If you’ve been thinking about putting your home up on sites like Airbnb, Homestay or Wimdu to make some extra cash, you’re certainly not alone; the UK currently has over 50,000 hosts – but how do you make sure your property stands out to paying guests?
With the launch of Admiral Host Insurance, we asked our experts for their top tips on making sure you are the perfect Airbnb host.
Decide what type of host you want to be
Would you prefer to stay in the house during the rental? If so, are you prepared to cook for your guests? Some people favour a more hands on approach, helping their guests live like a local and really get to know the area. If this is the kind of host you’d like to be should consider the following:
- How hands on is too hands on? While some guests love the expertise a local can provide, the host needs to be wary of giving them space and letting them do their own thing
- What will the guest enjoy? Some guests love to have a local’s restaurant and bar recommendations but try to find out what sort of thing your guest likes so you can give them suitable tips. Some people want a quiet, relaxing weekend, whereas others may want to party into the small hours; both types of guests are fine, but it’s something the host should find out first in order to tailor their suggestions.
Don’t want to stay in the house while you have guests? Then the other option is offering up the entire property for paying guests’ use. This is favoured more by hosts who may be travelling or out of the country while the rental is taking place.
Hosts who offer the entire home should consider the following:
- What if there are any problems? Would you leave them a contact number, and if so would it be you who deals with the issues or someone on your behalf?
- The property should be left in an immaculate condition. Guests should arrive to a clean, well-presented house.
Keep it tidy!
This one goes without saying, but guests don’t want to arrive to a dirty, messy house. Give it a spring clean and leave your guests wanting to return. A tidy, inviting house is always going to leave guests happier - and happier guests equal better reviews and more people wanting to stay at your property. Win-win!
Get the price right
Deciding on the right price to charge is a common headache for new homesharing hosts. The key is finding the right balance to ensure the amount charged is reflective of the virtues of both the property and location.
Here are our top tips:
- Price by demand - if there’s a big event happening close by, then the odds are there will be more demand. Hotels will hike their prices up, and more people will be interested in using websites like Airbnb. Therefore, you’re well within your rights to charge a little bit extra. When the demand’s lower, taking a bit off the nightly cost could be the difference between having a guest and leaving your property empty
- Check out the competition! This will give a good indication about how much you should charge. If someone around the corner is charging £50 a night for a similar sized property, then you’d be hard pushed to attract guests if yours is £100 a night. Similar locations and house types are likely to be your competition, so ensuring you’re competitively priced is a must
- Use the tools available - Airbnb offer a tool that allows you to set seasonal and weekend pricing. Staying ahead of the game and being savvy in this way will help you to maximise income without compromising the number of rentals.
Make your ad stand out
In order to be recognised, your ad needs to stand out from the crowd. Potential guests have a wide range of houses to choose from so you need to use every advantage possible. Taking fuzzy, unflattering pictures of your house isn’t going to entice guests – you need to give the best possible impression of your home.
- Take low shots – this makes the house look more spacious, and is the approach favoured in magazines. It forces the reader to look at the room in its entirety, giving them a more rounded view of what the room looks like
- Take pictures in good lighting – this sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how many people take photos that give the false impression that their house is dark and dreary. Pictures in good lighting make the house look more spacious and welcoming
- Show it off! You have every right to be proud of your home, and the pictures should reflect it. Don’t take unflattering pictures of a corner of the room – capture it in all its glory, and show the guest the pride you have in your home. A wide-angle lens is a great tool for photographing your rooms
Make sure the mortgage provider is happy with it
Hosts need to make sure their mortgage provider is happy with them using home-sharing sites so check you have permission before you list your home.
Finally, make sure you have the right insurance!
While the Airbnb Guarantee provides some cover, it’s advisable to seek comprehensive host protection insurance for that extra peace of mind. For example, Admiral’s Host Insurance covers your jewellery, art, tablets, and other valuable items up to £5,000 if they’re not kept in safe (if they’re kept in a locked safe we’ll cover them up to the value specified on the policy schedule) – something Airbnb’s Host Guarantee doesn’t offer. Find out more about Admiral Host Insurance today.