Airbnb Open

Make Your Listing a Money Machine

My listings:

Please email or message me your listing URL so I can add it to my Wish List so I can visit you when I am in your area. And please add the above listings to your Wish List so you can stay with me and/or easily find my listing when your friends come to Silicon Valley.


Jan. 2017 article about my session in the Airbnb hosts newsletter

Main Points

What’s your unique selling proposition? What makes your space special? What separates you from your competitors? Put this in your title (up to 42 characters) and/or your 415-character description. Be careful to use different wording — don’t just repeat your heading in your description.

Proactively Market Your Space

Easy items to get started

  • Airbnb listing business cards: Print cards with a photo of and key info for your listing, shortened (e.g., listing Airbnb URL, and your phone number. Suggest your guests take some to give to their local friends/family/colleagues for when they have out-of-town guests coming, and to take with them for future use. Give out at local events. Download mine here.
  • Flyers/brochure: Spotlight key features, with some photos and same info as on business card.
  • Website:  Create a website with your listing’s information and Airbnb link for booking. Mine is (I also have which redirects to
  • Wish List: Ask your guests to save your listing to their Wish List for easy rebooking and referrals.
  • Email guests: Ask guests’ permission to get their email and reach out to them periodically. Send them quarterly updates of any enhancements to your property and/or upcoming local events that might interest them.
  • Social media: Post tips for guests and for local events that would be of interest to guests, with a link to your listing. Post your referral link to Facebook so your friends can get travel credit for signing up, and they know of your listing for when they or their friends need lodging in your area.

What is nearby that guests would visit? (Especially events.)

Call and ask to speak to the person who makes suggestions for local lodging. Introduce yourself and ask how you could be added to the list of recommended nearby lodging. Go and meet him/her if possible. Bring your Airbnb business cards and/or a flyer w/pics and description of your place with the Airbnb URL.

  • Nearby school Parent Teacher Association: when their friends/ relatives visit they may want separate space. Offer to give a night’s stay for their fund-raising silent auction.
  • Businesses:Ask how you can get on the list of lodging options.
    • Contact your local business association (ideally your neighborhood one).
    • For local businesses, contact the internal travel manager, or CEO’s assistant (if small firm) and ask if they have out-of-town employees, consultants, vendors and/or workshop leaders who need lodging.
  • Hospital: Contact the person in charge of the information desk. Ask how to get on the lodging option list for family members visiting patients, or visiting nurses/doctors doing a sort-term assignment.
  • Convention center: convention attendees, show staff, exhibitor staff, presenters.
  • Sporting venue: fans, media, team staff or family
  • Live theater/performance venue: performers, touring team, ticket holders
  • Adult day care center or nursing home: family members in town to visit patients
  • Yoga or art studio, bookstores or other venues that host workshops with out-of-town attendees or guest teachers or authors.
  • College or high school: Good for parents visiting their kids, dropping off/picking up kids at start/end of term; graduation. College guest lecturers.
  • Neighbors (beyond your street): Great for parents/grandparents visiting kids/grandkids. Every time I meet someone from my area, I give them my Airbnb listing biz card.
  • Online neighborhood groups (e.g., NextDoor) that allow commercial postings. Especially good a month or two before family holidays.
  • Festivals, art fairs, street markets: Put the festival name in your title. Contact organizers to suggest you have alternative lodging for vendors and visitors.

Make Your Listing Description Sell

  • Write it for the guest’s perspective: “You will be able to relax after a long day.” “You’re only steps away from great restaurants, but you’ll sleep in a quiet oasis.” “Clean, private bathroom,” “Kitchen for you to cook if you’d like to stay in.”
  • List nearby attractions and travel times to each (walking, driving, public transport), including airport/train station.
  • Disclose anything notable that previous guests have complained about that you can’t fix. This will help you have more 5-star reviews. People don’t like unpleasant surprises. Manage their expectations. Tell them the truth — is there a drive-through next door? Share that. Do your neighbors yell obscenities at guests? Yep, warn them. Chip suggests listing 3 things your guests love about your listing and 2 that have bothered some. Better they know up front than leave you a bad review.

