As Airbnb hosts, we’ve all had that sinking feeling when we receive that dreaded cancellation notice from guests.
Common emotions include: “What am I going to do now?” or “No! I’ve already bought the Egyptian cotton sheets!” Or “are they allowed to do that?” Or, in my case, “what a jerk!”
Sound familiar? When this first happened to me I yelled out that last phrase. But then my wife yelled back, the kids were sleeping. Oops!
After doing some initial research I realized that all hope wasn’t lost. And, after starting the Casual Capitalist and speaking with thousands of Airbnb hosts, I realized that there were TONS of options.
What follows are 5 awesome tools that Airbnb hosts from the Casual Capitalist have spoken to me about. These are only a few of the many I hear about on a regular basis, but I want to share the most popular with the Airbnb Guide readers today.
1. Turn on Instant Book
One of the biggest game-changers for me, and I hear this all the time from my members, is turning on Airbnb’s instant book feature. If you’ve already done this, you’re awesome! Skip to tool #2.
The thing I’ve found with Airbnb and home-sharing in general is, the easier it is to book your property the more people will do exactly that. Easy enough right?
Instant book allows a certain segment of Airbnb guests to instantly book your property if your calendar dates are marked as available. Some people are apprehensive about this, until they realize you can limit who can use instant book. For instance, those with certain ratings can be singled out as those allowed to use your instant book.
Let’s face it, many people wait until the last minute to book trips, these are the vacation procrastinators. You all know who you are! As a host, if you have a last minute cancellation, enabling the instant book feature might give you access to this type of vacationer.
Homestay is a home-sharing platform like Airbnb that has over 50,000 properties across 150 countries. The charm of Homestay I quickly found is that it emphasizes living like, and with, locals all over the globe.
That is, these are ‘hosted’ stays where hosts are available during the length of the stay. Hosts welcome guests, provide a light breakfast, and give any tourist advice needed to ensure guests get a local experience.
When I first heard about this platform, I was immediately interested for two reasons. First, we’ve all heard a couple horror stories about Airbnb rentals that are trashed or destroyed. But with Homestay, as a hosted platform, this almost eliminates the possibility of damage being done to your property since you’ll be there.
Secondly, this also helps eliminate the regulatory concerns of some jurisdictions that ban or heavily tax short-term rentals. Since you’ll be present, it’s like having a roommate, and these short-term rental by-laws don’t apply.
Homestay also uses an interesting video call feature through their platform that allows hosts and guests to become acquainted before the stay occurs.
I came across Tansler after a quick conversation with one my community members. And, following some research, I must say I’m impressed.
Tansler is a reverse-auction home-sharing platform like Airbnb, but with a twist. This is the reverse-auction part, in which the renter chooses the price, not the owner. Tansler has been referred to as the “Priceline meets Airbnb” of home-sharing with over 50,000 listings globally and was even awarded the “The Most Innovative Emerging Company In Travel” at the 2015 Phocuswright Conference.
So how does it work? Renters on Tansler add as many properties as they want to their auction basket. They then pick a price they would like to pay for the stay, creating an auction. The offer is then sent immediately to the owners, who have up to 24 hours to accept the offer. The first owner to accept the offer wins the stay, ending the auction. Simple as that.
As an owner, if you don’t like the offer, you simply decline or ignore it. There is nothing that commits you to accepting offers.
And, in doing my research I found that any host who lists their property gets a free $75 travel credit. Sweet, sign me up! Tansler also allows for referrals, where you can earn travel credits if you refer your friends to the site. Check it out, what’s the harm in expanding your customer base and boosting your occupancy?
Roomorama is another interesting home-sharing platform that can help expand your client-base should you get any cancellations. Roomorama boasts over 60,000 homes in 4,000 cities. This site has also facilitated over 250,000 total nights booked. Now, this isn’t anywhere near Airbnb’s 60 million nights, but it’s respectable nevertheless!
As Airbnb hosts, Roomorama has features that are of interest. These include nightly rate estimators, location-specific research papers with hosting data, and calendar synchronization options.
Roomorama is more secure than other home-sharing platforms because it offers a unique payment system. Here, renters are provided with a six-digit code when they confirm booking. This code is then provided to owners on check in. In turn, you as the host use this code to get paid through the Roomorama website. Pretty cool no?
5. Relax Your Cancellation Policy
I know this seems counter-intuitive. But, renters prefer Airbnb listings with flexible cancellation policies.
The actual number of those who end up canceling a stay is small. I’ve only had it happen twice in my years of Airbnb hosting. This is why hotels typically offer a free cancellation policy if it’s over 24 hours before your stay.
In reality, cancellations are rare. So relax your cancellation policy, and attract more renters.
When unexpected vacancies arise, and I’ve had my fair share, you should take it as an opportunity. You now have the chance to put in place contingency systems that will help you fill these cancellations. And we’re here to help you.
As an entrepreneur, and Airbnb hosts are certainly that, we should always be on the lookout for tools that can help fill these unexpected vacancies. Today, we’ve present 5, but there are so many out there.
I love Airbnb, it’s where I got my start in the sharing economy, but we would be remiss if we didn’t consider the tools already available to use in the event of vacancies or unexpected cancellations.
About The Author
Glenn is a writer and sharing economy enthusiast based in Montreal, Canada, who is the author of Secrets of the Sharing Economy, a book that shows people how to make money in the sharing economy. Glenn’s passion is to teach people how to make money in the sharing economy through his blog The Casual Capitalist.