New Private Room Host

Hello! My name is Gina. My husband and I have a house in lovely Devon, UK. We are renovating, but want to try hosting. It would be one of the double rooms with an excellent view of the valley and fields. We could also allow exclusive access of our smaller living room, known as the snug.
I’m just not really sure where to start. I have contact my insurer, Axa who do not insure lodgers. As we have oil heating, I am having trouble finding a good insurer. Can anyone recommend one?
Also, what do I need to do to make it more special? I will be home when they are going to stay as it’ll be weekend., and I thought we could offer to cook meals, breakfast etc. As we both enjoy cooking. We have plenty of parking and a good size garden they can relax in. Although the patio is not in yet, so it is still messy gravel. We enjoy it, but it’s working out if others would.
Bathroom wise, the bedroom does not have an en suite, but it adjacent to the family bathroom with a brand new large shower. So we thought we could allow them to have that bathroom and we would use our en suite.
There will be cross over in our kitchen due to the layout of the house. Is this an issue? I know when I have used Airbnb, we also rent a whole place so I have never experienced this…

Any tips would be awesome. We are not planning to price high, so I don’t want to be bending backwards… just enough to make it right.

This sounds abit like our place in Lancaster (see 15575663). We do old-school B&B - guests have a double bedroom on the top floor of our three-storey town house, and full use of the adjacent bathroom (we sleep and shower in an en-suite we’ve just had made out of our integral garage). We allow access to our sitting room and our kitchen. It works very well indeed, and guests seem to like us. We offer a continental breakfast - I really wouldn’t pursue the idea of additional meals as you get into food hygiene issues. Most guests don’t use the kitchen for preparing their own food, but a number have made full use if it - it’s never been a problem. Price-wise, look at other local properties and compare. We’re both 70+ and have been doing this for 2 years - 76 reviews, 74 of them 5* - people like old-fashioned hospitality!


Hello @ginasaro

Do have a look at what others nearby are offering and what they charge to give you an idea of the market and what amenities to offer.

Who do you see as you target market? I am presuming you are aiming at tourists given your location. But do you want to attract families? walkers? surfers?

Offering guests their own bathroom is a great idea if you can. You don’t necessarily need to offer a separate living space, but if that works better for you, then go for it.

I found my home insurance for STR using a local insurance broker so perhaps you could give that a try. I know Admiral and Aviva are two that offer specialist insurance in the UK.

You certainly don’t need to offer to cook meals, but could offer breakfast or dinner on request at an extra charge if you live in an isolated area where guests would have to drive to find something to eat.

If the patio isn’t finished I wouldn’t offer the garden as an amenity until it is.

Focus on highlighting local tourist attractions and anything that makes your place unique or different.

Read Airbnb Help Centre and the guides on Airbnb community to help you become familiar with how Airbnb works BEFORE you let your listing go live.

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Hi Gina and welcome! Good advice above.

Remember that your guests will appreciate small touches that cost you little or even nothing. Have confidence in your listing and think about value for money rather than beating the competition. Be sure to be certain that you’ve done your maths thoroughly and allowed for eventualities so that your nightly rate is good for you.

Check with your local authority regarding cooking for your guests. Here (S Florida) it’s only allowed if we jump through loads of hoops so it’s a lot easier not to.

Your place sounds lovely.

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Even though you may have minor traffic issues with your home’s current layout, it sounds like a wonderful house. As one who really appreciates the ancient British public footways, I have had some wonderful days hiking in Cornwall and Devon. If you are near any popular hiking paths you should say so in your listing.

I wish I had found this forum before I converted my upstairs rental flat into a 3 room shared bath STR a year ago. The first thing I would suggest is that you check all the AirBnB listings in your area. Read what amenities they offer, what type of accommodation, and if they offer breakfast or other meals. You also should read their house rules, so you can see what kind of guest actions they regulate or prohibit.

After that, do a search here in this forum on “house rules”. You’ll find many discussions about why they are needed.

I would also suggest that you draft the content of your proposed AirBnB listing on your computer with a word processor and select your photos before you start the AirBnB hosting process and share them here. You will get a very honest critique from folks here.

Hi Thank you for your reply. I will look into continental breakfasts :slight_smile: We are 7 miles away from the nearest town although we do have a little shop open for a couple of hours in the morning, so it’ll be good to offer something to get them started for the day.

Hi, thank you for your advice. I will look into the others locally. They offer a bit more than we do as they have large areas with separate annexes. We would be catering for tourists, walkers and cyclists I expect as we are on the northern edge of Dartmoor and very close to the Granite Way cycle route.
What does STR stand for? We have oil heating, and trying with LVE to get a quote yesterday it refused at oil so I wonder if this may be an issue.

Hi, from what people are saying it probably sounds like too much hassle. But we’d be happy to let people use our kitchen if they require. We have a large dining room that can cater for us all. We have a lot of space that we are not really utilising well just yet!

Hi @ginasaro

STR = Short term rental. As I said it’s probably easier to contact a local insurance broker and get them to do the work for you.

Hi, I’ll happily do that. I need to repaint the wall first, buy a nice smaller wardrobe, new bedding and a TV I guess. I’m trying to think of what would be offered in a hotel. What about milk? I hate UHT, but I don’t want to supply a fridge so I suppose there is no other option? Unless they have access to our fridge?
Will it be an issue if I am there? I would feel better to be at home to greet them etc. But do people feel put off by this? It is big enough for us to stay out the way, but I would be in the kitchen, main living room (not at offer to them) and the garden. Leon would probably be working in the garage.

The whole point is that you are not a hotel @ginasaro . So don’t need to create a hotel like room. Just think about the amenities you would like when you are travelling.

If you are giving them access to your kitchen just give them a shelf in your fridge and they can keep milk in there.