Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on RedditEmail this to someone

Automate

One of the things that makes Airbnb so special is the human connection that each guest has with their host.  There is nothing like the feeling of connecting with a potential guest and enhancing the quality of their stay.  But sometimes hosts are just too busy to give guests that much individual attention.  And other times guests just don’t want to be bothered with a lot of face time with their hosts.

For these reasons, we provide you with Darebnb’s definitive guide to automating Airbnb check-ins and check outs.  Here are the Dos and the Don’ts.

DO

Create a Foolproof House Manual 

This will take some initial setup time but it is well worth it.  Dedicate a solid couple of hours to think about everything in your place that a visitor may need to know about.  It may seem redundant at times but just get it all out there in writing.  The more questions that you can answer with this document, the less questions you’ll need to worry about in-person or on the phone when your guest is visiting.

Simplify The Key Exchange

When travelers are coming to your place they are exhausted and don’t want to be bothered with complicated key retrieval processes.  What can you do to make this easy on them?  The old trick of leaving the key under the doormat may not be safe but are there other hiding spots?  Is there a code to get into your building that you’re willing to share?  Can you remotely buzz people in via an intercom system?  Other options that many people love are the Lockitron  or DoorBot.  Any of these options could work for you but of course safety should be the first priority.

Get Some Help

To save yourself some hassle you could always have a neighbor, family member or close friend help let your guest in if you’re not around.  If this doesn’t work or you don’t want to ask that of your friends there are a host of services to simplify things.  Companies like Urban Bellhop, Proprly, and SuperHost are willing to help greet your guests, clean up after them, and automate some of the process that you’d typically be stuck with.  Costs for these services vary, but you may find that the expense is well worth it to make your reservation go smoothly.

DON’T

Don’t Cut Corners

While I am all for having a process and automating things, by no means should you cut corners in a way that compromises your guest’s stay.  Doing a less than thorough cleanup or leaving your keys in a questionable spot will only hurt you in the long run.  Some things are worth the time it takes to do them, while others could be simplified.  It’s your responsibility to know the difference.

Don’t Forget About Hospitality

We’ve touched on exactly what it means to be hospitable and automating things should not compromise these ideals.  You should still be leaving personalized messages for your guests along with gift baskets or bottles of wine.  Whatever you would do in person should still be done in an automated system.  Remember what Airbnb’s Head of Hospitality Chip Conley said about hitting all 5 senses within the first 5 minutes?  With a little prior planning, you can still achieve this when you’re not around to greet your guests.

Don’t Lose Your Personality

Hosting guests on Airbnb is not like running a hotel, don’t treat it like that.  Yes you can simplify things and automate in a way that makes your life easier and potentially more profitable, but don’t be robotic.  Make sure you’re still sending personalized messages and trying to get to know your guests.  This should be the case even if you never actually see them in person.  Guests are much more likely to leave a positive review if they know you’ve taken the time to treat them like an individual rather than just a payout.

Any other tips about automating the Airbnb process?  What steps have become the most important to insure a good stay for your guests?  Let us know in the comments below!

PhotoCredit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/86530412@N02/8259626811/

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on RedditEmail this to someone

15 Comments

Proprly · May 13, 2014 at 2:36 pm

Hi Chris-

Thanks so much for including Proprly.com in your article as one of the services to help make Airbnb hosting work more smoothly!

Cheers,

The Proprly Team

Proprly.com
Expert Cleaning & Key Delivery Services for Airbnb Hosts

Chris

Chris · May 14, 2014 at 5:30 am

Hi Randy,

No problem, happy to do it. Always love seeing great companies doing good work in this space.

Thanks for checking out the site!

-Chris

Larry · June 10, 2014 at 7:15 pm

and don’t forget to pay Income Tax on your profits!

Chris

Chris · June 11, 2014 at 2:11 am

You’re right Larry. More to come on taxes. Thanks for reading!

Karen · September 25, 2014 at 2:29 pm

I’m new to the airbnb scene, but it am impressed. If I can give one huge suggestion to hosts out there: When I arrive at a location, usually, I’ve been travelling, have been driving, or been on tour from a very very long day. I’m exhausted from work (I’ve stopped using hotels when travelling for work and exclusively use airbnb when available) and my brain is fried. It’s not unusual to have just driven 5-10 hours to get to your home.
I know it’s lovely and you’re proud of it and you really want to show off the features, but guess what? I’m not listening. I’m not an idiot. I don’t need a 5 minute lesson on how your remote control is special. I really don’t need a 15 minute verbal tour of the city. And I do NOT want to be introduced to your entire family when I’m feeling all rumpled, dusty and worn out.
I just want to unpack, shower, and sleep.
This article is golden by saying you should have a booklet with these the things you think I need to know. I’d read a booklet. It will save me smiling at you while you go on your spiel, while mentally just wanting you to leave me alone.
I’m not unfriendly. Not in the least. But just remember how you feel after a long flight or drive or all-day meeting! You would feel the same 🙂

