If you have a spare room in your house or apartment and have been wondering how you can turn it into some extra cash, maybe it’s time to consider becoming a host on Airbnb. You’ve already got the space, you’ll get to meet new people and, to be quite honest, it isn’t even that hard to generate Airbnb income.
Of course, there are lots of skeptics out there. You’ll get questions from your friends like, “Have you ever lost money?”, or “Do you feel unsafe hosting complete strangers?”, or even “Have they ever damaged your property?” The truth is that if you’ve ever used Airbnb to be a guest in someone else’s home (or ever even stayed at a hotel for that matter), you have been that stranger. And the great thing about Airbnb is that it’s set up in a way that protects both parties from having a bad experience.
You will find that the majority of your guests are using Airbnb for the first time, so they may be just as skeptical about the experience as you are. If you want to be a successful host and create a comfortable environment for your guests, here are a few tips that will make all of the difference.
1. Pictures are Key
Show off the space you have for rent with photos that are bright. Your photos should showcase how unique your place is, so it’s good if they display some character. Along with a set of photos, include detailed descriptions. Take photos from different angles and make sure that everything looks clean and professional.
2. Be Hospitable
Don’t overdo it, but be open with your guests. Welcome them into your home and offer them whatever additional service they may need. It isn’t necessary to provide too much information, but it never hurts to give them a tour, give them the keys yourself, and offer a map of the area. As a courtesy, you can even offer them something to drink when they arrive. You want to them to feel comfortable in your home, and you want them to leave positive reviews about their stay!
3. Go the Extra Mile
If you need some ideas on how to make your space more appealing, just look at some of the extra features that other Airbnb hosts offer. Including a bathroom and laundry or kitchen access will add appeal to any potential guests. Do other simple things like install Wi-Fi or hang some artwork to add sophistication to a simple room.
4. Price Accordingly
You want to make money off of your short-term rental, but you also can’t overprice yourself. In most places, prices vary depending on the time of year. It’s always a good idea to look at other Airbnb rentals in your area and see how much they are going for. Be realistic about your price and remember that you may be competing against other hosts who have more experience and more reviews than you do. There’s also Airdna.
5. Make the Rules
Decide from the outset how you are going to run your Airbnb business and stick to the policies you create. Guests will sometimes try to stretch the boundaries of what you allow them to do with your space. Even worse, they may try to push you to communicate and perform transactions outside of the Airbnb system. The site exists to protect you, so just refuse.
6. Don’t Hesitate to Share
Some hosts will not provide any breakfast. Others will cook a full sit-down meal for you! This is a great option, but even being able to help yourself to something small in the morning is a great convenience. When you’re trying to travel on a budget, the less you eat out the better. Breakfast isn’t mandatory, but it is a good way to accommodate the needs of your guests. Sometimes they may ask if they can use items in your home. If you are comfortable with this then go ahead. If you aren’t, you can always direct them to a local store where they can find what they need.
7. Little Things Make a Difference
It’s a good idea to provide travel maps or transport cards that your guests can top up if needed. These are practical things that can make your guests’ stay easier and more enjoyable. Any little thing that you can do to ensure that the guest has a pleasant experience will reflect positively on your rating as a host. More experienced Airbnb guests stay with welcoming hosts so that they can tap into their local knowledge. If you know the best spots in town, you are well on your way.
Finally, for all of you first time Airbnb hosts, remember to be cautiously optimistic about your business. If you are a single woman who is thinking of hosting, that’s great! There are many single women hosting on Airbnb and they provide a terrific experience for their guests. If you’re just starting out; it may be wise to have another friend around (male or female) when your guests arrive. Your guests are probably harmless and there is no need to worry, but it doesn’t hurt to have someone around so that they are reminded it is your house and other people are present too. Plus, this will raise your own comfort level the first time you host on Airbnb.
If you aren’t going to be at the property you’re renting out, you always have the option of hiring a property management company to take care of the small things for you. BnBCare is a great option for Airbnb hosts who need guest greeting and pickup/drop off services in Vancouver.
Airbnb is a great way to make some extra cash and meet some amazing people from all over the world. If you decide to try it out, you will experience the joy of opening up your home to others and no doubt get to participate in some fascinating conversations.