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EP174: This Week in the World of Airbnb

The Business Travel Ready distinction could translate to more bookings for your Airbnb as the company expands its partnership with software tool Concur. This big news means that business travelers can book Airbnb stays through Concur, giving hosts access to the 70% of Fortune 100 and 500 companies who are Concur customers.

Today Jasper is on the line with Nicole Prentice Williams, Hostfully VP of Strategic Partnerships, to talk through Airbnb’s collaboration with Concur as well as Google’s test to include a link to vacation rentals in its hotel price-comparison tool. They also cover the latest numbers regarding Airbnb’s growth, as the company is slated to hit 100 million stays this year, and a new app called Pawshake that functions as an Airbnb for pets!

Nicole and Jasper conclude with the Q & A portion of the podcast, answering your questions about providing guest manuals and boosting your position in Airbnb search results. Learn how move your listing to the front of the line and ultimately get more bookings on Airbnb!

Topics Covered

Article #1: Business Travelers Can Now Book Airbnb Stays Through Concur

  • Partnership allows for booking Airbnb through Concur app
  • Will boost number of business travelers using Airbnb
  • More than 216,000 trips per day booked on Concur in first quarter of 2017
  • Concur customers include 70% of Fortune 100, 500 companies
  • Employees from 250,000 businesses registered to use Airbnb for business travel
  • Hosts can capitalize by making listing Business Travel Ready
  • Wi-Fi
  • Laptop workstation
  • Self check-in
  • Smoke, carbon monoxide detector
  • Iron, hangers, hair dryer
  • Consider including guidebook with co-working spaces, gyms

Article #2: Airbnb is on Track to Rack up More Than 100 Million Stays This Year – and That’s Only the Beginning of its Threat to the Hotel Industry

  • More than 50 million guest arrivals so far this year
  • Overall growth seems to be slowing down (doubled each of last two years)
  • 25% of leisure travelers expected to book Airbnb (up from 19% in 2016)
  • 23% of business travelers expected to book Airbnb (up from 18% in 2016)
  • Google search trends indicate Airbnb catching up to mainstream hotel, travel-booking brands

Article #3: Google is Testing Vacation Rental Search in Its Hotel Price-Comparison Tool

  • Test involves 7,000 property listings in Europe
  • Search for ‘hotels in Paris’ brings up link to vacation rentals
  • Only hotel aggregators like Booking.com and Expedia included
  • Airbnb and other dedicated vacation rental platforms excluded
  • Google may receive commission when travelers book through hotel site

Article #4: This Startup is Quite Literally Airbnb for Pets

  • Pawshake app connects pet owners and care givers
  • Alternative to expensive boarding

Q1: How do I provide a guest manual?

Q2: How do I boost my position in search results on Airbnb?

  • Login daily
  • Maintain updated calendar
  • Listing appeal (great pics, unique title, etc.)
  • Respond quickly with automated apps like Aviva IQ, Smartbnb
  • Share on social media

Resources Mentioned

Article #1: getpaidforyourpad.com/podcast/long-term-rental-vs-airbnb

Article #2: recode.net/2017/7/19/15949782/airbnb-100-million-stays-2017-threat-business-hotel-industry

Article #3: skift.com/2017/06/14/airbnb-ramps-up-push-to-get-more-hosts-to-choose-instant-booking

Article #4: thenextweb.com/contributors/2017/07/22/startup-quite-literally-airbnb-pets/#.tnw_9SBGtwiJ

Business Travel Ready Checklist

Hostfully Guidebooks




Adobe Cloud

How to Get More Bookings on Airbnb

Aviva IQ


Connect with Jasper

Email: jasper@getpaidforyourpad.com

Twitter: @GetPaidForUrPad

Instagram: @GetPaidForYourPad 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/getpaidforyourpad

This episode is sponsored by Aviva IQ. Aviva IQ automates messages to your Airbnb guests. It's also free!

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Complete Transcript for Get Paid for Your Pad Episode 174

Jasper: Welcome to Get Paid for Your Pad, a definitive show on Airbnb hosting, featuring the best advice on how to maximize profits from your Airbnb listing as well as real life experiences from Airbnb hosts all over the world. Welcome.

AD: I’ve begun using a really cool service rom Aviva IQ and it’s made my life so much easier. My guests love receiving all the important details about their stay exactly when they need it. I love all the five-star reviews I’m getting on communication. Check them out at www.AvivaIQ.com

Jasper: Welcome everybody! Another new episode of Get Paid for Your Pad. Today I am hosting with Nicole Williams who is the VP of Strategic Partnerships at Hostfully. Nicole, how you doing?

