We provide a list of 10 Airbnb best practices for all future, brand new or experienced Airbnb hosts in Colombia. These should be priorities in everything you do as it relates to Airbnb hosting in Colombia.
These Airbnb best practices are a summary of my time working directly with Airbnb in more than 56 countries and staying as an Airbnb guest for more than 1,500 nights.
Below, you will find four general vacation rental Airbnb best practices that you can apply to everything you do relating to Airbnb hosting. And, you will find a variety of specific best practices that your time is best used for.
These Airbnb best practices are in order of importance. You will notice the most important items are first and the final few have to do with increasing the guest experience both online and offline.
About the Author
My name is Daniel Rusteen and I am a location-independent digital nomad having lived in 50+ cities exclusively sleeping in Airbnbs (1,500+ nights) while remotely managing Airbnb properties and helping Airbnb hosts to be successful.
I come from the days before the Airbnb you know today. I started working at Airbnb in 2013. I remember countless conversations with residents of San Francisco, the headquarters of Airbnb, who had no idea about the company even when it was valued at over $10 billion and 7 years old.
In the eight years that have passed since I first heard of Airbnb, I’ve become one of the world’s best at everything Airbnb:
- Worked at Airbnb from 2013-2016
- Wrote a best-selling book on Airbnb
- Founded an Airbnb property management company
- Slept over 1,500 nights in Airbnb properties, as a guest
- Am an Airbnb Superhost
- Creator of a popular Airbnb blogfor Airbnb hosts
To help you make an informed decision before investing in a property for Airbnb in Colombia and becoming an Airbnb host, I have created a list of 14 things that would have helped me when I was just getting started.
Airbnb Best Practices for Airbnb Hosting in Colombia
1. Entrepreneurial Mindset
If you’re an Airbnb host, keep in mind that you are an entrepreneur. Or, if that’s too scary think of yourself as a small business owner.
You are running a business. You’re providing capital investments in the form of buying furniture and paying for services and even buying a property.
In addition, you are the marketing department by listing your space online to try and convince a future potential guest (FPG) to pay you.
Also, you are accounting in that you’ll be collecting payments and charging nightly, weekly or monthy rates. Furthermore, research and development come in the form of reading my posts on Medellin Guru and trying to improve your guest experience.
Also, you have an online reputation to maintain. That is public relations.
An entrepreneur’s greatest asset is their mind. Mostly what an entrepreneur does is think through a myriad of problems to find the best solution.
You should shift your mindset from employee to entrepreneur and there is nothing further needed, as you’ll be able to grow on your own.
2. Respect the Guests’ Attention
There is a critical Airbnb best practice in Colombia. That’s because most hosts are disobeying this one.
If you keep this in mind in everything you do, you will be one of the most competitive Airbnb listings in Colombia.
What I’m talking about is really a combination of marketing and customer service.
To know if you’re respecting your guests’ attention, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Have you written with the fewest possible words in your online Airbnb listing for Colombia?
- Have you simplified all processes for the guest (such as a digital lock instead of a multi-step process involving finding a lockbox or someone to get a key from?)
- Have you provided instructions on how to use non-standard amenities in your home?
Have you made the guest experience as pleasant as possible?
3. Learn How to Be a Marketer
If you’re like most Airbnb hosts in Colombia, you are an employee. You have a specific job that is unrelated to marketing. But when you’re an Airbnb host, you transform into an entrepreneur who needs to be a master marketer.
After all, you’re trying to convince a future potential guest (FPG) to reserve your Airbnb listing over hundreds of others in Colombia. That requires skill.
When it comes to marketing, it’s a two-step process:
- Ensure the FPG is a great fit for what you offer, then
- Get them excited about booking your space.
4. Communication Keys
Communicate only relevant information to your Airbnb guest in Colombia at the time they need it.
For example, specific parking or check-out instructions are not needed prior to booking (i.e. in your Airbnb listing house rules).
Likewise, what amenities you offer does not go into your digital guidebook. Amenities is something the guest needs to know before they book your space.
This is one of the reasons you need to be an Airbnb guest yourself. You will discover good and bad things about how other hosts operate. This is the Airbnb version of a trade show, experience the competition so you can make your Airbnb listing better.
5. Hospitality Matters
This encompasses everything from responding to guest complaints quickly and professionally to going above and beyond while your guest is at your property to thinking of nice gestures for your guest throughout the booking process.
Are you doing anything special that might set you apart from your competition?
If the guest left something behind, are you the type to charge them a fee? Or, worse, think you don’t have to send it back?
If so then you’re failing this commandment. Even though it’s the guest’s fault for leaving something behind, it’s your mindset that we need to adjust. You should go above and beyond for the guest.
6. Interior Design
At all price points, an Airbnb listing in Colombia that has thought about a pleasant and functional interior design will always be more competitive.
First, your listing will show better in photos. Second, your space will be more pleasant and efficient to use while the guest is there.
I think most Airbnb hosts think interior design has to be high-end and expensive. This is absolutely false. You don’t even have to hire anyone.
At a bare minimum, you can think of a few ways to increase the look and feel of your rental property in Colombia.
7. Professional Photos
There’s a reason why the founders of Airbnb personally flew to New York, their biggest market at the time, to take professional photos for some of their early Airbnb hosts and why they offered it as a free service for years.
Photos present your rental space in Colombia in the best possible light, pun intended.
Put on your marketing hat! You should Sell, sell, sell. Think about when you’re booking a hotel room, would you book the dark photo option or the bright and colorful option?
And, specifically, the cover photo is the most important of all…. This is the single most important factor that has the most direct effect on your success. Think about this from the beginning.
You need a cover photo. Of course, you will be required to choose one, but you need to do better.
Do you have a stand-out feature in your rental property? A balcony with an incredible view? A gigantic painting above your couch? An elegant centerpiece on your dining room table?
If not, then think about what angle in your property would most grab the guests’ attention. When you find that angle, what can you add to it to further grab even more attention?
Depending on what room, you might want to add some bold colors in the form of extra furniture, a painting, flowers, pillows, etc. Make it stand out in your photos!
8. Informative Title
Airbnb has de-emphasized the title in recently to the point where some guests probably don’t even see the title until they click on your listing, but that’s ok. It’s still important.
You should add your most sought-after amenities to your title. Let’s say you have a property in a popular neighborhood in Medellín like El Poblado, and cater to families. This is something to emphasize, as most rentals in El Poblado are not catering to families.
This sets you apart from the competition. So, you would put this first, then maybe the balcony with a great view, depending on what else you offer. Also here is a link to a tool to help crate a title.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a luxurious Airbnb property, how about any of the following:
- Full kitchen
- Walking distance to a Medellín meto station in Medellín
- Keyless entry
- Smart TV
- 100 Mbps WIFI
- Early Check-in/Late Check-out
- Near nightlife, such as Parque Lleras in Medellín
9. Manicured Airbnb Listing Text
I’m going to take a look at your Airbnb listing right now. Give me a moment.
Ok. I’m back.
You have opted for what 99 percent of Airbnb hosts are doing. Block paragraphs of text, which in my opinion is digital poop.
Enjoy complete privacy in this 1-bedroom apartment; featuring a private entrance to a spacious apartment. Located in El Poblado close to shopping centers and a 10-minute walk to the metro. The whole entire apartment for you with kitchen, full bathroom and dining room can be rented daily up to 3 months. Long term rent will be on a negotiable basis.
Remove the fluff and add bullet points.
Respect the guests’ attention and get them excited about your space by providing a list of all the cool things it offers. And don’t make them dig through text to find it.
This is like your text. Just provide the future potential guest (FPG) with a list of one thing after another, for example:
- Fully equipped kitchen.
- Onsite washer and dryer.
- 60” Smart TV.
- Keyless entry.
- Storage space for luggage storage
- Garage parking.
- Rain showerhead.
- Memory foam mattress.
- 50 Mbps WIFI.
10. Digital Guidebook
This best practice is the ultimate efficiency tool. Say goodbye to all of the following questions from guests:
- How do I get in?
- Where can I park?
- Where’s the garbage?
- What’s the WIFI password?
- How do I use the TV?
- Where do I leave the keys?
- Where’s the nearest grocery store, gym, restaurants etc.?
A digital guidebook for the guest when they arrive accomplishes two things.
First, it saves you, the host, time in answering basic and standard questions from guests. Second, it saves the guest time in not having to ask you, the host, and having to wait for your answer.
Plus, this tool is seldom used that once the guest opens it up and sees how useful it is, they’ll understand they’re dealing with a different type of host.
Honorable Mentions: Airbnb Best Practices in Colombia
If you have the option of traditional physical keys or a digital keypad, which one respects’ the guests’ attention more? You are correct if you answered keyless entry.
It’s easier. There’s no chance the keys can get lost and no need to know how to get the key. The guest doesn’t have to coordinate with each other when the host doesn’t provide enough keysets.
You want to communicate the most information to the guest in the least amount of time (and words). Does your guest need to know check-out info before they even booked your space? Probably not.
First, you are communicating sellable information and any information that would drive away guests who aren’t a good fit. Elderly or handicapped guests are not a good fit if you are on the fifth floor without an elevator.
You need to respond rapidly to inquiries and all guest messages. You can further optimize with automated messages to check-up on the guest and send check-out and review reminders.
Medellin Guru’s Airbnb Series
Medellin Guru now has a series of several articles about Airbnb in Colombia:
- 9 Strategies to Find Killer Deals on Airbnb in Colombia
- 15 Things to Know Before Investing to Become an Airbnb Host in Colombia
- 10 Airbnb Best Practices for Airbnb Hosting in Colombia
- 9 Tips to Attract Long-Term Airbnb Guests in Colombia
- 7 Strategies for Airbnb Slow Season in Colombia
- How to Identify Problem Airbnb Guests in Colombia Before They Book
- 15 Ways to Increase Your Airbnb Search Rank In Colombia
- How Safe is Airbnb in Colombia? Is it Safe to Use Airbnb in Colombia?
- Airbnb Travel Itinerary for Your Airbnb Guests in Colombia
- How to Get Started on Airbnb in Colombia: A Guide
Are You Looking to Buy a Property for Airbnb Hosting in Colombia?
Medellin Guru partnered with RE/MAX Coffee Realty to offer real estate services to foreigners and Colombians interested in buying and selling properties in Medellín and Colombia.
Several Medellin Guru readers have asked about real estate and advice about buying and selling properties for Airbnb hosting. So, we partnered with RE/MAX Coffee Realty to offer reliable real estate services to readers.
We decided to partner with RE/MAX Coffee Realty for services for buying and selling real estate for several reasons:
- RE/MAX is the largest real estate company in the world and is a well-known brand for foreigners.
- RE/MAX is one of the largest real estate companies in Colombia with 35 offices in four cities (Medellín, Bogotá, Cali and Barranquilla). So, RE/MAX can offer real estate services to readers in several locations in Colombia.
- In Colombia, RE/MAX has over 350 real estate agents including more than 70 agents in Medellín. Also, RE/MAX has agents that are bilingual and speak both English and Spanish.
- RE/MAX ensures properties are not overpriced by performing a study of market property prices known as an ACM (Análisis Comparativo del Mercado).
To use this real estate partner service from RE/MAX, just click on the button below.
Fill out a very short form and RE/MAX offers a free consultation to provide information about the local market, current pricing information and tips for buying or selling properties.
The Bottom Line: Airbnb Best Practices for Airbnb Hosting in Colombia
The above list of Airbnb best practices for Airbnb hosting in Colombia are based on my experience over the past several years.
Keep in becoming an Airbnb host in Colombia is not for everyone.
Which of the above is your ultimate Airbnb best practice for a successful vacation rental in Colombia?
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