A few days back, I went to my uncle’s retirement party. Both of us always bonded over our travel stories and cross cultural discussions. Now with all the time in hand to travel, he is advised against travelling because of health complications. I suggested, “If you can’t travel to countries, let countries visit your place.” I knew that he had a couple of palatial properties and hence, introduced him to the concept of hosting with Airbnb. Hosting is an amazing way to meet new people, spend time with them and experience their culture through their eyes only.
Next, I along with my cousin did some extensive research and came up with this beginner’s guide to host experience. Some quick tips are as follows:
1. Prepare yourself: When I suggested Airbnb to my uncle, putting his apprehensions to rest was the major part. After retirement, he had all the time to invest and he loved making new friends, however allowing complete strangers in one’s own premises was a hitch. But the terms and conditions of Airbnb makes everything very transparent and secure for a host. Read them, understand the nuances and only when you are determined, go on to further steps.
2. Create an Airbnb listing: It takes just a few moments to create an account and list your property. The website is self-explanatory and will walk you through the procedure.
3. Describe your listing: Share the part of property you would be willing to list, mark the calendar specifying your availability and finally suggest a price. In addition to this, you can also add specific details of your neighbourhood like a view point, a local market, and an indigenous food point that would add to your exclusivity and enhance chances of being booked.
4. Add true photographs and honest details of services: Many a times, hosts prefer to photoshop the little cracks and holes in the walls. Also they add too many facilities (which they don’t even intend to provide), to make the listing lucrative for the guests. However false promises would turn off the guests on arrival and in turn garner negative reviews. Don’t make your profile look better than what it is. Be upright and you will find the right guests who are willing to pay for what you exactly offer. Guests might be fine with a hole in the wall or a cracked basin and end up giving you 5 star rating for your honest and warm services.
5. Decide the boundaries: Set the physical boundaries in the listing only. It is specifically required if you are listing a part of your apartment and there are shared spaces like living rooms, bathrooms etc. Explicitly mention the details of access that would be provided to the guests.
6. Make the rules clear: Ensure that everything relevant is included in the listing. The society rules, the check-in and check-out time, the differential pricing for ACs and heaters, if pets are allowed, the noise levels to be maintained etc.
7. Be reachable to your guests 24×7: It is advisable to be openly available to the guests round the clock, in case they face any issues. If not you, then any care taker or manager who is looking after the property should be readily available.
8. Add a personal touch: Serving surprise welcome drinks, morning coffees, gifting hampers are a great way to earn bonus stars. Go an extra mile to make the guests comfortable. Establishing a personal relationship by taking the guests out for a sightseeing or to the local restaurant will go a long way in enhancing your hosting experience.
9. Get proper insurance cover: My uncle was really skeptical in listing his space. Mainly because nobody knows the kind of guests one would have and if they end up trashing the rooms! But Airbnb gives $1M protection for property damage and in liability insurance too. Have a look at their policy and take an additional insurance if all your requirements aren’t fulfilled.
Travelling is a great way to disconnect from your mundane routine and connect with your soul while discovering the cross cultural diversity. Hosting at Airbnb gives you a similar experience while earning few extra bucks too. So if you have a place to list, check out their website to see how much you can earn hosting with Airbnb.
This article is written in association with Airbnb and was first published here.