Advertising cards

Our two-bedroom Airbnb is in a semi-remote Northern California mountain community. My wife and I must hustle more to attract new bookings, compared to Airbnb hosts whose guestroom rentals are in major tourist cities.

I designed a one-sided, 4-inch x 8-inch, advertising card that is printed on glossy cardstock paper. We always carry a few cards with us, as we often meet visiting tourists at nearby restaurants, shops and bars. Plus, it is a great “ice breaker” when meeting tourists looking for a future place to stay.

We also place these cards in local wine tasting rooms, small shops and real estate offices, and give them to our departing Airbnb guests as a souvenir.

The 500 cards cost $67, including sales tax and shipping, through the “VistaPrint” online printing company.

Our advertising card features our private Airbnb website, which has weblinks to area tourist information and direct booking with Airbnb. Plus, we have our own Airbnb business cards.

Our private Airbnb website is $85 annually, through the “WebStarts” web-hosting company. The company’s web platform is easy for me to personally make text changes and/or add photos to my website.


Very nice, great idea! Thanks for sharing…


Hi Don. Good work. One thing I would recommend longer-term is ensuring you have a website that’s responsive to work better on mobile. While site will load on my smartphone, it’s not easy to view or navigate. If you’re up for it (or wiling to spend a few hundred for a web developer to build it) there’s a ton of plug and play WordPress themes and plugins built specifically for the purpose you’re using it for. Very easy to setup/learn or easy to have a developer build for you and and then just take over the process of adding/updating content/availability.


Why, why, why? :open_mouth:

If you put time and effort in building your own website, why still forward people to an OTA?
Start taking direct bookings, set your own rules, and make a bit more money.

Get a webservice/channelmanager (I would advice Lodgify for your kind of business) and a stripe account and start doing direct bookings!
You will see your business will soar!

Sending people to an OTA is not smart, because they could start looking around on the platform and find some place better to book.


I don’t understand what is an “OTA”?

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OTA = Online Travel Agent

AirBnB, Booking, Homeway, Agoda etc etc are all OTA’s

Chris: We have only been Airbnb hosts for the past nine months. We are happy how Airbnb handles our payment system and guest issues, and has its home-coverage insurance. I created our private Airbnb website because:

  • My private website address is shorter and easier to remember than my official Airbnb URL.
  • I can post numerous weblinks and as many photos as I want on my private home page.
  • My website’s homepage looks unique, compared to the standard Airbnb corporate web pages.
  • I just like to design and update websites.

That is why, why, why. I do appreciate your input.

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I can understand many reasons why someone would prefer to stay with Airbnb, even with them taking a cut. For one, they are a market leader and someone just starting out might want to build up their review count. So while your point is valid there are two sides to the debate.

As as aside: I’m very much influenced by my experience as a guest and the ease of going on Airbnb, clicking on an IB listing for a host with lots of good reviews and feeling like I’m done with it. Sifting through individual websites and aggregators like Homestogo or booking dot com or Houfy is a PITA.

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Yes, but in this case @Don_Burns already attracted the guest to his website. He already put the time and energy in his marketing and the guest is on his virtual doorstep.
Now he is sending the guest away to do the shopping and payment.

It’s like a baker, calling you in showing and and let you smell you his fresh bread, and then send you of to buy it as at the supermarket.

It is not only the 14% higher price the quest has to pay, it is also the risk the guest will find an other place suggested by Air (or another OTA).

Like you going into the supermarket, looking for the bread, and seeing one that even looks and smells better.


KKC: What is a “PITA”?

I wish hosts would not abbreviate words that Airbnb newbies don’t understand. Thanks.

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Hi @Don_Burns

Please don’t the mistake of believing Airbnb provides home insurance for STRs it doesn’t. As a host you are responsible for ensuring you have the right STR home insurance for the property you have.

All Airbnb provides is a limited ‘guarantee’ with many exemptions such as pet damage, valuable items, like for like replacement.

Also I know you mentioned you are a former PR director, but can I suggest you are much better providing people with business cards, rather than a large card , as it fits into their wallet or purse and they are much more likely to keep hold of it. You can also provide spares for family and friends.

Personally I don’t like the quality of Vistaprint. I prefer something like Moo, where you can get a set with four or eight different photos on one side and a website URL/phone/email abd discount for repeat visits on the other.

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Helsi: We also have business cards I give to our guests at check-in. I tell them, please use this business card information (our names and street address) if they have a problem re-entering our 575-home gated-community. The security-gate guards always ask visitors this information.

Plus, I mention the business card is useful if they encounter something uneventful while exploring our area and need to phone us. We had to pick-up a checked-in couple, whose car battery died while they were dining at a nearby restaurant. We have no local Uber or taxi service.

The back of our business card has six color photos of our house exterior, two guest bedrooms, guests’ TV lounge, and the guests’ own outdoor balcony.


Pain In The Ass


Do you also list on other websites like VRBO? If not, then consider it since it will get you visibility to people that don’t use Airbnb. There are tools available to synchronize your calendars between multiple booking sites.

Definitely get real short-term rental insurance. You may even find your current homeowners insurance is void (for ANY claim) if you use the home for short-term rentals. Do not rely on Airbnb’s “Host Guarantee”, especially if you are dependent on your rental income.


Brian: I recently listed our guestrooms on Flip Key and Trip Advisor, whose booking calendars are synced with my Airbnb calendar.

My wife and I live full-time on the upper-main floor of our large house. We use our downstairs space for our guestroom rentals. We have no kids or grandchildren, so the unused downstairs space works great for us to rent.

I have learned VRBO is best for guests wishing to rent the ENTIRE home during their stay.

  • The payment system with a direct booking using stripe is exactly the same, with the biggest advantage that you get your money at booking, not after arival of guest.
  • With direct booking, you will notice you will have far less guest issues. Guest hide behind AirBnB, with a direct booking they cannot.
  • AirBnB has no home-coverage insurance. It’s “host guarantee” only covers when your place gets trashed and you manage to get media attention.

On the other side there are a lot advantages:

  • You can set your own (more realistic) terms and conditions
  • You get payment at booking, and not after arrival (maybe).
  • You can ask for a (real)deposit upon arrival, and you can decide if you give it back or not.
  • No 3rd party that decides if a guest can cancel and gets his money back.

Like I said, if you put this much time and effort in getting your guests to book with you, then do not hand the guest, all control and 3% of your revenue over to AirBnB.



Do what is comfortable for you to book out your home.

You are fairly new to Short Term Rentals (STR) so use a payment platform that works for you.

Some of the information in this thread is probably good to know for your options. Later as your confidence & experience grows you may wish to set up payment options other than via Airbnb.

To share information & ideas is meaningful because no one knows everything. Information is power. For people to “tell you how to run your rental” feels disrespectful.

I like your handouts. Is there an area from which you receive frequent visitors? If yes, there may be some direct marketing opportunities in those areas. Just thinking…


I’m grooving on this idea. Would you please post an image of your card? I’m wondering if something like this will work for my cards.

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Annet: Here is the back of our business card. I had VistaPrint produce 500 double-sided business cards for $18 (included shipping and sales tax).

The front side lists: our names, our private website; street address, city, state and zip code; my cell phone and house phone numbers; and my direct e-mail address.MLcard(back)


Annet: Last fall, I purchased five newspaper ads in large cities 90 to 120 miles from our Airbnb. Two of those five newspapers market to the local gay community, which I am attaching that specialized ad.

Not one response, other than from two newspaper editors who wanted to stay with us for free in exchange for publishing future ads at no charge to me.