Airbnb is truly one of the most successful new companies of our generation. In just 10 years, it went from a humble startup to an international giant and made massive, upsetting waves in the travel and hospitality industries.
For traditional hotels and booking websites, it was a nightmare. But for vacationers, world travelers, and willing hosts (like you!), it’s been a major boon.
2018 was a great year for Airbnb. Early last year, Forbes estimated that the company stood to make gains of up to $3.8 billion. The important thing we want to point out here is that this level of success was no accident. Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky and his co-founders started with next to nothing and without some solid goals and milestone achievements, the company we know today wouldn’t exist.
Setting goals is important for your vacation rental business – no matter how big or small.
It may seem trivial because after all, there’s only so much that’s in your control when it comes to hosting guests, but setting goals is important.
If you’re not meeting your goals, you know it’s a good time to evaluate what’s going wrong and start brainstorming how you can improve and succeed.
So how do you set goals specifically for your Airbnb? Just like you would anything else: by setting SMART goals. SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Bound goals = SMART goals) to help you stick to the task and ensure you’re able to truly track your progress. One of the best ways to do this is to choose from the three major hosting categories: Money, Guest Relations, and Occupancy. Decide which bucket you want your goals to fit into.
SMART goals are SPECIFIC.
You know the rule here: Don’t be wishy-washy about what it is you want to achieve. Set objectives that don’t require rocket science to figure out and that are clearly defined. Here are a few examples:
- Increase total bookings every week, month, or over the year by a certain percentage.
- Increase total bookings during the high season by a specific amount or percentage.
- Earn a percentage more or dollar amount more over a specified amount of time, whether that be the year or month by month.
- Host more first-time guests (not returning guests) in your home than years past.
There are plenty of specific goals you can set. However, it’s important to remember, too, that you don’t want to go overboard and set too many goals so that you’re working toward too many things.
Set just 2-3 objectives at a time and, if you’re working on seasonal or monthly goals, you can always add a new one once the season or month has passed.
SMART goals are MEASURABLE.
The beauty of setting objectives for your Airbnb business is that you have a centralized place where your outcomes are being measured and tracked for you, generally speaking.
There may be some things you need to track on your own, especially if you’re working to improve your guests’ experience in any certain ways, but overall, occupancy rates, earnings, and anything percentage-related is all recorded for you and easy to compare to past measures.
If you really want to be a go-getter, keep your own tallies and tabs in spreadsheets so you can easily see your progress.
SMART goals are ACHIEVABLE.
This is an important point to remember. It’s easy to get swept up in the romanticization of it all and set lofty goals that even the best super host or Airbnb Plus host couldn’t meet in their best months. Don’t let things get away from you – make sure it’s possible to achieve what you’re setting yourself up to do.
Now, the trick here is to also ensure you’re not going too easy on yourself, either. Start by giving yourself permission to be flexible. Start with a lower goal but set up “stretch goals” to strive for if you meet the lower settings. This simply means you keep pushing during your allotted time to reach a new, higher goal.
Think about how your performance has been over the course of a year or a single month. How much better could you do, theoretically and honestly, by tweaking a few things? Think critically and carefully about your goals so you can be confident about meeting them.
SMART goals are REALISTIC.
Another way to think of this is whether or not your goal is relevant:
- By working toward these objectives, are you helping your vacation rental business?
- By reaching out and doing more for your guests, are you truly improving their experience or just complicating matters?
- Is it the right time to be working toward these things? (For example, are you trying to achieve an extensive occupancy or income rate boost during the low season? How ACHIEVABLE is that?)
- What will the payoff be for achieving your goal?
These are important questions to answer, too, because you don’t want to be working fruitlessly!
SMART goals are TIME-BOUND.
Again, with vacation rentals, things are very time-bound and times go in cycles. There isn’t much more you need to do here aside from determining how often you want to check your progress. Here are a few ideas:
- Are you hoping to make improvements in a single week over the busy season?
- How much more do you want to earn or how many more guests do you want to host in a single month?
- In a quarter, how much higher can your overall occupancy rate be REALISTICALLY?
This may be the easiest part of the bunch while you’re setting up your goals, but remember to consider it! Also, not all time frames are created equal. Be sure you’re giving yourself enough time to track an objective and, alternatively, not giving yourself too much time.
Setting goals for your vacation rental can be fun – it’s an exciting time of the year! This may help you set your path for the rest of the season or entire year. Don’t hold back: Decide what you want to accomplish in your business and write down your aims. Don’t forget to look at them often and keep them in check.
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