A platform based on the tagline ‘A Community Built on Sharing’, Airbnb’s global venture introduces the concept of travelling with a twist – stay with locals in their homes. Today, Airbnb has become a widely used portal for travel with unique experiences.
This seven-year-old venture, functioning in over 190 countries, including India, helps travellers find interesting places to stay over 30,000 cities worldwide and homeowners to sign on as a host and earn from that extra space or room that they don’t use.
From background checks to reservations and payments, Airbnb handles it all. You just have to become a part of the community and share the space you have to offer! There are no restrictions with regard to the space that needs to be provided; it can range anything from a pull-out bed to an entire house! The traveller decides what kind of a place they want and what their budget is.
You will find three types of hosting opportunities on Airbnb – an extra room or living space, an entire home to stay for a few days, and properties that are not being used regularly – country homes or apartments that one has invested in.
However, from a host’s point of view, all of these call for a similar approach – it is about making it comfortable and accessible to the traveller, while letting it be a place that can be an experience in itself. Here, we tell you how.
Decor Style – A wide appeal
It’s not an easy task to judge what kind of traveller you’re going to host, so it is best to keep décor and accessories gender and age neutral. Simple colours that are inviting but not overwhelming – blues and yellows or reds and greys are combinations that are an ideal balance between fun and neutral.
Geometric patterns or large spaces of complimentary textures and colours are definitely better than a plethora of floral or animal prints. When in doubt, keep it simple – one coloured or wall-papered wall accenting other white surfaces.
This being said, if you’re choosing to rent out your whole home then it is taken for granted that you are inviting the traveller to experience your sense of design and see the city from your perspective; making for a fascinating exchange of cultural experiences.
Amentities – A dash of luxury
At the end of the day, it’s a home, not a hotel. A few generic magazines, good books and the daily newspaper (ideally in English) can make the space you have to offer ideal for longer stays.
You don’t have to provide the traveller with their own kitchenette and a laundry service, but allowing them to make themselves a hot cup of tea and use your washing machine will always be appreciated. If you get along, there’s always the added perk of cooking a meal for one another, or together!
If you want to step it up a notch – both in terms of luxury and price – then there are always additions such as a television, an air-conditioner, a mini fridge and an electrical kettle with instant coffee/tea sachets which you can choose to provide; giving both you and them privacy in your own spaces but yet the ability to tend to basic needs. Free Wi-Fi would help a great deal.
The aspect of setting up an all-comprehending space within four walls can be a challenge, making it both functional and convenient to allow the guest to use your amenities.
Games and fun – It’s a holiday after all
For rooms big enough for two or more travellers, Scrabble, Pictionary and a pack of cards are space-appropriate options for a little fun. If you have some room to spare then you could go the extra mile and keep a foosball table or a carom board accessible as well, amongst other simple two people indoor games.
For single-occupancy spaces, puzzles are a fun addition; not necessarily the usual puzzle pieces but even out-of-the-box wooden cube assemblages or marble-solitaire.
What’s your USP? Awesome food! Dog friendly! Or just the most beatiful interiors!
And then the last aspect to pay attention to – what gives your space an edge over the others? What will make that twenty-year-old intern or the backpacking couple in their mid-forties recommend you to their friends and family?
It could be as simple as an open kitchen or an affinity for pets, but make sure you choose your USP carefully. The best way is to base it on one of two things, if not both – space constraints and your own interests. Keeping your home open to children for example, or to travellers with special needs could help you create your own niche in the Airbnb circuit, as could your home-cooked delicacies.
Your home – A home away from home
If you’re renting out your whole home, a few additional tips may make you feel less anxious about the process.
A home is a personal space, but you can choose to share some and not others. If you’re trying it for the first time, it might be prudent to put away personal items and valuables. On the flipside, your guest is expecting to experience a space from your point of view, so it isn’t essential to sanitise the space of your disposition. Lastly, make things accessible. You know where you keep the sugar in the kitchen, but following a systematic approach so your guest can feel at home as well is ideal – you could even start by leaving a note, a checklist and a few directions around the home and in the immediate space around; grocery shops and a good place to grab a bite along with a local map for example!
It’s really very simple. Share that unutilised space that will not only get you some rewards but give some travellers a chance to experience your way of living!
To know how you can become the perfect Airbnb host, you can read Setting up to be the perfect Airbnb host. Coming soon. For more such things, subscribe to Houzify Diaries :)