Advice for Someone Thinking of Starting Out

I’m thinking of being a host, and I have no idea where to start.

I’ve looked up nearby places near me, and they look fantastic. However, I can’t imagine the room which I’d use would be as extravagant.

I’m unsure what’s necessary: I don’t want to buy things that aren’t needed (money is a bit tight because I don’t work).

If you were to stay at someone’s house, what would you look for? How would you calculate fees? What makes a good host?

Any advice would be appreciated.

What city are you in? We can give better advice if we know your location.

A good host ensures the accommodation is spotlessly clean and comfortable; corresponds clearly; responds to guests’ questions and concerns promptly, and treats the guests with respect.

I check my personal calendar each time a guest sends a request to book, before I accept it. On the airbnb site calendar for my rental I block off the nights when I know I have plans that preclude me easily preparing the suite. I also block it off if I plan to have friends over when we might have loud music playing or laugh often and raucously. ( The suite is private and separate from my part of the house, but loud noises do carry to the guests.)
Except in an extreme emergency, good hosts never cancel their guests’ bookings.

I’m sure other forum members will mention all I’ve forgotten to list.

Some wise advice given to me was to spend a couple of nights in the accommodation I planned to rent and consider what guests might need to make their stay enjoyable. Top of the list for me would be immaculate sheets, pillow cases and towels, spotless bathroom, good bedside lighting for reading and a sturdy lock on my door, especially one with access to the outside.

Fees are often calculated by checking prices for similar offerings in your area. It’s suggested sometimes that when you begin your business, you have prices a little lower than comparable rentals until you are more established with a pocketful of good reviews.

When I started out I was grateful to guests who made helpful suggestions to include some items that I hadn’t thought of e.g. a fan for the summertime ( no AC here ); a magnifying mirror in the bathroom; two luggage racks for when their are two guests, ( I only had one ); a thermos to keep the fresh coffee warm; a night-light in the bathroom.

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I am in Toormina, New South Wales, Australia. The nearest city, Coffs Harbour, is a place people would’ve heard of. There’s roughly 70,000 people here.

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What’s necessary?

  • A desire to interact with people. This is the hospitality industry; you MUST be hospitable.
  • The ability to be firm with people when necessary. Learn to say No.
  • A clean, neat, safe environment for guests to stay in. Fresh paint is cheap and makes a place look good. Don’t invest in a not-so-good neighborhood because a place is cheap.
  • A good bed – if you’re short on money spend it here first.
  • Do not worry about reviews.
  • Do the very best job you can to make your guests welcome and ensure they have a pleasant experience

Realtors price a house they will sell based on the “comps” – comparable homes to the one they want to list. As a host, you should do the same in pricing your place. Don’t undersell yourself, but don’t overprice your self either.

That’s something I’d have to do: be more clean. Ha ha. But, I wouldn’t expect anyone to stay at mine when it’s messy.

That makes sense. The problem with me is that while I don’t have plans 99.9% of the time, some of my friends like to make last minute plans, which can be frustrating. But, first in best dressed kind of thing: if someone’s staying at mine, then I can’t hang with friends. Rationally, only genuine emergencies call for last minute cancellations.

I have heard people like bedside tables or small tables for writing or doing other things. And lamps too.

Fresh linen & towels are a definite must. I feel that some people haven’t done that before.

A lock on the door might actually be a good idea (when accessed from outside). That’d help heaps.

Here, you’d definitely need a fan for summer. I mean, it’s hot already here.

A luggage rack, a magnifying mirror, a thermos, and a night light aren’t things I’d expect; but I’ll keep those in mind.

If there are any other things, feel free to let me know. I appreciate your advice. :slight_smile:

I need to work on my people skills. I’m not the best when it comes to social interactions; but I’d see whether a person wishes to be alone or be social. I can understand being hospitable.

If you don’t mind me asking, have there been examples where you’ve had to say “no” to people? And, if yes, what are some examples of requests & such that have warranted that response?

Paint is an interesting one. I am currently renting a place, and the real estate are a bit pernickety. I don’t think I would paint my place; but, in saying that, it’s not too shabby either. Perhaps in the future, if I do really well, I would consider it.

My place is (I believe) safe. There’s not much that happens in my unit complex (especially since the noisier neighbours moved out). Maybe the people below me have some noisy nights; but nothing that would threaten anyone’s safety.

The bed would be the first thing I’d invest in. I’d go either a queen or a double bed.

Why not worry about the reviews? I’m curious.

I’d worry I’d overprice/undersell myself. But, I’ll see how things go. Thanks heaps for that. :slight_smile:

You are renting?
You are aware that if you have a standard lease and that it states that you cannot sub let?
Have you done a DA with Coffs Harbour council for accommodation?
Can you get insurance for short term letting?

If you were my tenant and I discovered you were subletting, you would find the lease would be terminated - I will not allow sub letting as you put my property and my insurance at risk!

Most people on this forum are not from Australia and therefore would not have heard of your town or Coffs.

My suggestion is spend a few days looking through the threads and do your research, including staying in places nearby you for a night or two to test the competition.