In this post I will share our home-based adventure as an AirBnB host. In reality it is a pretty tame adventure, but hopefully this post will be useful if you have ever considered signing up as an AirBnB host.
Over the years we have stayed in a few AirBnBs ourselves. As my work was very quiet at the beginning of 2017 and because the kids have now left home, The Brave Man* thought becoming a host on AirBnB would be a good thing for us to be part of. Needless to say, since we joined AirBnB my work has gone ballistic, but we are still managing to keep all the balls in the air.
So read on if you have ever wondered what it is like to have your own mini B&B. Below are some tips, tricks and ‘how to’s’ if you are considering putting your empty space to work.
- Bedrooms: AirBNB was a good excuse to give the rooms a fresh coat of paint and clean the carpets. The cupboards were emptied, or at least everything shoved higgledy piggledy on the top shelf, and they now contain a spare blanket and bath robes. The Brave Man* installed locks on the bedroom doors to give guests a bit more security/privacy.
- Bathroom: No real changes other than provision of a hair dryer.
- Sitting Area: We set up the rumpus as a private sitting area with a TV, small fridge, tea/coffee and homemade shortbread. In reality, few people use this space as they are mostly busy out sightseeing, but it gives them the option of some private space.
- Breakfast: There is no compulsion to cook, so breakfast is simply cereal/toast/banana bread. This is ‘served’ in the kitchen and guests seem to be very happy to dine on the front veranda and enjoy the view. I am not keen for food to be traipsed through the house, hence the ‘fixed’ eating area. What you provide is totally up to you. Check what your ‘competition’ is offering.
- Privacy: For our own privacy/security, we also installed locks on our bedroom door and one on the office door. A folding screen is perfect in the hall to block off, or delineate, guest space vs our space.
- AirBnB website: Initially, I found this quite clunky to upload and lost a day of my life that I will never get back!! Tip for the beginner: if you wish to rent out rooms individually, then each room must be loaded individually with its own separate page, which means quite a bit of repetition of information. Once that was done though, I find the AirBnB website is very easy to use and navigate.
- Information: The majority of guests are visiting the area for a relaxing weekend away. They often ask for recommendations of places to eat and visit. We provide tourist guides, brochures etc in a compendium in each room and try to stay up-to-date on what is going on in the region.
Our Experience to date:
- People: Everyone who has stayed with us has been very friendly, considerate and undemanding. We have hosted French, English, Kiwis, Irish, Spanish, and loads of Aussies who all seem to love the quiet, the sense of space and the kangaroos.
- Frequency: Up until recently we have averaged one weekend booking per month, which is just about perfect for our already busy lifestyles. The website allows you to block out dates/days when you do not want guests or will be travelling yourself.
- Bookings: I have found that most people tend to book at the last minute rather than planning way ahead. In the back-end of the website, I have set it up so that people cannot automatically book within three days of arrival, giving me the option to say ‘Yay’ or ‘Nay’.
- Toilet Paper: Stock up! People use a lot of it!
- Pricing: We have set two different prices ($110 and $120) per room depending on the bedding configuration.
- Commission: AirBnB takes $3.50-$4.00 per booking/night.
- Surge Pricing: AirBnB have developed a handy little earner, thanks very much. We happily pay the commission, but then they also charge a booking fee (to guests) and have an algorithm that manages surge pricing. So, in periods of peak demand, our $110 room may cost the guest anything up to $126 and AirBnB pockets the difference. Nice work if you can get it!
- Payment: We have set up a separate bank account for our AirBnB income and that is our own little travel fund. AirBnB pays quite quickly and the money usually appears within a few days of the guest’s departure.
The Rules: One of the main advantages is that, as a host, you have the ultimate flexibility and you set your own rules and pricing. Some people still try to haggle the price down or try to squeeze three people into the space of two, but I find a polite ‘No’ does the trick. Our rules include:
- No cooking.
- No children.
- No parties.
- No smoking indoors.
- Arrival after 2pm and departure by 10am, but we try to be flexible if the room is available.
Pretty standard rules really, but they are useful to clarify what is and isn’t allowed.
- Travel Fund: A nice little nest egg is growing to fund our own adventures in the future.
- Vacant Space: The empty rooms are generating income rather than dust.
- Communication: AirBnB has a really professional website and booking/communication is both fast and clear.
- People: Our guests have all been warm, friendly and interesting.
- Domestic Goddess: It makes me lift my game on the cleaning front! Yes, not necessarily an upside!
- Waiting for people to arrive.
- Waiting for people to get up and have breakfast.
- Waiting for people to leave.
- Simply having strangers in the house – coming and going. To get around this I schedule work so that I am in the house to answer any questions etc.
While I would not like to rely on AirBnB as our sole source of income, it is a nice little income stream without a whole of set-up expense and it gives us the perfect opportunity to show off our beloved home town.
Do you stay AirBnB? What has been your experience so far?
What: AirBnB is an online accommodation booking site that specialises in accessing accommodation in private homes and unique places.
When: 24 hours/7days/365 days.
Why: To travel cheaply, to meet the locals, to stay in interesting places, and/or to earn some extra income.
How: To book accommodation or to sign up to be a host, you need to register with AirBnB. It’s free. To begin hosting – click this special link.
Who: The whole swathe of humanity – including South Korean salsa dancing chartered accountants, paediatric orthopaedic surgeons, and gyprockers!
Related Posts: Need an excuse to come to Mudgee? Then none better than the recent, Sculptures in the Garden event. Have a look at my post to truly understand the benefits of sipping good wine, strolling through lush gardens and absorbing clever sculpture. Have I convinced you yet?
Related Blogs: This guy has some handy tips for setting up as an AirBnB host. https://www.lifehacker.com.au/2013/11/top-10-tips-for-first-time-airbnb-hosts/
Read About It: If you really want to get serious, have a read of Stewart Whyte’s, How To Start And Run a B&B 3rd Edition: A Practical Guide to Setting Up and Managing a Successful Bed and Breakfast Business. Available from Book Depository.
*The Brave Man refers to my husband. He is indeed a brave man for marrying a crazy woman like me!