Airbnb Hacks for Hosts: Inspiring Ideas From Vacation Rental Owners

Last Updated: 19 September 2022

Our magician has lived in Airbnb properties around the globe, allowing him to meet up with hosts who’ve shared unique insights. Set yourself apart from the competition by using the Airbnb host hacks we share with you below.

Many hosts ask themselves how they can succeed with their Airbnb business. While Airbnb has a large number of tips on their website, and we have our own Airbnb guides, the information shared online isn’t always new. If everyone is following the same tips, how can you outsmart the competition?

We’ve put together a list of Airbnb hacks for hosts that you might not find anywhere else as they come from hosts from all around the globe.

Let’s dig in!

1. Automate communication

When guests check out your host profile, there’s an indicator how responsive you are. Not only does responsiveness increases the chances of a booking, Airbnb also prefers hosts who reply quickly. Responses to new inquiries after 24 hours are considered a late response. Try to reply to your guests as quickly as possible, either via automations tools such as Smartbnb, or install the Airbnb app on your smart device and enable push notifications.

Schedule automated messages in Airbnb to automate communication
Schedule automated messages in Airbnb to automate communication

Keep in mind that Airbnb allows you to schedule automated messages which are great to send thank you messages, check-in and check-out reminders, as well as general tips about the listing or neighborhood. However, they cannot be used to send automated replies to booking requests.

While responsiveness helps secure new guests and keep your calendar filled, there are two more things you need to keep in mind:

  • reply accurately to all questions potential guests might have
  • send photos if they ask about certain amenities

That being said, if multiple guests ask the same question, consider that your listing might not be accurate or detailed enough. Check out these Airbnb listing description examples and think of ways to improve yours.

2. Illustrate the arrival

Imagine the following: it’s midnight, the guest has gotten off the airport bus and is trying to find your apartment in an Asian country they’ve never been to. The streets are not that well lit and it’s hard to find your place, what now? Even if you allow them to check-in without meeting you (so time is not really a concern), their guest experience is not off to a good start.

To make things easier, create an arrival guide with the help of Google’s Street View function. Take screenshots of different travel points, mark them up with arrows and notes, and create a PDF that helps guests find your short-term rental quickly.

3. Use a smart lock

Smart locks are sadly not as popular in the western world as they are in Asian countries. In South Korea for instance, pretty much any home has a smart lock by default. Instead of carrying keys around, you only need to memorize a 6-digit PIN code to enter the property.

Top Airbnb hosts are also making use of these locks to elevate their guests’ experience. If you want to make your guests not worry about a late check-out or check-in, install these new types of locks, and simply change the PIN code every time a guest leaves the property.

The keyless experience doesn’t only make it easier for guests to check-in, there’s also less of a chance of property damage. After all, there’s no key guests can loose.

4. Offer coupons

Most guests use Airbnb to discover local areas around the chosen vacation rental property. If you want to ensure that they’re having a great time, partner up with local businesses such as restaurants and cafes, and ask them for exclusive vouchers you can share with your guests.

Many rental hosts create a small welcome guide where they include their very own recommendations of places to visit, food to try, and activities to do. You can mention your local business partners here as well and double down on the coupons you’re offering.

If you don’t have time to create the guest guide, you can hire us instead. The guest guide is part of our Full Makeover listing optimization service for your Airbnb rental.

5. Team up with a partner

Here’s a secret a Superhost might not share with you: they often do not working alone. Instead, they have teamed up with a friend, neighbor, or professional property manager who help them manage the Airbnb.

Team up with a partner and make them your co-host
Team up with a partner and make them your co-host

While you have to pay a commission to your partner, they’ll also make your life a lot easier. After all, they can respond to guests, help deal with issues related to the property, and meet with guests to welcome them. Ideally, one of your partners should also take care of the cleaning so you can keep the overall costs for your Airbnb rental as low as possible.

6. Spend a night in your Airbnb

What do your guests feel when they enter your rental? This shouldn’t be a rhetorical question, you should know the answer to it. If you don’t, then spend a few nights in your own Airbnb and find out yourself.

To make a stay more comfortable, test every amenity you’re offering your guests: from the bedroom to the shower all the way to the kitchen. Cook a meal, take a few showers, turn on the AC, and reflect on your experience afterwards. Will you make their stay a positive, unforgettable experience? If not, there’s some work to do.

Super hosts know that, when it comes to Airbnb, you’ll not only want to get more bookings, but also better reviews. To accomplish that, you need to invest in the most important amenities, for instance the bed and mattress, good pots and pans for cooking, as well as a decent shower. Yes, a rain shower looks great in pictures, but is it practical if it floods the entire bathroom?

7. Put up a floor plan

“It’s smaller than I thought”, not exactly what an Airbnb host whats to hear from their guest, but an understandable complaint. Pictures seldom tell the whole story even if you’ve hired a professional photographer. Especially in small apartments, using a wide angle lens can distort the true size of a room.

To be on the safe side, you can create a floor plan of your listing so that anyone who wants to book knows exactly what they are getting. Ensure that your floor plan lists measurements in square feet as well as square meters.

8. Set yourself apart

Short term rentals have popped up all around the globe in recent years. With more competition it’s more important than ever to be unique. If you want to take your Airbnb to the next level, check out competing properties and find out what they are offering that your apartment lacks. It could be a jacuzzi, a fireplace, or design elements.

If you can’t compete with those amenities, there are other ways to make guests feel special. For instance, if you’re located close to local festivals, highlight that in your listing description. Keep in mind that those attending festivals might not be your average couple. Instead, a group of friends are most likely your target group, so ensure that you can host at least four guests. If you don’t have enough rooms, improvise with a sofa bed.

