Top 10 essentials of every Airbnb listing

If you are looking to let out your property with Airbnb it's always a great idea to kit it out with all those basic essentials that your guests will likely be needing during their stay. We've put together a list of those top 10 essentials as well as a few extra tips if you want to go that extra mile in providing a quality hosting experience to your guests.

1. All the dishes, cutlery and pots & pans to easily cater for all the guests the property is made to accommodate plus additional sets for another 2 extra people! Make sure everything they might need is there, that includes knives, forks, table spoons, tea spoons, table mats, tumblers, wine glasses, as well as all the cooking items they might need such as a chopping board, sharp cooking knives, scissors, wooden spoons, pots, pans, frying pans, lids, a cheese grater, and of course a bottle opener! Make sure none of these are falling apart and are properly cleaned before letting.

cutlery for your airbnb listing

2. Quality towels and linen - it goes a long way to provide luxury soft towels and quality linen, the thicker and softer the better, it's how guests physically get to experience their stay! It's also highly recommended that you leave a spare set of everything in a cupboard in case they are needed. Make sure to include full sized bath towels, hand towels as well as pillow and mattress protectors.

3. A microwave - Take into account that your guests will likely be out all day and will probably not be doing that much cooking, therefore microwaves are an essential item when it comes to short-term lets. Any model should to the trick as long as it does the job and the dials and buttons are not overly complicated to use.

4. Kettle and coffee maker - for a large number of guests both the kettle and coffee maker are possibly the two most important items in the kitchen. Any kettle should do fine but the coffee maker is a completely different kettle of fish. Any property should include at the very least a French Press coffee maker, also known as a French Press Cafetiere. It's inexpensive and normally satisfies all coffee drinkers. If you want to impress your coffee drinking guests then make sure to also include a stove top Cafetiere, also known as an Espresso maker, an Italian percolator or a Moka pot! This is used by a large number of French and Italian guests and is simple to use and clean. In addition to these you can always go all out and provide guests with an electric drip coffee maker or an Espresso machine but these are not always the most popular options and can be very pricey.

5. A toaster - Most people love toast so this is an obvious one, just make sure you provide a toaster that is not the cheapest you can put your hands on. The budget toasters tend to have questionable filaments inside and tend to do a patchy job of the toast.

6. Wireless Wi-Fi Internet - In this day and age Wi-Fi is simply a must have! It's highly recommended that you set your home up with a permanent connection that has unlimited broadband. If on the other hand you are only renting your property for a few days or weeks each year and don't usually use Wifi make sure to buy a mobile Wifi device that you can top up every so often. These tend to not be cheap and always make sure to highlight to guests that it is not to be used to stream movies or watch any video footage online. If they do expect a hefty bill at the end of the month. If on the other hand you don't provide internet make sure guests are aware of this before they complete the booking otherwise you could be faced with cancellations.

7. Hotel shampoos and soaps - These little soaps and shampoos can make a huge difference and provide that little extra personal touch, make sure to pick ones that you think your guests would like and not just the cheapest ones you can put your hands on.

soap and shampoo for your airbnb listing

8. Basic cleaning products & accessories - that includes a hoover with spare hoover bags, dustpan and brush, mop & strainer, cleaning cloths and all the products necessary for cleaning the property. These are not an absolute necessity for short-term lets but having them there does encourage guests to keep the property clean.

9. Ironing board and iron - these are essential items for all guests that might be in town for work, weddings, etc. or that are just in the habit of ironing their clothes, make sure to also leave some demineralised water as guests will possibly use the tap water if this is not provided.

10. Smoke & carbon monoxide detectors that work - Make sure to have at least one smoke detector and one carbon monoxide detector setup in the hallway and in the kitchen. As guests tend to be a little bit more careless when they are on holiday there is always that little extra risk. Test them out before you start your rentals and make sure the batteries are not on the verge of giving up.

It's also good to note that all of the above items are seen as the bare minimum by a large number of guests, for that reason we'd recommend including them all! If you leave one out you put yourself at risk of receiving unwanted negative reviews that will point out that the property was nice but that it didn't even have a kettle/wifi/an iron/etc.

hosting on airbnb

 

A few extra tips if you are looking to be the ultimate host

Provide a detailed welcome letter - That includes all details you feel are relevant to guests, include everything from house rules, the checkout process & time, important contact numbers, notes on how devices function, and details on the local area and transport links. Maybe even include a map of the local area that you can pick up in your local tourist office.

A supply of basic products & items normally used around the home - That includes salt, sugar, flour, butter, basic seasonings, washing liquid, tablets/liquid detergent for the washing machine, dishwasher, and other general cleaning products. Don't forget to also supply a few bin liners and spare light bulbs.

 A hairdryer - Anyone with long hair can do with not having to take their hairdryer on holiday so if you want to be in your guests' good books and make their life easier make sure there is a functioning hairdryer in the bathroom cupboard.

Extra blankets - in case it gets a bit nippy or if guests are sensitive to the cold! The last thing you need as a host is a hefty heating bill at the end of the month because the blankets and duvets were too thin to keep guests warm at night.

Extra safety features - such as a fire extinguishers, signs for the emergency exit and as many smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors as your property can handle! You can't ever be too safe especially if you are not around to keep an eye on the place.

A selection of family games, playing cards and DVD's - for whenever your guests need a little break from visiting the sights they'll want to just sit back and relax and have something at hand to keep them entertained. Good things to include are playing cards, light hearted and family DVD's, family games and a chess set.

Other features that you should include will depend on your location, if you are someplace hot you should make sure the air conditioning is working properly or that there is a plentiful supply of fans around the home. The other important thing to note is to not overdo it when it comes to providing additional devices and gadget, guests will undoubtedly play around with them and end up breaking something or getting hurt. Finally remember to hold onto your receipts for tax purposes!

 

Going that extra mile

If you are really looking to impress your guests you can of course go that extra mile, it might cost you but it will undoubtedly pay off in the long run. Things that guests will really appreciate is a personal welcome upon arrival, with a guided tour of the home and local knowledge & tips on good places to eat out and shop. If you really want to make your guests feel at home you can always leave a small welcome gift in the shape of a bottle of wine, fresh flowers or a box of chocolates. There is no better way to start a holiday!

At Bedspoke we take the hassle out of managing properties with Airbnb while at the same time making sure guests are properly taken care off. We manage a number of properties in London and Milan and take care of the booking process, checking-in guests and making sure they feel at home. We are around at all times of day and night in case guests need any help during their stay and also take care of cleaning, laundry, listing optimization and checkouts.

 

 

A simple guide to Airbnb's payment system for guests

Trying to make sense of Airbnb's payment and fee system can be a bit confusing at times, for this reason it's always a good idea to understand how it all works and when exactly your bank account might be affected. You will come across a number of additional fees that are included in the initial booking invoice and will be explained in detail in the invoice itself. These fees normally include the Airbnb guest service fee, the cleaning fee and the deposit. Other fees might still apply that are applied by each host individually, this might be to cover late check-ins or to cater for extra guests. Always make sure to read the whole property description on Airbnb prior to booking so that you are not faced with any unpleasant surprises upon arrival.

Airbnb in London

 

The Airbnb guest service fee

On top of the rental fee set out by the host expect to pay the Airbnb guest service fee. This fee exists to cover the costs of running Airbnb and is normally 12% of the total rental fee (In the E.U. this is 14.4% as it includes VAT). This value decreases to 6% as the value of the booking gets larger and generally means that the longer you stay the higher the discount. The Airbnb guest service fee is included in the original invoice when the guest is making the booking.

 

The cleaning fee

It's good to know that a large number of listings on Airbnb charge a cleaning fee, this is to cover the cleaning that is required to prepare the apartment for the next guests and might come as a surprise to some guests as the cleaning fee is normally included if you are booking a room in a hotel. The cleaning fee is included in your original invoice and is charged at the same time that the booking is confirmed.

 

The damage deposit

Some hosts decide to charge a deposit to cover any possible breakages/damages/missing items. It is quite important to understand as a guest that the damage deposit is not actually charged to guests until a claim is made by a host. Hosts have 48 hours after check-out to make a claim with Airbnb and if a claim is made Airbnb will act as the mediator. It's recommended to mention any breakages to hosts as soon as possible so that there are no unexpected fees once you have checked out.

 

Additional charges imposed by hosts

Always make sure to read the detailed description of the property listing as this is where you will come across any extra fees that might be applied by hosts. The most common extra fees that you will come across include late or early check-in fees that are outside the set check-in/check-out times or a fee for additional guests. Make sure to read every detail in the property description before finalizing your booking and to double check any doubts with hosts. Note that these additional fees are normally paid in cash upon arrival and do not involve Airbnb. Note that the deposit is always managed through Airbnb so lookout for hosts that request for it to be paid in cash. 

 

Setting up your payment method on Airbnb

 

Airbnb offers a number of options to receive and send payments. Setting up your payment method is very simple; simply go to "account settings" then "payment preferences".

1. All major credit cards and pre-paid credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, Amex, Discover, JCB

2. Many debit cards that can be processed as credit

3. Paypal for select countries - Once it's set up it is extremely simple to use, it's safe and can be used anywhere. It's free to use to send money or receive money between people within the same country as long as the payment is made by a bank account. To check out Paypal fees click here

4. Google Wallet for US users and Apple Pay.

5. Other payment services that are specific to certain countries are available such as Alipay, Postepay, Sofort Uberweisung, iDEAL, Boleto Bancario.

 

Summary - So when are payments actually made?

Once both parties have pre-approved each other the booking is finalised and confirmed. At this point in time the guest will be charged the full amount (unless the booking is longer than 28 days) and includes all the different fees but not the deposit. The deposit is dealt with separately and is only charged once the guests have checked out and if the host has identified any breakages or damages. Once the guest has paid for the booking that amount will be held by Airbnb until 24 hours after the check-in day at which point it is transferred into the hosts account. This is to ensure that guests are satisfied with the property and that it lives up to the description and pictures on the hosts profile. Note that for long lets that are longer than 28 days the payments are collected in monthly instalments on the anniversary of the check-in day. This means that guests will not have to fork out the full amount on the first day of booking.

Once the guests have checked-out the hosts have 48 hours to identify any damages/breakages/missing items and make a claim with Airbnb, if any are identified this is when the deposit is charged to the guests account.

A simple guide to Airbnb's payment system for hosts

So who manages what and how do Airbnb payments work?

Understanding the payment system used by Airbnb can be a bit confusing at times but it's always a good idea to know who has to pay what and when. As a host you'll often find yourself faced with these questions from guests and it's extremely useful when you try and do your own accounts. The key to making sense of it is to understand that Airbnb aims to act as the middle-man in every way possible. Their key objectives are to simplify the booking process for both guests and hosts, increase security with relation to the payments as well as acting as the middle-man in case any issues arise.

 

The Airbnb host service fee

From the hosts perspective Airbnb charges a minimal fee to cover admin fees. This is usually 3% or 3.6% (In VAT countries such as the ones in the E.U.) of the total amount that goes to hosts. Take into account that Airbnb also charges guests a much larger guest booking fee which hosts are not able to view or are in any way involved with. Take into account that this Host fee is also charged on the cleaning fee and will be deducted from the amount that you as a host will set for your listing.

 

The controversial cleaning fee

There is some controversy as to whether hosts should charge a cleaning fee or not, in our opinion charging a once off cleaning fee makes more sense than adding a small additional fee per day. Ultimately it's up to each host to decide. If you do decide to charge that extra fee to cover the cleaners and laundry service this is paid at the same time as the rest of the booking. This is charged to guests when they confirm the booking and is passed on to hosts 24 hours after check-in. If you are doing your accounts take into account that Airbnb will deduct 3 or 3.6% of the cleaning fee which will be charged as part of the Airbnb host fee.

Calculating Airbnb fees

 

The host deposit - Deposit or no deposit?

Some might argue that charging a deposit on Airbnb discourages some guests to go ahead and book. Ultimately this is very possible but there are a few factors to take into account:

A. Guests are actually not charged the deposit when they make the booking or at any point in time if no damages are identified by hosts. The deposit is only taken from the guests account if a breakage is found and the host makes a request with Airbnb within 48 hours of the guests leaving.

B. If you do not charge a deposit and something is broken during the guest's stay you can expect to pay for it out of your own pocket. Don't expect the Airbnb host guarantee to come to the rescue. It simply does not apply in the case of involuntary breakages.

C. Charging a deposit actually encourages guests to take extra care of your property, so if you are worried in any way about guests behaving badly charge a deposit.

The thing to remember is that guests will only be charged the deposit if the host makes a request with Airbnb. The host has 48 hours after check-out to check over the property and identify any damages or breakages. If something is identified hosts should get in touch with Airbnb and submit any pictures and proof they have at hand. Once this is done the deposit is charged to the guests to cover the damages incurred. Airbnd acts as the go between to resolve any disputes with relation to the deposit and are generally very good at this.

 

Timing - So when are payments actually made?

Once both parties have pre-approved each other the booking is finalised and confirmed. At this point in time the guest will be charged the full amount (unless the booking is longer than 28 days) and includes all the different fees but not the deposit. The deposit is dealt with separately and is only charged once the guests have checked out and if the host has identified any breakages or damages. Once the guest has paid for the booking that amount will be held by Airbnb until 24 hours after the check-in day at which point it is transferred into the hosts account. This is to ensure that guests are satisfied with the property and that it lives up to the description and pictures on the hosts profile.

Note that for long lets that are longer than 28 days the payments are collected in monthly instalments on the anniversary of the check in day. This means that hosts will only receive payment for the first month when the guests check-in and that guests will not have to fork out the full amount on the first day of booking. Click here to find out more on long-term lets payments.

Once the guests have checked-out the hosts have 48 hours to identify any damages/breakages/missing items and make a claim with Airbnb, if any are identified this is when the deposit is charged to guests. Click here to find out more on how to make a damage deposit claim.

 

Setting up your payment method on Airbnb

Airbnb offers a number of options to receive and send payments. Setting up your payment method is very simple, simply go to "account" then "pay-out preferences". For full details click here.

1. Direct Deposit - this will let Airbnb deposit the amount due straight into your bank account. Note that it can take up to 5 days to first set up, this is for Airbnb to ensure that your account is valid and authentic.

2. International wire - the requirements to set this up depends on where your account is located.

3. Payoneer Bank Transfer/Debit Card - take into account that Payoneer may apply some extra charges for withdrawals or currency exchanges.

4. PayPal - once it's set up is extremely simple to use, Airbnb will simply top up your PayPal account when payments are due.

It's free to use to send money or receive money between people within the same country as long as the payment is made by a bank account (which is the case with Airbnb). To check out Paypal fees click here.

5. Western Union - Airbnb offers this option but it does not come highly recommended, expect extra charges for pretty much everything. From deposit charges, processing fees to currency exchange fees.

Choice of payments with airbnb

 

Keep it simple - and use our one-step hassle-free full management service

 At Bedspoke we take great care to ensure everything is set up properly and that the booking process is kept as smooth and hassle-free as possible. We take care of everything, from managing booking requests to optimizing your listing on a daily basis, welcoming guests and taking care of the cleaning. With Bedspoke we take the hassle out of managing numerous short-term lets and simply transfer you the earnings at the end of the month.

Airbnb in London. Why you should seriously be thinking of hosting your property on Airbnb!

Using Airbnb as a short-term rental platform in London has become common place - it's a proven and tested system and it works!

Airbnb has now become the standard with regards to short-term lets in London, and it's incredibly simple to use and set up. There was a time when the idea of letting out your home to strangers for those few weeks you were away was unthinkable, you would surely end up with snoopy, disrespectful guests that would ruin your home. Since Airbnb started operating in London this myth has been put to rest, guests are in general very respectful of their hosts and the properties they stay in. The most likely scenario is that guests will be spending the minimum amount of time in the properties as they are there to discover the city and enjoy the sights.

The thing to note is that the more you take care of your guests and ensure they are enjoying their stay the more likely they are to treat your home with respect and leave it tidy.

 

The Airbnb experience is becoming increasingly popular with both hosts and guests!

Airbnb has gained some real momentum in London and is still growing at a considerable pace. Due to its simple platform, ease of use and positive feedback the number of hosts and guests has increased drastically.

The thing to highlight is that now is the time to sign up to Airbnb before the platform becomes swamped with competing hosts. As the booking process for guests is highly dependent on reviews the sooner you sign up to Airbnb and generate your own reviews the more attractive your listing becomes to guests in the future.

