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Show Notes

[00:00:00.160] – Jordan

I love the mentality of the people too that we’ve been connecting with. There can be such a scarcity mentality in business where everybody is playing their cards close to their chest and nobody wants to reveal what they’re doing that’s working. And we’ve really found a lot of awesome people that are excited to learn from us, we’re excited to learn from them. We’re giving and giving a lot of good information. So it’s been just a lot of fun to be around people with that abundance mentality that we’re not all working against each other. There’s opportunities for everybody and we can all do better and provide better service to the people that we are trying to serve. So it’s been really fun.

[00:00:36.410] – Intro

Welcome to the Michigan Shortterm Rentals Podcast, the show about buying, optimizing and managing shortterm rentals in the state of Michigan. Get insights and recommendations from vacation rental operators to help take your property to the next level. Are you ready to profit from your short term rental? Let’s get started.

[00:00:58.160] – Tony

Welcome to the Michigan Short Term Rentals Podcast. My name is Tony Santado and I’m here with my co host, Jordan Painter. Today we’re talking about how to become a super host on airbnb. What’s up, Jordan?

[00:01:11.920] – Jordan

What’s up, Tony?

[00:01:13.050] – Tony

How’s everything going man?

[00:01:14.740] – Jordan

Life is good.

[00:01:15.720] – Tony

Yes sir. So closing in at the end of the year, today is October 31. Just kind of looking back at the year, not sure if we could have predicted that it would have gone the way that it has. It’s just been an amazing year. Hopefully we finished wrong here. What would you say has been the biggest surprise to you in terms of growth or how we’re operating today versus like what we would have been thinking? Call it even six months ago?

[00:01:44.890] – Jordan

Yeah, I think the biggest thing for me, I guess the biggest surprise would just be the direction that we’ve gone. Anytime starting a new business, it can be kind of difficult to see where the opportunities are going to come. So I think we’ve got a really good partnership going between you and myself and our other partner, Gary Van Meyer. We’ve got a good balance of visionaries and implementers integrators and so it’s been really good to not be set in stone and what we’re trying to accomplish and kind of waiting for opportunities to come to us and kind of adjust our direction based on what those opportunities are. So when we started we were really focused on ownership and scaling through that and I think we’ve seen a lot of opportunities and the pain points of management. So we’re taking kind of a little bit of a more directional turn towards helping other people maximize profits and I think both of us get a lot of enjoyment out of helping make other people money. It’s a lot of fun.

[00:02:39.660] – Tony

Yeah, absolutely. I think our goal was like twelve doors by the end of this year and we’re going to, well, surpass that. So, again, sometimes it’s just fun to go back and look at how you were thinking small and just see how things can really kind of progress and accelerate. So that’s been amazing. And then I think one of the biggest surprises to me, too, has just been LinkedIn. LinkedIn has been a real fun tool, fun place to interact. And I’ve talked to so many people on the phone or just in the chat that are wanting to get into short term rentals, or maybe they already own short term rentals, but just feel like got a good little community going. Likeminded individuals that are super interested in the asset class would have never thought that LinkedIn would have helped facilitate and kind of get those discussions going, but it’s been awesome.

[00:03:34.630] – Jordan

I love the mentality of the people, too, that we’ve been connecting with. There can be such a scarcity mentality in business where everybody is playing their cards close to their chest and nobody wants to reveal what they’re doing. That’s working. And we’ve really found a lot of awesome people that are excited to learn from us. We’re excited to learn from them. We’re giving and giving a lot of good information. So it’s been just a lot of fun to be around people with that abundance mentality that we’re not all working against each other. There’s opportunities for everybody, and we can all do better and provide better service to the people that we are trying to serve. So it’s been really fun.

[00:04:09.810] – Tony

Yeah, absolutely. And talking about abundance, I just want to share a conversation. I mean, it wasn’t necessarily like, hey, keep us on the download. He’s pretty open about what he’s doing. But I had a conversation with someone that I connected with on LinkedIn on Friday, and their plan for short term rentals was just to buy 250 to 300 short term rentals and then kind of roll it up and sell it to an institutional investor. And when you want to talk about abundance and just thinking small, I’m like, man, this guy is playing big. And I think they found their little niche in the market he was just talking about right now for some of that big institutional money. If they want to get into short term rentals, there is really no easy way for them to do it. And a lot of these guys have minimum purchase thresholds, call it $25 to $50 million. They can’t go by $50 million worth of short term rentals anywhere. And that’s where this guy’s coming in, building it up. Already has thinking it’s 50 properties right now, so they’re just killing it. Again, just one of those conversations where your mind just really expands on what is possible and what’s super excited.

[00:05:24.550] – Tony

So that’s kind of the power of LinkedIn. Super exciting. What do you say we jump into today’s topic, Jordan?

[00:05:30.690] – Jordan

Let’s do it.

