Real Estate

Airbnb Holiday Bookings, Prices Are Soaring. Here’s How Hosts Can Profit

The holiday season is approaching and with it opportunities for hosts to maximize earnings. Read how Airbnb Superhosts earn six figures from short-term rentals — and how you can too.

Second homes and investment properties fascinate investors, who turn to Inman’s weekly Property Portfolio email newsletter as well as agents who work with this special class of client. This month, we’ll go deeper on everything from the latest at Airbnb and Vrbo to the changes investors are making to their portfolios in a shifting real estate market.

The holiday season is approaching and with it opportunities for Airbnb hosts to maximize profits.

With COVID-19 restrictions fading from memory, bookings for the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas are up from their rates last year, giving hosts more opportunities to cash in on the busiest travel time of the year.

According to the short-term rental tracking and data firm AirDNA, Airbnb bookings for the week of Thanksgiving are up 7 percent from last year, with the average daily rate for bookings that week at $327. Overall demand is up 11 percent for the week of Thanksgiving, according to AirDNA.

Booked rates for the week of Christmas were up 9 percent compared to last year and overall demand was up 17 percent. Average daily rates for the week of Christmas are at $412, according to AirDNA.

The largest growth rates this year have been seen in cities, with large urban areas seeing a 13.3 percent annual increase in booked rates for Thanksgiving Day and a 15.6 percent annual increase for Christmas Day.

In Oct. 2021, booked rates for the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas were both up around 30 percent higher than they were in 2019, making clear that the greater period of growth was seen in 2020 when more guests opted for larger, rural properties instead of smaller urban apartments.

September and October are considered the best time for guests to book holiday travel, with prices rising dramatically in November and December, according to Airbnb.

To optimize what’s looking to be a busier travel season than last year, utilize these tips:

Keep your Airbnb profile updated and fill it in completely

According to Zev and Melissa Forest, two Airbnb Superhosts who spoke to Insider about their tips for earnings six figures from vacation rentals, one of the simplest ways to boost earnings is to keep your host profile updated with high-quality pictures and descriptions of the amenities your property offers. The couple recommended hiring a professional photographer to take photographs, writing custom captions for each photo, giving the property a compelling name and prioritizing your summary description by using the maximum allowed 500 characters to fully describe your property.

Remember the four Cs

According to the Forests, the key to earning 5-star reviews can be summed up with the four Cs: Comfort, Communication, Consistency and Cleanliness. Keep their comfort in mind by furnishing your property with comfortable bedding and couches, the Forest’s said, while being clear in your communication on both the listing and in direct messaging. Make sure your standards stay the same over time so past reviews accurately reflect the state of your property, and make sure your property is clean by investing in a top notch cleaning team.

Emphasize communication

Be sure to respond to guests in a timely fashion if you want to retain your Superhost status. The Forests told Insider they make sure to respond within three hours to all messages sent between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. but wait until morning to respond to any overnight messages they receive.

The couple also said automating messages can be helpful and that they sometimes schedule messages to guests to save time.

Do your due diligence and avoid cancellations

Airbnb punishes hosts who cancel on guests, sometimes with fines up to $1,000. But if a guest breaks house rules and the hosts can prove it, Airbnb will cancel the reservation. Canceling guests can also affect your status as a Superhost and impact your ranking.

While there’s no guaranteed way to select guests who you know won’t cancel their reservations, the couple told the publication they tend to look out for accounts that don’t have a verified identity, who communicate with lots of spelling and grammar issues and booking requests from only one person for a large property, indicating they might be planning to throw a party at the rental.

Maximize outdoor space

If your property has the benefit of a large backyard, consider using it to your advantage by renting it out as a “glamping” site or building a tiny house, enabling you to rent out even more living space.

If your yard isn’t quite big enough for hosting, consider growing a garden or investing in landscaping services to make your outdoor space a memorable feature of the property that your guests will think of when they leave their review.

Email Ben Verde

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