Is your fear of juggling guest messages and needs on top of your 9 to 5 keeping you from investing in an Airbnb? Are the unknown demands of hosting dampening your dreams for financial freedom?
If those fears sound familiar, you need to listen to Episode 8 of the Host Coach Airbnb Podcast where we share the best tool for you to use to keep the Airbnb platform and your guests happy when it comes to messaging as a host, along with the 5 critical messages every guest should receive from you.
After listening to this episode you will know our favorite tool to save you time AND help you deliver a better guest experience, so you can be an amazing Airbnb host while spending only minutes a day.
Topics discussed in this episode:
- What the Airbnb algorithm measures and values in guest communications
- The game-changing software that alleviated our messaging pain points as Airbnb hosts
- The 6 critical messages to send your guests to ensure 5-star reviews
- Our rule of thumb for creating messages that answer guest questions before they ask
Host Coach Airbnb Podcast Episode 8 Show Notes:
What Airbnb wants and values is properties that both book and guests that are happy with their stays and guest satisfaction begins with good communication. But good communication doesn't have to be time consuming. Airbnb algorithm also measures and rewards hosts with fast response times, so we use an automated messaging platform called Hospitable.
So a lot of new hosts, pre-investors and investors are curious. How do I keep on top of all of this messaging? If somebody books, how do I send them a welcome message? If I'm in the middle of a meeting, if somebody's checking in, how do I send them their information if I'm on vacation or I'm asleep?
There's all of these hidden fears and worries. And as Culin said, we use a tool called Hospitable. Why? Because guests want and value instantaneous communication. It's part of the age of technology that we live in. Everyone is expecting that hotel booking experience. They can go on Expedia, look around, find a hotel in their pajamas, and book it.
Unless you automate your messaging as an Airbnb host, you're not going to be able to offer that experience that your guests are looking for. And, if you wait too long to get back to someone who's requested to book, they're going to book somewhere else, and you'll not only lose out on the money from that booking, but you're also going to drop in rank because the Airbnb algorithm will also penalize you a little bit for that.
Our Favorite Airbnb Message Automation Tool
As you can see, there's this overlap in the need for quick intelligent communication. Hospitable's a vacation rental management software that integrates with Airbnb and other platforms. Its main feature for my perspective is time savings. It automates probably 90% of all of our communication with guests leaving us just the what I call "toilet time" types of messages. Which is what's the size of your blender? The really one-off things. We had one today actually where at a three bedroom cabin, new construction, the guest saw the fireplace and asked if that fireplace was to heat the whole house or if they needed to bring space heaters.
So just the really specific things we end up answering, and Hospitable's really inexpensive. It starts like $40 a month for one property and the fee goes down for the more properties you have. So with 10 properties, we pay like a hundred dollars a month. I think they also have a free trial.
Hospitable is a software that integrates with Airbnb and other platforms. And what it does is it allows you to create custom messages for your guests and also time when guests receive that message. So we're going to talk about the five messages that we automate for our guests.
Five Messages to Automate for Your Airbnb Guests
So the first one makes a lot of sense. It's the booking inquiry, someone clicks on your listing and inquires. I would like to stay here, so if I'm asleep, if I'm working, if I'm running, if I'm at the gym, whatever I'm doing, Hospitable, sees this request. It's an inquiry and immediately in three seconds, boom, sends them this response that we've handcrafted.
It's: Hi XYZ! Thank you for your inquiry. We'd be delighted to host you a little bit about the cabin. And then, by the way, please book as soon as you can. Things are booking really quickly, so it's a tiny bit of a takeaway sale. What does the guest get? The guest gets the sensation that, wow, this host is on top of it. They care about their bookings. They're getting right back to me as I ask about booking their property. So they're going to take care of me during my whole stay. And it's, they're much more inclined to actually push the booking button. So you're closing the sale automagically through Hospitable.
Let me just jump in and say that of these automated messages, Hospitable gives you some canned responses. So something like a booking inquiry or something really routine like that - they've got a canned response that you can use. You don't have to draft all these from scratch. The two we think are most important, that we've really spent some time massaging are what we call our concierge message. That's the new booking message. And then our check-in message.
So let's talk about the concierge message. So anytime we receive a new booking, you're going to get a, standard message, but it's also has this extra level of area recommendation. So it's Hey, thank you so much for booking. We're delighted to host you on specific date, which is inserted, and then. We act as guides for the area. We offer places to see and stop and eat. On the way down to the cabin, there's a place that has apple cider donuts, and we tell our guests, if you have any time, stop at the Apple House. I would say at least half of our guests do and rave about it.
And then, here's how you get to the cabin. Here's all the amenities within the cabin. Here's a list of hikes, how to go to the caverns, the rivers, all these different things. I like to think of it as, when you're planning any kind of trip. You find your accommodations, you make your travel plans, and then you have to figure out what you're going to do once you get there. And so I tell people, think about, let's say I was coming to your town, right? And everybody's proud of their hometown and. And you weren't going to be there, but you had to be my travel guide. What would be the things that you would tell me not to miss? The ice cream shop or the apple cider donuts.
So that's the stuff we want to get in that concierge message because we are now setting up, we're doing trip planning. That's why I call it the concierge message. We're trip planning for the guest and setting up that five star experience. This provides value for both the guest and you.
The guest is blown away. Wow, I just booked this Airbnb and now there's all this stuff that I don't even have to think about. There's all these options. On the flip side, as a host, you've just mitigated upwards of five to 10 separate messages saying, Hey, do you have any records? Hey, do you have any restaurant recommendations? Are there any hikes nearby? Could you tell me how to get to this attraction or S street in your area? Sesame Street
It's your FAQ as well as that concierge planning message and we spent a lot of time crafting this message. If you're listening and wondering, you can always message us at hostcoach.co and I can send you our template to build off of.
The second really important message that we spend some time crafting is the actual check-in message. So this is going to give the address, the door code, the wifi instructions. We're going to provide an overview of directions in case people have, GPS issues. This is going to go out to them on an automated basis five days prior to check-in. You have the capability within the software to change that. Some people like a little bit longer, a little bit shorter. But we find five days is ideal, if you wait till two days before, people are getting antsy about, what is the address. So five days is works well for us, but you can customize that.
But it's everything that they need to know specifically about being in the house. If there's anything unique about the house, like maybe the fireplace is quirky or you can't find a certain light switch unless you know where to look for it. Yeah, we definitely have that. And I will tell you as a host, before we had automation. I lived in fear of missing the check-in window of someone who booked maybe last minute or while I was traveling. I'm like, oh my gosh. Worst case scenario or place in Turks and Caicos, someone shows up in a different country and doesn't know the address of where they're going. And in that case, you actually can't leave the airport because you need the address to get through customs.
So hospitable has this invaluable way to lower your stress and sanity levels.That's a great point because sometimes people ask can I just use, canned messages in Airbnb or, can't I just cut and paste? It's not just the message, it's really the automation of the message. It's the knowing, it's the peace of mind that you're not going to miss something, which is actually the last message to, to really dig into.
My personal favorite message writes the guest review for you. So when we went from one cabin to three in that summer of 2018, the pain that I was feeling was every day I was writing the same review. "This guest was really great and we'd love to have 'em back at five stars." And it's a small thing, but when you're doing it like three times a day, it got to be very annoying. In Hospitable, you can write that review that says, this was a great guest, five star review, and that will go out automatically for each guest.
So now you might think what if they wasn't a great guest? So we have that particular message on a 24 hour delay. So if my housekeeper gets to a property, they're instructed to let us know if there was anything really disrespectful taking place. Sometimes a house is cleaner than other times, but if they were really disrespected to the property and broke things or really trash the place, the housekeeper can let me know. We can then go in and we can pause that automatic review and go write something more personal.
Another non-official message that we've created over time is what we like to call our after check-in message. This message goes to the guest after they've checked in and spent 12 to 24 hours within your property and says, Hey, we're so happy to be hosting you.We hope everything's going well. Please let us know if there's anything we can do to help you have a better stay.
This does multiple things. This makes the guest feel very special. Wow. I booked this place and the host is checking in to make sure that I'm having a great time. They feel valuable. Number two, if something minor is going on, a sink isn't draining, a toilet is running slow, or they can't find the television remote. This gives them the opportunity to respond to you and not feel like they're complaining and allows you to fix whatever that minor issue is. AND it doesn't show up in your review as a four four-star review or them saying, oh, it was a great stay, "but" we like to eliminate the "buts" with this 24 hour check-in message.
That's what I love about this tool. It saves you time and helps you actually deliver a better guest experience. It's such a huge magic win-win.
Absolutely. And Culin had mentioned that we automate our guest reviews. We also have an automated message asking guests for a review, because the more reviews you have, the more people see that your place is liked by others and it just builds your number of reviews.
I think we're almost at 3,000 reviews on Airbnb. So that's pretty exciting for us. There are a lot of different messages that you can customize. Every single property is different. We have a newer property on the top of a mountain at 3,000 feet of elevation, and we have a day of message, which we have for no other cabin.
Again, Hospitable lets you customize what messages go where and we say, Hey, it takes patience to get to the top of a mountain for breathtaking views. Please bring your firewood, bring extra wine, bring extra everything. So once you're there, you can enjoy it and you don't have to go back down.
A great rule of thumb is if you receive the same question three or four times, go ahead and work it into one of these canned messages so that you can automate your response.
We're all about working smarter, not harder, and it helps you as the host and it benefits your guests also with their experience because if five people have asked a question, that means that 10 other people thought about it and didn't want to bother you. So by answering it in advance, you help them have a better stay instantly.
So there you have it. Our favorite tool to automate guest messaging and our specific list of messages to create, to meet the needs of your guests with minimal time and effort on your end. Using Hospitable is a game changer. It automates keeping the Airbnb platform and guests happy so you can make money while you sleep or work at another job.
We are here every week to share a tool and mindset and solution to common problems so you can truly succeed as an Airbnb investor and live the life of financial freedom.