Last Updated on 17 October 2020 by Gertrude
Are hosts making money in 2020 with Airbnb due to the pandemic, a newbie host asked me.
The hospitality industry is a shaky industry, and Airbnb suffered the brunt of covid.
Yes, hosts are still making money because some people need to travel for work or school all year round.
Or some got held up in Airbnbs around the world before they knew covid would be a pandemic.
I want you to know, through this guide, how to make 1M shillings a month with your Airbnb whether there’s covid or not.
In 2017, I sat down to craft one of the simplest accommodation facility in my life on Airbnb.
As my daughter and I listed our new house/apartment on Airbnb, I remember how exciting it was to fill in the profile and take pictures – pictures that never made sense.
Two days later, we got a booking that ended up changing my daughters’ and my life forever.
Airbnb is about welcoming people to your home and letting them feel the joy of being in a home far away from home.
New hosts and old hosts confuse that that’s the only thing there’s to Airbnb.
Airbnb is the hospitality industry in a different light – what Steve Jobs would call, think different.
There are some things if you want to understand before deciding to host other people in your home.
In this guide, you’re going to learn a few things about Airbnb and creating a business that brings in 1M shillings a month or $10k a month.
How I Got Started in Airbnb in Kenya: Introduction
Why Airbnb Was and Is a Dream Come True For Me
Before Airbnb I cried to work in the hospitality industry, I wanted to be an air hostess after school but dad said no.
I wanted to fly planes but I didn’t have enough money to take myself to flying school. I decided to see what the freelancing world would produce for me and I want so bad to take my flying courses, NOW.
Airbnb opened the door for me to work in the industry I have loved for so many years, the hospitality industry.
When we opened the door to our home with my daughters in 2017, we didn’t know what to expect.
In my mind, it’d be exciting and fun and we’d vacation every single day. In their minds, they couldn’t wait to see the people we’d host.
The only thing, we didn’t see this as a business.
Getting into a business for me means having fun, learning along the way and changing and adjusting according to what the market tells me.
It’s a hotel in your home. It’s your house but you invite guests to stay with you.
You will in a profile highlighting some features in your house that you find appealing and believe your guests will find appealing too.
Airbnb is the hospitality industry and there are some key things you have to pay attention to before deciding to become a host.
Those things include:
Your customer service – because Airbnb in the hospitality industry you want to focus on creating the best accommodation, check-in and check-out experience and the best service money can afford.
Licensing – in Kenya, licencing is needed before beginning your Airbnb business. At least I have read it’s needed in Nairobi, read the requirements for the licensing here.
What your niche will be – a niche solves a problem. So what industry do you want to solve the problem for, I mean, what kind of travellers do you look forward to hosting in your Airbnb?
Your marketing strategy – the biggest and most fatal mistake you can make as a host is not marketing your business. I got blessed to have my Airbnb marketed by guests through word of mouth. I will teach you how to make guests sing your praise as a host.
Experiences – a few years after Airbnb’s success, Airbnb introduced EXPERIENCES. Experiences are what make your accommodation unique. And the hospitality industry is about creating experiences guests will never forget.
The Airbnb Host Profile:
Fill in every section truthfully according to what your house provides/amenities.
Take your time to take well-lit pictures before posting them on Airbnb. You don’t have to hire a professional cameraman but learn to take pictures from all angles of our house.
It’s about the details that matter in Airbnb, so, ensure you provide lots of amenities to your guests.
Don’t forget to include what your house offers inside and outside. What are the experiences guests will enjoy paid or inclusive in your package?
Focus on your house description because guests read descriptions. You’re going to learn a bit of copywriting when writing your descriptions. Titles matter on Airbnb.
Remember, the biggest hurdle in any business is dealing with the pricing. What are the hotels, guesthouses and Airbnbs in your area charging? Find out their reviews and prices on Tripadvisor, Booking.com and any other major hospitality industry. While there, remember to check what the reviewers say is missing in their house/hotel/guesthouse then include in your house.
Airbnb Misconceptions Costing Kenyan Hosts Millions of Shillings
If you want to move from side hustle to a millionaire with Airbnb, you have to demystify some Airbnb myths. Myths are fantasies people create. Airbnb has been mistaken for being a platform for hosting guests only at a cheap price. But some people earn six-figure incomes that’s tens of millions of shillings from Airbnb. What do they do to move from side-hustle to millionaire hosts?
Misconceptions Airbnb Hosts Make in Kenya Hindering Their Airbnb Millions
For you to make millions with Airbnb as a host in Kenya, there are misconceptions you have to demystify and they are:
Just like there are 7, 5, 3 or 2-star hotels
Star ratings may seem unimportant but they are crucial. They help you know the kind of service to introduce to increase the value of your Airbnb.
