- Make an eye-catching listing
In order to be a successful host you need to make sure that you are attracting guests who want to stay at your property. Make sure you create a full and interesting listing with plenty of photos that show off the best parts in full. It is worth investing in photos that will really grab people’s attention so ensure your home is clean and tidy with plenty of light when you take the pictures – it can sometimes be worth investing in a professional photographer to ensure you get the best images possible.
- Prepare your property
Once the initial effort is complete and you have found guests to stay at your property, the real work begins! You need to make sure your home is clean and tidy ready to welcome your visitors and don’t forget vitals like clean sheets and towels, a place to hang or store personal belongings and at least one spare plug socket. Although guests should not expect hotel standards since they are staying in your family home, it is reasonable for them to expect a clean and tidy space that looks and smells fresh. Some hosts also choose to go the extra mile, by providing basic toiletries and some sort of local or regional product. This can be a nice extra touch and makes guests all the more likely to leave that vital 5 star review.
- Keep communicating
Many guests will place huge importance and value on the communication they receive from their host, both in the lead up to their visit and during their stay. Make sure that you reply to messages promptly when arranging bookings and deal with any queries as soon as possible. This will help to reassure potential guests that you are on top of bookings and likely to provide a professional service. Equally, it is best practice to be around when your guests arrive, to settle them in and provide any extra information or facilities that they require. Beyond this though, many guests will appreciate some privacy, so make yourself available if required but try not to hover and make them feel uncomfortable.
- Make sure you’re covered
The last thing you want when inviting paying guests into your home is to be fretting over any damage that could occur during their stay, which you couldn’t afford to repair. This is why having a suitable home hosting insurance policy in place is so important. Many standard policies will refuse to cover you if you let your home on a short-term basis, and the ones that do will often not provide sufficient cover for your particular needs. Home hosting cover should protect you in the event of your guests causing damage to or stealing your property during their stay.
- Is it permitted?
Even if you own your property, it may well be the case that short-term lettings via services such as Airbnb are prohibited. If you live in a leasehold property, this could be because the terms of your lease prohibit short-term rentals (often for the protection of other residents who may be disturbed by temporary guests). If you own your property on a residential mortgage, it is always worth checking with your provider before you consider home hosting to find out whether it will affect your agreement or if any additional fees will be due because of the change in risk.