job done as efficiently as possible? Sometimes we get stuck doing a job one way and taking a step back to reevaluate can be just the trick to fix the problem.
Being a rental host is often a solitary venture and that can make it hard to see where you could improve your business. If you find yourself suffering from one of the vices above, it's important to know that there is a big online community to connect with for support. Whether you want to learn from other host experiences or get help with a specific issue, there are a wealth of options available where you can get advice and solutions from hosts just like you. Take advantage of these communities and keep your short-term rental business thriving.