airbnb london

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.

 

 

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.