Is your home Airbnb ready?
This article was originally posted on LondLovesBusiness
As with all things in life these days, ‘first impressions count’. How we look, what the outside world sees, and our impressions of all that’s around us, are what ‘cuts the mustard’ with us. We have become visual beings, who like to indulge in all things beautiful, elegant and even prestigious.
So, impact in the first split second is crucial. That goes for purchasing a holiday, and especially when searching for a place to stay.
Airbnb has taken the world by storm since it’s inception in 2007.
However, new websites offering newer ways to book hotels are becoming the norm. These are taking back market share from the home booking companies, as they offer us easy ways to compare rooms and rates and allow us easy steps to booking, without the hassle of becoming a member, paying deposits and having to communicate with strangers (still the format of the likes of Airbnb). Competition in this market has never been stronger.
Times are changing, and you and I want more for our money when booking a place to stay. We want it all looking good, feeling good and giving us great value for money, along with a unique experience. This is giving another new life to Airbnb and other home booking companies.
Can our homes become the new Boutique Hotels?
What we are seeing now, is the need for Airbnb hosts (and others), to be more differentiating in their offering if they want to remain in the market place in 2018, especially when restrictions are being made on local markets. We now have the ruling in London where we can only rent an entire home out for a maximum of 90 days per year. This has hit London Airbnb hosts hard.
So, will hosts continue to make money with the likes of Airbnb in 2018? Is it worth us bothering anymore? Well, yes it can; but only if hosts are willing to make changes and upgrade their properties, if they have not already done so, and become a mini hotel owner, offering not only a fabulous place to stay, but being a great host too, like a concierge at the Savoy, who will know the best local restaurants and bars and where to hire a bike or car.
Remember, if you are renting your home, guests will compare and contrast your space and facilities to others in the area. Both on look and budget! Their comparison starts with reviewing what they might have got if they had booked the local hotel and especially on cost comparison. You need to give that bit more than a hotel.
Newer companies, such as The Plum Guide, are making the biggest differentiation for us. They are searching out the best of the best of Airbnb and others, and offering us truly individual, differentiated and stunning properties in which to while away our stay.
It’s this new and very upmarket home stay choice that is really catching the adventurous guest, wanting to try new ways of seeing a town, an area and even a country.
These stunning new homes are now enticing the biggest sceptics out there. It’s a new type of luxury that can be our reality for a day or a week or longer, and we are trying it.
A luxury hotel or a luxury home?
How do you make your home a luxury pad that is both, inviting for a guest as well as generating good money for you?
Going back to the first impressions. Have photos of your home, professionally taken - Airbnb and The Plum Guide, offer this service for free, although you may have to wait a few weeks. If taking your own images, ensure you have high resolution shots and show a selection, but they have to look professional.
Put yourself in the shoes of your potential guest and give them a perfect view of what they will be getting, right down to the bed and sheets, or bath and soaps. None of us like to find that the place we booked is nothing like the images we have in our minds, especially after a long journey (many of whom may come straight off a long haul flight).
Set the tone and describe yourself accurately(the host) and provide detail about the room/ home.
Look at the price of your competitors. Price your place well — this immediately sets you apart from that beautiful hotel close by, which will always be rather pricey - this will be the second most appealing proposition for guests.
Don’t overprice to begin with. Your images and associated reviews will do the work for you, so get them right and build on them. As you get more bookings and great reviews from your guests, you can very quickly and easily increase your price.
How do we join the elite of the home hotels?
- Get rid of any old, half -burned candles, cracked mugs or dirty rugs. Add some new cushions to your sofa, or soft throw to your bed. Some simple additions can make a huge difference. Add flowers for colour and vibrancy to a room.
- Buy new bed linen, and bedding. Invest in some lovely pillows and a fabulous feather duvet - although have spare fibre-filled duvet and pillows, in case of allergies. Room sprays and diffusers are a godsend.
- Beautiful, fluffy white towels are a must. And make sure your mattress stands up to inspection!
- Ensure you have some wonderful soaps and shower gel or bath oils for your guest - all new and not used - smaller sized options are both economical and handy for each guest.
- Fill your fridge with juice, milk, eggs, yogurt and make sure your sundries cupboard is well stocked with cereals, coffee and tea (include some herbal tea too). Fresh bread and croissants are a friend to any traveller, and always have good quality butter, marmalade and jam. This won’t cost you much, but will help to ensure the guests will love their stay.
- Remember, good reviews equal more bookings, which equals money - especially when your reviews are outstanding, meaning your pricing can very quickly escalate, making the whole process worthwhile and profitable.
- If you struggle with styling your home, get help. It’s worth it.
- Your room, or home will very quickly look and feel like the most stunning boutique hotel at a fraction of the cost to the guest, but at a great price for you.
- There are also companies who will manage the change-over of guests, offering a full cleaning service and meet/greet option. You can step back if you find it too much work.
- Lastly and most importantly, your home must be warm and inviting when your guests arrive.