Airbnb has been a hot topic of conversation at many industry conferences these past few years and with its campaigns of offering an authentic local experience or “living there” for its travelers, it can be hard to feel like it’s easy to compete with the vacation rental company on this front. The funny thing is that’s where you can have a leg up on the competition; you are a local and a great resource for your guests in this arena and can easily imitate the Airbnb strategy!
The aim of these Airbnb ads is to show its users that by renting a place you’re more entrenched in the culture and community whereas hotels or inns can’t provide that authentic feeling of actually being a part of the city or town they’re in. We know that’s not true and we know that many travelers won’t feel that’s true either. But, if you are ready to take on Airbnb on the living there campaign, here are some ways you can showcase the local experience at your property:
Local staff and service
We’re sure you’re asked all the time for recommendations of things to do or what to see in the area with your expertise as a local but make sure your entire front desk staff is comfortable answering these questions too. You could also add staff bios to your website saying how long they’ve lived in the area, their favorite things to do, and places to frequent to give guests an idea of what to do with their time and who to ask for recommendations.
Another way your staff can beat Airbnb is by offering stellar customer service. Most Airbnb guests don’t interact with their hosts on-site and if there’s a problem it can be hard to get ahold of someone to take care of it, whereas you’re on-site and can immediately improve your guests’ experience. It also doesn’t hurt to remind your guests that daily housekeeping is included in their stay whereas a vacation rental stay means they have to clean up after themselves.
Amenities and free activities
Guests love amenities – breakfast, robes, free WiFi, and more – and can really appreciate those at your property when you localize your offerings. Include resource guides or partner with local vendors to give coupons or discounts to your guests to help them experience your city better and more affordably. It may also be beneficial to offer transportation like free bikes and maps to your guests so they can explore the city on their own.
You already list out activities and attractions on your website to help your guests plan their vacation but creating your own guidebooks, like an E-book or blog series, can really help your guests by customizing their itinerary as they see fit. This is another easy way to help boost your presence on Google and compete with its Google Destinations product.
You can create itineraries for certain types of travelers: Adventurers, couples looking for romantic activities, solo travelers, and so on. Or, create guides: Easy hiking, difficult biking trails, best happy hour bars, best family restaurants, etc. Showcase your authority in knowing your area as a local to help guests feel they’re getting the best of the city and their accommodations when they book with you.
If you have an on-site restaurant, you’re already a step ahead. Yes, Airbnb rentals come with kitchens but how many of your guests would really want to cook while on vacation? Showcase a menu that includes local dishes or regional ingredients to appeal to guests wanting a local dining experience or point them in the right direction of restaurants that are favorites with people that live in your city.
Another way to show off how guests can live in your city by staying at your property is by sharing photos by your guests from around town or around your property on your social media channels. You can also share other local vendors’ photos, like restaurants or a cool photo from the local whitewater rafting company.
Another way to help out is when a guest checks in on a site like Facebook, like their post and comment with, “Welcome to My Property! If you need any suggestions of things to do or places to dine, do not hesitate to come to our front desk and ask as we love helping our guests find the best things to do in our city.”