Should you have Airbnb guests during the coronavirus outbreak?

It’s April in London and the sun has made its first appearance since late October last year. A mild but very wet winter caused a lot of maintenance issues with my Airbnb as rain water got into the house and did some damage but my bookings were mostly as normal.

For the first time since I started hosting over 5 years ago I started creating artificial gaps in my bookings (blocking off days) to reduce my workload and give me a break from guests. I did this because I was starting to get sick of strangers constantly coming and going and never really feeling at home in my own house. My wife was also showing signs of similar fatigue.

I need not have worried because the coronavirus (cover-19) outbreak would leave my airbnb completely empty.

Should you still have guests during the coronavirus outbreak?

The UK government introduced social distancing guidelines in early March and encouraged people to work from home wherever possible. As soon as these recommendations came into effect my airbnb bookings started to dry up. I find that guests generally tend to book 2-4 weeks in advance. So it was not long before my airbnb was starting to become very empty. I heavily reduced my prices to a record low of £15 a night to try and make at least some income but even this was not enough.

Most of of my guests are either tourists or those who have to visit London for a short time (for business or visiting friends etc). Since the virus outbreak started to get serious in late February guests had started to cancel. The tourists cancelled first as their governments encouraged people not to travel early on in the pandemic. Others cancelled as business meetings were called off wherever possible. And then finally my regulars ,who come to London from other parts of the UK on a regular basis for work, cancelled too. So now I am empty.

On the 8th of April Airbnb sent me an email saying that they will block my private room listings. The UK government told everyone who is providing holiday accommodation to close except for limited types of stay and NHS staff. Airbnb has taken it on itself to stop anyone providing accommodation during the period of lockdown. This is very sensible as i’m sure some hosts will try to stay open for the extra money. I’m lucky because I do have my regular employment income during this time but others may be more reliant on their airbnb income to pay bills etc.

You should not be taking in any private room guests during the lockdown. This is not only very stupid since you can expose yourself and your family to the virus, but it also goes against the social efforts to stop the pandemic. It’s tempting for those hosts who rely on their airbnb income to pay the bills to try and stay open for business but you may contribute to extending the pandemic so it could do more harm than good.

Help for Airbnb hosts who have had bookings cancelled because of coronavirus

Airbnb has a webpage dedicated to information for hosts during the coronavirus outbreak.

Airbnb has promised to give hosts who have had cancellations because of coronavirus some help in the form of 25% of what they would have received. This only applies to bookings between 14 March to 31 May. But ONLY if the guest selects the reason for cancellation as because of the coronavirus. AND only if the host would normally have gotten payment if the guest cancels under their Cancelation policy (the host would need to have a cancellation policy of MODERATE or stricter).

When a guest cancels an accommodation reservation due to a COVID-19-related circumstance, with a check-in between 14 March and 31 May, we will pay you 25% of what you would normally receive through your cancellation policy.

This ‘help’ from airbnb does not help me at all. All my bookings cancelled before it was possible to choose ‘covid-19’ as a reason to cancel. This help will only benefit a small number of hosts, probably those hosts with Entire Place listings who are used to longer bookings. A special fund to help Superhost rated airbnb hosts was also announced. I am not Superhost and probably never will be since the bar is too difficult to reach for me (my house is located in a less than beautiful part of London which usually gets me 4 out of 5 for location despite being cheap and central).

I was surprised however that airbnb has sent me a $17.22 cover-19 payment (how much in pounds i don’t know yet as i’ve not actually received any money in my bank account). I’m not sure how they worked this out. I am grateful but it’s not going to make up for the thousands i have certainly lost in this period.

How long will it be before you should start taking airbnb guests again?

Even if the lockdown ends tomorrow you should consider not taking any guests for a short time. Airbnb has extended the coronavirus restrictions to the 15 May so i think i won’t be taking any guests until then at least.

If you want to take reservations as part of the Frontline Stays program you can. If you do this you will have to make sure you can operate under the social distancing rules. Probably best to keep away from your guests as much as possible and allow them to self check in and out.

What is the future of Airbnb hosting?

It’s February in London and Brexit is here. The UK left the European Union on Friday 31st January at 11pm. My first European guests since Brexit arrived about 1 hour later from Italy. They were nice guests and for them at least it seems nothing was any different. Strictly speaking nothing much hans changed. The UK is in a transition period for the next 12 months where as far travel for EU citizens into and out of the UK there is no changes. No new visa is needed. After that what will happen we don’t know yet.

What is the future of airbnb?

I recently read a forum thread about being a landlord and/or a airbnb host. Someone left some interesting comments that I agreed with and made me think more about the future of airbnb.

I have copied the post in full as I want to show it in entirety in respect for the writer. The link to the forum post is here.

i get hotels regular, and the airbnb concept is in for a massive crash.  the market is completely saturated and rooms very cheap. there is hardly a city in the uk that you cant get a 30 quid room infact none if you look hard enough. and as airbnb is mostly homes with 2 or 3 rooms whats happening is many are getting fed up. lucky to achieve 50% occupancy rates and very little in the winter. the changing of sheets and tidying up and organising of it all is creating a situation many are making very little. add in the fees airbnb take and mortgage interest and very soon half are begging for a full time tenant again. 

hotels have got smarter and better and takling airbnb head on and i can get room after room with a breakfast throwing in for 30 quid something no airbnb can do. i know people doing bnb that have started to refuse 1 or 2 night lets and are only looking for week long lets due to the work involved switching over to new people each night. hotels can do this due to economy of scale with 20 or 30 or 50 rooms full a night. 

hence when i rent rooms now i never do airbnb for these reasons. 

1. airbnb is often more expensive

2. airbnb is full of amatuer landlords that make you feel uncomfortable to relax in their precious homes

3. the neighbours of tese homes are often hostile and fed up of people coming and going

4. you get a breakfast at a hotel

5. airbnb owners will be far more active in complaining or witholding any monies due to any damages due to the same reasons amatuer landlords do the same ie granmas precious house where they really despise anyone staying but need the cash.

5. i want informal, heres your keys and have a nice evening. airbnb is often full of owners far too interested in your comings and goings and what your up to than a hotel is. 

6. mostly no owner on the premises what if the loony in the next room starts running around the place with an axe

7. big chance of getting to the property but then having to wait around for the owner to arrive to gain entry.

8. as above but with far more restrictive times to get keys etc than a hotel unless there in all day and live next door. 

9. more chance of a perv sticking a spy camera in the shower room

10. far more penny pinching going on with heating etc especially when they only got one room let and only got 35 quid for it, they dont want you burning the heating all night whereas a hotel with have 30 or 40 guests and a bigger more economical heating system. (this is actually a huge moan of people that use airbnb, )


Should you become a host or perhaps stop hosting?

I can only tell you about my own experience of being an airbnb host. I don’t want to make assumptions of how other hosts find the whole system and how they benefit. For me it has been mostly very good. I have empty bedrooms in my house and wanted to let them out for the extra income. So i gave it a try.

