Up Your Game To Be An Airbnb Pro

Up Your Game To Be An Airbnb Pro

Listing your home on Airbnb in this day in age is easier than ever.  With forum after forum, and other hosts likely struggling/thriving in the same areas as you, there is no lack of support from the internet.   

Travelers have every home they could ever rent at their fingertips, so you have to be sure and list your home in a way that gets you noticed, and in a way you can still cover your costs.

Over the years, we’ve learned a lot about what to do and more importantly about what not to do when it comes to listing your home on Airbnb.   Sites like Airbnb and HomeAway are extremely intuitive and straightforward. They hold your hand as you walk through the steps, but keep in mind these sights are very “guest-centric” so if you under-list your home they often won’t recommend raising your rates (as one example…)


It’s key that you have professional-level photos of your home because image is everything!  You could own the most beautiful vacation rental on Planet Earth, but without captivating photographs that display such beauty, you might as well own a cave…

Not only is it important for your photos to be high quality, but they need to accurately represent how the home looks and what it includes.  Guests will treat photographs like legal contracts, and they should! So be sure to update your photography as often as necessary.

Accurate and Honest Fees

There’s nothing worse than hidden fees…and Airbnb and Homeaway take pride in protecting their guests from such.  To avoid stirring the pot, be honest and upfront with your guests about any and all fees they might have to pay. It’s better to spell out the details in the beginning, rather than fighting a battle after the fact.

*Another helpful tip:  Ensure all of your fees are active before actually listing your home.  For example, if you forget to set the amount for a damage deposit, or neglect to include any kind of cleaning fee whatsoever, and go ahead and click “publish”…don’t expect to circle-back and charge guests a damage deposit and/or cleaning fee after they’ve booked.  

*Also, be sure to list all amenities accurately, as guests have the right to complain about listed amenities that are not actually included in the home.  If you’re planning on adding additional items to the home, but haven’t yet, make sure your listing reflects the current status.

Clear Communication

There is certainly such-a-thing as over-communication but when people have paid a lot of money to travel to a stranger’s home…it’s safe to say folks would rather have their inboxes slightly over-loaded than completely empty. When your guests book, be clear and set the expectation for how often they will be communicated with prior to arrival.

For example:

Thanks for booking!  I’ll send more details about arrival, and entry as we get closer, but generally, you expect to receive a series of 3 emails/texts from me.

1) Booking Confirmed – within the next day or so
2) Arrival Instructions – 1 week before your trip
3) Entry Codes – 1 day before your trip (email and text)

Feel free to send any questions you have my way.

Guests will typically expect a response to both booking inquiries, and for general questions within 10-15 minutes.  Airbnb requires a response within 1 hour to maintain a positive response rate.  For example, most travelers will put the feelers out on multiple properties in a given area, and more often than not they end up booking the home with the speediest reply.  You can beat out other Airbnb users by simply answering the inquiry faster than others.

If you employ a property management company like Book By Owner, the guest communication piece is completely handled, and when your travelers have questions our team is on-call 24/7, 365 to answer their questions.

Practices like this, in terms of communication, will greatly impact your reputation as a host, and will also offer peace-of-mind and comfort for your guests.

We can’t reiterate enough, just how user-friendly sites like Airbnb and HomeAway have become.  Don’t be intimidated, but at the same time don’t be afraid to seek help! These travel-site giants have hundreds of people working day and night to make your travel experience is the best it can possibly be, and they’re committed to both travelers and homeowners.

When in doubt, reach out the massive community of folks already hosting; odds are, someone has already encountered the same issue you’re coming across, and it’s likely someone has already figured it out.  On the off-chance, you’re the one to come up with a solution, help your fellow hosts and post the answer!

There are plenty of pro’s that can come into play here if you’re overwhelmed.  A very special shout-out to our #1 booking partner in all the land: Evolve Vacation Rental Network!  These folks increase the number of bookings, utilize professional photography, and recommend competitive market rates (in addition to hours of start-up support) for a mere 10% fee.  It’s a no-brainer!

These are just a couple of examples of what we specialize in at Book By Owner. Let us help you achieve ultimate success in your vacation rental endeavors.

Call now! (970) 305-3166 or email info@bookbyowner.com


Interested in a Vacation Business Franchise

Book by Owner offers local franchises where you get to live in a beautiful destination city like Aspen and enjoy a great lifestyle business. Benefit from the proven tools and processes of the Book by Owner system, and add a personal touch to make your BBO franchise all your own. You serve the local rental property owners while enjoying the corporate support that helps ensure your success.

