Getting an Airbnb mortgage and What REALLY gets you more bookings on airbnb

It's nearly October in London and it's gotten much busier now that summer is nearly over. Over summer I had plenty of bookings but I was not 100% full. Since the start of September I have been full every day and with higher prices that July or August. I recall this being the same last year also. Most of my airbnb customers stay only one or two nights. This means more bed sheets to clean and more hassle checking in and out guests but I prefer this to having empty listings. In previous years I used to keep my prices very low to ensure I get plenty of guests but now I think I don't need to do this as much as I have over 600 reviews. Having so many reviews gives people confidence they will be getting what they are paying for.

Can you get an Airbnb Mortgage?

As far as i'm aware there is no such thing as an Airbnb mortgage and I think it's highly unlikely there will ever be. Despite what you may have heard from friends or from some get rich seminar you can't walk into a bank and borrow huge amounts of money on the promise you will run a very good airbnb with the money. Now more that ever banks are under very strict rules of what they can lend to who. Unless you have a large provable income you won't be getting a mortgage that would allow you to buy an property for an airbnb business. The vast majority of airbnb hosts who let whole apartments are using the standard buy-to-let mortgage and have not told the bank they are letting on airbnb. Metro bank is offering mortgages that give you permission to let the property on airbnb for up to 90 days a year. This is a case of Merto bank using it's common sense. They already know that many of their customers are listing their mortgaged property on airbnb and are keeping it secret from the bank. Other banks would be wise to follow their lead instead of simply turning a blind eye.

Superhost secrets - what REALLY gets you more bookings on Airbnb

There are lots of blog posts on the internet giving tips on how to be a great airbnb host and how to get more bookings etc. Most have pretty much the same content. A good example is this blog post on the airbnb website (presumably the content is acceptable to airbnb and factually correct so bear that in mind). But a lot of this stuff is not overly useful unless you can actually get someone to book your listing. Your place might be amazing but if nobody books it the world will never know. So here is my advice on how to get more bookings and be full all the time: -
  1. Be good value for money. Or in other words be 'cheap'. Everyone wants a bargain and you can be that the cheapskate in everyone will usually win out. Be at least a pound or two cheaper than your nearest rival.
  2. Have lots of reviews. People want safety of choice. There are no instantly recognisable brand names when it comes to listings. If you have lots of reviews (and I mean hundreds of reviews) you become a 'safe bet'. Get more reviews by getting more guests so be willing to accept a smaller amount of money and more short term guests to get those reviews stacked high.
  3. Be flexible. Accept short term guests. So many of my guests are one nighters. This may seen like so much more trouble (and it is) but since so many people have a 2 night minimum stay you will never have an empty listing.
  4. Have professional looking pictures - both of The Listing and Yourself. Use the airbnb photographer to get professional looking pictures done (also they become airbnb verified). You might seriously want to have a nice clear professional picture of yourself in your profile. Not a picture of you trying to look cool at some party, a proper professional picture like you might see on Linked In. If you look like a joke then you can't expect to be taken seriously.
  5. Don't charge a cleaning fee. This is a turn off.

Should you pay for the official Airbnb Photographer? and Why you must use Instant book!

It's September in London and Summer is drawing to a close. Like every year so far the July and August period has been slow. It's unusual for me to have empty listings so i really notice the difference. I believe things are now picking up as i'm full for the next few weeks. The prices I have been charging for my airbnb listings are higher this year than in previous years but only by a small amount. So far no great wealth has flowed from airbnb for me but it has paid my mortgage and then some.

Should you pay for the official Airbnb Photographer?

When I started doing Airbnb nearly 3 years ago the airbnb photography was free. You simply used the online link and then a photographer was sent to your listing and usually did a very good job of the photography and a week later your listing looked beautiful on the website and more bookings flowed from it. I have 4 listings and three of them had the free airbnb photographer. When it came time for the forth listing to have its photo's taken all of a sudden I started receiving the message "no photographers are currently available in your area" from airbnb. I kept trying and got the same message until eventually i forgot about it. I recently tried again and was told that I needed to pay £77 to have the photo's taken. So is it worth paying for the official airbnb photograher? The advantages of the official photography are twofold. First you get excellent professional photos of your space usually much better than you might ever take yourself. Second your photos become 'verified' which means your listing should rank higher in the search results. If your expecting to be a airbnb host in the long run it must be worth having the official airbnb photos.

Why you must use Instant book!

It seems now that airbnb will automatically apply the Instant book filter whenever someone is searching for a listing in the immediate future. So if someone is looking for somewhere to stay tonight or maybe tomorrow then when that person searches in airbnb it will show only those listings which are 'Instant book' ready. So if your listing is not instant book and your hoping to fill a last minute vacancy then your chances of getting a booking just dropped through the floor. Anyone who is searching for a last minute airbnb deal is going to go for those places which are instant book ready; as time is short. So you could be losing your best deals by not being instant book ready. I find I can charge much higher prices on last minute bookings (sometimes 50% higher).  

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