What could we be doing better?

16 Replies

Looks like you are doing great with the reviews! If I were you, I'd get HI-RES images taken of the properties, as the Vista one has grainy photos and the other could use an upgrade also. 

Other than that, keep it up!


NICE properties by the way! The only thing I would suggest doing is take the feedback from the reviews and improve from there. Guests that have previously stayed at your property usually have the best advice.

A couple of suggestions:
1. Hire a professional photographer to take photos. That’s the first thing people look at. Your photos are good, but they aren’t great.
2. Try to get specific with the title of your listing: “5 Bedroom Home, minutes from (landmark)”, “Perfect Family Getaway near (landmark)”
3. Take the things that your previous guests have raved about and use those to write the description of your listing.
4. With the photos. Make sure you have a photo of each bedroom/bed with a description of what it is: “Master bedroom has 1 king size bed”, “Bedroom 2 has two queen size beds”, Bedroom 3 has 1 full sized bed and a bunk bed”, “Queen sized sleeper sofa in the living room”. The most common question people will have is “What are the sleeping arrangements?”

Otherwise, your listings look great.

Your STR is in a totally different class than my family's STRs (yours are much nicer) so maybe I am not qualified to remark.

The photos have already been discussed but I thought the Oceanside unit photos were pretty good (equivalent to the ones we use).  But the vista property had some grainy photos and I am unsure if one depicted a door off a frame of if that was a mirror or what. So I agree that there is room for improvement on the photos especially the Vista photos. 

The next thing that struck me is a nice large unit like the Vista unit has no king size bed.  I would swap at least one of the queens for a king and possibly 2 of them. 

I think your postings (mostly the photos) make your units look very nice and fun but could indicated things to do nearby.  

So is this question posted because your occupancy rates are low? Our family STR unit's are small (real small) and old but they are rented almost every day of the year due to their location (1 block from the beach). In the summer they rent for almost as much as the Oceanside place is indicating currently. So my point is that location is sometimes more important than the units and your posting did not do much to sell the location but the photos do a good job selling the units (but could benefit from better photos).

Hope this helps!  Good luck. 

@Kevin Boyd

I'm an airbnb Superhost. 

1. Have a home stylist or interior decorator got through and stage it. The tones are fine in photographs but color and pattern done well, photograph more editorially.

2. HIRE A PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER. 60% of the population is visual and now nearly everyone on the planet relies on great photographs to inform them. Have the photos arranged as if you're walking through the home. 

3. I noticed you have 3 stars for accuracy and cleaning. Where is the disconnect? Make sure that you're hiring great, professional cleaners. Since you're nearby, you can check in to see if the job is well done. Think boutique hotel. 

4. Buy brand new mattresses. Make the beds luxurious. People love great beds. Make sure you have a mattress protector under the sheets. 

@Kevin Boyd great homes to be able to Air BnB!! Definitely spend the money on a great photographer. Believe it or not the MLS logo on the pictures will drive people away. They somehow believe it's for sale and don't feel a personal attachment to you.

Do you use the Smart pricing feature? I have a love hate relationship with this because sometimes I get a booking that is lower then I want, but I have to be honest with myself and ask if I would have ever gotten a 3 night stay in the middle of the week. You can turn it on and off. 

Lastly, are you providing a welcome gift? You can provide bottles of wine, passes to local breweries, or anything you can think that will leave a lasting impression. We do multiple things including fresh flowers that always get rave reviews. As your reviews state this you will get booked more often for sure. 

Best Regards,


Partner with caterer and a minister and offer "turn key"  weddings for an extra fee.  It would be a great location for a second wedding where families brought their kids.  You would have to greatly increase the cleaning fee -- no one wants to clean up after a wedding! 

@Kevin Boyd Can't agree more with getting professional photos done, especially for your San Marcos home. I don't know the rules for photos, but if allowed I'd add photos of the Oceanside beach and pier, Legoland, Seaworld, Zoo, etc.. 

My wife wanted me to provide her input.  

As most noted photos can be improved but she also thinks the units can use an interior decorator.  She thinks it can benefit from little things like area rugs and different arrangement of furnishing.  She also hated seeing the floor fan in a picture.  It goes in the closet and hopefully is not needed.  

To me I see all the fun things and care little about area rugs but I will say the wife books almost all of our accommodations. I do not know if that is normal but in our house it is much more important to convince the wife that it is a place we want to stay than it is to convince me.   So believe her recommendations.  

For me fun accommodation and fun things to do nearby.   For the wife she wants the place to look much nicer than what we live in.  She does not need to go on vacation to live in a place decorated similar or worse than our place.  

So you get the male perspective in my earlier post and the wife’s perspective here. 

Good luck

You seem to have really nice properties in great locations, at reasonable rates, especially considering the number of people that can be accommodated. I would advise you to spend a little more on staging the properties with decorative items. I would also highly recommend upgrading the bedding with bedskirts, new comforters, and lots of fluffy pillows. They looked a little substandard to me. And then get those professional pictures taken.

First review: 

"Bring your own bedding, firepits don’t work, jacuzzi not too warm, carpets are dirty/stained, loose tiles on deck & top of stairs so watch your step, got bug bites while asleep ..other than that it was a big place for families to hang out."

If this was my market I'd never get another booking. Anything less than 5 star everything and people will go with the guy next door instead of me. 

Bug bites while sleeping? Not good. Call the exterminator. Start there. Then get yourself some sheets. If your fire pits are not useable get rid of them. Replace the flooring. Fix the jacuzzi. Sounds like you need to get to work. Anything less than a 5 star review should ruin your day. 

Fix everything then reply to these reviews with the fact that all issues have been addressed. I wouldn't even click on a listing that had 4 stars and no superhost. Maybe your market isn't as competitive as mine, but if this were in my market you'd get swallowed. 

remove anything about remodeled, this would only be good if you are selling it. The photos will speak for the quality and currency of the property. try not to list the property like you are selling it.

honestly, my only advise is if you have a home that big, go out and spend money on someone to put together a description, photos, website, and a marketing package. if you are doing this one your own, you are missing the mark.

@Kevin Boyd ,

It's $750/night... hire a professional and get better pictures!!!!!  Hire a stager..  pictures are everything!!! 

It looks like a gorgeous place, but I put  pic #3 as the main picture.. once I looked around I was wowed.. but based on the first picture, it looks like you were taking pictures with an old camera... hire a photographer ASAP.

The first link, Home in Paradise.  That first picture reminds me of certain news stories....

News stories that involve a group of people holed up or barricaded in a COMPOUND and surrounded by the ATF, the FBI, and state and local authorities.  News helicopters are in the distance and take pictures of the COMPOUND to show during the broadcast of the news article of the stand-off.  Your aerial picture makes your property look like a COMPOUND.

Don't make your property look the Boyd Compound.

Thanks for all the fantastic advise. We just had pictures taken and have updated our listings. Any more advise is certainly appreciated!



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