The short-term vacation rental market has attracted a large number of investors who run properties that only function as full-time rentals. For people with tons of money to throw around, I can absolutely see how short-term vacation rentals are the shiny, new yellow brick road to make money. My business model isn’t about investing in new pieces of real estate, furnishing a whole house, or abolishing affordable housing in major cities. You can convert your existing home by using these Airbnb rental decorating tips. I believe in the sharing economy.
Air Mattress to Airbnb
Looking back on the history of Airbnb, we see that the very first short-term rental was set up as an air mattress in the founder’s living room. The backbone of their concept was sharing your personal space with others. Trust-based economies have been around for a long time.
Companies like eBay, Uber, and Airbnb give willing entrepreneurs a platform to connect with consumers. Connection is what not only grows our personal business but the platforms as a whole. I am a firm believer that trying to be overly efficient, economical, or emotionless will backfire. This business is all about people relating. Connecting is fun! Your space might not be perfect right now, but Airbnb rental decorating is easier than it sounds.
1) Leave Yourself in the Home
I know you’ll find more articles that disagree with the Homeowner Hustle philosophy than agree with it. Throughout my home, I have family photos on the wall, favorite books on the shelves, and awards displayed in my office. What I have found is people feel connected to me and my family when our personal objects are around. I get regular comments about how cute my children are and how fun my husband and I look. Our personal flair often leads to genuine conversations with our guests and has never caused a guest to seem put off.
Being viewed as real people is especially important because the way we run our business rarely results in us meeting any guests face-to-face. As my guests see the house they are staying in as a home with a live family, rather than just a business typing to them from a computer, their reviews reflect their positive feelings towards our real, old-fashioned hospitality. Stripping your personality is not what Airbnb rental decorating is about.
2) Airbnb Rental Decorating
Don’t get trapped into trying to be a generic hotel room. Let your creativity flow through your Airbnb rental decorating style. Whether your kitchen has bright red cabinets or you showcase African art in your living room, these are the kinds of spaces that Airbnb guests love. One host runs a Harry Potter room under the stairs, and it’s constantly booked. There are profitable tree houses, trailers, artist lofts, boats, and even an igloo! Quirky Airbnb rental decorations attract more clicks and convert to more bookings. Consider how you could theme your rooms to appeal to your ideal visitor.
Picking distinctive decorations don’t have to break the bank, either. My absolute favorite store for decorations is Ross Dress for Less. You can find everything from furniture to art to kitchen appliances at Ross for cheap! Do yourself a favor and set a budget before you head over there—it’s dangerous to go in without a plan. Airbnb rental decorating pro tip: If I have a particular wall I am trying to decorate or broken item I need to replace, I snap a photo of everything surrounding it to guide me in finding a completing piece.
3) Ask Careful Questions
While you’re engaging in conversation with your guests before arrival, your goal is to gain insight into who’s coming to your house and why. The question I’ve found most helpful to glean information is “What are you most excited about during your visit?” Their answer usually yields a detailed response. Then, I use those details to determine how much and what kind of interaction the guest is likely looking for. But be cautious not to overstep your questioning into an interrogation. It’s not your business to chaperone your guests’ entire trip. Being helpful and available is a positive, but sticking your nose into every detail can become overbearing. Walk the line carefully and do your best to read their cues to transform yourself into their perfect rental host.
Your ability to relate to guests on their terms and not yours is essential to being a successful host. I can’t tell you how many hosts I see get personally offended or needlessly bent out of shape because of trivial differences in taste or opinion. If you consider yourself inflexible, stuck in your ways, or generally nitpicky, hosting may not be for you. If, however, you consider yourself personable, easygoing, and adaptable, you can be an ideal vacation rental host.
4) Personalize a Welcome Gift
Investors who interject themselves into the sharing economy often lose sight of the person-to-person connection. A semi-personalized welcome gift will start your guests off with a smile as well as make them more likely to cut you slack if something goes wrong. I’m not going out and getting everything monogrammed with their name or anything like that, but I do have some go-to gifts for common visitor profiles:
*Families = Popcorn cartons, popcorn, glowsticks
*Women Groups = 1 bottle of wine per night, a bowl of chocolate, ibuprofen
*Men Groups = 24 pack of Budweiser, munchies, 5-hour Energy
*International = 1 bottle of regional wine, local waffle mix, local syrup
I always leave the gifts prominently displayed on the kitchen counter with a handwritten welcome note. Wouldn’t every guest love this kind of personalized, VIP treatment at a hotel? I try to create a memorable experience, not just provide a clean place to sleep.
5) Recommend Local
Once you know who’s coming and why, you can make recommendations to local restaurants, parks, hiking trails, activities, museums, wine excursions, tour companies, etc. I have found that my guests prefer local flavor in their activities. When a guest asks for what to do and where to go, my first search is always on Groupon and LivingSocial. They always seem to appreciate my looking out not only for their needs but also for their budget.
I take these opportunities to ask my social media followers or networking group if they have recommendations for my guests, too. Reminding your followers that you are running a vacation rental and showing them your incredible customer service ensures they remember you and are more likely to recommend you. Being an active part of a networking group is a fantastic way to grow your business. You can refer your guests to the other businesses in the group, and in turn, they can refer you. It’s a win-win!
5 Airbnb Hosting Secrets
I want to say thank you and commend you for your dedication to your vacation rental. Using Airbnb rental decorating, connecting with your guests, and treating them as individuals will pay off. If you’ve gotten to this point in the article, that says a lot about your tenacity with your business. I absolutely understand how investors have gotten so excited about this home sharing concept—earning easy money is fun and addicting! But, do your best to stop yourself before you become a “host robot” yammering on about scaling your business. Run your homeowner hustle with all the individualism that makes you you. Be funny, be flexible, and most of all, be financially secure thanks to your new Airbnb business.