Earn extra income through short-term rentals

Earn extra income through short-term rentals
Provide information about soap and linen brands you use or extra information about the house amenities, especially in spaces like the kitchen – can seal the deal for potential Airbnb visitors. Photo: Courtesy of Airbnb
Earn extra income through short-term rentals

The phenomenal global success of Airbnb over the past decade has motivated many Vancouver-area homeowners to consider joining thousands of others in turning a spare room or granny suite into a cash-generating asset. The Inside Airbnb website indicates that there are 4,938 Airbnb listings in Vancouver alone, of which 70 per cent are entire homes or apartments and 29 per cent (1,492) are private rooms in homes.

But setting up an Airbnb is not simply a case of listing a suite or room on the website and waiting for the bookings to roll in. While the popularity of Vancouver as a tourist destination is an incentive to become an Airbnb host, the region also suffers from a shortage of affordable longer-term housing, prompting several city councils to crack down on short-term rentals, including Airbnb.

The City of Vancouver, for example, has eligibility requirements including licensing. You can get a short-term rental business licence only if the property is your principal residence. If it is not your principal residence, rentals must be for periods of 30 days or more.

Once you know the rules and are satisfied that you comply, the next step is to list your accommodation on the Airbnb website. Be sure to check out details of what is expected of hosts and review Airbnb’s community standards, which revolve around safety, security, reliability, and hospitality standards, which help hosts earn good guest reviews.

While reports of serious damage to rental properties are rare, Airbnb’s host guarantee provides protection for up to US$1 million to a host for damages to covered property if damages exceed the security deposit or if no security deposit is in place.

The price you charge for your listing is up to you. To help you decide, you can search for comparable listings in your neighbourhood to get an idea of market prices. Prices can fluctuate depending on the season and the demand for accommodation in your area. You can incorporate a cleaning fee into your price or have it as an add on. Airbnb also charges hosts a service fee of approximately three per cent of the rent once a reservation is confirmed. The length of stay is also up to you. Some hosts have a minimum number of nights. There are no restrictions of the length of the stay.

Airbnb trend expert Ali Killam advises novice hosts to make their space look its best in the listing.

Earn extra income through short-term rentals

“When potential house guests are searching Airbnb, it’s no shock that having good photos makes all the difference when considering a listing,” she says. “However, detailed descriptions of the features in your home – such as providing information about soap and linen brands you use or extra information about the house amenities, especially in spaces like the kitchen – can seal the deal for potential visitors.”

Killam also recommends highlighting any ‘welcome’ features, such as a bottle of wine or homemade bread, which are added touches that will make your space stand out.

“Make your home feel homier. Guests love it when hosts provide special touches to help create a stay with the added comforts of home. For those who want to take their hospitality a step further, prepping the nightstand with fresh water or a novel, providing local snacks and/or high-end toiletries, or inserting a personal style into the décor, are simple and thoughtful ways hosts can make their home welcoming for every guest,” she adds.

For hosts looking to take their space to the next level, Killam says installing warm and welcoming lights, decorating their space with some of their favourite personal objects and using textiles like rugs and throws to make the place feel cosy are quick and easy ways to showcase the space.

“Present your best space. Airbnb hosts take pride in their spaces, both in the listing and upon arrival, offering guests a home away from home,” she says.