A place to just host
A hotel inside your home
Think which amenities a hotel has to offer
The hospitality industry
Includes: customer service and experience
Meeting and people interaction
A side-hustle if you want a sustainable income. Set financial goals, write a business plan
You have to stand out due to oversaturation
Choose a niche
explore/understand your home
Know how to charge/pricing is crucial to help sustain your home
Market your Airbnb. You cannot create stunning photos, accessories decor without ads for your Airbnb business
Mind your reviews. The hospitality industry is about excellent service provision. We live in a vanity-filled society where numbers and what people say matter.
It’s not just hosting. It’s about the experience. What experiences have you lined for your customers?
Want to Make Six-Figure Income With Your Airbnb in Kenya? Pay Attention These Key Areas
Airbnb is a great side-hustle to enable you as a home-owner make money from home. Airbnb hosts don’t know how to maximise their profits, they start an Airbnb then end up getting frustrated when the venture doesn’t pay off. Airbnb in 2020 is so over-saturated and becoming harder and harder to break even for Kenyan hosts. How do you maintain an 80 per cent booking as an Airbnb in Kenya?
How to Make Six-Figure Income With Your Airbnb in Kenya
Would you love to know how to make a six-figure income with your Airbnb in Kenya? Pay attention to the key areas below and they include:
Writing proper house descriptions
As an Airbnb host, does your house descriptions sound tired like ‘A house with a great sea view?. This house description gets accompanied by the best/magazine stunning photos. Do you know why such houses have one review? They are impersonal, aren’t deep and sound like they have the flu. Wow, your customers by writing house descriptions with more words, as much as Airbnb allows. Use keywords that guests would use during their search for your house. Also, take your time to say why guests must visit your home and not the neighbours’ house or book themselves a hotel. Remember to include experiences to help enhance your Airbnb. Do you need help writing your Airbnb house descriptions to help your conversion rates soar?
There’s no way you will create a successful BnB without marketing. I learnt this the hard way in 2017 when I stopped advertising for a month or two. The popularity of my Airbnb went down a little. Nowadays, I don’t pay attention to my Airbnb like the former years. But share your house on social media. To get more eyeballs to your house, organise or show how you declutter. My Airbnb is so minimal, it makes cleaning easier and cheaper. As the years went by, I refused to update the photos so as to show you my beginnings.
Choosing a niche
Many Kenyan Airbnb hosts don’t pay attention to a particular niche then wonder why they aren’t making enough income. The thing is, choose a niche. Be particular and cater to your chosen market.
I created an article and video about pricing your Airbnb and why pricing is important. Check the article and video.
Taking great photos
Do you believe that to take stunning images you need a smartphone or camera to stand out? You are wrong, I used my smartphone to take Airbnb images. Take photos during the day when the sun isn’t too hot like from 4-6 pm some experts say. Some say to use the sun to utilise the images sharpness. Do what suits you or take a course on smartphone photography through Udemy.
Have you thought that hosting on Airbnb doesn’t require customer service? I thought so until I got two demanding hosts. Though their review isn’t public, they said I was the best host ever since they started using Airbnb. I refused to review them, I didn’t know what I’d say about them. Don’t exaggerate any amenities you don’t have or think you will provide before the guests’ arrival. Learn to listen to your guests, a customer service tip Airbnb hosts forget.
Becoming innovative by using self-check-in devices
There is no need for being there to check-in guests. Airbnb has come a long way or guests have made self-check-in possible using smart devices like the smart lock and key safes. If your Airbnb says self-check-in, let it be so. Don’t be available when your guests’ check-in, it cancels the self-check-in idea.
Offering experiences to make your Airbnb Stand out
What experiences does your area have and you neglect to show to your Airbnb guests? It’s high time you ask yourself how you can help create memorable moments for your guests. For example, is it boat rides or vineyard adventures? Offer experiences, something Airbnb hosts don’t offer or don’t know about.
How much money do you want to earn per night and how can you reach this expectation? This is a major question Airbnb hosts refuse or don’t know how to answer. You have to realise that the per night stay, breakages, theft, time you spend cleaning and improving your home all eat up into the profits. How much money must you charge to help your Airbnb business make a profit? And what other Airbnb side hustles can you do to make your income grow?
Though Airbnb reviews matter, it’s the hospitality industry, don’t let a bad review cause you a headache. Instead, accept your mistake. When you own up to your mistake, you get to correct it. Follow the owning up of the mistake by guest apologising for the inconvenience your home caused your guests and that next time they can visit at discounted rates. Don’t argue with your guests, it shows your rude character and an impersonal characteristic.
Do you have guests like mine who frequent your Airbnb on the daily or any vacation time they have? Time to offer them guest discounts like free holidays or discounted experiences tour. Make it so memorable they wouldn’t forget. Remember you want your Airbnb to get marketed through the word of mouth.
Having a chef
As the years of hosting roll by, I realise in my travel experiences how hard it is to keep up with cooking. You don’t want the problems of the home to catch up with you while on vacation. Ease the burden of food budgeting and planning by having a chef for your guests. This feature has been a hot feature in our bed and breakfasts.
Great interior decor
For you to choose the great interior decor for your Airbnb, have a niche. For example, my B and Bs niche changed to LGBT, sometimes, we have meet-ups and talk about the challenges of being gay in Kenya. Choose a niche and decor you are passionate about to help you stand out. We are all rainbows and colour in our house.
Takes time to build a reputation
Remember, to build your reputation where you charge above $1000 per night or even $100 per night takes time. In fact, Airbnbs that charge more than $50 don’t see a lot of guests. When your rates go higher, so do the guests expectations.
Guest welcome book
What’s a guest welcome book and why must you have one in your Airbnb? A welcome book states the pleasure of having a guest in your home. It offers directions for recreational spots, coffee, tea or healthy smoothie joint among other pleasant features within your area. Guests visit your area without knowing a lot about what goes on. Some areas aren’t well-marketed online, and even if they are, use your unique experience as a host to entice guests.
Guest welcome basket
A guest welcome basket includes essentials personalised for the guests like towels, soaps, hair shampoos. You can go ahead and make a surprise gift basket that your guest discovers as they stay longer. Such thoughtful gifts are crucial to your reviews and you outgrowing Airbnb. To make your gift baskets a hit to your guests, ask in advance if they’d appreciate a gift from you. Or what they would as an honourable guest. You want gift baskets which get opened and used and not neglected or dumped.
Weeding out guests
You have to know when the guest crosses their boundary, for example, when they are too rude in their request or too demanding. For example, a guest saying they will need a hot shower or 24/7 electricity supply for their month-long stay after you tell them about the outages in Kenya isn’t fun to have in your house. Though the money will be great, know they will not be pleasant. Sometimes, let the money slide for the sake of peace of mind.
Writing house rules
I emphasise about writing clear house rules and regulations. Doing so sets expectations and if you have a problem, you can use the clearly stated rules to argue against the guest. There are lots of cases of theft and breakages because guests decided to hold parties yet it was against the rules. Such guests end up paying hefty amounts or settling with the host with an Airbnb intermediary present. Get clear on your rules, don’t leave luxury sentimental around, some are irreplaceable. And before you get compensated, remember the long procedure. Some hosts end up closing their Airbnb businesses.
Accessories to secure your house/home
Ensure you include not only self-check-in devices but others like CCTV cameras, outdoor security lights, deadbolts, sensors, motion sensors and home security kits to enhance the security of your home. This helps a lot when branching out of Airbnb and also when within the platform. Remember, most of these accessories connect to your smartphone, some home security kits need you to have iPhones though.
Compensation for theft, breakages, cleaning
Remember, there is compensation from Airbnb up to 1M dollars. Now ask yourself, what company wants to cough up 1M for a host? Be wise, leave the sentimental away from guests, you can accessorise your house with knock-offs or minimise the sentimental. Even if following your niche, wisen up. Also, the procedure for compensation is too long and the first question Airbnb asks is, ‘Can we see the evidence that it is the guests that ruined your item?’. The more the guests on their platform, the sustainable the business, didn’t you know? So, who does Airbnb favour most? THE GUEST.
Pay attention to the body language of your guests. Some guests prefer minimal interaction with you. Paying attention goes hand in hand with having great customer service.
The hospitality industry demands cleanliness which is next to Godliness. You have to examine every space before hosting. If you can employ a cleaning company go ahead, if starting, do it yourself or employ someone to help but inspect every inch. Clean like you have OCD, no offence to those who have OCD.
Before setting up your Airbnb in Kenya, believing you will get a lot of money, pay attention to these areas. The Airbnb side hustle gets oversaturated daily, gear to stand out and know this is the hospitality industry.
Would you love to set up an Airbnb in Kenya in 2020? Do you know how to maximise on the profit as a host in Kenya? Are you willing to take an Airbnb Course to help increase your earnings to six-figures/millions of shillings a month?
Writing House Descriptions on Airbnb That Wins Guests
It’s funny that Kenyan hosts don’t realise Airbnb is a source of side-hustle that brings in millions. It’s not a wonder that hosts have so many misconceptions about Airbnb that after a few months of not getting guests they give up. For an Airbnb business to become a source of your side-income, a host must know how to write proper house descriptions that bring in guests. House descriptions sounding so monotone like A house with a sea-view; Or home away from home or With walking distances to the city centre in a beautiful neighbourhood, while well-meaning don’t mean much to the guest. A guest reads your house’s descriptions before flipping through your photos. It’s your house’s descriptions that intrigue them. If photos don’t tell the story, then let your words tell the story of your Airbnb. Want to start an Airbnb side-hustle in Kenya in 2020 and bring in more profits than you have ever imagined? Read my Airbnb book that covers an in-depth look into Airbnb and why it’s crucial for you to stand out in the oversaturated market.