I was initially surprised when my first airbnb bookings came in. I had 4 empty rooms in my house. Two I let to people from my work (on a lodger agreement). They were longer term but not fixed (i.e not locked in for a year). One left after a year or so. The other stayed for 2 years I think. The remaning two rooms I would put on airbnb and try my luck. My house is reasonably central in London but is not central enough that you can walk to the main tourist sites. The distance to the centre might seem quite far for someone who is not used to the size of London. I assumed my place would be nothing but a last resort type place but at 2000+ guests so far it’s exceed my expectations.

If I search right now for a room like mine in a better part of London then I can see similar listings for about £40 which is double my price. To be honest if I were a guest I would probably pay the extra money for the better location. But not everyone will feel the same way. I do offer a alternative deal for a more price conscious traveler. But it does tell me that unless the upper end prices go up mine will probably stay low too since there would be no reason to save the extra.

Just for comparison an Ibis hotel in my part of London is £50-60 a night. So my airbnb is about half the price of a proper hotel (when you take into account the fee airbnb charges the guest etc). Which is good but I recall before airbnb existed a decent but cheap London hotel would be about £80-100. The hotels have gotten more competitive since presumably they were losing a lot of business to airbnb.

Airbnb seems constantly pushing me to lower my prices. This may be for my own good. Assuming airbnb’s data is correct people are expecting lower prices. It’s very possible that if your listing is very special (like say you can see Big Ben out the bedroom window) then you can probably ignore such advice. But if like me you have a very nice but still very ordinary room then being competitively priced is a good idea. My strategy has always been to be fully booked all the time, no matter what it takes. So if I need to lower my prices I will!

I have noticed some airbnb listings are what I would call expensive. £50 or more to sleep in someones spare bedroom seems like a lot to me. Even if it is well decorated and kind of niche it just doesn’t seem right. I’m sure many of the hosts are very nice and welcoming people but at the end of the day you are only a guest in their house. When you pay for a hotel room your kind of made to feel like your the boss by the hotel employees. I’ve never known anyone apologise to a hotel owner for coming back late at night.

I do generally leave my guests to themselves. In fact I would say I almost avoid them. I don’t want them to feel uncomfortable during their stay so I stay away. Occasionally if I get a good vibe from a guest i will offer them a glass of wine or similar. But that’s about it. I don’t offer an ‘experience’.

What to do when your airbnb bookings dry up in January?

It’s January in London and so far its been a mild winter but it has rained almost every day since August (well it certainly feels like it). The heavy rain has caused unexpected damage to my house which is very annoying but it has not affected my airbnb which has been full most days (only Sundays I was not 100% booked out but that was almost a welcome relief for me). But now it’s reached January and like every year for the past 5 years that i’ve been an airbnb host my bookings have dried up.

Did you airbnb bookings suddenly drop off in January?

It’s only because i’ve been a host for over fives years that I know the sudden drop off of bookings is normal. I know its obvious that January should be a quiet month, thats not the full issue. The issue is this – not only is January quiet but there don’t seem to be forward bookings either. In my experience about half my guests book about 6-10 weeks ahead. The other half about 2 weeks ahead. But looking at my calendar there are very few bookings in Feb and March (where I would expect to be about half full already, and of course no bookings at all in the next 2 weeks). So what should i do?

What to do if you don’t have bookings?

If you have suddenly stopped getting bookings in January first don’t panic. There may be nothing at all wrong with your listing, or a borderline bad review has not ruined your hosting future. It’s just that time of year. It’s actually scary looking into the darkness and only seeing a empty airbnb calendar, if this is your main source of income.

I have a mortgage to pay so I really need my airbnb money to come in every month without fail. I can’t miss a month and make up the difference later. I need that money now! Its a simple fact that demand has dropped and now the airbnb market is crowded with empty rooms. There is only one thing for it and that is to drop my prices.

When I first became a airbnb host 5 years ago I was charging £20 a night average for a private room. Today I charge the same amount – £20. Adjusting for inflation I am charging less than five years ago. Why am i charging the same price? Well it’s basically because the market can’t handle a higher price.

Despite the increasing popularity of airbnb for travellers this has been more than offset by the increased number of those who want to host. Also I suspect traditional hotels have significantly reduced their prices to compete with airbnb, so this has kept prices low.

I have tried to increase my prices slightly but this sometimes led to not getting bookings and I would rather be full than empty so this didn’t work out. I find it’s better to be full ALL the time for two reasons: 1. the constant cash flow 2. bookings generally lead to bookings

Should you drop your listing price?

So what can you do about your empty airbnb calendar? Well first you need to drop your prices. Every year I have bitten the bullet and dropped my prices BELOW my acceptable minimum price. In some respects I was making a loss (when you consider my time and effort as well as the actual cost of my house). My guests were getting a dam good deal in my opinion.

Why would I drop my prices like this? Well first as mentioned above bookings generally lead to bookings. This is part of airbnb search rankings. A place that was booked will be seen as positive by airbnb’s search engine and push you up the rankings. Possibly therefore ensuring future much more lucrative bookings! Second is to stay liquid. Cash in every day pays the bills. Profit next year is no good to me if I have bills to pay TODAY.

Also to get more bookings there is possible 2 things you can do. First is start using Instant book. Using Instant book will push you up the rankings. Second is to be more flexible with your guests. An example of this might be reducing your minimum trip length to 1 night (some hosts have a two night minimum for example). There are other possibilities such as allowing pets etc.

Having regular guests can keep you in business

Bookings have dropped off but fortunately for me I have a steady stream of regulars. Some of my regular guests have been coming for 4 years or more. They all pay cash and usually come on the same days every week (for example every Monday and Tuesday).

All my regulars are working in the city of London so they are consistent. They usually arrive at about the same time every day and are out all day (at work of course). Guests like this are easily the best in my opinion. I give them a good price and I get peace of mind (the chances of a regular guest causing trouble are very low).

How do you find regular guests? Well I suppose if your listing is not close to any commercial centre you might struggle to get any regulars. However if like me you are in a major city this should be easier. Its somewhat easy to spot a potential regular. Often they will mention in their first contact with you they are in town for work. If not this then if you see them hurry out the door in work clothes early in the morning then this might be an easy hint. You simply have to ask them straight if they are here for work and do they want to make their stay with you ‘a regular thing’. I often immediately make clear that it’s cash only and and that I’m flexible with bookings (often people don’t like to commit too far in advance). It’s usually as easy as that!

My friend wants to start a airbnb business- What I told him…

It’s November in London and its getting dark at 4:30pm and the temperature is getting lower by the day. Apart from a few very warm days it was a generally wet and grey summer this year. My airbnb was full most days apart from the occasional empty room on a Sunday (to be honest its nice to have a day guest free day sometimes). My prices are as low as ever and it doesn’t seem likely to change any time soon. My competition in East London seems to have increased in my area over the last 5 years I have been a airbnb host, and is probably one of the reasons why my prices are still so low.

