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.

Top Vacation Rental Destinations: Aspen, Colorado

Aspen, Colorado, is a popular ski resort town as well as a year-round destination for outdoor recreation nestled at approximately 8000 ft. in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Aspen is also known for great shopping destinations and fine dining at high-end restaurants. If you’re looking to travel and explore the great outdoors with all the best amenities nearby, then Aspen should be near the top of your list.

Top Attractions Near Aspen, CO

While there are numerous ways to enjoy your stay in and around Aspen, some of the most popular are highlighted below. Whether you like robust outdoor adventures or prefer scenic views and relaxation, Aspen has something to offer.


Mention Aspen and most people think of skiing, and for good reason. This bucolic mountain town is nestled in the middle of four incredible ski areas:


When the snow is gone Aspen is close to some of the most spectacular hiking spots in all the Rocky Mountains. Choose from beginner paths, mid-level challenges, or expert trails at some of these great destinations:


Aspen also offers some great options for those who want to enjoy picturesque views without strenuous hiking. Take a ride and prepare to be enthralled with the beauty of the surrounding area at these locations:

Culture / History

Experience the history and culture of Aspen with tours and museums that record the rich people and events of this region. If you enjoy cultural attractions, you won’t want to miss the following:

Fine Dining

What’s a trip to Aspen without fine dining? Aspen hosts the Aspen Food and Wine Classic culinary festival each summer, so you know there will be a wide variety of dining and drinking options. Choose from some of these elegant and popular eateries while relaxing from the day’s activities:

Thinking of Turning Your Property into an Aspen Vacation Rental?

With all the fantastic attractions in and around Aspen, CO, vacation rental properties are a sound investment. And, vacation rental homes are growing in popularity, with more travelers choosing them over hotels than ever before. Book by Owner is your on the ground partner for resort property management in Aspen.

For an affordable monthly flat fee, our local representatives handle the details of vacation rental home management, including meeting guests, routine maintenance, turnaround housekeeping, and those middle-of-the-night calls from guests. Our motto says it all: You book the guests. We do the rest. Contact our Aspen office online or call (970) 300-3412 for more information.

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 (877) 977-8411. We would be glad to arrange a consultation at your earliest convenience.

BBO Property Management vs. Traditional Property Management

With all the options available today in vacation property management, you may assume that all management companies are the same. If so, you would be wrong. Book by Owner is a pioneer in professional property management and guest services. Our promise, “You book the guest, we do the rest” accurately describes our service to you.

What makes BBO property management different from traditional property management? There are several vital advantages to having BBO as your property management team. Let’s explore a bit about each one.

Fee-based Service

Book by Owner pioneered fee-based resort property management and continues to lead the industry. We provide professional, reliable management services to you and your guests 24/7/365 without the steep commission costs of traditional property management programs. This fee remains the same, no matter how many bookings you have.

We provide:

  • Cleaning and Laundry
  • Inspections between guests
  • 24/7 guest communication
  • General maintenance
  • Stocking supplies
  • Deep cleaning between seasons
  • Installation and programming of keyless entry locks
  • Secure access for guests and service partners

No surprise costs and no percentage commissions. Ever.

24-7-365 Property Management

One of the main concerns of guests who book vacation rental properties is whether or not there will be an emergency contact available if something goes wrong. BBO is available 24/7/365 to assist your guests before their arrival, during their stay, and even after they depart. And we mean 365 days of the year, even on weekends and holidays.

We’ll take that call when guests or service partners:

  • Can’t log into the wifi
  • Can’t find the light switch to the hot-tub area
  • Need access or have questions
  • Arrival plans change
  • Need directions
  • Want local recommendations
  • Have a complaint

Local Franchise Owners

Our local offices are owned and operated by a local franchisee who has a vested interest in providing excellent guest services and property management. These local entrepreneurs are our front-line personnel to handle guests and service partners alike. Other national companies have quickly realized how difficult it is to hire and retain local managers — we are local business owners; so we can adapt to the unique needs of each town.

