The Houst response to the coronavirus crisis

We’re providing updates on how coronavirus is affecting the homesharing industry, your property, and Houst’s response. We’ll update this rolling blog with new information as and when we have it.

UPDATE – JULY 4TH – AN UPDATE FROM OUR CEO

I sincerely hope that this update finds you and yours well. 

I wanted to provide some clarity about these last few months, the shape of the market today, and some very good reasons for optimism about the future of home rentals. It’s slightly longer than our usual updates, but it’s been a fairly unusual time so I hope you’ll forgive me!

How COVID-19 Affected Houst

The entire travel industry has taken an almighty short-term hit. Houst were no different. We were, I think it is fair to say, unprepared for a global pandemic and lockdown. Cancellations were up 650% year-on-year and bookings reduced by 85%. I am all too aware that behind these statistics lie your listings, your money, and perhaps your livelihood too. I feel your pain acutely, and I look forward to better times ahead for all.

Many of our staff were placed on furlough and our response times have lengthened as a result. For that, I am truly sorry. It was a move we were very much forced to take, but one which ultimately saved scores of jobs and the future of the business.

I’m pleased to say that the introduction of a 24-hour live chat has been successful, and we’ll be keeping this helpful feature for hosts as we emerge from the pandemic and our service returns to normal.

The Current Picture

Many of Houst’s cities are emerging from lockdown. Though bookings remain reduced year-on-year, we’ve recorded a 54% uptick in demand over the last week alone. Cancellations are no higher than usual for this time of year.

We’re confident this is the start of a sustained and strong recovery, and we’re delighted to be welcoming many of our staff back from furlough.

The Future of Travel

Coronavirus is changing the way we travel and home rentals will emerge even stronger than before. Here’s why:
 

Behaviour shift. Health concerns will linger. The industry is already seeing huge demand for holidays, but more people are choosing self-contained homes over busy hotels for the first time. This trend is currently most prominent in the countryside, but as theatres, museums and attractions reopen urban rentals will catch up fast. After switching once, we know that guests are unlikely to go back to hotels. The explosive growth of short-term lets won’t just continue, it’s about to accelerate.
 

Changing workplaces. Jobs are undergoing nothing short of a revolution. But why WFH when you could WFA (work-from-Airbnb)? I’m confident the wider travel industry – especially budget airlines – will be advertising hard for extended city-breaks: work by day, explore at night. 
 

Flexible letting. Consider Zipcar, Rent the Runway, and various bike-sharing schemes. Whatever the commitment – whether it’s transport, fashion or jobs – the trend has long been for greater flexibility. Accommodation is no exception. The locked-in, annual tenancy just doesn’t work for everyone anymore. We’ve seen a huge spike in demand for lets of just a few months, which previously have been widely uncatered for. Find out more.

Enhanced Cleaning

One change to world travel will be a demand for higher cleaning standards. In a recent survey by Airbnb, guests said that concerns about cleanliness were the biggest barrier to making a booking. So it’s vital that our cleans meet raised expectations. 

Recent Airbnb updates on cleaning give our listings a real chance to stand-out. By committing to Airbnb’s new standards, properties will have an ‘Enhanced Clean’ badge prominently displayed on their listing. We’ll also ensure all listings highlight that the property is professionally cleaned.

To make sure we can meet the new requirements, cleaning fees at all properties will increase by £12 per booking for all bookings made after the 4th of July. As always, this difference will be paid for by guests during the booking process.

Thanks again for being a valued member of the Houst community. We’re all looking forward to exciting times ahead.

UPDATE – MAY 26TH – CONTACTING HOUST

Due to Covid-19 we are operating a reduced service and prioritising urgent and critical requests. To help with this we ask that customers contact us through either of the two below methods:

Live Chat: The simplest and quickest way to contact us. A Houst team member will be available to chat from 7am to 6pm and then 8pm to 10pm BST. Live chat can be accessed here.

Email: You can email us either by using the form to the left or by emailing us directly on support@houst.com. We will respond to all enquiries within 72 hours.

UPDATE – APRIL 3RD – HOW WE’LL MANAGE MEDIUM-LENGTH LETS

As part of our response to coronavirus, in the UK we’ll be advertising for medium-length lets (one to six months) at all host properties, where calendar availability allows.

We’ll process these medium-length bookings slightly differently to before, and closer to how we handle holiday short-lets:

  • Our Pricing Analysts will optimise monthly rates.
  • We’ll complete a full guest verification check.
  • We’ll negotiate and accept bookings on your behalf, unless you’ve asked us to contact you first.
  • You’ll just need to digitally sign the contract once everything’s ready.

All listings will be live from Friday 10th April. If you do not wish to be listed for medium-length lets please let us know by opting-out here.

Long-lets with Houst

With a full-time team of seven Lettings Agents, we’re ready to help find longer-term (six months or more) tenants too. In fact, flexible letting – a mix of short, medium and long-term lets – could earn you more than just holiday-letting. Read more about flexible letting here.

To get listed for long-lets too, book a call or drop us a line on lets@houst.com. Together, we can develop a lettings strategy tailored to your property and needs.

UPDATE – MARCH 31ST – AIRBNB ANNOUNCE HOST SUPPORT FUND

Some good news.

