Hey there, fellow property enthusiasts! Can you believe how the rental scene has transformed over the years? It's not just the classic 'short-term' or 'long-term' dilemma anymore. We've ventured into a world where your stay is as customizable as your morning coffee order!
Remember when short stays were cozying up exclusively with hotels and bed and breakfasts? Well, those days are as ancient as dial-up internet. Thanks to the wonders of Airbnb, HometoGo, Tripping.com, and HomeAway, we've got a whole new ballgame. Now, more folks are on the hunt for those 'home away from home' vibes for holidays, vacations, and staycations.
The landscape of hospitality has seen a makeover, especially with the plot twists of the COVID-19 saga. Lockdowns and restrictions might have thrown us a curveball, but guess what? We've adapted, and the show must go on!
Before the pandemic stole the spotlight, the concept of the 'staycation' was already strutting its stuff. People with a spare room or two caught on to the trend, realizing they could turn their space into a short-term haven. Thanks to these nifty platforms, house sharing and room rentals became the cool kids on the block.
With a regular host earning an average of £11,321 a year – it’s no surprise that people are signing up to rent out their extra space. So far in 2022, there are more than 7 million listings (worldwide) on Airbnb and more than 2.9 million hosts offering space in their properties for guests to enjoy.
What are the Pros and Cons of Becoming a Host on a Room Rental Site?
Making the decision to let out your property, even in small scale (a room at a time) isn’t one that you should just rush into – there’s plenty to consider, pros and cons.
The Pros of Letting Out Rooms on a Hosting Site
- Potentially Higher Income
Because you can set your room rates for a short-term basis, they generally see a higher rate of return than offering the room on a monthly or extended basis.
This is especially lucrative in areas of high demand, during specific times of the year, or when local events dictate a wider interest in the area.
- Freedom to Choose the Date
When you’ve got a long-term tenant, they’re there for the duration. With a short-term let, you still have to have contractual obligations and niceties followed in order to remain legally compliant; but with platforms such as Airbnb, you can choose when the room/s are available – this allows for greater freedom in planning or taking a break.
- Choose Your Occupants
The Airbnb platform, in particular, isn’t a one-way process; guests can review the locations where they’ve stayed, and landlords can also review their guests, which means that unless you’ve selected instant booking, you have the option to check your guests before committing to allowing them to stay.
The Cons of Letting Out Your Rooms
- Costs and Fees
When you’re planning your budget and reviewing your income, you’ve got to remember that Airbnb (and other booking sites like it) come with associated fees, that you’ll need to deduct from your takings.
You also need to carefully look at the costs associated with renting out a property, even if it’s just a single room – such as cleaning and sanitising, wear-and-tear on furniture and appliances, crockery and cutlery provided, and any other expenses that come with having a guest in your home.
- No Guarantee on Bookings
We saw with the COVID pandemic, how quickly industries can be impacted and affected by global changes – and the rental market, even room rental, is no different.
You can’t guarantee that every available date you put on the books will see a booking, and there may be extended periods where your rental property isn’t making you any income because of a lack of customers.
It's important to balance your needs, costs, and the state of the market when deciding whether hosting rooms on individual dates, short-term lets, or long-term lets are going to be financially in your best interest.
- It’s a Commitment of Time and Energy
Renting a room doesn’t just mean you put the listing up, click a button, have them stay, and repeat – there’s a lot more to it than that.
You need to be available to answer questions, communicate with your clients, check them in (and make sure you tell them any rules you’ve got for the property), and that’s just taking you up to their stay.
During, you might need to be on hand to answer questions, provide assistance if something goes wrong, or conduct additional activities (especially if you’ve offered experiences as part of their stay).
Then, once your guests are gone, if you’ve not got a cleaning service, you’ll need to take care of that, prepare the rooms for the next guests, and make sure everything is as it should be.
For those looking to take a ‘professional’ approach, there’s then the issue of leaving feedback, encouraging repeat stays, and handling the social media and marketing aspects of the business.
Are Airbnb and Sites Like It a Viable Source of Income?
In short, yes.
But that answer does come with a lot of qualifiers.
Renting any property is a commitment to your tenants or guests, and ensuring that you’re legally, ethically, and operationally compliant.
As with any decision that’s made carefully, it shouldn’t be rushed into. Take your time to examine what you can offer, how well visited your local area is, what budget you have to run your bookings properly, and determine for yourself just how many people you are capable of dealing with.
It’s especially important to review your potential guests and clients – whether you’re hosting a booking in your own home, or an independent property – you want to be sure that you’re not putting yourself, others, or your assets at risk.
At the end of the day though, opening up your home to others can be a rewarding experience – both monetarily and as a person, you are literally opening up your door to the world, and can meet all sorts of new people, learn about new cultures, and enjoy new experiences – without ever needing to leave your own home.
Added: January 17, 2023 14:34:35