If you’re looking to make extra money, your home is one of the best resources to do so. And now is a better time than ever. The vacation rental industry is booming. And just because you don’t have a spare property that you can rent out exclusively doesn’t mean you can’t get involved. There are plenty of people who purchase properties specifically for the purpose of using them as vacation rentals, but for the majority of residents, this isn’t the case. In fact, according to Airbnb, 87% of users list their primary residence for rent.
But of course, with every great plan, you need thorough preparation. To get your home Airbnb ready, there are a handful of things you can do. After all, once you start getting great reviews, you’ll notice it becomes easier to have your calendar filled, and even increase your prices. Here’s what you should do:
Use a Professional Cleaning Service
Your home’s cleanliness should be one of the biggest priorities. However, always cleaning up well after guests can become tiring, especially if you’re turning over guest after guest. To help you keep your ratings high and free up some of your personal time, you should be taking advantage of a professional cleaning service. Rather than rely on an independent cleaner, you should conduct a local search of services near you. For example, you might search for a cleaning service in Atlanta GA if you that’s where your property was.
You can use the “Cleaning Fee” section of your listing to help recoup some of the costs associated with cleaning fees. Keep your cleaning fee in mind when you set your daily pricing. This will help you be smarter with your margins, and yield a better return.
Take Professional Photos
The difference between an amateur photo and a professional photo is stark. Even though today’s smartphones have great cameras, they aren’t nearly as good as a professional camera. The great thing about using a platform like Airbnb is that they offer professional photography for free in many major cities and popular small towns. Airbnb’s photographers are passionate about the work they do, and will work alongside you to put your home in the best possible light. If you happen to live outside of an area where a free photographer is available, you can rent a camera for the day and/or hire a freelancer on a platform like UpWork to edit them to perfection.
Write a Stellar Description
Your Airbnb description can make or break your listing. Unlike most content that today’s consumers absorb by scanning, people who are renting homes actually take the time to read every detail of a page’s description. If you don’t have great writing skills, one of the best starting points is to take a look at comparable Airbnb listings. These don’t necessarily have to be listings in the same area as you; simply choose listings that offer similar amenities, are similarly priced, and whose layout is also in the same ballpark. As you read more and more listings, you’ll start to learn more about what great listings have in common.
When writing your description, don’t forget to integrate the local area into your content. For example, if you recently renovated your kitchen and know that there’s a great farmer’s market that happens in your neighborhood every Sunday, say so in your writing. Instead of saying “brand new kitchen,” you’d take your description a bit further with something along the lines of, “Cook fresh food from a nearby farmers market in a newly renovated kitchen will stainless steel appliances.”
Get Your Amenities In Order
The more amenities you’re able to provide, the more attractive your listing will look. Airbnb provides a list of amenities that you can check off, and you should take your time going through the list to see what you have readily available, and what’s worth investing in. In addition to the essentials, little luxuries go a long way. This means a well-stocked bathroom with great hair and body products, plush towels, bathrobes, and a fully-stocked kitchen with coffee, tea, water, and the basics.
Prepare a Gift
If you take a look at Superhost listings and read reviews, you’ll notice something particularly interesting that many of them have in common: they all leave little gifts for their guests. If you want to go above and beyond, take a look at these ideas for a full welcome package. If you don’t have the budget for a full basket (yet), you can opt for a bottle of wine, some chocolates, or a local delicacy. For example, one Airbnb host in Lisbon left traditional Portuguese pastel de natas—a popular dessert in the region—alongside a canter of port, which is also well-known in the area.