Today we have a guest post from Natalie Wilson, Digital Marketer over at Pass the Keys, a London-based Airbnb property management company. As a sharing economy enthusiast, I’m always fascinated by how businesses are operating in this space. So enjoy Natalie’s article, and leave her any feedback in the comments below!
The sharing economy is growing, and growing fast. With Uber the ever present frontrunners, Airbnb are following closely behind. Having now confirmed a company valuation of $30 billion they are proven big hitters in the sharing economy market. It seems that everyone wants a piece of the action and we don’t blame them.
Airbnb property management firms have jumped right on the Airbnb hype. They started in Airbnb’s hometown of San Francisco in the shape of Pillow and now they’ve started to pop up across the pond here in the UK. But, what do they actually do?
From listing the property and accepting guests, to greeting them upon arrival and dealing with any problems that may arise during their stay, they are the middle man between host and guest.
When you greet the guest personally, this is obviously an easy task. However on the occasion that no one is available for personal check in, some companies offer the installation of a smart lock or key safe. Digital information can then be shared safely and securely to ensure that the check in process is smooth.
Before accepting the host, usually 2 forms of offline ID are requested to verify the guest identity. Confirmation of this adds an extra level of security, in an attempt to avoid any Airbnb party horror stories. Of course it’s not completely foolproof, but the professional touch can help puts hosts minds at ease.
After all, an Airbnb is essentially a hotel. Guests expect clean linens and a tidy home for their stay. A lot of management companies actually team up with professional cleaning companies to provide this service and keep things in tip top shape.
Why not just run the Airbnb yourself? Surely it makes more sense financially to run it on your own and pocket the total profit?
Well, that is the case for a lot of people. Those people have the time and they can maximize their profits by putting in the necessary work. Others don’t have the luxury of time, but they do have empty properties.
Imagine you are a business traveler who has an apartment in a city; this apartment is vacant for a total of 3 months in a year based on the average amount of time you spend on business trips. During that time you’re still paying your mortgage; Airbnb seems like a good idea to fill up that vacant time and make some extra cash, but between work and travel you have no time to manage it to any standard.
When you hand over the reigns to a manager, you are trusting them with total control. Although you have access to your account, they manage your bookings, they vet the guests, and they handle any issues. So, it’s always worth getting a feel for what the company is like; do you think they would handle the property as you would like it handled?
There’s always a fee for their service (they’re in this to make money too). Evaluate if this is something that you could do yourself or if you really need the help of a manager. Think about the return on investment and what you want to achieve. Invest your money and get a manager, or invest your own time and keep your money.
Letting someone else take charge removes a lot of the stress. One of the pet peeves of Airbnb hosts is guests calling them at stupid o’clock with a complaint that the boiler has packed in. Hand your home over to an Airbnb property management company, and they’re the ones getting those calls, not you.
Many of these companies also boast great reviews; some even claim that they can make you a Superhost. For those of you unfamiliar with Airbnb, if you have consistently amazing reviews you are awarded Superhost status. You can ask for higher rates, plus savvy Airbnb users will filter out the properties when booking to view only Superhosts, putting you at the top of the listings.
All of this combined means that the property is more likely to achieve a higher occupancy rate and in turn more chance of earning a higher profit.
People want to make money, and there is clear money to be made here. Airbnb property management businesses have capitalized on a gap within a market that is growing without any sign of stopping.
Whether you want to host yourself or you’re in need of a management company to get things going for you, Airbnb is a sure way to boost your income.
Glenn Carter is a sharing economy expert and is sharing his passion for side income through new digital platforms with his readers.