 

Airbnb offers incredible protection when compared with other online platforms

Airbnb is the only platform that really goes out of its way to make you feel at ease with letting out your home out to strangers. First of all the platform lets you sift through the enquiries and only accept the ones that you feel comfortable with. If you only feel comfortable renting your home out to families you can do exactly that! Airbnb offers host protection coverage of up to £600 000 every time guests are staying in your property. You can also chose to demand a deposit every time a booking is made. This is highly recommended and ensured guests take extra care of your property.

handing over keys with airbnb

 

The Airbnb platform is incredibly easy to use for both hosts and guests

The platform is focused on being user friendly for both hosts and guests, especially when it comes to setting up accounts and managing enquiries. Furthermore it's so simple to use that the whole enquiry process can be done from your phone. Guests can send you a message on Airbnb as part of their enquiry and this message will be send to your phone via a text message, if you wish you can then reply to them via text message and this will come up on their Airbnb message box. 

 

If you have any issues Airbnb is always ready to help!

It might sound like nothing but having someone to help at all times really makes a difference, and that is exactly what Airbnb offers. If you go to the help section on Airbnb you can ask them any question that comes to mind and they'll get back to you within minutes. 

 

How to benefit from hosting your property on Airbnb without even being in town!

Airbnb management agencies in London such as Bedspoke cater for exactly that; home owners that want to benefit from making an income from their empty properties while they are off on holiday or simply not available to manage the short-term lets.

At Bedspoke we take care of the whole process, from setting up the property profile on Airbnb, screening and managing inquiries, to cleaning, 24/7 issue resolution and check-outs. All you need to do is get in touch and give us the dates you'll be away and we'll sort out the rest. 

Want to get the most out of Airbnb? Here are a few tips on how to optimise your listing

Optimizing your Airbnb listing is much simpler than you may think and the difference it can make can be considerable. The easiest way of course is to let someone else do it for you, here at Bedspoke that's just one of the services we offer in our full management package.

 

Develop your personal Airbnb profile as much as possible

Add as much information as you can and aim to give a broad summary of who you are, your personality and interests. The objective is to come across as approachable and friendly. Make sure to add friendly smiley pictures in the profile as this is the first thing guests will see. Always take into account that guests are faced with countless other listings and profiles and a friendly approachable profile can make the difference between generating an enquiry and guests skipping on to the next listing.

Highlight the positive characteristics of your property listing

This is an obvious one, make sure the property description highlights and strengthens the positive characteristics of your property listing and don't forget to highlight the location and neighbourhood and all the attractions close by. Make sure to also mention the maybe less glamorous aspects of your property that might be of interest to guests during their stay. Mentioning the floor it is on or that there is normally a cat home ensures that guests will not turn on you once they are writing their own review about their experience.  

Encourage friends, family and guests to write recommendations for your profile

This goes a long way when you are starting off on Airbnb as they act as reviews in their own way. The best thing to do is to encourage friends and family to write recommendations that focus on your approachability, friendliness and past experience hosting and helping people. 

stand out from the crowd airbnb

Use that professional Airbnb photographer

Each time you create a new listing on Airbnb you are entitled to a free professional photographer to come to your home and take quality pictures that look incredible on Airbnb. It's easy to book, simply sign into your Airbnb account and go to the photography option here. All you need to do then is click on the property you want to book the photography shoot for. The difference it can make is astonishing as it is usually the first and only way people will judge your listing.

Make sure to offer the basic luxuries expected by guests

These are always seemingly insignificant things that if you don't have will likely put guests off. This includes a hairdryer, a microwave, kettle, coffee maker, toaster, soaps & shampoo. It also goes a long way to add that little personal touch such as fresh flowers or a bottle of wine in the fridge.

Give the property a good clean

Give the place a good spring clean and make sure not to miss any spots guests are likely to come across when they are using the different appliances within the property. Guests can be extremely fussy when it comes to cleanliness and take into account that a dirty cutlery drawer will be seen by guests as a dirty apartment. It's only as good as its weakest link.

 Make sure there are no hazards around the house

Go around the house and make sure nothing is about to fall off or that is on the verge of breaking. Pay special attention to shelves, appliances, steps, floorboards, and any other dangers such as exposed wiring or dodgy looking wiring on old appliances and lamps. The last thing you need is for something to happen to your guests.

When you start off on Airbnb offer lower prices than the competition

If you are aiming to become a mid to long-term user of Airbnb and will be listing your property for a number of weeks and months one of the first things to do is generate as many reviews as possible. This creates a strong momentum from the very start and will guarantee a greater number of bookings on the long run. The best way to go about this is to price your listing slightly lower than the competition. Once you generate a healthy number of bookings start putting the price up to reflect the actual value you should be listing at. To find the competitor's prices simply search for similar properties around your neighbourhood and find out what they are charging. Airbnb also offers to set the price automatically but this is not always recommended as it can be very inaccurate depending on the area. 

Get back to enquiries and any messages as soon as possible

Furthermore make sure to respond to everything no matter the message. This is all seen very positively by Airbnb and will help in the way you will be ranked when guests are looking up the listings they are interested in. Responding to guests as soon as possible also helps make the whole booking process smoother and adds to the overall experience the guests will have. The other obvious benefit is that guests are actually more likely to book with you as it is very likely they are looking at a number of listings at the same time. Remember that the first to get back and engage with guests is more likely to get the booking.

Get back to your guests as soon as possible airbnb

Take care of your guests during their stay

It really makes a difference if your guests feel they are taken care off during their stay. Ideally this would simply involve an email or two during their stay and an efficient and smooth check-in and check out. This also helps identify any issues as soon as possible before they become major issues and the greater contact with the guests will encourage them to give positive feedback once they have checked out.

Write reviews for guests as soon as they have checked out

The sooner you write a review for guests after they have checked out the more likely you are to receive a review in return as they still have the experience fresh in their minds. It can also help to let the guests know you have written a review for them and at the same time thank them for their custom.

 

What can a short-term property management agency such as Bedspoke do to help?

At Bedspoke we pride ourselves on offering a unique bespoke service to hosts that is friendly, efficient and hassle-free. Our services take away all the hassle associated with short-term lets while at the same time allowing hosts and homeowners the chance to benefit from that extra income generated through short-term rentals. We handle the whole management process and aim to offer the best in every aspect of the management process. At Bedspoke we take care of everything, from guests screening, optimizing the Airbnb profile, handling enquiries, checking-ins and checkouts, checking up on guests, managing the cleaners and laundry to writing reviews and being available at all times to resolve any issues. If you are interested in our services at Bedspoke don't hesitate in getting in touch.

How simple is it to make your holiday pay for themselves with Airbnb?

The idea of renting out your home while you are off on holiday is still fairly new and the perceived effort involved can put most people off the idea. The simple fact is that the process has become increasingly simple and efficient thanks to online platforms such as Airbnb and property management agencies that are especially designed to cope with short-term lets. At Bedspoke we offer a service that caters for exactly that. We offer a service that satisfied both the hosts and guests, enabling hosts to do short-term lets and generate more income while they are off on holiday while at the same time ensuring that guests are properly taken care off during their stay.

With Airbnb the process of finding guests and taking bookings could not be any easier, all you have to do is open an account and create a profile for your property and you're ready to go. Click here to create your account. All you have to do then is wait for the enquiries to come in and confirm the bookings. Other reasons why Airbnb has become increasingly popular with homeowners is that it also offers a host guarantee. in case of breakages or theft of up to £600,000. Taking all that into account, if you are looking to take on more than one or two bookings the management process can really put some people off the idea of short term lets because of the effort involved. 

How to make your holidays pay for themselves with Airbnb

How much hassle is really involved in managing your own guests?

 If you are looking to rent your home for a week or less the management process is kept to a minimum and you will very likely get away with asking your friendly neighbour and friends to keep an eye on the property and possibly even carry out a check in or two if and when they are available to do so.

The check-in, the on-going care and the check-out process - this could be a matter of calling your neighbour around to hand over keys but in reality the check-in tends to be slightly trickier. The guests very often do not arrive at the time they originally planned to arrive due to a whole range of unenforceable circumstances. From slightly to very delayed flights, busy customs, finding their way around airports/stations, traffic, etc.

Having someone around in case anything goes wrong - depending on how lucky you are with neighbours and friends you might be able to find someone to be around to keep an eye on your property. This is always a good idea as you can simply never know when an appliance may break down or the guests might get themselves locked out.

How much hassle is involved in managing your own Airbnb listing?

So how can the Bedspoke property management help?

At Bedspoke we offer to manage the whole process involved in short term property management.  There are a number of benefits to using our services:

1. Handling enquiries - we have a dedicated team that is focused on dealing with enquiries as they come in. It is very important to note that guests will very often shop around and make a number of enquiries and the host that comes back to them soonest and comes across as the most welcoming will most likely get their business. Each interaction with guests also involves answering a number of questions that might involve varying degrees of research which can be very time consuming. Also take into account that most interactions with guests will take between 1 and 3 days before guests make a final decision. Based on your requirements we also vet guests and ensure they will be responsible and respectful of your property.

2. Check-ins and checkouts - one of the key components of an enjoyable holiday is to feel welcomed and have that feeling of being taken care of. At Bedspoke we do our best to ensure that guests feel welcome and are properly introduced to the ins and outs of the property as well as the surrounding area. Furthermore the same person is responsible for getting in touch with guests before their arrival to ensure a smooth check-in. That same person is then responsible for ensuring guests are enjoying their stay and are available if any help is needed at any time. This has a number of benefits, it encourages guests to take extra care of the property as they have interacted with and met the person responsible for the property, it also adds to the experience the guests have of your property which encourages them to give very positive feedback and reviews. This is possibly the most important factor in generating very positive reviews which will guarantee a greater number of bookings and interest for your property in the future.

3. Having someone available in case of emergencies - if there is any form of emergency we are available at all times to take calls, that it be lost keys, a broken appliance or even help with guests finding their way home. We have a track record of sorting issues within minutes and have always ended up with very satisfied and grateful guests.

4. Managing cleaners and laundry - we ensure that the cleaners go in with a clean set of laundry as soon as guests move out, ensuring that your property is kept at its best at all times. We also provide our own luxury towels and linen which goes towards giving guests a more luxurious experience, this also means they will not be using your best linen while you are away.

5. Guests actually prefer booking with Bedspoke - this might come as a surprise but in actual fact guests very often come across all kinds of properties when they are looking to book on Airbnb. We offer guests a whole collection of very positive feedback and reviews which reflects our level of service. This combined with the knowledge that they will be taken care of at all times encourages guests to book our listings over other competing property listings.

What steps are there to signing up with Bedspoke?

 The process is very simple and can be completed within an afternoon, all you need to do is send us an email or give us a call here to find out if we can help with your property and answer any questions you might have. Once this is done we will come and visit your property to see if the property meets our own requirements such as dates, location, etc. If you are satisfied with what we have to offer we will then draw up a contract and finalize the process. From then on all you will have to do is pass over the keys and prepare your property for rentals.

The ins and outs of using Airbnb as a guest

Airbnb is an online platform that enables holiday goers to find short to medium-term accommodation within a framework that encourages a sense of community and accountability. If you are looking for an alternative to hotels and hostels when you are planning your next holiday Airbnb could be just what you are looking for. It offers a truly unique collection of properties and accommodation types located in some of the most sought after areas in the world, the majority at offering some of the most competitive rates in the market.

