As Airbnb hosts, we have a natural inclination to show our property in the best possible light in order to secure more bookings. But what happens when guests arrive, and the space doesn’t meet their expectations? It may seem counterintuitive to advertise that your neighborhood can be noisy on weekends, for example, but isn’t it better to book guests who are okay with that?

San Diego Superhost John Anderson’s approach is to allude to both the pros and cons of his listing in order to book guests who are a good fit for his Airbnb. He became a host in July of 2011, and since then he has racked up 450 reviews and expanded to three active listings. He was also able to quit his job as a CPA, become a full-time host and stay home with his two children through Airbnb.

John is also the founder of the Short-Term Rental Alliance of San Diego (STRASD). Today he explains the current debate regarding regulations in San Diego and the political climate around Airbnb in the city. He shares the specifics of his approach to photos and descriptions, explaining why he would rather miss out on an occasional booking than host guests who are not a good fit. John discusses the unexpected upgrades he provides, the key amenities he offers, and how he handles guests who want to cancel their booking upon arrival. Listen in and learn why you should under-promise and over-deliver to provide your Airbnb guests with a positive experience!

Topics Covered

Regulations in San Diego

  • Airbnb-friendly to date, no rules
  • City council debating short-term rentals
  • Meeting on December 12 to establish regulations

The political climate around Airbnb in San Diego

  • Organizations for and against
  • Some meetings quite tense

John’s approach to descriptions and photos

  • Use realistic photos taken on smartphone
  • Mention both good and bad in descriptions (i.e.: dogs in neighborhood)

Why John alludes to pros and cons in his listings

  • Ensures guest is good fit
  • Increases likelihood of positive experience
  • Results in good reviews, ratings
  • Potential for repeat customers

How John over-delivers with unexpected upgrades

  • Supplies guests with local beer, coffee
  • Affords access to bicycles

The amenities John recommends

  • Bookcase with local tour books
  • Mini-split AC/heating system with remote
  • Cable TV, Netflix and movie options
  • Soft beds, memory foam

John’s advice around Wi-Fi

  • Use router that enables multiple access points, different passwords
  • Upgrade to 100MB/second, advertise speed on listing

How John handles guests who want to cancel once they’ve arrived

  • Doesn’t enforce moderate cancellation policy
  • Cancels immediately, gives full refund
  • All communication through Airbnb platform for documentation
  • Remains calm, friendly and professional

John’s best tips for Airbnb hosts

  • Present guests with realistic expectations
  • Unexpected upgrades build meaningful goodwill
  • Don’t bank on your values being same as guests
  • Use guest criticism to improve amenities
  • Include decision-makers in descriptions (e.g.: Wi-Fi)

Connect with John

John’s Website

John on Twitter



Beyond Pricing

Aviva IQ

Connect with Jasper


Twitter: @GetPaidForUrPad

Instagram: @GetPaidForYourPad 


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