Airbnb Short-Term Rental Management Blog

How to Reduce Liability as an Airbnb Host

Reduce your liability as an Airbnb Host

Please note, this is not legal advice as we are not attorneys. These are suggestions based on our experience as Airbnb Property Managers.

If you are or thinking about renting your property out on Airbnb, then there are several legal issues that you may want to consider before proceeding forward. While Airbnb offers hosts a limited liability policy, they say they cannot be held responsible for the actions of hosts. This leaves hosts in murky water at best. Here are some steps that you may want to consider taking if you are going to be an Airbnb host.

Get an Umbrella Insurance Policy

If you have been an Airbnb host for very long, then you can probably tell some amazing stories about what your guests have tried to do on your property. For example, the company has been sued for a host’s dog mauling a guest in Argentina and a man who was using a tree swing when a dead tree fell on him. Another visitor had a hammock collapse after it was inadvertently put up with hollow two by fours and the chain broke crashing into her mouth causing years of painful dental work.

Start by calling your homeowner’s insurance company to see if you are currently covered if something happens. In many cases, you will not be because money changed hands. Then, ask them if they have additional coverage that you can buy.

Manorshare can help you get connected with insurance agents who understand our business. Contact us today!

The best answer, however, is to buy a commercial umbrella policy as it covers many things that can go wrong. Make sure to read the policy very carefully. There are some policies that will not cover your home if you rent out part of it while you live full-time in another part of it. Additionally, make sure that all your activities are covered. For example, if you have a boat that guests are free to use, then make sure that it is covered or if you have a liquor that guests can indulge in make sure that is covered because you can end up responsible for underage drinking even if you are not present.

Pay for a Safety Inspection

In February 2018, Airbnb started inspecting about 2,000 properties in 13 cities with plans to expand the program over time. These hosts are then eligible to display a banner on their site declaring that the property has been inspected.

Some counties and cities have also started inspecting properties before the owner is allowed to rent them. This helps ensure that the property has met minimum safety standards. Contacting a professional Airbnb property management company can help you locate the specific laws for your area.

At a minimum, pay a local home inspector to come out and do an inspection of your property just like you would likely pay for one if you were buying or selling a property. If you have trouble locating one in your area, then contact a Realtor as they often work with home inspectors on a daily basis.

If there is an association of bed and breakfasts in your area, then consider contacting them as they may have or know of inspectors specifically trained to look at hazards of short-term properties. The local fire department will sometimes do a home inspection for a fee. While they will usually be more interested in spotting fire dangers, it is certainly better than no inspection at all.

Provide Basic Safety Equipment

The types of basic safety equipment that you need to provide will depend on the type of property that you own. For example, if you provide a swimming pool or a hot tub, then you will want to provide a cover and a gate so those little ones cannot wander into the area without anyone paying attention  (local laws vary on this, so make sure you are compliant).

Each bedroom should have a working fire alarm. You should also make sure that there is a carbon monoxide detector on each level of the home. Furthermore, there should be several prominently displayed first-aid kits in the home. At a minimum, these kits should contain:

  • Absorbent dressings
  • Adhesive bandages
  • Cloth tape
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Space blanket
  • Breathing barrier
  • Cold compress
  • Non-latex gloves
  • Hydrocortisone ointment packages
  • Scissors
  • Roller bandages
  • Gauze pads
  • Tweezers

In addition to a first aid kit, make sure that you have emergency numbers prominently posted in plain sight. Let guests know that they should contact authorities first and then you if something happens.

If you often have babies or young children staying in your property, then you may also want to think about installing childproof locks on your cabinets and drawers. You may even want to take it to the next level so that an alarm sounds when someone opens the door nearest the hot tub or swimming pool without first turning off the alarm. This could be a nice feature in your listing, if a space is safe for small children.

Following these three precautions is only the start of what you need to do to make sure that you and your property is protected if someone decides to sue you. It is always a good idea to talk to an attorney who is familiar with your individual circumstances for further suggestions. As a professional Airbnb property management company we would also be glad to help you understand liability issues better.

Exchange Your Stock Market Gains Into Airbnb Investments with NO TAXES DUE!

We have seen an amazing rally in the stock market for almost ten years, and many experts now believe we are due for a major correction in the value of stocks across the globe, but particularly in the United States. In fact, the market is largely flat since the beginning of 2018. To add to this risk, the “experts” are predicting that any correction that does happen in the near term is coming this summer.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/these-9-experts-warn-that-another-stock-market-correction-is-coming-2018-02-28

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/27/economist-fears-a-30-percent-stock-market-correction-with-consumer-spending-maxed-out.html

https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertlaura/2018/04/30/how-to-prepare-for-the-27-market-correction-coming-this-summer/#8d03242b4298

With the DJA (Dow) with only a .14% (yes 14/100ths of a percent) return year to date as of May 25, 2018, the time may be right to begin to move money.

One of the major hold-ups in people moving out of the market has been the built-in gains they have accumulated over the past several years – which would cause a potentially massive tax bill when they “sell” and re-invest into something else.

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As part of the most recent Federal tax legislation, there is a newly created tax incentive called “opportunity zone investing”. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act provided for this benefit, and it could be a huge benefit for you. Here is an example of how it works:

  • In 2012, you invested $250,000 into the “stock market” (this could be any investment – stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETF’s etc.)
  • As of today, you have $750,000 in your account – $250,000 of the original investment and $500,000 of largely or entirely untaxed gains.
  • If you sell – you will need to pay long-term capital gains on $500,000 which could be as high as 40% if you are in California, or $200,000.
  • If you invest the $500,000 of untaxed gains into an opportunity zone fund, the gain is not taxable, and you don’t have to pay taxes today at the Federal level for sure and potentially even the state level (consult your state laws or ask us!)

Now let’s assume you invest the $500,000 into the Manorshare O-Fund to invest in Airbnb property and in 10 years that investment is worth $1,500,000 in 10 years.

  • You pay NO TAX on the additional $1,000,000 of gain in the O-Fund at the Federal level and potentially the state as well.
  • Your initial deferred gain of $500,000 is now only taxed at 85% of the gain (15% forgiveness), so you save taxes on that as well.
  • This could increase your after-tax rate of return by up to 74% (depending upon your tax rate)

 

Simply put, this is the first time anything like this has been available to investors and may be the right time for you to consider a change. Please consult with your legal, financial and tax advisor(s) and contact us if you have any questions.

How to Get Business Travelers to Your Airbnb

If you are looking to attract business travelers to your Airbnb, then you need to prepare to attract them with the right advertising, great accommodations and by being a great host. More than 250,000 companies have embraced their customers staying in an Airbnb in the United States with many business travelers returning to the same area numerous times.

Consider Your Advertising

To get business executives to stay in your property, you need to write your property description with them in mind. State how far you are from the nearest airport, important business areas in your city or the convention center because business travelers are looking to stay in convenient locations. Additionally, check with the local chamber of commerce and convention centers to see what major conventions and events are coming up and mention them in your advertising. Business people are always pressed for time, so make sure that you offer instant booking.

Consider your pricing if you want to rent to business travelers. Many need to stay in an area for numerous days, so see if you can give them a break for staying more than one night. This may also be a great way to encourage business travelers to relax and spend the weekend enjoying your property keeping it full for longer. Realize that business travelers are very budget conscious. While you may want to raise your prices when major conventions are in town, try to keep your prices lower than business hotels to encourage travelers to stay at your property. Once you start to receive positive feedback, then you may be able to raise your rates slightly.

Organize Your Property

To be listed in the business traveling section of the Airbnb website, you must have a no pets policy, operate a smoke-free facility and take steps to make your property allergen free. Additionally, business travelers must be able to check-in 24 hours a day seven days a week. While this is a great place to start, you need to take it to the next level to attract business travelers and get great reviews from them. Make sure your location has:

  • Reliable Wi-Fi at top speeds
  • Work desk with comfortable chair
  • Lots of outlets
  • Extra chargers
  • Easy parking

 

You will want to make it as easy on the person staying at your property to look great in the morning as possible. Therefore, think about offering premium bath products, an iron and ironing board, and weather-appropriate jackets and umbrellas.

Be a Great Host

It is not hard to tell what industry a business traveler works in, so prepare a list of industry-specific areas of interest in your community. If you do not know where these places are, usually local business associations and the chamber will be glad to help you.

Business travelers demand privacy. Therefore, make sure that there are no loud parties at your property while they are staying there. In fact, most business executives would rather rent an entire apartment or house than having to share it with other people.

While your weekend guests may enjoy preparing meals in your unit, most business travelers need quick places to eat. Look around your community for places offering quick meals at reasonable prices. Focus on local restaurants when possible as many travelers get very tired of eating at the same restaurants for weeks on end.

Ask for Reviews

Write a quick note shortly after the business traveler has left telling them how much you enjoyed them staying at your property. You may even want to send them a little gift focusing on things you learned about them during their stay or their industry from your local area. Ask them to leave a positive review for your property or to let you know if there are areas that need improvement. Business travelers are often a great source of inspiration for ways to improve your Airbnb property management because they stay in so many different places each year.

There are many different ways that you can market your property to business travelers with your listing, according to an Airbnb property management expert. After you start attracting executives, then make sure to exceed their expectations by providing them a great place to work and information about your area. Make it easy for them to leave great reviews of your property because business travelers rely on the impressions of other executives when choosing their next place to stay.

What are Some Ways to Keep a Property Booked During Off-season

While your vacation rental may stay full during the high-season, you may find that you have trouble attracting guests during the off-season. If this is the case, then you may need to take some steps to create more interest in your property during the off-season. While it takes some extra work, you may find that it puts your occupancy rates far ahead of your competition.

Identify Your Off-season Target Audience

If this is not the first year that you have owned your property, then look at your records to see who stays with you during the off-season. You may discover that you have a very different audience staying with you at different times of the year. For example, if you have a four-bedroom property near Coney Island, you may discover that it attracts lots of families during the summer, but once the kids head back to school, your property attracts older couples who are looking for a weekend getaway.

Upgrade Your Unit

While you will want to keep the return-on-investment in mind, think about upgrading your property. Think about ways that you can attract people to stay at your property. Adding unexpected amenities allows you to up your wow factor enticing more guests to your property during the off-season. Many owners find that adding a jacuzzi allows them to attract more guests. Make sure that your beds are ultra-comfortable and that you offer high-end bedding. Luxurious bathrobes and natural bath products may be an expected surprise for guests staying at your property.

Keep Your Listing Current

The way that Airbnb lists there units means that those that have been updated recently appear near the top of the list. Therefore, think about updating your photos on your listing. Additionally, get an events calendar for the area so that you can talk about large conventions, trade shows and festivals in your write-up. Talking about these events is a great way to show attendees that you are interested in why they are coming to your property. Above all else, make sure to keep your calendar current. This is especially important if your unit is located in an area where some close down during the off-season.

Create Packages

One of the best ways to attract guests during the off-season is to create packages. If you know that the majority of the guests are foodies, then consider including two complimentary dinners at a nearby restaurant. Alternatively, if you are attracting athletes, then think about including a limited-time offer to a local fitness facility. For this to be successful, it needs to be something that your guests are likely to enjoy. One popular Airbnb property management company gets great results by offering multi-night discounts during the off-season.

Contact Past Guests

Contact guests that have stayed with you in the past. Offer them a discount if they will stay with you during the off-season. Additionally, offer them a gift if they refer a friend who stays at your property. For example, you may want to give them a break on their next booking or send them a small item that is famous in your area.

Lower Your Rates

You should know what amount of revenue you need each month to break even. There is no point in discounting your rates below this point because you will be losing money. Many properties offer a discounted rate for last-minute bookings during the off-season. Others find that creating a weekend price point and a weekday price point helps them to garner the most business. If you choose this option, make sure that you know why your customers are staying with you. For example, if business people are staying with you, then you may want to charge more during the week. Alternatively, if your property attracts leisure travelers, then charge more on the weekend. If you have a minimum night stay policy, then you may need to adjust it during the off-season.

To attract more guests to your Airbnb during the off-season, you need to use a two-prong approach. Making your property the best it can be while increasing your marketing efforts will help you succeed. If you need help, then please contact our Airbnb property management company.

Why Choose an Airbnb Property Over a Hotel Room?

If you are traveling, then there are many reasons that you may want to choose an Airbnb property over a hotel. Airbnb properties are often locally owned, have been thoughtfully designed and are wonderful places to experience the local culture. While they are filled with amenities including outdoor living spaces, most are located in quiet residential areas. Learn even more of the reasons to choose an Airbnb property.

Beautifully Designed Living Spaces

While it is often difficult to tell which city you are in because hotel rooms across a brand all look alike, each Airbnb property has its own vibe. While a few have been designed by professional designers, most Airbnb properties have been designed by owners who have poured their heart and soul into creating a welcoming living space.

Individuality

Rather done by an Airbnb property management company or the hosts, someone has taken the opportunity to get to know your reasons for booking the unit, then they have created a living area that suits your tastes perfectly. Airbnb properties are often equipped with all types of luxuries including the most comfortable beds and luxurious linens.

Amenities

Most Airbnb property is unique. However, most have wonderful amenities like a kitchen where you can prepare your meals, an outside living space and plenty of room to spread out. Over 74 percent are located outside the main hotel districts. These units are usually located in residential areas meaning they are usually quieter. Additionally, you are likely to find one located much closer to where you want to play or need to work than hotels.

Space

Many people enjoy staying in an Airbnb because they have space. For example, children can be tucked away in a bedroom at night while Mom and Dad enjoy some couple time after a long day of sightseeing. Many Airbnb properties have amazing outdoor spaces to watch the sunrise and sunset.

Local Information

You will find the hosts of most Airbnb properties to be a wealth of local information. Many have taken the time to get to know you personally before your stay. Then, they have pondered over the things that they think you would enjoy doing in their community. Finally, they have prepared maps and other informational items about those locations. Most Airbnb hosts are opening their properties because they truly enjoy interacting with people. The guides prepared include all the local eateries and things to do during your stay.

Local Culture

In addition to being a wealth of information, most Airbnb properties are great places to stay for a taste of local culture. For example, many in the Phoenix area have beautiful examples of Native American art located in them while those located near Disney often have fun characters painted on the walls.

Price

While the average hotel in the United States rents for more than $134, there are many beautiful Airbnb properties for under $50 a night. Because of the wonderful feedback system, guests know exactly what they are getting before they arrive. Additionally, many communities do not make Airbnb properties pay hotel occupancy rates. You may discover huge security deposits on a hotel bill, but you may not find any on your Airbnb bill because of their wonderful insurance.

Traveling is a wonderful adventure. Choosing an Airbnb property over a traditional hotel lets you take advantage of the local vibe of each community. Most are located in quiet residential areas with many amenities inside and out. The small-business minded people are glad that you chose to stay with them. In fact, we can not think of a single reason you would choose to stay in a hotel. Contact our Airbnb property management company so that we can help you find the perfect place to stay from our wide range of friends.

Does Property Management Save You Time?

Each person has 31,536,000 seconds annually, but have you ever noticed how fast those seem to fill up with activities. If you are thinking of opening a vacation rental business, then you need to consider if you have the time required to operate it properly.

Research

Before you even list your property, you will need to do a lot of research. You will need to identify who your competition is and what they are doing to attract guests to their units. Furthermore, you need to determine what activities draw people to your geographical region. It is always a very good idea to develop a targeted audience profile before you begin.

Preparing Your Rental

Armed with the information you researched, you are ready to begin preparing your rental. In very few cases, you may be able to just remove your personal belongings, and you will be ready to begin. Most people, however, find that they must paint and resurface the floors. Others find that they need to completely redesign the space to attract their targeted audience.Creating outdoor living spaces with a hot tub and cooking area pays very well for most vacation rental property owners.

Making your Listing

Your listing can help you build a great business or make it fall flat on its face. The process begins with cleverly describing the property in a way that will be attractive to your targeted audience. Many people become so excited about finally listing their property that they skip important steps or run through them with reckless abandonment. This can come back to haunt you later as guests find other properties more attractive when they think about their own needs. Your listing must be approved, and it must be updated regularly taking even more time.

Choosing Service Providers

Even if you plan to do most of the day-to-day maintenance yourself, you still need to hire some service providers. You will need a great WiFi provider who understands that downtime costs you money. You also need the best cable provider in the area. Furthermore, you need to have a plumber and an electrician’s number on speed dial for the jobs that you cannot do yourself. Murphy’s Law says that there will be a very demanding client in the rental when something breaks.

Bookings

After you have laid all the foundation work, then you are finally ready to accept your first booking. While the process seems quite straightforward, you will need to communicate with the guest to determine if your rental meets their expectations. Additionally, you need to learn a little about them so that you can prepare special materials and treats for them during their stay as you need great feedback. You also need to make sure that you keep your calendar updated on all the different sites after you accept the reservation or decide that you want to use the property yourself during a given period.

