Airbnb could be your key to financial freedom -- but if you want to be successful renting out a room or a second home to travelers, you'd better offer all the right comforts.
According to a survey commissioned by Airbnb, U.S. travelers say when they choose a rental, amenities are a big deal -- more important than location; shopping and dining in the area; or the nearness to family and friends. (Sorry, Uncle Lou!)
Using photos from actual Airbnb homes, we count down the 10 amenities that guests search the listings for most often, according to Airbnb. Here's what any host needs if you want to earn big by putting your extra space to work.
Hotels are infamously drafty, and long nights in a cold room can knock an otherwise perfect vacation down a few points. Make your Airbnb more appealing to potential renters by highlighting the type of heating system in the home.
A cozy fireplace is a hotly desired amenity, especially in cities with frigid winters.
If you are renting out just a portion of your home, it's important to give guests the ability to control the temperature in their living area.
Travel is just as much about relaxation as it is about activities, and chilling out in front of a television is one of Americans' most beloved pastimes.
Even if you are renting out only one room in your home, make sure the room has a TV. Even better is if the TV has access to premium cable channels, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and so on.
A DVD and/or Blu-ray player can make guests feel even more at home, especially if you have a collection of popular movies for them to choose from.
8. A whirlpool spa
A whirlpool spa will make any traveler say, "Ahhhhhhhhhhh, what a wonderful vacation!" It's the perfect way for your guests to unwind.
True, a Jacuzzi can be a big expense for the owner of an Airbnb, but the spa can help pay for itself as it attracts more renters to your home.
Because the hot water can present unique health health issues, you'll want to post a safety warning in a conspicuous spot near the spa tub.
7. A washing machine
Traveling can be tough pretty tough on clothes. When vacationers take trips to beaches, forests or amusements parks, they may acquire a few stains to go along with their great memories.
Plus, who wants to lug around clothing for every day of a long vacation? It's more convenient to do laundry along the way. For these reasons, many Airbnb users say they search the listings for rentals with access to a washing machine.
To make your washroom even more appealing, provide laundry detergent and fabric softeners for guests to use.
The world runs on Wi-Fi, and your Airbnb will get poor reviews if your guests can't stay connected to their loved ones, the latest news or (sigh) their jobs while staying in your place.
To make your customers feel more secure, set up a Wi-Fi network exclusively for guests, and give it a name that sounds professional and legitimate.
Change your Wi-Fi password for each guest, and assure your visitors that no one else has the password.
5. Air conditioning
No one wants to struggle with sleeping in sweltering heat during a vacation. To have a successful Airbnb, it's super important that you have adequate air conditioning.
Even if it's not customary in your region, a central A/C unit controlled by a thermostat is the best option for keeping all guests happy.
Make sure each room you rent out has access to a thermostat, so guests can control the temperature in their space.
Pets are part of the family, so it's only natural that guests want to bring them along on a family vacation.
If you want to make as much money as possible as an Airbnb host, you should welcome guests traveling with pets to stay in your home.
You may think a pet-free policy will save you money on repairs and cleanups, but you'll risk turning away lots of potential customers. And how much harm can an animal do in a few days, anyway?
3. Free parking
Guests prefer to park at or in front of the house they're staying in. They like being able to look out and see that their vehicle is safe.
If you live in a neighborhood that has parking meters, try to avoid making your guests use paid parking spots.
Guests are already paying for the cost of traveling. The extra expense and hassle of inconvenient parking could cause them to choose another Airbnb.
2. A kitchen that's got everything
Especially on a long trip, eating out for breakfast, lunch and dinner can become exhausting, expensive and time-consuming.
Guests want the option of being able to cook for themselves. It's one of the biggest benefits of staying in a home rather than at a hotel.
So, offer your guests access to your kitchen — and to pots, pans, utensils, plates and anything else they'll need.
1. A pool
Children (and adults, too) flip out when they learn they are staying at a hotel that has a swimming pool, and the same goes for an Airbnb with a pool. A pool is the most searched-for rental amenity, Airbnb says.
Guests are particularly happy when a pool comes with towels in a convenient location. Keep safety and liability in mind: Be sure your pool is clean and safe, and keep life preservers nearby. It's wise to get the pool inspected at least once a year.
Does your home have what it takes to become a busy Airbnb? Then, start hosting today.
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