Why Business Travellers Prefer Airbnb to Hotels

picture of a man in a suit indoors

Over the last few years, companies have realised that homestay properties on websites such as Airbnb aren’t just for personal holidays. As employees often prefer the home away from home experience, especially for long stays, the popularity of Airbnb for business has soared across the globe. Moreover, the cost of renting out a home on Airbnb is usually less than premium business hotel rooms, which is cutting travel expenses for businesses of all sizes.

Five star hotels may have a plethora of comforts when travelling for work, but Airbnb also has a whole host of benefits for a fraction of the price. Here are some reasons why a growing number of companies are booking home rentals over hotel rooms.

Extended stays

It is much easier – and more cost effective – to book extended stays through a home sharing site. When corporate travellers are staying away from home for weeks or months at a time, they need to find a place where they can relax and feel comfortable with plenty of space.

Group bookings

It’s also simple to be able to book accommodation for a large group, if travelling to a business event, as you can look for properties with multiple rooms. When workers stay in separate hotel rooms a business trip can be quite isolating, yet with a home share there are spaces for socialising and working together.

Airbnb Business Travel Ready

This year Airbnb has made a huge push for business travel and introduced a new corporate accommodation feature. From 2014 to 2016, UK business spend on Airbnb rocketed 61% according to Concur research, and the homestay platform is now tapping into this market.

Airbnb has now positioned itself to accommodate business travellers with a management tool for companies. Business Travel Ready homes are entire home listings which have 24 hour check in facilities, Wi-Fi, safety features and essentials you’d expect from a hotel such as hairdryers and an iron. The business feature also makes paying easier, allowing stays to be charged directly to the company rather than relying on an employee to pay and then claim it back on travel expenses.

If you’re a host who wants to market your property to corporate travellers, then you can acquire a badge on your listing which qualifies it as Business Travel Ready. There are certain eligibility requirements the property and the host will have to meet. One of these is a 24 hour self-check-in, but don’t worry if you can’t do this yourself as a guest experience service could take care of the details. You’ll also need excellent reviews so guest communication and housekeeping is also important if you want the special business badge.

By appealing to business travellers you could attract more mid-week bookings to increase occupancy, and long extended stays, so why not make your listing Business Travel Ready? Get in touch and we’ll help you achieve your goal.

Tips to make your guests’ trip a summery delight

terrace with outdoor canopy and dining table in amazing location

If you’re lucky, you’ll be escaping to some guaranteed sunshine over the summertime (even perhaps to a Hostmaker home in Rome, Barcelona, or Paris!). This leaves your home empty and ready for guests, the height of the high season – the perfect time to put your home to work and earn a little extra pocket money!

At Hostmaker, we’re all about making sure that your guests are happy – after all, happy guests mean more 5* reviews, and a happy host! So, why not make sure that your guests’ summer holidays are just as lovely as yours? We asked our Guest Experience team and the team over at Hostmaker Design to give us their top tips on how to make your guests’ trip a summer-y delight.

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Lighten and brighten up your bed and sofa

Pick loud, on-trend, botanical print cushion covers and pair them with other muted tones to create a nice balance.Soft linen blankets are a lighter touch to add for the sunny months, keeping things comfy and making sure your seating still looks inviting and luxurious.

Become one with nature

Buy some recycled glass vases to fill up with your favourite summer florals – guests love fresh flowers and bold sunflowers are always a favourite. Or, mix plentiful gypsophila with white roses for an elegant but affordable touch. For something extra special, go for rich purple sweet-peas. Read more about our love of all things green here.

Be the host with the most

Welcome your guests to the UK in proper British fashion by including all of the fixings to make Pimms, and strawberries and cream in your welcome pack! They’ll be sure to serve you some ace reviews in return!

Add some summery scents

We’re big fans of reed diffusers and candles here at Hostmaker. This summer, look out for ones such as ‘sea air’ or ‘spring blossoms’, to dot around your home.

Encourage your guests to take the view from the top

Summertime in London means only one thing – taking in the views of the city from one of its many rooftop bars! Make a special list for your guests of all of the best places in town to grab a sundowner or two – our personal favourites are the Rooftop Bar and Grill at The Boundary or Proud Camden.

Look outwards instead of inwards

If you have a garden, terrace or patio to look out onto, rearrange your lounge furniture away from your fireplace or TV, and towards the great outdoors. Maybe even string up a few fairy lights in the trees, or take that old barbecue out of storage. Encourage your guests to take advantage of the longer summer days!

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If you’re looking to put your home to work this summer, use our pricing calculator to see how much you could make! Or, if you’re looking to transform your home, contact our team at Hostmaker Interiors at interiors@hostmaker.co!

Flowers and cacti and plants, oh my! Tip of the week

Roses are red, violets are blue, what is Hostmaker’s tip of the week for you? In case you haven’t already guessed: decorate your home with some flowers or a couple of potted plants.

If you’ve already spent a lot of money on furnishing and preparing your Airbnb for your guests, but it still feel like it’s missing something, this is a quick and easy way to help your Airbnb feel much more welcoming.

We’re not saying that you have to turn your home into a greenhouse! Even just a single, simple vase can add a touch of life and personality to any room. Take inspiration from some of our hosts below if you don’t believe us. And don’t worry if you don’t have a green thumb and need to buy fake plants instead – we won’t tell if you don’t!

Rajeev’s home is littered with little green accents that help bring it to life. See more here: https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/12939200

Maria’s carefully placed pieces help bring the beautiful greenery from the outside world into her home: https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/13844569

Sangita’s Sloane Square apartment takes it a step further by including framed artwork of plants on her walls: https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/10072738

How to: get 5* ratings on your Christmas Airbnb bookings

Hostmaker Christmas

Christmas is coming, and with it the traditions of glad tidings, Christmas trees and gift-giving – as well as the occasional family fued 😉 ! Our most-beloved Christmas memories often take place at home, which is why making your place homely, festive and comfortable this Winter is guaranteed to bring a smile to guests’ faces, and 5*s to your listing reviews. And if you’re not sure where to start, we’ve pulled together some simple, hassle-free tips for making guests feel at home during Christmas bookings below:

  1. Make it a family affair

Though traditions vary from family to family, but a Christmas tree is an almost unanimous staple. And while they’re by no means mandatory, adding one to your living space for Airbnb guests to enjoy is a great way to show incoming families that you care about their in-stay experience. It’s guaranteed to make any little ones feel welcome too, and stockings hung on the beds booked by younger guests is another thoughtful way to give guests an unbeatable festive stay.

  1. The gift of giving

Sharing your home with paying guests is rewarding in itself, but giving gifts has to take the medal for the best way to achieve inner-joy during the holidays. So why not double-up on glad tidings and give your paying guests a little something extra? Some inexpensive yet thoughtful ideas that are proven to go down a treat are crackers, mince pies and cards. Line these up where there’ll be spotted as soon as they’ve settled in and the 5* reviews (and warm, fuzzy feelings) are sure to make an appearance.

  1. Comfort and joy

Ensuring guests are comfy and cosy goes beyond making sure the boiler is serviced and the manual is easily accessible – though that definitely helps! A great way to ensure your home is the perfect place for families to snuggle up and enjoy the holiday season is to provide atmospheric extras such as candles, throws and blankets. A plentiful DVD supply will also keep smiles on faces, especially if there are some festive favourites in there too! In case you’re wondering, ours is Elf.

  1. Warming welcomes

If you’re able to greet your guest in person, mulled wine (or hot Ribena for the under-aged members of the party!) is a lovely way to set a guests’ first impressions soaring, while also putting them in the holiday mood. If not, we know a great Airbnb property management service that are happy to take care of it for you, provided you provide the essentials (hint: it’s us).

  1. Think festive

A great Airbnb listing should provide insightful local recommendations as well as neighbourhood tips. But a first-class listing goes the extra mile, and this includes updating local recommendations to include the city’s Winter attractions, like pop-up ice rinks, themed bars and Christmas markets (e.g. Winter Wonderland). Another great idea, and one that will certainly be appreciated by guests – and reflected in their reviews – is to offer specific area tips for those planning to venture out during the bank holidays. We’ve found the two most important to be: when the supermarkets are closed, and when the tube won’t be running. You can find the latter here

So there you have it, 5 easy, quick ways to ensure your Christmas bookings are special, and ones that guests feel are deserving of 5*s. And if you do try out any of our tips, we’d love to see them in action – you can tag us on Facebook or mention us on Twitter!