Arrival of Guests

You are finally to the day when your first guest walks proudly through the door of your vacation rental. You will need to be on hand, even if it is the middle of the night, to give them their keys and help them settle in. Guests may have countless questions about your rental, and a tour of it is almost mandatory even if you promised your son you would be at his ballgame.

After their stay, you will need to check for and repair any damages, take steps to secure feedback while leaving feedback for them and prepare the unit for the next guest. If this sounds like more work than you are prepared to handle, then there is an easy solution. Hiring an Airbnb property management company allows you to earn most of the profit from a vacation rental without all the hassles. They already know the market, have experts ready to handle the redecorating and remodeling and are ready to handle guests and the issues that they create. You really can earn money from a vacation rental while on vacation when you work with our Airbnb property management company.

Essential Items Every Short-Term Rental Needs

If you are thinking of renting your home or other property as an Airbnb, then there are some items that you need to think about providing. Allowing guests access to these items will increase your ratings, and you will get more returning guests. You will also find that guests who find your unit well-equipped are more likely to recommend staying at your property to their friends. As an Airbnb property management company, we recommend that you print this list and put it where you can refer to it often.

TV

Almost everyone loves to curl up at night and watch television on vacation. Many people also like to listen to the news or other programming as they get ready in the morning. Therefore, the primary living space should have a large television. You should also think about providing smaller units in each sleeping area. Make sure that you have the top cable or satellite television package. A DVD player with an extensive movie selection can also be an excellent way to show guests that you are glad that they chose to stay with you.

Internet

People want to connect with their friends even while they are on vacation while others may need to check work emails. Others prefer to spend part of their stay catching up on their favorite YouTube shows. Therefore, you should provide high-speed internet for your guests. You may also want to consider providing a computer or laptop if people staying in your unit are primarily there to work. Make sure to leave chargers where people can find them along with making sure that your unit has enough plugins to charge all the modern electronic devices.

Pull-Out Couch

You can usually demand more money for your unit if it has a pull-out couch as more people can stay in your Airbnb. A comfortable sofa also makes a perfect place to relax at night. Going on vacation is a very good time to take a nap on a couch, so make sure that it has a fluffy blanket or homemade quilt. This item just seems to scream welcome home.

Linens

Luxurious bed sheets and towels are a great way to let guests know that you are glad that they chose to stay with you. If it is likely that guests will spend time playing on the nearby beach or at a swimming pool, then make sure that you provide special towels for guests to take with them to these areas. Be sure that guests have access to extra blankets throughout the year. If children are allowed in your unit, then consider leaving some child-sized blankets as well.

Toiletries

Think about the last time that you went on vacation. If you are like many people, some toiletry seemed to jump out of your bag without you ever noticing. Therefore, make sure you leave sample-size toiletries where your guests can easily find them. Splurging on locally produced soaps and body washes can be an excellent way to increase interest in the area.

Maps

Get a large laminated map of your community and leave it where guests can easily find it. Mark places that you can highly recommend to your guests with a dry-erase marker on the map. The choices should be based on places that you think your guests will find most interesting based on their interests. If guests are likely to go for a run or walk, then print off a smaller map that they can carry with them. If your guests are likely to use public transportation, then include schedules and maps.

Weather Essentials

Guests may forget to check the weather before their vacation, so prepare for weather-related emergencies. Place two or three large umbrellas by the door and a jacket or two in the closet. If it is likely to be hot, then hang a wide-brimmed hat on the wall.

Kitchen

One of the reasons that people often cite for choosing to stay in an Airbnb instead of a hotel is the chance to prepare their meals. Therefore, make sure that it is easy for your guests to do that by providing them with good appliances, basic cooking tools, and a well-stocked spice rack.

Supplying these necessities to your guests can provide rich dividends to your business. If you need help getting your unit going, then please contact our Airbnb property management company. We will be glad to share our knowledge with you.

The Importance of a Nice Outdoor Living Space and How to Create One

An outdoor living space is a great addition to your Airbnb property. The cost of creating one is often absorbed by more people renting your property at a higher rate. Many people also find that their occupancy rate escalates when they offer an outdoor kitchen. Creating one can be lots of fun because it is a chance to become creative as there are so many different choices available. Follow these steps to create an outdoor living space that your guests will love. As an Airbnb Property management company, we see outdoor spaces increase the rental value all the time.

Choose a Theme

Start by selecting a theme for your outdoor dining area. Often people choose a theme based on why people stay at their property such as its location near a ballfield or major attraction. Those with an Airbnb property in the country may want to consider a rustic theme while those living near the water may want to incorporate coastal elements. Meanwhile, others choose a sophisticated theme extending with the elegance of the indoor living space. Once you decide on the theme, choose a focal point for the eye to rest on while choosing other pieces complementing the central point. This point may be the beautiful scenery viewable from your property.

Make it Private

Unless your property is located miles away from neighboring property, think about how you will separate the area from others seeing what is happening there. Tall vertical screens are the perfect solution with shelving ensures privacy while adding additional storage space. Others will want to add shrubs to block the neighbor’s view. Adding mesh screens is a favorite of many especially if insects may be a problem. Incorporating architectural elements of the existing home makes it look like the outdoor living space has been there from the beginning. While you are thinking about privacy, also consider how people will move within the outdoor space along as how they will move between the central living space and the outdoor living area.

Think About Outdoor Kitchens

Considering an outdoor kitchen is a great option for many properties. Make sure to keep it functional by designing the area in zones. Outdoor kitchen equipment often forms the boundaries of the room. The best outdoor kitchens allow people to move between indoor and outdoor kitchens quickly. Choose material that will easily withstand the elements in your geographical region. Smokers, grills and brick ovens make excellent additions to many outdoor kitchen areas. At least one fire source should be planned that guests will enjoy sitting around on cooler nights.

Contemplate Seating

A variety of seating options allows everyone to enjoy the space more. Consider using smaller chairs if families are invited to rent your Airbnb property. A seating wall is often a great option as it can often be used to stop erosion along with forming a boundary to the outside living area. Choose options allowing people to have quiet conversations in the outdoor living space. You cannot have too many seating options as long as you do not block traffic flow.

Ponder Activities

You want the people renting your space to enjoy themselves, so think about incorporating a variety of activities. You may want to plan quiet areas for reading a book along with other sectors for table games. Some people even make it easy to move from the outside living space to the yard where volleyball nets, lawn darts or other activities are provided.

Muse on Outdoor Lighting Options

Extend the time that guests can choose to use the outdoor living space by incorporating the right light. Consider task lighting where people need to see what they are doing such as the cooking area. Use mood lighting near the dining area if you are incorporating one into your outdoor living space. Increase safety by making sure that any steps and drop-offs are well lit warns one Airbnb property management company.

Our Airbnb property management company will be glad to assist you with the details. Give us a call so that we can discuss your ideas with you. We will even be happy to help you find contractors and maintenance staff to help you build and maintain outdoor living spaces.

Airbnb has waived most (all) service fees during Hurricane Harvey

The devastation hitting the Texas and Louisiana coast is unreal. At one point in time, up to 13 million people were under flood watches or warnings. The storm has dumped over 25 inches of rain in Houston, and meteorologists say that it is not done yet with many believing America’s fourth largest city will get 50 inches of rain before Harvey finally leaves them alone. If it does, it will be the most rainfall ever from an Atlantic tropical storm.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says that up to 450,000 people need assistance. First responders in the Houston area had already received more than 2,000 calls from people needing rescuing. Almost 96 hours after the storm made landfall on August 25, 2017, there were still over 185 people waiting for rescue.

While much of the focus has been on Houston, the entire Gulf coast has been affected by this powerful storm. Neighbors have been helping neighbors with many people going into rescue others using their equipment. One church in the severely affected community of League City, Texas, literally invited people to come to their building even though all they had to offer was a roof. Meanwhile, in nearby Dickerson, Texas, nursing home residents sat in water waist deep until rescued by the National Guard and private individuals.

Airbnb Owners’ Response

One thing that almost all Airbnb owners can agree on is that they have a strong desire to help. Therefore, Airbnb has activated its disaster relief system. In the days leading up to the hurricane, Airbnb sent an email allowing all participants in Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas to open their homes for free. To do their part, Airbnb has waived their service fee on all booking from evacuees from August 23 to September 1. Hosts get coverage by the host guarantee.

