Do you ever think about using that spare room for something other than storing the long lost remnants of your old life? Or are you perhaps the kind of person that jet sets around so often for work or leisure that the only time you come home is to replace the slowly dying plants you killed off with new ones? Then how about putting your home on Airbnb and actually making a tidy profit?

The ever popular rental site has over 40,000 home listings within Australia with little chance of that number dwindling anytime soon. So all in all, Airbnb is a winner if you have the means and you’re looking to make some extra income. However, if you do choose to put your home or room up for rent, keep in mind that you’ll be required to do a little more than just spray the sofa bed with Febreeze and go get a new set of keys cut for your highly anticipated guests. So let’s go through some key factors to consider when preparing your home for Airbnb fame.

Get down to business

If you’re serious about making money by hosting through Airbnb, then you need to embrace a business mindset, because when it comes to making money, business is business. So what do you have to offer that makes your listing more appealing than others? What can you do to show that you’re a cut above the rest? Or at least, what’s something you can provide your guests that will make them choose you over other listings in your area and price range? Are you a whizz in the kitchen? Perhaps you could offer a free continental breakfast. Do you like to get out and about? Give your guests a guided tour of the surrounding countryside. Get creative; people love novelty and are constantly looking for something that’s different than the average set of standard choices. Just try to find your “unique selling point” and you’ll have people knocking down your door to spend the night… hopefully they make a booking first though.

Your price should be competitive

So this is when you need to start thinking about the money. What’s that? You already were? My mistake. Let me clarify, this is when you need to decide on the finer details of pricing. Check other listings within your area and get an idea for how much yours is worth. Once you’ve come up with a reasonable price you’ll want to do everything you can to make your home look like a million bucks for the official photos that go along with your listing. It may even be worth calling in a professional photographer to give your photos that polished sheen only a professional can give you. A good tip to make your new Airbnb life a little easier is to offer people a good deal when they book for extended periods of time, that way you’ll have less bookings to manage and should find it easier to stay on top of things.

Stock up on the bare necessities

Unsurprisingly, as the Airbnb market becomes more competitive, guests are slowly growing more accustomed to hosts going out of their way to supply them with all the bells and whistles they could need. The nice-ities you might have once considered a luxury are now just a set of essentials that many guests will expect. So just keep in mind that you’ll need to provide particular amenities if you want your guests to walk away from a quality stay.

Arguably the most important thing you’ll want to consider is how you can ensure that your guests have an exceptional sleep experience. People won’t be too happy if they leave your home with a stiff neck, a sore back, and so sleep deprived they fall asleep during the wedding reception they came halfway around the world to attend. Basically, you’re going to need an upgrade within certain areas of your home, and the bedroom will likely be the most crucial. Otherwise, to what lengths you decide to go to when enhancing furniture, bedding, towels, etc. for guests is totally up to you, but just remember that you’re being rated on your home and what you do to help your guests have a great stay.

Answer questions in advance

When you write up the details for your listing, be sure that you cover as many particulars as possible. What are some of the local hot spots in your area? Is there transportation nearby? What’s the best place to get lunch or go for a night on the town? Put on your best concierge hat and try to put yourself in the shoes of those who come to visit. What do you like to do when you go on holiday? A great little tip is to put out maps of the surrounding area and even pamphlets for some of the nearby restaurants for your guests to look over when they arrive. If you’re there to greet them, there’s nothing better than having a chat about the local surrounds to help them get a feel for the area if they’ve never been there before. Otherwise it’s just a nice opportunity to welcome them and wish them a delightful stay.

Make sure you have time!

As nice as it would be to just write up for listing, change the sheets, and then watch the money start rolling in, you actually do need to manage your listing like you would a side business. Many guests will want to ask you a number of questions before they decide to make a booking and you may be needed for unanswered inquiries during their stay. You want to make sure that you’re available and willing to help your guests before, during, and after their visit in order to ensure that you provide them with the information they need and earn those killer 5-star reviews.

It can be a bit of a shock to newcomers when they first start taking bookings for their home as many hosts don’t realise just how much time and effort is expected of them to maintain a premium experience for their customers. With time, however, comes the ease of knowing what to expect, when to expect it, and finding innovative ways of automating the process to make things more efficient without compromising on quality. By no means am I trying to scare you out of rising to Airbnb stardom, I just want to prepare you for the reality of what it takes to be a super-duper host.

Provide your guests with a guidebook

Have you ever booked in to stay somewhere and not been able to figure out how to turn on the TV? How hard can it be? It’s a TV! To save yourself a million frustrated calls from your guests desperately trying to understand how to ignite the oven, put together a guidebook of all the information they are likely going to need while staying in your home.

Write your guests a handwritten welcome note to give them the warm and fuzzies and place it next to a guide filled with the essentials like your Wi-Fi password, parking access, telephone numbers in case of emergency, how to use your antique 16th-century appliances, where they can find extra wood for the fire, and if there’s a trick to unlocking the back door. All of the things. Just cover the basics and then everything else you can possibly think of that wouldn’t be obvious at first glance… and maybe mention the obvious just to be safe.

Food, glorious food!

I’m not here to tell you that you should cook your guests a 4 course meal and have them fine dining on lobster tails… that is unless you want to. I’d be pretty blown away with a service like that. But what I’m getting at, is that simply by spending a tiny bit extra for some staples such as tea, coffee, milk, and condiments, your guests are getting that extra level of comfort that makes you place a home away from home. If you want to go above and beyond then why not supply some freshly baked bread, eggs from Prudence and her chickens, some cereal, and a nice bottle of wine to say, “Thanks for coming! Here’s some wine to get you plastered!”.

Renting out your home or spare room on Airbnb isn’t rocket science that’s for sure, but in such a competitive marketplace it’s always a good idea to have an edge so you can stand out. Make your guests feel like superstars, brush up on your management skills, and you’ll be an Airbnb favourite in no time!

On another note, if you finished reading this and thought ‘Airbnb might not be for me’, why not have a read of out other article: 5 Ways to Make Money From Your Own Home. You might find exactly what you’re looking for.