A friend who lives in the same area of East London as me asked me to the pub for a chat and it wasn’t long before he started asking about my airbnb. He wanted some advice on starting his own airbnb. He was more interested in having a country retreat style airbnb business; a small cottage perhaps in a nice part of the English countryside? I gave him my advice and on the whole he was not very happy.

There is a big difference between being a live in host (i.e. your listing is a room in your house or flat) and hosting a place that is separate from your residence (especially if some distance away such as in another town). It’s a huge problem if you have to travel long distances to check in guests, clean, or fix issues. This can make any profit you make on your listing simply not worth it.

I am a live in host so chances are if something needs to be done at my airbnb I am on hand to do it – immediately. Even if a guest arrives at 2am, it may mean dragging myself out of bed but I can do it and be back asleep in minuets (happens way too often for my liking). The idea of driving across town at 2am to do the same thing is a much bigger ask. Its the daily hassles that cause the most grief. Try to avoid them if you can. There are things you can do such as using automated check-in systems such as key safes but some things are only cost effective to do in person.

Automate your airbnb check-in process with key safe

The idea of having a airbnb listing out in the countryside may seen romantic but if it’s going to be a lot of trouble to manage then you have to ask yourself  – is it worth it? Unless you can charge big money for a few nights stay then by the time you factor in your costs and time you might be only making a few pounds. Cleaners don’t work for free and even then could be not available when you need them.

My friend who is thinking of starting his own airbnb business also quizzed me on how I get paid and what tax do I pay. I explained to him how that airbnb pays me only AFTER a guest checks in and the money can go into my bank account but it’s quicker if the cash is paid into my Paypal account. I also explained that my Paypal account in any name and can make payments straight out of my Paypal account to purchase almost anything. This means it does not have to hit my own bank account.

I explained to my friend when and how much tax he will need to pay on his airbnb business. How the government rent-a-room allowance works and what expenses he can claim. He seemed surprised that he would need to pay tax on the income and how much it would be. This is important because if you already have a full time job then the extra income is going to be taxed at a higher rate. It might make your airbnb business simply not worth it.

For more information on what tax you need to pay on your airbnb income read my guide here.


Should you have security cameras at your Airbnb?

It’s June in London. For the last month it’s been rain and more rain. My airbnb has been busy as usually but this is mostly due to my low prices. I can say that my success is due to keeping a low price and being flexible with my guests (letting them arrive early etc). Also the fact that I accept single night bookings means that I have a constant turnover of guests. This constant turnover is more demanding on me with so many sheets to clean and check-ins/outs but this sends all the right signals to airbnb. Bookings lead to bookings and a high number of reviews keeps my space high in the rankings.

Airbnb trust and safety team

I received an email from the Airbnb ‘trust and safety’ team telling me that they have received a report telling them that I have a surveillance device in my listing. I was frankly told that if they find that I have broken airbnb’s hosting policy my account will be suspended or deactivated (there is little difference, in practice both mean curtains). I was shocked and started to get very worried. Breaking a small rule here and there might mean a slap on the wrist but being accused of spying on a guest like this could be very serious. I had 24 hours to contact airbnb and explain myself or face a certain end to my airbnb hosting career.

hosts are required to provide notice to their guests of any surveillance device(s) present in a listing prior to booking, regardless of whether they’re in-use or operational during the reservation, the guest’s consent is required before the reservation and payment are confirmedairbnb hosting rules

This issue with my security cameras came from a guest review. A guest checked out and immediately left a review saying he spotted two security cameras when he was checking out of my listing. He does mention that they were both facing the doorway of my house (and therefore not in the bedroom for example) but this seems to be enough for a report to be sent to airbnb. I suspect the report is auto triggered from keywords or actions from the review and not a separate report sent to airbnb. So the guest might have been unaware of the hot water he had now landed me in.

Do you have security cameras in your Airbnb?

I do have two security cameras in my airbnb listing. Both face the main entrance way to my house. The first is outside and is a ring video doorbell. This is primarily a doorbell but it also records video when it detects movement and you can speak to whoever rings the bell from your phone. I find this very useful for when say I have a Amazon delivery and I’m not at home (I can tell the delivery person to leave my parcels next door). The second is a Canary security camera. This is inside the house and faces to door. This is more a full time surveillance device. In some ways this is doubling up on watching my front door but both are necessary i find to get a full picture of whats happening in your listing.

I wrote to airbnb and explained that I did have security cameras in my house. But they only face the front door and are NOT in any private space for the guests (not in the bedrooms for example). It’s best to write a detailed description of the issue so anyone reading it will be in no doubt that your intentions are honest. Any hint of deception will not play well. I made it clear the cameras are for security purposes since I live in the house with my wife and may occasionally need to check who has come into my house; especially at night. I also explained the camera on the outside of my house (the ring video doorbell) for when I have have parcel deliveries or when a airbnb guest arrives unexpectedly (or possibly has trouble entering the house). I was quite willing to provide some sort of evidence to airbnb (pictures maybe) that what I was telling them is correct. Thankfully Airbnb did not ask any further questions and reinstated my account.

I had actually told Airbnb in the past that I have cameras in my listing. I have had several instances where guests broke my house rules by bringing extra guests into the listing. After raising a dispute with a guest I once sent video evidence of them bringing another person into my house in the middle of the night to airbnb. At that time Airbnb did not check that I had disclosed the presences of cameras to my guests (or quite possibly there rules did not exist at that time as this was several years ago). I have now mentioned in all of my listings that security cameras are in operation.

Airbnb review system

It’s Easter bank holiday weekend in London and it’s very sunny. My airbnb is full over the long weekend as usual. My strategy is to be fully booked at all times and it works fine for me (even if I am charging lower prices than this time last year). My average charge per night is only £18 now (my price was £20 when I first started as an airbnb host nearly 5 years ago). This should be a warning to other airbnb hosts that your income could possibly fall over time. The major reason I think this has happened is the increase of rival airbnb hosts in my area. Also the two year delay for the new crossrail train line has not helped.

Airbnb changes to reviews system

Airbnb has informed us that the way it treats your less that positive reviews has changed. The idea is that getting one very bad review when your reviews are usually positive or excellent will not negatively effect your appearance in the search rankings (well thats sort of what it says). I have generally found that getting bad reviews had not overall affected my bookings. There are some reasons for this. The first is my low prices – guests don’t tend to have high expectations of a cheap one night stay. The second is that I have so many one night guests that often a bad review will get pushed down the review feed quickly (hopefully replaced by better reviews) and someone will have to scroll down far to get to the bad reviews. This is another reason why accepting one night only bookings can be a very good thing.

What bad reviews do I get?

