Vacation rentals have recently been all the rage, and that’s great for me because anything real estate-related is in my wheelhouse. I currently have 10 Airbnb properties — five that I own and five that I manage for others.
Some people put their homes on Airbnb to fill up a room, others to pay off their mortgage. I Airbnb my properties simply to make money, and I’ve been doing quite well, averaging at least $20,000 minimum net per home. While it may seem like an easy side hustle, it’s most definitely not. There’s a ton of work that goes into owning and managing an Airbnb. Aside from overseeing the house itself, I’m also acting as a concierge for each and every guest, assisting them with their needs, whether it be house-related or more personal: recommending restaurants, nearby activities, what local bar to go to, the list goes on. Reviews make or break you. Without strong reviews, the home won’t receive a ton of bookings, and without a ton of bookings, I will only make so much money. And strong reviews come from the details. Fortunately, because of my obsessiveness and expertise in all things both hospitality and real estate, I’ve come to learn that adding some simple amenities can get me stellar reviews — and an even stronger return.
Things to Do
As I mentioned before, I have five properties that I own through my company DeBianchi Real Estate, and another five that I manage for others through my company House Management Group. That is a lot of different locations — and I have to think about each of them when I’m considering entertainment for my guests. In my homes close to the beach, for instance, I have the house equipped with beach chairs. Those with big backyards, I store footballs, Frisbees and other recreational items. In homes with neither, I create comfy nooks stocked with books, magazines and board games. For my homes with pools, I’m stocked with pool floaties. Many of my guests stay in my homes to get away from it all, and they appreciate the small gestures and details. Give people things to do, creating or recommending free entertainment for them, and they’ll thank you.
Cost: $20 or less
Families love Airbnb and I never want to exclude anyone, especially a toddler. A family could easily pass on staying at one of my homes because I don’t have the items they need, and I never want to risk someone not booking because I don’t have the “extras.” This is why I always make sure to have a Pack ‘n’ Play (a portable changing station and bed for babies) in all of my homes.
Cost: $60 or less
More on Rentals: 21 Red Flags to Watch for When Booking a Vacation Rental
Though I’m not a hotel, I am human, and I don’t think I could survive without toilet paper. It’s not a requirement, but the last thing I want is for guests to check into my house only to find that they must go back out again to get the basic essentials: toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, etc. Other items like a hairdryer, soap, shampoo and conditioner aren’t necessary, but always add a special touch and added convenience.
Cost: $10 or less
WiFi may actually be more important than toilet paper. I have found that the 80 percent of my guests ask for WiFi instructions within the first 15 minutes of checking into one of my homes. While this is on the more costly side compared to my other amenities, I’ve found having WiFi in an Airbnb is not an option but really a necessity.
Cost: $100 or less
Think Like a Hotel: Hotels With the Best Free Amenities
As I’ve discussed on my vlog, there’s so much work that goes into owning and managing a rental property, and a lot of it is in the little things. Though it’s not mandatory, I try to make my guests’ stay a memorable one. What sticks with people the most is when they walk into a home with a welcome gift — a bottle of wine, a case of beer, a box of doughnuts or chocolates, a few “happy birthday” balloons. The details are everything.
Cost: $20 or less
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