11 Airbnb Hosting Mistakes to Avoid (Key Tips from a Pro)

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Want to make money with Airbnb? Today, I’m hosting an expert on Airbnb to help you increase your income. With these best Airbnb hosting tips, you’ll be on your way to earning more money and building a sustainable rental business or side hustle. 

11 Airbnb Hosting Mistakes to Avoid (Key Tips from a Pro)

Whether you are considering your first Airbnb listing, or are a seasoned superhost, there are some common pitfalls that you can avoid. In order to have a profitable listing, you can learn from mistakes that I and others have made along the way.

Airbnb has consistently been one of the best rental business ideas to earn passive income and monetize an asset you already own.  There are plenty of pros and cons of becoming an Airbnb host. Overall, the pros should outweigh the cons if you do it right. 

As an Airbnb host myself, I have seen the benefit of correcting many of these mistakes first hand.

Best Airbnb Hosting Tips to Increase Your Income

Some of the hosting tips below have increased my earnings and satisfaction of being an Airbnb host dramatically.

Using bad Pictures

Making a great first impression with your Airbnb listing photos is one of the most important factors in a guest choosing a booking. Many listings in my market have photos with poor lighting and bad angles. This will likely result in missed booking opportunities and having to reduce the price of the listing to get interest.

If your photos look like you lazily walked through snapping a shot at the doorway of each room from your phone, how do you expect a guest to get excited enough to pay to stay there?

You should strive to have stunning photos of your place. The photos should be taken in a way that is similar to walking through the space.

They should iterate between overview photos and detail shots of things like art, decor, and coffee stations.

See Related: Airbnb vs VRBO – What is Better?

Inaccurate Listing Details

The easiest way to get yourself in some trouble with your Airbnb business is by having inaccurate listing details. Guests can claim that the experience was not as advertised and get a full refund. They will also likely write poor reviews because of the inaccuracy.

If the inaccuracy is minor, they might not request a refund, but it will mar their perspective of the experience.

Besides outright deception, there are some common examples of issues where the listing details may differ than your actual product. One is how well you keep the kitchen stocked.

If your listing says you have the basics, and if you have a picture of a full spice rack, but in reality, it is now pillaged and not very well stocked then guests will feel mislead.

If you had some decor that broke and is no longer there, it will detract from the experience.

Niche Design Theme

Furnishing an Airbnb is a complicated subject. I am not an interior designer, and unless you are. I recommend you stay away from niche themes. They limit your market unnecessarily. I have seen listings that were baseball themed for instance, and unless your guest is a big fan of baseball, they probably don’t want sports memorabilia in every room.

This will limit your pool of potential guests.

These can sometimes work in markets where a lot of travelers are there for a specific reason.

Though I recommend you stick with a broadly appealing style and sticking to that. You can have a couple of pops of interest throughout the listing but having a theme can be off-putting to some.

Being Slow with Guest Responses

In today’s world of instant gratification, and 24/7 availability of services, if you take a long time to respond to guest’s requests both before and after check-in, it will leave the guest with a bad impression.

Airbnb tracks your response time and then publishes it on your listing. If you respond in over 24 hours it will likely say a few days response time. This could cause a guest to book or inquire on another listing than yours.

While response rate is definitively tied to listing status, there is some evidence that the response time can impact how your listing shows up in search results.

Airbnb puts most of the weight on responding to the initial inquiry of a guest and does not put weight on being the final response. This is important to note so you do not feel like you always have to send the last response, since many threads do not lend themselves to be replied to in a natural way.

Because it impacts both your guest experience and your listing rankings, it is a good idea to respond to guest requests very quickly. The responsiveness will pay off in your overall business.

Not Researching Competition

Before you even decide on creating an Airbnb, you should be researching the competition. It will help guide you on what the product you need to provide in your market is and allow you to make estimates to earnings for different products.

Researching occupancy of competition is somewhat tricky to do but can be assisted with tools such as Airdna.

With long term rentals, it often makes sense to be toward the median as far as amenities, and pricing is concerned. With short term, there is a significant advantage to being toward the top of the pack.

If you have a top tier product, you can command significantly higher prices and be one of the first places to book.

See Related: Is Laundromat Investing a Good Idea?

Failing to Improve

Warren Buffet understands that compound interest does not just apply to money. It also applies to business systems and even knowledge. The key here is to continually improve your listing, your systems, and your knowledge as it pertains to the industry.

