What’s up everyone? We’re finally back with an episode of Virtual GM. I think it’s been like two months since we’ve made one, which is our bad. It’s kind of like going to the gym when you just don’t go. It’s that much harder to go again. But we’re back. We’re back in front of the camera. Cody’s not with us this week. He’s taking care of some stuff. I think one of his kiddos is sick. So it’s just me. And we have been really, really busy and we have some really cool updates to share with you.

In this video, I want to talk with you about a few things. Number one, what happened to the Utah Tourism Conference in the Vernal just a couple months back? There’s some really big updates, and if you aren’t part of the Utah Tourism Industry Association or don’t attend the Utah Office of Tourism Board meetings, or just get their news, you’re definitely gonna want to stay interested and stay tuned for that.

And then in addition to that, because this is Virtual GM, I’m also going to share some tips with you. In today’s tip is something that we get asked all the time, which is how can you become an Airbnb super host? I’m gonna go over how you can become an Airbnb Superhost, why you want to be an Airbnb Superhost and other alternatives to Airbnb. And I don’t just mean like VRBO or other OTAs. Sometimes Airbnb is a great solution for you, and other times there are probably better ways to do it without paying the Airbnb OTA commission.

So let’s go ahead and dive into it, everyone.

Updates from the Utah Tourism Conference in Vernal 2022

Okay, so there were some big things that happened at the Utah Tourism Conference in Vernal. If you didn’t have a chance to attend, I’d highly recommend going next year. It was absolutely amazing.

It was my first time ever going to the conference and I was completely blown away by it. I had no idea what to expect going into it. And just like in any tourism setting, it completely underpromised and over-delivered. We had so much fun. We had a great team. If you don’t follow our Instagram account, @thevibrantteam, we made a bunch of posts about it. A lot of it is us having fun. A lot of it is also good information about what happened at the conference. So be sure to follow us there.

A couple of big things happened. So there was a joint meeting with the UT board, which is the Utah Tourism Industry Association, which is the group that goes and lobbies, and they get the money and bring the information to UOT, which is Utah Office of Tourism.

So they’re two different boards, two different entities, but they work together. And in this board meeting, UTIA was able to really voice some concerns about what’s happening on the ground and data being reported incorrectly about visitation to Utah’s Mighty five parks. And the UOT board, which is headed by Vicki Varela, who is a state-appointed and governor-appointed position to be head of the Utah Office of Tourism. She was able to hear that and was able to make some big changes. And they even happened at the conference. In fact, one of those changes was that Spencer, or excuse me, Governor Spencer Cox flew into Vernal, was boots on the ground, met with UTIA as well as Vicki was able to hear some of the concerns from hotel owners, business owners near the Mighty five parks in the border towns of the Mighty Five.

And was able to really hear some of the frustrations and concerns in occupancy. In under an hour of that meeting happening, there was emergency funding approved for a new campaign. I can’t remember the exact amount. All this is available on utah.gov, but there is a campaign running right this second today, and it’s running all over the world for winter in Southern Utah. Cuz we know Southern Utah, winters are absolutely magical. They’re rarely touched by snow.

If you’re lucky like us in St. George, you’d never have to worry about it. Almost never. But that campaign is running right now and then starting again in January, the beginning of quarter one, the Mighty Five campaign is back on, which is huge. The Mighty Five campaign has been turned off for a long time. It was replaced by something called Road to Mighty Five.

Road to Mighty Five was a cool idea. In theory, it was about the journey between the national parks, but that would be like France running a campaign about the road from Paris to Normandy. There’s just a bunch of fields of cows. There’s no difference in France or Utah. It’s just fields of cows. So Vicki stood up in front of the whole conference and said, like Paris, they have the Eiffel Tower; they own the Eiffel Tower. We need to own, our Eiffel Tower, which is five national parks in one state. And so the Mighty Five campaign is back on. You can see the videos; they’re really great. The marketing budgets are through the roof. I learned so much.

I didn’t even know the governor was flying all over the world before that conference. He was in Dubai. He was in, I wanna say Australia. The third one might have been somewhere in the UK. I, I can’t quite remember. He was all over, only promoting visitation to Utah. And that, that was really cool to know that the governor is out doing that type of work for us as well.

So there’s a lot of really cool things for us to look forward to in the future, especially just from state advertising. Advice that we have for you is that now that this campaign is back and running, you can start going to board meetings. They publish those dates online. They will tell you where these ads are running, how much spend is going there, the type of creative and deliverable that’s being put there. Sometimes it’s tv. A lot of it’s online. Some of it might be in an airport, right? Like I remember flying to Ethiopia, and it was a giant Visit Utah sign outside of the terminal.

