Renting out a furnished apartment to the growing market for extended nightly stays is easier said than done. Between competing against other hosts and striving to run an excellent short term housing business, the average host has their work cut out for them.
On top of that, you have to deal with the fact that not every traveler looking for a place to stay is after your short term housing unit—so minimizing the amount of cash and effort you waste on hooking the wrong guests is equally important.
While there’s no magic wand you can wave to make the perfect set of guests appear, there are tactics that can raise your chances of attracting them. Have a look at our suggestions on how you can catch the eyes of your target market and drive your earnings higher.
If you’re just about to set up a furnished apartment for rent, the first half of this article is for you. We cover the two key components of a short term housing unit bound for success. If your unit is already up and running, however, skip ahead to our 3rd point—from there, we talk about ways that even the most well-established hosts can net quality visitors.
1. Choose the Right Neighborhood
Seeing as you’re in the housing industry, we bet you’ve probably heard this one before: location, location, location. Like it or not, your choice of neighborhood plays a big role in determining the success or failure of your furnished apartment setup.
The benefits of the right location are felt in some obvious ways, and some ways you might have overlooked.
Image from CNN.com
Naturally, you won’t get very far trying to rent out a short term housing unit in an area with a notoriously high crime rate. Don’t risk losing business because the area surrounding your investment property has a bad reputation. After all, with the rise of the internet and social media, it’s easier than ever to do a background check on a location before committing to a visit.
Beyond the common wisdom of choosing a safe and hospitable neighborhood, your location determines your ideal clientele. If you live near a set of common tourist destinations, for example, you might be better off marketing your furnished apartment to vacationers than to people traveling for work.
Your different market segments will have their own concepts of a perfect rental unit. Study your list of potential neighborhoods (or get familiar with your own) to make the most out of your stake in the short term housing game. You might opt to choose a location that’s optimally geared to service the kinds of guests you’re after, or make a profile of your ideal guests given the most practical location on the market—however you go about it, don’t forget to look at the bigger picture.
2. Design for Your Ideal Guest
Once you’ve settled on a location that appeals to your target market, or once you’ve chosen one out of the many possible types of visitors, do your best to make sure your interiors meet your ideal guests’ expectations (and then some).
When considering the factors that make for an effective rental ad, the content of your pictures tops the list. The first thing short term housing hunters need to be assured of is the quality of the rooms and amenities that a listing has to offer. Beyond being clean, your interiors should be thoughtfully designed and full of personality. A drab unit might pass for a traveler on a tight budget, but if you’re aiming to capture a steady flow of valuable guests, you can set your sights higher.
Image from Pikskey.com
You’ll find countless guides on how to design an apartment for rent, but there are a few rules of thumb you should follow when aiming for the specific types of guests you’re after. Your run-of-the-mill vacationers tend to chase after a higher degree of luxury than experiential travelers, for example, and people in the market for short or medium term corporate housing setups tend to prefer neat spaces with fast WiFi to help them get things done.
Put yourself in the shoes of your target market, and ask yourself what you’d look for in the perfect rental unit. For the best results, try going through the motions of an average day for the kinds of guests you’re looking to court, then design your interior to be as convenient as possible.
3. Build a Reputation
Nothing attracts attention quite like… well, attention. Our brains are wired to respond well to hype, so the right amount of buzz can make a listing pop in the eyes of a person browsing for a short term housing arrangement. The more prominent and well-respected your furnished apartment is to your potential guests, the more likely you are to win their business.
A slew of positive reviews can make the short term housing provider’s year in sales, and it’s easy to see why: people need to entrust their comfort and security to the right host, or else risk a travel nightmare. In this sense, the reviews on your listing and your footprint on social media go a long way towards a booking.
Do your best to connect with your guests over the course of their stay. Not only is it good etiquette for a host to check in on a regular basis, but it provides a number of opportunities for you to give them material to boast about when leaving a review. We’ve found that a good number of guests can be relied on to repay kindness with kindness, so a strong human connection might just do the trick and give you the positive reviews you’re after.
Image from Masterfile
It also pays to encourage your guests to broadcast their experiences on social media. You can set your furnished apartment up with a profile of its own, or simple have a gorgeous, Instagram-worthy design feature that they can snap a picture of or set as their backdrop. Be engaging, be interactive, and see if you can build a community for your unit.
As you might expect, part of building a good reputation is addressing complaints and negative feedback.
4. Hang Out in the Right Listing Sites
Sometimes the battle for the right guests can be won by your choice of listing platform. Specifically, there are three values to look for in a listing site: detail, versatility, and security.
Opt for a listing site that empowers its users to mind the details. You worked hard to put your furnished apartment together and provide travelers with their dream unit—don’t waste your time on a listing site that won’t let you brag about it. It’s important that your listing site allows you to shine a spotlight on things like your unit’s floor space, your amenities, and your house rules. Your listing site should also give you the opportunity to upload high resolution images.
Next, your best bet is to invest your time in a versatile listing site that gives you as much control over your listing as possible without getting unwieldy. The life of an extended stay host can be very dynamic: one month you might prefer to host extended weekly stays lasting a little over seven days, and the next you might decide to stick with a more stable arrangements lasting weeks at a time.
However you choose to orient your business, your listing platform should give you the option to customize at will and market to the crowds that you decide are best for you. Whatever spaces and forms they give you to describe your business should be comprehensive, but neat when displayed for viewers.
Image from 2ndAddress.com
One last sign of versatility is the ability of a platform to handle your payments. A great listing site provides the convenience of handling your rent collection while ensuring your protection from unreliable visitors. Find one that has a robust system in place for securing payments ahead of time, and collecting visitor information in the event of a failure to pay.
Finally, your listing site of choice should be secure. From protecting your information to making sure none of your finances are breached, secure sites take a big load off the minds of the hosts and guests that use them. A site that looks safe and is safe is a big plus for prospective visitors, and you can count on it to have your best interests at heart.
If you’re in the market for a site that hits all the criteria listed above, give 2nd Address a look and see the work we put into making it as powerful and user friendly as you’d expect.
Managing a furnished apartment for the short term housing market can be a highly rewarding investment, provided you can land the right clientele. Our tips aren’t the end-all and be-all for prospective hosts and landlords, but they’re an excellent start. Give them a try, and see how much better off you’ll be for it.