On my first listing, I had pretty decent success right out the gate.  I had a few back to back weekly reservations and a monthly reservation with a couple weekend reservations sprinkled in there.

Because of this I got a bit comfortable, thinking everything was going great. When I got comfortable, I stopped adding to my listing, and improving my methods.

After a while, I was just booking the weekends and almost every week was going unbooked.  At best, there were a couple weekdays booked. I updated a few things in my listing and got aggressive with my pricing strategy. 

By dramatically reducing weekday pricing a week and moderately reducing pricing two weeks out, I was able to nearly completely book up weekdays.  This represented a 35% increase in total revenue. 

See Related: How to Drastically Cut Expenses

Not using Dynamic Pricing

If you have the same price set for the entire year, then you are not taking advantage of one of the primary reason to choose Airbnb over long term rentals, which is taking advantage of spikes in demand. At first, I was using the Airbnb dynamic pricing feature, but had a relatively high floor. 

This created a large amount of vacancies. I still set Airbnb’s floor somewhat high, then reduce the coming weekdays about two weeks out to give people incentive to book and that has greatly reduced my vacancies.

By using dynamic pricing, you can take advantage of higher demand on weekends vs weekdays, and busy seasons. Even areas where you may not think there is a major seasonal influx in demand, you would be surprised how much rates vary.

You do not necessarily have to use the Airbnb smart pricing features. You could use a third-party service such as Wheelhouse or Airdna to help set pricing.

You can monitor seasonality and price fluctuations in competition. 

See Related: 14 Gig Economy Jobs to Make Money

Not Keeping it Clean

It should be extremely obvious that not maintaining a clean property will destroy your business. It will get you poor reviews, and people pay attention to the poor reviews about cleanliness.  After a few guests, everything was going well.  Then I had a guest that suffered from allergies and they pointed out all the areas in my listing that were not becoming of a great experience. 

One of the areas was that under the beds had not been dusted. This slipped my attention, and I have now corrected it to clean it at regular intervals. Cleaning the windowsill is another often overlooked area that can get filthy over time.

Then when a guest opens the window they see how dirty that part of the house really is. It is also a good idea to inspect the dishes and cooking utensils between each guest.

The most important areas to keep immaculately clean are the beds, bathrooms, and kitchen. These areas also can get the messiest with each guest. 

Even when a guest cleans up after themselves in the kitchen, they are likely to leave grease splatters on the exhaust hood.  Special care needs to be taken to keep the high traffic areas clean.

See Related: How to Make $1,000 Fast

No Coffee Station

It is hard to underestimate people’s love of coffee. If you do not have a nice coffee setup at your Airbnb, you will likely lose out on bookings and it will influence your reviews.

Your coffee setup should have at minimum have coffee, creamer, and sweetener options.

The more inviting you can make it in the listing photo, the more likely someone is to book your listing.

See Related: 10 Best Side Hustles for Teachers

Not Having a Guidebook

I went for months without having a guidebook for my property. I was getting many similar questions about what there is to do around the property, what restaurants I recommend, and anything they should take note of.

By creating a guidebook I eliminated some of these questions, and improved on the overall guest experience.

A guidebook provides many similar services as a concierge would at many hotels. They help people unfamiliar with the area become more connected. It will also help answer common questions they have about your neighborhood.

The fact that you are providing this amenity will make them feel positive about your listing which will lead to positive reviews and the guest taking better care of your space.

By not having a guidebook, guests can think less of your communication, and they may give you a poor review where having a guidebook could have made them give you a little more grace on communication.

See Related: How to Make Money for Doing Nothing

Incomplete Listing

A guest needs to be able to visualize what being in your space will be like for them. If your photos are incomplete or do not paint a complete picture of what a stay might be like, and what amenities are included, they will have a hard time.

I have found that the descriptions of the photos have been very impactful in my listing. I attribute a lift in my booking rate to having helpful descriptions to describe what the potential guest is looking at.

In my descriptions, I keep it simple but also try to impart a sense of what it would be like to stay in the space.

If your listing does not have the proper amenities checked off, they might never see your property due to their search filters.

Your photos should also have basic captions of what they are, this will help with Airbnb’s internal SEO.

Conclusion on Airbnb Tips for Hosting

Getting into Airbnb hosting can be a lucrative venture, and a great side hustle or full-time income. There are a lot of subtitle mistakes to avoid making your venture a success. By avoiding these mistakes, you vastly increase your odds of success.


What are your favorite Airbnb hosting tips?

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