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Breath of fresh air: 6 tips to thriving in the Airbnb market

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Just about every month, stunning new local properties are popping up on Airbnb.com.  From old Bermuda cottages in Flatts to contemporary studios in the heart of Hamilton – at last check, there were over 300 options for tourists to choose from on the popular vacation rental site. So what makes some spaces stand out from the rest? RG Magazine asked two home owners to share their tips…

Sally Aggarwal had used Airbnb previously for family trips and always had good experiences. Then when a waterfront property became available for sale across from her home, she figured it would make for the perfect short-term rental for the Bermuda market. It had an amazing view and was in a great location within walking distance to Church Bay and local restaurants, as well as on a bus route.

BRING THE OCEAN FEEL INSIDE:
Let’s face it, one of the Island’s biggest selling points are the beaches. Capitalise off of that by creating a light, modern and coastal feel with the décor. In Sally’s case, she also put in glass railings to maximise the view of the South Shore.

ALWAYS HAVE FRESH LINENS

There’s nothing better than checking into a hotel and getting that first whiff of clean, fresh sheets. Try to recreate that experience for guests by having plenty of white sheets on hand for each bedroom and ample white towels in the bathrooms. Having at least three sets for each room allows Sally to prepare for a quicker turnaround between guests. Also, make sure linens are high quality and able to withstand repeated washing.

COMMUNICATE WITH GUESTS IN ADVANCE
Many guests come to the Island for a special occasion, such as an anniversary or birthday. Communicate with them in advance to make sure you understand their expectations and can assist with any pre-planning, such as having taxis waiting for them, groceries in the house or any baby/ toddler items ready.


Sophie Francis and her husband Matt decided to put their spare apartment up for rent on Airbnb to generate a rental income, while also ensuring more privacy for themselves than with a long-term tenant. They were doing a full renovation of the space anyway, so opted to stick to neutral décor and brought in a few Bermuda-inspired decorations as well, such as a retro poster and Bermuda kite on the wall.

DON’T FORGET THE LITTLE DETAILS
Guests will need everything from cutlery, to a kettle and beach towels – and don’t forget to stock up on extra toiletries. In the event someone arrives to the Island on a late flight, this way they’ll still have the basic necessities to get a shower and settle in for the night before finding a grocery store the next day.

SECURE AND INSURE YOUR HOME
While vacation rental sites like Airbnb state they offer host liability insurance of up to $1million, the Francis’ learned this coverage didn’t apply to homeowners in Bermuda. To protect themselves, they went back to their home insurance provider and added additional coverage – in the event, a guest takes a nasty fall on the property, or something out-of-the-ordinary should happen.

THINK LIKE A GUEST
We all look forward to our vacations – sometimes months or even years in advance. That’s why it’s important to make sure guests have all the information and resources at their fingertips to get the most out of their time in Bermuda. The Francis’ have included a guest book in their property, which is filled with restaurant recommendations, sightseeing suggestions, public transportation routes and other tips for tourists to read up on.

This article was originally published in the Summer 2018 edition of RG Magazine.

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