Howdy to all you happy hosts and rental rock stars! I hope your May was full of booked nights and 5-star reviews. I have noticed a recent trend in hosts becoming overly concerned with their booking rates, the percentage of people that look at your listing and book it. To me, the more important number is your occupancy rate, the percentage of booked nights. My 2 cents is for you to focus more on getting more nights booked and less on the number of people viewing your listing. Now off the soapbox and on to the May Host Wrap-Up!
Marriott vs Airbnb Hosts
This may come as a surprise to some but as an Airbnb host, you are in direct competition with not only the other rentals in your area, but also the billion dollar hotel chains. Every time someone travels to your area they can choose a hotel over your rental. Which is why hosts need to do what they can to make sure they are offering a professional experience. It is not good enough to just be better than the other rentals, you also need to be better than the hotels. And so far you Airbnb hosts are doing a pretty good job. So good, in fact, Marriott is creating a new rental service, called Homes & Villas to compete more directly with Airbnb hosts.
Does this mean the Short Term Rental market is coming to a close? Highly doubtful that would happen. In fact, this just further helps normalize it for travelers and even more potential guests for everyone. But in order to compete with this kind of offering, hosts need to continue focusing on their competitive edge, a unique experience. And as long as guests can count on your rental being clean and professional, they will always choose something unique and interesting over cookie-cutter Marriott housing.
Service Animal Law Changes
The service animal debate is a fierce one within the rental community because you can not legally turn away a service animal unless it is in a home share and you are citing allergies. Now the problem comes from all the fake or "pay to play" service animals. A true service animal has gone through years of training and is incredibly well-mannered. You have nothing to fear regarding property damage from a true service animal, however, the fake ones can be troublesome. Thankfully it looks like HUD is working on some changes to help owners deal with these fake service dogs. An article from Realtor Magazine does a great job breaking down the changes
To me, one of the most important detail is that landlords can not legally inquire about a guests disability ever. They can ask to see paperwork verifying the animal's authenticity. The paperwork should come from a medical provider that regularly treats the person. But as a HUD director states: "If you can “readily observe” that a tenant has a disability and an animal that provides a service, it’s wise not to push the issue of additional verification." Hopefully, we can receive full clarity form HUD soon to help sort out the fake from the real.
This month's listing spotlight is a spicy one! It is the Spice Bus from the Spice Girl's 1997 Movie Spice World
. Come on, tell me you wouldn't get a kick out of staying here? The nostalgia factor is through the roof and owners have done a great job with the listing. Clean white bedding, fun detail shots, and created small seating areas that make you want to be there. But I think the biggest lesson is they personalized the theme, "I’m a huge fan of the band and have tried to include as many little touches as possible inspired by the girls and their music, to make the inside just as iconic as the outside!" I think with any listing it is important to give them a little insight into why you love the place. Your passion for it will help potential guests be passionate about it.
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Hosting Tip: 10 Items Hosts Never Knew they Needed
We all know the basic requirements for a passable rental: a comfy bed, decent sheets, and a clean set of towels. But in order to pile up those 5-star reviews, hosts need to go above and beyond. They need to include those extra details that make the rental truly special. But the dirty little secret about these extras is that they not only make your guests stay more enjoyable, but they also make your hosting life a little easier. This is our list of the items that many hosts forget about, but definitely need: 10 items you didn't even know you needed but that will make you a super host.
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:
Do you have a security camera somewhere on your property to keep an eye on guests?
I thought this one was going to be closer to a 50/50 split, but it looks like they are not as popular as expected. For those that are thinking about installing them, make sure to remember that you have to disclose cameras in your listing and never put them in bathrooms or bedrooms. If you want to just dip your toe into the camera world, the ring doorbell is a great way to go.
This month, I want to look at early check-ins: