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What’s a “Fair” Airbnb Cleaning Fee?

reWhat's a "Fair" Airbnb Cleaning Fee? from MaidThis.com

As an Airbnb host, you’ve likely toyed a lot with finding your average nightly rate “sweet spot.” It’s a bit like impersonating Goldilocks: You’ve got to find a rate that’s not too high, not too low, but just right. And, as part of your rate, you’ll need to include a cleaning fee… But what’s a “fair” Airbnb cleaning fee? And how can you ensure your “fair” fee isn’t scaring off guests?

 

How much should you charge? 

Good question. In the age of Covid, chances are that guests are more willing to accept “higher” cleaning fees than ever before. That said, there are still plenty who will balk at the sight of what they deem “excessive” costs.

To figure out your magic cleaning fee number, here’s what we suggest:

At a minimum, know exactly how much you’re going to charge. Make sure that however you decide to divvy it up – be it across a guest’s stay or publicized entirely in the cleaning fee – that you’re going to get enough to cover your costs. Base this amount on your actual MaidThis cleaning fee or based on quotes from vacation rental-specific cleaning companies. Don’t look at regular residential cleaning fees to decide on your Airbnb cleaning fee. They’re not the same (and shouldn’t be).

Also, keep in mind that this shouldn’t be a place where you’re trying to make an extra buck or two. Charge only what you need to cover your Airbnb cleaning costs. 

Then, look at what your competitors are listing for their cleaning fees. You might be surprised to see how much they fluctuate from listing to listing. You might also discern that other hosts are wrapping up some of their cleaning fees into their nightly rates. 

Finally, make a decision about how you want to publicize your cleaning fee. It’s as simple as that.

 

How do you avoid losing potential guests because of a “too high” Airbnb cleaning fee?

Efficient and effective cleaning is very much a subjective viewpoint. Folks who may travel less often or who don’t understand the costs associated with ensuring turnovers are extensive from stay to stay may be turned off by a high cleaning fee – especially one that may exceed the cost of their entire stay.

So how do you combat this? By getting smart about how you publicize (or don’t publicize) your cleaning fee. 

 

Option 1: Put your cleaning fee front and center.

Whether you’re cleaning up yourself or paying a professional service like MaidThis to turn over your vacation rental, the most obvious option is to include your cleaning fee – all of it – in the specified place in your listing. 

There’s one definitive downside to this: Depending on how “expensive” your Airbnb cleaning fee is perceived to be, you run the risk of losing some potential guests. 

All that said, it’s still a common move for hosts to add full cleaning fees to their listings.

 

Option 2: Add part (or all) of your cleaning fee into your average nightly rate.

Instead of blatantly mentioning your cleaning fee, you could opt to spread it out across your guests’ stays. 

This obviously makes your nightly rate go up a bit, but it also keeps less experienced (or “stingy”) guests from having a heart attack at your clean-up price tag. Assuming your average nightly rate is still within range of your closest competitors in terms of similar stays near you and throughout the larger area, this little trick should come off without a hitch. 

The best way to ensure you’re still bringing in enough money to actually cover your cleaning costs is to require a minimum stay. This way, you can split some (or all) of your cleaning fee across multiple nights, ultimately lowering the overall perceived cost by guests. When you have guests who are staying for a single night, it can be more challenging to ensure you’re getting enough money from their booking to cover the cost of a turnover – especially if you’re not doing it yourself. (If you’re renting out a room, this may matter less. If you’re renting out an entire home, this is where you can get into more trouble and end up spending money out of your own pocket.)

By including at least part of what you intend to charge for cleaning in the actual fee space provided, you help them understand that you do take cleaning seriously. This is true even if it’s a small amount (under $50).

 

Deciding how much to charge for your cleaning fee is a bit like a game – while ensuring you cover costs to turn over your vacation rental you have to also ensure you’re not scaring off potential guests. Do a little research and get smart with your advertising, and ultimately ensure your cleaning costs are covered after every check-out.

 

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Vacation Rental


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  • Automated Scheduling
  • Cleaning Report with Pictures
  • Never a No-Show. Guaranteed.
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Testimonials

At first I tried to take care of all of the cleaning process myself, and it turned out to be a bigger headache than anything else. So a friend told me about MaidThis and its been fantastic. I’ve been working with my cleaners for a few months so far. I recommend you check out the service for yourself.
Brent
Airbnb Host in LA
90+

Hours
Saved

I definitely think that as a company we've been able to make more money, not only because we're saving money by using Maid This, but also because they're helping take a few of the necessary evils with doing vacation rentals off of the property managers plate.
Laura G
Airbnb Host in LA
90+

Hours
Saved

Blog

Airbnb Enhanced Cleaning for Hosts

Airbnb Enhanced Cleaning for Hosts from MaidThis.com

Like everyone in the hospitality industry, Airbnb is making some important changes to its cleanliness guidelines. While cleaning has always been an obvious “front and center” issue, it’s now even more of a concern thanks to the coronavirus that just won’t go away.

Having a visibly clean home is great, but these days, it’s simply not enough. A safe listing is a sanitized listing and the best way to achieve that is by following Airbnb’s new guidelines as outlined in their Cleaning Quick Start Guide.

Here are a few things to know about the new “normal” for turnover cleanings and how to snag the new Airbnb enhanced cleaning badge of honor.

 

Cleaning vs. Sanitizing

We’ve said it before: Though there’s a tendency to use these two words interchangeably, “cleaning” and “sanitizing” don’t actually mean the same thing. Here’s a quick primer.

“Cleaning” means you’re removing dirt and other debris from a surface. Think of when you wipe down your kitchen counters or table after preparing and eating a meal: There are likely a few food splatters that made their way out of the pan or off the plate and you’ll wipe them away with a soapy sponge or rag.

When cleaning, you’re removing things from surfaces that aren’t a real danger to you or anyone else – they’re not likely to make you sick. 

“Sanitizing,” on the other hand, means you’re doing more than just removing dirt – you’re breaking down and removing germs and other harmful particles that have made their way onto surfaces. This requires more than just the average soap-and-sponge cleaning method; you should be using chemicals with disinfecting agents to kill those kinds of particulates.

To achieve a truly “safe” turnover, you should be both cleaning and sanitizing your vacation rental. 

 

The 5-Step Cleaning Process behind Airbnb Enhanced Cleaning

Airbnb (and, incidentally, MaidThis) has a straightforward 5-step process for turning over vacation rentals.

 

1. Prepare

Prep everything you’re going to need to clean. This includes ventilating rooms, compiling all necessary supplies, washing hands before starting to clean and sanitize, and wearing (ideally disposable) PPE.

 

2. Clean

Start the turnover off right by dusting and cleaning all the surfaces with gentler solvents to remove dirt and debris from surfaces so you can better disinfect in the next step. Take out the trash if guests left any behind, start the laundry and wash linens in hot water, and vacuum or sweep the floors. 

It’s also important to wash all the dishes and cookware in the kitchen – even if they appear clean – to avoid any cross-contamination. Preferably, kitchen items should be washed in the dishwasher if you have one.

 

3. Sanitize

Follow up your cleaning by sanitizing all the surfaces you’ve just cleaned and areas you didn’t clean with a fine-mist disinfectant spray. Focus on high-touch areas and objects, like remote controls, doorknobs, side tables, and countertops.

 

4. Check

Check your list to ensure you’ve done #allthethings in #alltheplaces. Then double-check because you can never be too careful.

 

5. Reset and Restock

Now that everything is safe and clean, start to reset the space. Make beds, replace consumables like tissues, toilet paper, and toiletries. Remake beds and place linens in their normal spots. 

 

As a MaidThis client, you can rest assured that our teams and partners are following Airbnb’s guidelines to a “T.” If you haven’t already, we encourage you to commit to Airbnb’s new cleaning protocol. You’ll be rewarded with a badge highlighting your listing as having an “enhanced clean.” There’s no better way to assure you’re guests you’re taking their stay – and their health – seriously.

 

Check out the MaidThis Covid Resource Center for tips, downloadable graphics, and more information on how to keep your guests safe during their stay.

