Airbnb House Manual

Are you an Airbnb host that is trying to improve your guest’s experience,  or are you just not getting those five stars? Here are Hosts & Homes we have you covered with our free Airbnb House Manual Template. We have hosted hundreds of guests over the years and we have placed our tips and trick … Read more

Extra Protection for Airbnb Hosts For Damages

To further safeguard Airbnb hosts, the company has introduced AirCover. Unlike Host Protection, which only insured the structure of the house, Airbnb’s Host Protection package covered up to $1 million in damage and liability coverage, but hosts complained about the holes in the policy where certain damages were not covered. Pets have become more of … Read more

Airbnb Review System: How does it work?

Airbnb review system

With the advent of technology came the beginning of reviews. It seems that everywhere you go someone has left a review or you are being asked to fill one out. There is a good reason why different companies like Airbnb rely on reviews and ask you to fill them out. With hosts in 191 countries, … Read more

Make Your Vacation Rental Family Friendly

Family making breakfast in an Airbnb

Families that vacation together Most often stick together or at least that is the ideal. In 2018 roughly 88 million Americans will go on some sort of family vacation. How that works for this Covid-19 era remains to be seen but being prepared is a smart move to make. More Americans will travel locally than … Read more

Should You Accept Pets in Your Airbnb

Don’t leave home without them Many travelers love to bring their dog or dogs along with them when they go on vacation. it makes sense as no one cares about your dog better than you do. One way to get more business for your Airbnb property is to make it pet friendly. Having more options … Read more

Vrbo vs

living room, sofa, couch

Homesharing platforms have gained a lot of momentum in the past few years. They allow people to book short-term stays in the spaces of those who are willing to rent out their properties in exchange for money. Vrbo, purchased by HomeAway and how part of the Expedia Group. is considered an online travel agency that makes it easy for guests to choose accommodation and transportation on the same site. It is important for homeowners who wish to make income from renting out their property to know the key differences and similarities between Vrbo and

A brief background of Vrbo and

Founded in the year 1995, Vrbo has a presence in 190 countries and boasts of over 2 million listings. Vrbo is a home-sharing site that allows homeowners to advertise their properties for occupation. Vrbo presents a great opportunity for homeowners because it falls under the HomeAway brand, which allows properties advertised on Vrbo to also be listed on other HomeAway affiliated sites, giving listings further reach. was founded in 1996 in the Netherlands. However, back then, it was known as In the year 2000, it merged with Bookings Online and became This site has over 27 million listings in total in over 227 countries globally. It allows people to book various accommodation using a metasearch engine.

The similarities and differences between Vrbo and

The main similarity between Vrbo and is that they both provide a platform for people to book vacation rentals such as resorts, villas, cabins, apartments and hotels. Other similarities include having a wide global reach and charging guest and owner fees. Differences include how communication with guests occurs, cancellation fees, how owners can claim for damage caused by guests, a difference in user interface and many more.

Global reach

Both Vrbo and have a global reach, so they are both great options for property owners looking to rent out their properties for rental income.

The only difference between the two platforms in this regard is that is popular in Europe, with 43 languages available for users to read listings in. On the other hand, HomeAway has a broader audience, attracting people from Europe, Brazil, India, and Australia.

Guest and owner fees (service fees)

Vrbo charges owners a fee of $499 annually, or they can opt for a 5% deduction on every booking with a 3% credit card processing fee added. Choosing between the two models depends on how many bookings you get annually. If you get many bookings, paying a once-off of $499 may save more money in the long run. But of course, one wouldn’t know how many bookings they get until they sign up. However, you can always change your owner fee structure to benefit you. On the other hand, guests using Vrbo are charged 10% to 11%. charges owners 15% per booking, in addition to 3% for credit card processing fees. Unlike Vrbo, guests don’t pay any service fees on

Cancelation fees and policies

Vrbo charges guests different cancelation fees based on 5 different types of models. These are: no refund, strict, firm, moderate and relaxed. The relaxed cancelation model allows guests to cancel a booking 14 days before check-in to still be eligible for a full refund. Should they cancel less than 14 days before check-in, the host gets compensated by receiving a portion of the guest’s booking fee. penalizes guests who cancel through a full or partial charge. Some booking cancelations explicitly state that a fine will be charged for guests who cancel, and some rates, fees and special offers are not eligible for cancelation or a refund at all. Despite this, the Cancelations Fees Exceptions Tool on allows guests to cancel for free within 24 hours of a booking being made, even if the booking is non-refundable.

Communication with guests

Owners who have listed on receive no information about guests until they have made a booking. This makes it easier for accommodations such as hotels to accurately screen and monitor guests.

On Vrbo, guests and owners are limited to email communication until the booking has been made.

Damages caused by guests offers no insurance for owners in the event that guests damage their property. Instead, owners are expected to have their own insurance policy in place, state their house rules clearly, and ask for a damage deposit in the event that property becomes damaged during guests’ stay.

Vrbo also encourages owners to ask for a damage deposit, and they offer an efficient claims process that allows one to easily claim for damages should guests damage the property. Vrbo offers $1 million in liability insurance for owners and property managers.

User interface has a great user interface for both owners and guests. It allows owners to create host and company profiles, set up bulk promotions, edit and adjust house rules for multiple properties simultaneously, view group analytics, as well as view all properties listed using Group Connect. Guests can expect a myriad of properties to choose from, as well as vacation properties, flights and transportation. This is precisely what makes an online travel agency.

