How to get lots of booking requests as a new host | 9flats blog – inside the world of social travel

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How to get lots of booking requests as a new host

When our hosts have questions, they either write us an email, call us… or sometimes they come to see us in person.

Like Martin: the Berliner who listed his property on a few weeks ago. Because this is just down the road from our office in Kreuzberg, Berlin, and he passes by every day on his bike anyway, he decided to drop in. So one sunny October day, he arrived at our door with the words: “Is this 9flats?” Here are the other things he wanted to know, and the advice we gave him…

Reviews are important for your ranking
He explained to us that he listed his place on our site a few days ago, because he liked the idea of 9flats and of getting to know new people. But he wondered why his place wasn’t showing up on the first few pages of search results.
We told him that when hosts first list their place on our site, their room, flat or house won’t appear on the first pages of search results straight away. The reason: the ranking on our list of search results is mainly based on the number of reviews written by guests about that place.
Good description and photos are key
So for Martin, it’s really important that guests book his place and leave reviews. “But how can I make my place attractive to guests?” he wanted to know. A detailed description of the accommodation and clear photos are the first thing. Martin has now uploaded 13 photos of his apartment (for good luck!) and described his “Room with Breakfast“, as well as his local area. He also completed his personal profile. This is an essential part of attracting bookings, as many guests won’t book places without a host photo or description.
It’s best to start with a low price
As well as a detailed description and photos, a good price is also important. For Martin, it’s best to begin with a slightly lower price compared to similar offerings in Kreuzberg. Then, when a few guests have booked because of the great price, he can slowly start to adjust the price. At the moment, Martin’s “Room with Breakfast” is offered at a very attractive price of €29 a night.

Always be quick to answer booking requests
“Right, let’s wait and see if the first guest books with me…” Martin said, getting on his bike and cycling home. Our tip for him: hosts have 24 hours to respond to booking requests. After that, they expire and are automatically withdrawn. The faster you answer as a host, the better it is for your ranking, because guests can request up to three places.

Martin and his first guest
Martin has apparently heeded our advice, because last weekend, Jens from Erlangen stayed with him as his first guest. Jens’ review: “Great location, nice room, cozy… almost like home. I can definitely recommend it!” So, congratulations, Martin!

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Written by , January 18, 2012