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The advice STR hosts would give themselves

If you could go back to the start of your short-term rentals journey, what is the one piece of advice you would give yourself? (writes James Varley).

That's the question we posed to our community recently – and the response was very interesting.

In no particular order, here are some of the best responses:

  • Use a professional photographer who has experience of taking photos for short-term rentals.

  • Get your pricing right. Your space is probably worth more than you think. Use a dynamic pricing tool to help you. 

  • Make sure your listing is accurate. 

  • Automate as much as possible. 

  • Before your listing goes live, spend a few nights there in order to fix any snags.

  • Use only white, hotel-quality towels and linen. 

  • Have a night stand on both sides of every bed and within close proximity of a power point.

  • Empty the closets.

  • Don't take any criticism personally. Feedback is a gift – be grateful and open to improvement. 

  • You will always need more towels.

  • Communicate plenty and often. A lot of guests will ignore what you tell them. Don't be afraid of repeating yourself. 

  • It's a business, not a charity.

  • Maximise your first month on any online travel agency.

  • Don't worry so much. Most of your guests will be lovely.

And some of the funnier responses:

  • 4 x 1,000-piece jigsaws and kids are a bad combination.

  • Don't get married (but we think this chap might have been responding to the wrong thread..!).

If I was to pick two lessons learned, they would be pricing and direct booking. I didn't have a strategy for either when I started out and it cost me revenue. With the huge array of dynamic pricing tools out there, getting your daily rates right is easier than ever. In relation to direct booking, I was lucky it evolved organically with several guests. However, if I was starting now, I would certainly be building direct booking foundations from day one.

What piece of advice would you tell yourself at the start of your hosting journey? Let us know in the comments.


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