Howdy, to all you happy hosts and rental rock stars! I hope your March was full of booked nights and 5-star reviews. For those of you on the Facebooks and the Instagrams make sure to give us a follow. Not just to see to all the good advice we give out, but also so you can tag us and we can share your listing! We love to help get great listings more bookings so follow us Facebook and Instagram. Now, on to the March Host Wrap-Up!
Fees, They Are a-Changin'
We all know Airbnb is constantly tinkering and changing things but this newest program feels like it is forecasting a pretty major upcoming change to their fee structure. Currently, hosts and guests are charged fees up to 20% that is divided between both parties. However, Airbnb is starting to offer a program where hosts can build all the fees into the price of their rental at a rate of 14%. Basically, hosts pay a 14% fee and guests pay nothing. Now, on most other platforms like VRBO, HomeAway, and even something like Ebay, the seller or host pays all the fees. So, this is not some crazy new idea. But I think only having some hosts do this and not others is a terrible idea. If all the fees are built into my costs but not yours then my rental is going to look way more expensive. I would advise hosts not to opt into this program until or if it becomes mandatory for all hosts. When that happens, prices across the board will increase and no one will have an unfair advantage. There might even be a helpful tax reason why hosts would want to make this fee change. But I need to talk to my CPA to be sure about this. For more details about this program, here is a great blog post.
I know we talk a lot about Airbnb and that is for good reason. They are the single largest platform used by short term rental guests which makes it difficult for hosts to listing their rental elsewhere. But just because they are the largest option does not make them the only option. There is, in fact, a plethora of smaller, specialized rental platforms that could really help increase your occupancy rate. And, while it is more work to manage your booking calendar across multiple platforms, it is a hoop worth jumping through if that extra platform increases your occupancy rate by even 5%. Check out this article from Real Clear Life on their Top 10 Airbnb Alternatives. ________________________________________________________
This month's listing spotlight has a delightful listing title - A Pirate's Life For Me - Houseboat
. This listing does a lot of things right. First of all, it fully embraces its nautical theme. It has a very specific niche and fully goes for it. Second, the pictures are beautiful, inviting, and full of warmth. Lastly, it does a great job of selling itself in the description write-up. Hosts often forget that the description shouldn't just be a list of rules and regulations but that it needs to sell your home. Give guests every possible reason to book with you!
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Hosting Tip: Rental Setup Check List
Starting out in short term rentals can be intimidating but, at the end of the day, it’s really not any harder than just being a good host. For first time hosts, I always recommend keeping three things in mind; treat people like guests, never put anything down in writing that you wouldn’t want to be broadcast in public, and make sure you treat it like a business. The first two are common sense but, in order to successfully treat your rental as a business, there are are a handful of must-have items you will need. You wouldn’t open a hotdog stand without hotdogs, buns, or ketchup and I wouldn’t open up a Short Term Rental without these ten essentials.
Question of the Month
Rental hosts rarely receive the opportunity to see how other hosts operate which makes it hard 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:
How far ahead do you let guests book your rental?
- 5% - 3 Months
- 25% - 6 Months
- 37.5%- 12 Months
- 12.5% - 24 months
- 20% - As far ahead as they want
It looks like the sweet spot for hosts is the 6-13 month booking window with over half our hosts in that range. I think 3 months out makes a lot of sense for newer hosts still figuring things out. This allows you to make changes and adjustments without affecting too many bookings. For those that allow booking 24 months or more out, I have to assume these are hosts that feel they have it on lock and are fully committed to hosting for the foreseeable future. It certainly gives you the greatest chance of a 100% occupancy rate but it doesn't come without risk. Newer hosts should be careful before opening your booking window that far out.
This month, I want to look at bathroom amenities: