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3 misconceptions about hosting I learned this summer


#112

Due to some personal entanglements and financial situations,
I am unable to sell my properties.
Also, I would not look to buy in the next hotspot…
One property is my homestead, and the other is just 2 blocks away.
I dont want any property outside of my neighborhood and I am very comfortable with my income.
This is just perfect for me.


#113

they will learn, over time, that the cost of upkeep and maintenance, due to the additional use and wear and tear requires a lot more money than they expected.
And there is no “deferred maintenance” - guests expect everything to be “just so” all the time. It costs more to properly keep an STR .


#114

Love, love, love Guted’s take on the review system. Made me laugh so hard!


#115

Agreeing with you, yecatsr. Isn’t Airbnb about not discriminating? I don’t know what country summerfun is hosting in…but that seems a bit like asking for trouble in the form of a discrimination complaint… Of course, I’m a curmudgeonly old 62 year old :wink: so I would think that, wouldn’t I?


#116

You’ve got me by a few (years), but yes, we would!!


#117

@Keugenia I have IB, don’t live on the property, and accept almost everybody. In fact, last night I received a lovely French bikers couple in their 65.
I also rarely do colonoscopy on guests (AirReview).
I had not so great experience with 2 very demanding Canadian couples of my age (50) and this made me to redesign my place into romantic, fun, and active sports promotion. It worked like a charm. It’s a real pleasure to host young folks.

I doubt it you “discrimination” complaint will be successful. :slight_smile:


#118

As I read the various comments on this thread, I am struck by the following:

  1. Context matters
    Our personal context determines whether it is right for us to host (where we live, how much time we have, our financial status, whether we can cope with working with people), and the context surrounding our listing(s) (e.g., room in our house, an off-site vacation property, or a utilitarian suite for passing workers to stay). determines what we can offer, what comes with that, what we charge, whether the whole thing makes sense, and how we choose to conduct ourselves with guests.

  2. Airbnb as a business
    I have to say I agree with the posters who state that hosting is a business. Airbnb is simply a platform to bring us customers, everything else is up to us. While the evolving platform and associated rules can be irritating at times, for me it is a small price to pay for a supply of guests, a mechanism to gather reviews, and someone to handle the money.

  3. “Extras”
    In my own experience (host for 2 basement suites in our home, and one vacation property in Mexico), it is important to find a balance. First and foremost, it is important to create an inviting product (a clean and functional space, true to the photos and description). Adding on too many extras can confuse a guest’s understanding of what is offered. I have done well with a nicely displayed starter pack (fresh box of cookies, coffee pods, a few foil packed teabags, a few cocoa packages, sugar). I don’t even supply cream for coffee any more, because so often it was untouched (I reluctantly supply non-dairy creamer - which I personally detest - as an emergency measure to tide people over until they can buy what they need). I’ve had many compliments on these supplies, never a complaint. Each of our units has a kitchen and people can buy what they need according to their tastes.

  4. Guest interactions
    I’m not sure about the value of the stern poker face, as I think kindness goes a long way in life. However; I have noticed that most guests like our independent check in (using keypad lock) and not having us come to their door (unless there is a reason to do so). I’m happy to meet people if I encounter them, but in the listings I state that we value independent travel ourselves so that is how we have set up our properties, and there is a good chance we won’t meet in person. I let them know I’m a message away if they need anything. I have a friendly set of “canned” messages I send out at intermittent intervals (e.g., hope you are settling in OK, let me know if you need anything; tomorrow is garbage day here are the instructions; tomorrow is checkout day, as a reminder here are the check out instructions). This may all sound cold hearted, but I typically get reviews saying what a wonderful host I am! My husband has a tendency to talk too much (not limited to Airbnb). I always tell him to limit his guest encounters to 3 minutes! (not sure how successful this is).

In spite of the challenges, I love being a host.


#119

Mine too!!! He works from home so I think he likes the interaction. I tell him he takes way too long at checkin (we can offer self check in but prefer meeting folks in person if possible) but surprisingly people don’t seem to mind. Probably because he’s genuine and you can tell he wants guests to have a good experience. I get impatient with him, but I’ve been listening to him since 1995, LOL.


#120

As long as the guests don’t desperately need the loo whilst he’s doing his check in patter lol.


#121

Let me know when you succeed with “husband control”. That is the part of your response in #4 that I am interested in.


#122

I agree with Chloe. But it might be that urban and solitary places are just much more friendly and warm and open with people.
Be sure your description — and the area you host in — suits your lifestyle Many guests choose my place because I offer good breakfast foods and am friendly. I will give them a sort of overview of where they can go on the island, times and distances, etc. I am interested in why they came, what their life is like, etc. It can take up a lot of my time but it is also energizing to get to know so many so well. I have even made two new friendships that I am sure will continue for many years.


#123

Aloha from Hawaii,
Wow! That last one was quite a story. We live in Hawaii and host two Airbnbs. One attached to our home and a condo we own in a resort about 35 miles away. In four years of hosting we have never had a bad experience. That seems to be quite the opposite of what many of you have experienced. We have been Superhosts since our first quarter of hosting. That’s not a brag, just a fact. We do meet the guests who stay in our attached studio. We give them a friendly check-in and answer any questions. Then we leave them alone. We are friendly when we see them, and occasionally some of them express a desire to socialize by sharing a glass of wine or a chat. But, usually they just want to come and go without much interaction, which is fine with us. We rarely meet our condo guests. We provide as many high quality amenities as we can in both spaces, but we do not provide any personal services like rides, meals, etc. This formula has been working very well for four years, but it’s inevitable that one day we will get the guest “from hell” who will trash the place and leave a bad review. For now we will continue doing it the way we are and hope for the best. Here are some suggestions of things we do to help gauge the mood of the guest: A few days before arrival we send a message making sure they have directions and entry codes. During their stay we communicate frequently by message asking how it’s going, if there’s anything they need, etc. The day before they leave we send another message thanking them for coming and if it’s available, offering a late check-out. Even if they don’t need it the offer is usually appreciated. Here in Hawaii the STR business is huge, so we try to under-price our competitors slightly without giving it away. We make a few $$ less per rental, but we have a 95% occupancy level and rate a “good value for the money.” I would have to disagree that being “stone-faced and business-like” is a good thing. Of, course we live in the land of Aloha so it would be very strange to operate that way. Hope some of you will find this helpful.
Beneluigi in Kailua Kona, Hawaii


#124

You have a great attitude …as do most of the contributors on here. I love learning from everyone’s successes and problems. Most everyone does not have a bad experience…until they have a bad experience, as it can happen to anyone when least expected.
I do disagree with you vehemently on one of your strategies…that of " under-pricing your competitors slightly"… this individual strategy ( to me ) is the root cause of the “race to the bottom” and the continual decline of pricing and profits. If everyone - every host - every rental - always attempts to slightly, just ever so slightly, underprice the competition, then the inevitable slide downward of local rates is steady and never ending. You will, of course, do exactly what you want and price exactly how you want to, and you are very happy with what you are doing, and you can ignore me and there is no sense in arguing with me or proving your point or explaining how great it works. I can see that slightly underpricing, and lowering rates, can be a great way to fill 95% of empty space and also get great ratings for value.
I think the better approach - for all hosts - is to exceed, and to find a way to set a property apart, and to be unique…without lowering the price even every so slightly…
Competing on price is bad for the entire community of hosts…we are already dispensable and underappreciated. The winners in lowering rates are the travelers, and of course ABB, but not the hosts and owners.
I will get off my soapbox now and prepare to be blasted by everyone for my opinion on pricing.


#125

Yes, I agree it’s a “two edge sword,” but that’s the world we live in. When you travel don’t you look at getting the most for your money? Whether it’s a flight, a hotel room, a rental car or a BnB, the WWW has created a playing field that is driven by demand. Prices fluctuate hourly. You can’t just set a price and sit on it. I am constantly monitoring my listing against comparable rentals. Since I self-manage I don’t have to pay a management company, so I can afford to charge a bit less.It’s not a “race to the bottom” as you describe it. And, I do want to make money. Some say charge more and get less rental there’s less wear and tear on your property that way. That also makes sense. To each his own.
Happy Airbnbing!


#126

I agree with your concerns totally. However what I see is not just a slight underprice, it’s a wholesale swallowing of the ridiculously low Airbnb smart prices, and a complete disregard for the value of the property and the cost of doing business. I don’t believe most new naive hosts even look at the competition.
This leads to prices which are unsustainable and which compete with a bed in a shared room in a youth hostel! Airbnb becomes a paid hobby.


#127

that’s fair enough, but there may be the risk that a new host will come long, who wants 95% occupancy, see what you charge, and knock a couple of dollars off. Then they become the go-to place for travellers who want the most for their money. Same with the next new host who’s keen to be busy.
You’re not the only person who’d use the ‘underprice the competitors’ method …but to every other underpriced, you are their competitor. You’re the cheapest only until someone else wants to be the cheapest Then, do you knock a couple more dollars off to regain 95% occupancy?
This is the race to the bottom.


#128

I started with price of 70$ per room and now it’s 40$ and I can’t rent it well If I do 1,2 night stays during 8 months slow season.
I changed my strategy. I don’t want/can’t go lower than 40$ so now I do longer terms rental with minimum of one week stay. It seemed to work very well with those who need room for couple month but now I have all 3 rooms rented for 6 months and longer.
I wanted to have rooms back during winter high season but then calculated everything and decided to leave it as it is with my long term guests. It works well for me but this scenarium wouldn’t work for others.
With another property that I rent as a whole entire space it’s about different story. I price it high to start with waiting for cheaper jproperties to be rented first. I can’t believe how cheap some people go. It makes no sense to me: don’t they see the prices??. Of course they are rented right away .
My guests are last minute vacationers or groups of workers who don’t mind paying higher prices as they have no choice. But it’s a risk .


#129

STR pricing strategy is very different for every location and type of property.
95% occupancy of prices lower than competition makes perfect senses to me. If you can’t handle competition then it’s time to do something else. However, oversaturation is a real thing and no upgrades, renovations, freebies, breakfasts, free kayaks, bikes can help to maintain STR reasonably profitable.

When I was looking for my STR property I looked at Canary Islands, Malta, and Greek islands. I got this island bug from Kauaii where I spend my last 10 winter vacations. The challenge with the islands is limited amount of people who can get there and over supply of real estate. I stayed on the islands, bought airdna reports ( I don’t recommend this crap to anybody) and came to conclusion that there is no way I can make reasonable return investing in STR there.
Finally, I found a place on the continent with tremendous shortage of real estate, good rental rates ( unfortunately very short season) and not bad ROI.
To sum this up. My first indicator of STR profitability is availability of real estate and RE price levels.


#130

You shared insightful input: “Since I self-manage I don’t have to pay a management company, so I can afford to charge a bit less”. This would not matter a hoot to me regarding rental pricing. The fact that I might have less overhead than my competition is a wonderful bonus trickle to the bottom line, and need not be a rationale or justification for undercutting competition, lowering profit, or cutting rates.
I rent a 4 bedroom upscale home. It is paid off and I have no mortgage. I manage it myself. My expenses and overhead are the costs of maintenance, taxes, insurance, plus supplies and utilities. So I guess I could price it any way I wanted, and I would still Make Money,…but my goal when I work ( and rental mgt is work ) has always been to earn the most I can for my time and my skills.
You are right…to each his own. I just want to continually push good owners with good properties ( like yours ) to always Raise Prices, and not lower prices.
While it is true…and again you are right…most purchasers do want to get the most for their money, there are also buyers that are leery of a price too low, and there are shoppers who seek a higher level product and are willing to pay the price for the extras. This is true in Hotels ( Motel 6 vs Four Seasons ) - Cruising ( Carnival vs Crystal ) and Airlines ( Spirit vs Everyone Else ).
You are experienced…you have been renting already for 4 years and have knowledge, and you know what you are doing. Keep up the good work and congratulations on maintaining SuperHost Status. I suspect that some new Hosts don’t have a clue that property upkeep, supplies, and maintenance should be planned and budgeted too, or the property will spiral down over time.
Good discussion. Thank you.


#131

Yes, I’m always intrigued by the people who say they don’t look at their competitors prices, as they know what they need to make. What if they are silly cheap and could easily be getting another $20, $30, $40 a night without affecting occupancy.


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