Airbnb Blog 2019 Best

Airbnb Blog – The 1st Year in Review

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An Airbnb blog for hosts, by hosts

2018 was a long and eventful year for us as we debuted our first Airbnb blog – AirHost Academy. We really enjoyed the feedback we received from hosts all over the world, sharing the ways they run their listing and maximize their earnings all while providing amazing experiences for travelers.

What can we offer with our Airbnb blog in 2019? The short term rental landscape continues to change. Hosts are dealing with ever-increasing competition as many markets flood with new listings. Many major cities are cracking down with regulations to curb or even eliminate Airbnb and vacation rentals. Some guests are becoming more savvy to Airbnb’s shortcomings and exploiting the rules to take advantage of unaware hosts. This Airbnb blog, AirHost Academy, will continue to assess the changing short term rental climate and help hosts pivot to new strategies in 2019.

A Year of Success – The Good

Our Airbnb blog wouldn’t be too credible without some proof of success! We cleared over $250,000 with our 5 listings in 2018 on the Airbnb platform alone. Our listings averaged 97% occupancy and we minimized refunds to less than 3%. We outperformed all our pricing strategies from the year prior. Overall, we were really happy with how 2018 went for our short term rental business.

Superhost Strategies

We made sure to maintain our Superhost status throughout 2018, even after the change to the requirements in April 2018. We were hoping to have some of our listings become eligible for Airbnb Plus, but sadly it still hasn’t arrived in our market as of the time of this posting. As far as Superhost status goes, we still urge all hosts looking to maximize their profits to do everything they can to get and maintain Superhost status. The search ranking boost that comes along with the status is one of the biggest factors to maximize your Airbnb income.

Don’t Sweat the Review

We’ve gone well over 500 reviews now across our listings and with all these reviews comes a thicker skin when it comes to dealing with problem guests. We’ve found ourselves less likely to give in to frivolous guest complaints because we aren’t as worried about their review’s potential impact. New hosts should still absolutely do everything they can to ensure the 5-star reviews. But for advanced hosts or long-time Superhosts, don’t let guests intimidate you into changing your policy. Stay firm and fair to improve the hosting experience for all hosts on the Airbnb platform. That said, we still do everything we can to have negative reviews removed.

Always Be Upgrading

It’s important to be vigilant in upgrading and maintaining your listing. In 2018, we completely replaced flooring, entire appliances, all the window treatments, and much more – and that was in just one of our four listings! We made sure to find the best staff we could to maintain our properties, and were sure to treat them very well so they will care about our guests just as much as we do! It’s very easy to automate much of the Airbnb process and become complacent, but don’t forget to pay attention to guest feedback and consider how to resolve the issue.

A Year of Airbnb Blog Learning – The Bad

Some Airbnb blogs may tell about all the perks of hosting, but in order to be an authentic Airbnb blog we also need to tell our readers about our darkest moments on the road to Superhost status. We’ve seen it all: dog droppings left in our listings, massive parties thrown, injuries, and even trespassing. Here is the quick rundown of the worst things we had to deal with at our Airbnb listings in 2018, with full hosting horror story posts coming soon!

The Horrors of the 21st

We had a guest book our 6-person listing for 3 people and mention they were celebrating her 21st birthday. I asked a couple questions trying to gauge whether or not they intended to have a party in our cabin. I should have declined the reservation right then and there. Upon checkout the cleaner arrived to find they were still there over an hour past checkout. “Happy Birthday” decorations were strewn about along with damage to some of the furniture and the brand new $10,000 floors! We were livid, but lesson learned – no more 21st birthday celebrations. We highly recommend declining or cancelling any reservation where a guest mentions that milestone birthday. Of course, be sure to cancel in such a way where you won’t be penalized!

Bed Bugs!

We had the miserable experience of getting bed bugs in one of our houses. Suddenly our cleaner dropped us because we told them to be on alert. We had to cancel many reservations and spend thousands of dollars having treatments done that weren’t even a sure thing. Finally, we decided to rip out the cabin’s retro shag carpet that the bugs took up residence in and replace them with water resistant laminate. What we learned is you need to take preventative measures to avoid bed bugs. There’s no way around it! We had covers on all our mattresses, but it turns out they also like the box spring!

Guestpass or Trespass?

We had a guest dispute that his dog had an accident in our listing. Rather than pay the $25 cleanup fee we were asking, he decided to return to our listing after checkout time and confront our cleaners face-to-face! He started recording video on his cell phone and entered the listing via the lockbox without our permission. The cleaners were scared when they turned around to see two strangers recording them! They called the police and we actually had grounds to file a police report because the guest had trespassed by returning after checkout time. We recommend that if guests have this kind of thing happen to them, they should report the situation to Airbnb so their Trust & Safety team can make sure that guests like this are removed from the platform.

The Ugly

We had a guest stay that had all the signs of what we like to call refund fishing. Refund fishing is when a guest arrives and immediately starts to nitpick very minute or completely frivolous details. For instance, this guest complained that there were cobwebs on the trees outside and fingerprints on the TV inside! We advertised that listing as a rustic mountain experience, so we were hoping they’d be able to forgive a few fingerprints on the TV. We maintained our professional candor while communicating with the guest, but we did want to alert future hosts of our experience. The review I left for the guest was honest, but perhaps too forthright because it landed me in the middle of a lawsuit!

Small Claims

Despite Airbnb’s host guarantee, I found myself being sued for $10,000 by my former Airbnb guest in small claims court. The guest claimed that my review for her was slander, and decided that convincing Airbnb to remove my review wasn’t enough. Airbnb would not comment on the matter or answer any of my questions. As soon as Airbnb customer service heard the words “court” or “lawsuit” they became very tight-lipped and would just state that they cannot give legal advice! All I wanted to know was whether the contract signed by the guest when confirming the booking protects me from legal action with binding arbitration, but they wouldn’t even answer that. After taking a day off work to travel to the county I was being sued in, the judge threw out the case and luckily I did not have to pay a cent of the very ludicrous amount the guest was asking for!

Send us your suggestions on how we can become the best Airbnb blog of 2019!

About the Author Kevin Kelsey

Originally from Connecticut, Kevin moved to Los Angeles in 2013 and worked his way up to becoming an editor on award-winning reality TV shows. Kevin owns 4 short term rentals in Southern California and founded AirHost Academy to help other hosts improve their business.