How to Write Airbnb House Descriptions That Bring-In Guests in Kenya in 2020
What’s a proper house description and why do I insist on writing them?
A proper Airbnb house description means you describe what’s inside and outside your home. You are giving guests a reason to book with you. Guests do care about the interior of your house and its surroundings, but are you a personable? Do you have great customer service or are you just another rude person? When you describe your house with one sentences, you come across as a crass, rude, distant person who doesn’t pay attention. You’re not letting guests know about you and why they must choose you. When you don’t give guests a reason to visit your home, they will never. You will find one or two guests then the visiting will end or stop there.
But when you scroll for further information, there’s usually nothing else. Mostly, those houses have no reviews because the description of the house isn’t personal.
A proper house description mentions the name of the house. Does your house have a name? It doesn’t matter what name you choose, choose a name according to your Airbnb niche. For example, if working in the niche of LGBT, you can choose Queenventures. Then describe what you chose your name, a brief explanation.
The location. Where is the place where your house can be located? It doesn’t mean you give the location of your house. It means, you briefly explain the town’s address. What does your town have that’s interesting. For example, my previous house in Mtwapa, or where the Airbnb cravings started I would say: Queentures, the only LGBT Airbnb house in Kenya is nestled in the sandy beaches of Mombasa. Overlooking the ocean from the 5th floor of the house. You can enjoy the house from the balcony while sipping tea/coffee/juice, depending on the time of day. The cool air from the sea doesn’t feel like breeze, feels like home.
What does your house offer inside it?
What are the scenes your house offer? Is it the cool breeze? Can you see the ocean from the bedroom? How is the room lit? Does the house receive light from the sun or do the big house windows allow the sun to reflect in your house? What other fixture does your house have? Is it a chef’s kitchen or a coffee maker? Is it a big kitchen island? Is it a modern house? Make your guests imagine your house’s interior decor. Make the descriptions vivid yet flawless.
What is offered outside the house?
Before guests come to your house what do they see outside? You can describe the outside of your house or the town you live in. for example, in Mtwapa, the town is chaotic, local and dirty. As you head further the Malindi road where my house was, you feel the ambience change. The place becomes quieter, greener, receptive and more high-class. Other than that, Mtwapa was rowdy and wild from 6 pm, tell your guests what that means. If they love the great outdoors, the nights will intrigue them. If not, they can wait during the day to get entertained at the beach in Jumba la Mtwana (Jumba Ruins) or by eating sea-food. There are a classical coffee house and the joy of eagles nest restaurant to help you enjoy the onion soup. Make the experiences of your town in-depth. Don’t leave anything to the imagination. Entice and lure your guests into booking without exaggerating. Be imaginative so as to create the best experiences. If you know a lot about your town, write a Travel Guide. If you have great outdoor living space, a tennis court, gym, restaurant, proximity to superb facilities like the Nyali Golf Club, say them all. Guests want to know everything.
Include the experiences that your house offers.
Like describing your house above about what it offers on the outside, offer the experiences your house offers. You arrange experiences to either take your guests to or for them to take themselves. That’s why creating a travel guide is crucial. Tour your town or city to find out what it offers then create experiences that stand out. Read more about experiences for Airbnb in my ebook.
Writing a proper house descriptions lets guests be excited to join you. You also sound personal, charming and welcoming. Did you know people can feel the power in your writing and excitement? Make your house appealing by writing descriptions which explain what you offer. Check my house’s description for my first Airbnb.
Gertie’S Home of Tranquility is located in the lush greens of Mzambarauni past the weighbridge on the Mtwapa-Malindi Highway. Inside my home, you’ll be wowed by the colourful presence of my unique decorative eye but not distracted. You’ll be made to feel at sea due to the large collection of clamshells, starfishes. My warm house is very far from the hustle and bustle of Mtwapa which offers a set of experiences for the kids to adults. During the day, you can visit the kids’ park, and enjoy a meal at the floating restaurant (Moorings) while at night, you can barhop as you sample the night adventure of Mtwapa nightlife which wows locals and foreigners alike. Mtwapa is receptive to both the rowdy and the quiet ones and my house gives you that ambience for self-exploration and discovery. Cannot wait to make your acquaintance.
Always finish your house description with a call-to-action. A call-to-action invites the guests and makes them take action. In my description above, the call-to-action is Cannot wait to make your acquaintance. You can choose to add more call-to-actions according to what your Airbnb provides.
A call to action can also include an incentive like, ”Make a booking today and enjoy the day’s special offer”. Which can be food or your experience or room discount. A powerful call-to-action invites guests to your house and telling them you’d love to make their acquaintance. Make your call-to-action enticing and exciting to attract more guests. You can also include your experience as a call-to-action. For example, come to the sea-side town of Kenya, Mombasa and enjoy not only the view of the sea but a boat ride in the deep sea. This will remind you of the best vacation ever.
