This is our third post continuing explaining the step-by-step way to set up your Airbnb listing for optimal success and revenue. Before reading this, if you missed our posts on signing up as a host and creating a new listing or on nightly pricing and creating your title and listing description feel free to go back and read them first. If you're ready to dive into steps 5 and 6 let's go!
Step 5: Upload Your Photos and Descriptions
This is where a $200–$300 investment in professional photography will earn you thousands of dollars each month. The first five photos are what guests will see in your listing preview, so make them count. Use your best exterior photo, a gorgeous shot of an interior space, a photo of any amenities (ie, sauna, hot tub, or fire pit), a photo of the master bedroom and a photo of the kitchen or bathroom. These are the images guests most want to see.
Next, fill in additional photos that show all of the rooms of the rental as well as outdoor spaces and local attractions. These photos help guests answer their internal booking questions, such as the following: What does this place look like outside? What do the bedrooms look like? Are the kitchen and bathroom functional? What cool things can I do if I book here?
Be honest with your photos. If your bathroom is so-so, show it with the shower curtain open. Guests do not mind imperfect places, but they hate feeling duped by misleading photos. As you select and upload your photos, create thoughtful captions by clicking the pencil icon in the top right corner of the photo. Use creative captions to help guests picture themselves in your rental. Which caption would you find more compelling as a guest? “Master bedroom” vs. “Drift off to sleep in the master king bed with luxury linens and breathtaking river views.”
As with your photos, it is also important to be honest in your listing description. If your location is truly minutes to an attraction, be sure to include that fact. But do not stretch the truth about your location. Do not say something is within walking distance if it is not. Best practice is to list the distance in miles to attractions. This allows guests to come to their own conclusions about your location and not feel cheated in any way.
Step 6: Review Your Listing—Be Certain Your Rental and You as a Host Are Guest-Ready
Review your listing, paying attention to grammar, authenticity, and a logical flow of photos. Make sure your rental is ready and that you as a host are completely ready for guests before you publish your listing. Is your rental clean, with all amenities assembled and in place? Is your housekeeper ready to do guest turnovers?
I tell my mentees to make sure that they are in front of their computer, at home or in their office, and to go to the bathroom before they publish their listing. Why? Because when you activate your listing, you are in no way finished. You are only halfway through the Airbnb onboarding process. There is at least an hour of critical work ahead ofyou. Several essential tools must be connected to your listing, and there are myriad internal Airbnb settings to adjust immediately in order to ensure the success of your short-term rental.
Airbnb says there is a twenty-four-hour lag before guests can view your listing. In my experience, listings can go live immediately or within a few hours of being published. My mentee Phillip received his first booking while still on the phone with me as we were implementing post-publishing tools and changes. Fortunately, he was ready for guests to arrive the morning after his listing went live. Make sure you are in the position to wow your first guests, not scramble to get your place ready before they check in!