Shampoo and Booze Episode 38: How We Learn To Be Good Airbnb Hosts By Being Guests

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We're going to Ireland next month where we will be staying for about three weeks. Our plan is to rent a car and stay with Airbnb hosts around the country. We've already rented our first stay in Dublin.

We rented places on Airbnb long before we were hosts. It's a great experience to go through the process of choosing a place, seeing the reality of the listing and the host's hospitality. Both good and bad experiences have taught us how to run our own rental.

If you are an Airbnb host in Ireland. Email us! We'd love to check out your place and learn about your area.

We have a almost full booked August with 27 of 31 nights booked. And our Fall is starting to get filled up too.  This is the link we mentioned about the study that shows that 30% of Airbnb listings in London are run by "professional landlords". This is the same argument in urban areas around the world. Hope you guys are having a good month!

Thinking of becoming an Airbnb host or guest? Use our referral code and get $20 off your next stay or $80 credit if you become a host!

P.S. Check out some of our driveway progress--


Shampoo and Booze Episode 37: Buying a Vacation Home for Personal Use AND Extra Income

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Rhobin and Billy live/work in Manhattan and wanted to buy a vacation spot in the Hudson Valley since it's an easy trip upstate for fun weekends. But why not also rent the house out on Airbnb when they can't enjoy the place themselves? Sounds easy, right?

In this conversation, Rhobin walks us through their process of buying a house that they loved, but that would also work well as a rental for guests. How do you design a space for your own life, but practical enough to fit any guests needs? Luckily Rhobin is a professional interior designer, so he was able to turn a tired suburban home into a fun, stylish get away.

Since they had never rented on Airbnb before, Rhobin also shares their learning curve remodeling, finding local help, and figuring out how they would rent when they live two hours away. Making local relationships was really key. They just got their first reservation this week! Hopefully we can revisit with Rhobin in six months and see how it all turned out.

You can checkout their photos for their rental called Bluestone Escape on Airbnb and Instagram. Also, we posted a few below (so swanky!).

Thinking of becoming an Airbnb host or guest? Use our referral code and get $20 off your next stay or $80 credit if you become a host!







Shampoo and Booze Episode 36: We Hired A Cleaner!

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After listening to everyone's advice, we finally found a reliable cleaner. We interviewed three people with the third one being the one we went with. After cleaning the house together one time, she's now cleaned the house three times herself in the past week. She charges $75 a cleaning. It takes her about two hours to clean with an assistant. We couldn't be more pleased. It's given us more time to work on our other business.

Why do we like her?
  • She gave us a price when we asked. Strangely, the other two people we interviewed kept asking how much we would pay. After we gave each a tour of the house, we just said to call us and let us know how much they wanted. Never heard back either of them. 
  • Cleaning is her business and she acts like a professional. 
  • She listens and is willing to learn. We assume she already knew how to clean, but it's important to us that she learns how we like the house to look. Arrangement is important to us. 
  • She communicates by text message. This is probably the biggest plus for us. Instead of having to talk on the phone and leave each other voicemails, we just use SMS. It's quick and easy. We're hoping to move her over to What's App since it's free (no SMS fees).
We noticed that Airbnb rolled out "Smart Pricing". I guess this is how hotels price their rooms by dynamically changes the prices day to day based on certain criteria. Has anyone used it? Do you like it?

We want to thank a listener, April, for pointing us to "Transaction History" . I had seen this link before on our Airbnb dashboard, but didn't know we could dig so deep into our past rental history, costs, and profits. Certainly useful when doing taxes.

Michael sent us this funny listing for a rental that promotes the fact it's right above a Pokestop. I guess this could be a big draw to someone playing Pokemon Go? Anything to get ahead!

July has been our best month ever with 27 nights booked and a gross profit of $5,747. It's not like this every month for us, but it's great to see our busy months be especially busy. August is almost equally as booked.

Hope you guys are doing well!

Thinking of becoming an Airbnb host or guest? Use our referral code and get $20 off your next stay or $80 credit if you become a host!

Shampoo and Booze Episode 35: How To Get Good Reviews on Airbnb

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We all know that getting good reviews is important. And to get good reviews, you ultimately must provide a quality experience. Easy, right? Let's dig in a little deeper.

Good reviews are broken up into two parts. The star rating and the actual text a guest writes.
The star ranking is obviously important for Airbnb search ranking. Low stars will get you pushed down. Many guests will be suspect if your place is anything other than five stars. Airbnb judges whether you're a "Super Host" based on your stars.

But even if a listing is all five stars, often guests write valuable notes about the properties. We always read the notes. They'll tell future guests if expectations they had weren't met. Maybe the listing said it was secluded, but it turned out to be a guest house with the owner in full view the entire time. Maybe a guest says it's impossible to cook a full meal because the kitchen had very few utensils. Maybe the water has bad pressure and didn't get hot enough. Maybe the apartment is too far away from important landmarks when the listing said it was convenient. Or, most important to us, the wifi was spotty and unreliable. Once these reviews are written, they start branding your listing.

