Airbnb recently unveiled two new programs as part of its campaign to provide a listing that suits everyone: Airbnb Beyond and Airbnb Plus. These programs indicate a significant shift in Airbnb's core offering; this is no longer a company leaning on air mattresses and breakfast to make rent. It's a polished, professional site offering polished, professional inventory. Or at least driving the trend towards it.
This maturation does not come without growing pains, particularly for those hosts that gravitate towards the "couch share" version of Airbnb. But, exactly how uncomfortable would it be for a host to gain the Airbnb "Plus" badge, and most importantly, how much would it cost?
In this post, we tackle the second aspect (there are a lot, far too many to put in one post) of criteria laid out by Airbnb: Comfortable. If you haven't read about the first set of criteria, you can read that here!
1) Easy Check-in, Such as a Lockbox, Digital Lock, Keyboard, or In-person Handoff
If you're on a particularly tight budget, the "in-person handoff" would cost you nothing. It would even give you a way to meet the guest, get to know them a little bit, and add a personal touch to their stay. However, that could get tricky if you're out of town or have a separate job during the day. There are many types of relatively inexpensive options for storing keys, or eliminating the need for them altogether- we found the following:
2) Beds are Elevated Off the Floor and Have Flat Mattresses, Soft Matching Linens, and Two Sleeping Pillows for Every Guest
Things could get very expensive, very quickly in this case. However, unless you are actually renting your couch, hopefully you already have a couple of these things. We anticipate where most hosts would hit a few snags are with the quality of the linens, or number of pillows. Luckily those can be found for prices that don't make you wince, like the ones below:
If you need to purchase a mattress, this is actually a case where we recommend buying local. Often, individual stores will be running specials, and you can snag a good mattress, depending on the size, for as little as $150.
3) Private Bedrooms Have a Private Bathroom with a Bathtub or Shower
This requirement could mean a lot of hosts hit a wall; you either have it or you don't. If this is a shared home with only one bathroom, you have the option to completely remodel. However, not only would that be incredibly expensive, but chances are if you're sharing your home with your guest, putting a room on Airbnb is simply a side project to boost your income. It would not be a great return if it will take years of guests to cover the costs of adding a bathroom, or a bathtub/shower to a half bath. Exactly how much of a bump your post will get on Airbnb with the "Plus" badge, and whether or not that will result in a direct increase in bookings, has also yet to be seen. Our thoughts are, if you are lacking a private bath per private bedroom, to wait and see if the program is truly essential to your business.
4) There’s At Least Two Sets of Plush Towels, Hand Towels, and Washcloths Per Bathroom
After number 3, this one is a walk in the park. The only thing we would recommend is washing these towels prior to putting them in your vacation rental. Nothing ruins getting out of a nice shower, only to end up covered in new towel fluff as you dry off.
5) At Least Eight Clothing Hangers and an Empty Drawer or Shelf are Provided for Guests’ Clothes
Another painless one. If a guest currently doesn't have a drawer or shelf, it's not only easy, but free, to clear one out for them. Coat hangers also seem to be one of those things where you either have far too many, or none at all. It is more than likely an acquaintance has some you can use, or we found these that were very inexpensive.
6) Window Treatments Such as Curtains or Frosted Glass Provide Privacy
This aspect really depends on your space. There are some bedrooms that benefit from nice curtains, however there are others that might be a little darker, and so it might be better to frost the glass to allow in more light. The curtains will most likely take less time and effort to install. Either will do just fine, though.
Will getting the Airbnb Plus badge continue to be worth it though, depending on all the other requirements? Make sure to come back to the blog next week where we break down the financial implications of "Well Equipped".