Letting out a spare room to holidaymakers or travellers is a great way to make a little extra cash. It can either supplement your main income, or you could earmark it to help pay for your own adventures. And it can be fun as well as lucrative as you’ll get to meet lots of interesting people from around the world.
Since most people don’t have entire rooms at home standing empty, the operation calls for a bit of creative thinking.
Fortunately, there are several strategies that make it possible to have a comfortable spare guest room while keeping it useful for your own daily use.
Honestly assess your space
You’ll make more money from Airbnb rentals if your room is large enough to accommodate more than one person. However, you won’t get fantastic reviews (and repeat visits or referrals) if you cram two or more people into a single-size room.
It’s far better to decide from the outset that you’re offering holiday accommodation to single travellers, then work on making the room as comfortable as possible.
You probably have furniture that you’d prefer wasn’t there during the rental period:
- Maybe the furniture is precious to you, either in actual value or sentimentally.
- Maybe it’s unsuitable for guests, such as hobby tables or equipment.
If you have just a few personal items to remove from the room, the loft is a good storage place. Pack things as carefully as you would if moving house, and label the boxes to make unpacking them quick and easy too. For larger items, a self storage unit provides alternative housing and keeps them safe while you rent the room out.
Make the room cosy and practical
Some people let out their whole house during their own holiday periods, but others choose to offer a room all year round. The room option means sharing parts of your home with strangers, but you can offset any inconvenience to yourself by making it as self-contained as possible.
This may include installing tea and coffee-making supplies such as a kettle or filter coffee maker. Include a small fridge so guests can keep foodstuffs fresh and cool, and make sure there’s a supply of mugs, plates and basic cutlery.
Other comfort items to consider are a TV, a small desk or table, ironing equipment and a few books or magazines. Luxury items that are a nice touch but not vital are flowers in the room and a welcome pack of shower gels and soaps or some chocolates. If you really want to pamper your guests, most would welcome a bottle of wine after a day’s travelling. It’s also helpful to gather a few information materials, such as bus timetables, taxi phone numbers and interesting local places to visit.
Double up on basic supplies
You’ll need spare towels and sets of bed linen, along with pillows and duvets, blankets or throws. Make sure they’re professionally cleaned before each storage period, and pack them up well to protect them from dust. You could keep them separate from your personal belongings by storing them in your self storage room while you don’t have guests.
Protect your personal belongings
It’s always better to be safe than sorry, and while the majority of guests you’ll attract through Airbnb will respect your property, there’s always the risk of a few who won’t.
You could consider removing all your valuable personal possessions, such as jewellery or even your passport and other important documents, during the period when you have guests.
Personal item protection is another use for your self storage room or locker, or alternatively you could ask family or friends to safeguard a few boxes of items for you.
When you’ve made all the preparations you can, try to see the room through the eyes of a guest. It’s not easy as we tend to overlook small faults we see every day. Creating a comfortable guest room is an ongoing process, and any feedback you receive from guests will help you improve and streamline both your room and your process for preparing it.
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