Today, Airbnb is looked at as one of the premier, sole choices for traveling. Fueled by the sharing economy, Airbnb attracts guests with affordable, trustworthy lodging in convenient locations. But because of the Internet-enabled, peer-to-peer business model, stories like the Canadian couple that returned home to find their Airbnb rental trashed are becoming common, more and more so.
The rise of the sharing economy has allowed companies like Airbnb to rival and disrupt established markets: Airbnb averages 425,000 guests per night for a total of 155 million annual guest stays – nearly 22% more than Hilton Worldwide’s 127 million served in 2014.
This summer, along with record temperatures, there will undoubtedly be record travelers as well. Last summer, roughly 17 million guests stayed with Airbnb around the world – a number that has grown 353 times over five years.
To maximize on the potential to earn some extra cash as an Airbnb host, while also minimizing your chances of returning home to a theft or break-in, we’ve put together three safety and security tips for protecting yourself as an Airbnb host. As a bonus, we’ve also included a couple tips on how to attract the right guests for your Airbnb rental, as that plays a key role in keeping your home secure.
1. Take Insurance Seriously
When you’re renting out your home, proper insurance coverage is extremely important to protect against wine spills on white walls or stolen Banksy paintings.
Although Airbnb has a Host Protection Insurance program that protects against liability claims up to $1 million, there are some instances in which you may not be covered by the program. This is particularly important if you are trying to make a serious business out of Airbnb; the proper insurance coverage is crucial to protect against damages not guaranteed by the company.
2. Implement Smart Security
In the nascent Internet of Things, more and more devices are getting connected, and security inevitably becomes an issue on everyone’s minds. Maintaining a smart home is only possible if you’ve implemented a secure – and smart – home access security system.
A smartphone access control system allows you to give your guests smartphone keys to your home instead of needing to give them physical keys that can easily be copied or lost. Smartphone keys can be sent to your guest with the click of a button, and as soon as their stay is up, you can revoke access just as easily no matter where you are in the world. This is an ideal security solutions for serious Airbnb hosts who want to control multiple properties with ease.
3.Protect Your Identity and Assets
While it is difficult to block out professional hackers and scammers, there’s a lot you can do to protect yourself against the wrong guest. Besides cyber-screening as a precaution, you can identify the material things you’d most want to protect – laptops, cameras, social security card – and make them tough targets by either installing a safe or by putting them in storage outside of your home.
Most of the time, merely the presence of security cameras will be enough to deter burglars. Also, if your Airbnb guest is renting your entire home or apartment, you should consider to hold or forward your mail to another trusted address during their stay – a simple security measure that’s as easy as going to your local post office.
4. Get Pricing Right
As people begin to power Airbnb as a means of business, competition is fierce. A 2014 Google Study revealed that most leisure travelers start planning for a trip undecided on brands; only 16% of people are absolutely certain about lodging choices. This means you, as an Airbnb host, have a huge opportunity – 84% of travelers – to market to. That’s why the right pricing is arguably the most important factor, especially from a visitor’s perspective.
Leveraging the power of supply and demand will be your most tactful approach to deciding the right price for your unit – by understanding this dynamic in the local market, you can make sure to stand out to your potential guest when your property is benchmarked against the rest in your neighborhood. Also, keep in mind that naming your price isn’t just a one-time thing; depending on timing and availability of competing hosts, constantly checking and updating the price is a necessary process in order to attract and retain your ideal guests.
5. Paint Your Portrait
Perhaps the most important tip: decide how you’d like to be viewed. This will determine the amount of effort you put into creating your profile, and ultimately qualify your experience as a host. Perfecting your profile includes more than just making sure your listing has a catchy title and that your photos are attractive. When you become a host, decide what you’d like to get out of it – do you want to be earning a few extra bucks with an extra room, or do you want to build a business that becomes a primary source of income? If you are looking to meet people from different cultures around the world, then put that in your description!
If you want to build a professional business, think about investing in professional photography and design to make your space as aesthetically robust as possible. In an era of collaborative consumption, 7 out of 10 Americans seek online opinions before making a purchase. So, make sure to encourage guests to write you a review after their stay – that means a lot in this economy!