Staying in an Airbnb is a relatively new way to vacation and the platform is only getting popular. It has around 150 million users worldwide and more than 4 million listings in 190 countries. If you’re a host that likes to go the extra mile to create a beautiful and useful space for your guests, you get to enjoy a good source of side-income. In 2018, hosts earned an average of £3,100 (or north of $3,400) for renting out their homes for about 36 nights a year. As the popularity of Airbnb and vacation rentals only keeps growing, and with the safety this type of traveling provides post-pandemic, that number is continuously growing as well.
Before beginning your journey to becoming a 5-star rated Airbnb host, there is one critical point to keep in mind: hosting guests for an Airbnb is not the same as hosting friends or family for a stay. Instead, you should consider ways to make every single room of your rental the most inviting and convenient you could possibly make it. Make it your goal to create a welcoming, explorable, and convenient space with thoughtful little touches throughout. Do not go into it with a “get the job done” attitude.
Fortunately, it only takes making a few easy changes to each room to keep you and your guests happy.
Benefits of becoming an Airbnb host
As a potential Airbnb host, you may be curious about what advantages exist for you. Why should you become a host?
- Utilize your assets: If you have an extra property that you aren’t using, this gives you an excellent opportunity to utilize that space.
- Become a show-off: Being a host allows you to show off your town. Guests love going to a new place and feeling like they can enjoy a “home away from home.”
- Enjoy a worldly experience: As a host, you will meet people from all over. Through various interactions either online through messaging or face-to-face welcomes, you will get to meet people from everywhere!
- Earn some extra income: Then, of course, there is the potential to earn a little extra income from your rental! If done well with great care and consideration for your guests’ comfort, vacation rentals offer a huge financial opportunity.
Questions to ask when becoming an Airbnb host
So, now you understand the benefits to you as a new host; now, let’s consider some questions you’ll want to ponder at the beginning of this journey.
- When setting up your rental, ask yourself how each area will make your guests comfortable.
- Then, try to figure out how your space can provide convenience for your guest. For example: are you located a little out of a town? Provide a bicycle!
- While you create a welcoming environment for your guests, ask yourself what information you can include about your neighborhood and community to support local tourism. Consider providing this information in a digital guidebook for that extra layer of convenience.
- Of course, you’ll want to provide the essentials. So, ask yourself, what would you like the house to be stocked with if you were staying there? These are likely to make your potential guests enjoy their stay too.
- There will always be questions your guests have as they begin their stay, so what are you doing to ensure that they can help find answers to their questions and concerns? For example, how does the washing machine work? The digital guidebook would be handy here too.
- Instead of staying in a luxury hotel, your guests choose your home. So, what are you doing to go above and beyond the offerings they may find in a luxurious hotel? This is not in terms of fancy amenities like a $3000 coffee maker. Think in terms of good communication, local recommendations, a cute little welcome basket, a bottle of wine maybe? Going the extra mile always makes a big difference for guests.
- You’ll also want to think about how you can stand out from competition in the nearby area. Do some research about what nearby rentals offer, and one up them.
- Lastly, think a little bit about yourself too. Are you protecting yourself from potential bad guests? Maybe some insurance or implementing a security deposit will work in your favor.
Of course, these aren’t the only questions that will help you but they cover a lot of ground.
Setting up your home
Furnishing and styling your home can help ensure that your guests enjoy their stay in a beautiful space that is also stylish, practical, and homey. Any investment you make into appropriately styling your home can substantially impact how much your guests enjoy their stay. Here are some key points you’ll want to keep in mind as you design your space.
- Remove personal items: Be sure to remove any personal items (photos of you and your family, clothing, sentimental items, etc.) that may make your guests feel like they can’t fully get comfortable. Remember, they are staying as they would in a hotel.
- Take care of any maintenance inside & outside: Any broken garden furniture or lights that don’t work? Fix ‘em.
- Be prepared: Provide any emergency equipment your guests may need in emergencies like dangerous or unpredictable weather. Also add a fire extinguisher, smoke alarm, carbon monoxide detector, and a first-aid kit.
- Update the locks: This makes the place safer, and newer locks tend to work better. There is no need for your guest to be frustrated with the quality of the lock.
- Add wifi & streaming services: These conveniences will help your guests feel welcomed and like they can truly enjoy themselves.
- Decorate: Make your rental feel homey but not overly decorated. There are plenty of interior design videos on YouTube.