Yesterday, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky announced a $250 million USD support fund for hosts affected by the coronavirus crisis. This announcement also included an update to the existing coronavirus extenuating circumstances policy, which previously refunded guests in full at the host’s cost. Here’s the details:

  1. If a guest cancels their reservation made on or before 14th March, with a check-in date of no later than 31st May, then they will receive a full refund.
  1. Airbnb will now pay you, the host, 25% of what you would’ve received for a cancellation based on your cancellation policy. For example, if you would normally receive £400 through your cancellation policy, Airbnb will pay you 25% of that: £100. To reiterate, the previous policy meant you would have received nothing.
  1. This will also be applied retroactively to any bookings cancelled since 14th March due to coronavirus. Airbnb will be in touch with Houst in early April with more information on any payments owed. Your Account Manager will then contact you with said details.

You can view the full video announcement by Brian Chesky here.

ANNOUNCEMENT – 20TH MARCH – THE HOUST RESPONSE TO THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS

These are unprecedented times. The impact of coronavirus on global tourism, including short-lets, has been significant and well documented. Our highest priority is everyone’s health and wellbeing, and our thoughts remain with those in wider society most affected by this crisis.

We understand that this will also be an uncertain period for you, our hosts, too. Whilst we recognise that the next few weeks will bring challenges, we have confidence that our strategy is best-placed to protect your earnings with minimised loss of income.

Our strategy

Houst are taking the following five steps to protect host revenue and safeguard guest safety:

  1. Our in-house lettings team have started listing all Houst properties on Prime Location and Zoopla, and will be advertising for medium and longer-term lets immediately. Your calendar will remain open to short-lets.
  1. Our pricing team will reduce nightly rates for all properties on short-let platforms for the next six weeks to encourage bookings. Please consider lowering your minimum nightly price if you’ve set one.
  1. Our Account Management teams will be increasing the default discounts for longer-term bookings on Airbnb. You can adjust this on the calendar tab.
    – Seven days or longer: 10% (previously 5%)
    – One month or longer: 20% (previously 15%)
  1. We encourage you to complete any planned maintenance work now, and book in a deep clean if necessary. Save your available nights for summer and autumn if possible.
  1. Our housekeepers have been instructed to wear disposable gloves during cleaning, wash their hands frequently, and pay particular attention to high-risk touchpoints such as light switches, door handles and keys.

Longer-term outlook

This is a rapidly shifting crisis, and making accurate predictions is difficult. But we believe that there remain strong reasons for optimism:

  • After this crisis passes and travel restrictions are lifted we’re confident that bookings will recover quickly. It is possible that peak season may shift this year further towards autumn.
  • When this happens we expect a stronger than usual demand for travel – particularly business travel. A high demand and potentially low supply of homes could drive nightly rates higher than usual.
  • There is no reason to expect long-term damage to the homesharing industry. Airbnb in particular has seen a consistently strong growth rate, and guest numbers continue to rapidly increase.

Further information

For further information from our platform partners about extenuating circumstances and cancellation policies, please see the below links:

Please contact your Account Manager if you have any questions.

Best wishes to the whole Houst community.

Thanks,

James Jenkins-Yates
Houst CEO and Founder


What is flexible letting? A simple guide.

Flexible Letting Demonstration

Three minute read.

TLDR: Earn the high revenues of short-letting with all the security of a longer-term tenant.

‘Flexible letting’ means combining different types of let to maximise occupancy and earnings throughout the year.

These lets could be:

  • Holiday bookings of just a few nights.
  • Longer visits of 2-3 weeks.
  • Corporate reservations of several weeks or months.
  • Longer-term tenancies of multiple months.

Simple, right?

What’s so good about flexible letting?

Increased revenues: Shorter stays achieve a much higher nightly rate, and business travellers are often happy to pay a higher price for home comforts. But longer-term bookings guarantee income over winter and spring, when demand for short-lets slows a little. Flexible letting gives you the best of both worlds.

Flexibility: Flexible lets are, well, flexible. Circumstances changed? Move back in. Trying to sell? Earn rent in the meantime. In-laws visiting? They don’t have to stay with you. Your property is always yours to use as you see fit.

In demand: There aren’t many homeowners using this strategy. Most still prefer traditional longer tenancies, whilst others have switched to just holiday lets. Combining both is a fairly new strategy, and the payoff is there for those forward-thinking enough to see this gap in the market.

But is there really much demand?

The extreme popularity of short holiday lets is well documented, and there’s a higher demand for mid-length bookings than you might think.

The success of – to name a few – Zipcar, Rent the Runway, and various bike-sharing schemes show an increasing demand to own assets on a part-time basis. The rise of flexi-hours and the gig economy demonstrate that flexible working is in demand too. From cars to jobs, people want commitments to work around their lifestyle, not the other way round.

Their accommodation is no different. In this digital, interconnected world people are more likely to travel or work abroad for extended periods.The traditional, twelve-month, locked-in tenancy doesn’t work for everyone anymore.

Different tenants want different things, and the appetite is there for choice.

Some of our regular tenants include:

  • Corporate travellers
  • Those on work placement
  • Longer-term tourists
  • Family visiting family
  • Friends visiting friends
  • Students
  • Digital Nomads
  • Those on adult gap-years
  • People moving house
  • People completing building work on their house
The Digital Nomad in her natural habitat

Sounds complicated though. How do I get started?

It’s really important to not just dive straight in. Sourcing more bookings, cleaning more regularly, and communicating more often with tenants takes extra work. There is a significant payoff, but be honest with yourself about the additional input required.

Plan ahead: Having a strategy is crucial to maximising returns, and remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all. Familiarise yourself with the regulation in your city. Short-lets will earn best over the busy summer, so most homeowners will use their allowance of days in this peak season. But if you need access to your property in winter, consider saving some of your short-let allowance for then.

