Whether you agree with Airbnb’s sharing-economy ethos or not, one thing is for sure: you can make a significant amount of extra cash by sprucing up your pad and posting it on the house-sharing website.
I’ve touted the benefits of additional sources of income before, and Airbnb provides a great opportunity to supplement your income. The streamlined website walks you through the process, from helping to price your apartment, manage your calendar, verify your credentials, setting up your payment methods, even negotiating a security deposit. All for a measly 3% host fee.
So, take a note from San Francisco, where 56% of hosts say they use the extra income to help pay their mortgages or rent, and post your house on the site. Here are seven tips, gleaned from Airbnb corporate headquarters and two NYC-hosts, Rachel and Nathalie, to spruce up your pad and make bank on the controversial website.
1. Communicate Clearly
Be as upfront about your living space as possible. Your pad doesn’t have a coffee machine but has a French Press? Mention that. Washer and dryer in the building but not in your apartment? Let the guest know. The more accurate you are, the better review you will receive and the more your abode will be rented in the future.
“What you know [about your house] may not be what everyone else knows,” advises Laura Hughes, Senior Manager of Hospitality at Airbnb. Since two-thirds of Airbnb trips cross international borders, cultural considerations are important to think about. What is typical in your home, might be very different for someone else.
An added bonus of being honest? You can weed out the crazies. Although Airbnb declined to give statistics on bad house guests, trusting someone else with your home is one of the hurdles that might make users wary to post their apartments.
“It is really hard to know if people aren’t crazy. Usually I can tell by the way that they write messages. Sometimes I will ask what is the purpose of your trip and who are you traveling with, and then see from there,” explains Rachel, a New York City native who started renting her Lower East Side apartment to help make ends meet in 2012. “Unfortunately, it is kind of a ‘judge a book by its cover’ situation.”
2. Act Like A Hotel
Falling somewhere between a hotel and Couchsurfing, Airbnb hosting requires some finesse. Which means that if you want to have good reviews, some amenities are non-negotiable.
“Wifi is absolutely number one [thing that you should provide],” says Hughes. “In major cities today, Wifi is seen as water.”
Hughes also recommends having fresh towels available. Free parking can also be a great amenity, and might be worth bumping up your price point as hotels often charge anywhere from $20 – $50 a night for parking services. If you have communicated with your guests about the nature of their trip, offering specific amenities like an ironing board for someone on a business trip can also help to make a better guest-experience which translates to better reviews and more bookings.
3. Be Realistic With Your Time
If you are using the website to pay your rent, treat the service like your business and be as accurate as possible with your calendar. Be realistic when marking a day open and try to keep cancellations at a minimum.
“Calendar accuracy is a huge thing for guests,” says Airbnb spokesperson. “If it looks like it is free, they will try to book you. And if it is not up-to-date, that is a frustrating experience for guests.”
Coughlin recommends erring on the side of caution and only having dates available on your calendar that are definite. The less you decline a guest, the higher up in the Airbnb search you will appear.
4. Clean Twice
Hosts and corporate headquarters agreed wholeheartedly on this one: cleanliness is key. It can make or break a visit.
“My gift to the guests is having my apartment as clean as it can possibly be. People are in town for a few days, they want to experience New York and they want to feel like they are staying in a clean place,” says Nathalie, an Argentine New Yorker who has been renting her Spanish Harlem apartment on the website since 2012. “Cleanliness is much more important than giving guests bottles of wine or crackers.”
For problem areas like the bathroom, Airbnb recommends cleaning the space once and then going back and doing it again.
5. Stay Weird
While you are sprucing up your pad, make sure you don’t make it too much like a hotel. Although guests appreciate amenities like Wifi or towels, most Airbnb guests are looking forward to living like a local and will appreciate the quirks of your house.
“We get a lot of questions from hosts about should I remove this, should I hide this, do you think guests would like this?,” says Hughes, Senior Manager of Hospitality at Airbnb. “And truthfully, everybody wants that local experience and that local home. It is the uniqueness and quirks that actually make a difference in guests’ experiences.”
So keep your mounted…
Full article : 7 Tips To Make Bank On Airbnb
February 2, 2014 – Forbes