How to rank higher in Airbnb search results – it pays to talk

In the Airbnb world, searching for your own listing as a guest would is the equivalent to ‘Googling yourself’ – and we’ve all done it. In fact, far from a vacant exercise, it’s actually a great way to check up on competition in order to ensure a healthy flow of guests through your door. And as we’re creatures of convenience, the higher your listing ranks in the search results, the more likely you are to get a booking, no matter how lovely your parquet floors and original features! So, how do you pull your listing to the top of the search results? The answer is communication. Communication is key.

Climbing the ranks

Airbnb’s search ranking algorithm is based on a number of things, but host responsiveness is one of the biggest factors. There are two factors that Airbnb look for: response time, and response rate. Having a 100% response rate, and fast response times, will send you soaring to the top of the list, but did you know that neglecting an enquiry for 24 hours will cause your average response rate to drop? Even more scary is the fact that you could even have your account shut down if you ignore an enquiry for 2 days! It may sound like a lot of effort to keep on top of your inbox, but lucky for you we’ve done the hard work: demystifying the ranking mystery. All you need to do is ensure your phone’s always on you, with email alerts set to loud, and that you respond in a friendly, helpful manner as soon as you hear that satisfying ping!

Five-star service

Guests aren’t just chatty before booking, either. Once they’ve committed, they’ll be full of excited questions: when can they arrive? How will they check out? Will there be milk? And as a dutiful host, deserving of a great review after their stay, you’ll need to be on top of these messages too – responses in-stay have just as much impact on your response rate. This means you’ll need to be armed with the facts, and answering questions in a timely manner, should you wish to rank highly and achieve a 5* rating.
Unfortunately, it’s not always appropriate to whip out your phone and begin typing replies to curious guests. Most board rooms frown on that type of thing, and though we can’t quite understand why, not all long-haul flights have wifi yet. But wait, there’s hope! Any Airbnb management service worth its salt (hint hint) will offer an inbox management solution, and as well as guaranteeing to answer all communication in a timely manner (maintaining your well-earned 100% response rate and fast response speed), they’re experts in their field. This means their replies, both before guests book and during guest stays, will charm visitors’ socks off while answering any and all questions. And naturally, this goes a long way towards securing 5* reviews once they’ve checked out! You can read more about our inbox management service here

6 amazing Airbnb listings in London

Hostmaker Converted Loft Shoreditch

Here at Hostmaker, we’ve made knowing what the perfect Airbnb listing looks like our business. So if you’re looking for an outstanding, unique Airbnb home in London (either as inspiration or for a weekend staycation), look no further: we think the following 6 fit the bill. Not only are they beautiful both to look at and to live in, each has its own distinctive character – exactly what Airbnb is all about. Take a look and let us know if you agree with our selection!

Lots of light in Little Venice

Think red, lime and blue don’t go? Think again. And though ‘bright’ and ‘spacious’ might be the most overused adjectives in the world of interior design, there really is no better way to describe this bold abode. There are two beautiful bedrooms, as well as a slick and well-styled living room with windows of decadent proportions. Oh, and did we mention the tennis court and huge garden? There’s no denying this apartment has serious game.

Hostmaker Amazing flat Maida Vale

Not-so-amateur dramatics in Clapham

Let’s not beat around the bush: this home used to be a cinema. It’s since been recast as a three bedroom apartment, and the result is a cosy pad that’s best-in-show. The high ceilings are dramatic, the sleek modern furnishings are a delight, and the original deco features are show-stopping. With so much history framing your door, you might not want to leave. But if you do, Clapham’s a buzzy area with appeal for all ages.

Hostmaker Converted cinema

Swingin’ style in Brunswick

The hosts of this characterful two bedroom home in a Grade 2 listed Brunswick building lovingly purchased most of the original 60s furniture at auction, cleverly mixing British and Scandinavian styles to create an inviting inside that matches its historical outside. The palette is a mix of loud limes and mustards – contrasting the building’s muted grandeur – and with the arty wall hangings and playful cushions, this place would be as suited to sophisticated drinks before dinner as it would to ‘Netflix and chill’.

