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 third aspect (there are a lot, far too many to put in one post) of criteria laid out by Airbnb: Well-equipped. If you haven't read about the first two sets of criteria, you can read those here!
1) Fast Wi-Fi with download speeds of at least 5 Mbps
If you have a router but it needs a little boost, this article has some fantastic tips for speeding things up. If you need to replace it all, or get wifi to begin with, this is an instance where we recommend shopping locally. Often, companies like Google Fiber, Comcast, or CenturyLink will be running promotions specifically in your area which you can capitalize on.
2) Printed house manual includes host and emergency contact info, Wi-Fi password, and checkout procedures
This one can be very inexpensive. A one time investment in a binder and some sheet protectors, and you're all set. If you'd really like to go the extra mile, you can go to any Staples or local printing store and get a saddle stitched booklet put together for as little as $20 depending on the number of pages.
3) TV with remote control and access to entertainment, such as cable, Netflix, or Roku
Chances are high you already have a television, but if you don't, you can actually buy a used one in excellent condition for much less than a brand new one. Check out this one and this one that we found after a brief search. As far as entertainment goes, cable is much more expensive than a Netflix/Roku subscription. Specifically in the case of Roku, the initial hardware needed is about $30, and it does come with some free channels. You can also connect to Hulu, Netflix, HBO, and so on from the Roku device, however you will need to have individual subscriptions to those channels, which can add up quickly. Our advice is to again look for local deals, and then pick one or two extra channels to keep your guests entertained.
Total: $150- $300, plus about $30/month subscription fees.
4) Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are installed
Not only is this requirement essential for your guests' safety, but it also isn't horribly expensive. We found these that didn't break the bank. Home Depot also has a very informative guide of how to install them, that with some studying would help mitigate the need for a pricey installation fee.
5) Ironing board and iron are available
No problem at all. We found this iron and this ironing board that were very reasonable.
6) Filtered water, and a supply of either coffee or tea
A few little additions for your guests make all the difference. Along with the items themselves, we also recommend having a way to either brew coffee, or a kettle for tea. This coffee maker is reliable while also being price efficient, and this kettle would be fantastic for those guests that don't drink coffee. As for the products themselves, it's more than likely your local grocery store will have the best deals.
Total: $35, plus about $10/month for restocking coffee & tea
7) Bathrooms have a hair dryer, shampoo, conditioner, hand soap, and body soap
If you're willing to spend a little more for the sake of convenience, you can buy these products in bulk for each of your guests from companies like Boxpitality, VRSupplies, and Beach House Logos. Rentals United actually wrote this great articlewhich is an excellent place to start if you're inclined to go this route. If your budget is a little too tight, you can always purchase full sized bottles from your local store. You will want to make sure to clean them in between each guest. It all depends on how much effort vs. money you're willing to spend.
8) Kitchen has essentials like a frying pan, salt, pepper, and cooking oil
Chances are very high you already have more than one of these things, but if you're truly starting from scratch, we found this very affordable pots & pans set. Cooking oil and a salt & pepper set will most likely set you back around $5, if that, at your local grocery store.
Overall, depending on how many things you already have, the "Well-Equipped" set of criteria could be pricey. A lot of the cost could be mitigated by doing much of the labor yourself. If you have a day job though, that could be tricky. Depending on what dollar amount you put on your time, you could meet these aspects for a one time purchase of $382.50, with about $40/month of reoccurring fees, and that's if you have none of the required items.
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 the final set of criteria, "Well-Maintained".