When it comes to making sure your short stay accommodation is booked year-round, how much responsibility are you taking for winning (and keeping) guests as clients?

AirBnB, Stayz and similar have forever changed the nature of guest accommodation globally. When AirBnB exploded as a phenomenon, it was touted as a way to make extra income by offering your spare room to travellers. It has evolved (or de-volved, depending on your position) into a full-time professional gig for savvy commercial hosts, who curate homes that actively compete with high end traditional accommodation providers.

In the last year, many Australian hosts have seen returns diminish due to crushing competition in their markets, anecdotally remarking that their short stay accommodation listing is being disadvantaged by AirBnB’s algorithms in favour of ‘newbie’ hosts. Returns per night for some hosts have dropped dramatically, seeing some put their investments on the traditional leasing market.

It seems that AirBnB is no longer the cash cow it once was – courtesy of increasingly demanding guests and a flood of competitively priced, quality short stay accommodation in capital city locations. So how best to turn the the tide? How can you make the odds once again in your favour as a host?

Here’s how: by treating your short stay accommodation as a business. 

Many hosts who are complaining about flooded markets and overly-picky guests are those who have relied on AirBnB as their principal means of advertising. No industry or business can rely solely on one website to guarantee and build their connection with customers. Whilst making a motza using AirBnB solely worked a treat for a period of time, reality has returned to the market.

It is still absolutely possible to make money from the short stay accommodation market. And you can still use AirBnB as a way to connect with guests. But as a host, you’ll need to think more commercially about your property: you will need to market it as a desirable product outside the confines of AirBnB. By removing the choke-hold of AirBnB from your property, you will be able to build a brand around your short stay accommodation, winning fans, increasing referral and repeat visitors and generally enjoying greater control over your key audience. (For more on the importance of controlling your customer data and spreading your digital risk, read this article.)

Your challenge is to create more opportunities for your guests to book with you. If you are relying entirely on AirBnB for custom, you are at a huge competitive disadvantage. Here are some key actions to take to improve your short stay accomodation’s bottom line:

  • Get Social. Register business accounts on Facebook and Instagram in the name of your accommodation. Showcase both the benefits of your accommodation, and the region your property is located.
  • Get Creative. Think like a brand. Create a unique name for your accommodation, and invest in professional graphic design – you’ll need a logo, color scheme and fonts to reiterate your property across social media.
  • Website. Register a website in the name of your accommodation and create another way for your prospective audience to book your accommodation. Even if you’re linking back to AirBnB to complete your transaction, having a website gives you so much power. From it, you can showcase your property, the area your home is located, unique aspects of your accommodation and service and special deals.

BOOM! Just like that you’ve added multiple new opportunities for fresh audiences to interact with your short stay accommodation that have nothing to do with AirBnb or Stayz’ monopoly. By treating your accommodation as a business with its own identity and developing a considered marketing plan to win more guests and keep past guests returning time and again, you’ve wrested back control and improved your ability to book through – regardless of the season.

Interested in social media for your short stay accommodation? Ruby Assembly’s free eBook ‘Social Media for Short Stay Accommodation’ is about to change your world. Click here to grab your copy.

Photographer: Breeana Dunbar