15 short term rental tips to stand out from the competition

The main challenge today is finding a place among the fierce competition in hospitality. To position yourself and attract bookings on Airbnb or VRBO, you need to take a few steps more. It’s no longer enough to set up a bare minimum – bring in some used furniture, paint the walls, and wait for bookings to roll in. You need long-term marketing strategies. We listed 15 short term rental tips to help you differentiate from your competitors.

Here is what you can do to stand out and remain profitable:

1. Set up your property before renting it out

If you haven’t started renting your property yet, make sure you do all the necessary work before launching it. Are there any repairs or fixes that need to be done? Do them right away to get the property in good shape. Once guests start arriving, it will be difficult to stop the booking process to do the work, and you could lose money.

If something needs to be fixed and you don’t address it, you risk bad reviews, which will cost you in the long run by losing customers. Pay attention to curb appeal. The exterior of the property and how it appears from the street are crucial. The front door is the first thing guests see when they arrive, so if it looks good from the outside, include those photos in the listing as well.

2. Think about design and personalization

It’s always a good idea to research current trends and styles. Lately, themes are popular. A theme makes sense if it matches the surroundings and the area. For example, a surfing theme makes sense for a property on the coast, but not in an urban center. There are many inspiring and original short-term rental examples, such as a groovy 70s design.

If you decide to use a theme, make sure you do it right, as half-done themes don’t convey a message. If you’re just starting and have only one or two properties to rent out, it’s better to go with the safe option. You don’t have to break the bank on furniture either; just make it feel cozy and warm, not too dark or too bright. Most importantly, think about the ideal customer you want to attract. Look at your competition in the area to get a few ideas.

3. Pay attention to practical details

After all, design has to be functional. Make sure you have all the necessary kitchen appliances, such as a coffee machine( with some coffee for guests). Provide a nightstand where guests can put their phones and make charging easy. Surfaces should not be cluttered with too many things.

A big plus is a check-in and check-out system that runs smoothly, so make it as hassle-free as possible. Installing smart locks is becoming a common solution for this reason. Many guests don’t like to wake up with natural light, especially if they’re on holiday, so having at least the cheapest option of extra black curtains will do the job. It could become a real hassle for some guests, so don’t risk making them nervous over small bucks.

4. Arrange a little welcome surprise

Who doesn’t like a surprise? It can be anything from flowers on the table to a glass of champagne. You can also arrange a welcome pack, such as a basket with snacks, coffee, or even bottles of water. These details can make a real difference by showing you care about your guests and want them to feel welcome. Showing hospitality through details and communication disarms people and leads to guest satisfaction. Some guests may mention these details in a review. And reviews are beneficial for your business.

5. Use quality bedding to ensure guests’ relaxation

You don’t need to spend a fortune on furnishing your short-term rental, but make sure that the bed, especially the mattress, is of good quality and protected.

This is especially important for medium-term rentals. The longer guests stay, the more the quality of sleep matters.

Towels, sheets, and all things that are washed often should give off the perfect impression of cleanliness

A bed with a window view.

6. Make exceptional photos of your vacation rental

Photos are the first thing somebody sees, and in most cases, visuals sell. Today, we have quality cameras on our phones, and technically, a good camera is enough to take wonderful pictures. However, there are other tricks that can make a photo astonishing, such as lighting, perspective, or small adjustments in Photoshop. Photos can make or break your renting business. Investing in a professional photographer who has experience in real estate makes sense because it’s a one-time expense.

7. Highlight unique features of the listing

After you’ve taken exceptional photos, it’s time to nail down a killer title and description. Think about the unique selling proposition of the property. What sets your property apart from the rest? Ask yourself, what is the main advantage that makes your short-term rental stand out?

Make a list of all the reasons why somebody should book with you, such as appealing design, cleanliness, proximity to the city center, strong WiFi, comfortable bedding, etc. Pick one to be your unique selling point and include it in the title. In the description, list all the features, be concise, and don’t make false statements. If there’s a coffee machine currently out of order, remove it from the description because guests may ask for a refund. Your listing description must reflect reality according to the policies of the booking website, so don’t get yourself into a trap.

8. Go the extra mile to enhance the guest experience

Additional amenities can be the main reason why guests choose to stay with you. For example, a hot tub, pool, or bike for physical activity. Offering something unexpected as a bonus will impress guests and leave a lasting impression. It doesn’t have to be expensive either. Just like in a restaurant when they give you a small aperitif or dessert. Details make difference. This extra can be something small but exclusive.

9. Provide guests with a guide and local recommendations

Many hosts leave guides and leaflets on the table. Take it one step further and create a guidebook in digital or printed format. List all the tourist attractions in the area and their distance from the short-term rental, as well as the best restaurants, bars, and places of interest. Even though everything is available on Google, word-of-mouth recommendations still matter at the end of the day.

Guest guidebook for Airbnb rental tips

10. List your short-term rental on various booking platforms

You are already familiar with Airbnb, Booking.com, and VRBO. A successful short-term rental business cannot thrive without these platforms, as their market share accounts for more than two-thirds. Listing on multiple platforms provides extra security for your rental business. You can also include niche websites and apps to target specific customer types. For example, Brigfido targets pet owners. What’s important is that you use a calendar or an automated solution that ensures you don’t receive double bookings.

11. Analyze competition to determine pricing better

A golden rule of every business is to keep an eye on the competition. The second rule is to align prices with the target audience. The third rule is: prices can change depending on demand. (We just came up with these rules, but do you agree that they make sense).

Touristic places thrive during one or two seasons, and that is the time when you keep prices up. On the contrary, during the off-season, lowering prices will bring to you guests. The same goes if there is some kind of event in the area that gets a lot of attention. Hosts who have more than three vacation rentals can also automate their prices using a dynamic pricing tool. You can learn more about it here.

12. Make sure you have a top-notch cleaning service

Keeping the apartment clean should be a top priority. If you are hiring people to do it, make sure you establish rapport with them, especially if you are not there to check up on them regularly. If there’s anything wrong, they will be the first to notice it

13. Be present on social media

Ideally, you don’t want all guests to come from just one channel. There are more ways in which you can leverage the power of social media. One way is to have a dedicated profile where you post regular, professional pictures or videos of your rental. You can also collaborate with travel influencers to promote your vacation rental. A lot depends on how many short-term rentals you have or what stage of the business you are at.

14. Ask guests for reviews

Try to get as many positive reviews as you can. It is one of the most crucial short term rental tips you can possibly follow. Don’t just wait for guests to decide to leave a review; ask them. Some people leave reviews all the time, but many don’t. They consume the product or enjoy the service and move on. But if you politely ask for a review, you’ll be surprised that many of them are willing to give you a positive review. Asking politely is still relevant, especially in the hospitality business.

15. Respond to your guests’ inquiries without delay

Communication is key. Travel is all about communication and sharing experiences. When you think about the origins of the Airbnb brand, it was all about guesting people and making connections. Doesn’t matter if there’s an air mattress instead of the real one.

You travel and go to visit a new city or a country. Who is the first person you are going to communicate with upon arrival? Your host. Of course, the world has changed, and today there are automated check-ins and contactless solutions. But hospitality principles will never be outdated. If a guest has questions, a good host will show initiative and keep the communication channels open.

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