How do we make sure we get good reviews?
  • We set proper expectations. We'd rather alert a future guest to a possible issue so they aren't disappointed. The road to our house is a dusty gravel road. It's never been a problem because guests always expect it. We, ourselves, have rented bare bones apartments at great prices; and it was fine because the owner made sure we knew we weren't going to stay in luxury. Expectations were set properly.
  • It's always strange to us when owners cease communication as soon as we check out. When our guests leave and we inspect our rental, we always send the guest a message the same day. We thank them for coming and for leaving the place clean. Even if the house is a bit messy, we thank them. Why get angry unless we plan to take their deposit? This private message also gives them the opportunity to tell us if there was a problem. We want to work out issues privately instead of reading about it publicly in their review and then having to respond publicly.
  • And most importantly, we always telegraph that we'll leave them a good review. So when the guest gets that note from Airbnb that says "Jay and Ryanne left you a review; please write them a review within 14 days to read it", then the guest knows we're friends.
We're by no means experts, but this method has served us well over the past eighteen months. All 68 of our reviews have been five stars. We deliver what we promise and treat guests with respect. Hospitality is definitely a different beast than just being a landlord.

Hope you guys are having a good summer with rentals. 

Thinking of becoming an Airbnb host or guest? Use our referral code and get $20 off your next stay or $80 credit if you become a host!

Shampoo and Booze Episode 34: How Hotels are Changing to Compete with Airbnb

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As more and more of us are renting out rooms, cabins and homes on Airbnb and other services, smart hotels are adapting. In our town, the big fancy hotel has expanded to add a bunch of "cottages" to give their guests a more personal experience. They still have the regular hotel experience, but now you can rent a little place by the pool like you're at a resort. Younger travelers especially want this kind of experience that includes a little kitchen and living room. I know we do.

We're having a great July. Lots of reservations and good experiences with guests. Summer is our high time so we're trying to book as many of our free days as possible. We're still on the hunt for a reliable cleaner, but in the meantime cleaning is keeping us busy.

The driveway to our second rental is happening. Our excavator has cleared off the entire lot. We now have plenty of firewood for next year after he cut down several trees. Now to start carving out the actual driveway.


Hope you guys are having a good month of rentals.

Thinking of becoming an Airbnb host or guest? Use our referral code and get $20 off your next stay or $80 credit if you become a host!

Shampoo and Booze Episode 33: Interview w/ Tricia, Fallbrook CA (and we talk Weddings)

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In the past we have been hesitant to rent little trailers on people's land on Airbnb. But take a look at Tricia's super cute and comfy retro style camper named Trixie. Situated on 4 acres in southern California outside of San Diego, complete with working farm and animals you can hang out with. Tricia and her husband both have full time jobs- she's a professional wedding photographer, and was looking for some supplemental income and eventual more passive retirement career. So far so good, she's been booked with visitors from all over. We also delve into a conversation about potentially making our farmhouse into a small wedding venue, with the help of Tricia's wedding experience of course. Thanks for talking to us, Tricia!

Thinking of becoming an Airbnb host or guest? Use our referral code and get $20 off your next stay or $80 credit if you become a host!






Shampoo and Booze Episode 32: Slow and Steady Wins The Race

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Right? Not that renovations are a race, but you have to be patient to do this kind of work.

Thinking of becoming an Airbnb host or guest? Use our referral code and get $20 off your next stay or $80 credit if you become a host!

Shampoo and Booze Episode 31: The Driveway Journey Begins

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We've been filling in our summer nights with more bookings, which we're thrilled about. Our quest to find cleaning help has begun with minimal results so far, but we're still searching. Our excavator neighbor showed up to the river house to drop off equipment and assess the job, hopefully starting this week. All good things!

Thinking of becoming an Airbnb host or guest? Use our referral code and get $20 off your next stay or $80 credit if you become a host!

Shampoo and Booze Episode 30: What If My Property Gets Trashed??!!!

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Our friend, Caty, has a beautiful rental in Seattle. Her design and care make it look like the home is  straight out of a magazine. As a smart single mom, she timed the property market right, worked extremely hard and bought this rental house to make extra income.

We know Caty from our other life as Scavengers (listen to our other interview with her here) where we all find cool items in the wild and sell them online for great profit. Check out her store!

So it was a huge surprise when she messaged us several months ago about experiencing the nightmare we all hope will never happen. Some teenagers sneakily rented her house, threw a huge party and trashed the place. A couple hundred drinking kids ruined the carpets and furniture, angered the neighbors and set in motion weeks of expensive cleaning and renovation.

Caty told us the entire story of how these kids were able to get around the rules and rent her house. We hear about her dealings with the police, the parents, the property management company. The good news is that she was quick enough to minimize the damage, figure out who was responsible for paying the bills and got her house back on the market as quick as possible.

Running any kind of business that deals with the public has risks. There's no guarantee life will be problem free. All we can do is have a plan in place for when a problem arises. Caty shares with us what she will do differently from now on and gave some advice for what to look out for.

See her beautiful house (all cleaned up) below, wow!











Thinking of becoming an Airbnb host or guest? Use our referral code and get $20 off your next stay or $80 credit if you become a host!