Vrbo doesn’t offer flights and transportation on its platform, as it purely focuses on the various properties listed. The site’s design is fairly easy to navigate for guests, and there’s less offered in terms of being able to view multiple properties that you manage at once.

Vrbo and are both great options for homeowners looking to make rental income. Using the above similarities and differences, owners can equip themselves with the necessary knowledge to ensure that the best possible platform is used to list their properties.

Guide to Ranking #1 in Airbnb Search

How to Improve Your Vacation Rental Listing on Airbnb.

Anything your competitor does. You can do better. What that means is that no matter how good your competitor’s Airbnb listing is, there is always room for improvement. The trick is finding those spots where you can improve your listing, make it better and more attractive to potential guests.

To find out how to do just that, continue to read our article. it is filled with some of the tips you need to know about in order to improve your Airbnb listing.

Do the obvious

There are issues that stick out when you create your new Airbnb rental listing and they are talked about enough all over the internet that they only warrant a brief passing mention here.

  1. respond to your potential guests’ inquiries- you need to do this in a timely manner and a good rule of thumb is not to let 24 hours pass before responding
  2. take great photos- enough can’t be said about this topic. Lousy photos will drive your potential guests to your competitors
  3. write good descriptions- the better and more concise the description the more interest you will arouse

Make your property available

This is important as no one will be able to rent your property if it is not available for rent. There are aspects you need to focus on to make sure your property is ready to rent when potential guests need it:

  1. post a schedule of dates- this lets the potential renters see when they can rent your property
  2. clean the property- this too has to be done in a timely manner. The longer you take to clean your property the less time it is available for rent. There are exceptions to this like when you were fooled and a bunch of party people damaged the place
  3. cut your use of it down- it is your property and you want to use it but pick those times where it won’t interfere with your earning extra money

Watch your restrictions

Rules are good and they help guide renter behaviour but one rule needs to be flexible and adaptable. That is your minimum stay rule. When you are just getting started and known in AirBnB renting don’t impose a minimum stay period. You will lose many renters and a ton of money if you do. You can always add a restriction later on when your rental property becomes popular.

Go for the Airbnb Superhost badge

This not only lets potential renters see that you are qualified hosts and professional, but it also helps boost your listing rankings. Here are the areas you need to focus on and the stats to maintain:

  1. have 10 completed bookings
  2. maintain a 50% review rate or higher
  3. have a good response rate, e.g. 90% or higher
  4. do not have any cancellations
  5. keep a 4.7 overall rating

On that note, another tip for you to improve your vacation rental listing is:

Don’t break Airbnb rules

Keeping yourself updated on Airbnb’s regulations helps keep your rental promises and descriptions up to date and true. These regulations help you rent your property the way you advertise it.

Also, make sure your rentals and the way you rent meet your locations’ laws. Cities have rules about renting so make sure you are up to date on those as well. You do not want to cancel because you ignored or did not know about those pesky little details.

Ask for reviews

Word of mouth advertising is one of, if not the best way to get more business. The better the reviews, the more likely you will see potential renter inquiries turning into paying guests. Reviews are your proof that you rent the way you advertise.

But bad reviews are not always bad. How you respond to those negative comments will help book more renters or drive them to your competitor.

Be trustworthy

What that means is that you should avoid cancelling a confirmed reservation at all costs. Once you cancel, you will get negative reviews and those reviews are hard to rebound from. Plus, potential guests will not trust you at all and that will be hard for your business to take.

Use the right keywords

The key to getting traffic to view your Airbnb rental properties is to practice good SEO habits. One of the most vital habits you need to practice is the proper use of keywords. Do some good research for the right keywords and do not forget to find some that relate to the pandemic.

Broaden your options

There is a fear that if you do not personally greet your guests, you are going to get negative reviews. But not everyone wants to be greeted by their hosts. They may be tired and just want to check-in. To help make your rental more attractive by engaging the self-check-in option. That allows your guests to get inside quick and rest up before meeting you.

Don’t forget off-season renters

Not everyone enjoys being in a crowd and they avoid peak season as much as possible. Having your place ready for off-peak vacationers is one way to make your rental property better. Right now this is a good trend to take advantage of.

Target domestic travellers

You may enjoy meeting people from around the world. The different cultural practices are always interesting and fun to learn about. But, there are also a lot of interesting travellers who live in your own country. Don’t exclude them from renting your home.

This may mean adding your native language to your AirBnB site so your fellow citizens can use your property when they have holiday time coming.

Some final words

Sometimes, all you need to do to improve your vacation rental listing on Airbnb is to use a little common sense. The task is not difficult to work on. Just be honest with yourselves and your site and maybe those photos could be improved slightly.

Make a checklist so you do not forget any detail and see what can be done to make your site better.


Airbnb vs. CouchSurfing: All you need to know


In the past few years, the home-sharing industry has grown tremendously, with Airbnb taking a significant portion of the market share. Airbnb was founded in the year 2008 in America and continues to expand to other countries. Before Airbnb’s popularity, many people opted to use CouchSurfing to host guests as well as book travel accommodation. CouchSurfing was founded in 2004, and although there is more competition in the home-sharing market compared to back then, the company boasts of 10 million users in over 200,000 countries around the world. The similarities between Airbnb vs CouchSurfing can result in hosts being confused about what platform is suited for them. Here’s everything you need to know about the similarities and differences: Airbnb vs CouchSurfing.

A brief overview of Airbnb and CouchSurfing

Airbnb was founded in the year 2008. The company was formed to provide a platform where people could easily book short-term rental stays. Airbnb has a presence in approximately 200 countries globally and has hosted 800 million guests since its inception. 

CouchSurfing was founded a few years before Airbnb, in the year 2004. The platform was created to provide travelers with spaces they could book for short-term rental stays, to make traveling a holistic experience that includes immersing oneself in the social culture of the host and broader community. CouchSurfing operates in approximately 237 countries and hosts an international community of about 14 million people. 

The similarities between Airbnb and CouchSurfing

  • They’re both short-term rental stay platforms 

The most visible similarity between Airbnb and CouchSurfing is that they were both created to allow people to book short-term rentals. Hosts can register on either platform (or both) and list their properties for short-term rentals.

  • They provide alternative accommodation to hotels

Booking a stay at a hotel is usually more expensive than booking a short-term rental stay. Both Airbnb and CouchSurfing provide cheaper (with CouchSurfing being free for guests) accommodation options than hotels and therefore provide more options for people to choose from. This means that hosts can expect a variety of guests when listing on Airbnb and Couchsurfing. Hotels are often associated with the ‘serious business type,’ whereas short-term rental stays often attract younger crowds or travelers who are searching for adventure.

  • They provide flexibility

Due to the number of listings on each platform, Airbnb and CouchSurfing provide a broad range of properties for guests to choose from. Guests can book their stay in advance, as well as decide what type of property they’d like to stay in. For example, guests can choose to stay in a villa, an apartment, or a cabin. The flexibility is appealing to young guests and travelers seeking new experiences. As a host, this is an advantage because you aren’t limited to listing one certain type of space, you’re able to host your unique accommodation on either platform with ease.

  • They allow guests to immerse themselves in the culture of a particular place

Both platforms encourage guests to immerse themselves in the culture around them. CouchSurfing guests stay with the host and Airbnb provides Airbnb Experiences for guests to partake in.

  • You need to sign up to become a host

On both Airbnb and CouchSurfing, you must sign up to become a host. Airbnb requires you to sign up to become a host and verify your ID through their verification process. You will then be required to create a detailed listing with a price and set booking guidelines. Lastly, communicating with guests and responding to queries in a timeous manner is important.

On CouchSurfing, you sign up as a host by filling out a detailed profile about your lifestyle and personal values. As a new host, you can learn more about the process from other hosts as well as by attending local events. Your couch status should always be set to ‘yes’ or ‘maybe,’ as this allows you to communicate with potential guests in order to find a good match.

The differences between Airbnb and CouchSurfing

  • Service fees and booking fees

Airbnb charges host service fees. Airbnb charges based on two models: the split fee and host-only fee. The split fee is split between the host and the guest, with the host paying 3% and the guest paying under 14,2% of the subtotal booking fee. The host-only model results in the host paying 14% to 16%.

Couchsurfing doesn’t charge guests or hosts any service fees and booking fees. Using the platform is free, except they’ve introduced a $14,29 annual fee for hosts to cover costs due to COVID-19. 

  • CouchSurfing provides a more intimate experience

Prior to confirming a booking on CouchSurfing, hosts are expected to engage with guests to find the best possible fit. The platform also encourages hosts and guests to be transparent about their lifestyles, allowing the guest and host to get to know more about each other. 

On the other hand, Airbnb only allows the guest to confirm the booking and answer queries. There is no opportunity to know more about the host’s lifestyle and vice versa with Airbnb. Furthermore, CouchSurfing guests stay with the host, whereas Airbnb hosts often do not, allowing for more privacy.

  • Searching for a homestay is different 

Finding a homestay on Airbnb is quite simple. All you have to do is fill in the relevant details, book your desired accommodation, and await confirmation. On CouchSurfing, you have to contact multiple hosts in the city you plan on visiting and wait for a response and confirmation. This may feel more time-consuming than booking on Airbnb.

  • It’s easier to confirm a booking with Airbnb

Once your booking is confirmed on Airbnb, it’s guaranteed, whereas, on Couchsurfing, a confirmed booking isn’t necessarily final. Hosts may decide to cancel and because you aren’t paying for the stay, there’s less of an obligation to follow through with the booking. 

Who won between Airbnb vs Couchsurfing?

Although similar in many ways, Airbnb and CouchSurfing have differences which appeals to various types of people. With the information above, you can make an informed decision about which platform to host on or to use for your next stay. Ensure that you’re getting the best deal, use our coupons to obtain a discount on your first stay or for the first guest that you host. Before signing up you should also check our the other alternative in Vrbo, another top-rated vacation rental platform. 


Tips to Make Your Vacation Rental Stand out

The Flats Luxury Suites is the best Cache Valley lodging, thanks to a vibe that’s chic and sophisticated. Comfortable yet stylish, granting easy access to the best Logan has to offer. #awcreative #AdamWinger Adam Winger

Want to know some tips to make your vacation rental stand out from the rest? It seems that almost everyone who has spare rooms, an RV, cabin or vacation home are trying to rent them out. That makes the Airbnb rental market a crowded place. To get a step ahead of your competition, you need to know how to make your property stand out.

Just keep reading to find out how to make your spare room, etc., look attractive and better than your competitor’s.

Take the right photos

What is interesting to you about your property may not be interesting to your potential guests. Learn to focus on the whole property not just what you like. Then follow the following photo-taking suggestions to spice up those photos:

a. Make sure your property is not filled with clutter or messy

b. Take honest photos that are very bright not dark or shadowy

c. Use the right lens to have your property look spacious

d. Don’t edit the photos, Photoshop is not always your friend

e. Use more daylight photos and stay in focus

f. Don’t tilt your camera but keep your photos level and looking straight at your subject

Check out even more tips on taking photos for your vacation rental.