For franchising information and answers to many popular questions about the Book by Owner business opportunity, including possible locations and financing options, visit our franchising page or call (970) 305-3166. We would be glad to arrange a consultation at your earliest convenience.

How Can You Benefit From Guest Ready Inspections?

Owning and caring for a vacation rental property is a large investment in time and resources. That’s why smart property owners invest in some form of property management arrangement to oversee care of the property between guests. But, are you getting the most effective care for your investment with simple housekeeping and key services? How could you benefit from guest ready inspections for your vacation properties?

What is a Guest Ready Inspection?

Guest ready inspections are the premier level of property management service. The inspection is designed to ensure that your property is handled with the utmost care. Between guests, the inspection guarantees property security, cleaning, maintenance, functionality, and staging are all completed in a timely and satisfactory manner. Here’s how it works:

Within 24 hours after guests check out, a member of your local BBO management team drops by the property for a quick walk-through to check for any obvious problems, deficiencies, or damage. After this preliminary check, housekeeping is summoned to complete the between-guest cleaning checklist for your particular property.

After housekeeping is completed, a member of your local BBO management team performs a thorough guest ready inspection that consists of the following:

  • Ensure adequate cleaning has been performed according to the owner’s housekeeping checklist
  • Inspect for damages and missing items, following the owner’s property/items cataloging
  • Check safety/security measures, smoke/carbon monoxide detectors, windows, are operational and locks are re-keyed (if part of the between-guest setup plans established by the owner)
  • Light staging following owner’s staging notes as a guide
  • Ensure wifi, lights, sound system, televisions, TV remotes, hot tub, gaming systems, etc. are fully functional with adequate batteries in all remotes
  • Provide documented inspection notes including any necessary photos and cataloging that is automatically sent to the property owner

This comprehensive report, complete with necessary photographs, provides important documentation concerning the care of your property and any deficiencies that need to be addressed. When guest ready inspections are completed, your vacation property is ready for new guests to enjoy.

How Can Guest Ready Inspections Help Me?

If you wonder why such an extensive service is necessary, consider how things work without such an inspection. Property management and housekeeping often become unequal partners in completing only a few of the items on the above inspection list. Too often, housekeeping is asked or expected to handle property management duties (“Could you check the lights….etc.”). These extra duties fall outside their normal scope of service and are unfair.

Moreover, housekeeping is not accustomed to billing for such extra services, therefore they handle issues for which they are not compensated. This leads to unhappy cleaning services and incomplete property and staging. Cleaning services are not happy, property management isn’t happy, and property owners end up with lower guest ratings from items left undone.

A guest ready inspection between every new guest ensures that every item is fully ready for every guest. Nothing is overlooked and every detail is in order. In addition, your property is cared for, cataloged, and regularly inspected to minimize damages and loss.

While between-guest housekeeping and regular deep cleaning are important investments in the care of your property, guest ready inspections represent the top tier of vacation rental investment maintenance. Guest ready inspections are the most important service we offer, and although each come at a slight additional cost, the long-term value investment into your property is incalculable.

BBO – Your Property Management Team

With Book by Owner as your local, on the ground property management team, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing your guests will enjoy a fully cleaned and prepared vacation rental and your property investment is protected. We care for your home and guests 24/7/365, all for an affordable monthly fee. Contact your local Book by Owner for complete details and pricing for all the services available in your resort vacation area, including guest ready inspections.


Housekeeping vs. Deep Cleaning – Which Do You Need?

Every conscientious vacation property owner knows the value of having a clean home for guests. But some owners get confused about the difference between housekeeping and deep cleaning. Which do you need to protect your investment and keep your vacation property ready for guests?

The simple answer is, you need both. Busy vacation rentals need cleaning in between guests and a periodic deep cleaning to maintain a prime level of pleasing sanitary conditions. This can become quite a chore for property owners, even if they live close to their rental homes. Book by Owner is your on-the-ground team for vacation property management, and that includes housekeeping and deep cleaning services.


What is Involved in Housekeeping?

Housekeeping is different from end-of-season deep cleaning because it involves more general cleaning between guests. The time isn’t available for a deep, exhaustive cleaning, so a quick, yet thorough, cleaning process is observed. Some local or state health department codes may require certain actions between guests, such as draining, cleaning, and refilling the hot tub, or changing mattress pads and pillow protectors.

