Please welcome Jasper Ribbers to the Casual Capitalist! Jasper left his finance career in 2010 and has since been traveling the world non-stop, as documented on his blog The Traveling Dutchman. He’s also the author of Get Paid For Your Pad, the Amazon best selling book on Airbnb hosting.
You’ve created your Airbnb listing, filled out your profile, added some amazing photos of your precious home and wrote an appealing description. Within a few days, you get your first booking and a month later you’ve already welcomed three groups of guests. Great! However, your calendar is still showing lots of empty space and you wonder: what’s next? How do I fill up that calendar, how do I get more bookings? If this sounds familiar, keep on reading, because you’re about to learn four ways to get more bookings on Airbnb.
Put Your Best Picture First
I see this all the time. Hosts take advantage of the free Airbnb photography service and add beautiful pictures to their listing. But there is one thing they forget. What is the very first thing a potential guest looks at when browsing listings on Airbnb? It’s the first picture. So, it’s of utmost importance to put your best picture first. To find out which picture is best, ask yourself this question: what is the most attractive aspect of your listing? What is the no.1 reason that guests would want to stay at your pad? Choose the picture that displays that aspect and put that one as your first photo.
Enable Instant Book
The easier it is to book your listing, the more people will book it. Period. The instant book feature surely makes it very easy for your place to get booked. So turn it on! You may be apprehensive about allowing any Airbnb access to your cozy home. I get it. What happened to screening potential guests? Well, you can opt to limit the instant book option to a certain subset of the Airbnb community, those who have been positively reviewed in the past for example.
Set Your Cancellation Policy To Flexible
If you’ve ever booked a hotel online, you may have noticed that the major hotel booking engines often offer a free cancellation option. They do this because it encourages people to make a booking, taking away the fear of losing money in case of an unexpected event. In reality, that doesn’t happen very often and actual cancellations are quite rare. The same is true for Airbnb listings. I’ve hosted over 250 groups in my apartment in Amsterdam, and I can count the amount of cancellations I’ve received on one hand. In addition, I each of those cases, I managed to find new guests so I didn’t even end up losing out.
Craft A Catchy Title
Together with your first picture, your title is the first thing your potential guest will look at. It has a prominent position in the Airbnb search snippet. The picture is what catches the eye, the title solidifies the interest. Titles should (1) contain descriptive words like “stunning,” “gorgeous,” and “spacious,” (2) highlight the best aspect of your space and (3) not contain redundant information, such as the name of your city and / or neighbourhood, as this information is already shown elsewhere in the snippet.
Get these four things right and your listing will have a much better chance of getting booked. The bottom line is, your listing should be appealing and easy to book.