Being an Airbnb host today means a completely different thing than it meant 10 years ago. Back then, an air mattress and an open heart were enough.
Today, things are different. You have to have a professional mindset to this business if you want to do well. You can't just build and scale an Airbnb business without working on quality.
Some Airbnb hosts just put up a listing. They expect the results to come in automatically. Well, that’s not how it works anymore. This is now a competitive industry and working it as a hobby will hurt you.
This is what the Airbnb website looked like when I signed up back in 2011. Do you even recognize it? The logos, the colors, everything is different.
When I started I wasn’t more than a set and forget it host. I had no idea what I was getting into. I just created a listing, sat back and expect nothing because I didn't really understand what I got into.
This mentality makes sense to me because I had it once myself. You don't start on Airbnb knowing about hospitality. Nobody teaches you how to create an experience for your guests. I didn’t think further than renting the space out.
Most new hosts have the same mindset. That’s why I’m here today to talk about the hospitality mindset and how it will blow your results out of the water.
Potential on Airbnb
To show you what I mean, here’s a transaction history all the way from 2012.
Back in 2012, I put my apartment on Airbnb. In the first 6 months, I made €13,000, around $14,000-$15,000. It's a little bit more than I would be able to make renting out my apartment long-term.
But it wasn't enough money for me to live my life: I quit my job in 2010. I was travelling the world. What I really needed was enough money to support myself.
I wasn’t going to go back to that office. I wanted to be an entrepreneur, I wanted to travel and Airbnb gave me the power to do that.
The set it and forget it myth
When I first started out, I was a set-it-and-forget-it host.
Somebody who doesn't know anything about hospitality. The results I was getting weren’t enough.
So I asked myself: “How can I improve? What do I need to do to get better results? Can I make more money for my Airbnb listing?”.
Then I started diving into hospitality. At that time, there were no coaches, no podcasts, no books. So I started learning whatever I could about hospitality, thinking differently and I made a mindset shift.
Shifting your mindset
Where before I was just renting out a space, now I was creating a unique experience.
Because that's what hospitality is all about.
When I started realizing that, I started changing the way that I was hosting.
When I looked at my apartment, instead of seeing furniture and space, I started seeing experience.
I started asking some questions:
“What do my guests want?”
“Who are my guests?”
“Where are they coming from?”
“Why are they in Amsterdam?”.
I began to understand their needs. Then I created a unique experience that they wouldn’t forget. I created a memory.
There’s a difference between offering your space and creating a unique experience.
Do you understand the benefits of creating that experience?
How it leads to amazing reviews? Why people are willing to pay a higher price when you deliver that experience?
What is a unique experience?
A unique experience is one no one can recreate.
No matter how many Airbnbs are in your neighborhood, nobody can do what you do.
Because you put your personality into it, you create a theme around your apartment.
A memorable experience is competition-proof.
A competition-proof listing means it doesn’t matter how many people are listing in your area. Now you have something you can stand out.
In Airbnb, there's always a demand for unique experiences.
The three-pronged hospitality experience
It took me about a year to understand this.
When I did, I doubled my income.
It wasn't about investing money on my space.
It was more about: “How do you create a better, more unique experience?”.
That's what the professional host are doing. That's what we're seeing everywhere in the industry, the people that are doing well, they all focus on this.
What does a unique hospitality experience look like?
There are 3 buckets that you want to focus on:
- SPACE – your apartment, your home, etcetera.
- STANDARDS – standards that you are setting.
- CONNECTION – that you are building with your guests.
Read more: 63 Amazing Ideas to Make Your Home Airbnb Ready
Hire a professional cleaner, use modern technology, give them instructions and hold them accountable.
Imagine staying super clean Airbnb.
You're having a great time. You walk into the bedroom and about to sleep, and you see a HAIR, a tiny little hair.
Even with tiny little hair can ruin the experience, even if everything is perfect.
Create a unique space
Preparing your space for unique group of guests that you are hosting.
- The composition are different
- Where you’re going is different
- The interests are different
- Needs are different
The experience starts the moment the booking is made
The moment you received the booking.
That's when you start creating the experience and create an amazing experience.
I charge double the average price in Cali.
Why? I focus on the experience.
New hosts often forget this and they don't realize it.
It's understandable but it's important that you understand it.
The last pillar of the three is one that too many overlook: connection.
Connection with your Airbnb guests
Would you ever leave a bad review for a friend?
Probably not. Because when you have a strong connection with somebody, you’ll get forgiving guests.
If you have a neutral connection they will be realistic. If you have NO connection at all, your guest will be very picky.
Guests want you to care about them. They want to feel special. They want to see that you did everything you could to make their experience special.
Even if you can't do extra things for them, like keeping their luggage, you could recommend them a trusted provider, like Stasher luggage storage. Or you could offer to call them a cab. Show them you care about them.
Unique connection as human beings
It's not about written messages.
Emails aren't the answer.
It isn't about words.
You can email your guest and provide information. But that doesn’t create a connection.
What builds the connection is talking to guests on the phone before their arrival.
Case Study: Calling your guests
There’s a property management firm in the UK that experimented with this. They decided one month to talk to every single guest on the phone prior to their arrival.
In October, the amount of reviews that they are getting shot up from between 40 to 60 and 82%.
Way more guests started leaving reviews.
The percentage of 10 star reviews were at 95% vs around 80%. Can phone calls bring you more, higher reviews?
Making good money on Airbnb is far more than just giving people a place to sleep. It’s about preparing it with care, and treating your guests very well. Show that you are going the extra mile for them.
You’re in the hospitality industry. Act like it.