- Provide space: Aside from bedrooms, bathrooms, and a kitchen, make sure there is enough space to lounge, eat, and store their luggage.
- COVID safety: a cute welcome gift with a mask, small hand sanitizer and wipes is never a bad idea.
Stock your kitchen with several items most kitchens have. You’ll want to include basics like common condiments and spices for cooking, and bottled water! Also be sure to provide your favorite small appliances like a toaster, microwave, toaster oven, and mixer. Your guests will appreciate handy kitchen tools like a wine bottle opener, bottle opener, can opener, and pizza cutter. They will also really really appreciate some menus from your favorite delivery restaurants. Lastly, be sure there is a comfortable place to enjoy meals.
For the bedrooms, be sure you provide comfortable, clean linens. You can also prove many different kinds of pillows so your guests have options. Small features like bedside reading lights and places to charge electronic devices are always appreciated. A universal adaptor may be small but makes a huge difference. If you think the mattress needs an upgrade, then go ahead. If it’s too much of an investment, maybe a memory-foam topper at least. Black out drapes are also a must.
Though you don’t need to provide all toiletries, a simple set with body wash, lotion, conditioner, shampoo, a disposable toothbrush, toothpaste, a disposable razor, comb, and Q-tips, will help your guests get by if they forget something or it gets lost by their airline. Be sure also to provide at least two complete sets of towels per guest: 2 body towels, 2 wash clothes, and 2 hand towels. A scented diffuser does add a nice touch.
Clean, clean, clean!
The most important piece of advice we can offer, however, is to pay close attention to the cleanliness of your rental property. This is the number 1 expectation of a traveler. It doesn’t matter whether you’re doing it yourself or outsourcing to a cleaning service company, but know that excellent housekeeping is a must-have. Your property needs to be appropriately cleaned between stays. This became even more evident during COVID, and guests also appreciate having cleaning supplies around. To make up for your cleaning costs, you can charge a cleaning fee on your Airbnb listing or incorporate it into the nightly rate.
While investing in these may initially take a chunk out of your budget, you will end up making more money overall.
Creating the perfectly optimized listing
To get noticed, you’ll want to take some time to optimize your short-term rental listing on Airbnb. Your listing is also your guests‘ first impression of your vacation rental, so make it count. Follow these recommendations to get noticed and get bookings.
For only $100 to $200, you could hire a professional photographer who will help stage your home and make sure that your photos sell your home to your guests. Be sure to look for someone who works in real estate photography rather than a photographer who specializes in portrait work. Remember to decorate your space nicely, add some flowers, a throw over your couch, some books on the coffee table, etc. A lived-in space looks more attractive.
To write a quality description on your Airbnb listing, you’ll want to focus on several key ideas. First, be sure you create a great headline. You’ll want to focus on the most unique part of your listing. Next, use descriptive words to create a picture for your guest. Be sure to focus on the special features of your rental and be as specific in your wording as possible. Add ALL the amenities you offer, especially the ones that stand out! And be honest. Remember that negative reviews happen often because of mismanaged expectations.
Add house rules
In all likelihood, you have some house rules you would want your Airbnb guests to follow. Be sure to feature these in your house listing. There’s no reason these should surprise your guest, and knowing these rules upfront will help your guests know exactly what to expect. Not sure what to include in your Airbnb house rules? Click here.
Use a dynamic pricing tool
Want to maximize your rental income? Use a dynamic pricing tool that takes into consideration factors such as seasonality, the day of the week, and the market price to calculate the right price for your property and adjust it daily based on fluctuations.
Invest in the check-in experience
The check-in experience can be some of the most stressful moments for a new Airbnb host. Thankfully, there are two areas you can focus on right away that will make the process more enjoyable and stress-free for everyone. As a new host, we recommend that you invest in self-check-in and provide amenities that help make your guests feel as comfortable as possible. Happy, stress-free guests leave 5-star reviews, after all. And this is your way to getting that Airbnb superhost badge! Here is all you need to know about perfecting the check-in process.
Adding self check-in will take the stress off yourself and your guests, especially since we are post-pandemic. To continue with this option, all you need to do is figure out the entry method and communicate everything in detail. Through a digital guidebook, you can make this happen easily. If you want to do a host-led check in, then be as thorough as you can when welcoming the guest. Show them where the amenities are and how the electronic appliances work. Tell them your favorite restaurants nearby and happy hour deals.
