The first time I heard about Airbnb was through my work with digital marketing and I had not really met many people who had used such services before then. Airbnb is a platform that allows private home owners to list their properties online for short period rentals. The fact is that Airbnb has disrupted the hospitality industry and is now available worldwide as an excellent choice when it comes to finding accommodation.
It was not until 2012, when we decided to try a similar service to Airbnb in Paris, that I realized the advantages it has.
Guest at Airbnb
- You get to meet some locals. Sometimes you just see them briefly, other times you can share a room in their same home. It all depends on what you choose, there are plenty of possibilities.
- You can feel like being at home.
- You see photos and clear descriptions of the place so that you are able to choose according to taste and budget.
- You can message the host(s) and read guest reviews in order to know them better and know what to expect.
- You can search by housing type, by location, by price and other categories.
- You also have the option of specifying extra amenities (free parking, access to pool area, towels, hairdryer etc.)
- If you need to cancel your reservation after confirming a booking, you do get a full refund (depending on the refund criteria), but Airbnb keeps a service fee (which is displayed during the booking process. However, should the host need to cancel your booking you will receive a full refund including the service fee.
Host at Airbnb
Click this link to earn an extra USD 100 for hosting on Airbnb
How to get your place ready
First of all, you start by describing the area, the room or space you offer and any amenities (these are easily available as check-boxes in the admin panel). You can also provide translations of all your written information.
Then you´ll have to get some good quality shots of the room(s) you offer, and preferably some of the surrounding area, that are appealing and at the same time reflect what the guests can expect upon arrival. The better the shots, the more inquiries you will get. Posting a couple of angles from each room is a good tip, thereby showcasing your offer better. Also, make sure there is enough light in the rooms, either natural or artificial, without exaggerating.
Price & Calendar
When it comes to choosing the price this is completely up to you. You might want to take a look at what your “competitors” with similar type of accommodation are charging.
Then you get to choose if you want to have the place for rental every day, just during the weekends or maybe you are going on holidays and don´t want the place listed. You can also choose separate pricings per day, week or month, or even separate weekend or periodic prices. In addition you can add a cleaning fee and extra fees per person over 1 or 2.
Door locks and keys
Each host has their own way of letting you into the apartment/room and giving you access. Some prefer to meet their guests in person, others have family or friends who show you the place. We always met our guests in person, gave them a quick tour of the space they had access to. They borrowed a separate key for the apartment and we agreed on a place they could leave it if they left when we were not at home.
Ammenities and furniture
We always offered soap/shampoo, towels, clean linen and free wifi as part of the basic ammenities in our place, in addition to free parking just outside the entrance.
With time we got a bigger sofa bed to use in the main bedroom. We then got hold of a simple closet to furnish the room that until then had just a night desk, a bed, and some simple decoration. From feedback we got from our guests we learned that it would be a good idea to have a kettle, tea, coffee and mugs available downstairs so that guests could enjoy a warm drink whenever they wanted in case they wanted to have some privacy from us who were upstairs.
Keep the place clean and things in order as this will be part of the review you will get from your guests. A positive review will do wonders for your business, but a negative one can damage your reputation decreasing inquiries. Avoid promising things in your listing that you cannot actually offer each and every time. And make sure your photos are honest and true.
What I gained from the experience?
- It was great having an extra income
- An otherwise empty room was being used
- We met some very interesting people from lots of different countries
- We shared travel experiences with like-minded people
- Practice other languages
- Get great tips about their home country/city for future trips
- Airbnb pays directly to your bank account, via paypal or international money wire
- You get to choose both prices and availability
Furthermore, we even ended up getting to know one of my neighbours through a friend of hers who was a guest at our place. She is now a really good friend of ours.
In conclusion, you can help tourists or business people who do not have the budget for a hotel, who would rather meet the locals and prefer staying at a place that makes them feel at home.
Do you have any questions regarding being a host or a guest that you want to ask me?