Stay focused

By this, we mean that you should only pick one or two rental niches to advertise in. If you spread yourself out too thin, you won’t be able to have your property stand out and you may lose potential guests. This also helps you write better descriptions of your property.

Use the proper marketing techniques

Since comfort is almost standard throughout the world, this is not going to be a great selling point. Find something unique that no one else offers and highlight that. Some people call this creating an experience and making your distinct brand but it is really called good advertising.

Learn to write well

Part of making your property stand out from the crowd is writing top-notch descriptions. This does not mean writing fairy tales but be honest and direct your comments towards the type of guest you want staying in your rental area.

Be descriptive, add the property’s and location’s amenities but keep it simple and easy to understand. Also, longevity is not a positive characteristic. be concise and spark interest.

Don’t be slow to respond to inquiries

This is going to be what makes or breaks your success. Even if you have the greatest location, the best photos, and very informative descriptions if you are slow to respond to potential guests’ questions and e-mails they will look elsewhere.

Good customer service is always king, even when only addressing potential guests’ initial questions

Some final words

Making your property stand out takes a little time to perfect. You may have to do several dry runs and see what photos or descriptions, etc., need to be edited to present your rental property in the best light.

The bad news is your competitors are doing the exact same thing. That means you have to be at the top of your game to get those potential guests making reservations with you, especially down the low season.


Using Instagram for promoting your Airbnb

Using Instagram for promoting your Airbnb

Go where the people are

In the old days when your grandparents were young, all they had to use to advertise their rental property was the newspaper. That could get costly when advertising in large cities where costs are high. Instagram for promoting your Airbnb is now the rave.

It was a slow way to get extra rooms, trailers, or even cabins rented to earn extra money. The good news for you today is that technology has provided you with numerous ways to reach out and display your rentals.

Using social media outlets like Instagram is just one way to advertise your extra properties and make a little extra money. But there are guidelines you need to follow to make the most out of your Instagram account. Just keep reading to find out what those guidelines are.

Do your homework

See what your competition is doing and what types of photos they are using. This homework helps you create better hashtags, take better photos, write better descriptions, pick the best sites to see in the area and so on.

Create an Instagram account

This is the next vital step in using this social media outlet in your advertising. Just make sure you are using their business section and not their personal one. Sign up is easy and all you need is an e-mail address or use your Facebook account to sign in on Instagram.

Provide photos, descriptions, and other details

No business account is worth looking at if it does not have great pictures of the property or properties or a good description accompanying those photos. Don’t forget to provide the location of those properties, a link to your Airbnb listing, and a short and sweet description. Make those photos good.

Create great hashtags

The younger generations understand these and know how to use them well. To catch their attention, if you want young people gracing your properties, is to write great hashtags. As an example, you can use your home’s name, location and nearby tourist attractions. A little research on this topic will provide more tips on how to do this right. Use between 5 – 8 hashtags per post.

Keep the account updated

This does not mean you have to post every day or every little detail about the property or the area. Just be consistent but don’t skip a week. Post once or twice a week to keep your visitors updated on what is happening.

Take a video of your property

This is what some top real Estate Agents are doing and have done for decades. A video is worth more than 1000 words and you can show your property at its finest. Then save the video to the Highlights section allowing new visitors to your Instagram page to see that short film.

Or place the video on the IGTV option or the new Reels option to gain more viewers and more potential guests.

Provide top quality information

One of the best ways to get people to consider renting your property is to create posts about the best sites in your area. Mention how close they are to your property or how far away for those who like privacy.

Talk about secret fishing spots, top museums, or the best entertainment in the area. The sky is the limit on what you can write about and don’t forget a photo or two to enhance those descriptions.

Link your Facebook or other social media accounts

This will help you broaden your audience and get a better word of mouth advertising. If you are not sure your other social media friends or followers will go to your new account, add in some incentives.

Some final words

This is just the tip of the iceberg on how you can use your Instagram for promoting your Airbnb rentals. It is not hard to do. All you need is a little time, a little creativity, and some rental properties to rent out.

Remember your Airbnb rentals are like a small business and you need to treat it like a business. Good advertising in the right locations will bring results.

Airbnb vs VRBO, differences that all hosts should know

Brown wooden center table

Home-sharing describes the process of sharing a property — be it a portion or the entire property — with people looking for short-term stays in exchange for money. In the last decade, home-sharing has become more prevalent across the globe, with businesses like Airbnb and Vrbo (Vacation Rental By Owner) gaining popularity.

The short-term stay rental sector presents a lot of advantages for renters, one being offering flexibility and a myriad of options for those looking for alternative accommodation. There’s a lot to be said about Airbnb and Vrbo from a customer’s perspective, but have you ever wondered what the key differences are between the two should you decide to host on either platform? Knowing the key differences between both platforms will help you make an informed decision about which platform to host your property on in order to receive a better return on investment.

A brief background of Airbnb and Vrbo

Airbnb was founded in the year 2008 and aims to connect hosts with customers looking for short-term rental stays. The company is present in over 200 countries and has over 7 million listings, making its reach quite extensive and impressive, particularly for hosts looking to reach a wider potential customer base.

On the other hand, Vrbo was founded in 1995 and has 2 million listings available in 190 countries. Although Vrbo has a lesser reach than Airbnb, its affiliation with the HomeAway brand means that once your property is listed on Vrbo, it has the potential of reaching more people as it will also be listed on other home-sharing sites under the Vrbo/Homeaway umbrella.

