Long-term Airbnb bookings have risen in popularity within the last few years. This can be especially seen with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. In August 2020, the number of people who searched for longer stays was up more than 50% compared to 2019. The last two years have brought the short-term rental business to a halt, with people forced to stay home and limit travel.
However, many people utilised long-term Airbnb stays, a prime example of this being essential workers isolating in Airbnb properties away from their families in order to keep working while keep themselves and others safe.
Despite this recent boost in longevity, Airbnb hosts are no strangers to long term rental offerings. It has been a large part of Airbnb’s repertoire since they launched their “simpler monthly rentals” functionality in 2011. It’s something more and more hosts are considering, as long-term rentals can be beneficial for business.
Long term rentals can help stabilise your income in a period of uncertainty, and even help you make more money in the long run. However, before you open up your space for the long term, there are some things you should consider in order to make your long-term rental the best it can be.
Before You Go Long-Term: Consider Your Area
Something to strongly consider when starting a long-term rental is the area in which you purchase your property. The first and best places to begin looking are the top-rated places in the UK for buy-to-let properties. The top three places on this list, for example, are great places for long-term rentals for many reasons.
Manchester, Cambridge, and London all have excellent rental markets, with Manchester being one of the best in the UK for growth. They also all have a consistent flow of people, with a combination of tourists, visitors, and internally moving inhabitants. This is due to the fact that they are centres of education, business, and finance. Areas like this are the best for long term rentals for a few reasons. They have a duality because they are popular for both long- and short-term rentals. Manchester, Cambridge, and London have great marketable holiday elements, such as culture, history, sightseeing and shopping.
Therefore, there is a bigger influx of people needing places to stay for a longer period of time. More students are staying in these places for years abroad, more people are visiting for business trips, and more are looking for spaces that they can comfortably work from home. Furthermore, London and Manchester are also close to airports, and therefore have many national and international connections. They offer great opportunities for expats needing somewhere to stay after moving to the UK.
Things that would attract long-term guests for slow travel also attract people looking for a short break. You can still easily rent for weekend city breaks or summer holidays. This is great for a wider net of income, especially when you don’t have long-term month to month tenants.
The wide range of potential Airbnb guests is also a large benefit of hosting in these areas. Somewhere toward the bottom of the list, like Wakefield which has a has a low average room rental rate, doesn’t have these kinds of connections. It has a more limited appeal, and therefore is less likely to draw in any long-term tenants.
Make sure you do your research before you decide where you want to purchase an Airbnb property. You don’t want it to limit you if you choose to go long-term at any point. Keep your options open!
Inside the Property: Things to Include
People who are taking advantage of long-term Airbnb stays are less likely to want to feel that they are on holiday. They generally want to feel like the space is more homely and comfortable. Therefore, it is important to consider who is using your space in the long-term so you can better cater to them across their stay.
Those staying for a few months are likely to have different needs than those staying a weekend. Here are some things you may want to keep in mind when curating your long-term space.
Office space. People that are booking long-term are likely to be working remotely, studying, or away on business trips. If this is the case – they’ll need a space to do their work. While this can just be done comfortably in bed or at the kitchen table, it is great to give people a dedicated space for this work.
It doesn’t have to be a whole separate office specifically. It can simply be a defined desk space with enough room to comfortably work. This is beneficial as it means the guests have a clear boundary between work and home. It helps your guests switch off and relax and create a more manageable work/life balance. It’s a small inclusion that really goes a long way!
Look at reviews. If you already have an Airbnb that houses short-term guests, read your reviews. If not, read ones for other properties. Analyse them, check if anyone had any complaints and address them no matter how small they may seem.
This is an important step and shouldn’t be missed, because things that were annoyances to short-term guests become problems for guests’ booking longer reservations. So, things like construction noise, a closed underground line, or a bad WIFI connection should be addressed where they can. If they can’t be changed, like construction noise, they should be communicated honestly to the guest.
This covers you in the event they may be unhappy with something and ensures that they are 100% getting what they are paying for. Guests want to go into a rental with all the information possible so they can make an informed decision as to whether they would be able to overlook certain things.
Kitchen items. For longer term guests, its often beneficial to provide better quality kitchen items and utensils. The better the quality, the longer they will be able to be used and are less likely to need replacing. It can be more cost effective this way in the long run and can elevate a guests stay purely through convenience.
Something else to consider is the kitchen appliances you provide. While items such as toasters and kettles are par for the course for short-term rentals, you may think to include items like blenders, baking supplies and even Tupperware. It makes the space more homely and utilitarian and will increase returns and good reviews.
Consider making things pet or family friendly. People are more likely to bring their family and/or pets to a long-term stay. You may want to pre-emptively cater to this through the addition of childproofing, extra beds, and substituting expensive or fragile decorations for children’s toys and a portable crib.
For pets, it would be covering hardwood floors with washable rugs, the inclusion of removable and washable fabrics (for furniture covers or pillow cases) or adding pet supplies, like food and water bowls, litter trays or scratching posts.
Making your property pet friendly can in turn make the property ‘higher risk’, as there is a larger chance of needing to replace things or having to make larger scale repairs in the worst-case scenario. You can try to mitigate some of this by charging a ‘Pet Fee’ in order to recoup any issues, but it is entirely personal choice.
This is not by any means necessary if it’s not something you’re comfortable with. However, it is something to consider widening your audience of guests.
Quick Tips and Tricks!
Here are a few quick things to keep in mind when updating a current listing to a long-term one.
- Make sure your space is Covid safe. As Covid-19 is driving more people to long-terms stays, it is important to keep your property safe. Reassure your guests that you are taking every precaution to minimise spread and provide them with cleaning supplies to maintain this.
- Make sure you improve your listing. Update it with all the things you’re including and how it will benefit them to have a long stay with you. Be truthful and make sure you highlight and emphasise the positives of your property.
- If you have a property guidebook, update this with more long-term necessities. This could be things like gyms or dog parks, but whatever they might need for a longer stay in an unfamiliar city should be included.
- Ensure you update house manual with everything needed. This is incredibly important if you include any new kitchen appliances or items that may not be used for a shorter stay. Make sure the house manual has clear instructions that assist the guest to make the most out of your property.
Clearly, there are many things to consider before you open for long-term rentals. You should only do this if you’re fully comfortable with it, as it comes with a whole host of its own challenges. It can even make your rental higher risk in some instances, and this should be considered.
Try and create different customer models that may take advantage of a long-term rental. Put yourself in their shoes. Why would you stay long-term somewhere? What would you expect from your host? Use these to adapt your property to best meet the needs of your guests.
If you’d like to find out how Keey can help you get the most out of your long-term rentals, feel free to contact us today!