Today, Sydney is the 5th biggest Airbnb market in the world. Listings in NSW have doubled each year over the last five years. While this is certainly good news for the local economy (more guests means more money spent locally), it means that competition has become tougher if you want to rent out your property to short-term guests.
So how do you secure more bookings and therefore increase your rental income? Easy! Instead of providing a standard experience a guest could get anywhere, take it up a notch and provide them with these six “wow” experiences they’ll thank you for. A happy guest will hopefully then mean a 5-star guest review, which is what other guests will be looking for when deciding where to book their next Airbnb.
So here are six simple tips based upon my experience from having worked in hospitality and tourism over the past ten years, managing my own Airbnb listing and now managing MadeComfy’s guest experience team. I’ve had my trials and errors and experience has taught me that guests don’t want a standard experience, so the below tips are the ones I’ve found will make the most impact:
Tip 1: Make the check-in as easy as possible for short-term guests
One thing guests always appreciate once they've made a booking is clear instructions on how to get to the property and where the keys need to be collected or if the check-in will be in person. It is important that the guest receives these instructions immediately after the booking, as well as a few days before their arrival. This will provide them with confidence that everything is on track with their booking and save any unnecessary stress.
When the guests arrive you should ensure the keys are ready for them to collect or you are available to meet them. There is nothing more frustrating for a guest than to arrive at a property to find they can't check-in based upon the information you've provided or agreed upon. So make sure you're organised and put reminders in your calendar to ensure you won't leave your guests stranded.
If your home is a high-end property, generally guests will expect a more bespoke check-in treatment. This is where a management service such as MadeComfy can be of assistance, as we're able to provide a concierge service to provide a warm in-person welcome to your guests and guidance on the use of specific amenities in the house such as swimming pool, hot tub and any special appliances.
By following these measures it means your guests won’t have to worry whether they arrive late or early but they can get into your home without hassle, making the decision to book your property an easy one and go a long way toward earning you that 5-star guest review.
Tip 2: Local recommendations
While in the past travellers treasured the fact that they could stay in Honolulu, New York or London and their favourite hotel brand would look the same everywhere, today’s travellers are after a much more personalised experience. They want uniqueness. There is a difference between staying in a nice cosy flat in Surry Hills and heading out for an infamous Sunday brunch on the happening Crown Street compared to staying on the 30th floor of a city hotel where each room looks the same and you get your coffee from a global chain.
While you might know that the unassuming Chinese takeaway across the street makes the best handmade dumplings you’ve ever had, your guests don’t. Share not only your home but also your local knowledge. The good thing is, you only need to take the time once to create a list of recommendations and you can offer them time and time again. When renting out my home while travelling, I always made sure I left a print out of my breakfast, lunch and dinner recommendations and my guests always appreciated it.
Tip 3: Provide instructions about how things work in your home
You know the little tweaks and perks of your home, but your guests don’t. Sometimes using a TV or an oven can become an annoying challenge. Having been to many homes, I dread it every time I try to use a TV. Or someone who’s used to a top loader washing machine might be intimidated by your state-of-the-art front loader. Again, you only need to take the time once to sit down think about all your electronic devices and machines in your home and put together an instruction booklet for your guests. Believe me, they will thank you for it and it will make their time staying at your home so much easier and minimise the amount of phone calls you might need to pick up to help guests with these questions.
Tip 4: Make sure your guests feel comfortable
One of the main reasons your guests chose to book your home is that compared to a hotel room, they have more space and bigger rooms in which they can stay. Although it is understandable that part of your wardrobe is still there or that you make sure your expensive paintings from the living room are secured in storage, try to put yourself in your guests’ shoes. Ensure they have space to store their belongings, whether it be in the bathroom or the wardrobe. And after taking off your expensive paintings, don’t let them stare at bare hooks. There are many affordable interior options that can light up your home and don’t make the guests feel like they've walked into an impersonal show room.
I'd also highly recommend to provide fluffy clean towels, preferably all in the same colour (white) and generally a guest will feel a more premium experience if the linen provided is white, as it provides a sense of fresh cleanliness rather than patterns or floral prints.
Before a guest arrives also make sure all the lights and lamps in your home are in working order. There's nothing more frustrating for a guest to switch on a light or bedside table only to find the light bulb has blown. Of course you can't control when a bulb blows, so if one does go during a guest's stay, be sure to have a stash of spares in the property, and let them know where it is.
Tip 5: Amenities
Arriving in a new city after a long-haul flight or after a long day at work, there is nothing nicer than not having to worry about your first cup of tea or coffee. I always make sure to leave some fresh milk, tea, coffee capsules and water for my guests. They will appreciate the fact that they don’t have to go to the supermarket first thing after they arrive. Getting up the next morning, having a nice cuppa and planning your day is what a holiday should be about. Which leads us to next important amenity you should offer: Internet. With today’s competitive market on affordable flat rates, and the expectation of staying connected, free Wi-Fi should be on the top of your list before renting out your home or investment property.
We recently published a blog article 6 Simple Upgrades That Will Give Your Airbnb Listing the Edge when it comes to impressing your guests to receive those 5-star guest reviews.
Tip 6: Cleanliness, cleanliness, cleanliness
It is the number one priority of all travellers. No matter if they travel for leisure or business or whether they stay at a hotel or at an Airbnb. There is nothing more disgusting than encountering the hair or bread crumbs of a previous guest. Make sure you have time to clean between your guests or if that is not the case, employ a reliable cleaning service. As you are likely to make more money with short term rentals than long term, invest some of it into cleaning to make sure your guests won’t be appalled by the previous guest's leftovers.
Something important to remember is that a guest's assessment of the cleanliness of your home is subjective, and you should be ready for the more “demanding” guests. Make sure all your taps and mirrors are polished and free from fingerprints as this is key to convey a sense of cleanliness. Also pay special attention to key areas like beds and bathrooms (particularly the shower drain) that must be free of hair. When it comes to cleanliness, the devil is in the detail.
And what's in it for you? A great guest experience will lead them to giving you a 5-star guest review that will then appeal to other short-term guests to book your place, securing you more bookings and hence more rental income!
MadeComfy provides an end-to-end property management service in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Which means property owners don’t need to do a thing when they hand over their keys. MadeComfy makes the process of earning greater returns from short-term renting effortless, achieving up to 40% more than self-managed Airbnb listings. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help!