Airbnb is an online community marketplace that connects people looking to rent their homes with people who are looking for accommodations. The website essentially allows you to rent out your home or room in your home as and when you please. The advantage of this is that you can rent out a room just on the weekend as opposed to having a full time live in lodger.
The Airbnb revolution has led to people all over the world abandoning over-priced and unappealing hotels in favour of smaller and more homely accommodation (By signing up using Airbnb , you get free £16 credit when you travel). Home owners, especially in the capital have taken advantage of this trend by renting out their extra bedrooms to get more income to help pay off their mortgage.
Two friends of mine, James and Sarah (names changed), own a 2 bedroom flat in London. The currently pay a £1000 monthly mortgage. Over the past year, they have been renting out the spare second bedroom in their flat (and occasionally the whole flat), mostly on weekends. This has netted them close to £8,000. over the year.
Another friend of mine, Tom owns a one bedroom flat in the city. He’s from Manchester but works in London during the weekend. He goes back to Manchester mostly every weekend so instead of leaving his flat empty, he rents it out for the whole weekend and earns £70 for the whole weekend. Not bad at all!
An alternative idea to renting out on the weekend is to target key dates. With this method, you only need to rent out your place for 30-40 nights a year. The key is to rent out your place when their is a huge surge in demand, for example, during festivals, large conferences, sporting events etc. By advertising your place during these ‘target dates’, you can charge relatively high rates because during these periods their is lack of hotel rooms resulting in visitors willing to pay those high rates. Rates can easily exceed £200 per night depending on the season. Now wouldn’t you want £200 for just renting your room out for one night?!
Whilst Airbnb might be a great source of income for some, it could prove to be a detriment too otters which may actually cost them money. Although Airbnb works on a reviews basis and you can pick and choose who to rent out your accommodation to based on their reviews, there is always the possibility of your house/flat getting trashed. When you rent out your home or spare room to a near-stranger, you’re making some very big assumptions. You’re assuming that the person you’ve entrusted your house — your home — will treat it with respect, and none of your belongings will be stolen. And for the most part, that’s usually the case. There’s only been a few notable exceptions of people having their homes turned upside-down, so if you are really paranoid, Airbnb is probably not for you.
Both James and Sarah and Tom, have told me that they only rent out their homes to people who have at least 5 reviews. So far, they have had only good experiences as all the renters have been ‘perfect guests’.
So if you are looking for a new source of income by advertising your home on Airbnb, here are a few pointers for you:
- Set the correct price – this will depend a lot on your area, time of year, and what other Airbnb Hosts are setting their price at. It’s generally a good idea to start by having a look at what other Hosts are charging and price yourself to be competitive initially – you’re potentially competing against those more experienced Hosts with lots of reviews and need to build them up as a priority. Don’t be afraid to change things up, weekends and dates in Summer might be more expensive, Winter and weekdays you may like to lower the price. Your space is unique and it’ll take some time and testing to discover what works for you.(
- Create a detailed, accurate listing page – to get reservation requests from guests who are a good fit for your listing, make sure your listing details and amenities accurately illustrate what you offer and what’s unique about your space. Look at other listings in your area to get inspiration! You can also request free professional photography to make your space look its best.
- Engage your Guests (If you are renting an extra room in your house). – just try not to scare them with your enthusiasm. This can be a fine line, you will have some Guests coming to you jet-lagged and others who are ready to head out and do touristy things. We prefer to give the minimum amount of information – tour of the house, key/s, transport card (if providing one) and a map of the area – we offer coffee (or beer!) if it is appropriate but generally expect travellers to either want to sleep, relax or go out so we try not to keep them talking to us for too long! Try to be open and conversational, be a little extroverted if you can, especially with Airbnbvirgins as they might need more reassurance than yourself. Follow your gut instinct in these first exchanges, feeling uncomfortable? Show them the door and refund them. That’s ok, Airbnb will support you explicitly. Personally, we haven’t had this problem yet – not trying to scare you! (fairbnb.net).
- Don’t get a complaint – the only way to get in trouble for using Airbnb is if someone files a complaint — meaning it’s very important for renters not to upset neighbours, the landlord or basically anyone during their stay.
- Take good pictures of your home – If you are a Host, you can apply to have Airbnb’sprofessional photographers take pictures of the rental space. You can tell a photo is taken by the team because there’ll be a watermark on the photo, which gives the space a lot more credibility for trepidatious travellers.
- Last but not least, check that it is legal in your city – renting out your home on Airbnb can be illegal in some cities due to you not paying hotel tax so always check this before renting out your property.
If you enjoyed this article, read 3 ways you can earn money by letting out extra space in your house.