A few months ago I was staying at an Airbnb overseas when the lockdown was implemented, I suddenly went from being a regular Airbnb guest to a Long Term guest. These are some of the things I learned from my own experience. I hope you find it useful 🙂
Pros and cons of LT guests:
I do have to admit, that as a long-term guest I became aware of many of the "small faults" in the place where I was staying: the screeching windows, the odd smell in the kitchen at night, the loud music the neighbors played at night. While short-term guests may not mind or even notice, keep in mind that LT guests will, if you are aware of any of these, I'd recommend acting proactively.
Since we are talking about being proactive, there are a few things a LT guest will truly appreciate, such as having a dedicated work space. The longest the guest is staying, the higher the chances that he or she will be doing some remote working. If you've had to work from home in the last few months, you'll know that there comes a moment when the kitchen table doesn't cut it any more. Having a desk, with a comfortable chair, a desk lamp, and maybe something else you decide to add, will help the guest compartmentalize while working from your Airbnb.
A fully-stocked kitchen will also make a huge difference, I know nowadays most of us have more appliances and accesories in our kitchens than we did a few years ago, but making sure to have a good strainer, a cheese grater, good knives, will make your guest's life easier since they will be cooking more at home.
These are a few of the things I barely ever find in the Airbnb's I stay in:
When it comes to the bedrooms, a few tweaks can go a long way: black-out curtains, comfortable mattress, linens, and pillows are a must, a nightstand lamp, a closet with enough hangers and drawers, and storage space to put the suitcases away.
Now, when it comes to the shower, my favorites are the ones with strong water pressure. Sometimes something as simple as changing the shower head can make a huge difference. Also, add shelving into the actual shower to store soaps, shavers, etc. The lighting in your bathroom, especially for female travelers, is super important. Make sure the mirror is bright for precision manicuring.
If you don't have a tv or flatscreen, you'll want to get one, the biggest you can afford. I love it when there's a big Smartv, that way I can just relax every now and then and watch a movie. I've been in places where there's a 32'' flat screen all the way across the room from the couch, and whilst I am not super picky, I know from experience that it is not ideal for most guests.
Be more inclusive, there's been a rise in families staying in LT rentals, and guests traveling with their pets. So, this is definitely a thing to keep in mind.
Also, think of items that families will find incredibly useful. I know from personal experience that a pack ‘n’ play is high in demand. Other items might be a stroller, toys, bottle cleaner, etc.
If you have enough room in your Airbnb, consider adding spaces, any area that can be considered a different 'setting' will give your guest the option of more places to spend their time while in your Airbnb. A simple example is: turning an armchair and a lamp into a reading nook.
Lastly, I'd like to add, some of the LT Airbnb's I've stayed in have offered weekly cleaning services, that is a great way of helping this transition to LT guests be smoother for your team!
Thanks for providing your insight from a guest's viewpoint. Since you are/were also employee of Airbnb, do you any input on whether the rate should be increased to pay for all of the things that you recommend should be provided in the rental? Many hosts don't want to market to longer-term guests. For guests who get caught in situations similar to what occurred to you, they just need to look for another place that suits their long-term stay needs rather than asking a host to cater to them. Also, why would a host offer weekly cleaning during a lockdown?
I have a few comments (in italics)
Pros and cons of LT guests:
Agreed with #5 and it's tremendously frustrating and terrible business practice. In fact, I discovered a $3388 discrepancy in my transaction history recently related to a Resolution Request. There's something off about Airbnb internal systems (not sure which department), but this is not the first time I've discovered a financial issue in my own records. I encourage everyone to keep an eye on their transactions history, you'll likely find some issues to investigate.
@Debra300 I was "fortunate" to get a last-minute booking just as the shutdown was happening in March. The 5-night stay then became 2 weeks, then one month, and then 3 months. I tried to accommodate the guests as best as I could. While I am thankful for the income during such uncertain times, the wear and tear during those 3 months was greater than the 2 years of renting short term that my other listings experienced. I was reminded of why I shifted to short term renting in the first place.
