Guide to becoming a great host and earning effortlessly on car sharing platforms
By now, you must have read plenty of posts about passive income and the under-utilization of your car. So, you finally decide to jump on the car-sharing bandwagon by becoming a host on a car-sharing platform. As a start, you first select the platform (Kudos if you picked Drive lah!) then you create your account, add photos of your car, and decide on the pricing.
What next? Sit back and watch tons of booking requests flow your way? In an ideal world, yes! But in reality, it’s not that breezy. Given that car-sharing platforms have thousands of members and car listings, you can’t simply sit and hope that guests will always find and choose your car. To make sure that your listing gets noticed and picked by guests, let us share a few things that great car hosts do.
Following them will help you become a super-host and keep a healthy trail of booking requests flowing your way. So, let’s dive in and improve your prospects on car-sharing platforms!
When someone joins Drive lah as a car host, we share the following 6 key tips with them which help them in providing a great experience to our guests as well as improving the visibility of their listing on the platform.
Car sharing is a community-driven initiative. To ensure the safety of all, hosts and guests need to be honest with each other. As a car host, communicate your expectation clearly to the guests. Answer all questions from guests about availability, car condition and important rules to be followed. As a car host on Drive lah, if you are not sure about something, get in touch with our team that’s available 24×7 and we will help you figure out the right answers. You must communicate your expectations clearly so that the guests understand them and abide by them. And this will ensure that both parties have a great experience.
Create an Appealing Listing
Think of your listing as a resume for your car. Don’t copy and paste someone else’s and don’t mislead! Create a catchy title for your car listing. Instead of listing, ‘Toyota Corolla 1.5L Diesel‘ (which sounds meh), why not list it as ‘City friendly Corolla with great mileage’ or if you are renting out an electric car, list it as ‘Environment-friendly EV with custom leather seats‘
Highlight what makes your car unique and try to capture the guests’ attention so that they remember your listing and identify their needs with it. Click photos from different angles (just like your Instagram selfies, add a bit of dazzle!) and fill in all details requested by the platform. And if you want some examples of ideal listings, you can find them in our help section.
Set Clear Rules
Be very clear in how far the guests can drive, are pets allowed in the car, or is smoking permitted. For example, on Drive lah, you can mention whether a user can drive the car to Malaysia or not. Setting clear rules will help avoid misunderstandings between you and the guest. So, specify the maximum mileage and any particular rules that need to be followed to ensure a smooth experience for you and the guest.
We encourage our hosts to specify the rules in detail so that when guests book your car, they know exactly what is allowed and what isn’t. When you specify all the rules, it helps in filtering the number of booking requests as only guests willing to abide by the rules will send requests. Setting clear rules and communicating them to guests also helps in resolving any issues that might arise in case the guest fails to abide by them.
Respond Fast and Clearly
Guests expect hosts to reply fast and be within reach whenever they have a question related to the upcoming trip. So, ensure that your response time is fast. Be proactive in reaching out to guests. For example, if someone has booked your car, send them a quick message like:
“Hey! Thanks for renting my car for (specify date and time). If you have any questions related to the trip or the car, feel free to reach out.”
Such proactive communication and fast response time will assure guests of great service and will translate into repeat bookings. For Drive lah, you can easily manage all that through the app. And when you communicate make sure that you clarify all questions from the guests. Lack of proper communication can lead to misunderstandings which might lead to a bad experience for both parties. As a host, articulating all terms and conditions as well as booking details might seem like a hassle but it helps eliminate any possible misunderstandings. Also, when you have a reputation as an honest, reliable, and responsive host, you are sure to get a lot of repeat bookings.
When you have accepted a booking, make sure that you are accessible to the guests in case they have any queries or encounter any issues during the ride. Drive lah users can download the Drive lah app and chat with guests anytime and anywhere. We advise our hosts not to share their personal numbers or ask for personal contact details from the guest. If you are a responsive and accessible host, guests will prefer to rent from you as well as give you great ratings. The reviews, as well as positive ratings, will result in more booking requests as guests prefer a host who is available to help them if they have questions or need any help during the ride.
Trust the Process
As a car host, we advise you to follow the process that’s set on the platform. An important aspect of getting your listing up and running is to provide all accurate information about your car. Starting with the year, make, and model of the car to the registration number and license plate. Fill in all the details that are required by the platform as it is important in case of any insurance claims. Updating complete details of your car will ensure that your car is visible to users as incomplete listings will not be shown to potential guests.
Also, when you rent out your car to a guest, make sure that you and the guest click photos of the car from all angles. So that when the car is returned, you can check if there was any damage. In case there was any damage, your photos help the platform in verifying your claim and reimbursing the amount.
As a host, it is in your benefit to accept all booking requests, depending on your car availability. When you accept a majority of bookings, you automatically gain a high spot in search results and this, in turn, helps you get more booking requests. And when you receive more booking requests, you have the leverage to accept the request that suits you best as well as generates more profit. We understand that sometimes guests might have some additional requirements, for example, they might want to extend the booking by half an hour or maybe change the booking to the next day. Depending on the car availability, we urge our hosts to exercise certain flexibility to guests’ demands. If your car is available for the next day, be open to changing the booking, or if the guest is late in returning the car by a few minutes, considering not penalizing them for late return. The flexibility that you provide benefits you by getting a good rating from the guest.
More importantly, we urge our hosts to avoid cancellations. If you accept a booking and cancel it later on, the guest again has to start the process of finding a new car. Also, as a host, if you have canceled a lot of bookings, it impacts your ratings as well as pushes your listing down in search results.
So, when guests request something additional or need you to be a bit flexible, we urge our hosts to be more accommodating and avoid cancellation at all costs.
Update Pricing frequently
Pricing is an important factor for guests in deciding which car to rent. A good host should update the pricing regularly. For example, if you own a convertible, people would be willing to pay a higher price when they take road trips during summer, and hence you can charge higher. In monsoon, having a high price for a convertible with low demand is not ideal. Keeping a competitive price is important as guests have a lot of options. Hosts on Drive lah get regular updates from us about how their pricing is in comparison to similar cars and what would be a competitive price.
As a host you should check the pricing of similar cars and adjust your listing accordingly.
Maintain a pleasant experience for Guests
Guests typically like opting for the same hosts if they have a good experience. So, hosts need to strive to make sure that guests have a positive experience. Recommend them some scenic places to travel. Tell them about local restaurants where they can get amazing food. Leave a couple of chocolates or energy bars in your car for the guests (who doesn’t like a sweet munch on a long drive?)
Make sure to leave a positive review for good guests so that they feel like reaching back to you when they need a car. Offer a discount for returning guests. The more personal and friendly experience you create for the guests, the more they will rent with you. On top of that, you can be sure that they will spread the word within their circles that you are a great host!
So, why should you follow all these steps? It’s as simple as 1-2-3
1) The algorithms of the car-sharing platforms arrange the listings based on the location of the car, customer ratings, reviews, host response times and number of successful bookings. The better you are on these parameters, the more prominent will be your listing.
2) Car-sharing as a community is built on trust. Hence, when you upload the correct car data and set the correct expectations, there is no scope for misunderstanding between parties and that leads to a positive experience overall.
3) And finally, guests tend to rent with hosts who provide a positive experience. Returning guests make a healthy chunk of a host’s earnings. In a lot of cases, regular guests and hosts become good friends. Focus on building relationships and the bookings will flow effortlessly!
So follow the steps and make sure that you build a positive experience for your guests and they will keep coming back!