I published this article on Realty Times – link here.
There was a time when the biggest decision we had to make when traveling was whether we wanted two queens or a king. With the introduction of Airbnb more than a decade ago, and major U.S. cities updating their short rental laws, everything has changed. Instead of being confined to hotels, the choices are now endless in terms of places to stay.
People from all walks of life have found a great way to generate rental income with Airbnb. In order to be competitive with your property and get the bookings you desire, it is wise to improve the comfort and livability of your home regularly.
If you can keep up with smart updates, proper functionality, and creative convenience, these things will surely translate into excellent reviews, repeat guests, and ultimately more bookings. Let’s prioritize what you can do to stay at the top of everyone’s list of favorite places to stay in your city.
Heating and cooling system
The first item on your to-do list is so obvious, but it’s worth mentioning. The one system in your home that, if not working properly, can single-handedly make a guest utterly miserable is the heating and cooling system.
Please have your heating and airconditioning units are serviced semi-annually; it will save you heartache and headaches in the long run. If the seasons are shifting, make sure you’ve switched it from heat to cool or vice versa and tested the system. You will not receive an angrier message than someone on vacation who is freezing to death or sweating buckets. Also, if your unit is older, consider putting aside some of your rental income for future replacement of the unit.
A cold shower
Next up, what is the only thing that could make guests as miserable as a broken air conditioner? A cold shower! You might not think often about your water heater, but it’s essential to keep it well-maintained. If you have a house full of guests and they are on vacation, one can assume your hot water heater will be put to work. Perhaps they’re in town for a wedding and all need to arrive at the ceremony at the same time.
Everyone coming in from the slopes wants a hot shower before grabbing an apres-ski. The point is that they all need hot water. No one wants to be greeted with ice-cold water on vacation unless they’re taking a dip in the pool. Be certain that your hot water heater is in excellent working condition and further, consider upgrading to the best unit for the size of your property. A tankless water heater is a great option to maintain hot water through multiple showers.
The HVAC and hot water heater are two super important and pricey things to consider. But what about the little things? Don’t we often say in life that it’s all in the details? I encourage you to think beyond normal homeowner maintenance and also consider some great DIY projects to make yours stand out. Keeping in mind the comfort of your future guests and maybe even a little wow factor, I have some ideas that could take your place to the next level. Good news, these things will not break the bank and can be done in a weekend.
Coffee bar/wine cart
Not everyone drinks coffee, and not everyone drinks wine. But I’m wagering a guess that many people on vacation would enjoy at least one of the two! A really fun and unique addition would be a coffee bar/wine cart in the master bedroom. What makes this cool is that guests will be pleasantly surprised to find this option somewhere other than the kitchen.
You could purchase an inexpensive bar cart, or even better, take an old accent table or nightstand and chalk paint it a funky color. Add some cute vintage knobs and a Keurig.
I’d jump on Etsy and find some coffee mugs and wine glasses that are etched with a picture of your state or your city’s skyline. You may even find a pretty hand towel with your city name or zip code on it.
Remind your guests what a great city they are in and highlight relaxation in this vacation spot. I can almost see the guests taking pictures for their Instagram!
Hooks, hooks, and more hooks
This next suggestion almost feels too easy. They may not notice they are using these, but I promise you it will make them more comfortable. Hooks, hooks, and more hooks! Everything has its proper place when you are at home. When you are vacationing, there’s nowhere logical to store your stuff. Create a space with some hooks by the entrance. Make sure every single shower has a hook next to it for the towel. Nobody wants to throw their towel over the shower door. Place a hook on the back of every closet door and maybe even on the door of the bedroom. Hooks are great for guests laying out what they are going to wear or carrying in their hang up clothes. Sadly, no one will think to thank you for the hooks in their review of your property. However, you will never hear them complain that there was limited storage, and it will be the easiest DIY project you ever do.
Vacation spots often give us a reason to look out the window. The view! Be it the lake or the city skyline or the mountains, people often choose an Airbnb for the view. I have a piece of advice that may seem somewhat contradictory. Don’t forget to put up proper window treatments. Wait, what? We just determined people have come here for the view, shouldn’t we leave it unobstructed? Not necessarily. On vacation, people like to do what they can’t always do at home – sleep in! So while they want to soak in that sunset, they also want to sleep through the sunrise.
A terrific project you can take on is finding appropriate window treatments to give your guests the option to block out the light. What you choose will totally depend on the type of window you have, the style of your property, and what view is on the other side. You may be able to install blinds and create a very cool DIY wooden valance. A valance with fabric coordinated with your other décor will keep you on-trend, and the blinds will allow them to block out the light if desired.
If you go with curtains or draperies, I suggest mounting the rods halfway between the top of the window and the ceiling. This gives the window the illusion of being bigger than it is, and it draws your eye up. Just be sure you have an option to let your guests sleep in because a guest who can’t sleep in, is a cranky guest.
Upgrade your electrical outlets to include a USB port
A final yet super easy improvement you can make is to upgrade your electrical outlets to include a USB port. They are relatively inexpensive on Amazon. We’ve all traveled and forgotten our chargers or run out of outlets with all the things we have to plug in. You may not receive glowing reviews for your amazing outlets, but I can guarantee your guests will enjoy the ease of charging their devices without thinking twice about it.
Small things like hooks, electrical outlets with a USB port, and providing sufficient tables and chairs may seem like not much, yet they make a big difference for guests staying at your property.
The key to a successful Airbnb is staying on top of the big things but not neglecting the small things. Keep the house cool and the showers hot, and add a few touches here and there to make your guests’ stay comfortable and fun. Then sit back and wait for your fantastic reviews to roll in.