These are the folks who show up when you need a real person to handle:

  • Cleaning and Laundry
  • Inspections between guests
  • Complete guest communication
  • General maintenance
  • Stocking supplies
  • Deep cleaning between seasons
  • Installing and programming keyless entry locks
  • Providing secure access for guests and service partners

In addition, our innovative access control solutions and web-based property inspection system will instantly update you on the condition and security of your property.

Corporate Support

BBO is also available 24/7/365 to assist our franchise owners. In addition to being your ever-ready partner, we also provide regular updates from the vacation rental industry to keep you informed on the newest advances in technology, latest marketing strategies, and vacation rental best practices.

We provide:

  • Exclusive Territory
  • Low Cost to Enter
  • Low Overhead
  • Year-round, Recurring Revenue
  • Training & Support
  • Proven Processes & Proprietary Software
  • National Partners, Suppliers, and Advertising
  • Additional Income Streams
  • Exit Strategy (When you’re ready to sell your business)

BBO Property Management – The Right Solution for You

Enjoy peace of mind knowing you have a local, professional partner caring for your home and your guests 24/7/365, all for an affordable monthly fee. Contact your local Book by Owner for complete details and pricing on all the services available in your resort area. Interested in opening your own BBO location? Visit our franchising page for more information.


Great Property Management – Even on Christmas Day

It’s Christmas Day and your vacation rental is filled with a large, happy family celebrating the holiday together. After numerous conversations, cooking a vast meal, and plenty of coffee and holiday drinks, some guests decide to try out a new gift – a cappuccino machine. Upon plugging in the machine and turning it on, the unexpected happens – several other electrical devices suddenly die, including some lights. The property management arrangements you have in place will now prove their value or utterly fail. Which will it be?

DIY Vacation Rental Management

There are some property owners who choose to manage all their property management issues themselves. Cleanings between guests, lawn care, pool and hot tub care, routine maintenance, dealing with clients, and any emergency phone calls are all handled by the owners. This can work for property owners who perhaps own several properties in the same locale, and live nearby. All their time can be devoted to managing and maintaining their vacation rental homes.

Unfortunately, most property owners do not live close to their properties. And those who do may not have all the equipment, essential tools, or skills to perform their own maintenance. Or the time to do so. And who wants to be bothered with emergencies late at night, on weekends, or on major holidays?

Common Property Management Services

Other vacation property owners choose to contract management services with a property management firm. Most of these firms handle common rental property tasks like cleaning, routine maintenance, lawn care, and dealing with emergencies for a percentage of the overall property rental fee. This is great for property owners who live some distance away and cannot handle these chores themselves, but it is quite expensive, often 30 – 50 percent of the rental income.  

Reliable Guest Services from BBO

With Book by Owner as your property management service, you get great vacation rental property management on weekends and throughout the holidays, even if issues arise on Christmas or New Year’s Day. BBO guarantees professional, reliable management services available to you and your guests 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, all for a set monthly fee and without the costly commissions of other property management firms.

In the scenario at the beginning of this article, the local BBO franchisee was a simple phone call away and was able to guide a guest to the main electrical box and walk them through the steps of resetting a breaker to restore power to the outlets and lights in question. They were also able to advise the guest on the best place to plug in their new machine in order to not overload a particular electrical circuit.

BBO’s prompt and efficient service was appreciated by the guests and was reflected in the guest review. How would that emergency have been handled under your current vacation property management arrangement? For more information about our 24/7/365 quality property management services, contact BBO online or call us at 877-218-0139.


Meet Mike Cushing and the New BBO Arizona Office

Book by Owner has been your on the ground team for resort property maintenance since 2003. They seek to help you create great guest experiences while saving you money and protecting your investment by providing a host of on-site services for your vacation rental property. As the demand for vacation rentals continues to grow, BBO continues to open franchise locations to better serve you, including our newest location, BBO Arizona. 

I recently talked with Mike Cushing about Book by Owner’s new Arizona location.

