It takes practice to be a successful short-term host, from creating eye-catching property listings and making the most of your space, to interacting with guests from booking to check-out. Take a look at our list below for some common mistakes made by hosts, especially those just starting out in the short-term rental world. With some experience, you’ll be on your way to stellar host status in no time.
#1. Having limited ability.
Many first-time hosts devote only part of the day, like before leaving for work, to addressing guests’ issues, questions, or requests. But a maintenance problem or other issue can happen anytime, day or night, and delays in responding to these requests (especially in cases of emergency, like a pipe bursting or roof leaking) can lead to a bad review and potentially a dangerous situation. Guest Experience Coordinators at ERG are available 24/7 to help address anything that comes up during your guests’ stay. Whether a guest reaches out about needing fresh towels or something more serious, we respond quickly to get things back on track.
#2. Not optimizing your space.
You don’t need a lot of space, but you should efficiently use the space that you do have. Make use of spare rooms and empty areas by giving them a purpose: install drawers in the space under the stairs for more storage, or turn the corner of the living room into a cozy reading nook. Have a large backyard that goes mostly unused? Get some benches and turn part of it into a fire pit area. Small touches like these will make your listing stand out from the rest, which will get you more views, bookings, and positive reviews.
#3. Representing your property incorrectly.
Your listing is the key to attracting guests, so it’s important that you optimize it to include relevant descriptions about your home and high-quality photographs that feature its best qualities. Try to showcase the details that make your home unique, like a deck with skyline views or a game room in the basement that’s perfect for entertaining. One of the benefits of a partnership with ERG is a fully optimized property listing. Our professional photographers, interior designers, and writers are dedicated to presenting your home at its best.
#4. Not keeping up to date with local regulations.
This common oversight can cost you in the long run. Cities change their regulations for short-term rentals all the time, and it’s important to stay updated—or risk a steep fine and possibly your ability to rent in the future. Your city should have a short-term rental page on its government website with all of the info you need to apply for permits and learn about guest allowances, taxes, and more. Pay close attention to the information your city requires you to post on your listing, like your Business File Number (BFN), to remain a valid host.
#5. Underpricing or overpricing your property.
Most hosts on short-term rental platforms like Airbnb and VRBO are incorrectly setting their nightly prices, and therefore sacrificing number of bookings, monthly revenue, or both. It can be tricky to correctly price your property while taking into account important variables like local events, hotel occupancies, and travel trends. ERG’s analytical pricing matrix considers these and many other variables to set rates that get you more bookings over multiple platforms, including our own exclusive platforms. We use a flexible pricing approach—not a static one—so the prices we set change based on day of the week, seasonality, weather conditions, and more.
#6. Not understanding the ups and downs of short-term rentals.
Every investment property makes more money during certain times of the year and less during others. Maybe there’s a summer festival in your town that attracts a lot of travelers, and the rest of the year is relatively quiet. Or if your home is in a region that sees sunny skies only a few months of the year, you’re likely to have a surge of guests at that time. It’s important to recognize that these fluctuations are normal and not get discouraged. Focus on ways to attract guests in the slower months, like a lesser-known event nearby or renovation projects that will make your home stand out year-round.
#7. Cleaning and maintenance slip-ups.
Two of the main reasons for negative reviews are oversights in the cleanliness of the property and delay or failure to fix something that’s broken. It’s crucial that you have cleaning and maintenance experts who you can trust to prepare your property before every booking. ERG’s professional cleaning company keeps your property looking immaculate after every check-out. If any repairs are needed, our maintenance team resolves the issue quickly and efficiently. We make sure that everything is in pristine condition when your guests arrive—every single time.
A partnership with Effortless Rental Group means 24/7 support by our team of short term rental management experts who are dedicated to your success. We’d love to help you navigate these and other common experiences of first-time hosts.