Remember, a proper and great house description is the first step of how guests get acquainted with you. Provide them with the best house descriptions and don’t forget to add glossy magazine photos taken from your smartphone. Don’t get tangled in the misconceptions about Airbnb. And read more about making a side hustle with Airbnb in Kenya in 2020 from my Airbnb ebook.
Do you know how to write proper guest converting house descriptions for your Kenyan Airbnb? Would you need some help writing the descriptions? I provide this service for $5.
How to Make More Money With Airbnb: Choosing a Niche
The Airbnb marketplace in Kenya remains with untapped business potential. With hosts charging 50 dollars a night, finding a niche will help you move our Airbnb from side hustle to your main project.
Kenyans are travelling more and more with the entrance of Airbnb. Unlike hotels which get quite expensive charging per night per person rates, Airbnb doesn’t. Depending on the bed capacity, you can call Airbnb the ‘space for frugal/budget travellers. With Airbnb, travelling has increased. The main competition in setting up an Airbnb is in fact hotels. Take, for example, you live down at the coast region of Kenya, how will you convert a guy from going to a five-star restaurant to come to your house. How sure are they that they’ll get the same levels of treatment, services, adventure from your house?
For this reason, the purpose of finding and creating your niche.
What’s an Airbnb niche
An Airbnb niche is aiming to get as specific as possible. You know they always say riches are in the niches.
Choosing a niche market requires you to do proper research on your market. That means knowing what industry needs you’d love to satisfy. Remember not everyone is your customer. The fastest and surest way to die is to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one.
How are you going to fulfil the need or the gap for your guest?
Let’s say you have chosen the niche of luxury gay Airbnb, what’s lux and what will the pay per night include. And is the pay per night equals to the services provided? Will you do airport transfers in what cars. Or will you take your guests for kitesurfing or deep-sea fishing? And the most important one what makes your house a very unique location that requires your guests to pay for premium packages. Will you be catering to gay dads or single gay men or solo travellers. When you become specific about your market, you open doors. You answer questions other Airbnb hosts haven’t.
Another way to find an Airbnb niche is through your passion and skills. What do you live for? What are the activities that make you tick? Create Airbnb experiences surrounding
What are the most untapped Airbnb markets in Kenya?
A backpacker doesn’t mean poor services or a bed full of bedbugs. It means having the whole world in the backpack, searching for great locations to visit. Backpackers love to refer other backpackers because not many backpacking paradises provide for great quality services.
The gay/lesbian/transgender Airbnb niche is non-existent in Kenya because of homophobia. What if you cater to this niche that regularly travels instead of judging them. Spend time creating materials for this market. And start from this article about travelling in homophobia Kenya. Read more about this unique travel industry from the travels of Adam, a solo gay travel blog and have your eyes open.
How many luxury Airbnb niches have you seen in Kenya. Those that cater to only high-end clients. These guests look for exotic and unique experiences and are not worried about the price. Make sure to keep your Airbnb clean and tidy all the time. And also include luxury fixtures as home decors, have an eye for decoration and don’t spare the coins.
Check these collections of lux beauties from amazon.
Budget, frugal travellers
Frugality doesn’t mean cheap and bedbug or dust infested Airbnb. In fact, some frugal travellers are so expensive and are willing to spend thousands of dollars a night in your Airbnb. Budget travellers mostly mean keeping away from the touristic sites and exploring other areas within the country which remain unexplored.
Solos can be gay or not.
There are some solo female, solo male or solo LGBTQ travellers exploring the world on their own. These are people who relish the comfort of themselves while also enjoying to meet people from all over the world. Most solo travellers are open to adventure and are not choosy. Research on this Airbnb niche to know how to please them.
The ‘’complete’’ family is coming to a quick extinct like the white giraffe/rhino. It’s important to know that how a complete family travels isn’t the way one from a single parent will. Because the single-parent family would want to have nannies and creche nearby. Is your Airbnb nanny and creche ready? If not, what are you going to do to make the travel for the single parent as easy as possible?
Green travellers are passionate about the environment and prefer staying in places with absolute care to the environment. They prefer energy-saving spaces where solar energy or windmills are the main sources. They also love no wifis among other things. How is your Airbnb green travel prepared?
These are people who enjoy the outdoors more than anything else. They love to hike, go up mountains and see the world from nature’s point of view. How is your Airbnb nature prepped? What nature travelling activities do you have for your guests.
Some nature travel ideas include
University professor tours
Educational tours like Airbnb place prepared. These means do you have ideas for places you can take your guests to. How would they benefit from researching your vineyard for example? Make sure to include amenities a university professor loves.
