I know what stops people from hosting on Airbnb.
Your friends tell you that you can make bank. You can make more than your rent! You can travel more! You can afford more things! You can you can you can…
And yet, you don’t start hosting. Why?
Because there is a disconnect between the people paying you (and staying in your bed) and you.
How will you know who these people are? How will you know they won’t trash your place? Steal your stuff?
“Oh, Airbnb has a million dollar guarantee,” friends reply. “And I’ve never had any problems.”
Right, ok. But what if you don’t want to go through that legal hassle? What if you don’t want to find out if there will be problems? What if you don’t want someone doing XYZ in your house?
But, what if you were guaranteed to attract your ideal guest—someone just like you?
Someone who respects your space, who respects your privacy, who enjoys and takes pleasure in your surroundings. Someone you might even be friends with.
I’ve implemented the following strategies with a 100% success rate for over a year. Here are my best tips for attracting the kind of guests you want in your space.
Don’t make your space fit for everyone.
From starting a business to choosing where to go to eat, we do this all the time. We are finding our niche, we are finding our crew. We are attracting the people we want to be around by going where they are found, by representing who we are.
Why would we not do this for our Airbnb listings?
I make my listing a little Goddess sanctuary. I have sage, incense, candles, flowing things, spiritual art, etc. No frat boy is going to want to stay there. None ever has.
The people I get requests from fall under a few different categories, but they are always: my age or older, clean, intentional, exploratory, and generous—and many leave me thoughtful gifts they know I’d like (and they know what I like because of what’s in my description/house).
Be explicit with drawing boundaries in your listing.
I write in my listing that it is not fit for anyone under 21. Why?
I store a few bottles of quality liquor and wine in my cabinets and fridge, with a simple note on them not to drink them (see how to influence how your guests behave in your space). No one has ever touched it. But, I do not want to risk anyone under 21 drinking in my house, and I do not want to facilitate that.
Am I missing out on a market because of this? Maybe some Spring breakers? Sure, I am. But I believe that market gets replaced by the people that I want to stay at my place.
Design your place for you, not for your guest.
A friend of mine just got his first one-bedroom apartment and was planning on renting it out on Airbnb when he traveled. He was in the process of furnishing it, and said to me that he wanted to make sure he got things fit for his guests.
I told him that this cannot be the focus in the things he buys. He needed to buy things that he liked, that fit his personality—and then the guests that resonated with the same pieces would be drawn to his place.
There are some caveats to this of course. Don’t buy BDSM art pieces if you want your parents and their friends to come stay at your place (unless they’re into that, which hey, whatever floats your boat).
In general: buy pieces and furniture that resonate with you. Trust that your guests will come. The best part? When you come home from a long trip, you’ll be able to feel at home there.
Express your personality (and even quirks) in your listing description.
Write a little paragraph about how much you love your location, or include a few lines about how much you adore your patio and gardening on it in the summer.
If you’re an architect and have tons of architecture books, mention that. Someone similar will find this to make the difference between choosing a “blank canvas” place and your nurtured, personality-driven space.
In conclusion: Just be you.
I know some hosts will not agree with me on all of these points, especially hosts trying to own multiple impersonal properties and become billionaires off of Airbnb (but beware: large-scale operations are slowly being vetted out of Airbnb by authorities).
(I’ve written the exact formula in my own plug-and-play documents. Give me a call if you want more specific help on updating your listing to reflect you and attract more high-paying, awesome guests.)
And I can tell you this: Using these strategies, I’ve never felt a lack of guests. I’ve always been given exactly what I need in terms of income from Airbnb. And the experiences I’d had have not only been lucrative, but connected. And isn’t that what life is all about?
What do you want to represent to guests in your listing? What is the definition of your ideal guest? Do you need help putting your personality into your space? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Tweet at me!
Thanks for reading! Have a question that wasn't answered here? If you'd like more specific help, I'd love to work one-on-one with you. Or, if you want to work collaboratively in a group with fellow motivated hosts, find out if the next Abundant Hosting Mastermind group is open. I also wrote a book, Cleaning Up, where I give you the nuts and bolts (and so much more) of finding your perfect turnover assistant, thereby upleveling your profit and success on Airbnb. Have a beautiful day!