Planning to list your home on a short-term rental site or wanting to increase your bookings? You’re not alone and we’re giving you out top tips on how to make this happen. According to an ABC News report from December 2017, there are almost ninety thousand Australian homes listed on Airbnb with just over thirty thousand listings in Sydney alone. The thought of competing against so many seasoned hosts might seem daunting but don’t overestimate the competition. Here are some simple yet effective tips that you can implement now stand out to secure more bookings.
1. Great photos make a tremendous difference
Place yourself in the traveller’s position; you browse firstly on location and dates and then straight to pictures. It’s pure human nature and rather trying to change evolution in a day, it’s one of the most effective ways you can leverage. You may have a beautiful home but no one will know how lovely it is if your photos are of poor quality. If you’re going to repeatedly rent out your place, we highly advise looking into engaging someone who knows how to take beautiful images. You’ll only need to do this once. Photography is much more affordable today with the ability to find rated photographers on platforms.
If you plan on taking some snaps yourself then using a mobile phone camera or shooting your interiors in low lighting should be avoided. Bright, high quality interior shots make your listing stand out, significantly increasing the likelihood of people clicking through to make a booking. If you have a DSLR camera or a friend who is handy with a camera, now is the time to stage a few high-resolution snaps in natural light.
2. Hide cords
Another way to make photos feel less cluttered is ensure cords are well hidden in images. Seeing bundles of cables in photos creates an atmosphere of disarray. You want viewers to feel calm and relaxed when looking at your listing - in other words, already in holiday mode. This applies outside of just photos. Cords are sloppy and disorganised so make sure they are tucked behind the TV or neatly covered to ensure your guests continue to feel relaxed when they arrive in person. Doing also greatly reduces the risk of injury and damage.
3. Keep things simple
It’s cliché but it’s true: less is better than more. You may feel right at home when you see your two bookshelves of cookbooks and your children's toys scattered everywhere but your potential guests will just look at the photos and think of one thing: clutter which leads to dirty which leads to inhabitable for them. Store your belongings, if possible away from living and if not possible you in simple boxes. Photos with less clutter create a more relaxed vibe among browsing guests, which means they are more likely to book.
4. Showcase your home’s personality
Just like their owners, each home is unique. Listings that are full of mass produced pastel-toned furniture, blank white walls and pots of ivy don’t truly convey your home’s personality. Although this works quite well in creating a nice living environment and if that’s your style then great! Otherwise, your home may be an art deco apartment in Potts Point with beautiful curved windows or a Victorian terrace in Surry Hills, laced with intricate fretwork. Perhaps your walls are adorned with one-of-a-kind artworks or maybe you’re an avid gourmand with a custom-built kitchen. Don’t be afraid to let your guests know!
5. Provide useful information
It may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised to learn how often hosts fail to add information that may be useful to their guests. Examples include mentioning the nearest train station or bus stop, useful public transport routes and recommended neighbourhood hotspots such as cafes, restaurants, markets and landmarks. Potential guests use all that information to make booking decisions so the more you include, the better. Also, simple instructions for operating items in your house go a long way. Don’t overcomplicate these instructions, pictures go a long way here as well. Guests want to spend as little time as possible on learning how to work your fireplace and more time enjoying their break so keep it simple and easily accessible (and for goodness sake place the Wi-Fi instructions and password somewhere logical).
6. Assist guests prior to arrival
Clear communication is vital to ensuring your guests receive all necessary information prior to arrival. It’s a good idea to send them a message thanking them for booking, as well as informing them of practicalities such as how best to travel to your home, when they should arrive, what you provide and what they may need to bring. Taking these extra steps like letting them know of any events happening near you during their stay go a long way in building a more lasting connection. You never know, they may be avid cyclists, food and wine festival goers, or folk music fans – tell them what’s happening in your hood!
7. Leave a personal note in your home
There’s something delightful about a handwritten note, no matter how elegant (or scrawly) your handwriting and yes even if your guests are male. We suggest pinning a welcoming note to your fridge - people like knowing they are dealing with real humans and not just someone behind a computer. A small map of your neighbourhood highlighting shops, transport, parks and your favourite restaurants can be useful. Your genuine tips for local gems are more reliable and interesting than something from a corporate guide book.
8. Provide a unique welcoming package
It may seem like extra work but if you have the time, putting together a welcoming package makes a worthwhile difference. BnB stands for bed and breakfast after all, but breakfast has seemingly become an optional addition to many BnBs. If you ask us, everyone loves a fresh loaf of bread, croissants and condiments for breakfast. If you have a coffee machine, make sure there are plenty of beans. Why not provide some from a local coffee roaster? A bowl of fruit on the counter will provide healthy snacks for the weary traveller and can also do wonders for kitchen styling purposes. For guests arriving in the evening, a little hamper of snacks – or even a bottle of wine – can’t be beaten. Why not showcase your area with some local products like cheese, chocolate, or even a jar of Vegemite.
9. Be there in person
For guests, being able to meet the hosts of the house they are staying in is reassuring and welcoming. While some guests are ready to crash after a long flight, others may fancy a chat, want to get to know you briefly or ask you questions about Sydney. This is the best opportunity for you to be your natural self, show guests around your clean and tidy home and recommend highlights in the area. If you are unable to greet guests in person give them a quick call or send them a text. These personal touches are what enhance a holiday from being average to really memorable, and it’s simply in your hands.
There you have it! Make your place look fabulous and feel warm and add your personal human touch. Now go forth and act!