As an Airbnb host, it critical to take your guests for industry meetings as part of the experience. You can ask the companies around you to accommodate you for a number of days. And that your students will leave the environment as tidy as the found it. And while in the company not to touch any electricals or tamper with them,
Those travellers who travel for fun. Here you can include fun activities ranging from water sports to field sports and have your guests have a blast. These type of guests are open to anything that sounds like fun and is most likely not choosy.
wholistic travellers an Airbnb that accommodates yogis and transformational coaches. You can make your Airbnb like a retreat sorta location to achieve this effect. Pack the Airbnb with yoga mats, books, scents and energy.
Craft guests are those artists, sewists or tailors, painters who travel from one location to the other. Prepare your Airbnb with a place for painters with a lot of paintbrushes and canvases option. Or if it’s tailors have sewing machines and exotic fabrics which your guests pay a premium for to access. Be creative and utilise the crafters as much as possible.
An Airbnb catering to those guests travelling the whole year and non-stop. These guests are looking for an Airbnb that becomes home for a certain period of time before moving on to another location. Because travelling around the world ii a lifestyle, make sure to provide top-notch service so that the guests can refer to other guests. Remember word of mouth marketing is power.
When hunting for an Airbnb niche, make sure to have enough space for the lined activities. Also, make sure to make your guests get adequate support as possible. An Airbnb is a hotel, and the hotel industry is very competitive. Make your Airbnb competitive to make sure you beat the test of time by remaining relevant.
If you want to make money with Airbnb find a niche and grow the niche to the status you want. Airbnb isn’t about hosting and leaving the house clean and tidy for another guest, it’s making connections and establishing ourself as an industry guru.
Mistakes Airbnb Hosts Make Costing Them Millions of Shillings
- Your Customer Service Sucks.
You don’t pay attention to your guests’ needs. You’re only in for the money. You aren’t keen or adaptive. You’re not offering guest satisfaction. Guests aren’t fulfilled when they walk in your office. You leave guests with questions than answers. They’re left wondering and cursing you and your house. You lied. You exaggerated the facts.
You’re supposed to tell them facts no fiction. Solve issues on leaking roofs, electricity outages, dirty sinks and irritating neighbourhood noise. You were never on-call or after that one phone call, you left your guests to fend for themselves.
You never showed them the direction to the pool, for example, if you live in an apartment complex. You left guests hanging, would you love to live in isolation in someone’s house?
Guests requested a change of room because they felt they made the wrong choice, you tell them to add money. They do, but you keep them in that room for hours or until the following day.
Guests feel insecure and dirty in your house. It’s dingy, dark, pathetic, no hot water. Sleeping on used bedsheets. How worse can it get?
2. You Don’t Offer Satisfying Customer Experience
It’s not about the service. The experience matters. How did you make your guests feel like when they lodged a complaint to you? Did you pro-act or react? Did you talk down on them? Did you allow them to talk and finish their sentences? Or did you make them feel bad for the errors they made?
When they, for example, said your shower water didn’t ‘rain’ how a shower must rain. What was your reaction? Did you defend yourself or say you’ll look into the shower matter and actually did?
Did you pick your guest from the airport very late? You apologised, calmed down your guest and allowed them to feel welcome amidst all trouble? Did you overcharge their credit cards but accepted your corrections from the mistake? Did you make them feel reassured?
Guest experience is making your guest feel catered for, at home, loved and cherished. What and how did you make your guest feel like?
3. You Don’t Use Airbnb – You’re Not A Guest.
This may seem corny but how can you market a product well if you don’t know its ins and outs? How can you cater to guests if your travel knowledge is zero?
How will you understand what guests want in a hotel room and fit that into your house? Travel more, open yourself to experiences. Come back and add onto your own.
4. You Don’t Have A Target Audience.
Many Airbnb hosts don’t understand the importance of knowing who their market is. When you don’t know your market how can you sell to them? What’s your message to them from you to visit your house?
How can you tell them about your house and its features? How do the features differ from say Sarova Group of Hotels? How can you woe a hotel traveller to your house? Understand your market so you know how to reach to them.
5. You Don’t Market Your Home
You don’t care to market or promote your house. Because you’re a super-host doesn’t mean guests will find you. Why should guests visit you? What is it about your house?
Is it the tutorials you have been offering? Is it the experience? Is it your stories or charming personality?
Market your guesthouse and forget about star ratings, those are stars.
6. Customer Retention Strategies
You don’t have skills of retaining and maintaining a customer. Yours was a meet and greet forget kind of adventure, get paid and go home.
75 -80% of satisfied customers will always come back. And they’ll bring more guests with them. Why are you not targeting your customers?
Why are you relying on promotions for guests while you have them at your fingertips? Use those guests you have hosted.
Go back to reviews, tell them what you have improved and how subsidised their services will be next time. Tell them to refer your house to others as they will get rewarded. The answers, they say lie within your reach.
8. What’s Your House’s, Niche Market?
Who are your intended customers? Why did you choose them? For example, if you select frugal or budget travellers, why them?
