How to market and design your Airbnb listing for Grants Pass guests
By Rebekah Nugent and Amanda Holmes
Above our Dwell House offices, located in downtown Grants Pass, there are four Airbnb units. We see an array of visitors coming and going and have long since wondered what attracts visitors to our location and what attracts them to these four units in particular.
Obviously, we believe good design and floor plan functionality are crucial. And our real estate know-how always emphasizes location, location, location! But what else can you do to ensure success? A recent Netflix show, “Stay Here,” draws viewers in with their mix of marketing strategy meets design. Their premise: creative design solutions meet boutique business operations. We can’t help but hone in on their compelling marketing strategies and recommendations.
According to Airbnb, stateside travelers are yearning for one-of-a-kind experiences. From outdoor swings and treehouses to cliff dwellings and lakeside yurts, travelers are back. And now they are looking for more unique and epic adventure vacation spots. Making your listing stand out through eye-catching design, as well as injecting local knowledge and social media tools into your marketing strategy will surely help set your listing apart from all others.
Our team has recently completed two Airbnb designs — one being an entirely new Airbnb set up for clients in Grants Pass, and the second a newly purchased vacation home in Arizona. During our research we uncovered six tactics to help develop your overall short-term rental (STR) marketing strategy.
- Guest experience. The guest experience is more important than ever. Elevating the design, amenities and local knowledge is imperative to a successful listing.
- Social Media. It’s real and it works. Using hashtags and creating Instagram-worthy moments is monumental to today’s savvy travelers. Help prospective guests find you by using hashtags in your posts like #grantspassairbnb or #grantspassstays, which will connect you with those searching for accommodations in the area. Also, Instagrammers love selfies. So, set up a cute space or even install a wall mural where guests can take pictures and have them share and tag you on social media outlets.
- Understand your branding. If your place doesn’t have a swing plunging through the Rogue River that’s okay. Pick one or two aspects of your space that you and guests love and emphasize those aspects consistently in your marketing. Near the river? Play on that by enticing guests with key phrases, photos and descriptions of things to do nearby. Boatnik anyone?
- Be the tour guide for your guests. Packages are the way to go. Booking adventures for your travelers saves them time and puts a lot more money in your pocket. Partner with some of the amazing local tourism adventures in the Rogue Valley. Ziplining, rafting, wine country bike tours, fishing day trips and so many more are all available in the area. Wildlife Images, a rehabilitation park for animals, offers outings for animal lovers. Plenty of hiking trails and waterfalls can be accessed within an hour’s drive of Grants Pass. Don’t forget the Britt Festival, Ashlands Shakespeare Festival, Crater Lake and the Redwoods are also close by and draw thousands of visitors each year.
- Cross-promote your small business with other like-minded small businesses.
- Be the expert. Recommendations, travel guides, best restaurants, favorite bars for karaoke, best kid friendly activities, park locations, summer schedule of outdoor concerts … the list goes on and your guests will appreciate your efforts with stellar reviews.
Design and staging are still number one on our to-do list when developing an Airbnb listing. Staging Airbnbs is a bit different than staging a regular house that’s for sale. Firstly, your audience is not going to live there full time; instead, travelers are looking for spaces that will give them an unforgettable experience while away from home. This translates into using unique and chic design to entice prospective guests to book your place over others.
If redesigning your entire space seems overwhelming or budget busting, first focus on the main areas like the living room and primary bedroom. These are the areas guests are going to use the most and that they are most likely to search for in your photo gallery. Both of these rooms require bigger furniture like sofas and beds, so getting creative with what you already own can save you lots of cash up front.
In a local stage we did here in Grants Pass, we kept the owner’s black industrial style sofa, but softened the austere feel with bright, fun pillows and a neutral rug that anchored all of the pieces together.
Next we brought in an emerald green dresser that wasn’t being used from another part of the house to serve as a possible TV stand while at the same time providing much needed extra storage and a display space for fun accessories. Pulling in interesting auxiliary items like the woven stool added a bit of uniqueness people are looking for in a vacation space that they wouldn’t necessarily have in their own homes.
In February, we spearheaded another Airbnb design from the ground up in Mesa, Arizona.
This was a totally unfurnished home that was to become an STR investment property. We needed everything from furniture, mattresses and linens to sippy cups, pool toys and condiments. Needless to say, we tried to save money wherever we could.
Luckily, the previous owners left a bulky but useful hutch. Originally painted a creamy white in a somewhat dated shabby chic style, we repurposed it easily by painting it a trendy blue-grey color and adding shelving. Colorful bottles, a metal serving tray, a tall glass of wine and other accessories transformed this once outdated piece into a show stopper – so cool!
The Mesa house was big enough for one or two families, so the living room sofa needed to accommodate a lot of people. We sourced a huge sectional off of Facebook Marketplace at a fraction of the original price and completed the getaway look with locally appropriate desert themed artwork. A stylish rug, an art gallery wall, an adorned coffee table and southwestern style pillows were all that was needed to create a visually interesting and inspiring space for the new listing.
Staging is particularly important in marketing your Airbnb, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. Using a bit of creativity with objects you already own helps save cost and adds an element of uniqueness and personality to your listing — something guests are looking for as they scroll through pages of vacation spots. So, take stock of what you already own and implement items in a new way. Source locally to save time and money. Use the marketing and social media strategies we mentioned and our STR will surely be on its way to more bookings.