8 Host Optimization Hacks To Crush-It In 2020!

host optimization

By Rowan Clifford

Author of Airbn’b’Smart and Smartbnb user

Don’t make 2020 a repeat of the year just gone. Let’s make it great!

I’m going to do my bit right now by giving you 8 host optimization hacks you can start using right away (more on that in a minute) to start driving more bookings on Airbnb.

But first, what exactly should your hosting goals be, what are the metrics that really matter?

Let’s find out…

Hosting in 2020: The Metrics That Matter

A new year, a new decade. Now, how about some hosting goals for 2020 and beyond!

Obviously, we all want to earn more money, right? That much we know.

But, the goal of simply wanting more money isn’t going to miraculously manifest it into your bank account (unless you believe in the Secret that is). What we’ve got to do is get specific, and create an action plan — or road map if you will — to get you there.

Making more money on Airbnb is a mix of three things:

  1. Increasing the occupancy rate.
  2. Increasing revenue per night.
  3. Reducing operating costs.

It’s not one without the other, instead, it’s a balance of all three.

So, 2020’s goal is to improve your metrics on all three fronts, and below, I’m going to show you how.

8 Host Optimization Hacks To Crush-It In 2020!

1. Guest check-in: personal check-in is so 2010!

Are you still checking your guests in manually? Still, engaging in messaging ping-pong trying to coordinate check-in times?

If so, STOP!!

There’s a much better way to do it that is more efficient, costs virtually nothing to set up, will save you countless hours (and stress for that matter), and will be a better experience for your guests.

Want to know what it is?

What you need is a self-check-in solution for your guests. A way for your guests to check-in without you needing to be present.

For that, you need a Smart Lock

Ok, well you don’t really even need a Smart Lock, even a secure lock-box for your keys is enough (they cost about $20 – $40).

By simply installing a self-check-in service like this, you essentially free yourself from all check-in responsibilities as a host. No more messaging ping-pong, no more waiting around for guests to arrive.

Just a seamless, hassle-free check-in flow for your guests that’s win-win all around.

2. New year, new listing (ish)

When was the last time you gave your listing a little spruce?

Be honest.

I bet you probably haven’t changed your listing since the very first day you listed it on Airbnb.

If so, it’s time for a little New Year’s update.

Here’s what I want you to do.

Listing Title

There are whole books written about how to write effective headline copy — and how important a headline is. However, that’s beyond the scope of this article, but what I do want you to do is go and have a look at your title and ask yourself these two questions:

  • Does it grab your attention
  • Is it short and snappy

If your answer to the above questions is a little “kinda yeah, but nuh” then there’s work to do.

Now, you only have 50 characters to work with, so you’ll need to get creative. Here’s some of my personal tips to help your listing title stand out:

  • Use Capital Letters At The Start Of Each Word.
  • Use special characters wherever possible: & | : ; + !
  • Use numbers instead of words to save on character count eg. 200m instead of two hundred meters.
  • Use power words for maximum impact eg. Luxurious, Affordable, Remarkable, Stunning etc.

Listing Descriptions

Again, if the description you have on your listing hasn’t changed since day one, then chances are that it’s poorly written and boring as hell!

If your listing description reads like a formal scientific paper, with a wall of sleep-inducing text then it’s time to up your game.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • First and foremost, change the tone of voice of your description from formal, to conversational. Remember, you’re trying to build a relationship with your guests, so keep things light and upbeat.
  • That “wall of text” I was talking about earlier has got to go. Instead, try breaking up your text with smaller paragraphs — no more than two sentences in each. Also, try using bullets and lists to display information in a more visually enticing way.
  • Break up your description with sub-headings. That’ll help make your text more skimmable.

Add image captions

I see a lot of people forget to add captions to their images. It’s quick and easy to do, adds depth, and clarity to your images, and it might even give you a little boost in Airbnb’s search results pages too.

It’s super easy to do and only takes a minute to do, so there’re really no excuses.

3. Amenities Overhaul

Every now and again (more often than you might think), Airbnb adds new amenities and service checkboxes to add further detail to your listing.

So, if you only entered your amenities on day one of creating your listing, chances are, there’s a tonne of new options for you to add.

It’s super simple — and only takes a minute to do — so go and do that now.

Adding more amenities will only increase your chances of appealing to more people, and getting booked more often.

4. Image Upgrade

You don’t have to be a genius to realize that images are kind of a big deal on Airbnb.

In fact, they’re not just a big deal…

They’re HUGE!

And, now that we’re in a new decade, it’s probably about time to reinvest back into your business and get some professional photos taken. It’s a costly up-front expense I know, but I think you’ll find it’s really worth it in the long run.

The goose ain’t going to lay golden eggs forever unless it’s nurtured, so maybe now is the time to take action and invest.

5. Pricing Evaluation And Overhaul

If you’ve been in the hosting game a while, by now, you’ve probably got a bit of historical data to work with.

I’m talking about things like occupancy rate, the average price per night, yearly revenue, etc.

Digging into these metrics can give you clues about areas that can be improved upon to increase overall profits.

The metric with the biggest impact on your overall operating profits (by far) is the prices you charge per night.

Optimizing these prices can be the quickest, most effective way of increasing your bottom line instantly.

There are Airbnb pricing tools that can help you with this, or it can be done manually. Either way, it’s a worthy investment of your time.

Oh, and whilst I’m at it, whatever you do (unless you’re an absolute newbie host) don’t turn on Airbnb’s Smart Pricing, you’ll thank me for it later.

6. Free Up Random Nights

Do you ever get those random nights in between bookings that can never get booked because of your minimum nightly stay preferences?

If so, then here’s what you need to do about it.

Login to your Airbnb Hosting dashboard.

Click on the “Calendar” link in the top menu. Select the random free night in between two bookings, and click “Create a new rule-set.”

create new rule set airbnb

A pop-up box will appear with a number of different options. Scroll down to “Availability,” and click on “Trip Length” to change the minimum nightly stay for that particular date range.

free up random nights airbnb

And that’s it. Now that random, previously un-bookable date is now free to be booked out once again.

Being pro-active with this throughout the year will increase your revenue at years end.

7. Just get a robot to do it!

It’s hard to put a price on your time, I know, but if you had to pay yourself a wage to answer all guest messages, write reviews, coordinate cleaners, and send team reminders, etc. It’s probably more than you think.

That’s why I recommend automating as much of that workload as possible.

In fact, with a tool like Smartbnb it’s possible to automate pretty much all of the above, so much so that instead of spending hours each week carrying out these repetitive tasks, that workload will be reduced to mere minutes.

A good robot, the one with AI

The one that recognizes your guests' questions and responds on your behalf.
The one that syncs your listings across platforms.
The one you can grab with a 14-day free trial.

Make 2020 the year you up your automation game on Airbnb, you’ll be thankful you did.

8. Cleaning Team Negotiations

If you’re paying your cleaning team without the use of a bonus system, 2020 is the time to get started.

With a bonus system in place, it ensures that interests are aligned, and all parties have a vested interest in the outcome.

Here’s an incentive structure I recommend.

  • A base rate for each changeover.
  • A bonus paid for each 5-star cleanliness review.
  • All reviews, good and bad, shared with your clean team.

A simple structure like this will keep your cleaners’ incentives aligned with yours. 5-stars all around!


2020 is going to be a great year for you, I can feel it already.

And, if you follow through with the host hacks in this post, you’ll be well on your way to crushing your 2019 metrics and bringing in the new decade with a bang.

Peace out.


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