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New Host - Very Excited - A few ?'s

Hi everyone. We own a 52 acre goat farm in rural RI and have spent the last many months renovating a building on our property to turn it into a guest house. We were glad to receiving zoning approval from our town and after going live we received our first 3 reservations within a matter of days.

One question I have is about AirBnB’s referral program. We want to send customers from our personal website, to AirBnB through a link on our farm website. We were hoping there was a way to link then directly to our AirBnB listing, while also putting in our referral link. Is there a way to do this?

Second, having spent a great deal of money for this renovation/brand new septic/new roof, etc, we want to make sure we have adequate insurance. Our farm insurer already added the our “BnB” to our policy so we are covered if anything ever happens. Lawsuits, vandalism, etc. But our concern is about insurance for small claims. We don’t want to file an insurance claim for small damage/theft, like under $2000. Are there any third party companies that offer this type of insurance, who have a good record or paying our claims without headaches?

Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated. I am sure this will be the beginning post of many, many more to come.

Also, I wanted to share our link so please if you have any criticisms or thoughts we would greatly appreciate it!!

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/11668073

In theory you would be covered by the Host Guarantee. In practice, it sounds a bit difficult to utilize. There are several companies that offer STR insurance. What are your concerns?

The only outstanding line in the ad was, “We encourage petting the goats and llama through the gate only, never over the fence as you will likely get shocked by the electric wire.” I’m imagining most people won’t read this, so I hope you have signs posted.

FelixCat, we do indeed have signs posted about the electric wire.

Our concerns are just about the what ifs. We did read that the Host Guarantee is not very good and we wanted something to protect us if anything is ever stolen or destroyed.

http://cbizspecialtyinsurance.com/vacation-rental/

Good luck with your beautiful space!

I have a somewhat unrelated piece of advice. I travel with my family. I was looking last night for a place for us to stay in Chattanooga TN. Many listings showed they would accept 5 guests but said 1 bedroom and 1 bed. Many of them never told me where my kids would sleep.

You do mention it, but later. I would put it at the top. People need that info quickly if they are traveling with more than two. They don’t really need to know that professional photos are coming soon - They need to know where people are going to sleep. “The bedroom has a queen bed and the den has a queen size murphy bed”

I never did book a place last night - I just booked a hotel because it tells me right up front how many and what size beds. I didn’t want to have to write the host and ask the questions.

This is what I have:

“Welcome! Two bedroom semi-private apartment. Bedroom 1 has a queen & a twin. Bedroom 2 has queen futon. Kitchenette, Private Bath, Free Breakfast. Walk 5 min to metrobus stop/ 2 mile to Metro station/5 min to UMD, free parking! Half-Bath upstairs.”

Right away people know where they can sleep and where they can pee. ; )

Generally speaking, if there is any substantial damage, the host guarantee will take care of it. You can expect, and should factor in, lots of wear and tear on all of items and general breakage. I actually expect to replace certain pieces of furniture, pots & pans, and throw rugs yearly.

Don’t overspend on things that look worse for wear (like sheets, etc). It’s a lot like running a restaurant or any other hospitality business. Don’t depend on guest behavior or insurance - pad your prices with some “self-insurance.”

This is why depreciation of these goods is allowed on the tax return.

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Excellent info! You are right about the 2 bedroom situation. I will make the changes right away. Keep them coming if you have more suggestions. Thanks very much.

I think that having these expectations (and, yes, deducting them!!) is also good for your mental health and wellbeing. People will wear things out with standard use - it’s easy to resent until you remember that this loss is all part of the service.

As long as your overall expenses are sufficiently lower than your overall revenue (rather than looking at them on a case-by-case basis), then you’re doing well.

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That is a great way of thinking about it. We aren’t worried about broken glasses, spills and things like that. Things happen, and wear and tear is perfectly fine. We want people to have fun, so if they get a little too drunk and drop a glass, what does it matter since the glass only cost 50 cents.

I just looked at your listing - LOVE your pictures, I wish I could borrow your goats so they could snack on my blackberries here in Seattle. :slight_smile:

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And at the same time if someone takes off with a painting or some other item of a bit more value, you’d like some protection.

Haha. We love our goats, and they do indeed love blackberries, and even poison ivy. You wouldn’t believe how great they are at keeping it all down.

Yes, we do want protection for things like theft, etc. We have a nice 60 inch flat screen in there, among other things. It would be a shame to not be protected in the event of receiving a bad apple as a guest.

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Wow very cool! The listing looks great. I would up the cleaning fee a little bit since it will probably take a little bit to clean it. I would change to strict cancelation because you’re lively hood depends on people not changing their minds and you could utilize a security deposit to worry about small things guests do!

haha I stay at your Airbnb just to eat your wild blackberries…

Thank you very much for checking it out, and for the advice. We were planning to up the cleaning fee eventually, but not until we establish some reviews. I worry about the security deposit because I think it would be a turn off, but we will consider it.

Its my understanding the guests don’t pay the security deposit upfront its only charged upon check out and most guests expect it. You could also call Peer.org that offers supplement Airbnb home insurance for $35 a month and ask about claims. Its month-to-month so you can cancel at any time so may be worth having for small stuff.

Should I consider my competitors when deciding what to charge for cleaning/security? Most of them don’t charge these fees.

This is my philosophy: try not to compete on price - it’s a losing proposition. Your place not a commodity. It is very unique (you have a niche!) and people will want to book because it’s a unique experience. Make sure that the price you get makes running your business worth it to you. You have an edge because you are not simply another 1 br apartment in Providence, or whatever (btw, I went to school there ages ago, love RI).

I charge the amount that my cleaning lady charges plus and additional $20 as a buffer. I also charge more for my rental than any other place near me because it’s simply not worth my time to charge any less. If and when the time comes that my place is not booked at least 60% of the time then I will stop the STR.

All that rambling was just to say that you can pretty much ignore the rest of your competitors if you have a unique booking.

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