 

Clean my
Vacation Rental


single-blog-sidebar-vacation-rental
  • Automated Scheduling
  • Cleaning Report with Pictures
  • Never a No-Show. Guaranteed.
Book Now

Testimonials

At first I tried to take care of all of the cleaning process myself, and it turned out to be a bigger headache than anything else. So a friend told me about MaidThis and its been fantastic. I’ve been working with my cleaners for a few months so far. I recommend you check out the service for yourself.
Brent
Airbnb Host in LA
90+

Hours
Saved

I definitely think that as a company we've been able to make more money, not only because we're saving money by using Maid This, but also because they're helping take a few of the necessary evils with doing vacation rentals off of the property managers plate.
Laura G
Airbnb Host in LA
90+

Hours
Saved

Blog

Hosting through the Coronavirus Surge

hosting an airbnb during coronavirus covid-19

The novel coronavirus, officially named COVID-19, is coming in full force. Technically, it’s already here. It should come as no surprise that millions of travelers across the globe are canceling their plans – both out of fear and because of legitimate, lawful restrictions.

There’s a lot of fear going around and for good reason, but there’s no reason to panic. No one wants to be the bearer of bad news, but the reality is that many, many people will feel some negative repercussions as the result of COVID-19 this year, especially the travel and hospitality industries. 

As a vacation rental host, here are some facts about the current situation as well as a few tips on what you can do to weather the storm. 

 

COVID-19’s Impact on Travel

As of now, main airline carriers in the United States, including Delta, American, and United have interrupted or completely suspended flights to and from countries hardest hit by the virus, including Italy, South Korea, and mainland China. Though these changes are not permanent, they clearly put a damper on travelers visiting the US from abroad. 

Travelers from those same countries have been denied entry to dozens of other countries around the globe as the mass public deals with containing the outbreak.

Within the US, at the time of this writing, no travel restrictions are in place. However, as the virus continues to spread from state to state, that may change to help curb the spread of the virus. After the cancellation of SXSW in Austin last week, it’s likely that many more events will follow suit this spring. Unsurprisingly, guest cancellations will follow future event cancellations.

 

COVID-19 in California

As of Sunday, more than 110 cases of COVID-19 had been reported in the state of California alone. Los Angeles County had, as of March 8, identified 14 cases of the coronavirus and the county and city officials have declared a state of emergency

Most concerningly, workers from LAX International came into contact with a traveler who had the virus but was showing no symptoms. Due to the sheer size of the state and because of the density of metropolises like LA, state officials “have acknowledged that the spread of the virus is beyond their control,” according to the LA Times.

The important thing to remember is to not panic. Basic health and safety protocols like washing hands, keeping a safe distance of 3-6 feet from people you don’t know or who appear sick, and avoiding touching your face – especially your eyes, nose, and mouth – are all ways you and those around you can avoid contracting the virus.

Maintaining High Occupancy & Revenue

This year’s high season is likely to look more like a low season. While you can’t control what people do, you can control how you market your vacation rental. Here are a few tips for doing what you can to stay on top.

 

1. Publicize that you sanitize in your listing title.

Sanitizing is a big way public locales can protect visitors from contracting the COVID-19 virus because while we don’t know how long the virus can live on surfaces, according to the WHO, we do know that it seems to react similarly to sanitization the way other coronaviruses do – meaning it can be killed with a quick cleaning.

By reassuring your guests that your place is COVID-19 free from the get-go, they’re more likely to flock to your listing. 

When we turn over your Airbnb after guests check out, we make sure to wipe down and clean every surface. You and your guests can rest assured that your place is a safe zone.

 

2. Adjust your cancellation policy.

Airbnb has already put a special COVID-19 cancellation policy in place for travelers going to or traveling from infected areas. That said, it makes you look better if you relax your cancellation policy and explain in your listing that you’re allowing flexible cancellations due to concerns surrounding the virus. 

At the top of your listing description, write a sentence or two that explains you’re open to flexible cancellations because you understand your guests’ concerns about traveling during the COVID-19 outbreak. Put them at ease from the start.

 

3. Offer airport pickup as a safe add-on service.

Right now everyone is concerned about using public transportation because you just can’t be sure who’s been in the car, bus, or train and when it was last sanitized. 

By offering your guests transport to and from the airport (for a fee!), you can guarantee their health safety. Of course, this means you need to take precautions and ensure your transportation is truly sanitized. 

 

4. Consider adding an Airbnb Experience to your hosting lineup.

The beauty of offering experiences is that you can market to both local and out-of-town guests. While guests may be canceling their stays in Los Angeles and greater California, locals who are staying closer to home might be looking for ways to get out of the house.

Experiences can be confined to small groups which, due to how easily the virus can be passed in large groups, may be comforting to many experience guests. You can also advertise your experience on social media the same way you would your home listing and thanks to the robustness of advertising platforms like Facebook, you can target a very local market.

 

Don’t lose hope yet: There are still ways to keep your vacation rental business afloat during this season of uncertainty. Remember to stay calm and practice good health habits. As always, keep an open door communication policy with your guests. By following our tips, you’ll be more likely to keep your bookings up and cancellations down.

 

Clean my
Vacation Rental


single-blog-sidebar-vacation-rental
  • Automated Scheduling
  • Cleaning Report with Pictures
  • Never a No-Show. Guaranteed.
Book Now

Testimonials

At first I tried to take care of all of the cleaning process myself, and it turned out to be a bigger headache than anything else. So a friend told me about MaidThis and its been fantastic. I’ve been working with my cleaners for a few months so far. I recommend you check out the service for yourself.
Brent
Airbnb Host in LA
90+

Hours
Saved

I definitely think that as a company we've been able to make more money, not only because we're saving money by using Maid This, but also because they're helping take a few of the necessary evils with doing vacation rentals off of the property managers plate.
Laura G
Airbnb Host in LA
90+

Hours
Saved

Blog

Stay Successful after the LA Home Sharing Ordinance – LA Airbnb Law for Hosts

airbnb host los angeles airbnb law

 

Recently, the MaidThis team had the pleasure of sitting down and talking with Matt Lockin and Henry Beam of Plushy Host. Plushy Host is a full-service vacation rental management company currently based in Scottsdale, Arizona, serving hosts across the U.S. 

We’ve worked with the Plushy Host team for quite some time in LA and in the Bay area. We rang up Matt and Henry to see if we could pick their collective brains about how hosts can successfully operate vacation rentals with the home sharing ordinance going into effect. 

Since the enactment of the 2015 “Airbnb Law” in San Francisco, Plushy Host has been helping their hosts continue to bring guests into their homes and make the most of the allowances the ordinance offers. 

Read on to learn more about how they do it, how they build their team, and why vacation rental management is so great for hosts.

The History of Plushy Host

airbnb cleaning serviceMT: Thank you, guys, for sitting down to chat with us for a bit. We really appreciate it and we know our LA audience will really appreciate the insight. 

Matt: We’re happy to help.

MT: Tell us a little bit about how where you both fit into the Plushy Host team.

Henry: We’ve been talking about this industry for years. Once Matt started, it was just a matter of time before I joined full time and we’ve been working on this for a while, many calls over the years to get where we are today but we couldn’t be more pleased. My job is the easy one – Matt’s the mastermind who forecasted the market and was able to see where the needs and voids were. 

We’ve organized Plushy in a way to really be able to help homeowners [with homes] of all shapes and sizes and in a number of markets around the country.

Matt thought it and created it. I couldn’t be more pleased to have him as an intellectual leader when it comes to short-term rentals, properties, property values, returns, procedures…I’m not sure there’s a question in this business that he can’t answer. Again, he makes my job that much easier. 

MT: So, Matt, as the “mastermind,” how did you get started? Do you have firsthand experience as a host?

matt lockin founder of plushy hostMatt: I’m partnering with Henry now, but I started with a different partner before there was the Plushy brand, the Plushy name. Previously, [my old partner and I] started out, and this was in, relatively speaking for the industry, pretty early days. We raised some equity, and purchased and converted homes and apartments, and did some mass re-leasing in Scottsdale and Phoenix, and Southern California. 

It started as an investment company in 2015. Well, end of 2014, beginning of 2015. That went reasonably well. It was a lot of work. We learned a lot of things, we made a lot of mistakes. It got to the point where, “We’re pretty good at this, we really do know what we’re doing. Let’s think about launching a third-party management company,” and that’s what we did.

My previous partner was on the real estate side, interested in the realty. I really loved the management side. I really like the ability to solve problems, and was just excited, you know? The industry itself is so exciting. 

He wanted to stay on the real estate side, so we parted ways. The current iteration of the company was launched. What are we? With all the changing technology, you’ve got vacation rentals. But there’s this urban side of things too, and all those things that are changing with Airbnb. That’s where things are headed, and marrying those two things up.

