Louanne and Jim King share their tops tip for being a great host on Airbnb.
Our interest in being Airbnb hosts started after visiting our son in Prague, where he ran a very successful Airbnb. He had several guests stay while we were there, and we loved getting to know people from all over the world. When our tenant moved out of the upstairs apartment, we decided it was the perfect opportunity to try this new venture.
Create a “home away from home”
The approach we use is very much what we would like to have there if we were using it. So we renovated and furnished the upstairs apartment with a view of everyday comfort and practicality. We wanted it to be available as a longer term “home away from home”, as well as for locals who just needed a well-earned break. We equipped it with everything we thought you might need in a home – nice linens, DVDs and books, as well as a fully equipped kitchen that includes basic spices and sauces, cooking oil and so on. The huge sundeck seems to be everybody’s favourite spot, either for a quiet wake-up cup of coffee looking over the farm to the mountains, or watching the tawny frogmouths roosting in the tree, almost within touching distance.
Think of any little extras you can provide
We like to leave little extras like a packet of bikkies and nice coffee sachets so our guest can sit and relax on arrival. Sometimes we leave a chilled bottle of wine if guests are staying a few days. What else? Basic herbs, spices, sauces and cooking oils are in the pantry. Ice trays filled and ready to use for a cold drink. A fruit bowl with seasonal fruits. A couple of flowering pot plants on the sundeck. We always leave a personalised welcome greeting, tailored to the guests’ needs and interests. The other thing is that we don't cut corners on comfort: quality linens for sleeping comfort, and although the apartment is not a modern trendy style, we have aimed for a homey, easy to live in comfort.
Consider offering a point of difference
We noticed there was not a lot of accommodation available for people who wanted to bring a dog with them, so decided to make our place pet-friendly. Two of our guests have brought their dogs with them, and as they were quiet, well-behaved animals, they created no problems at all. We leave contact details of a local vet in case of problems.
Offer local knowledge of the area
We like to share our local knowledge of the area and offer a guided tour of the area. As yet, no one has taken us up on the tour guide option, but we have a large bulletin board with flyers advertising local highlights that is often accessed, with us providing directions. We live in a great area and would love to share it with our guests, with highlights including Fingal lighthouse, local beaches and waterways (some of which are really only known to locals). Our tour would also include a trip to the iconic Mount Warning National Park and rainforest, with side trips to quaint local villages of Uki and Tyalgum, and perhaps a trip to Cram's Farm. Maybe even paddleboarding at Jim's favourite spot in Kingscliff Creek.
Another popular feature of our Airbnb is where we are located. We are situated in a very quiet village, under an avenue of Memorial Pines, only 10 minutes from Coolangatta Airport, and a couple of minutes’ drive to beautiful Kingscliff with its beaches and café culture. We have beautiful views over the hinterland and iconic Mount Warning, and only 20 minutes from Murwillumbah with its wonderful art Gallery that exhibits the Margaret Olley exhibition.
Treats guests like friends
We always treat guests as welcome friends, which is probably why we are starting to get repeat bookings! So far our guests have included people from Brisbane just requiring a short break (although one family have re-booked with longer stays for July and September as they loved it so much), guests from North Queensland and Sydney. So far, only one overseas booking, from a couple from California. It has been a pleasure getting to know them all. Our hope is that people from the colder southern states might come to stay for a few weeks or months over winter. Come and stay, we would love to meet you!
To find more information on Louanne and Jim’s Airbnb, located in Cudgen, New South Wales, click here.
To learn more about hosting on Airbnb, click here.