I agree with you. I prefer shorter stays because of wear and tear on the furnishings, but have accepted longer term stays. I recently had guests stay for two months, and they burned a large hole in a towel with an iron and then folded and tucked it away with the other towels, broke the legs on the coffee table and stood it back up to hide the damage, dyed something (hair?) in the bathroom, didn't tidy up after themselves anywhere, left open food in the fridge and cabinets, and didn't throw out their trash at checkout. It wasn't egregious, but if hosts were allowed to collect a true security deposit, I am pretty sure the space would have been left in much better condition.
In my opinion, it's this lack of a real security deposit that will continue to be a barrier for more hosts to rent longer stays. I'd probably return a lot of the extras (pillows, towels, sheets, blender, waffle maker, hand mixer, food processor, baking pans, measuring spoons and cups, etc.) if I had more assurance that guests would be incentivized (not lose their deposit) to take better care of things.
I would like for @Daniel-Rusteen0 to provide viable suggestions for ways hosts to afford the upfront costs of his recommended upgrades; speak about rate adjustments to get a return on the investment and cover maintenance/repair/replacement costs; and, discuss when a host can identify if the investment will result in a higher profit within their respective market.
No way would I let long term guests in on Airbnb. Airbnb guests these days are showing less respect and observance of house rules. So lets see, factor that in with a lower rate for long term, significant wear on house/contents, no damage deposit, the risk of not being paid, being faced with trying to evict, risk of squatting/acquiring tenant rights, and the list goes on. Are you kidding me? No thank you.
I am new to AirBnB hosting so please forgive me if I am ignorant of some of the basics. My husband and I are interested in longer stays but I have some concerns, some of which are mentioned in this conversation. I have not gotten clear guidance on how to charge and collect for weekly cleaning. After having hosted non-airbnb guests for two months this Fall, I concur with Debra: regular, professional cleaning is necessary but AirBnB doesn’t seem to have a way to manage these payments. Ideas? I was also alarmed to see Emilia’s comment that only the first month rent is dealt with by AirBnB. True?
I don't want to highjack this thread, but will you a little clarification about what I said. Then I suggest that you start a new conversation about weekly cleaning, and you will get great responses from hosts such as @Ann72 and @Emilia42. BTW, I don't recommend weekly cleaning during a lockdown, because it's contrary to the goal, stay home and don't share indoor spaces with people outside of your household.
For long-tern stays, Airbnb collects the first months payment upfront, because the cancellation for long-term stays requires that payment even if a guest cancels outside of the free cancellation period. https://www.airbnb.com/home/cancellation_policies#long-term
For stays longer than one month, guests are then billed monthly for the remainder of their stay, and the payment is remitted to the host. However, Airbnb doesn't notify hosts in the event that the guests payment method doesn't approve the transaction, and will continue to work on "resolving the issue". All the while, the guest is still residing in your space. It then becomes your responsibility to remove the guest from the premises, and have the reminder of the reservation cancelled without blocking your calendar for that time period.
Thank you for this clarification. Point taken regarding cleaning during lockdowns. I will do as you suggest regarding the charges. Starting to wonder about doing long term stays with AirBnB ...
I, and most of the hosts who frequent this forum, would advise that new hosts not delve into long-term rentals until after a period of hosting short-term rentals. There are a few reasons for this: 1) you want shorter stays to boost up your number of reviews, which will equate in more stays from your desire customers; 2) you need to grow into your "hosthood" by hosting different guests, and sometimes learning hard lessons - it's better to have small just issues in the beginning; 3) new hosts are usually targeted by scammers; 4) you need to be fully acquainted with the rental laws in your area - stays longer than 28-30 days often change the status of a guest to a tenant, and they have different protections/laws; 5) you want to confirm that this is the business for you. You will soon learn that it's much more work than you realized; and, 6) you need to be well versed in Airbnb's Terms of Service (and any other platform that you're listing with), because there are some things in that will really surprise you (e.g., no true deposit taken, they can cancel your reservations contrary to your cancellation policy, if you cancel a booking (even at a guest's request) your calendar will be blocked for those dates, refunds for canceled bookings are deducted from your current payout and then replaced the day after the scheduled arrival of the canceled booking, guest's can claim that you breached the COVID-19 safety policy without proof and you won't get paid, etc.). Obviously, the positives outweigh the negatives for most of us, and that is why we still host. Reading and participating in this blog will give you a wealth of information that will help you with hosting.
A lot to think about. We recently hosted non-AirBnB guests for 2+ months. It was a lovely experience. While they were not the best housekeepers, the only damage was one broken coffee mug. We used a fairly detailed rental agreement, which I would also use with a l/T airbnb stay. The whole cancellation and blocked calendar thing would be a deterrent. One reason for our desire to do l/t is COVID-19. Still thinking. Thank you for your time and considered opinions.
@Susan3929 I'm going to chime in. Airbnb was really not created for long term renting. There are many issues that can arise and @Debra300 has listed a bunch. Also, keep in mind that Airbnb prevents guests from exchanging contact info before a booking is confirmed. So whereas a landlord would like to meet/interview a tenant and a tenant would like to tour the property that is rare when booking through Airbnb. You can be course be sneaky and find ways around the blocking of numbers/email addresses but for those with a conscious Airbnb does a great job at making you feel like you're doing something wrong. Just because you have a rental agreement doesn't mean that Airbnb customer service will uphold it. If a guest complains about something, customer service can be quick to give them back a portion of the stay. One last thing is that the Airbnb service fee + taxes charged to guests can be so high that many guests will pester you for discounts which will only cut into your profit. For bookings on Airbnb, I personally would stick to short term renting. That is what Airbnb was created for.
My husband and I are new to Airbnb and have a small studio apartment we are renting. We have a request for a long term - 3 month - rental which we are trying to decide whether to do or not. It was my understanding we can set a Security Deposit in our listings and also a custom price for a particular stay. Wouldn't a custom price be paid up front and not monthly? I see there is a lot of discussion about not having a Security Deposit to fall back on as well as the payout of monthly rent per cancellation policy. Appreciate all the help everyone is giving on this thread.
What @Emilia42 has shared is spot on. Please note that Airbnb does not actually take money from guests for the security deposit.
Please review how Airbnb handles host required security deposits: https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/140/how-does-airbnb-handle-security-deposits; https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/140/how-does-airbnb-handle-security-deposits.
All reservations that are longer than 30 days will be paid out on a monthly basis, even though that are offered a special price: https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/285/how-are-longterm-reservation-payouts-processed. The long-term stay cancellation policy will override your chose cancellation policy.
Here is a link to Aribnb's guidance for long-term stays: https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/805/what-are-some-things-i-should-consider-before-hosting-longte.... If you have a guest that needs to be removed, the only thing that Airbnb will do is try to contact (usually an email) the guest, and cancel the reservation. It is the hosts responsibility to involve the authorities or go to court to remove a guest from their property.
This is my advice if you are inclined to accept the 3 month reservation.
I say this to guests that inquire about stays longer than 3 months, "We accept long-term stays, but they are managed through our website as Airbnb is not set up to handle long-term stays. You will be required to sign a rental agreement, and pay a refundable security deposit."
Plenty other cons overlooked for l/t than this obvious puff about having a can opener and pillows.
No deposit in operation.
Guest can break a l/t airbnb booking with 30 days notice.
Payment may not be taken airbnb, who will then go on to stiff the host, who doesn't have a deposit to fall back on.
Airbnb has final say on disputes, real or imaginary, even after completion of stay, giving a risk to hosts without the no usual contract on l/t
Airbnb fee is disproportionate compared to other ways of finding l/t guests.