Build listings: Diversification is key. Airbnb is a very versatile platform, but many longer-term tenants still prefer to find properties on sites like Rightmove or Zoopla. Expedia and Booking.com have large corporate audiences, too. The more places in which you can advertise your home, the greater your chance of receiving bookings.

Research pricing: Getting pricing right can be tricky at first. A three-month booking doesn’t achieve the same nightly rate as a three-night one, so adjust your pricing accordingly. But don’t undersell yourself either. Overwhelmed with booking requests? You could be earning more.

There’s a lot to consider. Choosing the right partner to help out with strategy, listings and pricing (as well as communication, cleaning and check-in!) can quickly be well worth the commission – it could even earn you more.

How do I pick the right host partner?

Different property management companies have different strengths and weaknesses.

Well-known letting agents, such as Foxtons or Savills, have strong name recognition for potential tenants, as well as significant experience in the long-let market. But traditional agents are expensive, and have been slow to adapt to the growing short-let market. They have limited resources to manage guest communication and check-ins.

There’s also a whole host (excuse the pun) of smaller operators specialising in Airbnb-style lets. These companies can be much better set up to handle the rigours of short-letting, with dedicated guest teams and remote check-in solutions. But these companies often aren’t set up to service longer-term bookings.

Houst deliver both short and long-lets. We have experienced estate agents advertising long-term tenancies in London, Edinburgh, Bristol and Dublin (with more cities to follow). Our lettings teams work alongside the 24/7 Guest Support Team, who have handled over 250,000 short-let bookings to date.

Hosts who join Houst receive a lettings strategy tailored to their property. We list properties on several platforms (with professional photography included) and provide an Account Manager for every host. Our Pricing Team ensure properties are maximising income and – when the bookings start rolling in – our professional housekeepers keep your property looking great.

Sounds interesting? Get in touch. It might be the best thing you do today.


Who are Houst? We’re the world’s largest host management company, helping hosts earn more. More time, more money, more freedom. Check us out.

Airbnb Resolution Centre – All You Need to Know

If you host on Airbnb, it’s important to accept that there might be some sticky situations. Maybe it’s a guest accidentally breaking some dishware. Or maybe it’s a small mishap on your behalf that causes discomfort for guests. Whatever the issue, the Airbnb Resolution Centre allows room to make up for mistakes. 

What is the Airbnb Resolution Centre?

The Airbnb Resolution Centre is a platform that allows Airbnb guests and hosts alike to do two things: 

  1. Request money for trip related issues
  2. Send money for trip related issues

Here’s a breakdown of the two scenarios from a host’s perspective.

When should I request money from guests?

When there has been damage or disregard of house rules. For instance:

  • Your guest has left makeup stains on a bath towel.
  • Your guest accidentally lost your keys.
  • Guests check-out after your designated check-out time.

All of these scenarios can warrant a justified claim with the Resolution Centre.

What guidelines should I follow before deciding to request money?

You should ask yourself:

  • How easily can the damage be fixed or replaced?
  • Has my guest disregarded my clearly stated house rules?
  • Do I have enough proof to support this?
The Airbnb Resolution Centre

On the other hand, you may have home issues that inconvenience your guests’ stay.

When should I send money to guests?

This is a smart thing to do when you’ve caused some sort of inconvenience to a guest, big or small. Things like:

  • Your fridge stopped working mid-stay.
  • Your guest wasn’t happy with the cleanliness of your property.
  • The check-in instructions weren’t clear.

Send reimbursement to guests so that they recognise your commitment to their comfort. Even if the guest later tries to open a claim and request more money, it’s a strong rebuttal when a host shows they’ve tried to compensate for the discomfort that occurred. 

So now that you have an idea about the basics, let’s get into the knitty-gritty, shall we?

If we had to guess some of your questions still unanswered, we think they’d be something like:

Is there a time frame to request money?

Yes, there is, and always remember that the quicker the issue is claimed, the easier it is to resolve.

As far as numbers are concerned, here’s what you should remember:

  • To resolve the issue quickly, request within 24 hours.
  • You must claim before your next guest checks-in.
  • If your request isn’t resolved by guests within 3 days, you should ‘Escalate to Airbnb’.
  • If you find the issue later on, you have 60 days after checkout to report it.

How long will it take the money to get my guests’/my account?

This depends on the severity of the resolution claim. If it’s something small like…

  • offering compensation for running out of essentials.
  • your guests sending money for a lost key.

…then it should take 5-7 business days from the date it was resolved. However, in larger cases that require receipts, pictures and documentation for damages or repairs, this could take over a month depending on how urgent the case is. 

What will happen if the host or guest refuses to pay?

For any case that involves:

1. Requesting a large amount of money

or

2. One party refusing to comply

Airbnb brings in their ‘peace officers,’ if you will. We call them Case Managers and here’s why they’re helpful:

  • Every troublesome case will have a manager who is in contact with both parties to hear each side of the story. (This is why it’s important that  you have all necessary documents and talking points ready when they contact you).
  • They will essentially act as the judge in deeming one party ‘guilty’ or not.
  • They are very well versed in judging all types of resolution cases, so chances are they’ll have dealt with a very similar case to yours and will be able to resolve accordingly.

Side note: It is also very important to follow up with case managers (calling is highly advised) as they do have heavy case loads.

On the contrary, what happens if my guest makes a false claim on me?

Keep calm and prepare your evidence. This doesn’t happen often, but you may find the guest trying to cancel or get money back due to their own misaligned expectations. In this case, be sure to have as much documentation as possible.

It is also very important to reach out to guests trying to resolve the issue and offer your condolences that they haven’t had a 5-star experience. This will show your Airbnb case manager that you put in effort to make your guests comfortable and will help support your argument down the line. Stay composed, respond professionally and trust your case manager, they know a false claim when they see one.