Nicole Williams: Great, how are you Jasper?

Jasper: I am very, very well. I’m in New York City, it’s my last day in New York City, tomorrow I’m flying to Vegas. It’ll be very, very hot.

Nicole: Uh oh, dangerous. Vegas in the summer is going to be very hot.

Jasper: yes, it’s going to be super-hot. 110 degrees or something crazy. There’s quite a lot of news that came out this week, pretty interesting news. I suggest we get into it right away. Let’s start with an article about a partnership that Airbnb has gotten into with a company called Concur. Concur is a software tool that big companies can use to facilitate business travel for employees. So now, all these business travelers can book Airbnbs through the app. This is big deal because Concur is a big company. I think this will boost business travelers that use Airbnb.

Nicole: Yeah, if you look at the companies they’ve acquired and how many employees their parent company has, like 85,000, this is a huge boost for Airbnb and all the hosts who host business travelers. I don’t know exactly how many business travelers we have, but I would guess from the messages that it’s probably around 25 percent. Concur had 216,000 trips per day booked this year, that’s huge, that’s per day. So, this is going to be really big for Airbnb hosts.

Jasper: Absolutely, that’s a huge number. Concur was actually acquired by SMP in 2014 for $8 million, and SMP, I think, is the largest software company in the world, based in Germany. This is a really big company, it’s going to be an important partnership and will boost the amount of business travelers that use Airbnb a lot. Concur customers concern 70 percent of Fortune 100 companies and 500 companies.

Nicole: It’s huge, that’s amazing. They’re really dominate in that market.

Jasper: Yeah, absolutely. It also mentions that employees from over 250,000 businesses have registered to use Airbnb for business travel. That’s really massive. I know your listing has business travel already batched, yeah?

Nicole: Yeah, and it’s really easy to do for those listening who want to become a business travel ready host. There’s a link on the Airbnb site, maybe you can post it with the podcast. You just need wireless internet, it’s a short list of about 8 things: laptop friendly workspace, self-check-in, smoke detector, carbon monoxide detector. All the essentials you probably already provide for your guests. I mean, I know when we became business travel ready, all the stuff was there except may be the monoxide detector.

Jasper: You also need a self-check-in option, no?

Nicole: yeah, yeah. And maybe some people don’t have that. They offer solutions here for that. Key lock box, door man, key pad, smart lock – there’s a lot of ways to do that now. I saw a bunch at a conference I was at near Los Angeles.

Jasper: Now that Airbnb is partnering with Concur, it’s going to be more interesting for people to get that business travel ready on their listing. Requirements aren’t that hard, I encourage everyone to do that badge on your listing.

Nicole: I’d also recommend a Hostfully guidebook, which I know for some of our housing clients, they like to add joint office space, co-working space, etc. That’s always a perk, too. It’s not on the list but I highly recommend it.

Jasper: That’d be sweet if it was on the Airbnb list, “you have to sign up with Hostfully!”

Nicole: I know, we’re going to have to work on that.

Jasper: If you can make that happen that would be good for your business. There’s some interesting numbers on an article of Recode.net, it talks about the number of people that have used Airbnb, the amount of stays over the last few years. At first look, it sounds really epic because Airbnb is on track to rack up 100,000,000 stays this year. That’s a major milestone. But if you look at the actual numbers in recent years, I think it began in 2009, it started with 21,000 stays, 140, 800, 3 million in 2012 and then 6 million in 2013, 16 million in 2014, that’s when they really saw the growth. 2015 they went up to 40 million, about 2.5x growth. 2016, 80 million, so doubled. But now they’re projected to do 100 million in 2017, if that’s going to be the number, it’s a 25 percent growth rate, it’s the lowest it’s been. In absolute terms, there was 40 million additional stays, even in absolute terms, that would be only half the growth that Airbnb saw in 2016. If you look at the numbers, the growth is slowing down a lot now. We don’t know how many stays they’ll have in total this year, it might be more, but in any case, it seems like the growth is definitely slowing. That could be because of stricter regulations that Airbnb has implemented on its platform, like where you can’t book more than a certain amount of days. As well as maybe as it’s getting bigger, it’s getting hard to keep up with that exponential growth. It may be getting harder. The number of people that Airbnb can add to their platform using the different strategies, maybe they’re running out steam.