[00:05:31.710] – Tony

How to become a super host on airbnb. So there’s four metrics that you have to hit, if you will, and the first one is going to be you have to have a 4.8 overall rating or higher, and that’s going to come down to the reviews. So right now, our overall rating across all the properties is five star. So super critical that just kind of bring that hospitality. You have a good product. I think one of the things I was thinking about recently, too, is just kind of the expectations is going to be a big thing. So in your listing, you want to make sure that you are clearly communicating what the property is and isn’t so that the guest has an expectation, and when they get to the property, the property meets the expectations that you’ve already said. So no surprises. And again, there’s a lot of different ways to do it. One of the biggest ways, in my opinion, is lots and lots of pictures. I see people with five to ten pictures. I would always say, if you can kick it up, try to get 20. Again, just kind of show every aspect of that property in terms of getting high reviews.

[00:06:43.530] – Tony

Any recommendations or tips on that?

[00:06:46.710] – Jordan

Yeah, I think even some of the experiences I’ve had with short term rentals, as far as booking them for my family, the bar is pretty low. People want a nice, clean place to go to, and that’s kind of the minimum threshold. But one of those unexpected extras, whether it’s a little goodie basket or if it’s a bachelorette party, you’ve got a little gift there for them, it’s a little bit more personalized. So what are those things that you can do to give people just a little bit of an extra experience? To let them know that you really care and you appreciate that they’re booking your place? I think the other one, and it’s funny just being in business, everyone is terrified to have problems. And that’s a big barrier, I think, for a lot of people to even start a business is they get stuck with what are all the problems I’m going to run into and how am I going to overcome them? And I think that the better way to look at it is, you know what? If there weren’t problems in this business, then we wouldn’t be necessary. So when there are issues and problems, what are the ways that you can say, own the problem, take care of it, do something extra special and extra nice for those people, whether it’s a big or small problem?

[00:07:50.820] – Jordan

And I think Tony has done just a phenomenal job of taking advantage of those problems. And you can turn someone into a raving fan in the way that you handle those issues when they come up. That’s one of the big reasons that we’ve got five stars. Not because we’ve been perfect, but because we’ve handled those issues well.

[00:08:07.660] – Tony

Absolutely. And I actually have a prime example of that, just coming off of this weekend. Not sure if it was a huge deal. The guests arrived coming off a kind of a warmer week previously, so the guests prior had the AC turned on and the guests arrived late Friday night at her property. The AC was still on. It was in the cool mode, but it’s cooler. So they walked in, the place was a little chill and we have smart thermostats and they were having a hard time kind of getting it configured to actually be in heat mode. So I was able to go in quickly, turn the heat up, and then told them how to adjust the heat as needed. And I just sent them a quick $30 and said, hey, I’m completely sorry about that. There’s $30 for donuts or coffee in the morning. And she was totally excited and I don’t think she expected that in any way. And I think she felt more like she should have known how to adjust the thermostat. But those type of opportunities, there are more opportunities for us to be able to respond in a manner that kind of brings a positive light and just kind of sets us apart from others in the industry.

[00:09:21.520] – Tony

So again, she said heated up quickly and she was super excited about the donut money. So hasn’t left a review yet. Still got a couple of days here for that to come in, but I’m sure it’ll be a good 1. Second one is 90% response rate. So right now our response rate is 100%. And this is basically just going to be do you respond to the messages that come in through airbnb? I think they have it on like a 24 hours clock, so you have to respond within 24 hours for it to count. So if it takes you 36 hours to get back to someone, then that’s going to count against you in your metrics here. So again, you just want to be super responsive. Right now, across all of our properties, we are averaging less than an hour response time, so we really try to be dialed into that. Nobody likes to wait. Again, this lady would reach out on Friday night stay at 930 and it took us 12 hours to get back to her, even though that would technically be within that 24 hours range. People want and need responses quickly, so we try to do it as quick as possible.

[00:10:31.050] – Tony

Obviously there’s times when we’re sleeping it could be a little bit more challenging, but again, we’re averaging less than an hour across all properties. Anything on communication and response rate?

[00:10:44.290] – Jordan

Yes, I think one of the things that we’ve done really well is as much as possible, we’ve automated the system so you can’t automate everything. You can’t automate a message at 09:00 P.m. That the furnace is on cooling mode. So you do have to make sure that someone is available to take care of those issues as they arise. But a lot of it can be automated, a lot of the guest check in and that kind of stuff. So the more you can simplify this process and this business, the better. And it’s definitely something that we are still working on perfecting right now. As Tony said, we’ve got under an hour response time. We’re going to have to figure out how to keep that going and keep that level of service to meet the expectations that we have set as we continue to scale and grow. So we’ve got some different solutions that we’re working on coming up with, and as we provide that service to our people, we’ll definitely do some more podcasts and update on what we’re doing to overcome some of those barriers as our business skills.

[00:11:37.090] – Tony

And then the next one is going to be they want to see ten completed stays or 100 nights over three stays. So if you’re doing some of those medium term rentals and you only had three bookings, they do want to see over 100 nights. So currently we have 84 bookings and 245 nights for the year, so well within that range. But ten stays definitely shouldn’t be hard if you have a full time rental. If you’re only renting it for a specific part of the season, it could be a little bit more challenging. But as you get multiple properties, it definitely makes it easier to get those.

