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How to ensure short-term rental success

With South Aussies wanting to explore the best of their own backyard, turning your rental or second home into a B&B may be more worthwhile than ever.

Whether you own a shack, long-term rental or are spending the holidays away from home, transforming your property into a holiday home can be a worthy way to reap the benefits of an otherwise empty abode.

But with sites like Stayz and Airbnb offering more than 3,000 vacation rentals currently in metro SA, your property needs to stand out to make it in the game.

To help you do so, Premium Property sought out some advice from Airbnb super hosts, Penny Smith and Kath Hart, in a bid to leave no pillow unfluffed.

 Look for a gap in the market

When Smith and her husband bought their Port Elliot property two and a half years ago, she knew it had potential, yet they were in a location already heavily flagged with Airbnb’s and the likes.

As a holidaymaker and dog owner, Penny saw a lack of properties catering to pet owners and chose to fill this gap.

“We’ve got pets, but we always found those properties that allowed pets were always a little substandard,” says Penny.

“We wanted to create an experience that we would enjoy as pet owners – we shouldn’t have to compromise to have a unique and luxury experience.

“Pick your market and set up for that market.”

Whether it involves creating an eco-conscious or an accessible B&B, look at what your property can bring to the market and provide it accordingly.

Go all out

After purchasing her North Adelaide cottage in 2000 and renting it out for over 10 years, Kath saw turning her home into a B&B as the best way to ensure a good return on her investment.

Because the transition from rental to Airbnb often involves completely furnishing the home it can often bring up unwanted costs, but Kath says she didn’t want to cheap out on the décor.

“Furnishing the cottage with top-class beds, mattresses, linen and towels was a priority,” Kath says.

“This enabled a very good return for investment.”

Tailor your guest’s experience

Taking time to forge a list of “things to do” can go a long way in terms of offering a bespoke experience because holidaymakers don’t often know much about your location.

As her city-based B&B is at its busiest during Adelaide’s festival season, Kath says she aims to offer information tailored to her guest experiences to make her property stand out.

“I ask if there’s a special reason they’re coming and make sure that whatever they need, we get,” Kath says.

“[I leave] lots of information for them.”

Give it a homey feeling

Although this seems like an obvious point to make, your property will be someone’s home for the period of their stay.

Consider the amenities you would want a home to have and look to other successful B&B’s to see what they’ve done.

Penny also says those looking to list their homes online should avoid the trap of simply making another “run of the mill” short-term rental.

“You have to essentially envision everything you want in a luxury property,” Penny says.

“Just creating that, that warm bespoke environment.”

Photo: Chuttersnap

Consider professional services

Both Penny and Kath say they try to meet with their clients when checking in or at some point during their stay.

While this is not always possible for hosts, those who lack the time can consider investing in concierge services.

These services allow for the monitoring and housekeeping of your property, giving those short of time the ability to run a successful B&B.

Although Penny says she offers a face to face check-in and check-out at her coastal abode, she does invest in a professional cleaner to ensure the property is kept as clean as possible.

Think of the finer details

Despite the differences in their property’s locations, both Penny and Kath believe considering the smaller details permits the rebuttal of “there’s no place like home”.

“We always put milk in the fridge and leave a bottle of red and white for a treat,” Kath says.

“If it’s a special occasion we’ll leave them a goodie bag.”

Similarly, Penny says the personal touches are what creates a successful B&B.

“[Hosts should] provide a welcome gift and ensure there are fresh flowers in the house,” Penny says.

“Even consider the type of linen you want to use.

“You really have to go the extra mile and put all the little touches in – that’s what guests appreciate the most.”