Is it a niche that you have lots of materials about and you cater to? Is it a niche you can create for unforgettable experiences?
Niche and sub-niche that way your guests are as narrow as possible. You don’t risk losing business, you risk making money by being the best.
9. Your Check-In Is Horrible.
Is your check-in marred with complications of, for example, overbooking? Are your guests’ lists jumbled up you don’t remember who booked what, when and how?
You aren’t available when guests check-in so they spend hours and years waiting for you. Make the check-in easier as well as the check-out.
We all want simple lives and procedures, long tedious processes make guests give up. DON’T make guests give up before they check-in.
10. Your Prices Aren’t Competitive.
You never made any research to identify your competitors what they’re offering and why. You never made an effort to know what makes them get overbooked. You never cared to find out.
11. Your Home Photos Aren’t Eye-Grabbing.
You didn’t photograph the intricate details that make your house appealing. Your photos are dull, shot in dingy light and they look blurry.
Your photos don’t address the details of your house. Your photos don’t transition from room to room. Your photos look cluttered and all over the place.
12. Your Airbnb Description Doesn’t Emphasise Your House’s Price Points.
What does your house have that another in your area doesn’t have? Why do you care to share your house with others? What do guests get in your house not offered in a nearby hotel?
Give your house a name, the experiences within and without it and why guests should visit you. Do you live near an airport? Are you a pilot? Will you take guests for a ‘ride’ so they photograph the scenery from above? Describe your house, let it touch on the details.
13. Airbnb is a Side-Hustle Not a Business
This is another side hustle for you which you’re trying out. Not bad but in the long term you won’t have guests. For an Airbnb or Guesthouse to be a sustainable business, you need a strategy.
The strategy includes marketing, promoting and writing captivating descriptions. You need to learn customer etiquette, thoughtfulness and understand your competition.
If you want a side hustle that pays for itself, right? Then create one.
14. You Don’t Offer A Space For Reviews Or Don’t Review Your Guests.
How can guests know about your house if you don’t review them? Or after booking, you go mum and the review window expires. It’s better to know the faults of your house so you can change them. It’s better to beware of changes you have to make than hiding behind the changes.
Don’t result to name-calling your guests, ‘too posh, too choosy’. Unwillingness to change or exaggerating your reviews by ONLY showing the five-star rating. As your guest list expands so do your dwindling rates.
A tip, ask guests what they liked and didn’t like. Tell them to write a very honest and open review (truthful). After updates on the wrongs of your house, you can update the incoming guests of what you updated and why.
15. You Don’t Like Learning.
Who likes correction? And to get corrected about your home decor style?. Or that your house is posh but you need to declutter? Who wants lessons on how much to charge for their house? Who wants schooling on how to respond to a rude customer? Isn’t the world’s rule, treat me bad, I treat you bad?
Every business owner is correct, after all, they took the risks. Now only a few business owners survive the test of time, those who learn, are willing to change and keep learning. Which guest house operator are you?
You cannot know everything, be open to new ideas and changes. Open yourself to receive constructive criticism and see your Airbnb grow. Don’t fret over ratings so much though. You’re doing your best by being charming, truthful and reliable.
Frequently Asked Questions About Making Money With Airbnb in Kenya
Do I need a business licence for my Airbnb? Are there any Airbnb regulations in Kenya?
Is Airbnb profitable in 2020 covid?
Is it too late in 2020/2021 to start an Airbnb business in Kenya?
How do I get paid/ earn my money as an Airbnb host in Kenya?
How do I start an Airbnb business, do I need a business licence?
Do I need to take an Airbnb course as a new host in Kenya? If yes, why and if no, why not?
How do I get reviews on Airbnb in Kenya?
Why am I not getting guests as I anticipated in my Airbnb in Kenya?
How to Price Your Airbnb for Maximum Profits in Kenya
For you to make a profit with your Airbnb business, remember to price for maximum profits.
A few things I keep on learning about pricing your Airbnb and any business – is to know your market.
Do some research to find out what your market is willing to pay for the services you render. And take to your customers.
The following are strategies for pricing your Airbnb for maximum profits and they include:
Know in-depth about your target market and how much they’re willing to pay
When you look at luxury goods store, they know well beyond a doubt what their market is willing to pay. Be like a luxury goods store or a supermarket who knows what their customers want to pay for their services.
Research what other Airbnb areas in your area charge and hotels/guesthouses
The guesthouses and Airbnbs in your area offer an in-depth look into how they price their services without you asking them. You know how some business people can be. They love to hide their business. Look on Tripadvisor, search on Airbnb and type in your area. Now, go to the Airbnb with reviews and see what they offer and the price included. What are the reviewers saying about the Airbnb?
Know who your competition is
Checking your competition isn’t so that you take time competing against them. There’s nothing as exhausting as trying to be someone else when you know you cannot. You want to see what they’re up to and why people value or don’t value their business. You want to learn by checking what the competition does behind the scenes about their business that doesn’t get to the public eyes. And in learning from your competition, don’t compete or try to outdo them, try to outdo yourself.