Karen · September 25, 2014 at 2:29 pm

I’m new to the airbnb scene, but it am impressed. If I can give one huge suggestion to hosts out there: When I arrive at a location, usually, I’ve been travelling, have been driving, or been on tour from a very very long day. I’m exhausted from work (I’ve stopped using hotels when travelling for work and exclusively use airbnb when available) and my brain is fried. It’s not unusual to have just driven 5-10 hours to get to your home.
I know it’s lovely and you’re proud of it and you really want to show off the features, but guess what? I’m not listening. I’m not an idiot. I don’t need a 5 minute lesson on how your remote control is special. I really don’t need a 15 minute verbal tour of the city. And I do NOT want to be introduced to your entire family when I’m feeling all rumpled, dusty and worn out.
I just want to unpack, shower, and sleep.
This article is golden by saying you should have a booklet with these the things you think I need to know. I’d read a booklet. It will save me smiling at you while you go on your spiel, while mentally just wanting you to leave me alone.
I’m not unfriendly. Not in the least. But just remember how you feel after a long flight or drive or all-day meeting! You would feel the same 🙂

Chris

Chris · September 29, 2014 at 11:09 pm

Thanks for your comment Karen! I feel the same way and I’ve had that experience. Once had a host telling me all about all the great places to eat in town. Unfortunately, it was 9:30 pm and by the time they finished their recommendation most of their suggestions were closed at 10! The goal of the house manual is to hit all of the same vital points that you’d hear in person. Always remember to have fun with it and keep it in your authentic voice. Achieve the same purpose as the enthusiastic meet & greet upon arrival, the written form just lets people get to at on their own time.

Beyond Pricing · October 6, 2014 at 10:53 pm

Hey Chris,

Fantastic posts here and incredibly valuable information for hosts. One quick update since you wrote this article is that you can now automate your pricing as well using Beyond Pricing (www.beyondpricing.com).

Take a look and let us know what you think. It helps hosts automatically increase prices for peaks in demand like big events, as well as discount for difficult to fill nights. It updates directly on Airbnb so you don’t have to even touch your calendar.

We’d love feedback!

– The Beyond Pricing Team

Nick · November 7, 2014 at 3:43 pm

I just used this site twice, recently. Both times worked out OK.

I can say though, that there is a very real difference between a host that at least tries to make you feel welcome, and a host that treats you like a cat with a cat door installed. In one case, the host was very welcoming, had (almost too much) information about what to do in the surrounding areas, and had dinner with us one night that went late into the evening. In the other case, we were basically shown the room, given keys, and that was it. They had no idea what to do around their own neighborhood, and showed no inclination to hang out with us at all.

Anyway, both approaches are technically acceptable, as a hotel staff doesn’t try to hang out with guests either. But at least the conceirge knows what the close restaurants are…

Chris

Chris · November 8, 2014 at 4:31 am

You’re totally right Nick, I’ve had both experiences in my Airbnb travels too! As a host you really need to strike a balance between over-bearing and accommodating. And in most cases just reading the cues from your guest will let you know which extreme to lean towards. I think that just making yourself accessible is the best thing that you can do. But having a killer house manual will handle most of the heavy lifting especially for guests who like their privacy. I still prefer the Airbnb experience over the hotel staff in most situations!

EasyGuests · December 19, 2014 at 6:23 pm

Chris,

We are launching EasyGuests in NYC in jan 1st 2015 after Paris, and we are looking forward to share our NYC experience with you!

Thank you for a great site!
@EasyGuests

Chris

Chris · January 14, 2015 at 12:57 am

That is great, congratulations! Best of luck with your launch in NYC!

Hostkeeping · May 4, 2016 at 9:36 pm

Chris,

Great article and discussion! It’s helpful for hosts to get feedback like this from guests.

There are so many great support companies out there. For Chicago hosts, we’ve just launched Hostkeeping (www.hostkeeping.com), which offers services from key delivery & cleaning to complete listing management, and we look forward to serving our city!

Thanks again,

The Hostkeeping Team

Airbnb Eazy · July 18, 2016 at 10:17 am

Some good advice there. We’re a property management company based in the UK and finding that people are increasingly looking for a company to take the stress away from managing the listing themselves as it can often be like having a part time job!

Pierre · August 30, 2016 at 3:19 am

Hi Chris!

Your post is very informative and as an Airbnb host myself, I definitely recommend using automated pricing engines like BeyondPricing to maximize my revenue.

However, I was not really satisfied with automated messaging hacks, so I have created my own tools available at https://smartbnb.io. I believe it is much better than static generic messages, because the integration with Airbnb allows to automatically fill in the blanks with the actual data from guests or their reservation.

It currently supports 28 languages (so you can interact with your guests in the language that is the best fit), and can automatically send message for booking inquiries, requests to book, pre-approvals, and of course when a reservation was just accepted. You can also schedule messages a few days/hours before/after the check-in or checks-outs. There are plenty of options to configure this tool to actually function like you, and not force into robot messaging if you don’t feel like it.

You can check-it out on https://smartbnb.io/messaging

I have also developed other tools that I believe can be of great assistance to hosts, but those are on other topics 🙂

Best,

Pierre

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Posts

Advanced Listing Techniques

7 Things You Must Have in Your Airbnb Guidebook

If you’re not aware, Airbnb lets you create a guidebook for people to see when they book a reservation at your place.  What is a guidebook you ask?  Airbnb refers to a guidebook as “a Read more…

Advanced Listing Techniques

5 Important Questions to Ask When Setting Minimum and Maximum Stay Limits on Airbnb

When bringing someone into your home on Airbnb you want to make sure to set expectations, especially on the duration of their stay.  Here are 5 important things to consider when setting minimum and maximum Read more…