It's good to note that Airbnb does not only act as a simple platform for hosts and guests to find each other. It also acts as the go between for all monetary transactions, meaning no bank details are ever shared between guests and hosts. They also manage the damage deposits on behalf of the hosts to ensure a smooth process throughout and provide hosts a guarantee of up to £600,000 for every eligible booking through Airbnb.

The ins and outs of using Airbnb

Setting up your account with Airbnb

 The first step as a guest is to setup your personal Airbnb account. To do this simply go to the "sign up" tab on www.airbnb.com and follow the instructions. Once this is done you can actually start searching for accommodation in your desired destination but we'd recommend reading on for a few useful tips on things to look out for on Airbnb.

It's good to note that Airbnb and hosts encourage guests to develop their profiles as much as possible. For Airbnb this helps create a greater sense of community, trust and accountability. For hosts this helps them decide if they want to accept a booking or not. Note that a number of hosts will prioritize longer bookings but might become more flexible if faced with a positively reviewed and welcoming guest.

Some of the things that are worth spending time developing include an inviting description, a welcoming profile picture, verification with official ID and social media, and ultimately generating reviews. Reviews can only be written once a stay has been completed and will only be published if the other party also reciprocates with a review. These are extremely helpful to both hosts and guests as they tend to give a more honest and unbiased account of the host or accommodation type.

What should I look out for when searching for accommodation on Airbnb?

 When you are searching for accommodation on Airbnb expect to come across a whole variety of accommodation types from whole properties, shared accommodation to private rooms. Airbnb currently has over 800,000 unique listings around the world so you will very likely be spoilt for choice.

A few things to look out for when you are searching through the listings on offer are:

1. The host’s reviews. It's always a good idea to thoroughly read through the reviews and star ratings to gain a more realistic imagine of what the listing has to offer. 

Look out for the things that are not mentioned in the reviews that you would normally expect from a guest such as cleanliness, location, communication, etc.

Note that a large number of properties are managed by property management agencies, you can find out if they are by clicking on the hosts profile page and checking how many listings they manage. Have a look at our listings by clicking on the link here

2. The number of reviews relating to the property. When there is a shortage of reviews this can be due to a number of reasons. Normally it is because the listing is new and has not yet had enough time to generate enough reviews. It can also be due to bad experiences on behalf of the guests or because the owner is only listing their property for a short period of time. It's a good idea to ask these questions before finalizing the booking.

3. The host's profile. It's always a good idea to look at the host's profile to gain a better image of the person you will be dealing with. If you see more than one listing on the profile page it is very likely you are dealing with a property manager. This tends to be good news for the guests as the accommodation tends to be more professionally managed and you will have someone at hand in case something goes wrong.

Things to search for when looking at property listings on Airbnb

The booking process

Once you come across something that you like you will be faced with one of two options depending on the host’s preferences. You will either be able to book it instantly in which case you will see a tab entitled "Instant Book". This means you will be able to book instantly without being pre-approved by the host. In the majority of cases you will be faced with the tab "Request to Book". In this case the host will want to hear a little more from you and your reason of visit before they pre-approve your stay.

It's always a good idea to confirm a few things with the host before finalising the booking. Double check the availability of the dates you are looking to book and the overall listing description so as make sure you will be getting what you are hoping to get. A few good things to ask includes access to property, the floor it is on, if there is a lift , parking, the exact location, the closest public transport, the check in and check out procedure, and make sure to bring up any doubts that you have relative to the listing.

Once you have asked all your questions and the host is happy to confirm your booking the host will pre-approve you to book. Once this is done you will simply have to complete the booking from your end and finalize the booking. Only once this is done are will you be charged for the booking.

Note that if you have only just signed up to Airbnb you will be asked extra forms of identification to prove your identity. This step does not involve the host and is only between Airbnb and the guest. Once this is done Airbnb will allow you to confirm and finalize your booking.

Once the booking has gone through you will be charged the full amount which includes the booking total, cleaning fee and Airbnb service fee. The funds for the deposit will be blocked on your account but they will not be charged until the host has made a request in case of breakages once the stay is over. Note that the deposit is fully handled by Airbnb and that any requests by hosts to pay a deposit in cash is not protected by Airbnb and maybe even void the transaction made with Airbnb.

At this point you are ready to go and will have to coordinate with the hosts on how to go about the check-in and check-out procedure.

What else should I be aware of as a guest?

If you have only just signed up to Airbnb and are looking to book last minute you will be required to provide additional forms of identification to continue with your booking request.

A large number of properties require a once-off cleaning fee. This is clearly stated in the property description at the top of the listing. This is charged by Airbnb when you confirm your booking.

Some properties charge a damage deposit. This is clearly stated in the property description at the top of the listing. The deposit is handled by Airbnb and is only charged to your card if the host makes a claim once the stay is over.

Cancellation fees - if it is the guest that decides to cancel due to some unforeseen reason the Airbnb guest service fee is non-refundable. If the reservation is simply modified and extended or shortened the service fee is simply adjusted to the new subtotal. The host has a choice of 3 options when setting up their cancellation policy.

1. Flexible - This means the guest will receive a full refund up to 1 day prior to arrival, but they will not be refunded the Aibnb fees.

2. Moderate - You will get a full refund up until 5 days prior to arrival, but you will not be refunded the Airbnb fees.

3. Strict - You will be refunded 50% up until 1 week prior to arrival, and you will not be refunded the Airbnb fees.

Once the stay is over Airbnb will ask the guest to write a review about their stay, accommodation and hosting experience. It's highly recommended to write a review and try to be as honest as possible to help the next guests make their minds up. Once your review has been sent to Airbnb the host will be informed that you have written a review (but they will not be able to see your review until they have written a review themselves). Once the host has written a review in return you will have 48 hours to edit your review until it is published.

