Howdy to all you happy hosts and rental rock stars! I hope your February was full of booked nights and 5-star reviews. We are heading into that transition time when the winter weather listings start slowing down and the warm weather listing starts picking up. I have been toying with an idea for a while that I need to expand my listings so I have one in each type of area. That way it evens out my yearly cash flow. If anyone has something like this in place already, please reach out and let me know how it's working for you! But for now, let's look back on the February Host Wrap-Up!
From talking to host around the US it seems like travel is slowing down over the past month and my guess is this is because of the spread of the virus along with the fear that goes with it. And with the first case of it in the US not tracked back to someone that directly visited China the fear is likely to only get worse before its gets better. So what are we to do as hosts during this time? First, do not panic and freak out! Educate yourself about the virus and what is happening. It is essentially a kind of advanced flu. The Coronavirus itself has been around for some time, and this is the latest form of it. But it is still going to have a massive affect on travelers and their travel plans. The exact affect depends on way too many factors for me to make a reasonable guess. But if the disease mostly stays outside the US borders, I could see a pop in smaller local places as travelers look to stay close to home. Also if the panic and fear ramps up too high and kills travel altogether, then hosts are going to need a plan to keep in business. In this case it might be smart to look at finding longer term renters. Maybe even 6 to 12 month long renters so you can at least break even on expenses. Again, I am not sure what is going to happen, but a savvy host should be at least thinking about what to do if travel drops off while we wait for the fear to subside. If you are looking to better understand the virus and the effects it might have on travel, these pieces in Business Insider and Fodors I found to be quite helpful.
New Rental Platform
As hosts, we are all looking for the edge on getting more bookings. And one of those edges it being on platforms where the competition is not. So it's always a good idea to stay abreast of new booking sites. The newest one is VR BFF and it has a very interesting spin. Its goal is to be a more host-centric site. In their own words "We are working at restoring sanity and decency to vacation rentals. As fast as the sites have grown, they have lost their way – they’ve forgotten about honesty, respect, and integrity." The real hook for me is that guests are only allowed on the site when invited by hosts. This means the platform is offering an additional level of screening in hopes of providing higher quality guests. I love the idea in theory, but in practice, it is a guessing game on whether it works. I am probably going to try a few listings on there and see how they do because the fees are so low it's worth the chance.
New York Architectural wonder
Optimize Airbnb Title Generator
When creating a listing, one of the hottest debated and most difficult parts is the title. It's the first words potential guests read when looking at your listing and it plays a huge role in the Airbnb search engine. So you need to make sure you are getting the most out of it. It needs to be descriptive and enticing. Something that gives enough info to get guests to click your listing, but not get too bogged down in the details. So its great news that Optimize Airbnb has created a simple to use tool to help hosts create a listing title. In their own words, "It's a tool that will suggest an optimized title for your Airbnb listing based on the answers you provide. The strategy is based on my Advanced, Super Host, and Elevate Host Optimizations which receive a custom Airbnb title." You should defiantly give it a whirl, whether you use the exact title they suggest or not, it's a great tool to get you thinking about how to optimize your Airbnb Listing Title.
Question of the Month
Rental hosts rarely receive the opportunity to see how other hosts operate. Which makes it difficult to learn and improve. The solution? Every month I ask a question so we can all learn from each other. Let's take a look at last month's question:
- 17% - Never - turn and burn!
- 25% - 1-2 times a year
- 16% - 3-5 time a year
- 33% - 5-10 times a year
- 9% - All the Freaking time!
That is an interesting spread here. I am not sure if there is a "right", but it certainly makes me want to look at if there is anything I can do in my own listings to get longer bookings. My instinct says trying to court longer bookings is most profitable during the slower seasons. During the busy times of the year, you really want to maximize dollars per night even if it means a slightly lower occupancy rate. But in slower times those longer bookings can be lifesavers. Thanks to everyone that answered!
For this months question, I want to know about your platforms: