This is a supplementary blog post for our VLOG ENTRY entitled: “How we stayed overnight at The Pearl-Qatar for only QR87? || AIRBNB” (click this link to watch the whole episode).
It was quite a long video (19 minutes long) in our desire to incorporate both a tutorial and our personal experience in one staycation video. But I felt that we should be sharing more, so I thought of dedicating this post to get more people aware of this “NEW STAYCATION IDEA”.
If you want to know more about the basics of Airbnb, check out our previous blog post: Airbnb 101 Posted on
AS AN AIRBNB GUEST
Here are some of the steps in order for you to book a unit via Airbnb.
- Log in to your Airbnb Account. If you are not a member yet, you may use this link to create a new account: https://www.airbnb.com/c/exequielh?currency=PHP
- Just like any online booking site, you may choose your destination, your preferred date of travel/stay, and search for your preferred accommodation.
- When choosing your accommodation, make sure to first check the availability of the unit by going to the calendar. Also, check their minimum required nights/stay – some hosts prefer longer staying guests, some hosts accommodate even an overnight stay.
- Make sure to check the photos, the descriptions and specifications, and also the reviews given by previous guests. These will help you decide on the accommodation that suits you well.
- You may actually message the host first for your concerns/questions before making a booking. Once everything is settled and you feel comfortable reserving the unit, then its time to book.
- All bookings require pre-payment using your valid credit card. Check the payment details and instructions of your host regarding modifications or changes, cancellation, and refund.
- It is expected that check-in / check-out timings/arrangements, as well as the do’s and dont’s are made clear between the host and the guest prior to making the booking.
- All communications are advised to be done within the Airbnb platform. No exchange of telephone number, email ID or social media accounts will be allowed when you are not done with the booking yet.
- Also, note that the advertised rates are the rate per night (as pegged by the host). But as an advertiser in the Airbnb platform, Airbnb also collects a small amount called Service Fee. Aside from that, note that some hosts are charging Cleaning Fees and Deposits in case of any damage (Refundable after check out). So the total fee will increase so you have to really double check this before booking.
- Once the booking is made, all telephone numbers and other private information will not be “enabled” in your inbox communications and a printable receipt and/or instructions will be sent via email.
- You may leave a comment and star rating after your stay for reference of the host and other future guests.
AS AN AIRBNB HOST
If you have a property, a house or a condo unit, or even a part of your own house/property that you want to lease out, then this section is for you. However, we don’t encourage you to sub-lease if it is against your rental agreement. This is advisable only for those who OWN a property.
- Log in to your Airbnb Account. On the upper right corner of the page, you will see “Add Listing” where you can enter the details of your property. If you want to become a host and you don’t have an Airbnb account yet, you may click this link: www.airbnb.com/r/bestlifeqatar
- Create a catchy title. This will sum up your property descriptions in few words. Make it really attractive and easy to find in the search box. I suggest using keywords like (what is your property? Is it a house or a condo). Then follow it up with location (using any identifiable landmarks), or use other keywords such as benefits (like close to the Central Business District, very close to the mall, etc).
- Create your dashboard by filling out the necessary information. The starting point is to feel like you are the guest of the unit and you have to get more details as to what you will expect in your unit. Also, you may double check with the property management which facilities may be shared to your guests and note down their policies and procedures as well.
- Adding pictures will be helpful to create a sense of excitement as well as a visual representation of the unit. Upload beautifully captured images of the actual unit (don’t use stock photos that do not represent your property).
- Also, adding information like nearby establishments, location maps, nearby attractions will all the more encourage your guests to book your property. But make sure to put only realistic data (saying that the distance is only a few steps away when in fact it is really very far isn’t really a good idea).
- Create your calendar and decide on your rental fee/rates. You may check other similar properties and see how you will set the price for your unit. Make sure that it is reasonable for you as a host (in order to cover for your expenses), and competitive in the point of view of a guest (that it is value-for-money and has more to offer than its closest alternative). You will also have to enter your bank account where payments will be deposited by Airbnb (on a normal basis, guests will be charged on their card immediately but hosts will receive their payout after the guest check-in).
- Pay attention to the details. In order to do this, putting yourself in the position of the guest will definitely help you find small things that should be present in your unit. Personally, I included a welcome pack which includes some basic needs (including bottled water, soap, dishwashing soap, tissue papers, a few snacks). I also make sure that the linens are clean and fresh (I usually request the laundry shop to specifically use fabric conditioners). Provide extra sheets if possible and well as check if there are worn-out parts and buy replacements. Same with the kitchen utensils, check each item (soak it in hot water if possible) as well as their sanitary condition (esp the sponges, the cutting boards, the cooking tools, etc). Lastly, scent. For me, the first impression is the scent of the unit. Make sure that you use light scents (lavender or eucalyptus scents are my favorites – it create a spa ambiance and its always my guests favorite). You can use air freshener or you may defuse essential oils before the guest arrival.
- Make a handbook. If there are special instructions or important reminders, it might be helpful to provide materials or even framed guidelines for easy reference. Information such as wifi password, instructions on how to use a special appliance, or how to navigate the television setup, and other helpful information.
- If there are forms necessary during the guest stay, like the swimming pool pass etc, you might want to provide extra forms too.
- COMMUNICATION. Every host should put extra effort into this category from the inquiry, to the booking, during the stay and even after checkout. Keep your self online for questions, making yourself available for assistance, even check on them once in a while, are things that your guests will love you for. Just keep a proper balance of being thoughtful and not annoying.
- Schedule repairs and inspections. As guests come and go, there will some parts of your unit that may need to be replaced or repaired. This cost may be considered in deciding your rates (cost of repairs, divided by 12 months). You may also consider changing the look especially if you have repeat guests or if you feel like introducing a different ambiance, say, every after 2 years or so.
- The key to a great hosting is your maintenance staff. While you may probably be hands-on with the social media/Airbnb platform, someone has to meet the guests in person. Maintaining the cleanliness and presentability of the unit is also their topmost priority, as well as liaising with the building admin for any permits or contract requirements. Your maintenance staff will also secure a good laundry shop, water refilling station, pest control, and many others on top of the regular bills payment (water, electricity, condo dues, cable and internet).
Advantages of an Airbnb Superhost
To become a SUPERHOST, you need to have an account in good standing and meet the following requirements. Your performance is measured over the past 12 months. However, you do not need to have hosted for the full 12 months to qualify. Check your Superhost status here. Some of the requirements include:
- Completed at least 10 trips or successfully completed 3 reservations that total at least 100 nights
- Maintained a 50% review rate or higher
- Maintained a 90% response rate or higher
- Zero cancellation, with exceptions made for those that fall under the Airbnb Extenuating Circumstances policy
- Maintain a 4.8 overall rating
What is the benefit of a SUPERHOST? Aside from a superhost badge that easily recognizes you from your profile picture, guests will easily find you since you will put in a priority cue in the search box, and guests will trust you for your accomplishments and status as a host.
As per my own personal experience of being an Airbnb guest, I saw its advantages especially if you are traveling in a group where hotel policies (esp in SouthEast Asia) are very strict in terms of the number of guests and getting additional rooms will double your hotel expenses. At the same time, the flexibility of being able to cook will definitely save you more especially if you are staying for a long period of time. The only downside is that sometimes, other Airbnb does not provide basic toiletries, sleepers, or even extra towels for the floor. Often times, they don’t have a direct connection to the reception but the idea is to communicate directly to your host via Airbnb or the number which will now appear in your conversations.
As a host, Airbnb sustained my property investment. Instead of paying for my monthly amortization out of my pocket, the rental fee that I’m collecting from Airbnb is more than enough to cover for all the utility bills and my bank amortizations. Most of the time, the extras are saved for repairs and replacements of items inside my unit.
We will learn from our experiences and by keeping ourselves updated from the regular materials sent out by Airbnb (when you subscribe to their site), these will help you improve as you travel and host more guests in the future.
DISCLAIMER: This post includes some affiliate links. This means that if you click on the link, become a member or book a unit, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All photos are taken during our stay in our Airbnb unit in the Pearl-Qatar. If you want to contact our host, please click this link: Iconic view studio in pearl qatar
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I'm a Christian, a husband and a father, a Filipino expat in Qatar, entrepreneur, aspiring blogger, freelance real estate consultant, lover of anything KOREAN, an adventurer.