Aside from these mandated services, BBO housekeeping follows a detailed checklist to ensure your property and its furnishings are spotlessly clean for each new set of guests. This includes:  


  • Wipe down major and minor appliances, countertops, and cabinets
  • Scrub and sanitize sinks
  • Clean and empty garbage cans
  • Clean floor
  • Empty dishwasher and put away the dishes
  • Replenish supplies and dish hand towels


  • Change sheets on the beds
  • Vacuum floor and check for trash under beds
  • Check windows for fingerprints
  • Dust furniture and clean mirrors
  • Empty wastebaskets

Dining Room

  • Sweep/vacuum and/or clean floor
  • Wipe down dining table
  • Wipe down chairs

Living Room

  • Dust all surfaces
  • Sweep/vacuum and/or wash floor
  • Check sofa bed for dirty linens, and leave clean linens if needed
  • Empty wastebaskets


  • Clean and sanitize showers, bathtubs, toilets, faucets, and sinks
  • Clean mirrors
  • Clean floors and wall tiles
  • Empty wastebaskets
  • Replenish supplies and clean towels based on occupancy


What is Involved in Deep Cleaning?

Deep cleaning after the main rental season ends involves a much more thorough cleaning indoors and out. Approximately three times as many items are included in a deep cleaning over basic between-guests housekeeping. Your BBO property management team adheres to the following deep cleaning checklist:


  • Empty cabinets and drawers, all silverware, all dishes, and pots & pans cleaned
  • Insides and outsides of cabinets and drawers are thoroughly cleaned
  • Wood cabinets are oiled
  • Refrigerator pulled; floor and walls cleaned entirely; appliances cleaned
  • All light switches and outlet covers will be cleaned
  • All small appliances cleaned and polished: toasters, microwaves, and blenders
  • Floors are scrubbed clean
  • Kitchen sink is scrubbed and sanitized
  • Garbage cans are scrubbed inside and out


  • Medicine cabinets and door tracks cleaned completely
  • Any lights are dismantled and completely cleaned
  • All light switches and outlet plates are cleaned
  • Sink, mirror, and additional cabinets cleaned out, tile and grout scrubbed
  • Shower walls and tub/shower area are scrubbed thoroughly
  • Toilets cleaned inside and out, top to bottom, and behind
  • Exhaust fans, heating fixtures in the wall and ceiling, including covers, are cleaned
  • Floor are mopped and scrubbed or vacuumed thoroughly
  • Walls around toilet are scrubbed thoroughly

Living Room, Dining Area, Bedrooms and General Cleaning

  • Fireplace area, hearth, and all outside surfaces wiped down
  • Every couch, chair, bed, or other furniture are moved and vacuumed under, and every square inch of carpet vacuumed including all room edges
  • Lamp bulbs checked and dusted
  • Any garbage in furniture picked up and furniture is vacuumed or dusted
  • All wood furniture is cleaned and properly oiled for longevity
  • Shelves emptied and cleaned; items on shelves are cleaned and re-stacked neatly
  • All areas that collect dust are swept and wiped down, cobwebs removed from ceilings, fans, windows, etc.
  • All dresser drawers pulled out and cleaned inside and out
  • Any door/bath mats and bed skirts washed
  • All mirrors are cleaned
  • Bed and sofa bed mattresses turned
  • All windows cleaned inside, blinds dusted and cleaned
  • Ceiling fans dusted and cleaned
  • All baseboards cleaned
  • All door and window frames are cleaned
  • Light switches and outlet plates are cleaned
  • Garage is swept thoroughly, hosed out if needed
  • Blankets, comforters, mattress pads, skirts, rugs are washed
  • Outdoor area and furniture is cleaned (hosed, wiped down)

Book by Owner recommends at least one deep cleaning per year, between busy rental seasons. Depending on your location and rental volume, two may be deemed necessary. Other homeowners choose to have a deep clean performed after every 5th guest stay. The goal is to keep your vacation rental property looking new and fresh for every guest, all the time.


BBO – Your Property Management Team

With Book by Owner as your local, on the ground property management team, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing your guests will enjoy a clean, refreshing vacation rental and your property investment is protected. We care for your home and guests 24/7/365, all for an affordable monthly fee. Contact your local Book by Owner for complete details and pricing for all the services available in your resort vacation area.