Airbnb estimates that the average host earns approx. $924 a month in income from their property. Our clients have made 10-20x more money by utilizing some of the strategies we discuss below.
This post will teach you how to earn more Airbnb income by improving the four areas that have the biggest impact on Airbnb revenue growth: professional photography, Airbnb SEO, guest reviews and pricing.
While we have marketed properties in the $500,000-$1,000,000 range (Hogsback Bungelow) the tips listed below are proven growth strategies that will work for properties of all types and some of what we have used to boost reviews, increase bookings and drastically increase Airbnb host earnings in the process.
How to earn more money on Airbnb
1. Professional Photos: A 40% increase in earnings
It should be obvious by the before and after photo below, but this is the single most important factor for earning more Airbnb income. A study of 100,000 Airbnb properties found that professional photos averaged a 40% increase in earnings, 24% increase in bookings and a 26% increase in nightly prices. And yet, few hosts take advantage of this simple fix. Many hosts aren’t aware of this, but Airbnb will handle this for some of you, so if this is you, start here.
If your listing isn’t covered, find an inexpensive photographer (there are many in every city) and start there. In our experience, there is no more dramatic difference than incorporating professional photos into a listing.
Next, consider renaming the property. For us this was as simple as going from a house in hog’s back to the Hogsback Bungalow. Simple, memorable and easy to refer to a friend. We’ve seen this strategy employed many times with the best example being one of our favourite vacation spots The Joshua Tree House–a legendary listing that is perpetually booked. There are many “houses in Joshua tree” but only one “Joshue Tree House”.
2. Airbnb SEO: Make the property easy to find (searchable)
So much of understanding the algorithms that power services like Airbnb are based on common sense. So rather than trying to game the system–which is pointless–focus on how your listing satisfies what customers in your area would want. The simplest way to do this is to copy the best of what your competitors have already done and use that to figure out what guests in the area care about.
In most cases, identifying the top five listings in your area is all you need.
Pick apart these listings to see what they have in common with your property and each other. From there, look for a realtors description of your property, or a property just like yours, that will give you an idea of how to talk about the important factors like location, amenities, keywords to include and landmarks to mention in the description. Realtors are great at this.
Ensure you are accurate (read:not lying) and make sure to list every possible amenity available. To show up in more searches, shorten the minimum stay to 1-night and use as many keywords as possible.
3. Guest Reviews: Under Promise and Over Deliver for 5 star reviews
Make no mistake: Airbnb wants your property to excel in every category so your goal should be to get 5 stars on every metric.
The best Airbnb listings have a lot in common with a boutique hotel: strong branding, professional photography, well curated decor, central locations, and thoughtful service.
In order to compete with the best, or dominate your local competition, your property should incorporate as many of these elements as possible. That means everything from having enough quality towels to user-friendly keypads and locks to quick replies to questions and issues your guests have. At the end of the day, guests expect everything they would normally receive at a quality hotel.
On Airbnb, the most important factors driving guest ratings are locations, cleanliness, price, size of the property and check-in process. To earn more money, you need to improve or optimize as many of these factors as possible. And, of course, do not lie or exaggerate anything. This sounds simple, but time and again, hosts will make simple mistakes like advertising a pool and then forgetting to clean it, or hosting a family with children and then having one roll of paper towel stocked. While developing detailed buyer persona’s is a more advanced technique, simply logging the different types of guests you may have and what they could need is enough to get rolling.
A perfect example of doing this well is Paula’s property in Wynwood, Miami. By no means a luxury unit, this property excels because the experience is so seamless and well-executed. It’s no surprise she has become one of the highest-rated Superhosts in a highly competitive area.
Other important Hosting factors include regularly updating your calendars, responding quickly to questions, and leaving every one of your guests a positive review–unless they were a nightmare.
4. Pricing Strategies:
When all of the above have been tweaked, the very last stage is to test different pricing strategies. Seasonality is huge. In the first year, monitor competitors pricing to see what time of year you can charge more. For clients of ours in Toronto, this is during the peak tourist season in the summer and around huge events like Fashion Week, The Toronto Film Festival. Do some homework to find evergreen/recurring events like these rather than more irregular ones like sporting events (go Raptors!). Raise prices during the peak season and use that to provide discounts during the slower periods. This is the same strategy we used to generate 2x the profits for one of our clients during a slow winter season.
Start with the basics:
Start by offering a lower price than your competitors and make sure to over deliver on those guests. This sounds simple, yet toilet paper, towels, and working appliances, are a near constant complaint for guests. Invest in enhancing your guests experience.
Low cost bookings with exceptional service are an easy way to gain early 5-star reviews. Guest ratings are a huge factor in gaining momentum on Airbnb, so save the price increases until you’re getting a lot of attention ie. 100-150 views a week for an average sized city of 1 million people. Only then can you comfortably begin increasing prices.
Never cancel or ruin a booking:
This is the cardinal sin, and the fastest way to tank your earnings.
This should be rule number one considering that everything you do above can be ruined by a cancellation. This is not an exaggeration. We have had clients reach the top of Airbnb’s search pages for their city only to fall out of sight completely due to a cancellation or billing error. This is not a permanent ban, as a couple of our clients have recovered within a few months. However, this does mean you will have fewer bookings, and will likely have to reduce your pricing in order to speed the process up.
This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, instead, we’ve condensed this post down to highlight the four areas we have found to provide the biggest earning gains for hosts. These are only some of the strategies and techniques we’ve used to help Airbnb hosts double and triple income on their properties.
If you’re ready to take your Airbnb property or vacation rental listing to the next level, contact us directly to chat with us about what we can do.