Make your guests comfy right away
Your guests should feel comfortable the moment they walk in through the front door. Investing in the extras that people love goes a long way. Most of the time, it’s all about the small details. As a host, leaving some complimentary tea or coffee with biscuits will get you one step closer to earning those 5-star reviews. Consider adding a welcome basket to really make your guests feel at home.
Go the extra mile!
So, you’ve decided to be a host, cleaned the space, provided fabulous amenities, hired a professional photographer, and still want to do more? Don’t worry; we have two more recommendations to help you do just that: invest in a digital guidebook and make recommendations to your guests!
Create a digital guidebook
Helping create an amazing experience for your guests can be a time-consuming job. Thankfully, to help ease the burden, Hostfully offers digital guidebooks that take some of the weight off your shoulders. These guidebooks allow you to share an abundance of information with your guests, and you don’t need to take a lot of time constantly creating new material. You can include information about your check-in/out procedures, your contact information, house rules, important passwords, upsell services, and more.
Add local recommendations
As part of your digital guide, you can also add local recommendations. Become your guest’s virtual tour guide by recommending your favorite restaurants, wineries, stores, and other community highlights. You know the area, so show them the awesome features it offers!
Ok, we’re almost there; let’s just look at some final areas you’ll want to consider as you prepare your Airbnb.
- Protect your space with insurance: Before opening your doors to guests, be sure your insurance covers your Airbnb business. When you use Airbnb, Homeaway, and Vrbo, you already have some coverage, but anything below $50 would come out of your own pocket. Of course, you could also get short-term insurance to cover anything you don’t want to be held financially liable for.
- Tell the neighbors: Avoid any future confusion with your neighbors by giving them the heads up that your house is becoming an Airbnb rental.
- Be sure you have approval: Double check that your Airbnb is permissible under local laws, especially if you have a landlord.
- Be available for your guest: Communication with your guest is essential. Make sure you can be available for them if they need anything during their stay.
- Be transparent and communicative: Finally, ensure that you are being open and honest with your guests. Provide them with all information they need to know before or at the beginning of their stay.
If you get all of these right, you’ll be bringing in those 5* reviews!
We know this was a lot to take in, so check out the downloadable guide by MadeComfy here to help make your transition to becoming a host a little more seamless.
With the experience of managing more than 600 short-term rental properties across Australia, the MadeComfy team created Everything you need to know about preparing your property for short-term rentals – a comprehensive ebook covering the essentials to get started right.
Overview of the tips you can find in the guide:
- The impact of furnishing and styling on maximising your returns – High-quality furniture added to a good sense of styling is what will make your guests feel at home. In this section, we give you tips on choosing the right furniture and explain why allocating a budget to do furnishing and styling properly is a worthy investment.
- How can you make your listing stand out? You want to be the host everyone’s talking about. Making your property stand out goes further than choosing photos that strike your potential guests. Having a great title and a compelling description is the right way to start. In this chapter, we give you tips on structuring the copy and creating a great Airbnb listing.
- How to avoid bad reviews about cleanliness? It doesn’t really matter whether you’re doing it yourself or outsourcing to a cleaning company: Great housekeeping is a must-have and your property needs to be cleaned properly between stays. In this chapter, we give you a checklist to follow and a structure to organise your maintenance inspections.
- The extras that people love. Most of the time, it’s all about the small details. As a host, leaving some complimentary tea or coffee with biscuits will get you one step closer to earning those 5-star reviews. Discover our best tips for making your guests comfy.
- Guest management when properly done is an all-around job. Be as transparent and communicative as with the guests. It’s important to be prepared for any questions that might arise before or during a guests’ stay. At MadeComfy, we use Hostfully guides for all the properties we manage. In the guides, we include information about the check in/out, house rules and, of course, some insider tips on the best restaurants and attractions in town. Our Guest Management chapter covers that and other relevant tips for communicating with your audience.
- How to maximise your rental income? Setting up the nightly rate can be a struggle for someone who is just getting started. We cover how to apply dynamic pricing that takes into consideration factors such as seasonality, the day of the week and the market price to calculate the right price for your property.
- Giving and receiving reviews are more important than you think. What is the impact that reviews have on your business? In this chapter, we talk about how to get those 5-star reviews that will help you secure even more bookings.
Sounds interesting? Click here to download the guide.
We are so excited that you are considering jumping into the world of Airbnb rentals. Yes, getting started can be a little overwhelming. Still, if you follow our recommendations and use the awesome resources Hostfully offers Airbnb hosts, we know this will be a profitable and enjoyable experience for you! Good luck with your new adventure!