For an example of my bad reviews take the case of the guest who wanted to put cheese in my fridge. I have a very clear rule in my listings and that is “no access to the kitchen”. This is mentioned frequently in my listing description (it’s mentioned 3 times in the description and once before you can actually book). I mention this so many times in big letters because so many guests fail to read the reviews properly and just assume they can use the kitchen. So when this guest asks to put cheese in my fridge I said “sorry no I can’t let you use the fridge”. He complained that he got bad service and he didn’t feel welcome. One of the reasons why I don’t let guests into this part of the house Is because my dog is there (the dog will most certainly attack an intruder like this) and in my mind more importantly the guest already agreed to no use of the kitchen when he made the booking. So I believe this bad review to be unfair but there is very little I can do. He is entitled to leave his review. There is nothing I could have done differently other than buy him a fridge for his own personal use for one night and put it in his room.

The most surprising bad review I get is for ‘Value’. I say bad review. This is the Star Ratings that guests can leave at the end of their written review. It’s between 1 and 5 stars (1 being the lowest obviously). I usually get either 4 or 5 stars for everything. But occasionally I get a low star rating for Value and this I find strange. The main reason being is that I am so cheap. I charge £20 or less a night for central London. This is a rock bottom price. I could maybe understand a low rating if my house was literally falling to bits but it’s almost brand new and has most of the modern conveniences. Many of my guests are genuinely surprised how nice it is. So a low rating for value makes little sense unless your really trying to say something else.

The worst review I received was from a guest who didn’t even stay at my listing. A guest booked but was expecting to be able to check-in to the listing very early morning. This was not possible as the room was still occupied by the previous nights guest (checkout is by 11am). The guest was upset and cancelled. A full explanation of this incident can be found here. The guest promtly left all single star reviews for each category. The worst possible. It made no difference that she didn’t even set foot inside the listing. She was still able to rate the listing 1 out of 5 for cleanliness for example. This to me is a very unfair system. The only thing I could do was to leave a reply to the review explaining the incident. But overall it has not affected by bookings (I have over 1400 reviews so this is a drop in the ocean).

Airbnb Check-in Guide for Hosts

Airbnb Check-in Guide. Some tips for hosts who want a simpler and easier check-in process.

Update: Its now March in London and all my listings are usually full every day. There are two major reasons why I am full every day. The first is I have many regular customers who come every week on the same days. These are all people who live outside London (some live in other EU countries and fly here and back) but work in London for two or three days every week. The second reason is I have slashed my prices by 10% to stay competitively priced.

How to check-in your Airbnb guest?

How you check-in your airbnb guest depends in some ways on how you manage your airbnb listing. If your a live-in host then it should be much easier to personally check-in your guests. However if your listing is not close to you then a self check-in will probably be your best option. Some positives and negative of each method are explained below. I personally use both the self check-in and the personal host check-in methods depending on what other plans I have that day etc.

Airbnb Host Personal Check-in

The Airbnb host personal check-in method is probably the best. This method gives your guests the personal touch that has helped to make Airbnb great. It’s always good to actually meet the person you are dealing with. It also gives the guest a chance to ask important questions or local knowledge which can really improve their stay. I also find that the less anonymous a transaction the less likely there is for any problems. Such as bad behaviour. But also I find the guest is more clean and tidy.

I always try and check-in a guest personally whenever I can. Meeting my guest usually gives me a better idea of what this person will be like other than just looking at their profile. When I first started  as a Airbnb host almost 5 years ago at least half of my guests were first time airbnb users (today it’s maybe a quarter). This means that they had no previous reviews to judge from. But also it means they perhaps were not 100% sure of what was expected of them. This way I got to explain the house rules to them in a more descriptive way that just what was written on the listing description.

Airbnb Check-in Methods
Airbnb Check-in Methods

Airbnb Guest Self Check-in

There are two main methods for Airbnb Self Check-in. The first is easily the most common and that involves using a key safe. The second is owing a door with a smart lock system – usually a keypad but could be a smart phone enabled lock.

If your a host and you live far away from your listing (or you simply don’t like waiting around for your guests who often arrive late etc.) then investing in a key safe is probably your most likely self check-in solution. A key safe is exactly that – a little safe just to store keys. I have my key safe bolted to the wall near my front door. It’s not easy to see from the street as it’s down low, but is easy enough for a guest to find it without too much effort.

Which type of key safe should you use?

There are many different styles of key safe. A simple search on Amazon reveals multiple brand names and styles. Some are very cheap in price. What you need to consider is safety. Many of the cheaper key safes I have seen are made of a plastic and would not be very difficult to break with a decent hammer. So you might want to consider a strong metal key safe. The one I purchased was at the time the only one that was ‘Police Approved’. This one was expensive at nearly £100, so about ten times the price of some of the cheapest options. But I believed this one would be best for me. Not just for peace of mind but it looks like it will last a very long time and i’m in this for the long haul.

key safe
A strong and reliable key safe means you don’t have to worry about the wrong people getting your keys

Electronic Keypad Check-in or APP

Some new modern doors no longer the outdated insert metal key and turn system but can now be opened by punching in a code. The advantage of a keypad check-in is obviously there needs to be no physical transfer of keys. You can simply send the code to your guests either at the time of booking or a short time before arrival. There is some possible drawbacks to this scenario. The first being a communication problem might leave your guests stranded outside, unable to enter the listing.

Allow your guests to enter your airbnb listing with a key code
Allow your guests to enter your airbnb listing with a key code

Keypad door locks average about £100. They often do not look particularly stylish and look like they should belong on a office building. Depending on where you like a keypad door lock might stand out as usual and may attract unwanted attention. This might be a problem if your trying to give your airbnb listing a low profile. Smart locks are possibly the way of the future but might not be compatible with everyones phone. Technical issues could make you wish you stuck with the old fashioned key.

Airbnb New Host Referral Bonus UK

If your thinking of becoming a Airbnb Host like me then you should sign up using the below link. This is the Airbnb New Host Referral Bonus UK working signup link for 2019. I have been a host for nearly five years and I have enjoyed the ride but most importantly I have made a lot of money!

Click here to become a Airbnb Host and starting making some money!

How much money can I make being an Airbnb host?

If your wondering how much money you can make by becoming a Airbnb host then you can use this simple tool provided by Airbnb. This will give you a good idea of what you can expect to make each month from being a host. I have found it to be reasonably accurate.

Airbnb Pro Referrer Network

Some information on becoming a Airbnb Pro Referrer can be found here.

I’m not sure how many hosts are part of the pro referrer network. It does seem airbnb is making a bigger push for more hosts. Why this is I don’t know. Airbnb is already the biggest hotel in the world.

Airbnb Coupon Code That Works

Airbnb Coupon Code That Works

Looking for a Airbnb Coupon Code that really works? You can get £25 now free on your first trip on Airbnb. Also you get £9 towards your first Airbnb experience.

Click here and get your £25 worth of free credit from Airbnb!

Currently Airbnb coupon codes are only for first time users. There are no coupon codes what work for existing users taking additional trips taken on the same account.

The only other ways I know of getting additional free credit is 1. to invite other friends to airbnb (by getting them to sign up using your own referral link), or 2. By making some sort of complaint to airbnb and they give you free credit to say sorry etc.

Airbnb Promo Code

So if your looking for a airbnb promo code that works in 2019 then your going to have to create a new airbnb account by clicking the below link. Although this would be breaking Airbnb’s terms and conditions you can simply use a different email address to the one you first signed up with. Important tip here is to not link it to your Facebook or other social media account or they will twig. Good luck!

Click here and to sign up and get your £25 worth of free credit from Airbnb!

Airbnb Single Night Bookings

It’s February in London and apart from a small dash of snow it’s been a rather mild winter. Unlike last winter I have not been forced by Airbnb to refund my guests because their train or plane was cancelled due to the snow ‘force majeur’. This may seem fair to the guests but for me it was a real loss.

Should you be accepting one night bookings?

One of the reasons for my success (if I may say so) at airbnb is that I am willing to take 1 night only guests. It’s very tempting not to take single night guests because of the trouble re-setting the room  and checking in and out new guests. But if so many other people are not taking one night guests you may find a more steady stream of guests if you do. Plus you won’t have single night gaps in your calendar.

It’s my current strategy to make sure i’m full – ALL THE TIME. If that means taking single night guests then I will. If it means I have to drop my price to super low then I will. I’m currently charging the lowest price I have ever charged in 5 years of airbnb. I have to do this to stick with my ‘be full’ strategy.

Should you accept one night bookings?

Why do I think the ‘be full’ strategy is a good idea? First I believe it’s better to have some money than no money. Cash flow is important. Second even a booking which may have little or no profit can get you yet another review to add to your numbers. Third I believe Airbnb giving a search ranking boost to those listing which are getting bookings. So to keep your listing in Airbnb’s good books then your listing needs to be getting booked (if that makes sense).

How much should you discount to get a booking?

To be honest with you in my opinion I am willing to accept 50% off my asking price if it means I don’t have an empty listing. But usually I drop my price by about 10% if I see an empty listing less than 7 days away. But it does also depend on which day of the week we are talking about. Sundays and Mondays tend to be my least popular days (especially Sunday) so I will reduce my price more aggressively on these days.

Should you cut your prices to get bookings?

I do use the airbnb smart pricing tool on all my listings. I have had concerns about using the smart pricing tool in the past because it seemed to only ever offer my set minimum price, no matter what the day of the week etc. More recently I have noticed that the prices do seem to be higher but only about 3 months away. It’s as if the airbnb smart pricing system assumes that if your not booked out 3 months ahead then you need to discount immediately.

I find that most of my guests book about 2 weeks in advance. Most of my guests are here to see a little bit of London or see friends. It’s even not unusual to get bookings same day. When I stay in another airbnb it’s often part of my annual family holiday planned 6 months previously. This is very different to the type of trips most of my single night guests are making. The smart pricing tool does not seem to suit my type of guest’s booking pattern.

You can read my previous post on earning extra money for last minute airbnb bookings here!

Airbnb Profile Pictures and Private Room Listings

It’s January in London and like last year things have gone very quiet. The Christmas and New Year period were ok but not as busy as some previous years. This time last year I had a significant drop in bookings. I blamed the airbnb smart pricing system (or to be more specific the fact I was not using it and I believed I was being penalised by airbnb for not doing do). I can’t say the same thing again this year as I am already using the smart pricing system. I have dropped my prices 10% to see if this helps get me more bookings. Still the airbnb smart pricing system recommends £12 a night a massive 40% drop on my previous prices. I have now the lowest prices in 5 years of being an airbnb host.

Should you require guests to have a profile picture?

In my opinion airbnb profile pictures should show a picture of the person who is making the booking. This seems obvious but some people use other images such as Pokemon characters and the like. So sometimes I have no idea what to expect. You might say this shouldn’t matter but it does cause problems when I have to guests who can’t find my house and I have to go out looking for them for example. Sometimes profile pictures have more than one person in the picture and I am not sure who is who. Some guests have no photo at all and also provide no details on their profile. I find this both las and unhelpful. In my opinion the airbnb system is built on trust and this does not help.

There is now a option to require guests to have a photo when they make a booking. I am not certain this will work as I’ve already explained some photos are not of the person but something else. Airbnb says the feedback from some guests has been that they are not comfortable providing photos. I can understand this in some ways as I have occasionally made unfair judgements about someone by the way they look. I don’t insist my guests have a profile picture but I always ask them to complete their profile. Most usually understand what I mean.

As a reminder, Airbnb’s nondiscrimination policy prohibits hosts from making booking decisions or canceling reservations based on race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status.

How to deal with guests who book a private room

In my house I have 4 airbnb listings as private rooms. I live in the house with my wife and little dog. So I have to know how to treat my guests who may be uncomfortable staying in the same house as me and vice versa.

There are some very good tips from airbnb here about listing a private room.

It seems I have had over 400 guests in my private room listings in the last year. I honestly couldn’t remember about 300 of them. The simple reason is after they have checked in I rarely seem them again. Sometimes they even self check in using the key safe and some instructions so I don’t seem them at all. This shows a lot about my hosting style. I generally leave my guests well alone. I provide them with everything they need and leave them to it.

I do get a lot of feedback from guests that they enjoyed the privacy of my private room listing. I rarely see my guests after check-in. Occasionally we will pass each other in the hallway or similar and I say hello and ask if everything is ok. But that is usually all. Even the checkout I tell the guests to just leave the key in the room and don’t worry about saying goodbye. I understand this make the experience a lot less personal but it also makes guests feel less like they are under any obligation to act as a houseguest. The more business like this transaction is the less uncomfortable they will feel being in my house.

How you setup your airbnb business goes a long way to make dealing with private room guests easy or hard. I don’t allow my guests to use my kitchen, living room, or really any other parts of the house; other than their bedroom and allocated bathroom. In some ways it’s the same as a hotel. The guests have a nice clean comfy bedroom but not much else. This means I don’t have to worry about guests using my kitchen when I want to cook, or sitting on my sofa, or touching anything else. It also encourages them to leave the house as soon as possible. They usually get-up, wash, and go out. Most spend less than 8 hours a day in the house.

Most of the guests who stay with me are passing through London usually by themselves. They are using my private room listing as a safe place to sleep and use the bathroom. This suits me fine as I don’t have time to entertain them and it keeps my house mostly for me. Some guests check in as late as midnight and check out very early in the morning. I charge a low price for this service and I get mostly very good feedback. If I charged a higher price I think guests would expect more and I would have less favourable reviews. One of my most common review comments is “you get what you pay for” which in my option is exactly right.

Should you accept Airbnb bookings for other guests?

It’s December now in London and it’s very wet. No snow yet. My airbnb has been busy except on Sundays which have been quiet recently. Sunday and Monday have traditionally been slow days for Airbnb but I usually get last minute bookings so my occupancy rate is 100%. However recently I have had empty listings on a Sunday. This may seem not a big deal but this is easy money i’m missing out on.