Nicole: It’s just a projection. We can’t say the growth is slowing until we see the actual numbers. They doubled from 2014, 2015. Actually, they tripled, then doubled, then doubled again. That is a low number, that seems attainable. It could be that we’re halfway through the year, they’re seeing slower growth so they put the number there to put the message out. It’d be interesting to see, looking into January, what this number really is. Are they giving a lower number where they exceed expectations and it makes them look great? There’s a whole psychology behind it.

Jasper: I think the way they come up with the projection, they’re stating that Airbnb has seen 50 million arrivals to the date of the publication, I think they’ll double that, that’s how you get 100. It could be more. It could be less as well, of course. But there’s some other interesting numbers in this article. Some of the looked into the share of travelers that used Airbnb in the last 12 months, and that went up from about 18, 19 percent in 2016. Then it went up to 23 for business and then 25 for leisure, that’s quite a lot of growth. From 2015 to 2016, it didn’t actually change that much. You look at the amount of people that have used Airbnb the last 12 months, the growth seems to be much better. Then if you look at the searches on google for Airbnb in the US, it’s been creeping up for a while. It’s not about the same as the other competitors, like Marriott, Hilton Expedia. Airbnb in the US has a share of the US hotel industry. That’s also interesting. There up to almost 7 percent for revenue, 5.5 for supply and 4.2 for demand. Overall, it seems, though that’s been flattening out, for example, in 2016, those numbers were almost the same. The revenue did go up quite a bit, but as far as supply and demand, it stayed constant. It’s a mixed report with promising numbers, but some that seem to indicate the growth is slowing down or fluffing out a bit.

Nicole: It’s interesting. You have some information that’s – exactly.

Jasper: The future will tell. Something to talk about with certainty is that Google is testing vacation rental search in its hotel price comparison tool. It’s funny, I didn’t know google had a price comparison tool. I did research. What happens is if you were to google hotels in Paris, it will show you results and you can click on a link that takes you to Google hotel comparison website. You can use filters and you get results and those results link to booking.com, Expedia, etc. That’s been around for a while. What’s happened now, if you search for certain cities, there will be a window that will show vacation rentals available for your dates. When you click on that, you won’t see hotels, you’ll see apartments. That could be interesting. There might be more people staying at vacation rentals. That might not be good for Airbnb though, because it doesn’t show up. I did a search, I see Hotels.Com, I see Priceline, I see Hotwire and Travelocity – these are all hotel booking websites, but they started offering vacation rentals. Some of them, like booking.com has an inventory, but I don’t see any of the home sharing platforms in the list, I only see the hotel aggregators. I don’t know why. My guess is that when people use these searches, Google will get a commission on that booking. I don’t know if that’s the case with Airbnb or HomeAway. That could be why Google doesn’t include those platforms

Nicole: It makes sense from a business standpoint for Google.

Jasper: Absolutely, it does make a lot of sense. Anyway, we’ll see if that changes. It would be good for Airbnb to talk to google.

AD: Hosts, does it feel like you’re spending way too much time responding to questions from your Airbnb guests? Is the fear of a possible bad review keeping you up at night? I recently learned about a really helpful service called Aviva IQ. With Aviva IQ, my workload and worries reduced dramatically. All I had to do was link my Airbnb listings to Aviva IQ, create my messages, and schedule delivery times. That’s it! I can’t believe how easy it was to set up. Now I can sit back and relax knowing my guests receive all the important details on time, every time. Everybody sleeps better! Check them out at www.AvivaIQ.com.

Jasper: Let’s talk about something that’s kind of remarkable. There’s a new start-up that’s the Airbnb for pets.

Nicole: It’s called Paw Shake

Jasper:  There it is, Paw Shake. It’s kind of cool, actually. If you’re going on holiday and need somewhere to put your pet, you can go on Paw Shake, if you need someone to look after your pet or you can find somebody where you can bring your pet – like temporary housing for your pet. Pretty funny that Airbnb for pets.

Nicole: There’s another similar one named Rover. It does say it’s similar to Airbnb, maybe there’s a better price point. Yeah, it’s expensive to board your pet when you go away. I can be at least $50 a night depending. If you have more than one animal, you’re doubling, tripling that. I’m not a pet owner myself besides reptiles – we have a couple. Bearded dragons and lizards. It’s from Australia, you’re from the Netherlands.

Jasper: Bearded dragon… it sounds like a mythical creature. Does it spit fire?

Nicole: It is red, but… no fire, no fire. He puffs out, though. I’ll send you a picture.

