In the past few months we have had a number of conversations with people considering putting their properties, or parts thereof, on one of the online accommodation websites like Airbnb, Booking.com etc.
From these conversations it has become quite evident that there is a lack of understanding of what is deemed as “suitable accommodation” and “suitable hosting standards”, as expected from both the online portals and guests. It raises the question as to whether accommodations are at an acceptable quality level or not and this is largely governed by the reviews and feedback from guests. However, there are minimum standards which all hosts should meet in order to ensure a flow of repeat business.
Each online booking website has its own recommended standards and these are based on a wide range of factors such as:
- value for money
- quality of furnishings
- amenities and many more.
So it’s not just a case of putting your accommodation online, without having taken a serious look at why you are doing this and what effort you may need to make in order for guests to be attracted to it.
In life, first impressions are what often sets the tone for what follows. Especially when one is going on a holiday, paying well-earned money for decent accommodation of which they have a certain expectation, based on the information they have at hand. Anyone who has had the experience of arriving at a destination to find that the accommodation is nothing like described or expected can vouch for the disappointment one feels at the outset. It can be the ruination of the holiday for your guests and you as the owner will get the backlash when reviews are published.
Accommodations should, at a minimum, be clean, uncluttered and attractive. The more attractive and comfortable the décor is, the better response you will get. Amenities are a very key factor in attracting guests and if the basics are not in place it could be detrimental to future bookings. Free wi-fi is a given these days, next to things like a private entrance, Cable TV (DSTV) and in warmer climates, air-conditioning. If self-catering accommodation, cooking facilities are a must and in all cases, the basics like a “coffee station” should be in place. The list is endless but it is ultimately up to the host to decide on what extra’s to include in order to obtain the best reviews possible.
One thing is for certain – being a host for guests booking via the online websites is more than just a key-exchange and property run-through. Some people have taken the reigns and have become totally passionate about their role as a host and as a result constantly get good reviews, repeat bookings and an income stream that warrants all the little extra’s that make an impression. In other instances, home owners are using Property Management professionals to manage the end-to-end process on their behalf and in doing so, will be advised as to how best to set up their accommodation for maximum benefit and guest enjoyment. The personal touch cannot be underestimated and if you are in the slightest doubt as to whether your listed accommodation and amenities are up to scratch then you need to review this in order to take full advantage of the potential that exists