Increasing numbers of South African homeowners are earning extra income through Airbnb, but this isn’t without its challenges. Know what to expect going in – and have strategies in place for handling commonly experienced issues – and you’ll be better equipped to run a successful Airbnb business.
1. Organisational woes
Hosting paying guests is a time consuming 'business' that requires proper time management and organisational skills. You have to be available to hand over keys, check guests out and ensure the accommodation is clean, fresh and welcoming. Keeping your guests waiting is the easiest way to get a bad review.
Time management apps, software and tools are a failsafe way of streamlining your Airbnb service. You can create lists of tasks that need doing and have automated reminders sent to your PC, tablet or phone. MyLifeOrganized and Todoist are handy tools that allow you to keep track of everything in one place.
If you manage multiple properties, investing in AirGMS Airbnb management software will probably be the best investment you ever make. Those who want a more personalised management service are advised to sign-up at a property management company that offers photo shoots, guest vetting, reservations, housekeeping and maintenance – Airfairys, Back in Town or Air Agents.
2. Demanding guests
Guests are paying for the privilege of staying in your home, and it’s reasonable for them to expect certain things in return. However, some guests may be unreasonably demanding – and this can easily eat into your time, Airbnb earnings and patience levels!
You might choose to arrange airport transfers or dinner reservations for guests. These are helpful extra services that can earn you positive guest ratings. However, when it comes to shopping for supplies or demanding they be allowed to stay beyond the allotted check-out time, it's generally time to draw a line.
The best way to manage demanding guests is to create a list of house rules outlining what you will and won't do. Leave it in a prominent position in the room or, better still, send it to all prospective guests via the platform's messaging service before accepting reservations. That way, there won’t be misunderstandings or arguments.
3. Bad reviews
Bad reviews are almost inevitable. Over time, one or two guests probably will complain. No matter how hard you try to be the perfect host, things sometimes go wrong – and even if they don’t, you can’t please everyone. The way you handle a bad review can help save or destroy your reputation as an Airbnb host.
When you do get a poor review, don’t react emotionally. Give the complaint some thought, apologise to your guest and be as diplomatic as possible. Try and turn the negative into a positive by offering the guest an incentive to visit your home again. Offering a free dinner or a free night's accommodation can do wonders to your standing in the Airbnb community.
4. Damage to property
It's not unusual for guests to break or damage property. Accidents just do happen. Worse, you might encounter guests with the attitude that they've paid for it, so they can break it. Others might even host wild parties that leave your place in tatters.
Although Airbnb does offer Host Protection Coverage, this does not apply to “liability arising from intentional acts”. So damage that’s not caused by an accident isn’t covered.
You can avoid covering the costs of repairing damage yourself by supplementing Airbnb’s Host Protection Coverage with homeowner's or commercial property insurance. It's also advisable to have a legal rental agreement drawn up for long-term Airbnb guests.
5. Unexpected emergencies
Power outages, faulty appliances and Wi-Fi interruptions can have a disastrous effect on your guests' experiences of your home. The speed at which you respond to an emergency is crucial and determines whether you get a good, bad or indifferent guest rating.
If you’re managing the property yourself, ensure you’re contactable around the clock. Give the guests your cell phone number and respond to their calls immediately.
It's a good idea to compile a checklist of emergency numbers so you can act quickly and decisively if anything goes wrong. Also, remember to keep your guests informed about how a problem is being resolved.
6. Finding space
Creating a comfortable and attractive living space probably means you have to clear out one or more rooms in your home. A clean, uncluttered space with modern minimalistic furnishings is sure to attract the attention of paying guests. The problem – what do you do with all your personal belongings?
Self-storage with XtraSpace is ideal for storing excess furniture, personal items, unnecessary small appliances and other clutter you need to clear out of a room or home for renting to guests via Airbnb. It’s also useful for storing extra supplies, such as linen, towels, soap and so on, that you provide for guests.
Whenever you need something, you can access your storage unit. You keep the key, and can fetch or add items when you choose. All our facilities are protected by access control, security guards and 24/7 CCTV surveillance, and are designed to make it easy to access for our customers to access their storage units.
Finding space for personal items is one of the Airbnb hosting challenges that almost anyone considering hosting Airbnb guests has to solve early on. At XtraSpace, we can help! Contact us for more information or browse to find a branch near you.