Let’s face it: the global pandemic has forced vacation rental owners to rethink their approach to hosting. With the summer vacation season on the horizon, now is a perfect time for hosts to differentiate themselves from the competition.

If there’s any time to offer a 360-degree guest experience, it’s now. Travelers are more willing than ever to pay for amenities and services that will make their stay more comfortable and safe. While it’s still wise to offer guests some complimentary “extra touch” services, there are plenty of vacation rental add-ons you can present and upsell using a third-party service like ATLIST Travel, while also boosting your overall rating.

We turned to our network of experts to uncover five upselling strategies used by top Airbnb hosts to improve their bottom line. Whether you’re looking to increase your Airbnb revenue or occupancy, these simple tips will help you optimize your guest experience for post-pandemic travel.

1. Attract more long-term guests

With Airbnb and other vacation rental platforms pushing to promote long-term stays, hosts are now recalibrating their strategy.

According to new data from Airbnb, there has been a 20% increase in long-stay bookings on Airbnb compared to March 2019. Airbnb has also rolled out a new protocol for cleaning that will require more stringent sanitation procedures or a minimum wait time of 48 hours between stays, making longer bookings the more desirable option for hosts.

With hygiene and safety at top of mind for guests, hosts can upsell easy-to-coordinate services such as mid-stay cleanings, laundry (for properties without a washer and dryer), stocked fridge/mini-bar, and grocery delivery. These add-ons can be offered with minimal effort yet make a significant impact on the guest experience.

2. Make your listing kid and pet-friendly

This vacation season, more people will be traveling with the whole family — kids and pets included. With summer camps canceled, hosts can appeal to parents by offering rentals of sporting equipment and bicycles, as well as baby-friendly items like cribs and high chairs.

To take your family-friendly vacation rental one step further, consider offering your guests childcare services or activity bundles geared to your destination (e.g. a beach kit with an umbrella, chairs, floatationg devices, ice chest, and games).

Pets can join in the fun, too! Dog beds, water bowls, and deep cleaning services are all helpful add-ons for four-legged guests.

3. Help your guests experience their destination

One thing hasn’t changed: your guests are still as eager as ever to explore the local gems in your destination. With group tours on hold, hosts play an even more important role in facilitating experiences.

An effective option is to connect your guests with local experts for hire, such as chefs or yoga instructors, who can offer private on-property experiences.

If you have the skills and knowledge yourself, consider recording a digital audio-guide about your town or a local attraction. Downloadable walking tours and road trip maps are great options to sell for self-service exploration, too.

4. Create a digital gift shop

With more people choosing to shop online and support local businesses, now is a perfect time to launch a digital gift shop for your guests. Sell your own handmade crafts, such as pottery or candles, or pieces by local artists. Artisanal food items like jams and chutneys from your nearby farmers market make wonderful souvenirs, while gift items like flower bouquets and chocolates are perfect for guests celebrating a special occasion.

5. Make it easy for guests to pay for add-ons

How you charge your guests for extras is equally as important as the amenities and services you are offering. Cash can be a hassle to collect and asking guests to pay through your vacation rental booking platform can lead to extra fees and disorganization.

With a third-party service like ATLIST Travel, hosts can ensure transactions are as smooth as possible, and also present their guests with a shoppable library of offerings in a way that matches your brand.

Bottom line:

The extras you upsell should always be items, services, or experiences your guests would normally pay for out-of-pocket. By offering your guests a seamless way to browse and book logical add-ons, you’ll not only increase your revenue but also improve guest satisfaction.

Interested in improving your hosting skills and modernizing your approach to the guest experience in a COVID travel environment? ATLIST helps independent properties create customized webpages to showcase, schedule, and sell their services, rentals, in-house activities, and local recommendations. By powering online booking and scheduling, an ATLIST guest experience page can bring convenience to your guests, show them around town with custom maps, and save time for your team. Click here to learn more about how you can add a guest experience page to your website seamlessly.