Why Wait For A Negative Review? Learn How Cape Town Airbnb Hosts Make Homes Winter Snoozy!
Guests pay Cape Town Airbnb hosts back in kind. They review you. And your success depends on many positive reviews. Why drop the ball during winter? We want 5 star reviews ALWAYS!
Winter attracts clever people who stay longer for less. But they are not used to our cold, wet winters. Why not create a snoozy experience before they give you a poor review?
As you know, during winter, the demand for Airbnb accommodation is low and slow. This is a good time for maintenance. But that’s not all…
With energy costs increasing and the low income, it’s difficult to balance the books. Even with all these negatives, why not recover as much income as possible?
I believe there is always demand (under normal circumstances) and if there is demand, we must increase it.
It’s simple. But it may not be easy:
- We must get guests to write positive reviews about their cosy winter stay. It’s an investment for winters to come.
- Expectations: We must never surprise guests. We even push the button and do foolproof audits.
- We must invest in things to make your Airbnb cosy.
- Add photos of all our snoozy stuff to your listing.
- We must adapt the daily rates to reflect the low demand.
Nothing sells like trust. Or is it confirming my suspicions?
When guests want to stay during the cold Cape Town winter, they’ll read the reviews to get an impression of previous guests’ experiences. If a guest mentions a cold stay, it triggers concern or suspicion from a potential guest.
We must create a process to limit any negative triggers and encourage positive reviews.
The owner/host of the Airbnb accommodation or previous guests’ reviews? Obviously, trust goes to the independent guests’ reviews.
Let me use the following review as an example. It’s a great review, but it mentions some rooms are a bit cold.
“A beautiful and spacious house in equally beautiful surroundings! It is conveniently located close to shops, good restaurants, wine farms. Some rooms are a bit cold so be prepared especially if you visit in the winter. But, it is absolutely worth it. We’ve actually been thinking that we should return in the summer!”
Reading this review, as a potential winter staying guest, you may be a little concerned. We don’t want that.
Let’s look at what Daniel said staying at another home,
“The home is cosy ….. The fireplace and heaters were an absolute lifesaver in the cold days and nights“.
Obviously, we don’t have fireplaces in all homes. But if you had to choose a stay during a cold winter where will you stay after reading these reviews?
Now let’s turn these experiences into positives.
The first and immediate step is to respond…
Airbnb allows hosts to respond to each guest’s review. With the above, we should address the concerns (see below for ideas) and respond by thanking the guest and saying we have addressed them. Why?
We are not really talking to the guest who left the review. No. We are talking to guests who are reading the review before they decide to stay.
Here’s an example:
Thanks for the great review. We appreciate it. Because of your feedback, we have now addressed the cold rooms by adding extra snoozy blankets and warm water bottles. We sincerely hope to see you back.
Now, when potential guests read it they can see we corrected the issue.
The ideal would be rather to have guests rave about their cosy winter stay.
What can you do to make them rave?
When you have an issue at your Airbnb, like cold rooms during winter, then tell potential guests upfront.
Add it to your Airbnb listing. Tell guests that the rooms can be cold (lower expectations) but you have addressed the issue as follows (see below).
And they can see that you are not hiding the issue. And if they know about the issue, why would they negatively review their stay when they know? As you have not left expectations to chance.
Let’s take it one step further; when guests arrive tell them about the good things. But don’t hide potential issues. Say to them (again) that some rooms can be cold during winter. But I have done this and this to make it better.
Guests want NO surprises.
You have not only (1) updated the Airbnb listing description, you have (2) responded correctly to the negative review and (3) you told them about the issue upon arrival.
Do these actions create trust? Trust increases demand.
It depends on the home. But here are a few ideas:
- Add some snoozy warm blankets and throws (fleece blankets) in the rooms and lounge.
- Why not light a candle or get the fireplace going?
- Add one warm water bottle per guest. It’s cheap and effective. Just imagine getting into cold, crispy linen vs a water-bottle warmed bed.
- A cheap 1000 Watts fan heater, if on for 3 hours per day, costs about R200 per month. Read more on various types of heaters vs cost to run here.
Other than the electricity cost, investing in a few blankets and warm water bottles is minimal when compared to the long-term impact of one critical review. Or in a positive sense; to the amazing increase in demand as positive reviews accumulate.
Obviously, a heater is a contentious issue. And guests must have clear rules on electricity usage. In our rules, we state fair usage limits. Tell guests they can use the heaters but we limit them to a fixed number of units per day (you need a pay as you go box). Above that, they will pay.
If you show you care, you have won. Tell them about the cold and why you added loose snoozy blankets and warm water bottles. You’ll see it in the reviews. And? Demand will increase.
Guests want proof. They get it from reviews, then photos, and then the description.
Add photos of all the things making a cold winter the experience they will treasure. Photos of the fireplace, the heaters and the warm loose fleece blankets.
And you will be rewarded with higher demand.
Winter is a time to collect more reviews. And to cover running costs or make even more. It’s very possible.
We have seen if we set long stay discounts correctly we can still beat 12 months (long term) monthly rates.
Therefore we must set rates to encourage 14, 21, 28 days and longer stays. As longer stays reduce changeover costs.
But longer staying guests can be demanding. It’s critical to read them the riot act (rules including electricity consumption).
Wintertime gives us all a time to reset, correct and build trust with future winter guests. We can even earn reasonably well with lower rates.
But let’s not fool ourselves; if you believe guests will stay because of your low rates alone. No.
For the long term, you need to invest in cosy experiences. And you want guests to mention, at review time, how you went out of your way to make their stay welcome and warm; snoozy.
More winter guests will stay when they read and see proof. Show it, tell it to them. And they will reward you with a great review.
It’s a cycle.
It’s like a snowball building exercise. It’s easy. But you need to add a handful of snow. Prepare the start. Add more snow. Eventually, the ball rolls and picks up speed.
We need to do the same when we create snoozy winter experiences. Every positive review adds a handful of trust to our snowball of demand.
What’s your opinion? What would you suggest Airbnb hosts do to create amazing winter experiences?
Will you implement these winter ideas for successful Cape Town Airbnb hosts?