Howdy to all you happy hosts and rental rock stars! I hope your November was full of booked nights and 5-star reviews. Ever notice how every year after Thanksgiving until Christmas, everyone kinda slows down a bit. Emails get answered a little slower. Phone messages start to pile up. Just getting people to complete tasks takes just a little longer than normal. It's almost like this time of year we remember to finally put friends and family first. Well, I completely got sucked into that. Sorry for the late newsletter and I hope everyone is having an amazing Holiday season. Now let's get on with the November Host Wrap-Up!
Airbnb Party House Crack Down
I am sure everyone is aware by now that after a shooting in California, Airbnb has announced they will be cracking down on party houses. Now, first of all, I want to say the shooting was a terrible tragedy and I am sorry for all those that lost someone. But Airbnb's response just seems very odd to me. I am all for cracking down on house parties at Airbnb's. I think they make us hosts look bad and give lawmakers an excuse to create harsh laws for hosting. But what I find odd, is Airbnb seems to be putting the blame for house parties on the Hosts. When every host I know works extremely had to prevent parties. I know of literally zero hosts that actively court the kind of house party that surrounded the shooting. If they really want to stop house parties it seems vetting guests would be a way more effective strategy. That being said, the actions they saying they will take all seem reasonable. Those actions being:
- Airbnb will 100% verify all listings.
- It will establish a “guest guarantee” in case guests arrive at a listing that does not match its online description.
- Airbnb will create a 24/7 “neighbor hotline” staffed by real people.
- The company will conduct manual reviews of high-risk listings.
If you are a legit, good host nothing here should concern you. In fact, things like the hotline could actually be helpful. Cracking down on bad listings should help you get more bookings. But saying these actions will have any effect on party houses just seems silly. That is like saying to find out what is wrong with my car, I am going to practice my Karate skills. It's a total non-sequitur.
Texas STR Law Struck Down
Hey, it's time for some good news for short term rental hosts. This is actually great news! A Texas state appeals court just "declared some elements of Austin's rules governing short-term rentals unconstitutional, including provisions banning non-owner-occupied rentals and occupancy limits."
For a quick overview of what happened an Austin local NPR reporters wrote: "In 2016, the City Council passed sweeping new regulations of short-term rentals, like those you find through Airbnb or HomeAway. The rules included a phased-in ban on what are called "type 2 STRs" — those that are not occupied by the owner. That ban would be in place by 2022. The court said a ban on type 2 STRs would not prevent any of the concerns the city cited, and that many of those concerns – about disorderly conduct, public urination, and noise – were already prohibited by the law." This is a great precedent for future challenges to overly strict local regulations. You can check out the full NPR story here
How to Rank #1 on AIrbnb Search Results?
One of the single most important factors in getting your rental booked is where it ranks in the Airbnb algorithm. Like Google, Youtube or any other platform with a search engine, there is an ever-changing algorithm that determines what order things appear. Also, like all those platforms, we are never told what goes into the rankings on Airbnb. However, with enough trial and error, certain commonalities among the top-ranking Airbnb listings can be found. Although the ranking algorithm is always changing, we have found several tips that have constantly helped boost rankings on Airbnb listings. Check our recent article "How to Rank #1 on Airbnb Search Results" for the tips you will need to help improve your listings ranking.
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 allow guests to physical visit and preview your rental before booking?
- 20% - Yes
- 50% - No
- 30% - Only Under Special Circumstances
I was surprised to see 20% of hosts allow potential guests to preview their property. I guess I don't see the upside. The downside of inviting trouble or just plain wasting time on people that don't book is obvious. But does showing off the property really increase booking rates enough to make it worthwhile. Maybe I am wrong and would love to hear in the comments from those that allow previews on how it has worked out. Personally I would be in the special circumstances category. Although, I have yet to have any guests inquiries that justified a preview. This month I want to take a look at STR Associations: