Joe Anhalt is an Airbnb veteran. He’s in his third summer hosting (take a look inside his Airbnb listing), has been featured on the podcast “Get Paid For Your Pad”, and has hit “super host” status (yes, that’s a thing) on the popular marketplace, and now he’s partnered with Airbnb to build the host community in Chicago.

Here he shares his five secret hacks to being a rockstar host:

  1. Don’t Fail the Look TestAIRBNBPIC1
    First impressions are everything. Your mother told you this and she was not lying. The first thing most guests will see is your featured image and title up against dozens of others so it’s important your place looks light and bright. No one wants to stay in a dungeon (or do they?) Simple hack: Take pictures during the sunniest of times AND turn on all the lights in your place while you do so. Seeing lights turned on makes your place look inviting, will create pops of color, and will make the picture brighter.Terrible at taking photos? You’re in luck. Airbnb has thousands of freelance photographers ready to make your space look like a five-star resort. Oh, and did I mention this feature is free?
  2. Go With the Flow on Pricingairbnbpic2
    When you start out on Airbnb, check out the competition in your area, then price your space below your neighbors. This will make your listing more financially attractive than others and allow you to build up some solid reviews. Once you have three or four reviews under your belt you can start getting competitive with your pricing.Here’s a quick pricing hack: Offer a weekly or monthly rate to guarantee your space fills (guaranteed income) and to give folks flexibility when booking.
  3. Create a Neighborhood Guideairbnbpic3
    Travelers who use Airbnb love interacting with community and exploring local flavor. Build out a neighborhood guide to direct them to the best coffee shops, late-night pizza joints, and jazz bars in your ‘hood.For explorers looking to have more meaningful experiences while interacting with locals, think about directing them to dynamic, in-person classes from Dabble, where they can make a unique memory (Knife Throwing 101), learn a new skill (how to roll sushi), or enjoy a local treasure (Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga in Chicago comes to mind) while getting to know the natives.The better your neighborhood guide is, the happier your guests will be.
  1. Get to Know Other Airbnb Hosts

    Photo Credit: Airbnb

    Don’t just host – travel! Stay with other passionate hosts and learn about how they make create great experiences. Do they offer a rockin’ bagel bar in the AM? Do they set out fresh flowers? Have they run into any unique Airbnb problems and have unique solutions? Getting to know other hosts and chatting through common issues lets you learn faster. Not one Airbnb experience is the same, and you can always be learning and trying new things.

    Pro tip: Attend or host an Airbnb meetup in your community, and work together to troubleshoot and cross-promote your properties.

  1. Spend Quality Time with Your Guests

    Cooking with your guests is a great way to get to know them and share dishes that are of importance to you!

    Here’s a great story: A person I know went to Brazil last year for the World Cup and stayed in an Airbnb. Her host looked at my friend’s profile and noticed they had something in common: baking.Upon her arrival, the host showed my friend her kitchen, asked if she’d like to learn some Brazilian bread recipes, and the two of them baked together one rainy afternoon. My friend was blown away that an Airbnb host would go to such great lengths to make her feel welcome and special. She left Brazil feeling like she made a much deeper connection, and is returning to the same host next year to stay.

    Moral of the story? Making your guests feel welcomed can not only be good for your Airbnb business, but can foster lasting friendships.

Want to learn more about hosting? Whether you’re a first-timer or a vet, Joe has more information, hacks, and knowledge to share. Sign up for his upcoming class here, hosted by Workshop Chicago*, and learn more about Airbnb. Whether you’re a newbie or a vet, you can learn a lot by learning from others!

*Workshop was developed around the idea that both your work and life are better shared with a multi-faceted community of people who are kind, thoughtful, skilled, creative, and have a desire to learn and grow together. Workshop thinks that’s the best way to work toward the common good. Share their loft space and skyline views as often as you need with a variety of co-working membership levels and venue rental options. Workshop also hosts a variety of events and classes open to the public, and their goal is to connect you to people, projects, skills, and support in order to make your work and life a little better every day.