If you are a homeowner and you are looking for a way to improve your property’s rental yield, then you have probably considered using Airbnb for short term rental agreements. Letting your home or property out to vacationers is the most profitable way to make a return on your investment; especially if you have bought a property specifically for rental purposes. In this guide, we will cover how to decorate your home so your property gets great reviews and also to help you maximise profits by not overspending.
Photogenic Décor and Professional Photographers
As your property is going to be listed on Airbnb, you will want to make sure that you decorate the place so it is photogenic. According to one business that is an expert in the vacation rental industry, good photos can make or break booking opportunities. This means you need a two-pronged approach when listing your property.
Firstly, you need to make sure your décor is not tatty or old looking so fill in those cracks and give the place a new lick of paint before you take pics. Next, you will need to hire a professional photographer. Now we all think we can take great pics, but there is a slim chance to none of matching the photographic artwork of someone that takes photos for a living.
A pro photographer will take the pictures and edit the size and pixels to fit Airbnb’s image quality and size stipulations when you eventually upload your property to the website.
Think About The Life-Cycle Of Your Furniture
Before you go out and spend a fortune on new furniture, cutlery, duvets, sheets, and so on think about the life cycle of each. You want your guests to be comfortable, but you do not want to spend a fortune on items that will need to be replaced regularly.
Even expensive cutlery can get old quickly if it is used often. If you happen have purchased a property in a popular tourist or business area and your place is booked often by holidaymakers, then your cutlery will be put through the test of time no matter how much you paid for it. Therefore, you should look for inexpensive cutlery options without going too cheap but at the same time, you still want a bargain.
As for linens, if you have a good cleaner and supply your cleaner with quality washing powders and detergents, then your linens should last a long time. One word of advice is ‘do not buy white linens’. If you do, then you may find yourself with customer complaints. The fact is white stains easily and can begin to look grubby quickly. Buy darker colours for the bedsheets, and use another in-room décor to brighten up the bedrooms to take the attention off dark coloured sheets.
To finish this section off we would like to advise you not to buy cheap! That is unless you are able to buy quality at a cheap price. Make sure you buy string nice looking furniture at a good price. Then make sure you have an idea of how many months or years it will be before that item will need to be replaced and put into your cash flow forecast as an expense.
Factor in a 6-Monthly to 12-Monthly Repaints and Repairs Before Peak Season
One of the main issues with Airbnb’s that have great reviews is they get booked a lot! Peak season bookings can often be difficult to find space to decorate, and when it comes to painting, guests usually do not appreciate staying in a room that smells of fresh paint. You will need to book a painter and decorator in advance and block off a week on your calendar at least once a year.
At the same time, you can get other jobs that needed doing such as wall fillers, mattress replacements, furniture replacements, and get the washing machines and dishwashers cleaned as opposed to asking guests if they would find if someone came in to perform these duties while the guest is there. Most guests are quite reasonable and will not mind, but if you have a week slot to get all these tasks done, then do it!
Also, having a maintenance company on call locally would be a good idea. Accidents can happen and you will want to make sure you can rectify them quickly. Your cleaners should be able to make a good assessment of any problems, and then decide if the maintenance company needs to be sent. You can also rely on your guests’ assessment of a situation if the guest brings any issues to your attention.
Stay In Your Vacation Rental Home For 1 Week Every Year
One of the best ways to judge the comfort of your vacation rental is to stay in it once a year for a week. That is of course if you do not already the place as a holiday home for yourself. In both cases, you will have the chance to read back through reviews, look at customer suggestions, and start to add those fine touches to the place.
Even in your own home you probably often think to yourself, I wish I had a coat hanger here, or it would be nice to have a bigger shelf in the bathroom to hold more shampoo. Even something as small as having a holder for your toothbrush can give your place that final additional touch of comfort.
Try to also anticipate what some guests might want that you wouldn’t use. Maybe there is an ironing service so give make sure you leave the number on a notice board. Or buy an iron and ironing board for those that prefer to do their own ironing. Think about buying umbrellas for when it rains and buy a nice holder for them so they are out in the open and easy to find. Buy a coffee maker, toaster, toastie maker, and even a steam cooker.
All these small items are not expensive and will give your guests that extra feeling of comfort. Plus, not every guest will use utilities such as the coffee maker, but there will be some that have a coffee maker at home and by having one in your place, you create a home away from home for your guests – this is perfect if you also want to attract repeat business.
By making notes of guest suggestions, comments in reviews, and then staying in your vacation rental yourself, you are going to harness better reviews because you will have inside knowledge of how to create a positive environment that caters for a diverse array of guests.
Recap to getting great reviews by creating the perfect vacation home!
When you are listing your property on any vacation rental website your photos will become a major selling point. The colours you choose to decorate your property, the furniture you use, and the way you make use of space in your property will all affect potential guests’ perception of your property. The best way to get an honest pictorial overview of your property is to hire a professional photographer.
However, you will need to be very careful to wear and tear to your property. This means making sure you are aware of the costs involved with the upkeep of your vacation rental. You want guests to enter a place that is as close as possible to the photos they saw when they booked it. By understanding the lifecycle of furniture, paint jobs, and maintaining your property, you will encourage positive reviews that mention the place is exactly as described – and when guest make this comment, they are also referring to the photos.
In order to understand your property, stay there for a week every year. By staying at your property, you will get the exact same experience as your guests. As such, you will be able to anticipate their every need and find solutions to catering for their needs which once again will harness positive review and earn your property more bookings.
For more information about listing your property, check out Airbnb’s guide to hosting in 3 steps.
Mark Ligon is the Marketing Manager at a leading e-commerce store in plumbing supply. Mark focus is on DIY projects and providing creative and practical advice to individuals looking to complete DIY projects of their own