Since its launch in 2016, Airbnb Experiences has given new meaning to “traveling like a local”. Global demand for authentic, personalised experiences is booming, and there’s no better time to host an Airbnb Experience anywhere in the world than now.
With high quality standards and the total number of Airbnb Experiences skyrocketing from 5000 in 2018 to more than 40 000 this year however, hosting a top-notch Airbnb Experience will not be easy. But 2020 is set to be an exciting year for Airbnb, and becoming an Airbnb Experience host now can be worth it, if you have what it takes to ride the coming wave.
Want to host the best Airbnb experience and meet friends from all over the world this year? Follow these 7 tips:
How to host the best Airbnb Experience in 7 tips
1. Find your niche. Or start a new one!
Starting an Airbnb Experience is just like starting any other business – you need to find out if there’s a demand for what you’re providing. Airbnb already categorises experiences according to some categories, but revolutionary concepts have also been proven to work so don’t be afraid to experiment with something uniquely you. After all, a list of most popular Airbnb Experiences included animal yoga, outdoor meditation and story-based history tours!
Anyhow, get a good feel of the ground by taking a look at popular niches first. Think about how you can improve or put a twist on them, and also how you can demonstrate your expertise.
Also ask yourself where your expertise and interests lie in. Some hosts have formal training in the fields they are designing their experiences on, like architecture, history and horse-riding. Others are community leaders with proven track records, or spiritual gurus who run their own wellness programs.
At the end of the day, just remember to inspire your guests and bring them into your world.
2. Sell Yourself to the Right Audience
The best Airbnb Experiences begin even before the host meets with their guests, and they do so by telling the right stories to the right audience.
By 2022, Airbnb estimates that millennial and Generation Z travelers combined will make up 75% of key consumer demographic. We’re on the cusp of a huge revolution in travel, and the impact of this new traveler demographic is already being felt in some destinations. In just Thailand alone, Gen Z guest bookings rose nearly 230% between 2019 to 2020.
As an aspiring Airbnb Experience host, you need to send the right messages to the right audience. Millennial and Gen Z folks value experiences over things, and place a premium on sustainable, unique travel opportunities – what sort of images, text or video can you use to promote yourself? If you’re planning to host a cultural appreciation or history tour, how will you promote it so that it appeals to an ever-younger group of potential guests?
Of course, you don’t have to pander to the millennial crowd if you don’t want to – just keep in mind who you want your potential guests to be, and tailor your message accordingly!
3. Give your guests a piece of mind by being transparent and accountable
Airbnb has its fair share of controversy over the years, and Airbnb Experiences are no exception. In 2016, some of the biggest gripes guests have had with bad Airbnb listings included scams and unsafe conditions. While the experiences hosted on Airbnb haven’t seen any cases of violent crime, scams are still as prevalent as ever.
When trust is perpetually put to the test, being upfront with and fully responsible to your guests can go a very long way in running a successful experience on Airbnb. Being transparent and accountable is also the easiest to do out of the 7 in this list, and it may well reap you the biggest returns in the long run.
Here’s a quick checklist to check how transparent and accountable you are:
(1) Did you clarify any questions your guests may have in advance?
(2) Did you clarify what costs are covered in your experience, and what costs are not?
(3) Did you state a clear refund policy?
(4) Did you inform your guests of any potential contingencies or dangers that may put them in harmful or life-threatening situations?
(5) Have you checked if the information you provided is up-to-date?
(6) Have you declared what you are certified / qualified to do to your guests?
Also, always honour all booked reservations, even if they are just for one person. Airbnb currently does not set a guest minimum, but either way honouring a guest booking is a great sign of sincerity that helps build your credibility.
4. Keep the experience as personalised as possible
As people value things less and doing things more, how individually customised and relevant an experience is will be a huge factor in setting it apart from the competition. How your guests will value the experience you provided them not only depends on what you did for them, but also how you did them.
Take note of your guests’ unique traits and preferences, especially those that may affect the delivery of your experience like dietary preference. A good way to personalise the experience for your guests is to simply ask them:
(1) why they booked with you in the first place
(2) and what they would like to learn from your experience.
Instead of taking pot-shots in the dark, simply ask your guests what they want and tailor their wishes into the experience!
5. Be in the moment with your guests
As an Airbnb Experience host, you need to keep your guests engaged every moment. Remember that your guests signed up with you because they felt assured of a highly personalised and exclusive experience. They’re not just here because of the tour you’re providing – they’re also here because of you!
What this means is you shouldn’t act like a tour guide. Don’t talk at your guests, talk with them. Create dialogue. Bring in your guests but treating them as friends instead of customers. Just keep things conversational, inclusive and immersive.
6. Don’t go it alone
Don’t forget that you’re part of the bigger Airbnb ecosystem! Look for hosts that offer complementary experiences or stays nearby – a partnership can work wonders for everyone involved. Also consider looking for a co-host who can add more depth or breadth to your Airbnb experience.
7. Finally, always ask for reviews and recommendations!
Getting other people to say that you’re the best Airbnb experience in town is way more credible (and more fulfilling!) than heaping self-praise. In fact, Airbnb even recommends that Airbnb Experience hosts try and get more reviews as it helps push their listed experiences up in search rankings on Airbnb.
Reviews are the lifeblood for anyone running a business on Airbnb, and the more of them you get, the better your listing looks to both Airbnb and potential guests.
Spreading the good word about your awesome Airbnb Experience doesn’t just stop there. Get people talking on forums, blogs and other online communities. Get recommended on travel review sites.
Safety is the first rule of an enjoyable experience
Hosting the best Airbnb experience starts with keeping both you and your guests safe. While you should strive to be as open and accountable to your guests, you also need to protect yourself from potential harassment and scams. Almost a sixth of bad Airbnb experiences are due to scams. As a host on Airbnb, loopholes in Airbnb’s policies also leave you vulnerable to exploitation by unscrupulous guests – as some unfortunate folks have already found out for themselves.
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