Hostmaker Brunswick center flat

Up, up, up in Stoke Newington

When most people think converted loft, they think art, space and light. Unsurprisingly, this fashionable Stoke Newington apartment has all three in abundance. The surrounding neighbourhood is quirky and coveted, and the flat’s colourful perspex chairs and eye-popping wall graphics will certainly whet your appetite before you step outside to explore.

Hostmaker Loft Stoke Newington

Perfect timing in Kings Cross

Where better to while away the hours than the clock tower above St Pancras International? There’s an unrivalled view of St Paul’s, as well as…well, most of the city’s skyline, and it’s within minutes of The British Library. Not sold? The interior is as perfect as the location, with carved antique furnishings, a palette of gorgeous creams, and a sizeable library of its own.Hostmaker Clock Tower London

Making waves in Chelsea

This home is an eco-friendly houseboat. And it’s in Chelsea. We could leave it there, but it’s also worth mentioning the beautiful mix of hide, leather and dark wood, along with the cute deck for watching the city’s elite pass by over coffee on misty London mornings. Ah, bliss.

Hostmaker Eco Boat Chelsea

We’re sure you’ll agree that the above Airbnb homes in London are a cut above the cookie-cutter, white-walled rooms found in a city hotel (the ‘boutique’ variety included!). And better yet, as they all benefit from Airbnb management services, you can be assured there’s no compromise on quality or cleanliness either. Perfect 🙂

 

Why a sofa bed is for life, not just for Christmas

Hostmaker Sofa Bed Investment Tips

November is fast-approaching, and your beloved relatives are starting to make their Christmas plans – who’s visiting who, when they’ll arrive, how many of your lovely nieces and nephews you’ll have to cram into your not-too-spacious city flat. After a few nights of cold sweats, you have a ‘eureka moment’: you’ll buy a sofa bed! Sure, it’s pricey, but at this point it’s your only solution. Sound familiar?

Well we have some good news, and some even better news. A sofa bed will certainly see you through the influx of red-flushed, festive guests this season. But a sofa bed is also a great investment for your Airbnb listing. And if you’re skeptical, fear not: we’ve crunched the numbers for you and have the figures to back up our thoughts – after all, this is very nearly the season of giving 🙂

We’re assuming your Christmas visitors aren’t paying for the privilege (that definitely isn’t what Santa would have wanted), but your Airbnb guests do pay to stay in your home-from-home for a little while. And it turns out, they pay more the higher your maximum number of guests. 82% of our one bed flats that have a sofa bed average more than 2 guests per booking, meaning surplus guests make use of the living room – it’s also worth noting that the hosts averaged an extra 7% above their long-term rental estimate, too. And in terms of Airbnb income: a flat that averages £161 a night should expect to average £167 when listed as having a sofa bed.

That’s right, your sofa bed is the gift to yourself that keeps on giving: with 80% occupancy, a £650 sofa bed would pay for itself after 109 hosting days, with a return on investment of 265% per year! As experienced Airbnb property managers, we highly recommend you snap up a sofa bed and tweak your Airbnb listing accordingly. Then start day-dreaming about how you’ll spend the extra cash – we recommend you treat yourself to a present and reward your excellent decision-making 😉 Happy spending!

This is especially true for 1 bed flats. 82% of our one bed flats that have a sofa bed average more than 2 guests per booking which clearly indicates guests 3 and 4 sleep in the living room.

The more bedrooms the less a sofabed is needed but it still provides flexibility to guests.

How to: ensure warm Airbnb guest reviews during colder months

Autumn is finally here: signalled by crunchy leaves underfoot and darker skies overhead. Oh, and another less appealing seasonal signpost: the cold. While us Brits are used to the nippier weather, we strongly advise you spare a thought for your guests from warmer climates as we approach the run-up to Christmas.

Rackety radiators and broken boilers do not make for satisfied guests (or rave reviews!). So we’ve compiled a guide to help you keep guests’ cheeks glowing all the way into the New Year. You’re welcome 🙂

1. Have your boiler and radiators serviced 

The kitchen is often referred to as the heart of the home, but we have to disagree. During the winter months your boiler and radiators are your home’s most important feature, and as your guests have paid for the ‘home experience’, they’ll need them just as much as you do. Have your boiler and radiators serviced regularly to check everything is in working order, which will ensure there’s no trapped air or sediment in the pipes. Remember: if guests arrive to a cold home and are unable to fix it, you’ll be the one receiving late-night phone calls and paying call-out fees for expensive repairs!