Airbnb Preparation for Disaster

Airbnb’s preparation for this day, however, did not start as Texas Governor Greg Abbott, FEMA and others warned of the impending catastrophe. Planning for this day began in 2012 after Hurricane Sandy. At that time, Airbnb hosts in New York took it upon themselves to open their rooms that were not booked. Since then, Airbnb has implemented a program allowing hosts in 10 United States cities to become trained by the American Red Cross in disaster preparedness. Then, each host has the option to open their homes to friends and neighbors so that they could prepare as well.

Airbnb Disaster Preparedness Coordinator

Airbnb now has a disaster preparedness coordinator. This person lived through Katrina, so she understands what many of the evacuees are facing. She has coordinated with FEMA to open host homes to evacuees and first responders. In all, 3,590 nights have been donated through Airbnb’s emergency disaster program with over 3,100 homes opened.

FEMA Uses Airbnb

Airbnb has taken it even a step further by partnering with FEMA ahead of time. Now, FEMA can use Airbnb to locate places for their emergency workers to stay allowing them to get to work at a faster rate. In the past, FEMA employees were often held back because they could not find a place to stay in a disaster area. Therefore, they had to wait until mobile units landed in the disaster area.

List Your Property for Evacuees on Airbnb

This time, Airbnb has taken an additional measure because of the size of this disaster. They are now allowing homeowners to open their homes to evacuees just by listing their property on their site. The owner just lists some basic details of what they have available, and the site does the rest.

Airbnb Owners Encouraged to Give Their Miles

While only Airbnb properties in Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin can list their homes for free, all Airbnb property owners and Airbnb property management programs can give in this way. Airbnb allows owners and companies to donate their airline miles through the Airlink program. The program allows first responders to travel to the affected area without having to worry about the cost of their tickets.

Our thoughts go out to all those in the affected area and we hope everyone is united with their families safely.

 

Why start an Airbnb business?

If you run the clock back to 2007 in San Francisco, you might see three broke men looking for a way to make a little extra cash. Since they knew that a big design conference was coming to town, they hatched on the idea of renting out air mattresses in their home for $80 a night. What started that night over ten years ago is known today as Airbnb, and it is now worth over $25 billion. If you are thinking of listing your property on Airbnb, then there are some things you will want to consider.

Select Your Target Audience

Designers coming to town was the target audience for that first adventure of renting their apartment for the night. The trio went on to rent again in 2008 to try to attract people attending the iconic SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas, and at the Democratic National Convention in Denver where hotel rooms were in short supply.

If you are going to put your property on the market as an Airbnb property (or have us co-host it for you), then you need to identify your target audience just like the three founders did when starting the company. If you are thinking of renting a room in your home, then maybe the perfect target audience for you is a traveling student. Alternatively, if you have a large vacation home, then your target audience may be large families or student groups. Garage and attic apartments located near festival grounds or ballparks often make the perfect place for guests visiting those venues to stay.

Technology

One of the largest struggles the founders had to overcome when starting Airbnb was technology. There was not a great platform easily adapted for the purpose. Today, those operating successful Airbnb properties have all types of technology that they can use including guest messaging services, calendar synchronization programs, and pricing tools. The toughest part is usually figuring out which system is right for the individual owner.

Marketing

After the three failed attempts to start Airbnb, the developers finally got it going in the right direction. Then, they spent four months traveling across New York taking photos of Airbnb properties choosing to stay in every one of them listed with the company. The struggle to market a property has become even harder today, as the number of properties has grown to over 3 million listings. One way to make sure that your target audience sees your listing is to work with an Airbnb property management company like Manorshare. We will help you get professional photography of your unit highlighting the elements that will interest your targeted audience the most. Also, we write property descriptions that will attract your audience to your unit.

Know Your Competition

Stop for a moment and think about all the types of places that a person can stay near the property that you own. While the most obvious choices for guests visiting the community may be hotels, you may discover that there are already Airbnb properties in the area. Additionally, depending on your target audience, they may choose to stay in youth hostels where available. Once you identify your competition, then think how you can set your space apart from other choices that your target audience might consider.

The competition in many communities is very tight right now, especially if you are a new Airbnb property. The best solution is to let the professionals at Manorshare guide you in the decision making process. We have the experience to help you decide who your target audience is and what will attract them to your property. Our Airbnb property management company also has the experience to help you market your property. Finally, we will take care of all the details allowing you to enjoy being an Airbnb, property owner.