If you’re running ads for your property, hotel, motel, or whatever type of property you run, it’s a really good idea to just piggyback on those ads because they’re already getting a Utah ad. And then, if you can kind of come in with another call to action, you’re almost getting double the ad spend. There’s a little bit of awareness before your ad is there. That’s what we plan on doing with our properties. If you’re interested in that reach out to us. We’re happy to give you some tips, or if you want us to do that for you, that’s great too. We manage those for properties all over the world. Those are the biggest updates. There are some great keynote speakers. We are able to connect with a lot of the DMO.

 But overall, those are the biggest updates for the state. Again, you can find much of this on utah.gov or just by attending these UOT board meetings.

Is Becoming an AirBnB Superhost for you?

Okay, guys, it’s time to get to the tip of becoming an Airbnb super host. Before we talk about how to become an Airbnb super host, let’s determine if becoming an Airbnb super host is right for you. If you have the word hotel, motel, or resort, as part of your name. I really wouldn’t rely on Airbnb as a primary booking source, or you shouldn’t. If you are, it is time to have a paradigm shift. Airbnb is another OTA. They’re not very different from Expedia or booking.com other than it is a highly downloaded app. So you reach a much larger audience, but like an OTA, they’re going to be another channel; therefore, they’ll take a percentage of the stay they’re booking.

You can get a lot further and keep more money with your own website that’s optimized. A lot of great properties are doing that are still on Airbnb and may not be a Superhost, but they’re still delivering really well because they’re getting found organically through website searches. Like places to stay near Zion National Park or things to do in Miami, or where do I stay in Martha’s Vineyard? Wherever you’re at, right? Those Google searches are always happening. If someone is searching for you and you’re just organically there, then you don’t have to pay that OTA commission. And then, if you’re on a Smart PMS, you’re not going to pay a commission on the booking either. Just a cost per room per month. Now, if you have one or two investment properties and only rent through Airbnb, completely disregard that. Airbnb is a great place for you to be.

It’s a great place to receive passive income. But if you want that Superhost badge, then these are the things that you need to do. And one of them, there’s, there’s four. One of them is just a checkbox. It’s going to happen if you have the property and you’re doing the things right, the other three of them are, are completely on you. These are ones that you have to actually try and do or a property manager has to try and do. Okay?

How to Score a Superhost Badge: A Four-Step Approach to Airbnb Success

So the first of four things you must do to become an Airbnb super host is host at least 100 nights. That is not like 100 nights in a rolling 60-day period or something. You just have to have done 100. There’s no time limit. So this is the one that you’re just going to do.

If you have the property and you put it on Airbnb, it’s in a desirable location, and your property’s decent, that’s just what’s going to happen. You’re going to get 100 nights. So that one’s not terribly difficult.

Number two, you have to have at least a 4.8 star rating. So this one is on you. Is your property nice? Does it smell good or is it getting cleaned adequately? Do you have amenities in there? Do you have a coffee maker? Do you have Apple tv? Is there Netflix hooked up? What’s the communication like, right? Do you have to be on top of this type of stuff? And usually, a good property manager is going to accomplish this for you, but you have to have at least a 4.8 star or greater to earn that super host badge. The third thing you have to do is have less than a 1% cancellation rate.

This one’s a little bit trickier, but there are ways to do this. The biggest way to do that is by giving someone a reason to complete their booking. So really high-quality images, if you have a website, videos will be awesome on the platform. I can’t remember if you can or can’t put those on Airbnb, but any videos you have, especially aerial lifestyle videos like that, will go a long way. If you have really good media pictures and videos and even a website or a social media channel, people are going to be a lot more inclined not to cancel.

The fourth thing, which is entirely on you, is probably the hardest one because it happens so much is you have to have a 98% response rate. So when someone sends you a message, you need to respond, and you need to respond fast.

A lot of this can be automated, although Airbnb is kind of fighting against that right now. A good reason to have a property manager is that they usually have someone whose job is to respond to guest inquiries. 98% response rate will also help with that lowered cancellation rate, and it will help with that 4.8 star review or greater. If you’re responding within a 98% response rate, you’re not leaving people on red or ghosting them and responding to all messages. Even if someone just says like, thanks after asking a question, and you say Thank you and have a great day just to end it, that is still a response rate. You need to have the last say in the guest interaction. So don’t just leave it in red, make sure that someone is responding.

That can be a headache if you do have a hotel or a 100-key property; that can be a lot of messages all at once. Someone’s going to have to answer them either way. But if you have a website that answers questions and delivers information so that someone doesn’t have to answer, it’s going to alleviate that and make that 98% chance, or excuse me, 98% response rate way higher. Those are the only four things that you have to do to become an Airbnb super host. It’s not terribly difficult. The only cumbersome, laborious, and time-consuming part is just completing that 100-day stay.  If you’re watching this, odds are you probably have now; you just need to change the way that you’re operating Airbnb and the property internally.

That’s it for today. Those are the updates. That’s our tips. Be sure to like and subscribe to this. Share it with a friend or family member who has an investment property or property they’re managing right now. A special thank you to Sean Cannell for reminding us just to press record. We will see you at Grow Video Live 2023.