Again, it’s taken quite a while to figure out how you’re going to be remote, bringing in properties and managing properties that some of your operational people maybe never see, but your people on the ground do. It’s been a challenge, but it’s refined to the point where we do have all the processes and procedures in place. Adding not only more homes, but scaling on the operational side. Nothing works if you don’t have the operations figured out.

henry beam operations manager of plushy hostHenry: And we’ve dialed in our pricing tiers specifically to give people options. The 

higher pricing tiers are really a hands-off service for the owner – where the owner doesn’t necessarily have to do much in order to collect the revenue we help them generate with their short-term rental. 

Our lower-tier packages have more homeowner involvement… But at each price point, they’re all exceptional services and we do our best to add value – on the homeowner side, especially, but also, taking care of guests as well as we do is the name of the game.

This is an attention-driven business, meaning you have to always have attention for your homeowners and your clients; but you also have to always be attentive to the guests’ needs.

And as you probably know, every individual guest, you know – with a smile [laughs] – can potentially have different issues and we really try to do our best to work with everybody to get the best reviews we can, give the guests a great experience, a clean home, easy to get in, easy to get out, easy to understand, easy to enjoy. 

And then it comes back to doing a focused turnaround and getting the owner another solid booking.

Finding a “Loophole” in a Home Sharing Ordinance

airbnb cleaning serviceMT: We’ve recently been talking a lot with our host partners about the new LA home sharing ordinance.

Matt: Right.

MT: And working with you guys and having the opportunity to build a relationship with you, it’s been really interesting to hear about how you’ve worked through the home sharing law in the San Francisco area – that loophole, more or less. We know our LA hosts would be really interested to hear more about that.

matt lockin founder of plushy hostMatt: Yeah. I don’t know if I’d call it so much a loophole. The city, in LA Proper it’s pretty clear. Basically, in certain areas, shared space is still allowed. It’s not un-similar, or dissimilar from the way we’ve been operating in San Francisco in some ways. 

In a lot of ways, there’s, I guess you could call it a “shared space hybrid,” where there’s a certain period of time – 90 days, to be exact – where you’re allowed to [rent out] an entire space. 

Of course, we reserve those 90 days in San Francisco for the summer, which would be somewhat in terms of high season for LA, or Southern California. Then, the rest of the time we’re doing shared space.

It’s not a novel idea. It’s something that’s been going on for quite a while. There’s new management companies popping up every day, but they’ve not been operating with this sort of model where you’re doing both shared space and entire space, and doing it successfully. 

We’ve done better every year we’ve been doing it. It does take a little bit of figuring out, I guess, but that is what I love to do. Henry’s also an attorney, so he might be the one to add more here.

Henry: As I understand, West Hollywood, for example, has its own set of regulations, and so does Santa Monica. I believe West Hollywood has a provision where the owner actually has to be present during the guest’s stay.

 

matt lockin founder of plushy hostMatt: Yeah. San Francisco has similar language, and we have portions of it – whether [or not] it be shared space – it’s in the listing: Sometimes, owners do stay there. Sometimes, the owners stay there, sometimes they don’t. At least my take on it is, yes, [guests] need to know that it’s required. I think they do know. 

While we’ve been operating in San Francisco, sometimes the owner’s there, and sometimes they’re not. It’s really not something that we ask. It’s none of our business, but it obviously needs to be disclosed. 

If they’re not there, then [both guests and hosts] need to be aware that could be problematic. 

Now, the reality is that the city’s not keeping tabs on anybody either. They’re just not. I can appreciate why the city put it in there, to ostensibly make it more difficult. The reality is that no municipality that has passed a summer ordinance… It has never come up as far as I know. Boston, this is going to be happening. Very similar ordinance.

MT: New York, for example, has some kind of an ordinance, don’t they?

matt lockin founder of plushy hostMatt: Yeah. It got struck down by the circuit court. Same with Austin, and D.C. Well, D.C. is funny, because they all modeled it on this sort of, call it the “New York” model. It’s been struck down in three different circuit courts. 

I think it’s pretty clear, going about writing your ordinance in that manner is unconstitutional at this point. That is the way D.C. went, and the Mayor apparently refused to sign it into law. I don’t know what’s going to happen there but it is exciting to follow. 

The point is, that’s one way to go about it. This shared space hybrid, which LA’s… They [The LA and SF ordinances] aren’t identical, but it’s the closest thing to being constitutional, I think. San Francisco’s had it for a while, and it seems to work. Really, what they’re doing – they’ve got an exception there, too. For LA Proper, the real solution there is, you’ve got to go get the extended permit. 

MT: Right. There’s a lot of hoops to jump through.

Matt: Yes, and I think you have to be a good operator. What they’re doing is trying to get rid of the bad operators, right?

MT: Right, sure.

Matt: That’s what this is about. This is not about banning short-term rentals. They’re smarter than that. It’s about getting rid of bad operators, which San Francisco has done. The unit count’s way down, and there’s not nearly as many problems. 

You’ve got to jump through hoops. It can be costly to get it, but I think if you have a property that’s professionally managed with a group that’s been doing shared space and otherwise, I think that a lot of people are going to be able to get – the good operators are probably going to get their permits. It’s always going to come down to neighbors, right?

Henry: I can hop in and clarify a little bit. The LA ordinance for LA Proper, to me, it does two things: One, it caps it at 120 days a year, and they don’t necessarily differentiate from hosted, and un-hosted stays. It’s just a flat 120. 

If you want to extend the rental days, you’ve only got a few criteria to meet. It’s not necessarily a $5,000 application. It could turn into that for a discretionary review, but the standard application for registering or renewing – either a first time or a continual home sharing permit – is only $85. It then goes up for an extended home sharing as a review fee of $850, so it goes up about 10 times.

Matt: And if you’re not in compliance?

Henry: Right. So that’s when you need a discretionary review, if you had more than one citation within the past three years. If you don’t have a citation, then you’ve got basically an $850 review fee, and only a few elements to get through. It’s really not terribly cumbersome. 

The first would be, you have maintained a valid home sharing registration for at least 6 months, or have hosted for 60 days. The host has to provide proof of mailing of notification of the extended home sharing application to adjacent, and abutting owners and occupants.

So basically, put your neighbors on notice and let them follow the procedures to objecting, if they are so inclined. 

The second is the host home sharing registration has not been suspended or revoked within the past 2 years. That’s one of those clear guidelines that I’m sure most of the cities will implement at some point. You don’t get too many shots at the apple if you want to host more than the 120 [days]. 

Finally, for administrative approval, the host must have been issued “no more than one citation within the prior 3 years.” If you have more than one citation in the past couple years, you’ve got to go through the discretionary review process. That’s where they hit you with that $5,660 application fee.

MT: Wowza.

Henry: Right?

matt lockin founder of plushy hostMatt: Yeah. The point is, you don’t want to get there. [Vacation rentals] need to be operated, obviously, in a manner where you’re not getting to that point. 

We’ve been operating in Napa, and in Saint Helena where there’s only 25 permits. If you talk outside after 9:00, you’re going to get complaints, and the cops get called. It’s just one of those kinds of places. 

You’re doing the noise monitoring, you’re doing cellphone counters. There’s a lot of things you can do from a management side of things that I think some owners are going to do, and some will need to do it. Frankly, you really need to have everything dialed in 24 hours a day, because stuff happens at night when you’re talking about noise.

I think we have a way to go about it in terms of helping getting through the permitting processing, the steps you need to take. Then, everybody is going to be starting the 6-month period. Getting people through that, and then obviously, it’s going to be a lot harder to operate. There’s a lot less room for error. 

We’ve been doing this in places where it’s even more onerous, and we’ve been successful doing it. I think I feel pretty confident that we could help in that regard. Plus, having the experience in dealing with these ordinances, and the legal side of things.

The other side of it is, in these other areas of town, and there are many where the shared space kind of hybrid thing is the only thing that works. Maybe owners that don’t necessarily want to go get a permit, or they do notify their neighbors and they’re not allowed to get the entire space for 24/365. I still think there’s solutions. 

It took us a while to get there in terms of figuring it all out. Part of it is MaidThis, though. Your team is in San Francisco, and I’ve had good luck with your people in LA too. We wouldn’t be able to operate there if you guys didn’t have such a great team there. 

Creating a Dream Team

MT: Right. Systems, absolutely.

Matt: Yeah, yeah. A lot of that’s Henry. Henry decided to come on board.

Henry: It’s all that guy, right there.

matt lockin founder of plushy hostMatt: No. No, I mean, I can answer the questions and I don’t get stumped almost ever, right? Putting the pieces together, that’s definitely Henry, and being able to manage people. I don’t think I’m the best people manager. Probably too much of a pushover, frankly. [laughs] 

Anyway, so it works, you know? It’s working. Mostly, it’s just exciting. We’re small. We’re tiny compared to most of the companies that are out there. I think we provide a lot more.

