Notes on Hosting: Japan Invites The World

Japan is in the midst of a big twelve months. The Rugby World Cup? Just a warm-up. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics will see visitors from every nation on Earth arriving in this most mysterious of countries. Japan is hosting the world – what can guests expect?

Sure, expect the bright lights of Shinjuku, the centuries-old temples, and a whole range of brilliant (and sometimes weird) delicacies. But above all, expect a unique approach to hospitality… Omotenashi.

What on Earth is Omotenashi?

Omotenashi is the Japanese approach to hospitality and service.

  • ‘Omote’ means ‘the public face’: the image one may wish to present to others.
  • ‘Nashi’ means ‘nothing’.

Combined, it represents a service where there is nothing hidden, no secrets, honesty.

Where did Omotenashi begin?

geisha public face

The Japanese trace the origins of omotenashi to 16th-century tea master Sen no Rikyū, and his chakai (tea ceremony). Each chakai was considered a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so it had to be prepared and performed with the utmost care and attention.

The tea masters performed the ceremony right in front of their guests, demonstrating that nothing is hidden. But more than anything the ‘service’ had to genuine, honest. Sen no Rikyū had a poem to sum up omotenashi:

“Though you wipe your hands and brush off the dust and dirt from the vessels, what is the use of all this fuss if the heart is still impure?”

Sen no Rikyū

What does this mean today?

sushi restaurant

The concept of omotenashi is pervasive in Japan. It’s why in many restaurants the chefs prepare food right before you, or why the train conductors bow to every carriage.

Interestingly, it’s also why tipping is considered strange – rude, even. Service in the West is a transaction (extra money for good service). But as a result the friendly smiles and ‘have a great day!’ can seem a little fake.

If you’re truly performing omotenashi, then the service should be without reward. Otherwise it’s not as ‘honest, nothing hidden’ as it appears. Tipping may call sincerity into question.

Is it all good?

Omotenashi is uniquely Japanese. Foreign visitors have found elements of the concept uncomfortable or – ironically – dishonest. Some visitors just want to be left alone to enjoy their meals or shopping. Certain ryokans have even stopped the tradition of lining up outside to greet guests as a result of feedback and changing tastes.

One thing’s for sure though, people need to discover omotenashi and Japan for themselves – hundreds of thousands are about to do exactly that.


Always dreamed of experiencing Japan one day? Let your home pay for your holiday next summer. We’ll take care of your property, from listing creation to cleaning and everything in between. You take care of Tokyo.

Find out how much you could earn with our instant calculator.

Scare-bnb! Five spooky Halloween homes on Airbnb

halloween haunted airbnb

Did you feel like your last Airbnb was missing something? Fresh towels, salt and pepper… a little paranormal activity? Well, worry not. There’s a whole range of haunted Halloween hosting options out there to satisfy your needs. We’ve selected five of the creepiest, and you’ll be pleased to hear they’re all available to book now!

1. The Sealed Bedroom

Over 100 years ago, in a dark windswept manor on the Scottish coast, little Jack always complained of noises in the night. Sent back to bed, he was found dead one morning. Then the hauntings truly started. Terrified, his parents filled the room with religious symbols, and sealed the bedroom – they never set foot in it again.

Jack’s bedroom has now been painstakingly recreated in an ex-council house in Essex, England. Whilst that’s not a common horror setting, the chamber looks genuinely terrifying and visitors have sworn to unexplained noises and smells. According to one recent review, should you make it through the night, the breakfast is excellent too. Good to know.

2. The House of Trembling Madness

York is England’s most haunted city, and this is surely York’s most haunted Airbnb. Set in the shadow of York Minster (haunted, naturally), the house itself is over 650 years old, and is built on top of Norman foundations dating back to 1150 AD.

So there’s been plenty of time for ghosts to make their home here. The history of the property is unclear, however there’s been several sightings of ghostly figures down the years. Some have even reported a headless woman floating around – though that could have been a guest returning from the neighbouring pub.

3. The Gettysburg Field Hospital

The Battle of Gettysburg took place during the American civil war, and resulted in around 50,000 casualties – the most costly battle in US history. In the aftermath of the battle, the Union Army used surrounding farms, barns and churches as makeshift hospitals for the wounded.

David Stewart Farmhouse was one such hospital and many soldiers lost their lives within its walls. The owner, Stephani, says she’s had many encounters with ghosts over the years. Happily – despite their sad history – they’ve all been very friendly. Apparently.

4. The Q Station

The North Head Quarantine station, Sydney, was the final resting place for over 500 of its forced residents. From the 1830s through to 1984 new arrivals in Australia who were suspected of harbouring infectious diseases were confined here.

The station is supposedly Australia’s most haunted spot. In fact, every single building on the site houses ghosts – visitors have spotted nurses, doctors and patients walking the wards. If all this sounds like your cup of tea, then feel free to check-in to the site’s hotel. Hopefully they’ll let you check-out, too…

Note: So this one isn’t actually available on Airbnb, but its on Booking.com so we think it qualifies! Spooking.com anyone…? Anyone?

5. The Ghost Town Shack

If you’re not content with just one ghost, how about a whole ghost town? The railroad had made Cisco, in Utah, a bustling and wealthy frontier town. But after the construction of the nearby Freeway the town declined – it now sits ruined and deserted.

If you fancy isolation (and a stunning night sky) then two separate shacks are available to rent. You won’t be entirely alone though – Charles Steen, a local businessman, still haunts Cisco. Steen grew rich on nearby uranium deposits, but lost his entire fortune just a few years later. Maybe he just wants some company…


‘The Next Airbnb’ – Five Possible Companies

JustPark Boatsetter Eatwith Peerspace Getaround

Airsorted operate in 22 cities around the world, so we know that the cost of living in one can get pretty pricey these days. Luckily, it seems as if every day there’s a new platform helping you earn some extra cash. Thanks to the booming sharing economy – set to be worth $335 billion to the US economy by 2025 – it’s easier than ever to earn while you’re traveling, working, or even sleeping. We’re tipping these five to be the next Airbnb…

1. Getaround

Getaround is Airbnb for your car. Car owners all over Europe and the US can let their own car out at an hourly rate, or rent one themselves! I hear you, what about insurance? Getaround cover every car for up to $1,000,000 – renters and owners alike.

2. Peerspace

Peerspace recently launched in San Diego, Airsorted’s American home, letting out unique event spaces by the hour. Homeowners, office-owners, and studio-owners alike can rent their space while it’s left idle. Similar to Airbnb but for meetings, performances, events – anything you can think of! Convert your space into cash without making any beds.

Peerspace airbnb
Peerspace offer unique spaces for a range of needs.

3. JustPark

Do you live near the stadium? The station? You could be parking on a goldmine. JustPark allows homeowners to rent out their driveways at an hourly rate. Spaces cost around $10 an hour and are an easy moneymaker if your spot sits empty while you’re at work, running errands, or away.


What even is the sharing economy?

what is sharing economy

4. Eatwith

Airbnb has come along way since 2008, but it started as a way to stay with locals, not just rent their house. Eatwith takes this simple idea and applies it to food. It’s perfect for those amateur chefs among you wanting to show off your skills! You can either host a private event, give a cooking class or act as a food tour guide.

5. Boatsetter

Airbnb for… yep, you guessed it. Boat owners can let for full days or half days, so unless you plan to be on the boat every day next summer this is the perfect money maker. Particularly lucrative on bank holidays – just add water.

We’ve picked five of our favourites here, but there are endless opportunities to explore secondary income options. Whether you have space to fill in your home, driveway or kitchen, the sharing economy is here to help and it’s here to stay. 


Looking to earn your own second income? Find out how much your home could earn you by heading to our Pricing Calculator for an immediate estimate.

Interning at Airsorted: Luke O’Neill (Client Success)

Luke O'Neill graduation Airsorted

English and Economics graduate Luke joined us this summer for a three month, fully-paid internship. Now that he’s back in Ireland studying again, we think it’s high time to catch up with him about his London experience.


Could you describe your internship in three words?

  1. Challenging.
  2. Exciting.
  3. Rewarding.

 

What interested you about working at Airsorted in the first place?

I finished my degree in May, and was eager to gain some practical business experience before beginning my master’s in Dublin. I’ve always been interested in start-ups – and someday hope to start my own – so working at a rising start-up like Airsorted was a great opportunity. I also think the field Airsorted operates in is very interesting. The world of Airbnb home-sharing is a new-one, so we were the first ones to encounter some of the challenges we faced!

 

What skills did you develop here?

I worked on the Client Success Team which involved directly liaising with hosts and resolving any issues. This tested and improved my communication and relationship-building skills. 

I was asked to contribute on solutions for wider operational issues too, so I left feeling more confident in my organisation, critical-analysis, and problem solving skills.

 

London vs. Dublin

Camden Hells or Guinness?  If I suggested anything other than Guinness I could lose my citizenship. 
A full English or full Irish? Has to be the full-Irish. 
Thames or Liffey? Until I get to do a boat party on the Liffey, I’ll vote Thames!
Hampstead Heath or Phoenix Park? I never made it to the Heath! But it’s on my list for next time.
London office or Dublin office? Couldn’t possibly choose.

 

What was challenging, surprising or enjoyable about your internship?

  • It was quite trying at first, just as starting any new job is. There’s a very steep learning curve and they want employees to deliver right from the start. The benefit is that they immediately give you genuine responsibility, and I feel as though I was playing my part in helping the business. I certainly wasn’t there to make cups of tea!

  • I was surprised and impressed by Airsorted’s eagerness to hear employees’ ideas. If anyone has suggestions (even interns), they want to hear that feedback. If I expressed an interest in a certain area, or felt as though improvements could be made, managers were always willing to see if they were implementable. I am very fortunate to have been given that chance.

  • Besides the summer boat party on the Thames, I think the most enjoyable aspect of the job was being around genuine, smart, friendly people.

 

What did you get up to in London?

Although my internship was quite busy I did manage to make the most of my time in London. I visited the Houses of Parliament, British Museum, the Sky Garden, and even reached as far as Stonehenge. 

London office awarded top 100
Our brand new London office, based in Farringdon. We were voted one of the top 100 companies to escape to 2019!

 

What’s next for you?

I’m now studying for a master’s in International Business Management at Trinity College Dublin. I feel that Airsorted was perfect preparation for it and I can apply the knowledge gained there to my course.

I am also working part-time at Airsorted’s Dublin office. I left Airsorted London on a Tuesday and was offered a job in the Dublin office the following week. If you show you want to work hard and learn they will absolutely reward you for that. 

Beyond my master’s I hope to enter a career in consultancy or get involved in the startup scene once again. 


Airsorted are hiring! We’re looking for bright, ambitious candidates with a pro-active nature and a willingness to learn. Sounds like you? Find out more.

Hosting and Home Safety – All You Need to Know

Purchasing a home is – for most of us – the single biggest investment we’ll ever make. So it’s no wonder the safety of your home is always our number one priority – we’ll take care of it as if it were our own.

Do you verify guests?

When it comes to guest verification, there’s nobody with more experience and expertise than the Airsorted Guest Support team. Together, they’ve accepted over 200,000 reservations.

When a guest requests to stay in your home, we’ll check several things:

  • Is the guest’s profile fully verified? That means a profile picture, a government ID card or passport, payment details and selfie have all been checked.
  • Are all reviews of the guest positive? That’s host reviews of the guest, not the guest’s reviews of properties!
  • What are the guest’s plans during their stay?

If our team have any concerns whatsoever we will politely decline the guest.

Our Guest Support Team are trained as experts in guest verification.

What if something goes wrong during a stay?

With offices in the UK, Canada and Australia our dedicated Guest Support team are able to communicate with guests 24/7. So you can always be sure that we’ll report issues quickly and efficiently.

Whether it’s a leak or a blown bulb, we’re able to act fast to secure your home’s safety. For more on this, see our handy maintenance guide here.

What if a guest causes damage in my home?

Damage is rare, but accidents do happen.

We train our housekeepers to look out for possible damage at each clean. If they think they might have spotted something, they’ll send a photo back to Airsorted HQ. Should we need to seek compensation, Airsorted will handle any claim on your behalf.

The process differs depending on the platform.

Airbnb:

  1. We’ll submit a claim and any evidence to your guest via the Airbnb Resolution Centre. Airbnb cover you up to $1 Million USD.
  2. They’ll have 72 hours to accept or decline. If they decline – or don’t respond – then we’ll escalate the case to Airbnb directly.
  3. Airbnb will speak to both parties before making a decision on compensation.

All Other Platforms:

  1. We take a £150 deposit for each and every booking.
  2. If the cost of maintenance is less than £150 only the difference will be refunded.
  3. If the cost is more than £150 we’ll submit evidence to the guest and platform. We can then further charge the guest’s card.

Do I need separate insurance?

If you are a UK and Ireland Airsorted host we’ll automatically cover you for buildings, contents and public liability when you’re sharing your home with paying guests. The policy is underwritten by Guardhog (Hiscox) and is free of charge.

Some important points:

  • The insurance only covers guests who have booked through a platform which is not Airbnb. Airbnb has its own Host Guarantee.
  • We designed the policy to cover worst-case scenarios, for claims exceeding £1000. The booking deposit will cover claims below this amount.
  • For the policy to be valid, you must have independent separate home insurance in place which would cover you when your home is not being let to paying guests.

If you would like to find out more about our Guest Support Team, how we report damages, and insurance then get in touch with one of New Homes Advisors now.

Maintenance with Houst – All You Need To Know

Home maintenance – it ain’t glamorous, but someone has to do it. The question is though, if you’re halfway round the world on that dream trip, who?

Houst. Here’s everything you need to know about maintaining your property whilst you’re away.

What happens if something goes wrong?

Whilst we’d love to promise maintenance will never be required, sometimes the unexpected happens. Boilers can break and bulbs blow. What happens next?

  1. Your guests – or perhaps our cleaner – will report an issue to Houst HQ either by contacting our 24/7 Guest Support Team or the Housekeeping Team.
  2. We’ll try to troubleshoot the issue, but if we’re unable to solve the problem we’ll contact you.
  3. We’ll ask if you’ve encountered the issue before – perhaps you know how to fix it. If not, we’ll provide you with a quote from our maintenance team.
  4. With your permission, we’ll then organise to attend the property and resolve the issue at the earliest suitable time.

What if you can’t reach me?

Whether it’s due to time zone differences, an important meeting, or maybe even a jungle trek we understand that you won’t always be easy to get hold of – it’s why we’re here to help, after all.

We’ll wait to hear back from you if the issue is relatively minor (e.g. window cleaning, broken lightbulb). But if your home needs urgent attention (e.g. a leak, broken boiler) then we’ll take action quickly to secure the safety of the property and any existing bookings.

We can only spend as much as you have previously authorised. Do please ensure you set up your preferences in the Houst dashboard – there are preset defaults!

Dashboard Preferences Maximum Spend Defaults
The default spend limits on your ‘Preferences’ tab.

Who do you send?

We have a range of in-house handymen who will attend to any minor, non-urgent issues such as changing lightbulbs, fixing TV aerials, and bleeding radiators.

For more complex, urgent matters we partner with a range of professional maintenance companies. We’d be happy to let you know exactly who, but there’s too many to list here!

Of course, if you have your own trusted and preferred contact you’d like to use we’d be happy to coordinate with them too.

Any contractor will be able to access your property via a secure lockbox, so there’s no need for you to be home.

Neil the handyman
Neil, our London handyman, has completed over 3000 jobs at Houst properties!

How do tradespeople enter my property?

Gone are the days of waiting at home (or worse, paying someone else to wait) for a contractor to appear.

We’ll ask your guests to leave a set of keys in the lockbox if they head out, and then we’ll pass the access information on to our trusted suppliers.

For more on lockboxes, how they work, and why we use them see here!

How am I charged for any work?

Houst will receive any invoices or job reports. We’ll then add the charge to your next management fee. This is taken automatically, so there’s no need for you to worry about any late payment fees!

You’ll be able to see the invoice on your Houst dashboard, and we’ll also pass on the job report.

But what if my guest caused the issue?

Accidents happen, however rarely. If we need to charge your guest for any maintenance work then we’ll do this for you.

  • On Airbnb: we’ll open a claim on the ‘resolution centre’. Your guest can pay, counter-offer, or decline. If they choose not to pay, we will raise the claim to Airbnb themselves who will then make a decision.
  • On Booking.com, Expedia and HomeAway: we take a deposit of £150, and have the option of asking the platforms to charge your guest further.

If you’d like to find out more about exactly how we ensure your home is protected, see our guide here.


Ready to start your Houst hosting journey? Find out how much you could earn with our free pricing estimate!

Is Professional Photography For My Airbnb Really Worth It?

Spoiler: Yes.

Creating an Airbnb listing and taking some photos is the easy bit. Getting the absolute most from your property though? That takes a little more time and effort.

We can all agree that professionally taken photographs look better than iPhone snaps. But sourcing a professional, liaising with an agency, and booking a shoot is a hassle. So long as guests can see you’ve got an oven… that’s all that matters, right? Isn’t paying a professional just an unnecessary luxury?

The answer is a resounding no. Professional photography is essential.

The Comparison

Imagine you’re a potential guest. Now consider the following two listings carefully – I have some questions for you..

First, this family home:

  1. Would you stay at this property?
  2. If so, how much would you pay?

Now take a look at this listing:

  1. What about this one? Would you book this property?
  2. How much would you spend?
  3. Which property do you prefer?

You’d pay more for the second property, right? We all would surely?

Take a closer look. The two listings are for the same property.

No surprises then that photography can earn you more. I hear you though – that was just one, carefully selected example wasn’t it? Doesn’t prove anything. What we need here is some science.

Coming right up.

The Experiment

Our data team have measured the performance of 10 different properties across the last two years. Performance has been split into three components:

  • Occupancy.
  • Average daily rate (ADR).
  • Overall earnings.

We selected listings that had been live for one year without professional photos, and then for the following year with pro snaps. Below are our results.

Occupancy

  • The bars in blue represent the average occupancy rate (%) across the year for the properties before professional photography.
  • The bars in red represent the average occupancy rate (%) across the year for the properties after professional photography.
  • Taking an average across all of the properties, there was an 18.7% increase in occupancy – that is huge!

Average Daily Rate

But occupancy alone doesn’t mean very much. If you halve your price then the occupancy will naturally shoot up.

More useful to consider is the average daily rate. Below, consider the uptick in earnings before and after professional photography:

  • The bars in blue represent the average daily rate paid by guests for the properties before professional photography.
  • The bars in red represent the average daily rate paid by guests for the properties after professional photography.
  • All of our properties received a boost. The average increase in daily rate was a massive 16.4%!

So there’s more bookings coming in, and more money being earned for each reservation. But what does that mean in real terms?

Earnings

Whilst people host on Airbnb for a variety of reasons, making a bit of extra cash is normally high on the agenda.

So let’s get to the heart of the issue. Will professional photography earn you more money?

  • Once again, the blue bars are before professional photography and the red bars are after.
  • On average, the earnings were an astounding 73.8% higher after photography.
  • In cash? An average of £2,341 extra in the pocket. Not bad for a small investment…!

A Wise Investment

Our properties received significantly more bookings, even at an increased rate.

Why?

Because professional photography justifies a higher price.

A gallery full of dimly lit, blurry photos suggests no time or care has been taken with your listing. Guests think their stay might suffer from the same lack of attention.

Professional photography, on the other hand, suggests a professional service – from the housekeeping to check-in and communication.

And with guests spending just 5 seconds considering a listing, you need to grab attention as quickly as you can! There’s no better way to do this than professional photos.


It can be a hassle organising professional photography. