Hosting Made Easy: A Foolproof Guide for First Time Airbnb Hosts

Captains Rest Tasmania Sitchu Sydney
Photo Credit - Captains Rest

From beachside abodes to towering city apartments, when it comes to booking holiday homes, travellers want authentic, personable and local. And peer-to-peer rental property platforms are delivering tenfold. Just look at Airbnb, they currently have a whopping 2.9 million people hosting on their platform, and other big players like Bookings.com and TripAdvisor are right up there with them. 

When the likes of Airbnb state that an entire place in Sydney has the earning potential of $3,010 per month, it’s no wonder Sydneysiders, Melburnians, Queenslanders (and more) are wanting a piece of the action. With a little help from Gabriel Sarajinsky, the CEO of Home Host, here’s our guide for hosting made easy.

Soul of Gerringong
Soul of Gerringong
 1. Is Your Property Airbnb-worthy?  

Every property is worthy of being on Airbnb. But to make your property stand out amongst the crowd, there are a few boxes that need to be ticked. Gabriel says to be successful the must-haves are location, a nice view, cleanliness, well-furnished, access to WIFI, parking and public transport. The rest are all nice add-ons that attribute to being a great host.

2. Managing Your Property 

You have the option to either self-manage or engage a management service company, such as Home Host or Hometime. Management service companies will take care of it all – from account set-up to guest services to the check-in and check-out process. For those who’d prefer to self-manage, Airbnb and businesses like SOUL Home, make it easy for you to navigate the ins and outs of running a successful holiday property business. 

Bask and Stow Byron Sitchu Sydney
3. Set the Rules

Establish rules for your place from the get-go, so the guests know what the house rules are before booking. Be clear, concise and comprehensive in what you will and won’t accept at the property. This ranges from children, parties and pets right through to the check-in and check-out process. You can also set rules for when and for how long you want to host, the number of guests you will allow, and minimum and maximum nights guests can stay. 

4. Price Competitively

As the host, you ultimately decide on how much you want to charge per night. To assist, Airbnb has pricing tools that will help you to set the right price to maximise bookings. Airbnb also allows you to add custom details like cleaning fees, weekly discounts and special pricing for different times of the year. 

The Cottage, Kangaroo Valley
The Cottage, Kangaroo Valley © Leanne Timms
5. It’s All in the Details

Provide up-to-date information and list all the amenities, ensuring they are available and functional. Cleanliness is paramount, so charge a cleaning fee and use that money to pay for a professional cleaner. Provide quality linen, extra pillows and blankets, a well-equipped kitchen, nice soaps and shampoos, and ample wood for the fireplace.

6. The Power of Photography

How well your property is photographed will impact your booking potential. Have the property well photographed, inside and out, in a way that represents the property accurately. If you need to, hire a professional photographer who will supply you with beautiful imagery. The investment will be well worth it.  

The Cottage, Kangaroo Valley
The Cottage, Kangaroo Valley © Leanne Timms
7. Be a Dream Host

There are few things hosts can do to make the experience smoother and more enjoyable for guests (which will result in winning reviews and ultimately more bookings). Be responsive to all guest enquiries and accept reservation requests. Create a smooth check-in process and interact with your guests, and where possible, greet them when they arrive. 

8. Five-star Reviews

In the world of peer-to-peer rental property platforms, reviews matter. Big time. Guests will review their experience with you, for better or worse, this will reflect in your overall rating, and will, in turn, influence people’s decision on whether to book with you or not.  

The Ship Inn Tasmania
The Ship Inn, Marnie Hawson

The Nitty Gritty (Tax, Regulations, and Insurance)

Regulations

Thankfully the tax, regulations and insurance side of things is relatively easy to navigate, and once you have a few essentials in place, it’s all smooth sailing. Having said that, state governments are currently in talks about imposing tighter regulations on the industry, but we will know more about this in 2020.   

First up, if you’re bounded by a body corporate or strata, then before you proceed any further, check what rules and regulations are in place around listing your property as a holiday rental. And for those who are renting – most real estate agencies have a term in their contract that forbids subletting. If you were to list your property and then be found out, you could be evicted.

The Tower Rutherglen sitchu melbourne
The Tower, Mount Ophir Estate
Tax

When it comes to tax, it is as simple as declaring any income that you earn, and any services that you use in the management of your property is tax-deductible. For homeowners, by renting your home on Airbnb, you will be liable for Capital Gains Tax when you sell your property. This will be calculated on the proportion of the floor rented and the period it was used for that purpose. 

Insurance

Gabriel of Home Host explains that Airbnb offers Host Guarantee, meaning any booking that comes through Airbnb is automatically covered for US $1M for property damage and US $1M for any personal accidents. Other platforms like Booking.com don’t offer coverage. Therefore, you need to obtain your own content and personal liability insurance. Home Host’s go-to is Share Cover, where you pay for coverage only during the period you are renting the property. 

The Cottage, Kangaroo Valley
The Cottage, Kangaroo Valley © Leanne Timms

Home Host’s Top 5 Tips

 

1. On point Styling 

The property needs to be beautifully styled – nice furnishings, plants, linen – and the photography needs to reflect it accurately.

2. Meet & Greet

Have a welcome pack for when the guests arrive. It should have instructions on what to do in the neighbourhood, and how to can access the WIFI. For an extra touch, include a bottle of wine. 

Soul of Gerringong
Soul of Gerringong
3. Keep it Clean

Cleanliness matters in a big way, so make sure your property is spotlessly clean inside and out, no dust, mould or rubbish. Hire a professional cleaner if you need to.

4. Five-star Service

If you want five-star reviews every time, meet with the guests. Have that personal touch by showing them into the property. It makes such a big difference

5. Go Pro

Hire a professional agency to get the home set up properly and managed. Agencies like ours, have insight, knowledge and experience that’s invaluable to a successful Airbnb property.

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