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by Pass The Keys | Host Tips | 18 May 2018

Preparing Your Property for Short-term Rentals

Airbnb’s soaring popularity has been impossible to ignore since it first came to prominence in 2010-2011, following a number of successful rounds of funding. Since then, it has given over half a million budding entrepreneurs the chance to break into the world of short-let property. Operating in 65,000 cities across almost 200 countries, there’s no doubting the opportunities available through Airbnb.

If you’re considering a move into short-let property development, there are a number things you need to consider. Different factors all require careful consideration. Who will be renting from you? Are you letting your full home or just one room? How much money do you want to earn? These questions don’t answer themselves, and it’s important to set yourself up in the best way possible before you begin letting.

Here’s some tips to help your prepare your property, maximise your bookings and customer satisfaction – whilst also giving you peace of mind about damages or issues that may arise!

Update Your Insurance

We’re starting with this as it’s arguably the most important part of your to-do list. When you decide to open up your property to short-term rentals, this can have a drastic effect on your premiums. The amount your outgoings change, all really depends on how you plan to let out your property. Shop around for the best deals depending on your situation, and make sure you’re fully protected before letting any strangers into your property.

If you’re renting just one room, it’s likely to end up cheaper than if you decide to rent out the entire property. But, only renting one room cuts your profits significantly. This is why it’s important to decide whether you’d like to let your whole property, or just one room so you can earn a little extra money on the side. Currently, you can earn up to £7,500 tax-free through the government’s rent-a-room relief scheme if you decide to rent just one room. Renting out your whole property means you’re not covered by the rent-a-room tax-free allowance.

Write a Gleaming, but Honest, Property Description

In an ideal world, your listing will generate hundreds of monthly viewers and have a good conversion rate when it comes to bookings. In order to do this, you’ll need to write a glowing reference for your property. This is often the main way of advertising your Airbnb “business” – alongside great quality photos, of course. Highlight the key features of your property, and what makes it the perfect place for potential visitors to stay.

Use your description to answer questions people are likely to ask. Is it accessible to everyone? Is it close to local landmarks and public transport? Do you offer parking? Is there internet included? Drum up a list of potential FAQs, and look at what other Airbnb hosts are doing on their listings. You can also use your description to specify if there are any groups you wouldn’t accept – such as hen or stag parties. It’s crucial that, to avoid poor reviews or mistrust, you also describe any potential drawbacks of the accommodation you’re offering. This is where the honest part comes in. Note any faulty features or possibly hindering circumstances – a broken elevator, meaning suitcases need to be carried up several flights of stairs, for example. It’s much better that your customers find out about this now, and not once they arrive for their stay.

Work Out Your Booking Terms

If you’re booking in any hotel, hostel or B&B in the world, your booking will always come loaded with some kind of terms. Seen as though you’ll be running your own, you need to decide upon your own booking terms for guests. They help to give you protection against last-minute cancellations, as well as giving you control where it’s needed. You should also strategically price your property, looking at what else is on the market and seeing where you fit. You never want to be the most expensive – unless your property truly is worth being the most expensive. However, you should be careful not to undervalue your offering either – find a good middle ground and adjust your pricing accordingly.

Airbnb offers you – the host – the opportunity to either accept reservations instantly, or vet guests before accepting their booking. Whilst listings are more popular when guests can make a reservation instantly, you may value a thorough checking process over the number of bookings you receive. Simply put, it’s whether you prefer quality or quantity. Pass the Keys manages your check in procedures, cancellation terms and no-show terms for you so you don’t have to worry about the stress that comes with it.

Decorate Your Property and Keep it Clean

Keeping your accommodation clean is crucial to getting good reviews and repeat visitors. Make sure that once every guest has checked out, your property is cleaned thoroughly in preparation for the next person. If you feel like going the extra mile for visitors, you can add in free amenities and replenish these throughout the duration of their stay. Bottles of shampoo, toothpaste, soap – these are all simple additions that can make a difference if someone has packed in a hurry and forgot one of their essentials! Pass The Keys takes care of all of this for you - complimentary toiletries and hotel style linens and towels are provided for each guest, at no cost to you.

Short-term letting means you’ll have a host of people coming and going on a regular basis. With different people always brings new challenges, and the increased likelihood of damages occurring. To ensure you mitigate these risks, intelligently decorate with high-durability materials. The more you can do to prevent unnecessary damage, the better.

These are all surface-level tips to help you get started, and should provide a good base for you to think clearer about preparing your property for short-let opportunities with Airbnb. Before you make your decision, you should always consider both the time and financial investment it can take to get this up and running. If it’s still something you’re interested in, we can help. Get in touch with Pass the Keys today.

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We provide property management services for Airbnb, Booking.com, Home Away and other short let platforms. Pass the Keys is an independent third party and is not affiliated or endorsed by Airbnb or its affiliates, in any way.