Using the Resolution Centre at the right time can drastically make a host’s life easier. Whether it be to expedite the process of fixing damages from guests or to quickly alleviate a problem caused on your end. It’s a tool that has the potential to salvage a possible dent in your Airbnb hosting reputation and, luckily, our Account Managers are well versed in proper usage of it. 

Have more questions about Home Safety? Our Airsorted New Homes Advisors have the answers!

Hosting and Home Safety – All You Need to Know

Purchasing a home is – for most of us – the single biggest investment we’ll ever make. So it’s no wonder the safety of your home is always our number one priority – we’ll take care of it as if it were our own.

Do you verify guests?

When it comes to guest verification, there’s nobody with more experience and expertise than the Airsorted Guest Support team. Together, they’ve accepted over 200,000 reservations.

When a guest requests to stay in your home, we’ll check several things:

  • Is the guest’s profile fully verified? That means a profile picture, a government ID card or passport, payment details and selfie have all been checked.
  • Are all reviews of the guest positive? That’s host reviews of the guest, not the guest’s reviews of properties!
  • What are the guest’s plans during their stay?

If our team have any concerns whatsoever we will politely decline the guest.

Our Guest Support Team are trained as experts in guest verification.

What if something goes wrong during a stay?

With offices in the UK, Canada and Australia our dedicated Guest Support team are able to communicate with guests 24/7. So you can always be sure that we’ll report issues quickly and efficiently.

Whether it’s a leak or a blown bulb, we’re able to act fast to secure your home’s safety. For more on this, see our handy maintenance guide here.

What if a guest causes damage in my home?

Damage is rare, but accidents do happen.

We train our housekeepers to look out for possible damage at each clean. If they think they might have spotted something, they’ll send a photo back to Airsorted HQ. Should we need to seek compensation, Airsorted will handle any claim on your behalf.

The process differs depending on the platform.

Airbnb:

  1. We’ll submit a claim and any evidence to your guest via the Airbnb Resolution Centre. Airbnb cover you up to $1 Million USD.
  2. They’ll have 72 hours to accept or decline. If they decline – or don’t respond – then we’ll escalate the case to Airbnb directly.
  3. Airbnb will speak to both parties before making a decision on compensation.

All Other Platforms:

  1. We take a £150 deposit for each and every booking.
  2. If the cost of maintenance is less than £150 only the difference will be refunded.
  3. If the cost is more than £150 we’ll submit evidence to the guest and platform. We can then further charge the guest’s card.

Do I need separate insurance?

If you are a UK and Ireland Airsorted host we’ll automatically cover you for buildings, contents and public liability when you’re sharing your home with paying guests. The policy is underwritten by Guardhog (Hiscox) and is free of charge.

Some important points:

  • The insurance only covers guests who have booked through a platform which is not Airbnb. Airbnb has its own Host Guarantee.
  • We designed the policy to cover worst-case scenarios, for claims exceeding £1000. The booking deposit will cover claims below this amount.
  • For the policy to be valid, you must have independent separate home insurance in place which would cover you when your home is not being let to paying guests.

If you would like to find out more about our Guest Support Team, how we report damages, and insurance then get in touch with one of New Homes Advisors now.

Maintenance with Houst – All You Need To Know

Home maintenance – it ain’t glamorous, but someone has to do it. The question is though, if you’re halfway round the world on that dream trip, who?

Houst. Here’s everything you need to know about maintaining your property whilst you’re away.

What happens if something goes wrong?

Whilst we’d love to promise maintenance will never be required, sometimes the unexpected happens. Boilers can break and bulbs blow. What happens next?

  1. Your guests – or perhaps our cleaner – will report an issue to Houst HQ either by contacting our 24/7 Guest Support Team or the Housekeeping Team.
  2. We’ll try to troubleshoot the issue, but if we’re unable to solve the problem we’ll contact you.
  3. We’ll ask if you’ve encountered the issue before – perhaps you know how to fix it. If not, we’ll provide you with a quote from our maintenance team.
  4. With your permission, we’ll then organise to attend the property and resolve the issue at the earliest suitable time.

What if you can’t reach me?

Whether it’s due to time zone differences, an important meeting, or maybe even a jungle trek we understand that you won’t always be easy to get hold of – it’s why we’re here to help, after all.

We’ll wait to hear back from you if the issue is relatively minor (e.g. window cleaning, broken lightbulb). But if your home needs urgent attention (e.g. a leak, broken boiler) then we’ll take action quickly to secure the safety of the property and any existing bookings.

We can only spend as much as you have previously authorised. Do please ensure you set up your preferences in the Houst dashboard – there are preset defaults!

Dashboard Preferences Maximum Spend Defaults
The default spend limits on your ‘Preferences’ tab.

Who do you send?

We have a range of in-house handymen who will attend to any minor, non-urgent issues such as changing lightbulbs, fixing TV aerials, and bleeding radiators.

For more complex, urgent matters we partner with a range of professional maintenance companies. We’d be happy to let you know exactly who, but there’s too many to list here!

Of course, if you have your own trusted and preferred contact you’d like to use we’d be happy to coordinate with them too.

Any contractor will be able to access your property via a secure lockbox, so there’s no need for you to be home.

Neil the handyman
Neil, our London handyman, has completed over 3000 jobs at Houst properties!

How do tradespeople enter my property?

Gone are the days of waiting at home (or worse, paying someone else to wait) for a contractor to appear.

We’ll ask your guests to leave a set of keys in the lockbox if they head out, and then we’ll pass the access information on to our trusted suppliers.

For more on lockboxes, how they work, and why we use them see here!

How am I charged for any work?

Houst will receive any invoices or job reports. We’ll then add the charge to your next management fee. This is taken automatically, so there’s no need for you to worry about any late payment fees!

You’ll be able to see the invoice on your Houst dashboard, and we’ll also pass on the job report.

But what if my guest caused the issue?

Accidents happen, however rarely. If we need to charge your guest for any maintenance work then we’ll do this for you.

  • On Airbnb: we’ll open a claim on the ‘resolution centre’. Your guest can pay, counter-offer, or decline. If they choose not to pay, we will raise the claim to Airbnb themselves who will then make a decision.
  • On Booking.com, Expedia and HomeAway: we take a deposit of £150, and have the option of asking the platforms to charge your guest further.

If you’d like to find out more about exactly how we ensure your home is protected, see our guide here.


Ready to start your Houst hosting journey? Find out how much you could earn with our free pricing estimate!

Is Professional Photography For My Airbnb Really Worth It?

Spoiler: Yes.

Creating an Airbnb listing and taking some photos is the easy bit. Getting the absolute most from your property though? That takes a little more time and effort.

We can all agree that professionally taken photographs look better than iPhone snaps. But sourcing a professional, liaising with an agency, and booking a shoot is a hassle. So long as guests can see you’ve got an oven… that’s all that matters, right? Isn’t paying a professional just an unnecessary luxury?

The answer is a resounding no. Professional photography is essential.

The Comparison

Imagine you’re a potential guest. Now consider the following two listings carefully – I have some questions for you..

First, this family home:

  1. Would you stay at this property?
  2. If so, how much would you pay?

Now take a look at this listing:

  1. What about this one? Would you book this property?
  2. How much would you spend?
  3. Which property do you prefer?

You’d pay more for the second property, right? We all would surely?

Take a closer look. The two listings are for the same property.

No surprises then that photography can earn you more. I hear you though – that was just one, carefully selected example wasn’t it? Doesn’t prove anything. What we need here is some science.

Coming right up.

The Experiment

Our data team have measured the performance of 10 different properties across the last two years. Performance has been split into three components:

  • Occupancy.
  • Average daily rate (ADR).
  • Overall earnings.

We selected listings that had been live for one year without professional photos, and then for the following year with pro snaps. Below are our results.

Occupancy

  • The bars in blue represent the average occupancy rate (%) across the year for the properties before professional photography.
  • The bars in red represent the average occupancy rate (%) across the year for the properties after professional photography.
  • Taking an average across all of the properties, there was an 18.7% increase in occupancy – that is huge!

Average Daily Rate

But occupancy alone doesn’t mean very much. If you halve your price then the occupancy will naturally shoot up.

More useful to consider is the average daily rate. Below, consider the uptick in earnings before and after professional photography:

  • The bars in blue represent the average daily rate paid by guests for the properties before professional photography.
  • The bars in red represent the average daily rate paid by guests for the properties after professional photography.
  • All of our properties received a boost. The average increase in daily rate was a massive 16.4%!

So there’s more bookings coming in, and more money being earned for each reservation. But what does that mean in real terms?

Earnings

Whilst people host on Airbnb for a variety of reasons, making a bit of extra cash is normally high on the agenda.

So let’s get to the heart of the issue. Will professional photography earn you more money?

  • Once again, the blue bars are before professional photography and the red bars are after.
  • On average, the earnings were an astounding 73.8% higher after photography.
  • In cash? An average of £2,341 extra in the pocket. Not bad for a small investment…!

A Wise Investment

Our properties received significantly more bookings, even at an increased rate.

Why?

Because professional photography justifies a higher price.

A gallery full of dimly lit, blurry photos suggests no time or care has been taken with your listing. Guests think their stay might suffer from the same lack of attention.

Professional photography, on the other hand, suggests a professional service – from the housekeeping to check-in and communication.

And with guests spending just 5 seconds considering a listing, you need to grab attention as quickly as you can! There’s no better way to do this than professional photos.


It can be a hassle organising professional photography. Luckily, Airsorted can take care of it all for you.

After an initial onboarding meeting – and once the first clean has taken place – we’ll schedule a professional photographer for your home. This is FREE for our full-time hosts, and just £99 for those with less availability. There’s no need for you to be present (unless you’d like to be!) and we’ll take care of the selection, editing, and upload.

Want to see some our work? Here’s some examples:

Lockboxes – All You Need To Know

Here at Houst we use lockboxes for all our homes. But why? Are they safe? And why don’t we meet guests in-person?

Here’s everything you need to know:

What is a lockbox?

Simply, a lockbox is a small, external safe containing a key. Lockboxes can either be attached to a wall or a railing.

How does a lockbox work?

We use two types of lockbox: wall-mounted and railing.

  • We’ll secure a wall-mounted lockbox to a wall, usually by the entrance to the property itself.
  • We’ll normally attach a railing lockbox to a nearby bicycle rack, using a bicycle cable to secure it in place.

We provide guests with the lockbox code via an online portal, which expires at the end of their reservation. Guests will then enter the code and – depending on the lockbox type – either twist the handle or squeeze two buttons. The lockbox will open and the keys can be retrieved.

How do guests find the lockbox?

Houst provide guests with a mobilefriendly lockbox guide. This guide includes:

  • A map of the local area.
  • A step-by-step picture guide from the front door of the property to the lockbox.
  • Accompanying written instructions.
  • A diagram of how to open the lockbox.
  • The telephone number for our Guest Support Team.

See here for an example of an Houst lockbox guide.

Are my keys safe in the lockbox?

The security of your home is always our priority, so let’s take a closer look at our lockboxes:

  • Railing: MasterLock 5414. MasterLock are one of the most trusted brands in security. The lockbox has a solid zinc body and a dual-locking system for additional security. The protective cover offers defence against the elements too. These lockboxes are used widely by Britain’s NHS to access homes requiring social care.

And to be completely safe, your keys are always untagged, other than with an Houst homecode. We keep spares locked away in our office too.

Important Point: The lockboxes are almost always empty. Either your guests or our cleaners will have the keys. The lockbox is used only on changeover day.

Should I use a lockbox?

There’s a range of reasons to use a lockbox:

  1. It’s easy for guests: Not everyone wants a 20-minute house tour, or an extensive run-down of the neighbourhood. Most guests just want to check-in and chill out.
  2. 24/7 Access: Early flight? Or maybe you stayed in the bar longer than intended. A lockbox makes things easy at any time, day or night. No more curtailing of plans to meet your host.
  3. Airbnb Work Collection: Installing a lockbox means you’ll be eligible for inclusion on Airbnb’s ‘Work Collection’ – homes for business travellers.
  4. Easy Maintenance: Our maintenance partners are happy to access via the lockbox too, meaning you don’t have to wait (or pay someone…) to let them in.
  5. Friends and Family: How many times have you had to taxi a key to your mother-in-law, or leave a key under the doormat for your friend? Lockboxes are a safer and easier solution for everyone involved.
Our guides are mobile-friendly and easy to follow.

How do I install one?

No need to worry – we’ll do it for you!

If you think the railing lockbox is best for you then your Account Manager will install one at your onboard meeting.

And if the wall-mounted sounds more suitable we’ll schedule our handyman to install it a few days later (in a spot of your choice, of course).

Best of all? Your sign-up fee covers both the lockbox and its installation.


Ready to get started? Call our New Homes Advisors now on +44 203 389 8886.

Edinburgh Fringe 2019: Airsorted’s Top Tips

Edinburgh is a cultural Mecca of a city, with a rich history that champions values of inclusion and freedom of speech, particularly through the arts. With under 500,000 inhabitants, it is a relatively small city, but it punches well above its weight in the artistic world. 

The Fringe Festival is the jewel in Edinburgh’s cultural crown. It’s the biggest and most-loved arts festival on the planet – a month-long thespian takeover of almost the entire city, showcasing everything from music and theatre to comedy, dance, cabaret and art. 

And, as there’s no formal decision process to determine who gets to perform, the diversity of shows (both amazing and terrible) at the Fringe is truly something to behold. That’s all part of the fun! 

The Airsorted team in Edinburgh have been sampling the best – and worst – of this year’s acts so far. Here are their top tips on what not to miss: 

Comedy

Agnes recommends Foil, Arms and Hog: The internet sensations return for their tenth sold-out Fringe in a row. The Irish comedy group have been a fixture at the festival for years now, and with good reason. Observational and topical, their comedy is hard to pin to a specific genre. Agnes has seen them three years running! Buy Tickets.

Andrew recommends Weegie Hink Ae That? Presents: Nae Bother: Possibly having searched for the most Scottish show he could find, Andrew’s pick is a sketch-based comedy show riffing left, right and centre on Scottish culture and society. Buy Tickets.

Fringe Party Edinburgh
Revellers on Royal Mile

Music

Helen recommends Abandoman – Road to Coachella: What happens when you combine audience heckles with hip hop, pop, house and more? Abandoman happens. An improvised music show where audience participation is mandatory – it’s an entirely different show each night! Buy Tickets.

Ruta recommends Baby Wants Candy: Not dissimilar is Baby Wants Candy, which each night begins by asking the audience to shout out a new title. A full band, entirely improvised musical then develops over the following 60 minutes, never to be performed again! Buy Tickets.

Variety at Edinburgh Fringe
The Fringe is all about variety!

Spoken Word

Amber recommends James Rowland’s Revelations: Story-telling at its best, and the Fringe at its most thrillingly intimate. Rowland tells Edinburgh the tale of his sperm donation… and then what happened next. The winner of the ThreeWeeksEditors Award 2018. Buy Tickets.

Harry recommends Mythos: Stephen Fry’s one-man show is his first for over 40 years. An exploration of Greek mythology, Fry brings to life the gods, heroes and creatures of the ancient myths. From Hesiod to Narcissus, expect insight and humour in this trilogy of shows. Buy Tickets.


If it’s too late for you to get involved with the Fringe this year then don’t worry, there’s always next year! Why not make it an extra memorable trip and stay in one of these incredible Airbnb properties too.

And if you’re interested in hosting during the Festival then take a look at this guide.

Wondering how much you could earn? Head to our Pricing Calculator for an immediate estimate.

Optimise your Airbnb – 5 Pro Tips You Didn’t Know

As an Account Manager at Airsorted – the world’s largest Airbnb management company – I know a thing or two about optimising your listing.

There’s plenty of blogs out there suggesting you throw a rug here, leave a plant pot there, and ensure you keep the tea bags topped up. That’s important, but certain tips only reveal themselves with experience.

1. Don’t turn off ‘Instant Book’.

Instant Book. Sounds scary, doesn’t it? Up there with ‘Golden Goal’.

It isn’t.

Airbnb simply wants to make it as easy and quick as possible for guests to book their stay (before they lose interest or change their mind). So they promote properties with Instant Book turned on, and relegate those that don’t.

