The weather is warming up and the year is coming to an end. For a lot of people, this means it’s time to prepare for the end of year vacation we’ve all been hanging out for. From either taking those paddle boards and kayaks out of storage or spending a week chilling by the pool or some camping in the outback, it’s time to kick back and just relax for a while.
What about your home? Sure, you can have a friend check the mail every other day, or even have someone house sit. But, is that really the best choice? With the gaining popularity with home sharing services such as Airbnb, you can make some extra cash while you’re away on a relaxing holiday. Just move your valuables into storage, take some appealing photos and put your listing up on Airbnb.
Before you put your listing up, here are some quick tips to make sure everyone walks away happy.
Check the Law
Restrictions may be listed in your insurance, or if you’re renting, in your lease. You want to make sure you’re not opening yourself up to risk when putting your home on Airbnb. So, check your documents, call your insurance company, take that little extra time to double check just in case.
To best protect yourself, consider photographing your home before and after stays to identify any damage, and personally check guests out when you can.
Consider Your Neighbours
Yes, you want a good reputation amongst your guests on Airbnb, but you have to live with your neighbours. If there’s excessive noise, mess or people coming and going at all hours, you will hear about it. Or worse, you won’t and all those friendly conversations over the fence will just stop.
If you need to, make a few rules for guests such as quiet hours, or leave a note saying that the guy two houses down works night shift, so please don’t wake him. Communicate the particular rules and requirements of your home early so there are no misunderstandings.
Don’t Forget to Review
Reviewing your guests is good for numerous reasons. It provides better transparency across the Airbnb community, it gives guests feedback and, most importantly, it reminds them to review you. When you’re starting out, reviews will encourage others to book with you, so encourage guests to leave some feedback when you can.
Give Clear Directions
Whether it’s how to get to your home, where you’ve stashed the spare key or how to use the dishwasher, make your instructions clear and fool proof. If you’re unsure, give too much information rather than not enough. Remember, this is a strange city, suburb and house for your guests, so things you take for granted are a whole new world for them.
Include plenty photos of your property, including at least one exterior shot to help tired guests identify which house their heading for. Show the bedroom, bathroom and kitchen, including available appliances and wardrobe storage so they know what they’re working with.
Also, let people know if there are basic items provided, such as toilet paper or shampoo. If you do provide these, try and make sure you leave enough for the duration of their stay. I know this can be hard to judge, and there’s that constant fear of people walking off with any extras they find, but do you really want to be known as the host that skimped on toilet paper?
This can extend to the kitchen. Let people know if they can use your pots and pans, list the herbs and spices in the pantry. No one wants to be buying salt and pepper every other week while they’re travelling.
Use Your Knowledge
You’re a local, you know the best places to eat, which café has the perfect coffee and which attractions are absolutely packed on weekends. Share some of your favourite things to do with your guests, leave out some brochures or even a local map marked with some nice spots to visit. They can choose to ignore it, but most will appreciate the extra ideas.
Obviously, everyone has different comfort levels when it comes to communication but sending a message about 24 hours after check-in and check-out is a safe bet. This lets you see how your guests are settling in and if they found everything okay. It also encourages them to leave a review once they’re gone.
Checking in with your guests early also lets them raise any concerns before they become serious and lets the guests know you’re thinking about them. Using the Airbnb app is probably best for this, as Airbnb can access the conversation should a dispute arise.
The Little Things
Do you have some veggies growing in the garden? Or make a mean chocolate chip biscuit? Think about leaving some out for guests before they arrive. It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg and can make all the difference in the all important first impressions. This isn’t mandatory, but who doesn’t like freshly baked, homemade cookies?
Consider making a little emergency kit including an extra umbrella, a flashlight in case of power outage, a box of pain killers and assorted band-aids, all just in case. Hopefully your guests won’t need them, but they’ll really appreciate the thought if they do. Also, leave a note of where to find spare lightbulbs and the like so you’re not coming home to simple things that need fixing.
In Case of Issues
Contact Airbnb straight away if something goes wrong. Take photos of any damage and compare these with those you took before the guest stayed. Send these through to the guest and Airbnb straight away to recoup your money, because a delay could see the guest keeping their money.
Obviously, you’ll want to resolve things with the guest directly, hopefully amicably, but sometimes Airbnb will need to get involved and sooner is better than later. Note that you can’t claim for a particularly dirty home, this is meant to be covered by your cleaning fee.
Opening your home to strangers can be daunting. If you want an extra layer of protection, consider putting together a brief contract and inventory list for each stay, including how long the guests will stay, the agreed rate and check in and check out times. Have an inventory of items you expect to be left behind, so they can’t claim ignorance at the end of their stay.
If there are certain items you just can’t stand to risk, maybe that quilt your grandmother made you or your favourite book series you had signed by the author, then consider using Smartbox to store your precious belongings. We’ll deliver your Smartbox storage module to your door, let you spend the next day packing it, and store it safely while you’re away. Once your guests are gone and you’re back from your holiday, give us a call and we’ll drop your Smartbox off again.
You’ll be the only keyholder while it’s gone and your Smartbox is securely stored out of the elements, so you know your belongings will come home in the same condition they left in.