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It’s been quite a year for Houst. We’ve grown from 9 cities to 22 and we’ve learned a lot. But we’d be lying if we said speed wobbles weren’t a thing. They are, and we’ve experienced them. More importantly, however, we’ve let the speed bumps help us navigate and adapt in new markets.
With beautiful weather all year round and tourism as its main industry, San Diego and Houst were fated from the start. As the first local San Diegan team member of UK-based Houst, I’ve experienced the progress we’ve made in the US and the obstacles we’ve had to overcome in these unknown Pacific waters.
Here’s what we’ve learned:
1. Get with the local lingo
First and foremost, when expanding to a new city abroad it’s super important to keep the terminology relevant to that particular market. For example, when I first came on board, I had to sift through all of our content to make sure it was Americanized. If I had a penny - or maybe a cent - for every time I changed ‘optimise’ to ‘optimize’ or ‘favourite’ to ‘favorite’ I’d have a few dollars by now. Long story short, we’ve since removed ‘crockery’ from our Essential Airbnb lists and continue to embrace the American marketplace with localized lingo.
2. Don’t be afraid of ‘After Summer Bummer’
Despite nearly 365 days of summer, it’s still very common for bookings to slow down after summer’s peak season. Fear not hosts, for we have many tricks up our sleeves to help with the lulls.
Some easy tweaks to increase occupancy are:
- Listing and unlisting your property
- Closing and opening your Airbnb calendar
- Changing the Title
- Rearranging Photos
- Offering Discounts
You can also check out our simple hosting tricks here.
3. Prepare for differences in Customer Expectations
A recent study by New Voice Media found that only 25% of people in the US will hold whilst on phone after 10 minutes, compared to 64% of Brits, for whom it is a regular occurrence.
Here in America we have very high expectations for customer service, which our Guest Experience team quickly learned. When first launching here, we experienced bumps with these higher expectations as our Communication ratings on Airbnb fell to 75% in July, a number we’re not used to seeing in our hub cities like London and Edinburgh.
We took action and hired additional Guest Experience members and created extensive neighborhood guides to improve our transparency and service with guests. Our guest communications now average a 96.6% satisfaction rate, a drastic 21.6% increase in 3 months.
These are just a few of the things we’ve picked up on since launching in San Diego and we’re not naive enough to think we won’t find more along the way. Being a major player in the ever developing sharing economy means that adaptability is the main ingredient to stay relevant.
Here’s to another lap around the sun. 🥂
Find out how much your home could earn you this year.
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