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The pros and cons of Airbnb hosting

14th October 2019

The pros and cons of Airbnb hosting

Perhaps you already own a property you’re keen to list on Airbnb? Or maybe you’re looking to invest in a buy-to-let, with plans to do short-term lets? With other options available, such as full-service management and longer-term letting, it’s worth weighing up the pros and cons of Airbnb before becoming a host. We give you the low down.

Pros

1.     Higher income compared to long-term letting

Hosting short-term stays through Airbnb allows you to earn more per month in comparison to long-term letting. You can price your property per night and increase this when demand in the area is higher – during weekends, holidays or when local events are being held.

For example, if you could advertise your property for £1,000 pcm on a long-term let basis, but price it at £100 per night on Airbnb, you could potentially make three-times more pcm.

2.     Pick and choose your hosting dates

Having control over when you want to let out your property on Airbnb gives you flexibility and control. You could then use the place yourself at certain times throughout the year, or have a break from hosting if you’re due to be out of the country or unable to welcome guests.

3.     Be as involved as you like

Some hosts do all the work, from the cleaning and washing to welcoming guests in person when they check-in. If this isn’t feasible due to work commitments or your proximity to the property, a completely hands-off approach may suit you better. There are companies that offer full-service management of Airbnb properties for a percentage of your earnings.

4.     Vet your guests before they arrive

With Airbnb, the platform has a two-way review process, whereby people review the properties they stay in, as well as hosts being able to review their guests. This feature allows you to browse potential guests when you receive an enquiry before committing to host (if you have instant booking turned off).

5.     Demand set to increase

According to current trends and property experts, the demand for short-term rentals is set to increase. People are realising they can get much more for their money over an expensive but small hotel room, and can enjoy home-from-home living wherever they go.

Cons

1.     It comes with a fee

Although small, Airbnb comes with a host service fee, which you’ll have to pay. If you’re opting to use a full-service management company, this will be on top of whatever their fee is. It’s worth exploring if the management company has an independent platform to advertise your property so there is only one fee to pay.

Another fee is the service fee your guest will pay Airbnb when they book your property. This is usually around 13% of the total booking cost, but it varies depending on numerous factors. Although it’s not something you pay, it might put your guest off booking. Such fees may not apply on competitor platforms or with independent holiday letting companies.

2.     Bookings aren’t guaranteed

Unlike having a long-term tenant who signs a contract to rent your property for a fixed period, Airbnb comes with no guarantee of continuous income. You may experience several months of bookings, but suddenly find your property is empty for a period of time.

Think about the location of your property. City centre properties are more likely to fill up all year round, while properties in beach resorts may be more seasonally popular.

Also consider spending money on professional photos and a copywriter to look over your descriptions and captions.

3.     It requires your time and energy

If you’re opting to take on the booking communication, cleaning and check-ins yourself, it can be a lot of work. Many clients require multiple messages before booking and also want you to act as a guide throughout their stay.

Consider a reliable cleaner to help with the majority of work, or go for a hands-free approach with a management company to ease the pressure.

4.     Things go wrong

No matter how perfect your property is, sometimes things don’t go to plan and bad reviews happen. This might be due to circumstances outside of your control, such as a noisy neighbour, broken washing machine or a power cut. Unfortunately, a bad review sticks with your listing and can be seen by all future, potential guests.

Avoid this happening by establishing good communication with all your guests and being responsive as soon as problems arise. If you don’t live near the property, it’s a good idea to have someone to call who is. Management companies often have a pool of service personnel to contact should a problem arise.

5.     Not everyone is the perfect guest

Due to its two-way reviewing feature, the majority of guests through Airbnb are polite, considerate and clean. However, this isn’t guaranteed and reckless behaviour and damage does sometimes happen. You can choose the deposit amount you take from guests and Airbnb has great liability insurance. Also, make sure your content and building insurance covers short-term letting.

A good management company will vet the guests by asking them specific questions about their stay whilst also offering a meet & greet service at the property.

A bit about us…

Fresh Air Rental Management has over 800 reviews and Superhost status on Airbnb. In this time we have learnt valuable lessons on how best to advertise and stage a property and manage guests. If you are considering short term lets for your property give us a call.

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