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Stand out From the Short-Term Rental Competition

The short-term rental market is booming — there are more than 3 million people listed on Airbnb alone, earning an average of nearly $1,000 a month. That means competition is fierce. Genevieve Gorder, legendary designer and host of TV shows like “Trading Spaces”, “HGTV Design Star”, and “Stay Here”, has some advice for short-term rental operators who want to excel.

Beyond the first thought

“There are so many ways to make the property more valuable, more comfortable, and more thoughtful,” says Gorder. “It really is going beyond the first thought of hosting. That’s when you become a superhost — and that’s when your property starts to make real money. It’s just thoughtfulness and anticipating what people need before they know they know they need it.”

Design matters

Gorder stresses that “clean” should be the design byword. Clean means that “less is a little bit more,” she explains. “Lighter colors read better as clean. People don’t know your property, they don’t know you — but they are going to get to know your home. So those clean colors are really important.”

Carry that clean aesthetic throughout. “Don’t have too much clutter in photos, or personal items,” she says. “This is not your house anymore. This is your business.”

Beyond photos

Gorder warns that you can’t rely totally on photos. “We think marketing and social media are purely imagery-based — that couldn’t be further from the truth. Without a good one-liner, without a great paragraph, people aren’t connecting as hard. But we can’t do that with pictures alone, we can’t do it through words alone — videos are the most authentic way of getting into the feeling of what your space has to offer.”

Gorder is bursting with ideas for these videos. “Show the bike ride around your property. Show the artists and makers in town. Show a video of walking through the place, show waking up in the morning — these are the little moments of home that we all connect to culturally. The reason we want those from you is because we’re not going to a hotel, we want the warmth of home when we’re going to short-term rentals.”

Gorder also advises that you remain guest-focused after they’ve left your property. “Becoming a superhost is all about reviews,” Gorder says. “Really pay attention to reviews. Make sure that your customers know that reviews matter to you.”

Brass tacks

Many people diving into the short-term rental market are surprised at how much work it is. “No matter where my property was, even if it was right down the street from me, I would always hire a property management company to care for and maintain the property,” Gorder says. “Just because you can set up the business doesn’t mean that you want to go change the sheets every day.”

Technology can make management of their properties easier. “A smart home is less work for everyone,” Gorder notes. “Digital locks, a digital thermostat — everything that you or they can control from the palm of the hand.”

Gorder’s bottom line is a balance between business and the personal. “There’s a really fine line,” she says. “You have to understand that you’re not decorating for yourselves, that this is truly a business — but a business with a warm hand.”

Jeff Somers, [email protected]

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