What to do if you get a booking request but it’s not for the person making the booking?

Several times in the past I’ve had booking requests come in that are not for the person making the booking. What I mean is the Airbnb profile used to book the room is not the person who will be staying. Usually this is a husband or wife making the booking for their other half. Or sometimes a parent making the booking for a son or daughter. Occasionally its for a friend. I am hesitant to accept a booking made for a ‘friend’ because it seems much less safe.

I am currently looking after a Airbnb listing at my friends apartment in central London. It’s a very nice apartment and the price she is charging is more than double what I usually charge. A booking request came through for the whole month of December. But the request was from a company, not from an individual. This company was looking for a room for the month for one of it’s employees. The employee was relocating from Russia to London. I was hesitant to accept the reservation.

The Airbnb community works on a system of reviews. The idea is simple that a person who has been reviewed favourably by one host will then be welcome by other hosts. The problem of one person booking for another person destroys this system. When I have a guest who is not the same person who made the booking then I do not leave a review because this does not make sense. You want the review to match the person.

I did accept the reservation as the company which was doing the booking did have a full airbnb profile and some positive reviews (presumably other relocating employees). I did a quick google search on the company too and was satisfied it’s story checkout out. I had no problems with the guest he was actually no problem and very quiet.

What are the risks of accepting guests who didn’t book?

The risk with accepting bookings for other people are several. First the person staying in the listing might not understand the airbnb system and rules. They also might have very different expectations for what you will actually be providing. Second it might be difficult chasing the person for any damage costs. The person making the booking might refuse to pay on the grounds that you accepted someone who was not the person booking. Third if a crime is committed you might be held liable for not verifying who was in your listing.

It is worth noting that bookings made for two guests made by only a single person could have similar risks. Often a guest will book for 2 people and not provide any details on who the other person is. The person making the booking has a verified airbnb profile but the second guest does not. So if the second guest causes problems what can you really do? Well very little. Even if the guest making the booking admits liability it may be very difficult getting money from them in serious cases. In the end everything come down to chance.


How much money can you really make from Airbnb?

December is getting very close now in London and the weather has turned cold and very wet. I always keep a few old umbrellas near my front door in case one of my guests needs one. This is one way you can really help your guests out and this can make up for other deficiencies in your listing. Recently I spoke to a relative who was interested in becoming an Airbnb host. He seemed to think he could make much more money from being a host rather than being a traditional landlord. I think he is being very naive.

How much can you make being an Airbnb Host?

To get the official Airbnb figure of ‘how much money you can make being an airbnb host’ then use the below link.

Click here to find out how much Airbnb says you can make hosting in your area

My results came up as £499 for each private room. This is actually almost right. The tool can give you a good idea of how much money you can make being a host. The big problem here is that I know if I rented the same room out, to a local person who is working in London, I would get a minimum of £600 a month (and possibly much more). So in my case being an Airbnb host is not financially the best decision.

Check and see how much you can earn being an airbnb host

The Advantages of being a Airbnb host

I earn approximately £500 a month for each Airbnb private room. The same room rented to a lodger on a more permanent basis I would earn about £100 more a month. So why am I an Airbnb host?

  1. I can block off the listings whenever I want. If I want a break from guests or for example a relative comes to stay I can make the room free.
  2. I can limit the use of the space. For example I don’t let my guests use my kitchen or living room. This would be unacceptable to a lodger.
  3. There is some possibility of meeting people of different cultures etc.
  4. You can set stringent rules for your place. For example no extra guests, no music, no parties, no smoking.


The Disadvantages of being a Airbnb HosT

When my relative asked me about becoming an Airbnb host he was only really interested in the how much money he is going to make. I really can’t stress how much trouble it is being a Airbnb host. Especially if you have a full time job like I do. There are many reasons not to be a Airbnb host.

  1. Guests arrive and leave at very unusual times. Many guests arrive from abroad and arrive at strange times. Some super early like 6am some well past midnight. If you have a normal working life this can be a real problem.
  2. Waiting around a lot. When a guest says they will arrive at 2pm and they actually arrive at 3:30pm because they got lost or stopped to eat etc. It can be really frustrating waiting for people and cost you your precious time.
  3. If your a live-in airbnb host you have to get used to people arriving back late into the night. After your guest finished his west end show and had a drink it’s now nearly midnight and he’s jingling his keys in your front door and it’s woken you up. And you need to be up at 6am for work.
  4. The constant changing of sheets and cleaning. Also the additional wear and tear that comes from people throwing suitcases around your house.
  5. Neighbours not happy seeing strangers constantly coming and going. Possibly arriving at unusual times or coming home drunk. Making noise. Etc.


If your still thinking that becoming an Airbnb host is right for you then you can sign up here.

I like being an Airbnb host because it suits me. I like my house to be mine and I set the rules. I don’t like to share my kitchen and living room as this is my private space. I don’t mind sharing a bathroom so much. It is a lot of hassle being a host but it does pay the mortgage. There is always the possibility that Airbnb prices will rise enough for it to make more financial sense also.

New Years Eve Airbnb pricing recommendations

It’s the middle of November in London and Christmas is getting so close now the city has already put most of it’s Christmas lights out. I’ve been getting some poor reviews recently after a long stream of good ones. The main complaint seems to be the fact that I have multiple Airbnb guests in my house (I have four private room listings in my 5 bedroom house). The guests seem to be expecting that it’s only just going to be them and me in the house. So when they spot other rooms it can come as a bit of a shock. However at the low prices I am charging it should not be too surprising.

What price should you charge Airbnb guests for New Years Eve?

New Years Eve in London is the one night you can’t fail to be fully booked. That is unless you are doing something very wrong. So is this the best time to cash in on your airbnb guests? You can tell yourself It’s a simple case of supply and demand. If the demand is high enough then there is no limit to what price you can charge, right? Well yes. But don’t be too greedy. My personal experience of New Years Eve is thats it’s generally a big let down. So there may be a downside to chasing in on your guests.

The euphoria leading up to the sound of London’s famous clock ‘Big Ben’ striking midnight soon leads to anti-climax. Possibly followed by moments of regret. After your guests have paid their huge sum to stay at your Airbnb they now have to leave a review. Unless they have had their best night ever (unlikely) your not going to be getting the best review you’ve ever had. Especially when they see their bank balance. So charging a too higher price could lead to some negative feedback.

Make some money by becoming an Airbnb Host yourself. Click here to learn more.

Personally I only charge my airbnb guests about 50% more for New Years Eve. Anything above that might look greedy. Also I find that the higher price you charge the more guests expect from you. So unless your going to be offering some sort of five star service then I would avoid charging too much extra. People will expect to pay a bit more on NYE but not more than double and even then that might still be seen as too much.

Airbnb Multi-calendar – Can you use it to manage your bookings?

It’s November in London and already I can feel Christmas coming. I usually take guests over Chrsitmas but I always warn them that Christmas day in London means not much will be open. Certainly there will be no buses or trains and few shops. Especially guests from Asia need to be warned as some parts of Asia the 25th of December is a normal working day and they don’t understand the significance of Christmas in the west. Even in Australia and New Zealand it’s not unusual for some restaurants to open etc on Christmas day.

The Airbnb Multi-calendar just disappeared

I had a big shock last week when the airbnb multi-calendar disapperead. I have four listings in my house advertised as private rooms. Since very early on I have been using the Airbnb Multi-calendar function to manage my bookings. The reason I find it so useful is that I can see at a glance which days the listings are still empty etc. But for me the most useful reason is managing the non-airbnb bookings, also known as my regular guests. These are people who have stayed with me through airbnb but have since kept coming back to me on a cash deal basis. This has some downside but mostly it’s better for me.

Using the Airbnb Multi-calendar function can make your life easier

There are many reasons why regular guests are better than one time guests. The biggest reason for me is safety. Someone who usually lives far away in another country and speaks a language I don’t understand could be a much higher risk than someone who ordinarily lives and works in the UK. Also the great thing about a regular guest is exactly that – they are regular. And I don’t just mean they come every week I mean they are predictable. They tend to arrive about the same time, leave the same time and shower the same time, etc. This makes my life easier.

To see if you can access the airbnb multicalendar go to if it doesn’t appear then you can’t use it.

Airbnb Multicalendar now restricted to those hosts who have 6+ listings

I contacted Airbnb help for hosts to ask why I could not find the multi-calendar function anymore (perhaps they had moved it?). I got the below reply from Airbnb Support: –

I understand that you want to use the multi-calendar to manage your bookings easily. However, the multi-calendar is now available for host who has 6+ listings. I am sorry if the option is now not available for you.

I was very surprised by the news that only hosts with 6+ listings can now use the multi-calendar function. Why this feature needs to be rationed to only a small number of hosts I have no idea. The solution occurred to be add two fake listings to my profile and make them unavailable for booking and therefore I will be able to use the multi-calendar screen again!

What to do if you get a very bad Airbnb guest review?

It’s now November in London and the long warm summer we had is over. For anyone visiting London this summer was ideal with long hours of daylight and such warm weather. Bookings were generally good and steady all summer but I was unable to increase my prices because of the Airbnb Smart Pricing system keeping my prices down.

What to do if you get a really bad review from a Airbnb Guest?

A guest booked a one night stay with us and wanted to arrive early in the morning. She sent me a message to that effect and selected as her check in time when booking ‘8am – 10am’. She can do this because my calendar settings are set to FLEXIBLE for check-in time. My check-out time is set to 11AM.

Airbnb now allows you to set a Check-in Window

The reason my calendar is set to FLEXIBLE check-in is because many of my guests automatically assume that check-in is only possible later in the afternoon like so many hotels. I always try and get my listings ready as soon as possible. Often a room is set and ready to go no less than 30min after a previous guest has left. My check-out time is by 11AM but many guests leave much earlier, some leave very early in the morning to catch an early flight etc.

The guest who gave me the bad review had seen my calendar setting as FLEXIBLE check-in and assumed that the room would be ready any time she wanted and therefore turned up at 8am. This might be understandable if it wasn’t that I specifically told her when she booked ‘the room might not be ready until 12 but she was welcome to come early and leave her bags’. Had she mentioned at this point that this would not have been acceptable since I had a FLEXIBLE check-in time then I would have asked her to cancel the booking and I would have made sure she got a full refund.

The guest arrived at my house at 8am and was then surprised to hear her room was not ready for her. She mentioned she had been on a long flight and needed to rest. Unfortunately there was nothing I could do for her. The previous guest was in no hurry to leave. She called Airbnb to complain and they cancelled her booking with full refund. I understood some of her complaints about the problem. I do understand that from her point of view it was somewhat misleading to have a FLEXIBLE check-in setting and the room not be ready. However I did make it clear to her at the time of booking that the room might not be ready but got no reply.

When a Airbnb booking is cancelled it’s still possible to leave a review. This is apparently so a Airbnb listing that is deemed unacceptable can get the bad review it deserves. Previously it was not possible to do this so bad listings didn’t get the bad reviews. But in my case this meant that this unhappy guest could now write almost anything she liked about my listing without even having set foot inside. I subsequntly got a 1 out of 5 star review across the board. So for example I got 1 out of 5 starts for cleanliness without the guest even having seen the listing. This strikes me as unfair.

If you get a bad review it’s a good idea to leave a reply on the review. The important point here is how you deal with the complaint. This is not a good time for revenge no matter how tempting it might be. You need to be professionally and explain any misunderstanding or mitigating factor in a way that sounds reasonable. The more reasonable you sound the more crazy the person making the complaint might appear. Someone reading the review might assume they were overreacting.

Can Airbnb protect hosts from one-off bad reviews?

This question was put to Airbnb at one of the host Q&A sessions – Can Airbnb protect hosts from one-off bad reviews?

At the last Host Q&A, in June, 2018, we said, specifically, that we’d look into outlier reviews. To be clear, one-off low reviews can be considered outliers when a host has otherwise great review scores, but a single guest leaves a bad rating that seems out of place. Here’s a solution we’ve come up with: We’re working on building new tools that will automatically detect when outlier reviews like this occur— and give us an opportunity to correct them. So let’s say a guest gives you five stars for cleanliness, accuracy, check in, and so on— for each of the sub categories— but then a two-star rating overall. The new tool will flag this and prompt the guest to correct the overall rating. We’re developing this new tool now, and you can expect to see it soon.

The answer was that one off bad reviews should not effect a hosts profile overall in the search rankings etc. This is good for me as I already have hundreds of reviews and one bad review should not hurt me overall. However a listing with only a handful of reviews could suffer considerably.

Is Airbnb forcing down your prices?

The heatwave that has engulfed London this summer has finally ended (we think). After some of my guests complained the rooms were too hot to sleep in I ordered some fans for the bedrooms, however these did not arrive before the hot weather ended! I suppose they might come in handy next year.

Is Airbnb trying to make me lower my prices?

When I first started being a airbnb host in 2014 I charged a basic £20 per night for a single person. Today I charge about the same. I assumed as time went on my prices would steadily increase. I figured this not only because of inflation but the general improvement of my area and it’s transport links into central London would push up prices. So why am I still charging the same?

Activate smart pricing to use Airbnb’s pricing tips.


I was slowly increasing my prices every year by about £1 per night. I thought this was reasonably fair and certainly no more than the natural rate of inflation. However this plan was abruptly ended on January 1st this year 2018. As 2017 came to a close i noticed that my calendar for 2018 was looking suspiciously empty. I certainly wasn’t doing anything differently and saw no other reason why this would happen, if anything I was expecting the lower value of sterling GBP to increase bookings. Also the fact that this was suddenly happening on 1st January made me very suspicious that it was Airbnb deliberately not pushing my listings. The reason why was immediately obvious to me – I wasn’t using the Airbnb Smart Pricing Tool.

