- Host Tips
We want all of our Hosts and Property Managers to succeed but it takes teamwork to get bookings. Although FLARBO does its best to get you bookings it's still the host's responsibility to make the property more attractive and a front runner to beat out competition.
Here are some great tips to follow to maximize booking opportunities!
General Info & Amenities
Start with the basics, ensure your listing is categorized properly. All of the type settings are super important to ensure you are matched up with your ideal traveler.
- Listing Types: Is your property a beach house, condo, townhouse, etc...
- View Types: Is your property close to theme parks, beachfront, etc...
- Suitability: Very important to attract the ideal guest (boat-friendly, wheelchair accessible, etc...)
- Amenities: Ideal to complete to ensure you showcase the home (hot tub, pool, etc.)
- Relevant Attractions Nearby: Don't ignore the reason why travelers are visiting your area. Showcase how close your home is to these attractions
Make sure your title is unique and if you have a brand include it in the title! Think about using the name of the property to attract past guests. Titles that work also include the main feature keywords to attract guests. Change the title if you want to advertise the dates of a last minute opening.
Use story telling to really describe to guests of how they will use the property. Guests are less interested in "real estate" style descriptions of square footage. Focus on what your guests love about your home. Think about covering the following areas:
- unique features
- location advantage
- extra benefits over competitors
- include bedroom & bathroom configuration
Include both text paragraphs and bullet points to help the traveler scan your description quickly.
Professional Photos Work!
We highly recommend investing in professional photos and video. This is probably the single most important marketing feature that really works to convert bookings. We recommend hosts:
- stage the home so guests can see how they will use the property (pool toys, games, etc...)
- clean and declutter the home
- update old bedding, guests want to stay in clean homes
- photo properties during the day for best lighting
- include photos of all rooms in the house
- include photos of the backyard amenities (ie: waterfront docks, tiki huts, etc...)
- aerial photos are great to show how close the property is to a nearby attraction or beach
- set the thumbnail photo to the one that showcases the best feature of your home which could be your pool, location, cabana, etc...
Respond to Inquiries Right Away!
This is huge! We are often called by travelers asking why hosts have not responded to them. Setting up SMS text message notifications in your account will ensure you can answer quickly and convert that booking.
SMS Text Messages
At FLARBO you can set up text message alerts for inquiries. You can find this field is found in the 'Settings' tab' on the Host Dashboard. Be sure to enter the phone number as follows below. Text message charges may apply according to your cell provider.
Example: Enter the digit 1 in front of the area code and phone number. Do not use any spaces or special characters in between the numbers. Do a text inquiry to make sure you have entered the number correctly. The following phone number (234) 567-8910 would be entered as follows:
- Test the SMS text messaging number you save on file by sending yourself a test inquiry
- Text messages may take several minutes to transmit
- Hosts cannot contact a traveler via SMS message
Text messages are designed to notify hosts of an inquiry to improve booking conversions. Respond quickly!
Inquiry Responses Need Details and a Call to Action
Don't respond to travelers with one sentence answers. This is off-putting and gives travelers the impression you are a host that doesn't care.
Do prepare a template that you can access within your email provider or property management software that showcases what a fantastic product you have to offer (your home) and what kind of perks a traveler can get from booking with you.
Think about including the following in your inquiry responses:
- a full detailed outline of the quote
- a list of "extras" that you offer and your competition doesn't (e: grocery concierge, etc..)
- cancellation/refund policy
- payment schedule (ie: 25% down, remaining balance due date, etc...)
- travel insurance information
- brand/business contact details
- any affiliations you belong to (ie: FVRMA)
- links to your website/guide books
- next steps for traveler to book
Make it easy for travelers to book with you and feel confident that they can trust you.
Build and showcase your guest review section of your listing. This area introduces travelers to past guest real experiences.
If you have received no reviews or few reviews this may be an objection to a traveler staying with you. Build on your reviews by asking past guests to submit reviews for your home.
Use Paid Ads
Paid Ads are available for purchase as an additional advertising option per listing. Listings with Paid Ads get more inquiries and bookings. It is a great option for owners looking to boost their visibility.
There are 3 types of paid ads available depending on what your needs are:
- Last Minute Deal
The following information describes each Paid Ad and their benefits:
Featured Ad - 30 Days - Paid Featured Ads appear on location Search Pages in the top search ranking. This is a great way to gain maximum exposure to all travelers searching in a given area of Florida.
Highlighted Ad - 30 Days - Paid Highlighted Ads appear on the Home Page in the Top Fold under the Highlighted Listings Section in a randomized slideshow format. This is a great way to capture the attention of the traveler on the most visited page of the website.
Last Minute Deals - 14 Days - Last Minute Deal Ads appear on the popular Last Minute Deals Pages. This is a great way to get fantastic exposure for any last minute deals, discounts or special offers you need to gain occupancy.
To purchase ads, in your Host Dashboard;
- Navigate to the property that you are interested in promoting found under the "Listings" tab
- Click the blue "Boost Listing!" button
- Purchase the Paid Ad that you are interested in
- Follow the instructions for entering payment
- The paid ad will automatically be applied to your listing
Note for Last Minute Deal Ads only - enter the special offer description in the text field provided to advertise the details of the offer
Market Your FLARBO Listing on Social and Local Tourism Platforms
If you don't have your own website you can use your Florida Rental By Owners property listing url to market your vacation rental on social media as well as local county tourism websites for free!
Most Florida county tourism boards have their own websites. To advertise on these websites you will need to show that you have a tax ID where you are submitting your resort taxes to. The uploading of your vacation rental or business is similar to uploading on a listing site. Use your URL link associated with your FLARBO listing as a landing page so that travelers can contact you.
Social media groups are a great way to advertise your Florida vacation rental for free. Most Facebook groups for example are free to join and have active followers of travelers that want to visit an area. Use your URL link which is found in the upper left screen of your property listing so that travelers contact you through a trusted site.
Be A Great Host
Ensure that in all of your communication and dealings with guests even during a crisis are professional and fair. Offering help upfront before a guests books is a great way to avoid any surprises for a guest. Be clear and precise about your cancellation, hurricane, red-tide, and refund policies. Help travelers find travel insurance to protect their own vacation investment which will avoid traveler/hosts stress in crises.
Ensure you have a rental contract that guests must read and sign to help travelers understand your house rules.
Be available during their stay if they have any issues.
Join Professional Associations
FLARBO offers each of our hosts the opportunity to join the Florida Vacation Rental Managers Association for free! You don't have to be a property manager to join!
Keep up to date with your Florida Business Professional license requirements. FVRMA is active and supports all of its members with up to date information.
Click here to join FVRMA for free!