A search for Airbnb listings in Cape Town showed that:

  • A huge 62.4% of the first page results had Instant Book on.
  • Just 39.6% of the second page had Instant Book on.

The Instant Book properties were being pushed forward.

Now here’s the secret. You can cancel all Instant Book reservations penalty-free up to and including the day of check-in. When cancelling online you must select ‘I am uncomfortable with the reservation’ as your reason. Any other selection will result in a penalty.

Airbnb cancellation instant book
With great power comes great responsibility…

Likewise, if phoning Airbnb, the magic words are “I am uncomfortable”. Stand your ground, know your rights, and be safe in the knowledge that you do have complete control over the guests you welcome!

2. Change your property location.

Wait, what?

Okay, so whilst you can’t actually uproot your house and plant it outside London Eye you can make your Airbnb location more attractive.

airbnb adjust location pin
Looks about right.

Airbnb does not show a guest your specific location until they’ve booked. It would be a little risky if they did – anyone could know when the property was empty. Instead, during set-up, you’ll be asked to set an approximate location of your home.

You can use this tool to nudge your home slightly further towards that trendy high street or tourist hotspot. Don’t go mad though – its important to set guest expectations too!

3. Not all amenities are born equal.

Selecting certain property features boosts the visibility of your listing. You’ll also be automatically included as part of Airbnb’s ‘Work Collection’ – that is, Airbnb for business travellers.

This is a growing market on Airbnb. It now accounts for over 15% of all Airbnb stays!

Here is a list of exactly what you’ll need:

  • Iron
  • Laptop-friendly workspace
  • Hangers
  • Hair dryer
  • ‘Essentials’ (toilet paper, soap, towels, bed linens, and pillows)
  • Internet and WiFi (they are separate amenities on Airbnb!)
  • Shampoo
  • 24-hour self check-in (a key lockbox, keypad, smartlock, or by getting the key or access from a concierge)
  • Smoke detector
  • Carbon monoxide detector — they’re £12 and our data shows a 7.5% uplift in occupancy for those with one installed!
  • TV
airbnb work collection business
A whole new world…

Remember, you don’t need to spend a fortune on any of the above.

4. Fill out your life host story.

Guests like to know they’re renting off a real person.

Airbnb started out as a way for people to share their sofa with passing travellers. It’s fair to say things have moved on, but the platform still has a focus on the personal, human element.

So it’s definitely worth filling out your profile. You’ll need to:

  1. Upload a profile picture featuring you! Put a face to the name. Avoid a generic picture of Big Ben or Sydney Opera House.
  2. Under ‘About Me’, write a little about why you’re hosting. It doesn’t need to be your life story though. Airbnb suggests you enter your ‘Life Motto’ but we aren’t all from California so feel free to ignore their advice.
  3. Add the languages you speak. Even if you’re French is a little, ahem,
    élémentaire its worth putting on!
  4. Upload as many forms of ID as you can, as well as your phone number and email address. Think about it – you want to know who is staying in your home, and guests would like a similar peace of mind!
profile photo airbnb
Have we met before?

5. You’ve got 5 seconds to sell your listing.

Being able to sell your Airbnb to a potential guest quickly is vital. Guests spend an average of just five seconds looking at a listing before returning to the search results.

Ensure the picture which best shows off your space is the cover photo. This is the photo guests will see alongside rival listings.

Once a guest clicks through to your page they will be presented with four more photos. This will be the first four, in order, that you arranged on the ‘Edit Photos’ screen.

Don’t show off your living room four times. Select a bedroom (or two), a kitchen, and maybe even a bathroom. It should be your home at a glance.

good listing airbnb
Good!
bad listing airbnb
Not so good!

With luck, you might get longer than five seconds.


Feels too much like hard-work? Let Airsorted take care of it for you – we’ll build your listing, find your guests, and clean your home. Find out how much you could earn with our price calculator.

These five tips were inspired by a longer article written by my colleague Jonny. His excellent, detailed tips (all 19 of them!) can be found here.

8 façons peu coûteuses de faire en sorte que vos voyageurs tombent amoureux de votre logement !

Nous l’avons déjà dit et nous le répéterons encore: des voyageurs heureux signifient des hôtes heureux.

Vous n’avez pas besoin de casser votre tirelire pour que vos invités se sentent chez eux. Quelques petites attentions peuvent faire toute la différence pour améliorer leur expérience, conduisant à de meilleures évaluations laissées par vos voyageurs et donc à une demande accrue pour votre propriété à l’avenir !

Il existe de nombreux moyens simples de permettre à vos invités de passer un séjour agréable dans votre logement. Voici nos 8 suggestions préférées :

1. Créer une station de charge téléphonique

Nous utilisons tous de plus en plus nos téléphones au quotidien, mais jamais autant que lorsque nous voyageons ! Et il n’y a rien de pire que de se rendre compte une fois arrivé et qu’il nous reste plus que 1% de batterie, que l’on a oublié son téléphone chez soi…
Dans ces situations, vos voyageurs seront ravis de voir que vous avez pensé à eux en mettant à leur disposition une station de recharge pour leur téléphone. 

Créer une station de recharge à coté d’une prise de courant n’est pas bien compliqué, et il est aussi facile de se procurer sur internet ou en boutique des stations de recharges prêtes à l’emploi pour quelques euros seulement.

Sinon, vous pouvez aussi simplement laisser vos chargeurs en évidence à disposition de vos hôtes avec un petit mot !

