Netflix has a habit of creating fabulously bingeable content, and they’ve done it again with their new show Stay Here, which shows property owners how to turn their short-term rental properties into spectacular moneymakers. We’ve been watching it obsessively, and every episode is packed with valuable lessons short-term rental managers must learn to make the most out of their property.
Read on for our summary of Stay Here’s advice on how to make your property look amazing, create an awesome listing, get great guest reviews, and ultimately, how to get more bookings:
1. Think like a pro, act like a pro
Most of the property owners featured on Stay Here are rentals management newbies, looking for advice on how to turn their property management dreams into a real, professional business. Whether you’re managing a string of big budget properties or just renting out your spare room, being a short term rental manager is a job – your guests are expecting a professional experience. Fortunately, Your.Rentals has loads of great, easy to use features that help you manage your property like a pro. You should respond immediately to Booking Requests, or better yet use Instant Booking so guests can book automatically. Your pre-check-in service sets the tone for the whole stay, so make sure your Instructions are clear so your guests know exactly how to find your property, and what to expect in terms of Security Deposits or Optional Extras.
Professionalism also means great marketing – remember you need to compete with established businesses and hotels, so if your listing isn’t eye catching, guests won’t stick around long enough to find out how great your property is. Create an impactful Headline and detailed description that really sells the best aspects of your short term rental. Your.Rentals allows you to upload descriptions in multiple languages so your listing can stand out no matter where your guests are from.
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2. Refresh, Redecorate, Redesign
It might seem obvious, but one of the major barriers to bookings and great reviews is outdated, tired, poorly planned or just plain ugly looking properties. A recently updated property can charge a higher Rate and provide a better experience for guests. Okay so Stay Here benefitted from Netflix money (several of the property makeovers reportedly cost over $100,000), but there are a few quick fixes you can make to maximise your property performance.
Think “Heads in Beds” – do you have any wasted space that could be repurposed into an extra bedroom without negatively affecting the guest experience? If you can trade out a regular couch for a sofa bed, you can add an extra bedroom to your listing and increase the maximum guests. Do you need to rent out the entire property or do you have severable bookable units? You can easily create a listing for each potential unit by copying your existing listing and editing the details.
You might not be able to completely overhaul your fittings and furnishings, but a few minor updates such as new cushions and linens can give a fresh feel to the property. Pro tip: Furniture covers can disguise tired looking sofas and chairs and make it easy to keep things clean. Stay Here’s Genevieve Gorder offered the novel advice of using mayonnaise to polish up old furniture and give it a sparkling (and tasty!) shine.
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3. Think Locally, Attract Globally
Guests aren’t just looking for somewhere to sleep – they’re visiting your location for a reason. Understand what it is that attracts people to your area and offer that as an experience. You should include local attractions in your description and can even partner up with local businesses to offer activities for your guests. You are the expert in the area, so telling guests where to visit (and where to avoid) will increase positive reviews and get some of those all-important repeat bookings.
Stay Here advises hosts to spend 10% of your nightly rate on amenities for the guests – things like complimentary tea, coffee or toiletries. Offering local products such as cheeses, freshly baked bread and even wine can add a really genuine feel to your guest’s stay – and if you like to upsell, you could even charge for a welcome basket as an optional extra.
4. Great photos sell – and sell again!
We never stop saying this, but great photos are the first step towards attracting guests. No matter how awesome your property is, if the photos aren’t eye-catching, nobody will ever find that out. Your Cover Photo (that is, the first photo on your listing page) is the one guests will see when they scroll through rentals websites, so it’s got to be spectacular. It should highlight the number one selling point of the property, whether that’s a gorgeous master bedroom or a sun terrace with a view. Having your company logo as a Cover Photo is a bad idea – nobody will click on a listing if they can’t see immediately what the property looks like.
It’s not only your photos that sell either – if you can encourage guests to take photos they’ll actually be doing your marketing for you! Stay Here emphasises the importance of “Social Media Moments” – those iconic situations where guests can’t help but take a snap. Maybe it’s a photo of a sunset by the pool, maybe your guests are taking selfies by a wonderfully weird piece of artwork, perhaps it’s even a picture taken with you, their new favourite host! The logic is the same as listing on multiple channels – the more people who see your property the better!
5. Set your prices to beat your competition
Real estate expert Peter Lorimer’s role in Stay Here is to help short term rental owners with the business side of managing a property. As with any other business, as a property manager you need to be thinking about your competition. You should be setting your basic rates competitively so that you’re not charging significantly more (or less!) than similar properties in your area. It’s also a great idea to make use of Your.Rentals’ seasonal rates tool to adjust your prices up and down depending on seasonal demand. Your.Rentals also lets you offer discounts for last minute, early bird or long-term bookings, something which can really give you the edge over other properties in your area.
Season 1 of Stay Here is out now on Netflix, but if, like us, you can’t wait for Season 2 to get more amazing advice on managing a short term rental, we recommend signing up for blog updates and our regular newsletter for tips, tricks and vacation rentals industry news.
If you want to put some of these lessons into practice, edit your listings now, or if you’re new to Your.Rentals sign up free and start building your first listing!