Offering part or the entirety of your home for short-term rental with sites like Airbnb has been a godsend for many folks. This is especially true for those who have vacation homes and those who simply aren’t taking advantage of every room of their house. It’s a great chance to make extra cash, and once you get set up, doing so is as easy as keeping your home clean and maintained.
The downside of renting is finding quality guests who will appreciate your space and not cause extensive damage or steal your valuables. While most people are generally good, some like to cause havoc, so you must take the time to find the best folks. Here are several ways to find high-quality guests through good marketing and smart auditing procedures.
Create a Quality Listing
The short-term rental market has exploded as of late. So, even if you have a great home in one of the top rental cities that you know guests will love, you still need to emphasize marketing to improve your chances of finding those trustworthy visitors. By reaching the largest audience possible, you have more opportunities to audit potential guests and choose the best ones to stay at your home.
First, you need to prepare your room or home, so you can take high-quality photos that you can post online to draw in guests. If you’re only renting out one room, ensure it is clean, welcoming, and in good repair. You should also ensure that the other common areas, such as the kitchen and living room, are in good shape in case they also show up in the photos or your guests venture into those spaces during their stay.
Pair your pictures with attention-grabbing descriptions that perfectly depict the space and excite potential guests to read more. In addition to talking about the furniture, utilities, and amenities, make it clear how your rental eliminates many of the problems that renters often face.
Inform them of the improvements made around the property so they know they won’t have to worry about issues during their stay. Also, many renters go to a property only to see that it’s much smaller than expected. Mention the square footage so they know what to expect.
It’s important to make sure the content of your listing is clear and concise. In all your listings and other online copy, be sure to prioritize readability, both with the words you choose and the formatting of the page.
Once you have perfected your listing and you’re open for business, you can market your rental to the masses. At a minimum, you should have your listing on the Airbnb website. When that’s up, you can share the link and promote your listing online.
The idea is to find low-cost marketing techniques that don’t require a lot of money to implement. Start on social media and post on your Facebook page, where you can use the Facebook Ads program to market your rental to the demographics that you set. If you believe trustworthy guests are over a certain age, you can choose that age group. This method is not free, but it’s very affordable and offers great reach.
Another idea is to create a website to link to your Airbnb listing. Take the time to polish your website and add more high-quality photos while highlighting your check-in process. Dedicate a page to positive customer reviews so potential guests know that you’re high-caliber.
Other unique ways to promote your listing include joining a vacation rental forum and staying active in the community so other hosts can send business your way. Research tourism websites in your state and ask if you can list with them or if they can mention your rental in one of their blogs. You can also go offline and hand out business cards at local restaurants and tourist attractions.
Use the Airbnb Platform to Your Advantage
The great thing about listing with Airbnb is that you can use many of their tools to your advantage, including their handy communication tool. When you’re speaking to potential renters, make it a point to communicate via the Airbnb platform because they have checks built in that scan for scams and fraud. If a potential renter ever tries to reach you outside of Airbnb or insists that you speak outside of the platform, consider that a red flag.
You should also lean heavily on the social connections function of Airbnb, where users can connect their social media handles. Before renting your property, check out the commonly used social media sites and do some background research on potential guests.
Many people have a Facebook account and may have had it for several years. So, look at their posts over time and see if there are any red flags, like bragging about destructive behavior or signs of violence. You could even check their LinkedIn to see what kind of work they do. An individual’s job doesn’t necessarily represent who they are as a person. Still, if they haven’t had a job for several years, you may question whether they have the funds to pay for a rental.
Screen Potential Renters
When you talk to potential renters, don’t be afraid to ask some screening questions to get a good feel for their personalities and motives before you get into a business relationship. Inquire about the purpose of their stay, ask where they’re traveling from, and ask why they choose this property out of all the others.
If you get typical, complete answers that don’t create cause for concern, then you’re probably in good shape. If you get short, fishy responses, then inquire further or move on to another guest.
Even if you find someone you think you trust, ask them to provide their ID and compare it to their other documents. Then, scan a copy into your computer for your records. You can also look into free background-check apps, like TruthFinder, to get basic facts about the renter, like the state where they reside and their age, so you can compare it to their ID.
Renting out space in your home is a big deal, so don’t take the plunge until you’re sure that your listing and marketing techniques are exactly how you want them. Don’t feel ashamed for checking up on someone before you let them stay in your home.