Have a plan
Airbnb is a business and lack of a plan means mediocre earnings and poor ratings. So what are your earning goals and why? What is the projected income for year one and why? What do you want to achieve with your Airbnb? Do you want to build more Airbnbs or do you want to build a guesthouse, like in my case?
Keep on testing until you reach a ‘sweet spot’
Test your pricing until you reach a sweet spot. A spot where customers are comfortable and there are enough customers coming your way.
Checking or stalking on snoop prices on other Airbnbs teaches you a few things about pricing helping you to adjust your prices
Stalking for prices makes you meet the reviews and what the reviews say about the host. It’s time to make the mistake the host made and turn it into your advantage. And if it’s all praise and praise, you know you have to up your game or become better. You’re not a competition with other businesses rather yourself. You want to offer the best by looking at others then at yourself.
How to Make More Money Within Your Airbnb: Side Hustle Ideas and Tips
There are various strategies a host can employ to help make for them a lucrative side-hustle within their Airbnb side-hustle. I call it, make money in money.
In 2017, after getting guest after guest after guest, I started asking myself, how can I make Airbnb more profitable for me as I grow my customer base?
The hospitality market is a shaky industry, what was good a few years back in terms of home interior decor may not. You have to keep embracing the changes in the industry or else you risk dying a slow painful death. Yes, Airbnb may be a side-hustle but I want you to use your customers, literally to make more money
The following are the ideas I use to make $10k/month with my Airbnb, I don’t host anymore on Airbnb but still make money with Airbnb
Use your referral link to refer to new homeowners and hosts
Find gadgets to sell for home security, it’s one of the hottest niches around
There are lots of DIY home-security gadgets loved by home-owners in Kenya and around the world, find and sell them to hosts who visit you or begin a dropshipping store.
READ MORE: Home Security Gadgets Selling in Kenya for Awesome Profits
What is DropShipping? Selling Imported Products from China for Insane Profits
Write an ebook/create a course for other hosts to use a guidebook for those who don’t like reading or are minimal readers
I love reading. The more I progress into my career, the more interested I am in finding out what next. That’s how it must be for you if you want to succeed in the hospitality industry. What’s next? Take a course to make your Airbnb make more money or to learn business management so you reinvest money and not misappropriate it.
Go from home to home to help hosts set up their Airbnbs, around the world
I help set up well-paying Airbnb businesses for new hosts. 2020 saw three very lucrative deals get cancelled but 2021 is still coming and more home-owners want homes to get occupied by long-term tenants or into hotels. If you know the ins and outs of Airbnb or working in the hospitality industry start helping homeowners create success with their homes.
Sell seashells – I did and keep on selling seashells to guests from around the world. I joke that I’m a beach girl
Yes, I love the coast of Kenya – the warm weather, food, people, outside living spaces due to the consistent humidity – I sweated every day at the coast. I love the ocean, importantly, well, I’m a water sign so it falls in naturally. So, I saw a niche to collect shells and display them, it was a simple display that saw free shells fly off of the shelf. It shocked me, at first, until I realised what a great opportunity for me to build a business with shells. Now, to the customers I sold to and hosted, they ask for shells to gift to their friends or family. There’s something about the shells collected at the coast of Kenya, you cannot replicate them no matter what. Did I say I learn about shells and took a course in Marine Biology for a year on Coursera?
Get into real estate – see, all the mansions abandoned, take them to renovate them and make money
I love houses – big, white, spacious, windows, – that’s all I want in houses. Do you love houses? Start making money by renovating the abandoned houses – which are many and convert them into luxury spots for guests around the world.
Talk to property managers about turning their non-rented or non-bought properties then take the cut
I know quite a few property managers who desperately want to turn their houses into Airbnb but don’t know how to get started.
Become a house-stager
Stagers earn a lot of money making properties bought or rented. The staging business isn’t big in Kenya.
Start an interior decor business
So, you love houses but hate the decor in some of them. I hear people talk of ‘clinical’, I love clinical houses, everything is neat and minimal, with almost no personality. Thta’s my style, can you help me achieve it? Turn spaces into livable and lovable spaces.
Help market for property managers or Airbnb hosts their houses using drones. Drones are big business in 2020. READ MORE: Drones Business in Kenya
The aim of your Airbnb success is to shock your guests. You want to ooze royalty and your house too when guests step in. Mesmerise them not just by your awesome decor and clutter-free surrounding, let them feel and now they’re in a world-class holiday and at home. The aim of Airbnb is to bring the home feel and not classic hotel feel to guests.
Experiences on Airbnb range from excellent customer service through their check-in services to checkout and the services you provide to luxurious spas and swimming pools or safari – all-inclusive in the Airbnb package.