BBO Beginnings

Interviewer: Mike, tell me a little about yourself and how you got started with Book by Owner.

Mike: My wife Kerry and I originally founded Book by Owner in 2003 in Dillon, CO. That was and is ski resort country, with a large number of resort properties. With the growth of internet-based vacation rental listing services like VRBO and Airbnb, we saw an opportunity to provide resort property management for those property owners who lived some distance away from their properties. The owners could easily handle the booking process themselves over the internet. What they couldn’t handle was property management, including cleaning, inspections, maintenance, and dealing with guests in person.  

Interviewer: That’s a great idea, Mike. And it appears you were successful.

Mike: Yes, we were very successful. As the business grew we began offering franchise locations in 2009. We opened several franchises in and around the local CO ski country, and Kerry and I continued to manage day-to-day operations supporting our franchisees.

From Owner/Manager to Franchise Operator at BBO Arizona

Interviewer: Your story has an interesting twist. Tell us about it.

Mike: Yes, it does. Kerry and I love the mountains, but with our daughter leaving for college, we were ready for a warmer climate and a return to our true passion for property management. So, in 2016 we sold the majority of BBO franchising to current owner Bill Scott. We remain actively involved with BBO as active board members and help with franchising however we can.

Interviewer: And now, you are back where you started, managing a new franchise location. Tell us more about that.

Mike: We opened the first BBO Arizona franchise in Phoenix on October 1, 2017. Arizona is home to warmer climes, plus mountainous ski country, so the potential is there to manage a vast number of rental properties, as well as expand with new franchise locations. We are seeking to open new franchises in Flagstaff, Tucson, and Sedona in the next year or two.

Interviewer: How many properties are currently under management through the BBO Arizona franchise in Phoenix?

Mike: We just opened in October, so currently we only manage five properties, but we have several owners interested in coming onboard. We are predicting to have 15 to 20 properties under management within the next year and anticipate growing 100% year over year.  

Interviewer: Just how many properties can a local BBO franchise effectively manage?

Mike: There is really no limit to how many properties each franchise location can manage. When looking for possible franchise locations, we require a minimum of 5000 rental homes available in the area. That provides plenty of opportunities for a franchise to be successful.

What Can Book by Owner Do for You?

Interviewer: What does BBO do differently than other property management companies?

Mike: We developed a fee-based business model that provides fixed costs for our owners. This way, the more they book, the more they make. This is very different from traditional property managers who take a percentage of the rental income. In that model, the more you make, the more you pay. We also do not rely on our service partners, such as housekeepers and handymen, to inspect properties before and after each guest. Our franchise owners or their direct employees perform each inspection, which is customized to the property. Once the inspection is completed, a customized report is submitted onsite and emailed instantly to the owner, sharing photos and details about the condition of their property.

Interviewer: What is the biggest benefit to contracting a property management company for your vacation rental?

Mike: Hiring a professional to help you manage your vacation rental eliminates enormous headaches. This industry has experienced explosive growth in recent years and travelers’ expectations are higher than ever. With easy options for booking online, they now expect a perfect place, with hotel-like service. Most owners live great distances from their rental properties, and it is impossible for them to provide effective management and personalized guest service. We enable them to do that.

Interviewer: How vital is excellent guest service in this industry?

Mike: Guest service is crucial to the success of any vacation rental. Great guest service leads to great reviews, and travelers read those reviews when choosing a vacation rental. Great reviews attract new guests and maintain repeat business; a single bad review can significantly impact the ability to book a property and cost an owner much more than what they invest in effective property management.

Interviewer: What would you say to property owners in Arizona seeking to rent their property?

Mike: At BBO Arizona we have flexible and affordable options for property owners seeking to rent short-term. If they want to do their own marketing and booking, we can help them create their advertising and get their properties rental-ready. If they don’t have the time or desire to do the marketing and booking, we can connect them to a booking partner we have who can assist them with those processes. Every property is unique, with unique needs. We can tailor a package to provide what they need for a surprisingly affordable price.

