An Airbnb host made $25,000 using Facebook and Instagram
- Alaskan resident Amie Sommer rents a million dollar home in Arizona that sleeps 10 people.
- When she launched her ad, she used Facebook to get direct bookings from family and friends.
- Sommer uses Lodgify to coordinate bookings across all platforms, including Airbnb and Vrbo.
Alaska resident Amie Sommer’s first step to her new short-term rental was to create a website. Although she also lists her Arizona pad on Airbnb and Vrbo, Sommer knew she wanted a diverse pool of potential guests.
“I don’t want all my eggs in one basket,” she told Insider.
It’s a boon to Sommer’s business. In its first year of listing the $1.08 million desert oasis home that sleeps 10, it has already nabbed $50,000 in bookings, which Insider verified through documentation. Half of those bookings, she told Insider, came from promoting her direct booking link on social media sites Facebook and Instagram.
The explosion of new listings has made the short-term rental market more competitive, with some hosts worry about an “Airbnbust”. Recent data from the AirDNA analysis site showed demand was up 24% year-over-year in September, but that occupancy fell 1.2% due to the glut of listings travelers could choose from.
To stand out, hosts get creative. Sommer thinks his strategy is accessible to any host, even those who aren’t very tech-savvy.
“I’m not the most technically and technologically advantaged person in the universe, but I was able to get there and do it,” she said.
Sommer created a website and booked Facebook friends as first guests
Sommer started by creating a simple website using Wix, then an account on the vacation rental software site. Accommodation. She said she chose a $380 per year plan because she preferred to pay a flat fee to plans that offered a 2-4% reduction in all bookings.
Lodgify provides Sommer with a central calendar that syncs bookings between its website, Airbnb and Vrbo. It’s a one-stop shop that keeps their weeks in order and avoids double bookings, she said.
When booking his first guests, Sommer was looking for “guinea pigs”. She posted a link on her Facebook profile and offered some friends and family a discounted price of $350 a night, down from $550 previously.
She said she was shocked by the interest and ended up booking her first six weeks almost entirely. She encourages other guests to search their networks to find guests. A discount may be needed, but this type of booking probably means fewer headache-inducing guests.
“If I know them, I know they’re good people,” she said.
Sommer uses Instagram to attract guests and brand her home as an experience
Sommer traveled to Arizona frequently and knew the area well before buying the house. As a visitor-turned-owner, she had a good idea of the types of tourists she wanted to attract.
The house is in northeast Scottsdale, close to nightlife hubs around Phoenix. But Sommer said it was more suited for a quiet desert retreat.
“We are in the countryside where you can walk down the road and stroke a horse,” she said.
She began tagging the property as #LunaHouseAZ on Instagram and pointing out in her website description its secluded nature. It seems to be working: An upcoming guest found her while looking for accommodation for the 2023 Super Bowl in nearby Glendale, Arizona.
For just two nights, they pay $3,000.