The similarities and differences between Airbnb and Vrbo

The obvious similarity between Airbnb and Vrbo is that they both serve as additional accommodation options for guests, outside of the traditional route of booking directly at a hotel. Other similarities include that both platforms charge service fees and both have cancellation policies and offer customers an opportunity to review the property they stayed at. While this is so, the way in which each of these factors are run by Airbnb and Vrbo differ greatly.

Service fees

Hosts on both Airbnb and Vrbo are expected to pay service fees. These fees are charged to ensure that the cost of products and services as well as customer support are covered.

Airbnb has two different fee structures, namely: split-fee and host-only fee. A split-fee allows both the host and guest to pay for service fees. If you choose this option, Airbnb will charge you about 3% for every booking confirmed. Your guests will be expected to cover the rest of the service fees, which will be under 12% of the booking subtotal, excluding the Airbnb fees and taxes. The host-only fee, as the name states, is paid by the host. This fee is 14% to 16% and can be compulsory for hotels and hosts in Australia. The host-fee option is expected to be rolled out to a majority of Airbnb hosts from 7 December at 15%.

Vrbo also offers two types of fee structures for hosts. The first one gives hosts the option of paying a $499 annual subscription and the second gives hosts the option of paying a 5% commission for every booking, along with a 3% credit card processing fee. The subscription model will be more cost-effective if your property generates a lot of bookings per year.

Airbnb Costs and Fees Stats VRBO and HomeAway Costs and Fees

Cancellation policies

Cancellation policies are put in place to protect the host by setting out penalties for guests for unexpected cancellations.

Airbnb offers strict, moderate, and flexible cancellation policies. The flexible cancellation policy allows guests to cancel at least 24-hours before check-in and still get their money back. Using this type of cancellation policy on your Airbnb listing can attract many guests, but you may lose out on revenue if guests cancel unexpectedly. Booking greater than 28 days (Long term bookings) have a slightly different setup in that guests can cancel as long as this is 28 days before the next check-in date.

Vrbo offers 5 different cancellation types: no refund, strict, firm, moderate and relaxed. The most lenient cancellation policy, which is relaxed, only allows guests to cancel at least 14-days before check-in for a full refund. This can reduce the number of guests defaulting on their booking.

Airbnb and Vrbo don’t list the same types of property

Airbnb allows a variety of properties on its platform. For example, it’s very common to find houses, apartments, hotels, lodges, and even villas listed. Added to that, one can rent out a single room in a property on Airbnb, which Vrbo doesn’t allow. This provides flexibility for hosts as most types of property are allowed to be listed and for extra income, one can rent out different rooms in say, a house, to various guests.

Vrbo only accepts certain types of properties, such as hotels or full-spaces, and doesn’t allow shared-spaces like bedrooms like Airbnb does. It is more suited for longer stays, whereas Airbnb is suited for short-term stays. As a host, choosing between Airbnb and Vrbo will depend on the type of property you own.

Types of guests

Airbnb guests tend to be younger and open to home-sharing. They also desire convenience, affordability, and adventure — which Airbnb caters for through its Airbnb Experiences offering.

Vrbo attracts guests who seek quality accommodation in travel destinations. People travelling with their family or in large groups who are willing to rent out full-spaces flock to Vrbo, so if this describes your space, consider listing on the platform.

Reviews on Airbnb and Vrbo

Guests on Airbnb have 14 days to leave a review after their stay. They can rate places based on cleanliness, communication, location, check-in, value for money, and whether the listing matched its description.

On Vrbo, both guests and hosts have one year to leave reviews. Each party can respond to their other’s review, but only within 14 days. Vrbo uses a 5-star rating system and its ability to allow hosts to respond helps other people get ‘both sides of the story’ instead of a myopic view of what it’s like to stay at an accommodation.

What platform is best for you?

Using both Airbnb and Vrbo can be beneficial as a host, particularly if you have a full-space accommodation that you’d like to be occupied. However, if you have an alternative space that you want to make extra income from and is close to urban areas, using Airbnb might be more suited for you. Ultimately, your choice in which platform to use will depend on how much service fees you can afford, what cancellation policy works best for you, the type of property you have, and the type of guests you’re looking to attract. If both match your criteria then use both to help maximise your bookings. If you’re using more than one provider then we suggest using a channel manager to help you manage listings, bookings and calendars.

How to Avoid Cancellations

Cancellations on your property are normal. But if they are frequent, they can affect the ranking of your listing on the various channels that you are listed on. It’s therefore wise that you avoid them as much as possible. Here are some useful tips on how you can do that.

Highlight Your House Rules

When a client doesn’t meet the rules of your house, they can resort to cancelling their booking. To avoid this, ensure that you add house rules in the property description. They allow you to restrict certain holidaymakers from booking your house. For instance, state clearly whether you allow parties, pets, or smoking. Guests should be able to know these rules before booking your property.

Add Custom Rates

Property owners charge differently during peak and off-peak periods. If a client books for a lower price, that you didn’t want to charge, they may cancel their reservation once you update your pricing for that time frame. It’s, therefore, wise to regularly review your rates to ensure that you’re charging the correct amount during that time frame. Add custom rates for special events, busy seasons, or holidays as these are the peak seasons.

If you don’t have the time to monitor events and frequently update your pricing, consider using a Dynamic Pricing Tool. These will check for important dates and events in your local area and adjust your pricing accordingly. All you need to do is connect these tools to your Airbnb or Vrbo listing and it will do the rest, helping you maximise your profits.