Make Your Profile Friendly

  • Image of you (or your family — whomever they will encounter) up close, no sunglasses, no baseball hats. They need to see your face. Post more than one pic or even a video.
  • Write a paragraph about you/your family (if they live at the listing), e.g., hobbies, interests, profession. What makes you someone they’d like to meet? Guests like to feel comfortable with the person with whom they are dealing. If you have a property manager, post his/her pic with info on him/her as well.
  • Don’t say you travel a lot, although the thought of having the place to themselves will be appealing to some guests, it will also alert riffraff that your place would be a good place to party or burglarize.

Invite Guests into Your Listing with Photos

  • At least 10 good-quality photos of the spaces guests will be able to access (living room, dining room), and especially their room and bathroom. If they don’t have access to other rooms, don’t show them. However, don’t show redundant photos.
  • Your main listing photo should be of the best feature of your listing.
  • Captions – explain the benefit to the guest. Don’t post the obvious, “bathroom.”
  • Before taking pics, have a friend come over who has good taste. Have him/her look at the space with fresh eyes and make adjustments (hide that pile of newspapers, fluff the pillows, make sure the bedspread is straight, perhaps rehang wall art at eye level).
  • Include the outside of the property and nearby sites (e.g., restaurants, shopping). Shots of what they see outside their window(s).
  • Make sure the photos are in focus and well lit. Take during the day. Get Airbnb photographer if available. Make the bed nicely and tidy up before taking the pic.
  • Include pic of shower (people want to make sure it’s clean and mold-free).


  • Comment nicely on every review. If there was a problem, don’t air it in the response to a review. People can tell a lot about a host by how s/he responds to a negative review. Craft it carefully.
  • Encourage guests to leave a review either by asking them in person or emailing/texting a note the day they check out.

What Every Airbnb Should Have

I travel a lot around the world and frequently use Airbnbs. Here’s my list of what I wish every listing had, beyond the basics like towels (I stayed in a Thailand Airbnb where I had to bring or rent towels!).

  • If a clock is in the room/space, it should be working and set to the correct time
  • Check to ensure the alarm is off on the clock.
  • Power strip by head of bed — ideally with USB ports. Most of us do some screen time in bed and like to recharge overnight. Don’t make guests get up when they are tired to turn off their phone alarm.
  • If only one outlet slot, have a splitter so lamp and other item can be plugged in. A power strip would be nice.
  • Lamps on both sides of a 2-person bed (on night stands ideally), not just an overhead light.
  • All light bulbs working and extra in easy-to-find place
  • Instructions in English for:
    • wifi password
    • how to turn on hot water in shower (maybe with photo)
    • if applicable, how to use washer (with soap for one load)
    • warnings: “Don’t use left front burner on stove” (maybe with photo w/red X)
    • what to do with key at end of stay
  • Liquid soap in shower and at sink. No one likes to use bar soap someone else used, and if there is only one soap, inevitably you forget to bring it into the shower from the sink. (Wrapped hard soap is OK, but make sure there is one on the sink and in the shower. And throw it away after each guest checks out.)
  • Table fan if no AC or overhead fan
  • Bath mat outside shower so guest doesn’t slip
  • Magnifying makeup mirror in bathroom, ideally lighted one.
  • Lots of empty horizontal space — take away your decorative items on bureaus, bathroom counter, etc.
  • Tissue box on night stand — don’t make guests use toilet paper!
  • Waste bin in key rooms — bedroom, bathroom, large one in kitchen (of course!)
  • Hair dryer
  • Full-length mirror
  • Night light in bathroom(s)
  • Luggage rack in each bedroom

