AirBNBs and vacation rentals have grown in popularity exponentially over the last half decade. Investors, retirees, and general homeowners are jumping on these marketplaces as a way to supplement their income or grow their real estate portfolio. While AirBNB vacation rentals can be extremely lucrative in this way, they can also become time intensive and as more enter the marketplace, more competitive. One way AirBNB owners are tackling these challenges is with digital guidebooks. According to a recent survey completed in 2021, the number of vacation rentals utilizing digital guidebooks has doubled from 2019 – 2021. Some of that can be attributed to the COVID pandemic and trying to go as ‘touch free’ as possible but the trend doesn’t seem to be dissipating as they bring incredible value to both hosts and guests.
In this article we’re going to explore some benefits to implementing a digital welcome guide for your AirBNB vacation rental. We’ll then look at what you should include in that digital guidebook and how to go about creating one. Let’s get started!
Ability To Scale While Maintaining Great Communication
As your vacation rental begins to take flight, you’ll likely run into issues providing great customer service while scaling. Many vacation rental hosts have primary jobs and being a host is secondary. It may sound easy at first: guests book your house, you send them over an access code and you get back to normal work but it may not always be as smooth as you think. The most time consuming aspect of being a vacation rental host is handling guest questions and trust me, some guests will have a lot of them.
A great way to streamline the guest experience and empower them to answer their own questions is with a digital guidebook. A digital guidebook is an organized website/app that is specifically built for your AirBNB vacation rental. You can pack it full of all your frequently asked questions, videos of how to use the thermostat, dishwasher, etc., house rules, checkout procedures, and tons of other great material. Unlike printed guidebooks that can only be accessed while at the accommodation and often become disorganized and bulky, a digital guidebook for your AirBNB can be accessed by your guests pre-arrival. It’s also very slick, allowing better categorization and modern media types like videos for better communication.
Adding a digital guide can reduce your guest questions by as much as 80%. This allows you to focus your attention on scaling your vacation rental business instead of being inundated by repetitive questions. Guests will likely also experience a more enjoyable stay since they are empowered to answer their own questions.
Guest Expectations Are Growing
Vacation rentals through AirBNB are becoming big business and when businesses compete, the customer experience typically improves. Ten years ago, the AirBNB experience was a lot simpler. You rented somebodies actual house (or room) and experienced their way of living. Now, with the rise of AirBNB, people are purchasing houses specifically for the rental platform. As a result of increased market saturation and everybody looking for a competitive edge, the guest expectations are evolving and in most cases growing.
How can you keep up with the Jones’ that own the AirBNB down the street? One way is adding a new amenity like a pool, a new kitchen, or a putting green but many of these are expensive and take months if not years to implement. Bringing technology into your vacation rental experience is often a more affordable and easy to set up method for enhancing guest experience.
Standing Out In A Competitive Market
As we started discussing in the previous point, as the AirBNB vacation rental market continues to saturate you’ll need to find new ways to standout. Technology can be an area of focus as it’s constantly evolving. Being on the forefront of technology shows that you’re attempting to deliver the best possible experience to your guests. Technology also typically revolves around streamlining processes both for the vacation rental guest and host. Anytime you can create time as an amenity you’re sure to get a positive reaction as guests are paying for every minute at your accommodation.
What are some ways to utilize technology to add time as an amenity?
- Using digital guidebooks – Digital welcome guides are an inexpensive way to provide a better digital experience to guests and standout from other AirBNBs. As an added bonus, they also help reduce questions which saves you time as a host!
- Being accessible on multiple communication mediums – Guests will have their preferred medium of communication. Many will prefer the AirBNB messaging system but some might prefer direct text messages and some will prefer a chat on the phone. Making yourself accessible on multiple communication mediums will improve guest experience.
- Providing guests all information needed ahead of their arrival – Arriving at a new AirBNB is often a whirlwind type of day. There is excitement, perhaps stress, timelines, etc.. The more information you can provide guests ahead of their arrival, the more they’ll digest and remember on arrival day. Guests will feel less stressed & more prepared which ultimately results in a better experience.
- Providing guest recommendations in an easily accessible format- Don’t make guests wait to plan their vacation until they arrive at your accommodation. Give them all of your recommendations ahead of time. This allows them to make reservations and plan their day to day. Side note – providing recommendations to guests in a non-automated way will be time consuming. Utilizing a digital guidebook like discussed in point #1 can make this process much easier.
What Should Go In Your AirBNB Digital Guidebook?
You’ve decided it’s time to create a digital guidebook for your AirBNB to streamline your processes and improve guest experience. Awesome! Struggling on where to start? We’ll give you some tips and category recommendations:
- Category: Getting Ready For Your Trip
- How To Use This Guide – This touches on what a digital guide is, how it has all the accommodation information within it, etc..
- Driving Directions – Share driving directions and the address to the guests.
- What To Bring – Do you have any special recommendations for them? What’s the weather like during various times of year?
- Category: Arrival Information
- Checkin Time, Access & Parking – What time can the guest check in? Where do they park and how do they access the accommodation? If there’s any special information on door locks, include that here as well.
- Contact Info – Give them as many mediums to contact you as possible. Phone, text, AirBNB messaging system, emails, etc.. Also provide a backup contact.
- Category: Accommodation Information
- Working The Kitchen – What appliances are available? Any specific instructions on how to work them?
- Working A/C & Heat – Where are the thermostats to control the heat or A/C? If they are smart thermostats, provide instructions on operating them.
- Laundry – Where is the laundry room? Should the guest bring their own detergents?
- Enjoying Your Time Inside – Discuss any inside amenities you have for entertainment such as TVs, board games, cards, etc..
- Enjoying Your Time Outside – Include info about outside amenities such as a pool, backyard space, fire pit, corn hole, etc..
- Other Useful Information – Anything else that didn’t fit above. Perhaps things like trash disposal, garden hoses, etc..
- Category: Wifi & Internet
- Wifi Access Info – Make sure the instructions are clear and easy to follow.
- Category: Safety Info & House Rules
- Accommodation Rules – Do you have any rules guests should follow? Such as quiet times or smoking policies?
- Fire Extinguisher & Escape Plans – Include important safety information.
- Emergency Numbers – Make sure guests know how to contact emergency services. In the U.S., this is typically 9-1-1 but in some countries it may be another number guests are not familiar with.
- Category: Checkout Instructions
- Departure Information – Do you have a checkout procedure you want guests to follow? Include it here.
- Category: Thank You
- Reviews & Repeat Guests – Thank the guests for their stay, discuss how important it is to receive 5-star reviews and invite them back.
Best Method for Creating an AirBNB Digital Guidebook
We’ve discussed the importance of a digital guide for your AirBNB guests and also about what should go in it. One last thing to do: Create it! Here at GoGuidebook, we help people like you do just that. Create stunning digital guidebooks for their AirBNB vacation rental. Our system is very easy to use any organizes all of your content automatically into a beautiful digital guide website that feels like a mobile app for your guests. It also includes tons of additional features such as:
- Customize color schemes, fonts, and add logos to brand it your own
- Privacy controls in place
- Create guest recommendations and neatly organize them as pins on a Google Map
- Works on every device including computers, tablets and mobile phones
- Send out customized invites by text or email
- Easily use QR codes for quick scan and go access while at the amenity
- And much more
We offer a free 14 day trial of GoGuidebook, no credit card required! During this 14 day period, you can try every feature of GoGuidebook and build your complete guide. To get started, head over to our sign-up page by clicking here.