Sync Your Calendars

One reason for cancellation is that your property might be unavailable as it’s already booked on a different site or you’ll be using it during the time frame a client wants to book it. In such cases, calendar syncing may be helpful. It helps keep your normal calendar and your calendars on sites like Airbnb, or Google, updated. Syncing your calendar prevents double bookings, which ultimately reduces cancellations.

To help manage multiple platforms consider using a channel manager. A channel manager will assist you by listing your property on multiple channels, syncing your calendars and have a central place for your messages.

What If I Can’t Avoid the Cancellations?

Our company offers cancellation waivers for different circumstances. These waivers don’t affect your ranking in the marketplace. Plus, Airbnb & Vrbo review them case-by-case. Some scenarios that may qualify one for a cancellation waiver include:

  • Violation of house rules
  • Natural disasters
  • Unpaid balance from clients
  • Damages on your property

If you do cancel under one of these extenuating circumstances, you are likely to be asked supporting documentation.


Most cancellations can be avoided. Use the above tips to reduce cancellations and help simplify things for both you and your guests. If you do need to cancel call Vrbo or Airbnb and speak to the customer services team. Make your case and if you’re lucky you may not be penalised for the cancellation. To understand what it means to cancel be sure to read our vacation rental cancellation tips.

How to Avoid Parties in your Vacation Rental

With party season approaching, it’s important to ensure you get the right guests in your vacation rental for Halloween, Thanks Giving, Christmas and New Years Eve. In order to prevent parties, here are some of our top tips.

Review your reservations

Any requests that you get from guests be sure to follow up to ensure that person understand your house rules and ask simple questions, like asking them the reasons for their stay and who will be joining them in the property. Don’t be afraid to cancel instant bookings, if you feel that the guest doesn’t match your criteria or isn’t suited to your property.

Set strong expectations with potential bookers

Use house rules to set expectations. Ensure that you set clear rules before rental occur before a tenant moves in; he or she should assure you that they are going to abide by the rules and regulations made. Include any restrictions that should apply to your property in the house rules. If possible, someone who is not okay with the rules should not move in since you don’t want unexpected surprises during your stay. People should be given the rules during the time of inquiries so that they can make a decision of whether they are in or not.

Pay attention to how you describe your property

When describing your property, do not mention that the property is great for any kind of event. Anyone renting the property should understand the rules; guests should be in a position to understand your expectations around events and noise.

Check your deposit settings

Check your listing to ensure you have a damage deposit. Having a high damage deposit will help warn of potential party guests.

Double-check last-minute bookings

Last-minute bookings are the bookings you should really look out for during the party season, as most parties are organised last minute.

Question local bookings

Beware of any guests that are locals, be sure to ask questions before accepting their booking. Guests who are local have a high percentage of inviting unauthorised guests to your property and this is how impromptu parties start

Check their reviews

Most people won’t want to lose their ratings that they have built up, so guests with a high number of reviews often tend to follow the house rules. Beware for new accounts.

Say no to one-night bookings

This is probably the biggest tell. Increase the minimum stay period during these important dates to 3-5 days, people who just wanna party will not want to have the extra expenses.

Introduce a noise monitoring device

A noise monitoring device is great because you can simply monitor your properties without invading your guest’s privacy. Most homeowners and property managers use this device to ensure that their property is responsibly rented. This device will alert you in case of noise; it is amazing and helpful because you will take action when it’s not late.

Establish a good relationship with your neighbours

You should have a good relationship with your neighbours and, if possible, let them have your phone number or the vacation rental manager’s number so that in case any issue arises, they are able to reach you directly. instead of them calling the local council or police. Your neighbours will be your first line of defence against parties.

Report misconduct

If someone doesn’t follow the rules by either hosting a house party or doing something else that is not appropriate, just report. The case will be investigated by Vrbo & Airbnb to check if policies were broken. In case of anything, just contact the authorities, it is quite understandable that some people tend to break simple rules. Rules and regulations provided ensure that people live in a peaceful environment; everyone should follow the provided rules. Neighbours want peace as well as everyone else; breaking property rules is wrong, and if violated, you might face charges. Get in touch with customer services right away do not delay.

Authorized events should follow local law regulations

If there is any authorized event on your property, there is no reason as to why they should break the rules. If your area does not allow gatherings or night bookings, then make sure that tenants and guests understand the rules. Be warned if you do openly accept parties and events, Airbnb has been removing these types of properties from its platform over the last few months, especially during this pandemic.


Airbnb’s Enhanced Cleaning Protocol Explained.

Cleaning Protocols

There has never been anything that has affected the travel industry in the same way that Covid-19 has. There are now standards laid out by Airbnb that vacation rental owners have to meet to ensure that their property is safe for people to stay in if they want to get more booking in the future. Property owners are now able to accept visitors and many are keen to do so to get their business back on track, but it is only natural that guests may still feel uneasy. Guests now need to be reassured about the cleanliness of the rental they will be staying in. To help with this Airbnb have launched their Advanced Cleaning Initiative which makes it clear to owners the steps they need to take when cleaning to provide peace of mind for guests.

Why Has The Airbnb Advanced Cleaning Initiative Been Introduced?

The initiative has been launched to ensure that there is a certain standard of cleaning which is being adhered to across all properties that are registered with Airbnb. Owners are given a five-point checkpoint that they need to follow. There is also a quiz that they can take to check they have understood everything that they need to do. If the quiz is completed and passed, then owners will be given a cleaning highlight named ‘Committed to Clean’ which they are able to display on their listings.