2. Buy back-up heaters 

We know, now that we’ve said it it makes so much sense. ‘Why didn’t I think of this already’, you’re asking yourself. Well, now you know! And should step 1 fail to meet your guests’ needs, you’ll have a plan B in place that should help avoid negative reviews, as well as awkward phone calls spoiling your own break.

3. Consider boiler insurance 

Should steps 1 and 2 fail to keep guests satisfied, covering your boiler year-round means that inconvenient boiler breakdowns can be repaired in a jiffy by a trusted repairman. It’s also a more cost-efficient way to cover the expense caused by boiler fails – just like with all insurance plans.

4. Make home a mouse-free zone 

Like the majority of your guests, mice also aren’t fans of the cold weather. So as the thermometer drops they look for warmer, cosier corners to call home – usually in yours. This is especially problematic for those with ground, lower-ground and first-floor flats. However, avoiding leaving food out, and having a pest control agency give your place a quick once-over, should be all you need to safeguard yourself against the negative reviews that come with critter spottings.

Following these four quick steps should ensure guests are kept feeling happy, warm and welcome, with the 5* reviews on your Airbnb listing rolling in. Now, back to the things that matter: counting down to Christmas and picking out your winter wardrobe.

Why meeting your Airbnb guest in person matters

Accepting your first guest – or any guest, for that matter – through Airbnb is exciting. You’ll be counting down the days until they arrive, keen to show them your pad and ‘hood, and even keener to ensure they have a good time while in both. So how can you ensure they enjoy their stay in your home? Having a characterful, clean place with comfy beds and fresh linen will definitely earn rave reviews, but often overlooked is the personal touch – meeting a guest at your door rather than leaving keys in a lockbox that says ‘I’m just in it for the money.’ A friendly face will help guests settle quicker, ensuring they can have a great time on their city break. But can also be beneficial for you too, helping put your mind at ease should you have any pre-arrival jitters. Meeting a guest in person to hand over the keys is a great way to put your mind at rest (as well as theirs), acting as the last ‘safety net’ once you’ve received the final booking confirmation. We’ve broken down the most important reasons to greet a guest in person below.

The warmest welcome

The Airbnb experience is about much more than the accommodation itself. After all, if a guest valued their immediate surroundings above everything else, they’d probably be staying at the Hilton! Airbnb is about experiencing the city like a local, and who better to fill them in on the neighbourhood’s secret spots than you? And as well as a warm, fuzzy feeling knowing you’ve improved someone’s trip, this perk of face-to-face meet and greets is sure to result in lots of 5-star reviews, too. What more could you ask for?

Fill in the blanks

If you’ve listed your property as available on Airbnb, chances are it’s because you’re jetting off to somewhere for a holiday of your own. And what could be more distracting (from the important things like tan topping-up and marathon reading sessions) than emails from confused guests about how to switch on the boiler, or how to log in to the WiFi? Because it’s also distressing for them, long periods of confusion are likely to result in lower review scores, too. But meeting them in person and explaining your home’s quirks in all their glory is an easy way to prevent such situations before they arise. Of course, you can always leave the ‘house rules’ in a prominent place in your home before you lock up for the last time. But words are much easier to understand when spoken aloud by a human than when read on paper after a 9-hour flight.

Face behind the place

Hotel rooms are faceless (and a little soulless, but we might be biased 😉 ), which makes it harder to have respect for the space itself. Having heard first-hand how much sentimental value is attached to your living room rug, and why you’d be really grateful if guests could take their shoes off while crossing it, is often a more effective way to ensure guests take care of things than the aforementioned words on paper. Who knows, maybe Keith Richards would have kept the TV on its stand had Airbnb been around back then!

So, there’s no two-ways about it: meeting your Airbnb guest in person is not only important, but extremely beneficial for both sides. And if turning on the charm isn’t your thing? You can always have an Airbnb management service take care of it for you…!