Before you start making money from your home, you’ll need to make it a welcoming and attractive place to stay. The presentation of your property is not only a statement of your personality, but the key to a strong business. Learn how to prepare your property for Airbnb hosting (and other homeshare platforms!).
The presentation of your property is not only a statement of your personality, but the key to a strong business. First impressions count, and how your property looks when guests arrive will play a large part in getting their stay off to a great start.
Before you start renting out your property, you need to take an objective survey of the interior and see it from a guest’s perspective. You also need to plan and stock up on the furniture, equipment and supplies you will provide for your guests and ensure that the property is safe.
Remember, some of the best – and most memorable – features of your homeshare’s presentation cost nothing or next to nothing. These include ensuring the property is well-aired before guests arrive, turning on a welcoming light over the front door, arranging some fresh flowers and leaving a welcome note.
SETTING THE STAGE
Opinions abound about interior design for homeshare accommodation. This mainly depends on your personal taste and budget. One school of thought suggests decorating according to a particular theme such as a pirate’s cave, a Disney movie, or a blue and white Greek beach house. This will make your homeshare distinctive and will appeal to some, though not all, potential guests. Before you decide on a design scheme, consider the likely taste of potential homeshare guests and the practicalities of maintaining your décor. The key is to find a balance between a spare interior that could look too sterile and uninviting and décor that is too overwhelming. To create a streamlined effect, choose two or three colours, and use these as your core palette throughout the property. We believe that the interior of your homeshare should be simple, fresh and clean, rather than being a specific feature in itself. This will maximize the number of people interested in your homeshare and make maintenance easier.
Paint walls in neutral tones and repaint them regularly. Take special care when deciding which pictures and ornaments to display. Avoid imagery that could cause offence, for example religious or humorous art works.
Ensure that the lighting in your homeshare is adequate and that bulbs are working. Remember that your guests have never been to your place before and at night they need to be able to see their way around the entire property, including the outside areas.
COLOURFUL CLUTTER V. CLEAN AND SIMPLE
Guests like to move into a space that has been prepared to host them and their belongings comfortably, rather than a room filled with other people’s things. It is best to remove all your personal belongings, ornaments and anything else that is not essential for the comfort of your guests. They may be treasures to you, but they will be clutter to your guests. Err on the side of less is more: if you are unsure whether or not to keep an item on display, remove it.
FURNISHING YOUR HOMESHARE
When preparing your property to become a homeshare, you must review your furniture. If the property is currently unfurnished, then you need to invest in appropriate furniture. Buy new, sturdy furniture in a style that will not date quickly.
If your property is already furnished, this is the time to be ruthless. Remove any unnecessary furniture from each room and examine all items of furniture to see whether they need to be replaced or repaired. An old chest of drawers may seem charming to you as a family heirloom, but a guest may view it as anachronistic and ready for the bonfire. If you find it difficult to be objective, ask for the frank advice of a friend or relative: what should stay, what should go and what needs to be replaced?
Focus on providing the most important elements in each room. A good night’s sleep is what your guests will remember most. Take a leaf from the hotel industry, which worked this out years ago. Invest in high-quality beds, comfortable mattresses and pillows, and good-quality linen. Remember, many of your guests are used to staying in hotels. Aside from a great bed, your homeshare bedrooms need bedside tables, wardrobe hanging space and a full-length mirror. After a few years in operation and at the request of guests, we also decided to provide luggage racks in each bedroom.
Bathrooms should be functional and visibly clean. They are the last place seen at night and the first place encountered in the morning, so ensure that they are sparkly clean when the guests arrive. Provide a sufficient quantity of high-quality towels for your guests, and put spare toilet paper in each bathroom.
Furniture in the living areas of the property should suit the number of guests who will be staying. If your property is advertised as being suitable for up to six people, then ensure that your dining table has at least six chairs and that the living area provides enough seating.
TIPS AND IDEAS
Setting the lux level
The range of supplies you provide should match the luxury level of the accommodation. For example, at Dantosa Blue Mountains Resort, guests are welcomed with a bowl of fruit and a hamper of local produce, including muesli, chocolates, tea, cookies and honey, and the kitchen is equipped with extras, such as a spice rack. A luxury local brand of liquid soap, shampoo, conditioner and hand lotion is provided in bathrooms to pamper guests and to promote another local business. In our Sydney apartment, however, only the basic bathroom and cooking ingredients are supplied.
SUPPLIES AND SPECIAL TOUCHES
Small touches such as providing good quality soap in the bathroom can help build your brand and provide an easy way for your guests to equate your homeshare with quality. Decide on a policy for providing supplies. First, consider each room in the property and what supplies are required. Then decide what quality to provide. It is best to avoid the cheapest products – remember, guests will be using them frequently and will notice the quality. Some homeshare hosts seek to emulate a four-star hotel experience for their guests. They provide high-quality linen, soap and shampoo. Others include bathrobes and hand lotions. At the other end of the scale, some hosts offer an inexpensive, bare-bones experience and do not provide any supplies for their guests other than toilet paper. The cost of supplies can add up quickly and it is important to ensure that replacement costs are factored into your overall pricing.
If your guests have access to a kitchen, we recommend providing basic cooking supplies such as olive oil, salt, sugar, coffee and tea. Provide fresh milk in the refrigerator and sponges, cloths and washing-up detergent at the sink. If you have a washing machine which guests can access, consider providing washing powder for their use.
The Home Stay Guide, published by Robinson in April 2018. It helps home owners unlock new income and makes the process of sharing your property with travellers profitable and fun.