Airbnb’s five-step to the cleaning plan is as follows:

  1. Prepare

If you want the cleaning to be effective and be approved by Airbnb, then you need to get the preparation right. You should make sure that you have everything you need in the right rooms before you start. This will ensure that you do not have to keep moving between rooms, or even leave the property to get the things that you need. Always wash your hands before you start cleaning and make sure you wear protective equipment such as gloves or aprons. The rooms should be well ventilated before and while you are cleaning.

  1. Clean

There is a difference between cleaning and sanitizing, and this is something you will need to understand this before you complete the Airbnb quiz. Cleaning is done to prepare for sanitization. As a minimum the cleaning process should make sure that all linens are washed, floors are mopped and vacuumed, counters are wiped, surfaces are dusted, the trash has been taken out and all the dishes have been washed. This will be part of the process that takes the longest, but it is also the most important stage. This is not really different from what you should have been doing before the Covid-19 crisis, but spending that little bit more time cleaning will ensure you always get 5-stars.

  1. Sanitize

Sanitizing helps to prevent the spread of germs. Surfaces that are used most frequently will benefit the most from sanitization, and this includes door handles, appliance, electronics, and light switches. Sanitizing will only be effective if the surfaces are clean to begin with. The instructions on the cleaning materials will tell you how long it needs to be left before being wiped down. For the best results, you should allow the sanitized surface to air dry.

  1. Check

The Airbnb Advanced Cleaning Initiative provides you with a checklist that you can work through once all the cleaning and sanitizing has been completed. There are different lists for different rooms, and you need to go through them all. An added advantage of doing this is that it can highlight any maintenance issues that you may have, these can then be put right before they become a problem for your guests. Most of all it will ensure that the property has been thoroughly cleaned and sanitised.

  1. Reset

Once the property has been cleaned and sanitized, and all the proper checks have been made, then there is one more thing to do to prevent cross-contamination. This step is vital because it stops germs from being spread from inside the house to outside. This means that all rubbish needs to be disposed of correctly and that any equipment you have used such as vacuums needs to be cleaned before they are used elsewhere. You should leave cleaning supplies in place so that they are able to be used by the next guest. If you follow all these steps, then your guests will be walking into a place where they feel clean and safe.

Airbnb Hosting Cleaning Commitment Quiz

There is more detailed information about all the steps discussed above on the Airbnb website. When you have read through all this information, you will be ready to take the Enhanced Cleaning Protocol Quiz. Once you have passed the quiz you will be given a cleaning icon that will appear on your listing page. You will also get a sticker confirming you are ‘committed to clean’ which can be displayed at the property.

If you have read through all the guides you have been provided, then you should have no problem in passing the quiz. It is an open book test and so you can have reading material to refer to if there are any questions you are not sure of. If you do get a question wrong, you are given an explanation of where you went wrong. You are also able to answer the question again to try and get it right this time.

Airbnb Enhanced Cleaning Highlight On Listing

The cleaning highlight will be ready to place on your listing as soon as you have passed the quiz. All you need to do is click on the button to say that you accept.

Once you press the button, then you will be given a recap of the main elements of the initiative. You will also be told that:

– The cleaning protocols need to be followed across all of your rental properties.

– Airbnb may remove your listing altogether if the cleaning protocols are not followed.

– You should also follow the cleaning procedures that are put in place by local and national authorities.

What if I cannot commit to the Enhanced cleaning Protocol?

Airbnb then recommends you enable the booking buffer service, this will leave a buffer of between 24 and 72 hours between guests to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.

I use a professional cleaner; can I still commit to the Cleaning Initiative?

Many Airbnb hosts don’t do their own cleaning, you should train your cleaners to the standards and you will need to take responsibility for the professional cleaning company following the cleaning protocol. Our cleaning checklist will help you ensure that the cleaners follow your guidelines

This additional cleaning will cost me more!

Indeed, if you are using professional service it’s likely to cost you more money, you can help recoup some of this additional cost by adding a cleaning fee to your listing. How much you charge is up to you, however, be aware that additional cleaning fees, can result in a reduction in booking requests. If you do charge a fee, ensure your property has been thoroughly cleaned throughout, otherwise expect a 2-star review.

Give Peace Of Mind To Your Guests

Guests may be feeling nervous about staying in your property because of these uncertain times. The best thing you can do is be honest about the steps you have taken to ensure their safety. You may want to let them know about the actions you have taken as a matter of course, even if they do not specifically ask.

If they see the highlight on your listing, and the ‘committed to clean’ sign at your property, then this can provide reassurance. If your guests do have any concerns, then you will be able to talk them through the protocols that this initiative has put in place.


It has never been important for you to keep your rental property clean and sanitized. The five-step process can help you ensure the property is as clean as possible for your guests, and this in turn will give them confidence that they are safe, which in turn will lead to more booking in this uncertain time.

Our own personal Airbnb tips for cleaning is to perform a deep clean of the property at least every 3-months, this will ensure that your property never falls shorty of obtaining 5-stars

Our final recommendation is to read all safety labels before using any new chemicals and avoid touching your face when cleaning.


Airbnb Remove Profile Pictures

You may have noticed that you can no longer see the pictures of your potential guests. Airbnb has done this in a measure to attempt to reduce discrimination of potential guests. Now you’ll only see the first let of the customers first name.

Will I get to see the guest profile picture?