That was the hard component. It was like, anybody can get in there and really just be, like, a booking agent. I get all that. I get how it works. To really be building out, it’s exciting. I don’t know which direction it’s all going to go. I just know it’s all exciting.

airbnb cleaning serviceMT: We think, too, from the standpoint of the size of your company, Airbnb guests choose Airbnbs because they want to have that sort of smaller, more intimate experience with someone that’s a local, right?

Matt: That’s true.

MT: For hosts, there is a sense of camaraderie and teamwork working with a smaller boutique company that really caters well. There is that sort of relationship that doesn’t exist when a much larger “big box” company that does some of what you guys do. I think size is relative. The relationship is clearly what matters to your clients.

matt lockin founder of plushy hostMatt: It matters to us too, because again, we offer more. We’re even taking risks in our top tier. If something’s damaged, we’re paying or helping to pay for it quickly. 

We have [potential] clients inquire all the time. We’re sitting around, it’s not just Henry, it’s not just the owners. It’s operations folks, it’s homeowner reps. Together we decide if we want to take this owner on. It’s equal parts home and homeowner.

You could have a great property, but if the owner’s not holding up their end of the bargain – and again, we’re doing a lot more, so it is important. That’s sort of the other reason why we have grown slower. I would rather have a couple hundred clients that I had for 30 years or whatever than a thousand clients that I have for three months, and they realize it’s a joke. You know what I mean?

That’s the difficult part, is figuring out the hard parts of this; waste management, for example, and on and on. It’s funny that I remember when we first started, even solving access, and the smart lock options that were out there just even four or five years ago compared to what’s out there now, and how that’s getting streamlined, and directly integrated into Airbnb. There’s problems like that. I remember when you couldn’t even change your title in Airbnb internally. They have a naming convention. Seems like a silly, small thing.

All these sort of problems, I was hoping somebody in the ecosystem would start solving these problems, and they are now. It’s just really cool to see it coming together, and aggregating certain technologies that they have solved problems. There’s still a lot of them out there, but it feels like it’s moving in the right direction. What do you think, Henry?

Henry: Oh, I certainly do.

MT: Yeah.

Henry: It’s interesting. I think a good example would be the first-time Airbnb host. They might get through the first two or three bookings and think, “It’s not too big of a cumberance.” Then, something comes up they’ve never heard of before, and then something else comes up they’ve never heard of before. 

Then, they don’t know how to solve it, and something else comes up, and another. Traditionally, it’s been really hard for people to effectively manage, or really understand the breadth of issues that can come up between a guest and a rental. 

Matt’s done an incredible job of utilizing his knowledge base to effectively and efficiently solve guest issues, refining the process, and implementing software to solve them. We’re getting lucky because we’re getting more and more support from software to make it easier and easier. It just reinforces the procedures and policies that we have put into effect. 

We love it, and the better the ecosystem gets, as Matt says, the better everybody is going to be. I think the management companies who really have experience, and really understand the day in and day out requirements of this business are just going to excel. 

Unfortunately, I think some on the lower end may filter out, because it’s just too much. You can’t jump proper structure in this business. One brick leads to the second and so on. It’s like that class that I failed back in 1999. If I read the first two weeks, I probably could have understood week three and week four, but I jumped in at week four and I was lost. Probably not the best analogy, but it’s close. 

You build the strongest systems piece by piece and no amount of marketing can replace dedicated knowledge and diligence. I did fail that class, but it’s okay. The good news is I was able to make it through law school with flying colors, so maybe one day I’ll re-take it, but Matt and I have many guests to care for so that is the priority for now. [laughs]

We do a great job staying on it. If there’s new software, we look at it, and we’re always looking to evolve with the bigger system – Airbnb, VRBO, Booking.com  and everybody else. As long as we keep that mentality, I’m exceptionally optimistic that we can stay on the cutting edge of this emerging industry, which is a huge key to the success of any company in this day and age. 

Running Remotely

airbnb cleaning serviceMT: That’s great. So, the company is based in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area. Where is the home base of the company, more or less, currently?

Matt: It has somewhat moved around for a time period. For a while, we had more people in New Orleans than anywhere. There were sort of office sales, and all the rest. We have settled on Scottsdale. When did we ink the lease, Henry?

Henry: I believe it was back in April 2019. Scottsdale is a premier vacation destination almost year-round. 

matt lockin founder of plushy hostMatt: It has moved around, frankly, depending on which employees we have where, but it’s now got to a point where it’s settled in Scottsdale, yeah. 

Here’s the funny thing. We get asked this question all the time. I love this question when someone’s like, “Well, wait a second. I don’t understand. You guys are based in Scottsdale, and my property’s in Newport, Rhode Island. I don’t understand. How does this work?” They’re very confused as to how that works and why it really doesn’t matter. It’s processes, procedures.

The way we go about our onboarding, our maids – which again, MaidThis and the team has done such an exceptional job for us. We’re all over the country. Explaining the processes, procedures, and the people involved, and the fact that we do have people on the ground. They don’t have an office over their head, and therefore we don’t have to charge you 40% in management fees, right?

MT: Right, right.

Matt: As far as how we go through everything, it wouldn’t matter. I always use the analogy, we have properties that are blocks away that the people who are making the decisions, and making the machine work, have never seen and will never see. 

My other favorite one. I’ve just got to tell one quick anecdote. There’s a movie producer from Hollywood that was in Boston shooting a Sarah Silverman movie, calling a management company in Scottsdale to manage a house in Atlanta that no one had ever seen.

This guy bought it, sight unseen. He looked at the pictures and did the video walkthrough. I think that’s a really good example of how this works for [Plushy Host]. Neither of us has seen it, we had a smooth onboarding and its working just like it’s supposed to. 

I did put eyes on it. I’m from Atlanta originally, so I eventually did see it personally. Again, it’s like, that’s where we are these days. It’s happened so quickly. I still think no one really realizes. It’s going to be a very different world. It’s only getting faster, so it’s exciting times, for sure.

airbnb cleaning serviceMT: Yeah, for sure. It is obviously a very remote situation where you can “work” anywhere even though you’re officially based in Scottsdale.

How do you normally go about choosing your local people on the ground, where – even in a situation like this situation in Atlanta that’s so unique – where the person that purchased it and owns it, and the people technically operating it, haven’t even ever seen it? How do you go about choosing, if you expand into a new city for example? What’s the process for that?

matt lockin founder of plushy hostMatt: That is the big cut. That is the big question, is do we have properties there, or nearby, or have we had properties in the past? Sometimes, owners come and go. They’ve got to sell their property, a number of things can happen. We have a pretty robust network depending on where you’re talking about. 

It just so happens that certain areas of the country tend to do better than others in terms of revenue. It just so happens that’s where our calls come in from generally. It just so happens we either have properties there now, or we have in the past. Again, in the beginning it was super difficult, right?

Your first five properties are a lot harder than the next five, or the next five. Getting a critical mass of properties in an MSA was the big hurdle for some of the major markets. You talk about Atlanta, or the panhandle, or New Orleans, or Southern California, or any number of the cities that we’re in. 

Those were relatively easy, because we’ve been working with a lot of the housekeepers for years now, and we try to go within the network. That’s the thing that I really love in this business.

MaidThis’s referral service is outstanding. You really are the exception to the rule. It’s one-off housekeepers that work incredibly hard. We pay them well. We pay them incredibly well, and they work incredibly hard. They are independent contractors, but they do so much more than just the housekeeping. They’re really a part of the team. If it’s a new market, then there’s a process to that as well. We’re up front, and straightforward. We don’t hide the ball.

We explain how we do things with an owner, and if it’s a new market we say, your onboarding’s going to take an extra couple days or could take an extra couple weeks, and this is how your onboarding specialist is going to go through it. 

If we have an issue, this is not the first new city we’ve been in, and if we have an issue you’re going to hear about it. We’re not going to onboard if there’s a problem. We’ve done, I think the most difficult was probably the house in North Aspen on 60 acres, in the middle of nowhere. It was gated. That was in the early days too. We had that one done and operated it. That’s probably the most difficult it was going to get.

It can be challenging in some of the traditional vacation rental markets where the labor pool is thinner, or it’s already spoken for. There’s a lot of unhappy housekeepers out there, and staff that frankly are not treated right, and are not paid what they’re worth. 

We have pretty good luck about… Well, it’s not luck. We have a good way of going about finding talented housekeepers. When you’ve been doing it while, there’s a way we want it done, and we explain it. 

When you’re in this business for a while, you can tell pretty quickly whether or not someone should be your first cut. Occasionally, if we’re opening in a new market and it’s not working out, we always have someone else we’re going to go to. There’s so many tools out to find housekeepers; quality ones. Again, as the ecosystem grows, there’s so many housekeepers that have specialized in it, and if you know where to look you can find the talent.

Building Systems that Win Every Time

airbnb cleaning serviceMT: A lot easier to do it, yeah. I hear you. 

Let’s talk a little bit more about systems. Obviously, I know that’s such a huge important part of your business, literally from the ground up. What kind of systems have you used in the past that you’re continuing to use? 

Matt: [laughing] You want the secret sauce. I’m not giving you the secret sauce.

MT: [laughing] Well, you don’t have to give it all away.

matt lockin founder of plushy hostMatt: I’m kidding, I’m kidding. Again, I think everything revolves around the cleaning. If you don’t have clean access, you don’t have good access, and you don’t have good cleaning, then you have nothing. 

I would say, the majority of processes and procedures, and the systems that are in place are to streamline, and check, and double-check, and re-check housekeeping, and access, honestly. 

Now, when a guest needs something there is a procedure there too, as far as what they’re instructed to do, and whether or not they follow it who knows. Guests need to reach somebody 24/7, which brings in the guest services side of the systems.

Really, so much of it, if you have your cleaning procedures done, and how you’re scheduling, and how you’re checking, again, it goes back to everything from checking for damages, and resetting thermostats, and all the other tasks that housekeeping needs to do in a lot of cases. 

It’s also software, obviously. A lot of it’s automated, or the housekeepers have been trained on how the software works, and they’re getting automated messages and all that’s great. 

But really, it’s people. We’ve been really fortunate that some of the core group in terms of operations, it’s something where people still pick up the phone when there’s an owner or a housekeeper. 

There are still a lot of procedures that require escalations, and a human on the phone. Maybe I’m just a really, really old millennial, like, barely made it kind of old. I still feel like it’s great, all the things that technology’s doing. It’s allowing us access to this market, and this new ecosystem but a knowledgeable person still can’t be replaced. 

At the end of the day, you’re still dealing with homes, and in a lot of cases very high-end homes. This is someone’s vacation, and sometimes the nicest vacation someone may ever take, depending on the type of home, and when it is, and who it is. 

It necessitates communication and people. That’s been another challenge. Henry helped put some of that together too, as far as, how do we make sure that we have around-the-clock coverage without a call center. That was challenging but we did it with flying colors.

Henry: It comes down to relationships.

MT: Yeah, it does.

Henry: It’s comes down to respecting the people you work with, having a common vision, and focusing in on what we’re here to do and that is offer great hospitality for short term rentals. We take care of somebody’s home, their investment, and take care of the homeowner, make sure the guest is having the absolute best stay they possibly can. It all starts fundamentally with good, solid people, good training, common vision, and solid relationships. 

Once you have that, then the technology can certainly facilitate whatever you need it to do. I think, at least in my experience with Plushy Host, we’ve done that, and we’ve done that over, and over again. Every opportunity to bring in the right people, bring in the best talent we can, and put that talent exactly where it needs to go. This is our company-wide strategy and we look at ourselves as a giant team. It’s often that everybody can be looped in on one project. Well, not often, but everybody’s talking, everybody’s communicating…

matt lockin founder of plushy hostMatt: Wait, wait. Now, you are giving away the secret sauce! [laughing] The real secret is that, whether you’re an owner of the company, or you’re in operations, or you’re a housekeeper in Charlotte, everybody is part of the team.

Nobody, not one person is expendable, and everybody is completely needed or the whole thing collapses, honestly. At least we treat it that way. 

It’s been interesting, because, how large can you grow, and how many people can you add and have this team model? How to be efficient, but it’s interesting because it is dynamic, and people shift. 

As we’ve had people move up in the company, they know how to do more things. Everybody knows how to do everything… Not everybody, but people can shift and pivot. I do think there’s a way that we’re going to continue to grow in scale where it’s very dynamic like that. 

Some of it’s a fairness thing, but another part of it is, it’s just so much more efficient to have everybody chime in. The top-down rigid structure, I just don’t… If we had 10-thousand units overnight and we just didn’t care about the way this thing grew, then maybe. We would have to be a top-down command kind of thing. This has all been Henry, though. Putting the people together, and how the team’s structured is exceptionally important. Henry is very good at it. It’s a good partnership in that way.

Henry: It’s a simple formula. You hire good people, you treat them well, you get everybody on the same team. You take your team out, you do the best work you can do week after week. It’s not complicated, but we’ve done a great job, and we’ve got an incredible team. We do. We’ve built an absolute powerhouse team and I’m exceptionally proud of all of them.

 

 

We’re so grateful to have had this incredible opportunity to talk with Matt and Henry from Plushy Host and to learn more about what makes their business tick. Both were very humble during our conversation, but we’ve got to say, they know what they’re doing and they’re well positioned to help hosts in LA navigate the waters of the new home sharing ordinance. 

To learn more about their business, visit the Plushy Host website. To get started with their host application process to work with them, schedule a call with the Plushy team.

 

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At first I tried to take care of all of the cleaning process myself, and it turned out to be a bigger headache than anything else. So a friend told me about MaidThis and its been fantastic. I’ve been working with my cleaners for a few months so far. I recommend you check out the service for yourself.
Brent
Airbnb Host in LA
90+

Hours
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I definitely think that as a company we've been able to make more money, not only because we're saving money by using Maid This, but also because they're helping take a few of the necessary evils with doing vacation rentals off of the property managers plate.
Laura G
Airbnb Host in LA
90+

Hours
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How to Become an Airbnb Co-Host or Vacation Rental Property Manager

become airbnb cohost vacation rental manager

With vacation rental property management companies on the rise (and let’s also acknowledge the fact that these entities are nothing new when it comes down to it), marketing yourself as a vacation rental manager and landing a management gig is tough. The competition is fiercer than ever.

So if you want to jump into the property management pool, how do you get started? We won’t deny that it will be a bit of an uphill battle, but we’ve got a few tips to help you seal a deal (or a few!).

Finding Opportunities

Perhaps one of the most head-scratching roadblocks when it comes to getting started in vacation rental management is knowing where to track down hosts and owners who are looking for management (or as Airbnb refers to it, “co-hosting”) help. You can’t just go knocking on doors, can you?

Not exactly. But you can use some of the tools already at your disposal.

1. Tap your contacts.

If you’re already an entrepreneur of sorts like our friend Davida Horn, who started her management gigs via her relationship as a bookkeeper for her clients, use that “in.” If you’re already offering a service and happen to know or work with vacation rental hosts, talk to them about the possibility of helping them manage their property.

2. Become a really good local guest.

This is just smart all the way around: Being a great guest means you probably also know what a great host is like. But use your local vacation rental stays to your advantage – use this as a way to meet and get to know other local hosts in your area.

Sure, you have to pay to stay, but you’re also building relationships. If the host you’re staying with isn’t interested in getting management or co-hosting help, perhaps they know someone that is.

Put simply: It pays to know people and the more people you know, the more you could potentially get paid.

3. Search the interwebs.

There’s a possibility that you could find someone asking about where to find a vacation rental manager on a number of job boards and, more importantly, this may also be a good place for you to list your own availability.

You can also look on industry-specific websites like Airhosta. Airhosta matches potential co-hosts and property managers with hosts looking for help with their listing. Check it out!

Land the Gig: Stand Out from the Crowd

Now that you know where to search, who to talk to, and what to look for, the next step is ensuring that once you start exploring those avenues, you look the part and have a stellar sales pitch.

Don’t forget you’re selling your skills as a co-host or vacation rental manager! Your professionalism and preparedness matter.

1. Organize a management proposal to show off your expertise.

Ideally, you should have some experience as a host yourself so you can prove once and for all that you know your “stuff” and can handle helping your potential clients’ guests and running the show from the backend.

Show your potential client your plans for:

  • Incoming guest inquiries and general communication
  • Check-in and check-out procedures
  • Turnover cleaning
  • Emergencies
  • Maintenance and general upkeep

 

We’re just scratching the surface here – overprepare so you can show yourself at your best.

2. Focus on what sets you apart.

As we said before, vacation rental management is nothing new and it seems like everyone is getting into the business these days.

What do you have that makes you different – or arguably better – than the other individuals and companies you’re competing against? Don’t be afraid to be confident about what you can offer. That’s likely to be your biggest selling point.

3. Set a reasonable (but competitive) rate for your services.

Typically, vacation rental managers and co-hosts take a percentage cut of the rental rate secured by the actual host. A number of sources online suggest anywhere from 10-25%.

Setting your own rate can be a little tricky because you don’t want to undersell yourself, but you certainly don’t want to oversell, either. Look at your experience and what unique points you can offer, and set a rate for yourself.

Consider developing a tiered option, too, to give your host more flexibility. If guests stay longer, perhaps your percentage cut could be a bit lower.

In the end, you have to do what’s best for you and feel confident that you’re getting back what your services are worth.

 

It’s no cakewalk getting started as a vacation rental manager or co-host, but the payoff is often well worth the legwork. If entrepreneurship is something you’re striving for and you’re passionate about hosting guests and visitors to your city, this may be a great “job” for you. So what are you waiting for? Get started!

 

Need help deciding how to show your potential hosting clients how you’ll handle turnover cleanings? Let MaidThis! help! We provide Airbnb and vacation turnover cleanings to dozens of hosts and have an exclusive team of cleaners whose sole responsibility is turning over vacation rentals. Give us a shout for more information.

 

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Testimonials

At first I tried to take care of all of the cleaning process myself, and it turned out to be a bigger headache than anything else. So a friend told me about MaidThis and its been fantastic. I’ve been working with my cleaners for a few months so far. I recommend you check out the service for yourself.
Brent
Airbnb Host in LA
90+

Hours
Saved

I definitely think that as a company we've been able to make more money, not only because we're saving money by using Maid This, but also because they're helping take a few of the necessary evils with doing vacation rentals off of the property managers plate.
Laura G
Airbnb Host in LA
90+

Hours
Saved

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How Much You Should Charge for the Security Deposit (And Other Fees)

airbnb deposit fees for hosts

As a vacation rental host (especially if you’re just getting started), you might ask yourself, “What should I charge for all these random Airbnb hosting fees and deposit?!”

Deciding what to charge can be a little stressful for some hosts; finding that “sweet spot” of “not too high, not too low” may seem like a challenge for even the most seasoned hosts.

Don’t fret, though! We’ve got some suggestions for how to decide on whether or not charging the optional fees is right for you and how much you should require if you do.

The Differences Between Fees

There are a few different fees that Airbnb and other vacation rental platforms always charge, like the flat 3% service charge, as well as a few that are up to you as the host.

Here’s a breakdown:

Security Deposits

Contrary to how it may sound, a security deposit isn’t paid by your guests before they check in. Instead, this is an amount you can charge to help cover damage or cleanup (if your place is left excessively messy) costs. As a host, though the deposit is outlined for guests when they book, you can only invoke and request a security deposit after a troublesome guest has checked out.

Deposits aren’t required by most vacation rental sites; this is entirely left up to you. Deposit amounts are calculated based on a percentage – from 10-50% of the rental agreement. If you’re not worried about the cost of replacing damaged things in your home, you can easily forego the deposit and not worry your guests. However, it would also be acceptable to request a low deposit just to be safe.

On the other hand, if you have nice things in your place such as expensive furnishings, irreplaceable items, or art, you should consider requiring a heftier deposit, somewhere around the 50% mark. As guests aren’t required to pay this amount up front, it shouldn’t be a deterrent to your occupancy goals.

Airbnb Cleaning Fee

Cleaning fees are a one-time fee that guests pay upon completing their reservation. These are set by you (the host), are optional, and are much easier to figure out.

What’s the best way to determine what you should charge for a cleaning fee? For starters, ensure that you’re charging enough to cover your turnover cleaning costs. If you’re not sure what that amount might be, factor in these things:

  • How many bedrooms does your place have? How many bathrooms?
  • How long will your guests be staying? Do you plan to offer any additional, “light” maid service to them during a longer stay?
  • How many loads of laundry will you need to do to ensure all the linens are ready for your next guests?
  • Will other areas of your vacation rental need to be cleaned?
  • How much time, overall, would it take you to clean the entire place yourself?
  • Can you bake in amenities reimbursement into this (toilet paper, shampoo, etc)?

 

Skip the headache and let MaidThis! handle your turnover cleanings. We’ll let you know what the cost will be, and you can incorporate that into your fee.

It’s also wise to charge a tad extra here just in case you’re ever in a pinch and need to do some extra cleaning after a particularly messy guest. Hold on to that extra little revenue until you need it; those little fees will add up quickly and can help you better manage your seasonal cleaning, too.

 

There’s no reason to fuss over setting fees. Guests understand that there will be some additional monetary requests made of them to stay anywhere, even a hotel; vacation rental sites are simply more open about showing them where their entire payment goes.

So when it comes time to set or adjust your fees, do so without worry! Use the guidelines above and we’re sure you’ll find a solution that best fits your vacation rental and your guests.

 

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Testimonials

At first I tried to take care of all of the cleaning process myself, and it turned out to be a bigger headache than anything else. So a friend told me about MaidThis and its been fantastic. I’ve been working with my cleaners for a few months so far. I recommend you check out the service for yourself.
Brent
Airbnb Host in LA
90+

Hours
Saved

I definitely think that as a company we've been able to make more money, not only because we're saving money by using Maid This, but also because they're helping take a few of the necessary evils with doing vacation rentals off of the property managers plate.
Laura G
Airbnb Host in LA
90+

Hours
Saved

Blog

Airbnb Plus in LA: What It Is (and Why You Should Care)

airbnb plus LA

If you’re like any responsible Airbnb host, you keep up with the latest and greatest news from the company that changed travel accommodation. The most recent update to come from the vacation rental giant is “Airbnb Plus” – a program that sets out to separate the elite listings from “the rest.”

But what exactly does that mean? And as a vacation rental host, why should you care? Here are the basics on “Airbnb Plus,” why it matters for you as a host, and how you can score the newly-coveted title.

What is “Airbnb Plus”, anyway?

According to Airbnb, vacation rentals that qualify as “Airbnb Plus” rentals meet “the high standards set for quality and comfort.” Roughly translated, that means homes approved for the “plus” list are, for starters, above average: They’re likely in a higher price range and offer many of the amenities someone might expect or actually have in their own home. The idea, essentially, is that “Airbnb Plus” rentals are the “first class” of Airbnb listings.

Airbnb already has the “Superhost” program, which is geared towards the host. The “Plus” program is Airbnb’s way of grading the property as well and providing a ranking for that.

Why It Matters

As sites like Airbnb became more popular, it became harder and harder to appear unique in a sea of vacation rentals. It was a challenge to stand out and getting there required an additional investment of time (and often, money).

But suddenly, as a host, you’ve been presented with a brand new way to set yourself apart from all the other listings in your city – all thanks to this new “Airbnb Plus” thing. As an approved “Plus” host, you get some pretty awesome extras:

 

  • A new, verified “Airbnb Plus” badge

 

  • More visible, elevated listing – you’ll literally stand out from others within the same city
  • A newly designed listing page
  • Updated photography courtesy of Airbnb’s platform
  • A cohesive photo tour to help your guests see themselves in your home

 

Getting branded with a “plus” is like money in your pocket. According to Airbnb’s research, 73% of travelers are willing to pay more for a quality, comfortable place to stay. Ultimately, that means more bookings and higher revenue.

“Airbnb Plus” in LA: What Can You Do to Make the Cut?

Los Angeles is one of 13 international cities where Airbnb has launched the “Plus” program, so, yes! You can achieve Airbnb greatness.

Getting the stamp of approval is tough, however. These homes are graded on a 100-point  checklist covering 4 main categories: Thoughtfully Designed, Comfort, Well-Equipped, and Well-Maintained. Airbnb wants to know that your place is, above all, comfortable, immaculately maintained and kept clean, and incorporates a cohesive design.

Not only that, but there’s a bit of fine print:

 

  • A rep from Airbnb actually physically comes to your place to scope it out and “grade” it. Nothing is based on pictures and hearsay. It’s all seen and verified by an Airbnb staffer.
  • All approved hosts have approval ratings of 4.8 or higher. Hosts are expected to maintain their ratings, too.
  • Approved hosts are dependable. “Airbnb Plus” hosts accept 95% of booking requests and haven’t canceled on a guest at all in the last 12 months.
  • Hosts aren’t approved for free. There’s a nonrefundable $149 application fee. Whether you make the cut or not, you’ll still get some valuable feedback on how to improve your vacation rental and try again or simply to improve the comfort of your guests.