Interviewer: Mike, how can property owners in and around the Phoenix, Arizona area contact you at BBO Arizona?

Mike: Property owners can contact us through our website at https://bookbyowner.com/arizona/, call us at (480) 744-5929, or email us at bboarizona@bookbyowner.com.

Contact BBO Today!

Are you interested in renting out your property yourself on VRBO or AirBnB, but still need someone local to take care of the home and guests? Book by Owner (BBO) pioneered fee-based resort property management and continues to be the industry leader. With BBO you have professional, reliable management services available to you and your guests 24/7/365 without the costly commissions of traditional property management programs. Contact BBO and get started today!


Preparing Your Rental Home for Holiday Cooking

Holiday cooking is a major part of most family traditions and, all too often, the extended family has outgrown a normal sized home. Consequently, holiday renters are often seeking a large place for family gatherings that include a large meal. How you prepare for guests and their holiday cooking is important. It can mean the difference between repeat business or bad reviews.

Preparing your rental home for holiday cooking is not a major seasonal undertaking. In fact, you should already provide the necessary amenities for cooking as part of your basic furnishings. But, certain aspects of your rental home are absolutely vital for those guests with holiday cooking on their agenda. Think of your own home during these occasions to anticipate the needs of your guests.

A Fully Furnished Kitchen

When thinking about how to furnish your kitchen, remember that guests appreciate convenience. Your kitchen should be equipped with enough plates, tableware, and glasses, for at least double the number of people that your home can sleep. In addition, some colorful and durable kid-friendly plates and cups would be a plus for families with young children. Ensure that everything is dishwasher safe. Everything – pots and pans, dishes, glassware, etc. – will be put into the dishwasher, so make sure it CAN be put in there safely.

You should provide plenty of cookware and baking ware in various sizes. Nothing disappoints a guest more than arriving with holiday grocery items and discovering only a few pots and pans in the cabinets. Don’t break the bank on high-end cookware, but everything you do provide should be of good quality and spotlessly clean. Any chipped or cracked items should be discarded and replaced.

Clean, functional kitchen appliances are a must for guests doing holiday cooking. A large stove and refrigerator are only the beginning. Mixers, coffee makers, can openers, toasters or toaster ovens, and crock pots are added bonuses that are sure to contribute to a positive cooking experience. Again, these items should be of good quality and easily cleaned. Any non-functioning units should be discarded and replaced, not simply shoved to the back of the cabinet.

Adequate Serving / Dining Space

Guests will appreciate a large dining room table if your property layout allows. In addition, plenty of counter space is a plus for serving. As with serving ware, you should seek to provide dining space for at least double the number your home can sleep. If one or two large tables is not practical, consider a table that fits the available space with additional places along the counter or bar area.

Keep in mind that those guests who are not accommodated at the dining table or counter will eat in the living room. Therefore, your furniture and flooring should be durable and easily cleaned in the event of accidental spills. Providing a few small card tables or TV trays is an added bonus to add friendly seating for children.

Cleaning Supplies

Plenty of guests and lots of cooking means a great deal of cleaning up. But, your guests don’t want to spend their holiday vacation cleaning. Make it easy for them to care for your property by providing everything they need to do it quickly and efficiently. Dishwasher detergent, dishwashing soap, scrub pads, dish cloths and towels, spot cleaner, a vacuum, and plenty of extra garbage bags will help ensure your guests clean up after themselves.

Don’t forget that large groups of guests will all cycle through the bathrooms at some time through each day of their stay. This means providing plenty of toilet tissue, bathroom cleaning supplies, extra bath and toiletry amenities, and a plunger in each bathroom. Guests will appreciate your thinking ahead of their comfort.

Holiday Property Management Can Get Busy – BBO is Your Partner

What are some other items needing attention to prepare your property for holiday rentals? Book by Owner (BBO) is an experienced and professional property management company that assists homeowners who like to do their own bookings. We can assist you with everything necessary to prepare your property for holiday gatherings. Call BBO today at 877.713.4947 or go online for a quote. You book the guest. We do the rest.