The profile picture is now only shown when a booking has been confirmed. Airbnb attempt to ask all guests for them to upload a picture when they signup for the first time, but this still isn’t mandatory.

The guest doesn’t have a profile picture

After the guest has booked the might have a profile picture available. You can force guests to have a profile picture before booking with you by altering you’re booking setting.

Enforcing profile pictures

To insist on guests having a profile picture you can do this your booking settings
1. Click on Booking Settings
2. Next, to the Guests Requirements click edit
3. Check the required profile picture button
4. Click save
Even if you have this option checked you will not be able to see the profile picture until they have confirmed their booking.

After booking my guests do not have a profile picture

You can kindly remind your guests to please complete their profile picture and to upload a form a government ID.  You can mention to your guests that they are not staying in a hotel.
“Thank you for booking with us and we can’t wait to host you. To help just verify you when you arrive, please can you upload a profile picture for us. If there is any other information that you need to know. Then please do let us know.”

I feel uncomfortable with the guest after they have uploaded their photo

After you’ve seen the guests photo you may feel uncomfortable with this. You can’t cancel just because you don’t like their face/colour/race or posture. However, if they have uploaded a picture of the Mountain, you should ask them to change it.
If they don’t comply you can ask Airbnb to cancel the reservation penalty free. (Always call Airbnb before cancelling a booking to make sure you are within your rights to cancel)

Airbnb Damage Detection: The Rule of Six

Finding damage inside your vacation rental after a guest has left can be frustrating and somewhat annoying. If you outsource your inspections to an Airbnb cleaner or third-party the damage is not always picked up immediately. This, in theory, could result in you attempting to claim damages from the wrong guests.

If you are uncertain as to who created the damage then you will be unable to invoice anyone accordingly as you won’t be able to say, with 100% certainty, that it was them.

Here are our top Airbnb tips for locating issues each and every time so you can make an Airbnb damage claim where necessary.

1. Everything has a home

Find an appropriate location for all items in your property. Ensure the cleaners place items back in the same place each and every time. This includes the smallest to the largest items. This goes as far as how the curtains should be placed.

  1. Layout your home in the perfect condition that you would like it returned to.
  2. Take pictures of everything, from the cushions to the plates
  3. Print these picture out and laminate them where possible
  4. Leave these laminate images in a convenient place so that your cleaners can locate them with ease

If these basic rules are adhered to by you / your cleaners then each time you visit the apartment you will be able to notice anything out-of-place and so will the cleaners.

2. Rule of Six

Most of our apartments can host four people so we operate with the rule of six.

You will need to adjust this based on the number of people who you can host in the property.  But a good rule of thumb is to have 2 more of items than the number of guests.

How does the rule of six help us detect damage?

We try to place everything in the apartment in groups of six. This may seem like a large overhead but it helps detect damage / missing items in seconds. For example, we place six coat hangers in each wardrobe, six plates, six cups, six, glasses, six coasters etc…

With this method, each time we have a cleaner in the apartment we just ask them to check for six items.

You can see at a glance, one champagne flute is missing

3. Same Cleaners

If you are using a cleaning agency to help you clean the property we recommend asking the agency to always send the same cleaner each time where possible. Having one good cleaner who continually sees your property twice a week, will result in them having a good understanding of where you like items placed inside the property.


Spend a little time getting your Airbnb perfect, and then keep it that way. Over time you’ll obtain new furniture and items so make sure you keep your photos up-to-date. Having photos of the items in their original state can help you with claiming damages from the guests Airbnb damage deposit.
You can post the original images to Airbnb resolutions centre and this will serve as potential evidence if your damage claim goes into arbitration. Be sure to post any requests for compensation for damages to the guests within 14-days of their departure.
As an Airbnb management company, we often don’t charge for broken cups or glass. We just have these replaced as accidents will happen to the best of us, and it’s not worth the hassle to claim for anything under £10.
Good luck and happy Airbnbing

Safety In Your Airbnb

Safety and security are paramount in your Airbnb. Here are our top tips and products to help keep your guests safe.  Airbnb has a commitment to safety, security, and privacy. Make assessments of your Airbnb and install the appropriate safety equipment in the immediate area. More than 364,300 residential fires were reported in 2016 and over 50% of these fires were due to cooking and 10% caused by heating.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

These are a must-have in all homes and especially in your Airbnb. Have your cleaners check them regularly as you may find that guests remove the battery if it goes off unexpectedly.  If you don’t have detectors in your property then you need to make it your priority to install them.

PRO TIP: For an active listing, Airbnb is giving detectors away for FREE.

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Fire Blankets

This is more of a must-have if you have gas hobs inside the property.  It’s all too easy for your guests to accidentally start a fire when they are using a cooker that they’re not used to. Fire blankets are great from stopping frying pan fires.

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Fire Extinguisher

These cheap lifesavers should be placed in plain sight and in an obvious and accessible location. The three main types of fire extinguisher are water, foam and carbon dioxide. Water and foam extinguishers are great for the bedroom and living room, whereas for electrical fires you should have carbon dioxide extinguisher.

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Safety Deposit Box

If you want to go the extra mile you can purchase a safe similar to the ones used in hotels. Your guests will love you for it as they will know their valuables are safe and sound.

Pro tip: Purchase hotel style safes that allow the user to alter the code anytime they like.

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Meet the Government Regulations

We recommend checking your local government safety codes then adhere to these as if you were a general rental property.


Once you have updated your safety and security include them in your listing amenities. This will help encourage guests to book and may even improve your Airbnb search rankings.