Is Your Airbnb Failing? 16 Mistakes That Could Be Costing You

May 8, 2024

Renting out space on Airbnb can be a smart way to turn your property into a profitable asset. But before you dive headfirst into the exciting world of hosting, hold on a second!  There are some classic rookie mistakes that can sabotage your Airbnb success – and cost you money. 

Luckily, we’re here to help.  Tidal Loans understands real estate investment, and that includes the potential (and the challenges) of short-term rentals.  So, let’s roll up our sleeves and dive into the most common Airbnb hosting pitfalls, so you can sidestep them and start your journey on the right foot.

Listing & Pricing

Think of your Airbnb listing as your virtual storefront – it’s the first impression potential guests get. Mess this up, and they’ll likely move on to the next property without a second thought. Here’s where many hosts slip up:

Overcharging for Cleaning: 

We all want a spotless rental, but sky-high cleaning fees are a huge turn-off for guests. Keep your fee reasonable and in line with the actual cost of cleaning.  No one wants to feel like they’re paying for a professional deep clean when they’re already tidying up before checkout.

Inaccurate Listing Descriptions:  

Don’t sugarcoat things. Be honest about the space, the amenities, and the neighbourhood.  Yes, you want to highlight the positives, but misleading descriptions lead to disappointed guests and bad reviews – a recipe for Airbnb disaster.

Lack of Pricing Strategy:  

Picking a price out of thin air isn’t going to cut it.  Do your homework! Research comparable listings in your area, consider seasonality, and be prepared to adjust your prices based on demand.  Pricing tools like Wheelhouse can be a huge help in getting this right.

Guest Management

Handling guest interactions the right way can make or break your Airbnb experience. Get this wrong, and you could be dealing with frustrated guests, negative reviews, or even nightmare scenarios!  Avoid these common missteps:

Not Screening Guests:

Take a few minutes to review a guest’s profile before accepting a booking.  Are they verified? Do they have positive reviews from other hosts?  Look for red flags in their communication. This can help filter out potentially problematic guests.

Communication Outside the Platform:

Airbnb has built-in communication tools for a reason.  Keep all conversations within the official messaging system.  This protects you in case of disputes, and allows Airbnb to help if things get messy.

Unrealistic Cleaning Expectations:

Yes, you want guests to leave your place tidy, but don’t put the burden of professional-level cleaning on them.  Be clear about what you expect – dishes washed, trash out, etc. – but don’t turn them into your unpaid cleaning crew.

Property & Amenities

Don’t underestimate the impact your property’s condition and the extras you offer have on guest satisfaction. Neglecting these aspects can easily sabotage your Airbnb venture. Here’s where some hosts go wrong:

Not Providing Essentials:

Guests expect certain basics to be covered. Think clean towels, linens, basic toiletries (soap, shampoo), and a well-stocked kitchen. Skimping on these essentials is a recipe for negative reviews.

Not Choosing Easy-to-Clean Materials:

When furnishing your rental, opt for practical options. Durable flooring, stain-resistant fabrics, and easy-to-wipe surfaces will save you time, money, and headaches in the long run.

Lack of Thoughtful Amenities:

Going the extra mile with a few thoughtful touches can elevate the guest experience and make you stand out from the competition. Consider things like a welcome basket with local snacks, a curated guidebook to the area, or even a simple coffee or tea station.

Management & Strategy

Running a successful Airbnb takes more than just a nice space. Smart hosts know that streamlined operations and a solid business mindset are key! Here are some common pitfalls to avoid:

Not Automating Operations:

Don’t waste time on repetitive tasks. Use tools to automate guest communications, streamline cleaning schedules, and manage your calendar. This frees up your time and reduces the risk of errors.

Underestimating Workload:

Being an Airbnb host is a commitment, not a passive income scheme. Be realistic about the time required for guest communication, cleaning, maintenance, and handling reviews. If you’re not prepared, things can quickly get overwhelming.

Ignoring STR Regulations:

Many cities have strict laws on short-term rentals. Failing to research and comply with local regulations can lead to fines, legal trouble, and even having your listing shut down.

Traditional Cash Flow:

Before you go all-in on Airbnb, make sure your property can still cash flow with a traditional long-term renter. This provides a safety net in case of vacancies or unexpected issues.

Relying Only on Airbnb:

While Airbnb is a great starting point, diversifying your marketing efforts is wise. Consider listing on other platforms like Vrbo or create a direct booking website to expand your reach and avoid putting all your eggs in one basket.

Not Utilising Reviews:

Whether good or bad, reviews provide valuable insights. Encourage guests to leave feedback, respond promptly to both positive and negative reviews and use their input to improve your Airbnb game.


Hosting on Airbnb can be incredibly rewarding, but it’s not without challenges. By being aware of these 16 common mistakes and taking steps to avoid them, you’ll set yourself up for success. Remember, a great guest experience starts with careful planning, attention to detail, and a willingness to learn and adapt.

If you’re considering turning your property into a short-term rental, don’t forget that Tidal Loans LLC is here to help. We specialise in real estate investment financing and understand the unique opportunities and challenges of the Airbnb market. Contact us to explore your financing options and turn your hosting dreams into reality!

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