If you’ve recently found yourself with a little more room at home than usual (or perhaps a little less money!), then you might have considered registering as an Airbnb. While demand for short term stays from overseas tourists has dropped, more and more people are holidaying in the UK or are being more flexible with their living arrangements due to working from home. We take a look at the pros and cons of Airbnb, and how to get started.
Benefits of running an Airbnb
The main benefit is obviously the extra money! You can earn up to a tax threshold of £7,500 in the UK with the UK government’s Rent-a-Room scheme. Airbnb is more flexible than renting out a room full time, as you can pick and choose when you want to do it.
Depending on which area you’re in, it’s also likely to be more profitable. As you rent through Airbnb itself clients are vetted and you have the benefit of the admin and feedback system. If you’re the sociable type, you’ll also meet lots of interesting people and some may become regulars.
Disadvantages of running an Airbnb
Although you’re benefiting from the Airbnb system, you do pay a 20% fee which needs to be taken into account when running the numbers. Unlike a single, long-term let you have no guarantee of occupancy and many hosts only average around 50%, depending on where in the UK they are.
Running any kind of B&B requires time, energy and commitment, and there will be times when things go wrong and you’re required to turn out in the rain because your guest has accidentally snapped the front door key!
How to get started as an Airbnb host
First of all, think about what your venue offers. Is it near the coast? Close to a local beauty spot? Within easy reach of the city centre? Do some research online and check out the competition! London is actually the lowest income areas for Airbnb hosts, as visitors are spoilt for choice and pricing is very competitive. Once you’ve decided on your primary target audience, you can slant your advert accordingly.
Even if you’re not going into this as a main source of income, you still need to think about it professionally. Set a clear set of rules such as parking spaces, and be open and honest about them so that everyone knows where they stand! Although you’ll be keen to make your property stand out, you also need to realistic in any descriptions. Turning up at a property and finding the ‘sea view’ is only visible from the corner of the attic if you stand on a chair won’t win you positive reviews. Airbnb itself has a useful guide with tips for hosts about how to make your property attractive.
What makes the perfect Airbnb property?
If you’re a veteran of Airbnb stays yourself, then you’ll probably know the answer! As a host you need to be friendly and flexible, and the property needs to be clean, tidy, in good condition and ideally de-personalised. It’s a good idea to tidy away any personal photographs and make the space feel as neutral as possible. Little thoughtful touches such as providing beach towels (if you’re near the sea), or offering drying facilities for wet walking coats can make all the difference. Airbnb has also produced a guide to the safety protocols and standards you need to follow.
If you’re renting a room out on a casual basis then you’re unlikely to be able to quit your day job, but it can prove a profitable source of extra income – and you might have some fun along the way!0