So how much does it cost to book through Airbnb?

 It is free to join and set up your guest and hosting account. You will only be charged once a booking is confirmed and the transaction has gone through. Note that all payments go through Airbnb and there is no exchange of card details between hosts and guests. On top of the rental fee expect to pay the Airbnb service fee. This is normally 12% (In the UK this is 14.4% as it includes VAT) of the booking total. This value decreases to 6% as the stay gets longer. Depending on the listing also expect to pay a cleaning fee and a damage deposit. Note that the damage deposit will only be charged at the end of your stay if breakages have been identified by the host.


How to set yourself up as a host on Airbnb

If you're looking to advertise your property for short to long-term lets or looking for an alternative to a hotel or hostel Airbnb could be just the thing you are looking for. Airbnb works by letting guests and hosts create their own personalized profile on the Airbnb platform, once this is done hosts have the option to add an extra page for their accommodation listing.

It's good to note that Airbnb does not only act as a simple platform for hosts and guests to find each other, it also acts as the go between for all monetary transactions which means all payments are handled by Airbnb and no bank details are ever shared between guests and hosts. They also manage the damage deposits on behalf of the hosts to ensure a smooth process throughout. They also provide a host guarantee of £600,000 for evely eligible booking through Airbnb as well as providing free professional photography in most major cities.

How to set yourself up as a host on Airbnb

The first step as a host is to setup your personal profile. This is a very straightforward process as you simply have to follow the steps on www.airbnb.com when you click on 'Sign up'. Note that the more detailed your personal profile is the more genuine and trustworthy your profile is going to come across to guests. Once you have completed your personal profile you will be able to create a profile for the accommodation you are offering. To do this simply click on the green box in the top right corner and follow the instructions. When you fill in the details for your accommodation make sure to add as much useful information as possible. Guests are more likely to trust a host that has gone to the effort of filling in all the blanks. It also helps give a better image of the property and can help sell the accommodation if done correctly.

Other things that can help make the listing more attractive to guests: 

·      Be honest about your listing - the last thing you need is to exaggerate your offering and as a result receive negative reviews and feedback

·      Come across as easy to communicate with and welcoming - this will go a long way when guest are trying to make up their minds between two listings

·      Make sure to not add things that might not be there once the guests arrive such as a hair dryer, etc. 

·      Add extra info that will be useful for guests - distance to supermarket, local shops and recommended local restaurants, etc.

·      Make sure the available dates are correct, and make sure to keep these updated if you are using other online rental platforms like Airbnb, the last thing you want to do is double book and have to cancel

·      Add pictures that are light, taken from eye level, and that give a clear honest view of the accommodation on offer

Once you property has been listed and can be viewed by guests looking to book you can request the free professional photographer. Note that this is only available in certain areas. To book your photographer go to https://www.airbnb.co.uk/info/photography and fill in the blanks. Note that once the photographer has come around you might have to wait up to 3 weeks for these pictures to be uploaded to your profile. So if you are in a hurry to receive enquiries simply add your own pictures.

 

What else to include in my property listing?

The cleaning fee

Some hosts decide to include the cleaning fee within the daily rental fee and others prefer a once-off fee. It's up to you to decide but it is recommended that you put in a once-off fee because it tends to be fairer on the guests as this fee should not increase or decrease depending on the length of the stay. It is a set charge that is put aside for the cleaner at the end of the stay.

The damage deposit

It's always recommended to add a damage deposit as a host. This encourages guests to treat the accommodation with respect and will cover any potential breakages. Note that the deposit is handled by Airbnb which means that you will only have access to the funds in case of breakages once the guest's stay is over. You will have 48 hours to check over the accommodation and make a claim with Airbnb.

 

The booking process

Once your accommodation is fully set up and has been listed on Airbnb you will start receiving enquiries. The good news as a new host is that Airbnb will boost your accommodation in the first month so that you have a chance to generate reviews and bookings. Taking enquiries tends to be a very straightforward process, all you have to do is engage with the guests, ask a few questions and give them the information they need.

When you are dealing with enquiries make sure to ask a few relevant questions such as who will be staying at the accommodation. Note that it is not uncommon for people to book on behalf of friends and family. You can do this by clicking the 'write back before you decide' section in the conversation panel. As a host it's also a good idea to look up the reviews of the guest that is booking, if they have used Airbnb before and have excellent reviews from other hosts its very likely they will also treat your accommodation with the same level of respect. Take into account that a large number of guests have probably never used Airbnb before so the fact they are lacking reviews does not necessarily mean they are bad guests. If you want to find out more about the guests simply ask them for more information.

The booking process with Airbnb

Once you are satisfied with a guest click on the 'allow guest to book' and then 'pre-approve to book'. This pre-approval means that the host has agreed to a possible deal with the guest. Once you have Pre-approved the guest they will be able to confirm their request and go ahead with the booking. The guest will be charged by Airbnb the moment they confirm the booking but the funds will be held by Airbnb until 24 hours after the check in date. This is to ensure that everything is as expected from both parties.

Once the stay is over the guest will be asked to fill in a review of your accommodation and the hosting experience. Once they have written this you will be informed and you can write a review about the guest in return. If reviews are written by both parties these are made public on each other’s profiles.

 

What else should I be aware of as a host?

 Get in touch with guests prior to their arrival and prior to them leaving to coordinate check-in and check-out times, key exchanges, contact details, etc. Always remember that a large number of Airbnb guests will be travelling to completely new areas and cities and are not familiar with the area.