[00:12:17.520] – Jordan

There is maybe a little bit of strategy there so people can understand how that works. One of the issues that we’ve had onboarding new properties, especially if you’re kind of late to the game and onboarding them in the peak of the season. Tony, if you want to talk about just that process of booking, platforms a lot of times want you to discount the first several stays and that helps the algorithms and maybe that’s something that you might want to just spend a minute just walking people through so that they have expectations on what that looks like.

[00:12:43.570] – Tony

Yeah, that’s a good point. So one of the things in the past we’ve had a property where maybe there’s not a lot of inventory out there and it seems like there’s no need to necessarily give a discount, so you think it’ll get booked up really quickly because of the lack of inventory. And the one time that we didn’t actually apply, this was actually the slowest bookings from Airbnb. Verbo actually ended up becoming more of a player on this particular property. So lesson learned. When you’re going through and you’re adding these properties to both Airbnb and Burbo, they have something that you click a button and it says, hey, we’re going to discount this property for the first three stays and it’s by 20%. So when somebody’s coming through and they see a new property and it’s discounted for 20% for a certain amount of time, it just gives you that sense of urgency to book this because, hey, you never know when somebody else is going to kind of scoop up this discounted price. So, again, gives people urgency to get booking, get the momentum going. And I would highly recommend whether you’re setting it up or your property management companies using the platforms, do not pass up on this.

[00:14:01.080] – Tony

You want to make sure that you do that 20%. It might feel like you’re giving something away, but I can just say the one time we did it, the results were very unfavorable. So turn that on. If you have to bump up your rates a little bit to accommodate you don’t want to kind of miss out on some of that income. Bump up the rates, put the 20% discount on again, just get that momentum building so that you can get more bookings. Cancelation rate of less than 1%. So this is a big one. This is just going to go down to customer experience. You really want to prevent cancellations, if possible, on your end. Again, if you could just imagine you and your family, or multiple families, multiple friends, you book a place and let’s say you book six months in advance and three months before your trip, boom, the reservation gets canceled. How is that going to impact your group? Obviously, from an airbnb perspective, this is going to be kind of a sore spot for them. Doesn’t give a good experience to their customers. So if you could imagine if people started getting more and more cancellations, maybe people wouldn’t return to the platform to book future travel because such a big inconvenience.

[00:15:11.860] – Tony

So you definitely want to prevent this from happening.

[00:15:15.600] – Jordan

I think this is another area where you’ve got to get creative when you run into an issue and you got to find creative solutions to make sure that you’re surfing. People well, booked your place if something comes up. We had one property that we had a roof leak on last minute, we had to make some cancelations. We’ve had a couple of other issues in the past, and I can think of one example. Last summer, we were peak of the season, there’s nothing available. It was a big group of people and we had an issue where we had to cancel. And so actually, Tony went to work, found them a better property. They had just listed that was super cool. And it went from these people were understandably very unhappy with us for canceling their booking to they had a great trip and we found them a better option than what they had initially booked with us. We actually helped contribute to that booking to keep the cost down for them more comparable to what they were paying. So again, there are opportunities that even when these issues come up that you can come through and help people to avoid having a cancelation.

[00:16:13.770] – Jordan

So in that case, they canceled on us because we found a better place, so it didn’t hurt our record and they were happy and had a very enjoyable time with their family somewhere else. So just there are opportunities to get creative instead of just canceling on people.

[00:16:27.430] – Tony

Yes, absolutely. That’s it. That’s the four steps to becoming a Superhost. 4.8 overall rating or higher, 90% response rate or higher, ten completed stays or 100 nights over three plus stays cancelation rate of less than 1%. And some of the benefits that you’re going to get when you become a super host, you’re going to be featured two guests in promotional emails. So Airbnb might send an email to somebody searching in this particular area where your properties are and they’ll showcase one of your properties. So obviously you could imagine if you were on that big of an email list, how much that could contribute to actually booking up some future stays and then easy to find in searches. I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve actually gone through and filtered my search. Let’s say I’m going to Orlando. I go to type in Orlando for the day and then I click Filter and I put Superhost only. That way I’m only seeing the properties that are hosted by call it the best of the best. So definitely I’ve used that on my own. And then also you get the Super Host badge. But again, it’s just kind of that stamp of approval that the guests can book the property with confidence, knowing that a super host is kind of running the property.

[00:17:41.740] – Tony

Well, if you enjoy the podcast, we’d really appreciate you to go over to wherever you’re listening and leave us a review. Whether it’s Apple podcast spotify that just helps other people find us and helps us kind of get the word out to more people. And if you’re not on the Michigan Shortterm Rentals.com email list, head over there. You’ll get a list of 650 zip codes that have already been analyzed and has protections on it. It will shortcut your weight of success on finding kind of the hot areas. You’ll get our property greater. It’ll give you a letter grade for the property that you’re looking at. So if you want to look at properties through the lens the way that we’re looking at them, use that property greater. If you get anything below B, you might really want to question whether that’s going to be a property that you want to go through with and purchase. But go over there. Michigan Shortterm Rentals.com. Get on the email list, you’ll get those four emails. We’re not looking to spam you. We’re looking to add a lot of value and just to get help you on your short term rental journey.

[00:18:43.930] – Tony

So until next time.