By Lexa Foy

During a month-long trip to Colombia, South America, I had my first run-in with an Airbnb. All the hotels in the area were booked so our only option was to set up our profile and dive in. I was one of those people who scoffed at staying in someone else’s home, especially with the host there. It seemed awkard and unfamiliar.

Despite my initial thoughts, I quickly started to see that my trip to Colombia would not nearly have been as enjoyable without our Airbnb stays.  Not only did we get an inside look at the culture, the hosts were super gracious and helpful in giving us the local’s input which enhanced our stay two-fold.

After returning from Colombia, I became slightly obsessed with Airbnb and wanted to learn more about this real estate niche.  I enrolled in real estate school, scoured the internet, listened to specialized Bigger

Pockets podcasts that discussed this topic and best of all, came across a local Airbnb Real Estate Expert at the forefront of the movement, Rachel Prince- Rentalpreneur located right here in, Indianapolis.

Rachel immediately took me under her wing. Here are the top three things I learned after undergoing my first home set-up with her and her team:

  The Details Count:

Most guests who did not instantly book, sent an inquiry about how close a home was to a particular venue or had a specific question about inside the home, prior to booking. Having a list of recommendations already put together or being able to reply with details (about coffee pots, privacy, parking, type of bed) or assess distances to nearby locations was often an essential piece to converting many of these inquiries into bookings. Overall just being responsive and providing some details or simple recommendations when asked (like eateries or hotspots) helped to increase the guest experience, booking rate and ended-up reflecting favorably for us come review time.

  Stand out:

Give your listing or rooms a theme, and make them stand out. Get creative with the title, photos, decoration style and art. Whether a rustic reclaimed look or modern with a classic touch, guests look for the creative and unique touches when booking. What about the space will stand out from the hundreds of other options? I personally booked a home in Columbia because of the artsy décor and spicy color scheme which was completely different from the hues of brown warm colors I am accustomed to. When decorating this first bright Airbnb home in a downtown Indy neighborhood, I tried to find some unique touches and colorful wall art that would stand out against the periwinkle grey-colored walls. I realized the more personality and character a room or home has, the more alluring and cozy it will seem to the guests. I say, source a vision and a color palette and go for it! We added these Zinus platform beds with foam latex Lucid beds (pictured above) and our guests cant get enough of them! A well-decorated house that is clean and minimal will set you apart and make your guest experience end up with a unique with a five-star rating.

 Automation:

Keeping the home automated will makes the host and guest life easier. No more lost keys, lockouts or staying up late for guest flights to arrive. Smart door locks will automatically lock behind the guest on the way in and out, assuring the house is secure for the day or night. Smart thermostats allow the host to control the temperature of your home as it sits vacant or warming it up before the guest arrives, especially on those cold Indy nights.  These automation tools truly make the life of an Airbnb host much easier, are more cost-effective and allow the Host more control over their time by saving trips to the home.

With these 3 major aspects in place, it appeared as though most everything was already anticipated for the first guests way ahead of time and we could easily begin accepting bookings, with the ability to make minor adjustments or tweaks as needed..

For information about our Rentalpreneur coaching or Real Estate services in Indianapolis or nationally, please contact us at info[at]

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