Pensez à laisser des câbles appropriés pour chaque type de téléphone: Micro USB, USB-C, Lightning…

2. Panier d’échantillons de produits

Tout le monde a été pris au dépourvu au moins une fois à l’aéroport en devant abandonner ses affaires de toilettes interdits en cabine (shampoing, gel douche, parfum, dentifrice, etc.)

Si cela devait arriver à vos invités, ils seront heureux de voir que vous leur avez laissé des échantillons à disposition comme à l’hôtel avec une petite note les invitant à s’en servir…

Si vous n’avez pas déjà des dizaines d’échantillons que vous avez ramené de vos précédents voyages, pouvez trouver facilement dans le commerce des flacons réutilisables qu’il ne vous restera plus qu’à remplir avant de partir !

3. Mettre en place une station de boisson

Fatigués par un long voyage et peut-être le décalage horaire, vos voyageurs apprécieront beaucoup à leur arrivée que ayez préparé et mis à leur dispositions des boissons chaudes: thé, café, accompagné de tasses et de tout ce qui pourrait ajouter une touche personnelle tel que des gâteaux fait maison.

En été, vous pouvez aussi leur préparer une boisson détox… une carafe d’eau, quelques tranches de concombre,  des rondelles de citron, un bouquet de feuilles de menthe et le tour est joué !

4. Fournir un panier de bienvenue

Lorsque vous voulez vraiment faire bonne impression sur vos invités, rien ne fonctionne mieux qu’un panier garni offert à leur arrivée avec quelques produits locaux: une bouteille de vin de la région, une spécialité culinaire, quelques douceurs ou encore des fruits de saison, le tout accompagné d’un mot de bienvenue personnalisé. Cela leur montrera que vous avez fait un effort supplémentaire pour prendre soin d’eux et ils ne manqueront pas de vous remercier en vous laissant un bon commentaire et une bonne note sur leur séjour !

5. Rendre le mot de passe wifi facile à trouver

Le moyen le plus rapide d’atteindre le cœur d’un voyageur est de lui faciliter la vie durant son séjour chez vous. En effet, ce qui peut vous paraître évident ne l’est pas forcément pour eux.

Ainsi, même si vous avez inséré sur votre profil Airbnb les données de votre WIFI, n’hésitez pas à leur laisser un mot en évidence avec le nom du réseau et le mot de passe pour se connecter. Vous pouvez aussi par exemple le mettre en évidence en l’insérant dans un petit cadre photo déposé sur la table du salon.

Par ailleurs, si vous avez un de ces mot de passe de 28 caractères compliqué, n’hésitez pas à le remplacer par un mot de passe plus facile à écrire et à mémoriser !

6. Laisser un guide d’accueil à destination de vos voyageurs

S’il y a une chose qui rend spécial un séjour dans un Airbnb, c’est la possibilité de pouvoir vivre le temps d’un séjour comme un local – bien loin des expériences aseptisées des hôtels de chaîne.

Vous pouvez améliorer grandement l’expérience de vos invités en leur faisant part de vos coups de coeur et de vos endroits préférés dans la ville et plus spécifiquement dans votre quartier. Que ce soit un bar pour prendre un café le matin ou sortir prendre un verre le soir, une boulangerie ou acheter ses viennoiseries, ou encore un musée méconnu des touristes.
Si certains évènements ont lieu durant leur séjour, n’hésitez pas non plus à leur en faire part car ils ne sont pas forcément au courant et seront ravis que vous leur en ayez fait part.

Toutes ces informations peuvent leur être présentées sous forme de petit guide touristique personnel de bienvenue que vous aurez fait vous-même ou à travers des sites spécialisés pour lui donner une touche plus professionnelle.

La société StyQR, vous permet même de créer un livret d’accueil digitale que vos invités peuvent consulter facilement sur leur téléphone en scannant un QR code et ainsi emporter avec eux durant leur visite de la ville ! (https://styqr.fr/)

C’est en tous cas un moyen sûr de rendre leur séjour plus agréable, plus spécial, et d’obtenir facilement 5 étoiles après leur séjour.

7. Laisser un adaptateur universel

Le saviez-vous ? Il y a 15 types de prises électriques dans le monde, 8 tensions (voltages) différentes et 2 types de fréquences !

Ainsi, il est fort probable que les prises des appareils électroniques de vos voyageurs ne correspondent pas au standard français…
Il serait donc dommage qu’ils commencent leur séjour de mauvais humeur en se rendant compte qu’ils ne peuvent pas recharger leur téléphone ou parce qu’ils ont oubliés d’apporter leur adaptateur.
Pour quelques euros seulement, vous pouvez leur faciliter la vie dans ces cas là en mettant à leur disposition 1 ou 2 adaptateurs universels.

N’hésitez pas cependant à leur laisser un mot indiquant que ces adaptateurs sont aussi à disposition des prochains voyageurs et qu’ils ne peuvent donc pas les emporter après leur séjour…

8. Établissez une carte du monde de vos voyageurs

Vous ne le saviez peut-être pas mais le logo d’Airbnb, qu’ils ont baptisé Belo, concrétise leur vision d’un monde où les gens peuvent se sentir chez eux n’importe où. Pour donner vie à cette vision inclusive du monde, nous avons aidé certains de nos hôtes à créer une carte du monde sur un mur de leur propriété, où chaque invité y séjournant est invité à ajouter une épinglette pour montrer d’où il vient.

Après quelques réservations, vous pourrez déjà voir une grande variété de voyageurs venant du monde entier ayant ajouté des épingles à votre carte. Cela donne l’impression à vos invités de faire parti d’une véritable communauté de voyageurs, et donne un côté interactif à leur séjour. Et puis c’est aussi une bonne idée déco !