Chi Ta, an Airbnb success story who leveraged 12 years of mortgage industry experience to help him become one of the world’s most successful Airbnb hosts, sat down with Amy Cook, CMO at Simplus, to chat about how people can grow revenue through vacation rentals.
To break it down, here are three of the top tips discussed in this podcast:
– The #1 challenge you will face as a newcomer into this business is landlord rejection. Learn how to approach landlords about subleasing.
– Get those reviews. It’s an essential part of being successful on Airbnb; it’s part of their search ranking algorithm.
– Answer messages within seconds! Not minutes, seconds.
COOK: For starters, how did your experience in the mortgage industry prepare you for your current success in the world of short-term real estate rentals?
TA: That is a great question, after helping thousands of people in the mortgage industry, I’ve developed a keen understanding when it comes to negotiating and dealing with people. You have to put the needs and wants of the other party first while negotiating a deal all the while making sure the deal still makes sense for you. One of the main challenges that people have when it comes to short term rentals is the inability to convince a landlord to let them use their property. However, this hasn’t been a challenge for me due to the fact that I’ve developed the right approach to properly deliver the message.
COOK: Why Airbnbs? What drew you to this industry?
TA: It was honestly all by chance and fate. The specific niche brokerage I had was going out of business due to a regulation change, and Airbnb was sort of my last hope and hail mary. I had one property left after liquidating all my toys and assets, and it was either make some supplemental income and keep the property or lose that as well. The rest just fell into place.
COOK: I understand you went from zero to 30 properties in just nine months. You’re based in San Francisco, which is not the easiest real estate market to buy one, let alone dozens of homes. How did you make that happen?
TA: The beautiful thing about Airbnb is that you don’t actually need to own a property in order to put it on Airbnb. You can lease a property from a consenting landlord and put it on the short term rental market. Now the trick is finding the right property that ensures maximum returns; otherwise, it could be a risky proposition. There are people out there who lose money trying to replicate what I do.
COOK: What were some of the challenges you faced getting this business off the ground? And you were able to do all of this while only using a small portion of your own money?
TA: Initially, when I started this, I had no more money. Zero. I really built this entire business all on consumer credit cards because I didn’t even have collateral left to get a loan. Being in the mortgage industry, I do understand quite a bit about credit, and what banks are looking for to approve you for something as simple as a credit card. Naturally, I used my knowledge to raise roughly 250k and started ten properties within the next couple of months.
COOK: You attribute much of your success to a passion for putting the needs of the traveler first. How does that philosophy translate to running a successful Airbnb?
TA: We are in a really transparent time in history; everything is recorded in a form of a review, one way or another. By putting my guest first and letting them know I truly care about their experience, they will go out of their way to leave a review. Reviews are an essential part of being successful on Airbnb as it is part of their search ranking algorithm.
COOK: What are some of the things that you do for guests that other Airbnb owners neglect?
TA: So many things, the list would go on forever, but the #1 key thing is answer messages within seconds. I have trained my entire team to answer message within 5 seconds of receiving them. This gives you a chance to solve any issues that the guest has and to turn a negative situation into a positive one.
COOK: I see on your website AirbnbMillionareSecrets.com that you offer coaching and mentorship programs. How would you describe your programs? How would you describe the individuals who benefit the most from working with you? Can you tell us more about that?
TA: I have two programs. One is a video course for the individual who can go at their own pace and can learn from videos without interaction. It shows you some really incredible things such as how to instantly identify the most profitable areas around you in which you can start an Airbnb. This eliminates your risk of losing money. There are no other courses out there that teach this, and if they do now, I can assure you it is an imitation of what I have started. The second option is one-on-one mentorship which is not the cheapest, but this is where I take an individual under my wing and show them how to incorporate a business, apply for all the funding, scale their business and build out all the components required to automate their entire business creating a passive income machine.
COOK: For all of your successes, I’m sure you’ve had to overcome difficult challenges along the way. What advice do you have for our listeners on overcoming obstacles and remaining focused on your goals?
TA: The #1 challenge you will face as a newcomer into this business is landlord rejection. Put yourself in their shoes and think about what it is they are looking for and ease those pain points. If you can do that you will be successful before you know it. Also, it boils down to a numbers game if you approach enough people you will always get a deal, so many people give up way to early.
To hear more, click HERE to listen to the full podcast.