If you decide to charge a deposit without going through Airbnb your contract will be void. It's also a lot more hassle so it is definitely recommended to go through Airbnb.

Airbnb does not see cancellations on behalf of the host in a very positive light so try not to cancel as you will receive a comment in your reviews section that you have cancelled with a guest on a certain date. If you have no choice and have to cancel make sure to add the reasons why you had to make the cancellation below the commend in the reviews section.

The more positive reviews you get the more bookings you are likely to receive, so make sure your listing is a realistic description of what you offer and that you are friendly and helpful with the guests at all times.

 

So how much is this service going to cost me?

It is free to join and set up your guest and hosting profile, you will only be charged once a booking is confirmed and the transaction has gone through. Note that all payments go through Airbnb and there is no exchange of card details between host and guest. 

As a host you will be charged 3% (In the E.U. 20% VAT is added so this value is 3.6%) of the full amount you are earning from your rental.

Example: Tom rent's his house out for £100 per day, for a period of 6 days in London. He also charges £40 for cleaning services. He will be charged 3.6% of (600 + 40) which is £23.04. So he ends up receiving £616.96 from Airbnb. He then spends £40 on cleaning so ends up with £576.96. Which is £96 per night.

Note that if a deposit is charged this is fully managed by Airbnb and you will have access to the funds in case of breakages only once the stay is over. 

Like a large percentage of home owners letting their properties on Airbnb they are simply not able to manage short term rentals because they are not available 24/7 in case something goes wrong or available at all times of day and night to check the guests in and out. 

 

How do Airbnb property management agencies come into play?

With the increased popularity of Airbnb a new breed of property management agencies have come into play that handles every aspect of short term rentals. Here at Bedspoke.com the property listings are optimised to increase rentals and the whole process is fully managed from handling enquiries to checking out and cleaning. One of the many advantages of employing an Airbnb property management agency is that you will have someone available 24/7 in case the guests need any help with anything within the apartment. This helps generate much more positive feedback and more positive reviews which increases the likelihood of a larger number of bookings in the long run. 

Airbnb for complete beginners

So what exactly is Airbnb and how does it work?

If you are a property owner and looking to rent, Airbnb is simply an online platform that enables you to rent out your empty property for short or medium term lets. It does this by creating an online profile for your property which can then be viewed and booked from anywhere in the world. It might sound like many other online property booking services but in fact Airbnb has a lot more to offer.  To sign up all you need to do is create a profile for yourself and your property, fill in your availabilities, prepare the house for rentals by giving it a good clean, lock away any valuables and clutter and you're ready to go.

If you are someone looking for accommodation, Airbnb is an online platform that offers a huge variety of properties and holiday lettings set in some of the most incredible spots around the world. It enables you to find and book accommodation anywhere and is very attractive to holiday goers because it offers an alternative to expensive hotels and expensive short term lets. For the same price as a hotel room in London you can get your own house with Airbnb! To sign up all you have to do is create your own profile and setup your account and you're ready to search and book. 

Airbnb has also given rise to a new breed of property management agencies which ultimately benefit both hosts and guests. At Bedspoke.com we manage properties throughout the whole rental process offering a 24/7 service to guests in case they have any issues with the apartments and offering hosts the possibility to take on a large number of short term lettings which would otherwise be impossible. 

Airbnb for beginners

 

So what are the major benefits of Airbnb when compared with other booking services?

One of the greatest benefits is actually the amount Airbnb invests in marketing, this guarantees a much greater exposure for property owners and a much greater pool of potential guests. For guests this means a greater choice of properties and more competitive prices, so it ultimately benefits all parties.

Airbnb also offers an incredibly easy to use interface that gives you complete control over your offering and availabilities, you also get the chance to develop your presence on Airbnb by gaining reviews and references from other users and past hosts and guests you have dealt with in the past. This increases your legitimacy on Airbnb and in turn increases your chances of greater bookings as a host and creates a much smoother booking process as a guest.

 

The key benefits for hosts & homeowners

The obvious benefit of Airbnb is that it enables you to generate an income from an otherwise empty property, even if it is for those 2 weeks you are off on holiday. Airbnb's unique approach means that you can rent out your home for those weeks you are away without having to prepare your home for long term lets.

Free professional photography - You can get free professional photography from Airbnb for your new property listing. This is available in most areas and provides clean professional photographs that will look attractive to potential guests viewing your property.

You also have the possibility to vet who stays in your property. When potential guests sign up they have to confirm their identities. This increases accountability on their behalf and is a reassurance for the property owner. Guests and hosts alike have the possibility to generate reviews after each stay which enables guests to create a strong profile and enables hosts to increase the popularity of their listing.

 

The key benefits for guests & holiday goers

The huge attraction of Airbnb for guests is that it offers a unique collection of properties, located in some of the most stunning areas, and all that at a very competitive rate. For the price of a hotel room you can now get a whole apartment all to yourself! Located in the heart of the city! It also lets you experience the city in a completely new way, more than anything you get to be a part of the city, where your host property feels more like your home away from home. You are after all renting someone else’s home, with its personal touches and unique setting and community.

The choice of host properties is not only restricted to houses and apartments, Airbnb acts as a gateway to a whole new world of experiences and unusual destinations. You can book a stay on boats, in castles, tipis, private islands and even tree houses! 

The benefits of Airbnb for guests

 

So where did it all start?

Airbnb was founded in 2007 in San Francisco by 2 flatmates, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia. They were short on money and were looking for a means to pay their rent so they came up with the idea to rent out air mattresses in their sitting room with homemade breakfast included.  And so the concept of air mattress & breakfast was born. Air mattresses turned to apartments and homes and eight years on the company is now valued at over $24 Billion.