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Airbnb is booming and demand for vacation rentals is high – which makes beating out the competition a challenge. A huge 500,000 listings were viewed around the world in the first quarter of 2015 with 31 percent of customers booking a room for two to three nights. One perk, in particular, is driving this force. Every vacation rental property is unique and you can usually find one that perfectly suits your vacation needs, no matter you travel style.

To meet your vacation goals, you’ll put the time in to finding the perfect rental, but just because you found it, doesn’t mean your reservation request will be approved. So how do you secure your dream rental? Here are four tips that will help secure the property you’re looking for.

Make Yourself Desirable to Hosts

As Airbnb becomes increasingly popular in the world of travel, the ball is now in the host’s court. In fact, in some cities (like New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles), when demand is high, hosts choose guests from multiple booking inquiries, with many Superhosts selecting only the cream of the crop. If you’re a first-time user or you’ve yet to accumulate any reviews, hosts are more likely to confirm a reservation if you contact them first. Build a rapport and tell them a little bit about you, those you’ll be traveling with, and the reason for your travel.

Once you become an experienced Airbnb user, you should work hard to maintain a high guest rating. By receiving good feedback from hosts after staying in a rental and being communicative throughout the process, hosts can write stellar reviews on your behalf. Having quality reviews on your profile makes the decision-making process for future hosts a breeze and gets you into that dream rental faster.

Read Through a Host’s Entire Profile

Reading through the listing profiles is also the best way to determine how perfect (or not perfect) the property is for your vacation rental needs. Scrutinize the photos, devour the text, and contact the host if you need more details. Make sure you read the entire listing before you make contact; asking a question when the answer was clearly stated in a listing is a huge annoyance for hosts and could risk someone else’s reservation request being favored over yours.

Airbnb’s rating system is also a quick way to find the properties that deliver the best value for the money. Typically, the higher the rating, the more satisfied previous guests were with their stay. But don’t take the five-star rating system at face value. According to research from Georgios Zervas at Boston University, 95 percent of listings on the platform scored either 4.5 or 5 stars; however, listings on TripAdvisor had an average of only 3.8 stars. What can you learn from this? Read the entire listing profile.

Complete Your Guest Profile

Speaking of reading the entire listing profile. Have you ever found your dream property only to find the information listed on the profile is out of date or incomplete? It’s pretty annoying, right? Well, it works the other way too. A host will likely check your profile to find out more about you before they let you stay in their home. In fact, Airbnb advises hosts to check guest profiles in their safety tips. Having a complete profile, with a photo, verifications, a phone number, and connected social network pages reassures hosts and maximizes your chances of securing your perfect rental.

Be Timely, Kind and Courteous

Whether you’re either interested in booking the property or you’ve changed your mind, let the host know in a timely manner. Also, don’t forget to be courteous and respectful when you make contact. A little kindness can go a long way! Once your trip is over, leave a detailed review on the host’s profile page. Hosts will often return the favor and leave a review for you as well.

The simple steps of completing your guest profile, reading listings thoroughly, and simply just being kind drastically increase your chances of landing your ultimate rental. Whether you’re an Airbnb first timer or have lots of experience when it comes to short term rentals, these four simple tips will help get you into that perfect vacation rental.

By: Michelle Giuliano

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