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This is my third summer hosting Airbnb guests. It’s not for everyone…but if you have a spare room, spare time to go travelling or a spare friend who’ll put you up, Airbnb gives you the chance to earn some very useful spare cash.
Fancy trying it?
Here are my 20 Secrets That Will Make You The Perfect Airbnb Host
1. Let’s start with the boring bit – Plan and Prepare. Are you renting out your entire home? If so, Cap’t Obvious says that you’ll need a place to stay. Where will you go? How much will that cost? Should you take your Nespresso machine and your slippers? Do you need to fit a lock on a cupboard to store your personal effects? Start a BIG list.
2. Clean. Clean And Clean Some More. Set aside AGES (like 5 days) to get your home organised. I figured it would take a few hours. WRONG! Four days later I was washing the egg section in my fridge!
3. Be Creative. Spend some time creating a cracking Airbnb Listing. When it comes to the headline – modesty will get you nowhere. I use – The Best Spot In The West End – snappy eh!
And make sure you fill in all the Airbnb sections including
The Amenities – Airbnb provides handy prompts– Hairdryer – check, Wifi – check, TV – check, Desk – check etc
The Space– highlight all the great features about your home.
Guest Access – what areas of your home can your guests use.
Other Things To Note – Is there parking? Overlooking a beautiful garden. Near a great café that serves THE BEST coffee.
The Neighbourhood – What’s nearby? Why do you love living there? Don’t worry you don’t have to write a tourist guide to your city – Airbnb provide an overview of the area where you live.
Your Profile – upload a smiley photograph of yourself and a quick introduction. Have you always lived in this city? Why do you love it? Where do you enjoy going on holiday? Think Tinder profile without the hassle of dating.
4. Snap!! Take stunning photographs of your home – inside and out. Yeah a nice photo of your sofa with plumped up cushion is very pleasing on the eye but a bit… ermmm boring. Get some photo inspiration from Pinterest, Instagram or an Interiors Magazine and takes some snaps with a bit more Cor Blimey appeal. Show some little touches that guests will love- fluffy towels artistically rolled (you could have a go at making a Towel Swan if that’s your thang!) and placed on top of a well made bed, a cafetiere filled with steaming coffee and two nice china cups and sauces and a big slab of cake, a wardrobe full of hangers (you can never have too many hangers – think like the Kardashians are staying for a week), a bottle of Rose and two glasses in an ice bucket. You get the picture.
5. Hide The Family Jewels or take things which are easily damaged or you would hate to lose (like your fancy Bose Wave thingy, family photographs, and the dog)
6. Factor In The Costs – there’s paying for insurance and broadband and cleaning. And don’t forget you’ll be the one paying for the electricity and gas, factoring costs, getting spare keys, tea, coffee, water, biscuits, kitchen/toilet roll, cleaning stuff, dishwasher tablets, etc. And then there’s your time spent cleaning and washing sheets and towels and meeting & greeting the guests – when you could be out earning money driving an Uber. Then there’s the tax-man – who will probably whip off a good 20- 30%. By the times you’ve paid all that you could be left with £8.28 per day – if you don’t set your price correctly
7. Set Rules -that suit you. Airbnb prompts you and remember you can adjust them as you go.
Here are mine –
Length of Stay– minimum 5 nights (keeps the hassle, laundry & biscuit costs down)
Cancellation Policy – 48 hours
Cleaning Cost – £20
Deposit – £100 (refundable but you can claim if anything has been broken)
Pricing. Make it high. Airbnb has a Smart Pricing system which encourages lower pricing – which would mean more bookings. I don’t use that and set a higher price to cover all those costs outlined in No 6!
8. Be Fussy. I only accept guests who have at least 2 positive reviews. Airbnb has an Instant Booking System – which if you sign up to you agree to automatically accept all guests. I prefer to switch that off and grill guests before I accept them – Do you have a weekend drug habit? Have you ever served time in jail?
Seriously though don’t be afraid to say no if you get a feeling about a booking or have an approached by a guy whose profile pictures shows in him in a baseball cap with I LOVE Crack Cocaine on it.
Note – Airbnb do frown on it if you knock back to many requests (you won’t become a Super Host as quickly as you would if you accept all bookings.)
9. Communicate – don’t stalk your guest but it’s worth sending a Hello looking forward to hosting you a few days before they arrive. This gives you an opportunity to confirm check-in time.
10. Be Thoughtful – your guest will love you forever (and give you a great review) if you leave some teabags and coffee, ice in the freezer, biscuits in the cupboard and maybe a couple of cans of gin and tonic in the fridge. I always leave some fresh flowers (like the £3 bunch of roses from the garage).
11. Leave a Welcome Pack – a little note saying hello, with instruction booklets for electronics, leaflets and flyers on the local independent cinema listings, museum, bus service, walking routes. Provide information on the local hospital, doctor and pharmacy. And stick business cards on a pin board for the best coffee shop, pizza delivery, hairdresser, nail bar.
12. Greet Your Guests in Person– or if you are off travelling the world on your Airbnb income, send along one of your nice clean friends. Open the door with a smile. Help carry their bag. Offer them a drink. Give them a quick tour and show how the electronic items work. Imagine you are the Doorman, Receptionist, Barman, Concierge and Porter in the Plaza.
13. Be Generous with towels and bedding. I provide 1 Huge Bath Sheet, 1 Bath Towel, 1 Hand Towel per guest. If they are staying more than 6 nights I leave a second bale and a change of bedding.
BONUS HOUSEWIVE-Y TIP – don’t use fabric softener on your towels – makes them less absorbent!
14. Keep Guest Entertained. I allow guests to use my Netflix account and leave all my books (poor sods have got their choice between a mix of self-help books, tons of book on Henry VIII and his Wives and enough Michael Connolly’s Bosch books to last a lifetime). Leave any games you have – Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit or even a pack of cards.
15. …and Comfortable. Leave throws on the sofa and bed, an umbrella, a flashlight, a medicine kit Band-Aids, Savlon, Anusol (kidding). I also leave a new toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner and some bubble bath.
16. Leave The Basics – all the thing that you can’t be bothered buying when you are on holiday – dishwash tabs, washing up liquid, coffee, tea, sugar, oil ‘n’ vinegar, salt ‘n’ pepper, toilet roll, kitchen roll. I also leave a shelf full of dry sealed food – tins, pasta, cereal – I draw the line at half-eaten packet of biscuits.
17. Keep Guests Safe. And make sure your home complies with local safety regulations like Carbon Monoxide Detectors, Smoke Detectors etc.. It’s up to you to know the local laws.
18. Tell Your Insurance Company to ensure cover.
19. …and Your Neighbours. Otherwise, they might call the cops to report a random stranger staying in your home.
20. …and The Taxman. You know he’s trawling through Airbnb looking for YOU!
Still fancy it? You won’t have access to your home for weeks on end – it’s a weird feeling but it’s an adventure – and you could make enough money to pay for a fabulous holiday.
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P.S. GINORMOUS thanks to everyone who voted for me in Funniest Blogger category in the Blogger Bash Awards. Click HERE to check out the winners. CONGRATS to them all.