10 tips I’ve learned the hard way from 1 year of managing an AirBnb rental

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I just passed the 14 month mark owning and managing rentals I promote primarily on AirBnb in Guayaquil. 

Previously, I had never done anything like it.

I’ve learned a lot.  Here’s a few things that first come to mind to help you keep your rental filled.

1. A little goes a long way.  Reading the reviews of my competition, I saw it’s actually easy to beat similarly-priced conpetition in your area, most of the other owners (especially in Ecuador) don’t care enough to include the basics like extra toilet paper, hand soap, hair dryers and extra hand wash clothes.  Details count. Think like a hotel.

2. Work the guard.  Preferibly have a rental in a building or gated community that has a 24 hr guard where you can leave the key/elevator card and who can help with basics like calling taxis.  This way, you will get ALMOST ZERO calls!  Better yet, I’ve learned the hard way (as there is no one to receive the key from outgoing guests) to put a door lock that has opens with a passcode you can reset after each guest.  Just email each guest the code of entry before they arrive.

3. Use signs.  Another great way to limit the amount of calls you get from frustrated guests (since you are not on-site) is to SIGN UP everything in the apartment like the WiFi code, how the hot water works and Cable and more. Also include a user guide with building and vicinity information.

4. Maintenance dude. Have a local maintenance guy you can call on demand to go fix things in the apartment when necessary. You pay per job, cheap in a place like Ecuador.

5. No small kids.  Deny people with large families and small kids. You just can’t trust it, too many moving parts or charge a higher deposit.  For a short rental its just not worth it.

6. Don’t accept walk ups!  Only accept people who book and pay ahead of time like through a site like AirBnb.  This way you verify their identity and have a certain go-between should something go array.  I’ve found people who pay with a credit card tend to be honest, reliable people compared to folks who pay in cash off the street for this type of rentals.

7. Reject short stays booked way in advance. Reject bookings for just one or two nights made months in advance!  Very important if you only have one or two units.  Learned this the hard way.  You don’t want to have to reject a month long booking because one night is booked half way through the month! Keep your options open.  Accept shorter bookings last minute only to fill your space.

8. High prices, big discount pricing.  To further deter shorter stays which tend to be less profitable and more hassle (without outright prohibiting them) set a HIGH nightly rate and offer LARGE discounts (like 40-50% is fine) for stays over a week or month which encourage longer stay guests and give them a “Oh, I got a deal” feeling.  And this way if you did get a shorter stay rental it ma be profitable enough to accept for you!

9. Find a local cleaner.  Find someone local who you can pay to go clean upon demand.  In Ecuador, I pay $15 to someone to go clean a one bedroom apartment I rent.

10. Reviews!  Let the client review you first on AirBnb, especially if you have something negative to say about them, cause once they review you, you review them and from what I see it is not editable by either side.


Hasta pronto, if you liked this you’d love my Insider’s newsletter on living and investing in Ecuador,

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