9. Declutter your space

Minimalism is a trend that has captivated many parts around the world. Especially in Asian countries such as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, Airbnb homes are designed with minimalism in mind. Try to remove elements that don’t bring any benefit, such as huge book shelves that need to be kept clean, toys nobody will play with, or too many chairs in a small 1-bedroom apartment.

Declutter your space and keep it minimalistic
Declutter your space and keep it minimalistic

When guests arrive, they’ll want to make your space their own. To do that, they’ll need to unpack their belongings, and store them somewhere safe. This is very important for long-term guests who stay for weeks or months in your short-term rental.

Make the process of getting accommodated easy with these tips:

  • keep the night stands in bedrooms free
  • remove unnecessary items in the kitchen
  • don’t go overboard with 4 different brands of conditioner
  • clear out leftover items from previous guests

With that said, don’t make your apartment look to sterile either. It should be minimalistic but still feel cozy. Simple decorative objects such as plants or pillows are a great way to achieve that without apartments feeling cluttered.

10. Update your calendar regularly

Airbnb’s goal is to offer their users the best possible experience. As travel dates change, and some people book last-minute, Airbnb wants to ensure that they are getting accurate data in the search results.

To boost your listing’s position, you should regularly update your calendar on Airbnb–if possible daily. This sends a signal that you are active and don’t leave your bookings to chance.

Tip: If you normally don’t allow single night bookings, but there are empty spots in your calendar, bend the rules and increase your occupancy.

11. Offer luggage drop-off

Being flexible about check-in and check-out times isn’t easy as there are a lot of moving parts that you might not be able to control. For instance, if the previous guest checks out at the last minute, you cannot offer the next one an early check-in.

To reduce the chance of getting into an uncomfortable situation, you could offer the guest to drop off or store their luggage at the apartment. While the cleaning team is working on making the apartment shine, there could be a small space or separate room to store the next guest’s luggage. This allows them to begin their vacation without hunting for paid luggage storage providers, or worse, having to carry their luggage throughout the city.

Extend your help also after they check-out if the guest has a late flight, and let them store their luggage safely in your apartment before they go back home.

12. Provide essential amenities

We’ve mentioned the importance of essential amenities in our guide on how to impress Airbnb guests. Toilet paper, towels, toothpaste–these are all things guests expect to find in your place. But there are other amenities that depend more on extraordinary circumstances or are seasonal.

COVID has shown how difficult it can be to find masks in countries that are unprepared for epidemics. As a host, you could offer your guests masks so they can stay safe. Another example: during the wet season in Asia, offer your guests multiple sturdy umbrellas they can use to stay dry. Downpours are known to happen frequently through-out the wet season. Another practical thing to offer are charging cables. After all, nobody wants to crawl under your bed to find the power outlet.

13. Offer a pocket wifi

Pocket wifis are popular in Asia, especially Japan. Many Airbnb hosts have not installed fixed internet. Instead, they have purchased portable routers that rely on 4G or 5G connections and a SIM card.

Offer a 5G pocket wifi to your guests
Offer a 5G pocket wifi to your guests

There are two benefits:

  1. you can top up the SIM card whenever a new guest arrives
  2. the pocket wifi can be used by the guest on the go

Especially in countries such as Japan, the second part is a big benefit because SIM card offers for foreign tourists are not that great. While SIM cards can be easily purchased from vending machines at the airport, they don’t offer a lot of data and are rather expensive.

14. Surprise your guests

Everyone loves surprises, and nobody expects them–that’s what makes them so fun. Give your guests a surprise by offering a welcome basket with local treats, offer to pick them up from the airport, or offer to be a tour guide for your city. Be creative and go the extra mile that pretty much guarantees a five-star review.

15. Run a hospitality business

Superhost Ioni Papadakis (9 Elephants Consulting Inc.) has been running her Airbnb business for over six years. According to her, running it as a simple hobby might not be very fruitful. Her hack transformed the initial need for a roommate into a steady source of revenue, which helped pay her rent in full and make extra income. All this while keeping her calendar fully booked and reviews at 4.9 stars.

Here’s what Ioni recommends to every Airbnb host who’s serious about making their Airbnb business a success:

First, do market research on the (a) titles, (b) descriptions and (c) prices of nearby listings in the area. Then, extract keywords for (a) and (b) and define a niche in your title, (e.g. “Fully-furnished, sunny solopreneur haven”). It’s not true if you think you lose $$ by niching down! Then mark the price slightly below others. Next, publicly list the pros and cons! Guests rate high for this. Lastly, think of ways to overdeliver! E.g. I offer breakfast.

Ioni Papadakis, 9 Elephants Consulting Inc.

16. Partner up with marketers

Many marketers are leveraging TikTok to promote their marketing services. According to Dennis Consorte from Snackable Solutions, “they recruit property owners to add to their networks of Airbnb properties available for short-term rentals. Then, they do the work of creating the listings and marketing those spaces for a cut of the profits.”

As an Airbnb host, you could partner up with these marketers and let them take on all the responsibilities of managing and promoting your space.

The profits may not be as high, but you'll avoid all the overhead associated with creating listings, communicating with renters, hiring cleaning services, and everything else that goes along with putting your space up for rent.

Dennis Consorte, Snackable Solutions

Hack your way to success

We hope that the tips shared in this guide will be helpful to ensure your success as an Airbnb host. While there’s no guaranteed success formula, we’ve compiled a list of hacks every host should at least consider and try out.

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He optimizes your listing. You profit.

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