Jasper: Next time I visit California I’ll have to stop by and see what a bearded dragon looks like.

Nicole: His name is Scorcher even though he does not spit fire. It sounds ominous. This is great for pet owners.

Jasper: And a way to make money for those who like pets. There’s a lot of people who can’t have pets, like myself, I travel. You can’t really bring a pet – you can, but it’s a hassle.

Nicole: A lot of paperwork when you travel internationally

Jasper: Yeah, so if you want some love from animals every now and then you can look after someone else’s pet and you can make a little money. We’ve got a lot of questions from podcast listeners, book readers, etc. I wanted to mention two questions. First, how do I provide a guest manual to my guests. Now, there’s a number of ways you can do that. I definitely recommend you create a guest manual and send to your guests immediately. I used to do it by emailing to guests, I’d have a template ready, with a link to a Dropbox file. Dropbox is a sharing service, Adobe Cloud is what the person ended up using, that’s an option. Of course, you can use a third-party application like —-

Nicole: Hostfully! Yeah, it’s very easy and user friendly, and the great thing about using it on digital is that you can also add it to a number of properties, but you can actually copy the URL and make everything that you put in one guidebook into another. If it’s house rules or places to eat, you’re not doing a lot of extra work. You’ll have to check out the platform. The first one is free for life! Give Hostfully a try!

Jasper: Yeah, it’s free. The second question I want to mention is — it comes up a lot. I read this article a while ago, it’s about how to get more bookings on Airbnb, you can google it, it’ll show up as the number 2 or 3 article. The question on how to boost your listing search rank is one I get a lot, especially form new people. Airbnb bumps your position at the beginning, you get a badge that says new, you want to use this time window to get as much momentum as possible. But what happens is, after you’ve hosted for a few weeks, Airbnb takes away that bump they give you in the beginning. Suddenly, your position drops. Often, the amount of bookings drops as well, especially if you haven’t used that time window to get bookings and reviews. Sometimes they drop off and stop getting listings and they email me and they panic. I used to get these bookings and now I don’t. I don’t see my listing, help. That’s the email I get every week from some people. So, what can you do to boost the position of the listing in the search results. First of all, you want to be an active host, you want to log in often, I recommend once a day at least. You want to make changes to your calendar, show that you’re updating it.  Another thing, you want to make your listing appealing. Make sure you have great pictures, make sure you put your best picture first. The more people that check out your listing, the more people that book your listing, it’s a sign to Airbnb to show you higher up in the search results because Airbnb obviously wants to get a lot of bookings. The other thing is respond always and very fast. It’s not always possible to respond quickly, but I always recommend using the automated message service like Aviva IQ or Smart Bnb, those are two very good services. They send automated messages, and let’s say you’re sleeping and someone will send a message and that will guarantee your response time is super-fast. That’s important for a position in your search results. If you want more tips, there’s a whole list, they don’t publicize all of the factors. But again, if you google it, you can check out my article, you check out other articles and you’ll probably do much better quickly.

Nicole: Probably sharing on social media a swell because you’re going to get more clicks to your site, even if they’re not on Airbnb site, that probably shows up on the Airbnb algorithm as well

Jasper: That’s a very good point. I think that’s it for today unless you had anything else you wanted to share?

Nicole: I just wanted to say, if you need any Vegas recommendations, I can do that after the call. Have a great time!

Jasper: I’m going to be in Vegas for a month, hopefully I survive. Hopefully I’ll be alive. I want to mention on Monday, I’m going to publish another episode of this podcast, but it turned out to be a really good interview, I learned quite a lot. The person I interviewed, his name is Erick Muller, he buys real estate properties to use for Airbnb, he uses people’s apartments, and he re-leases an apartment. He does this with the approval of the landlord. He shared a lot of good insights about how to get that business off the ground. How do you frame the Airbnb business to the landlord, etc. He shared some good insights from his experience. I just wanted to mention that because I think people can get a lot out of that episode. The re-leasing model is actually very interesting because it doesn’t require a large amount of capital up front. Obviously if you buy it, you need capital, but if you’re leasing, you rent and pay a deposit and buy some furniture, etc.

Nicole: That sounds really valuable.

Jasper: I definitely recommend everyone to check it out on Monday. Then, of course, next week, we’ll be back with another news episode. Nicole, thanks for joining me.

Nicole: Thank you for having me, it was a fun time as always, Jasper.

Jasper: Always a fun time. In a few weeks, we’ll speak again. Thanks for listening everybody, I hope to see you back on Monday.