Photo by Freddie Collins on Unsplash

Anytime I acquire a new property, I always stay a minimum of two nights there myself before letting any guests arrive. There are a couple reasons for this, but the big two are lighting and sound. How loud is your place at night? Are lots of bars nearby? Is there enough lighting? You’ll figure that all out quickly once the sun sets.

To prepare for your guests — even before you become one — think through their journey from booking to leaving. Visualize their path and think back on your own past Airbnb experiences.

Why did you choose the Airbnb…

Instant book is the key

How can guests book? If you are renting out the entire space, I highly recommend toggling the “Instant Book” feature on. This feature allows guests to instantly book rather than having to send you a message and wait for you to see their message and accept or reject. I have had nothing but good guests while using this feature. Remember, you are already filtering your guests with everything from décor, to location, to. I find price to be the best filter to get good guests. People who pay more are less likely to be bad guests. (This is not a…

Airbnb description and info page

What should you write after your description in your Airbnb? Well, you don’t have to write anything, and if you look at most of your competition, you’ll see they haven’t written anything. But that is their mistake, and you can capitalize on it.

There are a few reasons to write as much as possible. Number one, of course, is so the guests who actually read everything can find all the information they need to make a decision without bothering you. (More information means the host cares more; some guests will skip listings with too little info.) This is the place…

Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

OK, so you’ve picked out some comforters and consumables for your guest that might be a tad above the expectations your pictures set. That’s great, but now you have to take those pictures — and the pictures are everything.

Let me say that again, because I’m not sure it was clear enough:


You can have the best apartment in Manhattan on the one hundredth floor of some luxury apartment building, but if you do not take incredible pictures, people will not book. Simple as that. Guess how 90 percent of your potential guests choose the place…

Photo by Erick Palacio on Unsplash

Remember what I said in the last post about making sure your furniture meets your guests’ expectations? Well, that same idea applies to just about everything in your Airbnb. People have expectations.

The movie Wonder Woman came out while I was working on this a couple years back. (This might seem a bit off-topic, but bear with me for a second.) We all had abysmal expectations for it — the other two DC movies were misshapen messes — so when the movie was slightly better than expectations, everyone loved it. It definitely had its rough edges and some serious cheesiness…

A bad review or a four-star review. They’re the same thing, and they both feel like a punch to the gut.

You will feel angry and maybe a bit ashamed, but mostly just confused.

It’s natural.

It will happen eventually. Some guests just suck, and others have legitimate reasons for leaving less than stellar reviews.

After getting a bad review first look at their feedback. Did they give any specific feedback? If so, note it down and try to understand their view point. Was the bathroom moldy or looked old? Do your blinds not cover the window? …

Ready for some market research?

Before you can finalize your specific location within a city, you need to figure out who you want your guests to be.

My Airbnbs were in Ann Arbor. I knew I wanted to target students and their parents as guests . . . but Ann Arbor isn’t just a university town. No ma’am. It’s a vibrant, thriving start-up city, and that means businesspeople travel there as well. So I needed a place in a location that could cater to both the guests going to the school and the ones going to the business side of…

Photo by Timo Wielink on Unsplash

Like the old real estate adage says, “Location, location, location.” It doesn’t matter if your Airbnb is the best in the world. If it’s in the middle of nowhere you’re going to do worse and probably lose money. The key to determining the right location is identifying neighborhoods that draw regular travelers. Examples of prime locations are downtown areas, vacation getaways near big cities, university campuses, stadiums, conference centers, and many, many more. Traveler seasonality in these locations is also important. Not as many people will go to a sports stadium during the off-season.

When you’re choosing locations specifically for…

I’ve told you before that Airbnb is about two things, photos and prices. Arguably, it is about just one thing: pricing. That is the name of the game.

The price gets people to book after the photos and reviews sold them. Price determines how people perceive your listing and is the most important filter for who your guests will be. If you set $400 for an apartment in Manhattan, people expect a place worth $400 a night. …

When I started Airbnb, I didn’t have tens of thousands of dollars. I just had my rental apartment. It wasn’t even a great apartment. The carpet was thin and worn, the blinds had gaping holes, there was no dishwasher or washing machine. It was your typical no-frills starter apartment.

The apartment’s one redeeming feature was its location right smack-dab in the center of downtown Ann Arbor, across the street from my favorite pizza place (the main reason I got it) and a three-minute walk from the University of Michigan’s campus. …

Alex Oberon

I design apps people love

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