Renting your home on Airbnb is one of the best modern ways to create a supplemental income. Contrary to what many potential hosts believe, you don’t have to have an extra house or apartment to take advantage of millions of Airbnb users who are looking for a place to stay.
According to Airbnb, a whopping 87% of its users list their primary home residences for rent. This means, when the guests leave, they “move” back in. In several cases, the cash afforded to them from renting has provided the ability to get a second apartment or home. As a result, many of today’s hosts are raking in a five and six-figure salary from the short term rental platform.
If you’ve recently taken the plunge and started to list your space, here’s what you need to do to attract guests, and how to prepare your home for their arrivals:
Use Professional Photography
The holding power of professional photography can be phenomenal. In fact, it can mean the difference between a sale and a lost opportunity. Take advantage of Airbnb’s free photography service. If your location is eligible, they’ll send over a free professional photographer to capture your home in the best light possible.
These photographers are vetted by Airbnb, and are very hospitable with their services. If there are certain details that are important to you, they’ll be happy to capture it. And because they’re professionals, they’ll likely notice important features that you might not think were photo-worthy. If you don’t fully understand the power of professional photos, check out this article to see the difference.
Take Care of The Nitty Gritty Details
There’s a lot of caretaking that goes on that your guests will never see. It’s important that you prepare your home for your guests in a manner that ensures there are no mishaps. This goes beyond cleaning. Before you publish your listing, it’s best to double check that everything in your home is in proper working order.
For example, your plumbing is a very important part of your preventative Airbnb strategy. Before you list your house on Airbnb, assess your current situation and decide where potential issues could arise. Is your HVAC in working order? Is the water pressure decent? Is there a leak anywhere? Little issues now could turn into bigger issues later.
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If you notice any water issues, contacting a professional is your best bet. Fix It Plumbing, a service plumber in Melbourne VIC, says, “A service plumber is a plumber who will come to your home day or night and save you from anything from a dripping tap to a full blown burst water pipe emergency.”
And that’s exactly what you need. As a renter–even for short term rentals–you should be prepared to deal with any emergencies that arise. After all, the last thing you need is an Airbnb host horror experience. Inez Valk explained how two guests overfilled a new clawfoot tub she’d had installed, and the bathwater seeped through the floorboards.
“We urgently—but gingerly—knocked on the door and were greeted by flushed, sheepish guests,” she told Travel & Leisure. “Then we called a plumber.”
Working with a reputable plumbing and maintenance company gives you a repertoire with the business, and makes an emergency situation much more manageable–especially if you aren’t in the vicinity during the time of an emergency.
Provide An Experience
Creating a great listing is about so much more than giving your guests a comfy, clean place to sleep. Part of what makes Airbnb users prefer the platform over hotels is that it offers a unique experience. Start by creating copy that exemplifies the experience you want to provide. You can do this by painting a picture of your home and neighborhood.
Prior to booking, go the extra mile with your description. If you’re not adept at writing, hire a freelancer to take care of this portion for you. Every sentence should be fully optimized to pack a powerful punch. During an interview with Inc. magazine, superhost Scott Shatford gave the following examples of impressive description writing:
Don’t say: Large kitchen with stainless steel appliances.
Do say: Walk to the farmers’ market and make yourself a gourmet meal in the large fully equipped kitchen.
Don’t say: Two Beach Cruisers Included.
Do say: Cruise the Santa Monica coastline from the Pier to Muscle Beach with two complimentary beach cruisers.
There are extra things you can do to take your experience to the next level. Many hosts will make arrangements with local restaurants or attractions to get their hosts better deals. One host in Madrid partners with the gelato shop downstairs to offer free gelato and coffee to arriving guests, while another in New York City has partnered with a local diner to provide free breakfast. Most times, your local businesses will be happy to make a deal with you.
Include Great Amenities
Part of what makes a great Airbnb experiences and putting real effort into delivering amenities. Sure, this takes a little investing, but it goes a long way with getting a five-star review from your guest. Airbnb’s amenities checklist includes the basics of what guests expect from a home, including shampoo and conditioner, toilet paper, towels, and soap. But you can always go the extra mile to please your guests. Try creating an Airbnb welcome basket, leave out a bottle of wine, provide plush, comfy robes, and purchase board and card games for the household. Each of these are not required, but go a long way in creating a stellar stay.
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