***Keep an eye on this post for updates as I add more excellent hacks from our contributors!***
There are heaps of FaceBook pages where Airbnb Hosts can get together and share their collective wisdom. The queen of Airbnb Hosts in the USA would have to be Evelyn Badia who runs The Hosting Journey, a closed group with more than 1000 members from all over the world.
We had a very interesting discussion thread recently (thanks to Christina Kent Zima), where hosts jumped in to share their Airbnb platform hacks... tricks and tips for how to get the most out of the technology. Here are some selected highlights with acknowledgements to the generous hosts who shared them.
Anybody else set up flight alerts for guests arrivals? Super handy if your guests aren't able to connect to wifi at the airport and you're checking them in. Simple too! You only have to google the flight number and it will auto store and alert you of any changes. As much as this helps us hosts, it's also a stress off the guests. Nothing worse than sitting on a delayed flight, or not having phone battery on landing after a long haul flight. I always ask for flight numbers at the time of booking too. Otherwise sometimes they go off wifi and never reply with the number.
Tiare Azpiazu & Evelyn Badia
Tiare posted that she uses this tip from NYC SuperHost Evelyn. Guests love to be able to see a floorplan of your space, and Floorplanner is an easy way to get a professional-looking plan.
"Floorplanner is the easiest and best-looking way to create and share interactive floorplans online. Whether you're moving into a new house, planning a wedding or reorganizing your living room, Floorplanner has the right tools for you. With Floorplanner you can recreate your home, garden or office in just a few clicks and furnish your plans with our huge library of objects."
Christina Kent Zima
I didn't realize that you can add seasonal min night stays. This works well for me because 30 days out I don't want to take a 1 night booking, but if it's "last minute" I will. I used the choose "specific dates" option and change the dates all the time. Over 30 days out I will only accept 10 night bookings. To do this, look in the Availability Settings and at the bottom you will see Add another requirement.
One thing I find many hosts are not aware of is the ability to send check-in instructions automatically within the itinerary that gets sent the moment people book. This itinerary automatically contains your address & House Rules, but you can add so much more!
Go to the "location" tab in the setup, write anything you like in that space. I have arrival instructions including a welcome message, directions from the airport, where to find the lock box, the code, parking instructions, my Uber referral code (amazing how many free rides I get!).
Voila! The guest has all the info they need and you haven't had to lift a finger, apart from initially setting this up.
I often score Uber credits because my guests use my Uber referral code. I send them this in the arrival email (set up in Location, as above), I have this image (below) in my listing pic library, and I also have it in my house manual. You can find your Uber referral code in your account settings, and if a first time user applies your code, you both get a credit when they take their first ride!
The catch is that it only works for a first time user, so if one guest already has an Uber account but their family/friends don't, they can set up their own new accounts using my referral code and still get the credit.
Sync Airbnb bookings with Google Calendar and share with cleaners (unless you are using getProperly.com and they have some neat options. This blog shows how to do it.
I don't think it's a hack but my biggest tip is to use your guest's reviews as part of your captions. Not the entire review but just something about that room. Remember over 50% of bookings are done with mobile and you lose a lot of reviews views.
Sometimes I'm not willing or able to make a check-in on a particular day (eg Christmas) and my biggest hack was learning how to block a day just for a check-in while leaving it available in my calendar for any other booking that has that night in the middle.
Let say that you don't want a check-in on the 24th:
In your calendar settings you need to create a new rule that copies your already minimum stay but only disallows a check-in on the 24th. The rule needs to be as the following
24 to 25 - Minimum stay (yours) - Guests must arrive on SUNDAYS
The rule could be written as 23-24 also but it needs to be just 2 days: The one you want to block and the next/previous one.
You don't want to change your price neither your minimum stay setting in this rule thus the only important part is checking the option that Airbnb gives you to let guest arrive on a specific day. In this case, it needs to be SUNDAY because the 25th is Sunday. If I were to use the 23 to 24 rule it should be Friday.
When you do you this you are blocking anyone for checking into your apartment during a SATURDAY which happens to be the 24th. Try it yourself and test it selecting different travel dates. It works beautifully. You can select any kind of stay except a check-in for the date you want to block.
Re orphan nights, this is what I do;
Example: I have a 1 night gap between 2 bookings. I will contact the first guest and offer to extend their booking for 1 night at the special rate of $99 (I reckon that's a sweet spot just under 3 digits). If the first guest is not interested, I offer it to the second, to arrive one day earlier at the special rate of $99 for that first night. I have quite a lot of success with this strategy and manage to plug the gap about 50% of the time!
My hack is use of an app called KeyReply on my phone. It creates stored blocks of text that I can paste in. For example I find many guests outside of Airbnb and send them to Airbnb for booking. I have my listings saved as a block of text :-) Now that I know about the location box I will have less info to send!
I have many guests from China and my place seems to be popular with them so I have written a welcome message, translated it into Chinese with google translate (and back again to check it!). I have added it into my pics library as an image.
I have also taken a couple of snippets of favourable reviews and translated them in the same way, and pasted them into my listing blurb. The result has been that I have had lots more Chinese guests, but they seem to think I speak Chinese!
Enjoy reading my articles? I'd love you to subscribe to my website!
(find the subscribe box on the right of the home page)
Don't forget to follow my FaceBook page Host Hacks for the latest news and links.