Rank Higher in the Search Results

  • Keywords in title/description (e.g., “Levi’s Stadium,” “Stanford,” “Silicon Valley”)
  • Super Host
  • 5-star ratings
  • Instant Book
  • # of reviews
  • Commitment
  • Response time
  • Airbnb professional photography (at least one verified photo)
  • # of times saved to Wish Lists (this one isn’t verified by Airbnb staff, but what can it hurt to ask the guests who love you to do this to find you again easily for themselves or their friends)

Airbnb article on this

I’ll Review Your Listing(s)

I’ll review your listings and make suggestions on how to make more compelling. Choose from these options. Use this coupon code at checkout to get the price listed below: AIRBNB1 for the 1/2 hour and AIRBNB2 for the 1-hour.

$125 for 1/2 hour call (normally $250)  Use AIRBNB1 coupon code

$200 for an hour (normally $400). Use AIRBNB2 coupon code

Then email me to set up a time (9:00am-5:00pm Pacific time). If you don’t know if you want a half hour or hour, buy a half hour and I can then charge the balance when we’re done.

Host Me When I’m in Your Area

If you’d like to host me at your listing, let me know. I’ll give you a consultation with suggestions for enhancing your guest experience and how to make your listing even better in exchange for a night or two lodging.


Listing Reviews from 2015 Airbnb Open Program

In the slides are the links to a few of the listings of the kind people who allowed me to review their listings, as I thought we’d have time to cover them in my session. Since we had to cut the session short because of the keynotes running overtime, I wanted you to have the links, then look at some of my thoughts in the slides in the PDF. There aren’t a lot of notes, but I think they will make sense as they reinforce what I covered in the live session.

They each looked like places I’d want to stay. My comments are focused on suggested improvements and possible enhancements.

Rebecca Morgan’s slides of the above reviews


“Rebecca is the only host educator who is on the big stage twice so you know she’s popular and her message is impactful. Rebecca has a second session because she had a line out the door at last year’s Open. ” —Chip Conley

Thank you to all who wrote kind notes about the value they received by my session. I’m glad it was useful.

“Your tips and help have made a huge impact. My casita is booked almost solid for the next 2 monthsl, which is considered high season.” –Terri Langhans

“It was so great to meet you at Open. I was actually hanging on your every word. Your presentation was the highlight of the entire event. ” —Joe Schofield

“I must congratulate you again for your great presentation. Even though I consider myself a seasoned host, I got a couple of really good points and reminders that I’m going to implement.” —Marko Petkovic

“You did a GREAT job and I love your sense of humor!” —Elizabeth Risley

“‘I greatly enjoyed your talk at the Airbnb Open.” —Alessandro Rugge

” I throughly enjoyed your spirit, enthusiasm and personality on stage yesterday.” —Brenda Grace

“Many thanks for your generosity in spending time talking to us and sharing open and frank your experiences, tips and parts of yourself and how you gotten where you are… Much appreciated!” —René Theil

“Thanks for sharing your thoughts in Airbnb Open this year. It was quite inspiring and insightful session” —Daniel

“You had a great presentation.” —Vagelis Protopapadakis

“It was a great pleasure learning from you at the Airbnb Open. Thank you so much for sharing your expertise as a host. Your session alone was worth my trip to Paris!

“As I head home, I now know that I’ve got a lot of work to do to make my listing a money making machine while also providing my guests’ with an experience where they feel that they ‘belong.'” –Devin Cobb

“Thanks for your very interesting session in Paris and all those usefull hints to improve my listing and being a better host.” –Suse Brand

“I was very happy to be able to participate on your presentation at Airbnb Open. Thank you for this experience!” –Kinga Iby-Bors

“I attended your presentation, “Make Your Listing a Money Machine.” It was brilliant!” –Carlos Cuasante

“My husband and I attended your session at the Airbnb Open. It was by far our favorite session. We have incorporated MANY of the suggestions from that day’s session.” —Jackie Lemesevski

“I learned much from your presentation. IMHO, you were one of the best presenters in Paris” –Lia Enkelis