Once you have provided an email address and password to create an account, just click on the “List Your Space” icon at the top of the Air Bnb homepage. This brings up a form where you get to specify your unit’s “home type” and “room type”. This page basically describes the general criteria of your rental space – whether you are offering the entire place, a private room, or shared accommodation; how many people your property can accommodate, and where is its location.
In terms of receiving bookings, you have the option to either allow potential guests to make a reservation instantaneously or you could select to receive a booking request first tin order to screen potential guests before agreeing to host them. To ensure that you do not receive any requests for stays whenever the unit is being occupied, you have to specify the dates of your unit’s availability. The detailed procedure on how to successfully list your property on Air Bnb is depicted in the 5-step guide below:
STEP 1: AMENITIES – PREPARE A HOME AWAY FROM HOME
Your home or apartment should be equipped to make your guests’ stay as comfortable and pleasant as possible. Obviously, your unit must have basic furniture and conveniences such as a couch, a kitchen table, and dining room chairs, clean sheets, shower essentials and trash cans. Not unlike a hotel, guests will expect other necessities such as hangers, cable TV, wireless internet, and cutlery. In order to get good reviews and continuous bookings, you will have to go the ‘extra mile’ in making your place homey.
Landlords who go beyond the usual drill will provide the ‘small stuff’ which makes all the difference in creating a good and memorable staying experience. These include useful gadgets such as a universal charging dock and a can opener, laundry detergent, an iron and even scented candles! You have to remember that you cannot simply sign up to Air BnB and expect the bookings to come flooding in. The more detailed you are in anticipating guests’ needs, the better your reviews and ranking will be
STEP 2: PHOTOS – A PICTURE PAINTS A THOUSAND WORDS
Having standout and interesting pictures of your rental unit is very important, as it is one of your best sales tools. This is because the window into your listing will display (the first) 3 photographs of your unit. These will largely influence users’ decision on whether to click into the post or not. Try to take this opportunity to show off amenities, quirky rooms, or other unique features in your property. Air BnB even offers free professional photography sessions, where hosts who apply will receive complimentary services of a professional, within two weeks of application. I have sent in an application myself over two months ago but have yet to receive a reply. Apparently, the demand for Air BnB photographers far exceeds the supply here in Klang Valley!
If you are planning to save costs and take some photos on your own, here are a few valuable tips:
• For small rooms/areas, it is best to use an inexpensive wide-angle lens to capture more of the space, thus lending an impression of spaciousness.
• Take a range of shots – from detail shots, which are extreme close-ups to larger, space defining shots, which emphasizes a sweeping location around an object.
• Make sure to maximize the number of photos you are allowed to upload onto your listing.
STEP 3: THE LISTING – BE AS DESCRIPTIVE AS POSSIBLE
In order to entice potential guests, you must include and emphasize on the winning qualities of your property. Is your place a short drive away from the airport or within walking distance to the LRT? Be sure to display in points that depict the strategic location of your property Other points to highlight includes amenities in the surrounding area such as malls, shops, gyms/salons and recreational parks/centres. Make sure to include a list of local attractions and even recommendations of good eateries nearby. You have to take note that competition can be fierce, especially in prime locations such as KLCC and Bangsar.
Personally, I will scan other property listings in the same neighbourhood to scout out the competition. By going through these listings, would one be able to determine on how to prepare a more attractive and superior listing. One thing to keep in mind is to always be honest with your description as unsatisfied guests would mean bad reviews!
STEP 4: PLANNING & PREPARATION – DEVELOP A CHECKLIST
Establishing a checklist will go a long way in ensuring the smooth running of your Air Bnb business. Being an Air BnB host is much more demanding than being a traditional landlord. There is a lot more details to take care of in terms of property management and you always have to be on top of maintenance and cleaning procedures. Having a checklist not only saves time, it negates the probability of you forgetting a chore/task.
Some examples of items on my own checklist include:
• Walk through the unit after checkout to make sure nothing is damaged or stolen. (My checklist features an inventory of all the stuff in the unit).
• Refill any “consumer disposables” that are running low. For example, coffee, toilet paper, and soap.
• Wash and change the linens, vacuuming and mopping, empty the trash, and carry out overall cleaning up of the unit after checkout.
One plus point of having a checklist and standard procedures in place is that it would be easy to hand over the responsibilities to someone else whenever you are busy or if you have to travel somewhere else.
STEP 5: GUARANTEEING GOOD REVIEWS – ANTICIPATE GUESTS’ NEEDS
A long list of great reviews will put guests at ease and boost their confidence that they are getting what they see in the picture. Hence, you need to make sure you are getting good reviews, and that requires being attentive and on call for your guests needs. The more written instructions you leave for your guests the better it is as it saves considerable time and energy for both you and your guests.
Be sure to include instructions on how to:
• Operate all the remote controls for your television and other electronics.
• Access your Internet connection.
• Operate the dishwasher, washing machine, clothes dryer, stove, heating and air conditioning system, and the security system, if any.
• Dispose of trash/recycling. Other details to include are the local parking rules as well as a list of grocery stores and gas stations in the neighbourhood.
I would suggest creating a page that welcomes your guests and highlights the amenities of the apartment. This should feature FAQ’s such as: “Here is where you will find the remote” or” This is what the wireless internet password is”. On top of that, it is imperative that you respond promptly to queries and booking requests as your response time is shown on your listing, which ultimately will influence the search results rankings.
This article was first published in the iProperty.com Malaysia May 2016 Magazine. Get your copy from selected news stands or view the magazine online for free at www.iproperty.com.my/magazine. Better yet, order a discounted subscription by putting in your details in the form below!