Are you thinking about placing some real estate on AirBnb in Squamish ? Let my 20 years in the hotel business guide you to making the right decisions.
Prior to my career in Squamish Real Estate I’ve spent the previous 20 years in the corridor working in and owning hotels, running a successful rental management business, and listing units on AirBnb. In that time I’ve learned what makes guests decide to stay, how to make them happy, and how to turn a profit for yourself.
Converting a part of your home, or even buying an apartment or condo to rent out on AirBnb can be a very lucrative endeavor. Follow the rules, make smart decisions, and educate yourself on being a great host and you can get some serious ROI.
Often overlooked, but probably one of the most important elements. People are usually looking at dozens of places before they choose one, have your stand out by making it look like accommodation they can really picture themselves in. Get ideas from other successful hosts or look to sites like dwell or houzz for photos. People at the very high end might even want to enlist the help of a designer!
After you’ve got your place clean and staged. Be sure to iron bedsheets, have all your lighting working etc. it’s photo time. If you can, I recommend professional photographers. In the Real Estate business, good agents always hire pros to take their shots. There’s a reason, it works ! If you don’t hire a pro at least spend the time to get some quality photos. I’ve seen some shameful listings out there, and know for a fact if they’d just spent some time on décor and photos they’d have higher occupancy and rates.
Spend some time here. Carefully look at your competition to see what they are charging and objectively compare your property to theirs. Airbnb even has some great built-in tools to help you with this, don’t rely on them exclusively, but know they are an excellent guide. In the hotel business, getting the perfect mix of high occupancy, and the best possible rate for your property is called yielding. It can be a real art form, and some people in the business spend their entire lives perfecting it. I’m happy to share more info with clients on this, but for now just remember to carefully watch your competitors and remember the goal isn’t to be the first to sell out, it’s to get the highest yield for your business.
It’s a business
Treat it like a business. Be professional, respond quickly to requests, keep your calendar up to date, track all reservations and your expenses. Always be courteous and polite, you’re in the hospitality business now.
Be a great host
Make sure guests get excellent directions to your rental, and when they arrive be sure the suite is sparkling clean, with all the proper utensils, towels and guests supplies you would expect yourself. The best hosts even leave, or deliver, a little welcome basket ( it doesn’t have to be much, but it goes along way ) If you’re not delivering the basket follow up by email within a few hours of arrival to be sure your guests are happy. Do all the this, and you’re very likely to get great reviews. Reviews drive more bookings and higher rates!
As mentioned earlier, this is a business. Keep track of revenue and expenses and report your profit to the CRA. They’re checking. Really. At the municipal level, currently the District of Squamish doesn’t have specific rules regarding nightly accommodation and the so-called sharing economy. Expect this to change in the future as they look to level the playing field. Expect a tax of some sort that will need to be collected (AirBnb often handles this directly). If you’re thinking of renting an apartment or condo check your strata bylaws. Some strata corporations expressly forbid nightly rentals. A good Squamish real estate agent can get you this info fairly easily.
Help is out there
Don’t like cleaning? No problem, there are cleaning companies and individuals in town that specialize in cleaning after AirBnb guests. Don’t feel like dealing with guests? Still, no problem. You can now even assign a co-host with AirBnb that you give limited permission, who can manage your guests and co-ordinate with cleaners. Airbnb even has a matching service. Need help setting up, or more advice? Message me. I know the Squamish real estate market well. I can help you with service providers and to select the properties that have the most potential for rental revenue. I’ll show you how to budget and yield to maximize your investment.