With Airbnb privately valued at $31 billion, people everywhere are opening their homes or buying up properties in hopes of getting a slice of the pie. But as many are coming to realize, it takes more than an empty house to succeed in hospitality.
The same goes for any startup: bare minimum won’t cut it. Whether you’re experimenting with Airbnb or starting a business you hope will be the next big thing, here are three mistakes I regularly see Airbnb newbies make that all entrepreneurs should avoid:
1. You’re not communicating with your buyers
Airbnb is a convenient way to do business—so convenient, in fact, that many hosts fall into a state of complacency. Many new hosts act as though a confirmed reservation means they can simply tune out until their guests have checked out. But ignoring your guests is the quickest way to ruin your new business.
Let that be a metaphor for your business, whatever its nature. Your clients rely on you for more than just a product or service. And they’re going to have questions for you. Watch your inbox and social accounts for emails and comments from your clients, and act on them quickly. Big concern or small, clients need to hear from you right away. Maybe they need something as simple as directions. Or maybe something has gone wrong that needs your immediate attention. Whatever the case, not paying attention to or answering client messages is a sure-fire way to invoke a refund or—even worse—a poor review. Speaking of which . . .
2. You ignore bad reviews
No one likes a bad review. These can range from the petty (disagreeing with your choice of decor) to the serious (struggling with a broken heater), and from problems out of your control (rude neighbors) to the ones that are definitely in your control (overcharging or failing to clean after the last guest). It’s oh so tempting to simply ignore them and turn your attention to all of the good reviews you’re getting. After all, aren’t we all taught from an early age to focus on the positive?
That may be, but it’s terrible business advice. You can’t ignore negative reviews. According to BrightLocal, 91% of 18- to 34-year-olds “trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.” So every bad review is like a friend telling your potential customers to look elsewhere.
Bad reviews are an opportunity to improve your business. Did a guest complain about something being broken? Fix it! Is the information on your website misleading? Revise it!
But most importantly, communicate with these reviewers. Thank them for their review. Let them know you’ve acted on their notes. According to HubSpot, solving a customer’s complaint and resolving the mistake will lead the customer to continue doing business with you 96% of the time. Even better, they’re likely to revise their review!
3. Your online information looks terrible.
You don’t need to be an expert writer or skilled photographer to make your social media profiles or website shine. You just need to be thoughtful and thorough.
Many hosts make the mistake of not being descriptive enough in their listings. They give a basic description of the space but fail to list off all of the amenities. They don’t think to mention all of the nearby attractions within walking or driving distance. So take some time to think like your guests: if you were visiting, what would matter to you?
Also, be thoughtful of your photos. Clean up beforehand. Make sure the space is well lit, and remove anything that may be distracting.
It’s the same for any business. If you were a customer looking for information about your business, what would you want to know?
Many business owners don’t know they have automatically-created business pages running rampant on Yelp, Google, or Facebook. These pages may contain inaccurate information, unrefuted negative reviews, and grainy, unflattering photos of your business. Claim these pages, clean them up, and make sure your website is clean and up to date, too. Online sources are often the first impression people will have of your business, so make yourself look good!
There’s more to running a successful business—Airbnb or otherwise—than just opening shop. Check yourself for these mistakes; it’s a great place to start.
Chi Ta is the founder of www.AirbnbMillionaireSecrets.com, an e-Course created to help the average person achieve success as an Airbnb host. Before founding the e-Learning platform, Chi spent twelve years in the reverse mortgage industry, establishing his brokerage as one of the best in California. Chi is available for joint venture projects, direct mentorships and consultations.
Founder of www.AirbnbMillionaireSecrets.com, Chi Ta earned $2.4 million in 9 months through Airbnb. In this article, Ta shares a few of his secrets to success. Specifically, what are three major mistakes Airbnb hosts make and how can entrepreneurs across sectors learn from (and avoid) these mistakes? His tactical, expert-level advice works and is easy to apply for Airbnb hosts and other business owners alike.