The issue of Airbnb forcing down prices appears in the Host Q&A – Airbnb Community 2018 event. Airbnb explained the issue as below: –

Our tools help you set a competitive price and get more bookings when demand is low, which can mean suggestions to lower your price. But we’re launching improvements that better consider your market during periods of high demand. Soon we’re going to equip you with more data, not just pricing suggestions, to help you set your price. As for comparisons, we look at successfully booked listings in your area with similar numbers of guests and amenities (listings you won’t see if you’re searching dates they’ve booked). We also look at what guests click before and after visiting your listing.

Should you be using the Airbnb Smart Pricing Tool?

I started using the Airbnb Smart Pricing Tool as soon as i realised what the problem was. As soon as I activated this tool in my calendar bookings suddenly flooded in. However I am now using lower prices than before. The Airbnb suggested price was lower that I was previously using and almost made me think twice about wether I should stop using Airbnb altogether.

I recently received an email from Airbnb with the subject reference “Demand is down by 15% in London.” The email was a call-to-action to reduce my minimum prices before its too late. Presumably every host in London has received the same email. What the actual effect on demand would be if we all cut our prices is hard to be sure. The recent decline in the pound sterling has made the UK cheaper to visit compared to other countries so even lower prices might have virtually no impact at all.

I would prefer to be fully booked with a lower price than empty as its all a question of cashflow. It’s hard to go bankrupt sitting on a pile of cash. But on the other hand growth is a measure of success and when your not getting it you so ask yourself what is going wrong. I can only say what I see and I see Airbnb bringing in the punters for me so that’s great. For the guests themselves cheaper prices are obviously a good thing. To be honest some hosts do charge hotel prices for basically nothing special so pushing down their prices might not be a bad thing; before Airbnb gets a reputation for being a general rip-off.

How to be a real Airbnb Superhost

It’s July in London and it has been a record hot summer. It suddenly became warm at the end of April and it seems is just getting hotter and hotter. Airbnb has been busy every day but my prices have been kept low because of the Airbnb smart pricing system (it only shows the lowest possible price on every day no matter what, if you ask me it simply doesn’t work at all). So i’m still charging £20 per night on average which is the same as nearly 5 years ago.

How to be a real Airbnb Superhost

This year I finally went on holiday myself and booked a private airbnb room in a hosts apartment in Istanbul, Turkey. Although I have been a member of Airbnb for 5 years this is actually the first time I have stayed in a private room, in another Airbnb hosts place. Being a live-in host myself I now experienced the other side of hosting. I guess my host made it very easy for me as he is possibly the ideal airbnb host and rightfully holds the coveted Superhost Status badge.

I arrived in Istanbul very early in the morning but my room was already ready for me. My host Savas uses the Airbnb Calendar setting: Preparation Time – Block 1 night before and after each reservation. This means my room could be made ready the day before I arrive and I can check-in straight away. 1. Excellent Check-in

The apartment I was staying in was very central but was tired and old. The apartment was clean but struggled to ‘look’ clean. But for me this was not a problem. I came to enjoy Istanbul and not the apartment, that is only for sleeping and washing. My host took me for breakfast in a local cafe and afterwards showed me how to use the public transport. 2. Make your guests aware of local Amenities

I wanted to try the local food and drink. My host took me to a great local Turkish Kebab restaurant. He was a regular there are we got special service. Afterwards he took me to a local bar and even introduced me to some of the people there he knew. We drank beer and I hanged out with his friends and had a great time. 3. Live like a local

Anytime I had a question on how to get places I could send my host a message on airbnb or even on his WhatsApp and he would reply usually within a few minuets. This was very handy for me as I don’t speak Turkish and did have a lot of trouble working out how to use the ferries and other problems. It was a huge help to me that my host could answer my questions whenever I needed. 4. Great communication

I will never be an Airbnb Superhost and here is why

To be a super host requires something very special from you – your time! I have a demanding job on top of my responsibilities as a airbnb host so this means I simply can’t be the great host I would like to be. My friend Savas in Turkey does have a job but it’s closer to part time than full time and he is not married with all the additional responsibilities that come with it. Despite this I have come close to being a super host in the past but have always seen it disappear in-front of my eyes because of one bad review. Even if I were a super host I do get the impression that it has no overall effect on bookings and creates unrealistic expectations for your guests. Perhaps it’s better to be a near-superhost that an actual superhost!

What is the Super Referral Airbnb Program? and Are Guests sneaking in extra people to your listing?

What is the Super Referral Airbnb Program?

Today I got an email from Airbnb inviting me to be part of the Super Referral Program. Apparently because I have referred hosts in the past (I believe through this website) then I qualify to be a member (or maybe they send this to everybody I don’t know). If I successfully refer a host then I get sent $300 in cash or in my case the GBP equivalent; about £215.

How exactly this is different from the host referral program I used previously, to lure others to become airbnb hosts, I do not know. The only difference I can see is that I get a larger payout (previously the amount was about half).

If you want to become an Airbnb host like me then you can sign up here. Good Luck!

Are your Airbnb guests sneaking in extra people to stay the night?

I recently had three instances of guests booking for one person and then in the dead of night sneak in another person. In all these instances the room was a double room in my house but only one person was booked to stay. I believe in all three instances the person was ‘visiting friends in London’ and was just looking for somewhere to sleep that night.

It’s a very good idea to install cameras on the front door of your listing especially if you also live in the property.

I use Canary cameras because they are easy to setup and the quality is very good,

On one occasion I actually bumped into the guest and his secret friend when they were checking out. I happened to see them both leaving the bedroom with their bags in hand. I was surprised to see two people but I calmly said “i’m sorry thought you only booked for one person.” The guest who actually paid to be there immediately replied that his friend had only just arrived and came to collect me. I was unsure of how true this was so let them leave and waved them goodbye. I immediately checked my front door camera footage (easy to do on the mobile app) and discovered the secret person had actually arrived late in the evening the night before, and made a pathetic attempt to cover the camera on the front door with her hand I might add. I raised the issue with airbnb and they said that it was not possible to confirm if my story was true or not (in this instance I did not tell airbnb I had security camera footage) but they agreed to give me £20 free airbnb credit, which I was happy to accept.

On another occasions I actually did not see anyone secretly arrive but a few strange noises in the middle of the night alerted my suspicions. I guess the sounds of two people is difficult to fully conceal, the extra footsteps going up the stairs for example. The next morning I scrolled through my security camera footage and sure enough the guest had secretly invited anther person into the house for a few hours. She left about 4am so was only in the house for approx 4 hours but this is enough in my opinion to count as an extra person (and definitely enough to break my house rules on guests only into the listing). This time I went to airbnb and told them what had happened and that I had camera footage to prove it. After a slight delay I got an email telling me I was going to receive the extra person payment from the guest, in this case £10.