Just kidding, kind of. But I got a few requests to talk about why I love Air BnB the service as both a guest and now a host. I have rented my new apartment in LA four times (yah, four weekends in a row.) And I’ve rented apartments in Amsterdam, Colombia, and San Francisco.
So I’ll tell you a little bit about using it as a guest, but focus on why I choose to let strangers into my house and go stay with my mom on the weekend.
If you don’t have an account, sign up here and incase you do book in the future, it will give you $25 your first booking with my referral.
The flaws as a guest:
- no one comes to clean your place, as a hotel would
- typically less amenities
- sometimes more difficult to do incredibly last minute.
The perks as a guest:
- cheaper than a hotel
- larger than a hotel
- more options and specific areas
- personal touch
- the ability to bargain or get a special rate
As a host, Air BnB has been a game changer for Drew and I. Of course, a lot of these suggestions may come off as annoying because I have the option and privilege of going to stay at a family members house for free while I rent out my place for pure profit. FINALLY. On another note, I’m glad that when I finally moved back to my hometown I’m in a good enough place with my parents where this is possible.
Here are the basic and obvious reasons Why I like Air BnB as a Host:
- Easy money
- Excuse to get out of town and pay for or subsidize a weekend vacation
- Keeps you keeping your place clean
- Fun community to be a part of
Air BnB HOSTING Tips:
- Start with a low rate. What I did was see how much my rent events out to per night, and multiply that.
I initially started at $100 a night. This frustrated me because everytime I’ve ever rented, I paid more than this, and once I split this with Drew it isn’t significant, but then I have to remember, how inconvenient is it? If I’m already going out of town- it isn’t at all, even if I’m not, will I make $100 to sleep at my moms, yep.
- Make sure the rate is competitive with your competition by looking at nearby listings
LA is a lot cheaper than NYC and SF (my previous homes.) It’s even cheaper than New Orleans where I also lived despite rent a lot cheaper there. If your price is too high, people will not request you, or they will and price shop around and back out last minute- this has happened to me.
- Figure out the right ratio between nightly price and cleaning fee
Air BnB allows you to charge a cleaning fee. It appears that around 80% of users opt to choose one. I do, partially because cleaning it before and after your guest comes is time consuming, and also because it allows you to distribute your fees in a way that psychologically appeals to your guests. Example, a $110 per night with $30 cleaning fee will likely get more people to jump to book than $140 a night with no cleaning fee. This is a bit of a mind-fuck and trick, but it is what it is. The cleaning fee and Air BnB fee (around $25 a night I think? They keep all of this) is tacked on once they select their dates, so they may possibly be more committed than when they are just browsing.
- Use a catchy title phrase as your title
Think marketing, SEO, Twitter, c’mon. “Spacious” “Luxurious” “Vintage” “Hollywood Glamour” “Art Deco” “Victorian” “Cozy” “Family Friendly” you know what people like.
- Make your place as nice as it can be
Clean it up. Put personal things away or take them out. Leave out a few magazines and a note. Leave towels folded and put in a specific place. Maybe leave some shampoo samples you stole from a hotel to mock the hotel experience. Maybe go the extra mile and have some breakfast goodies they can use and leave a note to make sure they know. Make your bed really nice, leave water bottles on the bedside table. People are choosing this over a hotel, it isn’t your homie crashing for the night. If you get a mediocre rating, people will read that and see. Also what inspires me is just being respectful. Air BnB is slightly illegal but a great community, I want a respectful host and clean place, so I do that for others. If your place is the first experience someone has, it sets the bar and carries the standard forward.
- Pick the right guests
I always want to jump the gun and accept a guest because I don’t want to pass up the opportunity, and regret it. Typically on Wednesday of every week is when I get the most requests. I try to get 1-2 people, typically a youngish couple because I live with my boyfriend and a couple entering the apartment is less alarming than 3 old men or teenage boys or a school group or a tech start up or whoever it may be. This is an issue specific to me because I haven’t officially gotten it approved so I want it to stay as lowkey as possible. I read peoples reviews and always try to gauge how responsive people are on the app/text. I like someone who is staying on top of it incase I need to get a hold of them. I also try to get guests who do not have more than 1 car or ideally none at all, because parking and instructions with that can sometimes be a pain, or if I want to keep our car in our spot.
- Take good photos
As soon as you can, request Air B&B come take FREE pro photos, it takes 8 weeks to post to your account so do it as soon as you can. Make sure you select a great photo for the sample photo. People scroll down the grid like interface quickly and you want to catch their eye. I chose my living room which is a good example of the decor and how large the place is. A lot of people on Air Bnb are renting out places that are specifically vacation homes aka no one lives there. Though those may be cheaper, there are always going to be some users who appreciate the real human touch and personality.
- Educate yourself about the rules and policies
If you’re allowing people into your place, know your landlords rules. Make sure your neighbors are cool with it, or it flies under the radar. Make sure you read and understand Air BnB’s policies and insurance. It’s always a risk but make it as low of a risk as possible.
- Do some little extras. Be memorable.
I have a cute guidebook of tips for my neighborhood as well as contact info that I place for the guests to read as soon as they enter. I also like to leave a little treat like wine or cookies. As I’ve mentioned before, the better your ratings are, the more you can charge and the more bookings you will get from other legitimate guests (not randos who have never used the site). I raised my price $5 after my first, and $5 more after my third, as well as raised the cleaning fee $10. Once I have 5 5-star reviews, I am going to raise it $5-9 more.
Please leave comments with any questions you may have and any Air BnB experiences you’ve had as a host or as a guest. If you don’t have an account, sign up here and when you make your first reservation you will get $25 off!