 

 

So….is it worth the hassle for you?

It really depends on what type of property you want to pitch and how buttoned up your operations are. If you go through the hassle of getting “Airbnb Plus” certification, will you be able to sustain it? Make no mistake, there is heightened pressure to make your listing the best possible. Guest expectations will be higher for any property that is on the “Airbnb Plus” program. BUT, you’re definitely going to get more business from this.

The MaidThis! Opinion: In short, yes it’s worth going for this accolade. As people have started to discover that they can make money by listing their place on Airbnb, the supply of homes (especially in large cities like LA, SF, NY, etc.) is skyrocketing – meaning way more competition than before! You need some sort of competitive advantage to ensure your home isn’t just a commodity (think low rates), and the “Airbnb Plus” program is one possible avenue to make yourself stand out more against the competition.

If you think you’re ready to be graded, head over to Airbnb’s host signup page.

 

“Airbnb Plus” is the new “super host” and if you want a spot on the list, you’re going to have to truly go above and beyond to demonstrate to both Airbnb and your guests that you’ve got a stellar place to stay. But rest assured, all that hard work will definitely pay off. If you plan to apply for “Airbnb Plus,” we wish you the best of luck!

 

Part of earning the “Airbnb Plus” badge of approval is maintaining an impeccably clean home. MaidThis! Specializes in Airbnb turnover cleanings for vacation rentals in LA, Orange County, and San Francisco. Learn more about how we can help you achieve “Plus” greatness.

 

 

 

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At first I tried to take care of all of the cleaning process myself, and it turned out to be a bigger headache than anything else. So a friend told me about MaidThis and its been fantastic. I’ve been working with my cleaners for a few months so far. I recommend you check out the service for yourself.
Brent
Airbnb Host in LA
90+

Hours
Saved

I definitely think that as a company we've been able to make more money, not only because we're saving money by using Maid This, but also because they're helping take a few of the necessary evils with doing vacation rentals off of the property managers plate.
Laura G
Airbnb Host in LA
90+

Hours
Saved

Blog

The Subtle Art of Over-Delivering

The Subtle Art of Over-Delivering from MaidThis.com

 

Ensuring your guests are comfortable is your top priority as a vacation rental host – as well it should be! The better experience your guests have while staying with you, the more likely they are to leave a stellar review and recommend your place to others.

It’s not rocket science – meeting guests’ expectations means better everything for you.

While it’s great to make an effort to merely meet your guests’ expectations, why not do everything you can to exceed them? After all, nothing screams “amazing stay” quite like perfection.

To give your guests the visit of a lifetime, get creative. Start by trying a few of our tips below.

 

1. Provide “luxury” toiletries.

People forget things when they travel or simply don’t want to mess with checking a bag or risking their toiletries leaking on their flight. Your guests may not expect to see or receive any kind of travel toiletries so when you provide them, you’ve already made a good impression.

Take this a step further and offer nicer brands or a few things to choose from. Shop for travel- and sample-size shampoos and conditioners – brands like OGX, Matrix, Paul Mitchell, and Pureology all offer small sizes of their basic products. While they’re certainly more expensive than drugstore brands, they’ll also be more appreciated by your guests.

You can also order some brands in bulk and store them in your supply closet….those little hotel amenities are wayyy cheaper in bulk than you think!

 

2. Stock the fridge and pantry.

Everyone wants a little snack or drink now and then, including your guests. Why not give them some things to nibble on as part of your welcome gift?

Regardless of how often your place is rented, there are plenty of beverages and snacks that will last for extended periods.

Consider putting a few drink options in the fridge. Choose things like cans of varying sodas, a few bottles of water, juice boxes, or other long-lasting drinks.

For snacks, choose individually wrapped items you can toss into a basket for your guests and leave on the counter or into the pantry area. Go with things that are fairly versatile that most folks might like.

Be sure to let your guests know in your welcome letter (or when you meet them) that they’re welcome to help themselves! You don’t need to go overboard in what you offer: A few of each category – snacks and drinks – will do the trick and your guests will love your thoughtfulness.

 

3. Offer simple maid services.

This tip will be especially appreciated by guests who might be staying with you for more than just a night or two.

We all love that just-made bed feel; it’s one of the awesome perks of staying in a hotel. Why not offer your guests the same experience? Let them opt for simple maid services like making the beds or washing dishes. Give them a time window when you (or your cleaning service) will come by to spruce up each day and let them know it’s okay if they’ve left for the day or if they’re still hanging around the house.

It won’t take much time and may not seem like much, but the effort won’t go unnoticed.

 

There are so many ways you can go above and beyond your guests’ expectations and truly “wow” them during their stay with you. Don’t stop with these suggestions! Think about what makes you feel most “at home” when you’re away and think of ways you can create those “homey” feelings for your guests. They’ll love it!

 

Clean my
Vacation Rental


single-blog-sidebar-vacation-rental
  • Automated Scheduling
  • Cleaning Report with Pictures
  • Never a No-Show. Guaranteed.
Book Now

Testimonials

At first I tried to take care of all of the cleaning process myself, and it turned out to be a bigger headache than anything else. So a friend told me about MaidThis and its been fantastic. I’ve been working with my cleaners for a few months so far. I recommend you check out the service for yourself.
Brent
Airbnb Host in LA
90+

Hours
Saved

I definitely think that as a company we've been able to make more money, not only because we're saving money by using Maid This, but also because they're helping take a few of the necessary evils with doing vacation rentals off of the property managers plate.
Laura G
Airbnb Host in LA
90+

Hours
Saved

Blog

Guest Feedback: 6 Things Guests are Most Likely to Mention in Their Airbnb Review

guest feedback airbnb review
Thanks to the rise in the sharing economy and the overwhelming success of platforms like Airbnb to compete with major accommodation providers, more and more travelers are opting for vacation rentals over hotels. As a vacation rental host, that’s good news for you!

That being said, guest reviews can absolutely make or break your gig as a host. Unlike huge hotels that can afford a poor review here and there but still maintain an overall positive appearance and successful business venture, every “ding” in your listing presentation can cost you dearly. You can certainly try to make things right after a negative review, but you can’t ever erase it. The internet deals in ink, not pencil, y’all.

To avoid missteps and stay ahead of the negative review curve, here are 6 things guests are most likely to mention in their Airbnb reviews.

1. “The rental is exactly/not exactly as pictured.”

Pictures say a thousand words, don’t they? And let’s be real: You can make anything look stunning with the right lighting, angles, and a killer photographer.

You should definitely go out of your way to get fantastic images of your space but make sure they truly reflect what your guests will see when they show up. Pictures can also be deceiving and if your guests arrive expecting one thing but find something totally different, they’ll make mention of it. Investing in a professional photographer to get high-quality pictures of your place can increase your booking volume, meaning that it’ll pay for itself in time!

On the other hand, if your images deliver true “snapshots” of your vacation rental, you’re sure to get a rave review.

2. “Strong/Weak Wifi”

Whether your guests are traveling for work or pleasure, they’re going to want internet access. That’s just a given.

It’s helpful if you’re able to offer it the “old fashioned” way via an ethernet connection – which is always a safe bet over wireless – but wifi is still king. Smartphones and tablets can’t connect to the internet without it and if you’re not able to offer a strong signal, you risk scaring potential guests away.

We recommend going as far as listing your actual WiFi speed in your booking profile…this will also help attract business travelers who want a place with great WiFi.

3. “Great/Poor Amenities for a Long-Term Stay”

If your guests are staying for more than a week, it’s not a bad idea to cater to them with some additional perks beyond offering a discounted rent rate.

Offer up extra services like a weekly or bi-weekly house cleaning so they’re not the ones scrubbing the bathroom during their stay. Offer to change out their linens every couple of weeks with fresh ones so they don’t need to do their own bedclothes laundry or wash their own towels.

You might even go so far as to send over a gift every once in a while as a “thank you” for staying with you. Consider a bottle of wine, a fun snack like Shari’s Berries, or a gift card to a nice local restaurant for a night out on the town.

4. “We couldn’t find the…”

We know guests move things around and your cleaning crew likely does their best to ensure everything is put back in the same place after every turnover cleaning, but somehow, things can still go missing. That said, if your guests can’t find something, the blame doesn’t fall on other guests or the cleaners; it falls on you.

If you list that you’ve got a hair dryer, ask your turnover contractors to check for it every time and return it to its home. If you promise an iron and ironing board, make sure they’re there. Where are the keys to the locked trash disposal area?

If you’re not 100% sure of your stuff’s exact location every time a new guest checks in, you’re risking sabotaging your good hosting name.

We recommend creating a guest folder or digital information “book” with information on where everything is so guests can find it themselves.

5. “XYZ was Not as Described”

Look, we know – and your guests know – that some things will be out of your control. You can’t tell your neighbors what to do or control how far away your place is from the nearest light rail station.

You can, however, be honest.

If your neighborhood isn’t quiet, don’t say it’s quiet! Instead, market your place as a party-friendly rental.

If your place isn’t near public transit or close to many businesses, don’t claim things are “within walking distance.” Instead, offer a guaranteed place to park a car on the street, in the garage (if you have one) or in a nearby parking lot.

This could look like a lot of different things and it’s up to you to put a positive spin on the negative. Sit down and make a list of every possible “bad” thing about your vacation rental. Then consider what alternatives you can offer your guests.

Rather than highlighting the flaws, overcome them ahead of time by presenting solid solutions. That way, there won’t be anything to complain about.

6. “Check-In/Check-Out Wasn’t Ideal”

Depending on how involved you are personally with your vacation rental, this may prove to be challenging for you to amend. If you’re juggling a full-time job and hosting is your side hustle, you may not have much wiggle room to accommodate guests’ ever-changing desires.

Despite the difficulty, guests aren’t thinking in terms of how their needs affect your life; they’re thinking about how they affect their vacation.

Here are some things to consider:

 

  • How restrictive are your check-in hours? If you have to (or prefer to) physically meet your guests when they arrive, are you available at late or odd hours?

 

  • Can you offer your guests a place to leave their luggage if they need to check-in early or if they don’t leave town immediately after their check-out?

 

  • How much work are you asking of your guests at check-out? Is it more than a few simple, one-minute tasks?

 

  • How easy is it for guests to return keys?

 

Catering to your guests’ needs and desires is a big job and, ultimately, will be what keeps you consistently booked and highly ranked in search results. By being fully aware of what your guests will expect and how they think about their overall experience, you can prepare ahead of time and stave off negative Airbnb reviews before they even happen. You can hire a professional check-in/-out service company like Check-In LA to help out.

Interested in offering your long-term renters a complimentary cleaning service or need help automating your turnover process? Take a look at how MaidThis! helps vacation rental hosts.

 

Clean my
Vacation Rental


single-blog-sidebar-vacation-rental
  • Automated Scheduling
  • Cleaning Report with Pictures
  • Never a No-Show. Guaranteed.
Book Now

Testimonials

At first I tried to take care of all of the cleaning process myself, and it turned out to be a bigger headache than anything else. So a friend told me about MaidThis and its been fantastic. I’ve been working with my cleaners for a few months so far. I recommend you check out the service for yourself.
Brent
Airbnb Host in LA
90+

Hours
Saved

I definitely think that as a company we've been able to make more money, not only because we're saving money by using Maid This, but also because they're helping take a few of the necessary evils with doing vacation rentals off of the property managers plate.
Laura G
Airbnb Host in LA
90+

Hours
Saved

Blog

6 Ways to Attract Long-Term Renters (and Why You Should Be Pursuing Them)

attract airbnb long-term guests from MaidThis.com

 

Let’s imagine you own a nice condo in one of the most frequented tourist destinations. Your rental business is going well but you’re beginning to get tired of the “cycle of renting.” Or maybe you’re in a not-so-frequented area and see less traffic year-round. Either way, there’s always something that can be done to boost the number of guests flocking to your place for a long-term stay.

Advertising your vacation rental, screening guests, checking them in, helping them checkout – could there be an easier way of doing this, albeit while making a lucrative profit?

Luckily, yes! Let’s consider long-term renting.

Why Should Long-Term Renters Be on Your List?

Allotting your vacation rental for the purpose of long-term renting can give you peace of mind by saving you from the hassle of checking in new renters on a continuous basis and constantly worrying about where the next one will come from.

Here are 4 reasons you should consider catering specifically to long-term renters.

1. You’ll be getting fixed payments for several weeks or months.

Hosting long-term guests means you’ll have a consistent flow of rent payments as opposed to small bursts of money from short-term renters. Since you have a fixed amount coming in, you can take a breath of relief. Any renovations or pending repairs can easily be taken care of.

2. You can lessen the burden of everyday costs.

When you have long-term renters, it’s easy to accommodate for recurring costs. Long-term rent payments help you keep general necessities under control and ensure you have enough coming in to make up for any surprise expenses that may arise in utility or other recurring bills.

3. You’ll experience less turnover.

Long-term renters stay for longer periods, giving you fewer vacancies to fill and thus, providing less guest turnover. This also means your property will have fewer chances to be exposed to excessive wear and tear as a result of constant short-term turnover.

Moreover, long-term renters who leave happy will be more likely to write positive reviews about your vacation rental listing and may even go as far as to refer friends or loved ones.

4. Consistent rent means high peace of mind.

Perhaps you feel like you’re earning a lot from your short-term renters. But what’s the guarantee of landing consistent guests? With every checkout, you run the risk of experiencing a period of vacancy when you’re earning nothing.

By working with long-term renters, you keep your occupancy rates high and will be more likely to experience fewer extended vacancy periods. Even if you only have one or two long-term rental agreements per year, that’s still several weeks you haven’t spent searching or hoping for new guests to find your vacation rental listing.

How to Attract Long-Term Renters

Just like attracting potential customers who will buy the product or service you’re offering, it’s essential to know how to attract long-term guests to your vacation rental.

1. Make it a “home away from home.”

Long-term guests may be more interested in the amenities and overall coziness of your home than short-term guests. It’s important to do what you can to make them feel as comfortable as possible.

Even little things that might seem petty to you can help make a guest’s experience more homey. Check out this article by Affordanything.com to get some ideas about what other hosts are doing and how you can do something similar.

2. Make it work-friendly.

While you want to make your place comfortable, don’t forget to consider that long-term travelers might also be working while they stay. Some non-negotiable work amenities include providing a stable wifi connection and some kind of work space, such as a desk.

3. Charge lower rent.

Your guests will consider a number of factors including the location of your vacation rental, reviews left by previous guests, the images you share, and of course, your rental rate.

Long-term renters will likely expect to get some kind of rent break or discount for their extended stay. As they will be with you for a longer duration, they might not be willing to shell out as much as short-term renters.

Remember that while it may seem like short-term renting at higher rates yields you more revenue, it’s always temporary and never guaranteed.

4. Ensure the safety of the premises.

While short-term renters will arrive and check out within a period of several days or a week, long-term renters will be there anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Hence, they might be more concerned with the safety around your place and within it. Help them feel secure by installing sturdy locks and consider putting a small safe somewhere in the house.

5. Set rules and leave helpful instructions.

Create an FAQ page that provides all pertinent details from sharing the wifi password to how all the electrical appliances work. This is an excellent way to automate the check-in process and make your guests feel more at home.

6. Focus on the appearance of your vacation rental.

For long-term renters, coming to your place will be a bit of an investment. They’ll be paying more than short-term renters over the course of their longer stay and will want to feel like your place is their home. Show how your property is the best choice for them.

Got a nice office area to flaunt? Have you decked out your living room with extra gadgets to make a Netflix night just like being at the movies? Upload photos of the things that set you apart on your vacation rental listing and let your potential guests see them with their own eyes!

 

 

By catering to long-term renters, you’ll stand to gain a lot more than just consistent occupancy rates. Impressed with the quality of your vacation rental, they’ll be more likely to send other renters they know. No matter how you look at it, it’s a win-win.

 

Need help getting your place ready for your next guests? Interested in providing your long-term guests with complimentary maid service? Schedule an appointment with us!

Clean my
Vacation Rental


single-blog-sidebar-vacation-rental
  • Automated Scheduling
  • Cleaning Report with Pictures
  • Never a No-Show. Guaranteed.
Book Now

Testimonials

At first I tried to take care of all of the cleaning process myself, and it turned out to be a bigger headache than anything else. So a friend told me about MaidThis and its been fantastic. I’ve been working with my cleaners for a few months so far. I recommend you check out the service for yourself.
Brent
Airbnb Host in LA
90+

Hours
Saved

I definitely think that as a company we've been able to make more money, not only because we're saving money by using Maid This, but also because they're helping take a few of the necessary evils with doing vacation rentals off of the property managers plate.
Laura G
Airbnb Host in LA
90+

Hours
Saved