Should you accept cash payments from Airbnb guests? and How to automate your Airbnb home.

Its January in London and cold and wet. The number of bookings I am getting has reduced and I have the occasional empty day. This is the same as last year i recall so I'm not worried. The low GBP will keep the tourists coming to London and I keep my prices low so I've always got a steady stream of customers. I have many 'regular' customers who found me on airbnb but have kept coming back and now pay me cash.

Should I accept guests who pay cash?

Nobody want to pay the airbnb service fee but that's the price you pay for using their platform. Without the airbnb platform I would find it very difficult to find new customers so it's only fair I pay them for this service. But what if I already found a customer should I accept them? Well yes if your happy with that person. Airbnb does keep a record of who stays at your place and should have copy of their ID etc so there is some safety. If you accept a cash payment then you open the possibility of getting into some unexpected trouble perhaps. Most of my regulars are UK citizens who are working in London a few days a week so I'm happy with them. Guests who pay cash might also be a way of getting round the 90 day rules in London.    

How to automate your Airbnb Home

If you are a live-in airbnb host like me then from time to time you might feel unsure about leaving your guests in the house alone when you go out to the shops or where ever. It's hard to relax when there are strangers in your home even if they seem very nice on first impressions. So there are a few small ways to keep an eye on your home and give you some piece of mind.

Install security cameras

Now don't get me wrong here the idea is not to spy on your guests. I have a camera in my living room, which is off limits to guests. The purpose of this camera is partly to keep an eye on my little dog but also in case any guests decide to break the rules and enter my living area and kitchen. I use this camera from Canary I find it excellent quality and easy to setup. I am also considering putting one facing my front door so I can see who comes in and out of the house.  

Door Sensors and Motion sensors

I once had a guest who sent me a complaint via my mobile phone that the house was too cold. I was not at home at the time so was unable to switch the heating one. Shortly after I installed Hive Active Heating in my home so I can control my heating using the mobile phone application. As part of the pack I was send a door and motion sensor. Both of these I have found very useful in keeping an eye on my home. The door sensor lets me know when someone opens and closes the door. The motion sensor detect movement. I put the motion sensor near the guests door so I know if they are at home or when they come and go. It's non-intrusive and can make you feel more comfortable when away from your listing.

Resolving a issue with your Airbnb guest

For the first time since becoming a Airbnb host more than a year ago i've had to use the Airbnb Resolution Centre. I was impressed with the results but perhaps my case was an easy one fortunately I haven't had any serious problems being an Airbnb host.   Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 20.28.12   I raised a Airbnb Resolution Centre case because a guest had booked the room for one person but sneaked his girlfriend in to sleep the night. He checked in by himself but at some point during the night while I was sleeping very quietly brought his girlfriend home. It was almost certainly pre planned and I would never have known about it but they made no effort to hide it the next day.   [caption id="attachment_279" align="aligncenter" width="372"]Use the Airbnb Resolution centre if you have a problem Use the Airbnb Resolution centre if you have a problem with a guest.[/caption]

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Making your Airbnb listing safe for guests

Finally we are coming out of winter in London. Its getting brighter in the mornings and evening and Christmas is just an old memory now. The heating is still on non-stop in my Airbnb house as the couple from Singapore find it very cold even on a nice day. My gas and electricity bills are double last years despite the recent global fall in energy prices. Being an Airbnb host means higher costs and greater wear and tear on everything. Demand did fall over winter especially when the temperature started to get very low but now i'm getting fully booked every day again.

Do I need extra security in my Airbnb listing?

I let my guests come and go as they please in my house. I have three rooms listed on Airbnb and they are usually full. This means I have guests coming and going late into the night. Most forget to lock the front door despite the little notice I put up above the door handle. To make things worse non of the guests know each other so if a stranger were to enter the house and I was not there the other guests might not even know that person is not supposed to be there. I am considering beefing up security by placing cameras around the house especially in the entrance way. I'm told that eye level cameras are the best as the police have facial recognition technology. I would much rather deter an intruder rather than catch him afterwards. There is some excellent advise here from the Metropolitan police. I can strongly recommend having locks on all the bedroom doors. I understand that this might cause a problem if the event of fire but it goes a long way towards making the guests feel safe.   [caption id="attachment_260" align="aligncenter" width="733"]Keep your Airbnb listing safe. Your guests will appreciate it. Keep your Airbnb listing safe. Your guests will appreciate it.[/caption]   Most of my guests come from overseas and about 99% have been very nice people. I would warn against allowing guests to bring any friends over as in my experience it's those people who always seem to be the ones who cause the most trouble. I don't allow any friends to come into the house. If they ask just say "no sorry it's a house rule" if they ask why just say "it's for the safety of everyone." Airbnb will back you up on this as only paying guests can are allowed in the listing.

The £GBP is falling. Will my Airbnb listing reap the benefit?

If your an Airbnb host in the UK you may be surprised to know your a British export. Tourism is an export and is one of the UK's biggest. So the next time you ready something in the news about British exports increasing you can pat yourself on the back. Exports generally suffer when a the nations currency is high (as it's costs more for foreigners to pay for goods/services) and of course improves when a currency falls (goods and services become cheaper). The British pound recently took a fall against major currencies like the Euro and US Dollar partly because of the upcoming European referendum. Most of my customers are from the Eurozone so demand may increase to a point I can charge much higher prices.

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