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 final aspect (there are a lot, far too many to put in one post) of criteria laid out by Airbnb: Well-maintained. If you haven't read about the first three sets of criteria, you can read those here!
1) Outdoor areas are well-kept, with no overgrowth or dead plants
Depending on where you live, this one could be a bit of a hassle. No one particularly enjoys weeding, and if you live in a warm, humid place you may have to do it fairly often to fulfill this requirement. On the plus side, if you're on a tight budget, this will cost you nothing besides some gardening gloves and sunscreen.
2) Entrances to the listing are clean and illuminated
A quick sweep and some lightbulbs, and this one is all set!
3) Door to listing closes properly and has a lock
This one actually ties back to the first requirement in Comfortable. Though that requirement is most likely not free, it does mean that you accomplish two in one. We'll take what we can get.
4) Furniture is in good condition, without stains, scuffs, breaks, or tears
It has yet to be seen exactly how stringent the inspection process is, but if the upholstery for a sofa is looking a little worn, it might be a good idea to buy a cover to be safe. We found these that don't break the bank. If it's apparent you need to replace an item altogether, IKEA is usually affordable, and you can often find deals on second hand websites.
5) Walls, floors, and ceilings don’t have visible scuffs, cracks, stains, buckling, cobwebs, or dust
Hopefully your rugs are not stained beyond repair, but we suspect it's more than likely there's one or two stains here and there. We recommend investing in a spot carpet cleaner. That way, not only can you clean up little things prior to inspection, but then you can also clean the occasional accident right away.
7) Windows and mirrors are clean and not cracked
If you have multiple mirrors or windows that are cracked, this requirement could be very expensive. Depending on the type of window, it could be upwards of $300. However, it's more than likely you'll just need some glass cleaner and a little elbow grease.
8) Lights work in all guest spaces
A few lightbulbs, and you're all set.
9) There’s a neutral or pleasant aroma in every room
If you're cleaning regularly, this shouldn't be an issue. However, you can always go the extra mile by adding a fragrance plug in here and there.
10) There are no signs of pests
Regular cleaning will definitely help mitigate any potential bug problem, but just in case you see any beginning to crop up, you can avoid expensive extermination fees and toxic chemicals with these pest repellants. They will not work if there's already an infestation, but are fantastic at prevention.
11) Kitchen appliances are clean and not damaged
Luckily, this is another two for one situation! By meeting the eighth requirement in Well-Equipped, this one is also taken care of.
2) Showerheads, faucets, cabinet handles, and other fixtures aren’t loose or leaking
Grab yourself a screwdriver for those cabinet handles, and if you're all about DIY, there are many helpful online guides and YouTube videos on how to do minor plumbing repairs yourself.
13) Bathrooms including medicine cabinet, counters, shower curtain, and shower or bath are clean, not mildewed, and free of hosts’ personal items
Again, by routinely cleaning, this will be no problem. The only cost associated would be the replacement of cleaning supplies.
14) Depending on local climate, air conditioning and/or heating works well
If you're in a place where the climate is mild year round, you're in luck! A few fans and a space heater just in case, and you're all set. For everyone else, making sure your unit's thermostat, air conditioner, and furnace are inspected annually will help keep severe, and expensive, problems from occurring.
Total: $50-$300 annually
15) There’s strong water pressure with hot and cold water
If your water pressure is low, research prior to throwing a lot of money at a plumber is absolutely necessary. We found these articles that offered some great advice in layman's terms:
Once you've gone through some preliminary steps, if the issue still persists, that's when to call a plumber. The price will really depend on the specific issue.
All in all, the "Well-maintained" set of criteria could be very cost efficient, provided your listing is already in generally good repair. The main takeaway seems to be cleaning the listing routinely and making a few inexpensive upgrades when necessary. It's also worth noting, that these requirements are fantastic to apply for any listing, regardless of whether or not you're thinking of applying for the Airbnb Plus program. They will do wonders for the health of the property, and add to its value over time. By not being adverse to some DIY, you could meet the "Well-maintained" requirements for around $365.50, and that's if don't already have much of the necessary supplies.
With the final set of criteria priced out, will getting the Airbnb Plus badge be worth it? Make sure to come back to the blog next week for the final part of this series, where we look at Airbnb Plus's implications for the industry at large, and juxtapose them with the total cost to an individual property manager.