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In part two of Beyond’s Airbnb Start-Up Guide, we’ll make it even easier to get your rental listed with our Airbnb host checklist. Once you’ve done your due diligence in learning your rental home’s market and local regulations, determined business costs, and automated your rental’s processes, you’re ready for the next step: getting your Airbnb listed.

We’ll talk about determining your design style, check-in/check-out procedures, and general communication with guests. When you’re ready, Beyond is here to answer all of your questions that will help maximize your property’s potential revenue stream. 

But First, A Success Story

Long-time Airbnb host, Adam Lam, shares his story about running his successful retro-arcade themed Airbnb in California. With 20+ retro arcade games and pinball in his rental, he created an incredibly unique experience for his guests:

“We bought a home in Sebastopol, CA, and it was a pretty interesting journey. We ran it for about a year as a regular rental. I started out with one arcade game and one pinball machine, and that was the beginning journey of having this concept of arcade games for this rental. I grew up going to arcades, so I just fell in love with the history of retro video gaming. I kept on acquiring more games, and I wanted people to enjoy these games as much as possible so I put them in my Airbnb. The oversized garage is now filled with 20-25 full-sized arcade games, including pinball, that people have free-play access to when they rent my property.

I started really connecting to a community of people around the world who love these retro games.”

Step 1: How to Design Your Airbnb

Design is your chance to make your Airbnb shine. One reason people choose Airbnbs over hotels is for the experience: Renters can get a taste of living like a local by staying in a home instead of a hotel room. Or they can have a one-of-a-kind experience staying in a tiny home, a yurt, an Airstream, etc. Choose a theme and use it to design across living areas, lounge spaces, kitchens, and bathrooms. The more Instagrammable the better. 

For Adam, designing his home with an arcade theme in mind was a no-brainer. “Most of the decor is arcade-inspired. I have a buddy who did a lot of the art that is hung around the rental,” Adam said.

As a short-term rental owner or operator, how do you create this unique environment for your guests? Let’s check the list: 

Interior Design

Decoration: Where your short-term rental is situated can suggest a huge hint as to home decorations and furnishings. Is your place in a rural setting? Why not include country accents like vintage ranch equipment, shades of brown and orange, and prints/paintings of rustic settings. In an urban landscape? Maybe base strong blacks, whites, and grays along with framed maps, art, and metal decor that describes the cityscape. This is your chance to show off the personality of your short-term rental and to give your guests a flavor of the place they are visiting. 

Accessories and Lighting: This goes for accessories and decorations as well. There should be enough various visual and three-dimensional objects to define the place, but it’s also important to go light on these accessories. Having too many odds and ends will boost the chances that some get broken or go missing. Lighting is the final key to a welcoming guest home. Make sure that the lighting is gentle, warm, and abundant.  

Draperies: Don’t skimp and don’t skip the drapes. Floor-length shades and fabrics help to control the natural light and give your guests privacy. 

Comfort is absolutely key in designing the interior of your short-term rental. Adam says, “Don’t be too cheap on your Airbnb, people will notice. Invest in a few pieces that will give you a good bang for your buck, like furniture. People always want a great sleeping experience, so investing in comfortable mattresses and bedding goes a long way. People really value sleeping well in a place that is not their home.”

The Bedroom: This begins with a cozy mattress, a welcoming bed frame, and quality bedding. A great mattress and bedding with an attractive great bed frame will grant a great sleep, which, in turn, will go a long way towards positive reviews.

Living Areas: Comfort also goes for relaxing couches, along with pleasant and functional seating. Also, keep in mind that people treat rented property differently than something they own. Furnishings and flooring need to be durable and made for heavy use. A spilled drink, a food fall, or other minor disasters should not spell ruin for decor. Keep this in mind when choosing materials and fabrics.

Storage: Don’t forget to leave some open space for storage in your short-term rental. Remember, people are likely coming in from out of town. They’re going to want to put away clothes, shoes, coats, jewelry, electronics, and other odds-and-ends that they arrive with. 

It’s paramount that your short-term rental contains all the essentials for guests. Make sure to equip every room with the supplies and appliances that guests are going require to create amenable and enjoyable stays. 

The Kitchen: In the kitchen, this includes toasters, pans, cookware, silverware, utensils, storage, and cutlery. Extras like coffee bean grinders, blenders, etc. bring extra special comforts that will add a lot of value. 

Adam recommends labeling drawers and cabinets too: “I have labels everywhere. Each drawer of my kitchen has a label of the contents inside. You don’t want your guests to wonder where things are and have to open 30 drawers to find what they are looking for.”

Washrooms: In washrooms, extra towels, soap, shampoos, and even robes show that you’ve gone the extra mile in your short-term rental. 

Step 2: Final Touches

You’ve put in a lot of time and effort to get your Airbnb ready to list the right way. All that’s left is to put it out there to the world. These final items will bring you to the finish line. 

Pro Visuals and Description

Professional-looking photos are a must along with writing sharp, detailed, and punchy descriptions that will make your listing stand out. Make sure to include the following in your Airbnb rental listing:

Inclusiveness: Potential renters want to see your whole unit. There’s no reason to skimp on photos. Show off your Airbnb with 10 to 30 shots.

Lavish Lighting: Bright abodes are a lot more attractive than dark caverns. Take photos during the daytime and get those areas backlit (don’t shoot towards lights as this will ‘blow-out’ photos). 

Crucial Corners: Aiming for a corner anchors a picture’s perspective and expresses a room’s dimensions. Shooting an angle also brings the eye to the center of the photo — a bed, a couch or other furniture that is the room’s primary expression.

Distinguished Details: Again, you’ve put a lot of effort into designing your short-term rental. This is your opportunity to show off those personal touches. Artwork, books, knick-knacks — highlight those things that make this an enjoyable and hospitable place to stay.

Arrival Arrangements

Guest Books: Adam says that a physical house manual is a must in your Airbnb. You can include all necessary information for guests, like the WiFi name and password, quiet hours, host rules, host contact, and checkout guidelines. This will save you a ton of time while delivering a reassuring rapport with guests. 

Neighborhood Guide: Another great touch is to include a neighborhood guide that lists community attractions and suggested destinations. Include information about public transport, restaurants, coffee shops, breweries, recreation, and other spots they can explore during their visit. 

Welcome Gifts: You can also enliven your rental with a welcome gift that gives a taste of your place. This could be a bottle of wine, a box of tea, snacks, or breakfast items. Accompanied with a handwritten note, personal touches make this a memorable affair that will encourage return reservations and word-of-mouth socialization.

Step 3: List Your Airbnb

Go Live

You’ve made it! Now that you’ve got your Airbnb property bought, your business set-up, and your location ready for visitors, it’s time to go live and watch reservations pour in. Tune in for the third post in this series to learn strategies for improving your Airbnb once your listing is up. 

Curious about making sure your Airbnb nightly rate is correct? It may be time to try dynamic pricing. Beyond powers thousands of hosts to get, grow, and keep revenue through our easy-to-use revenue management platform. Test it out with a free 30-day trial.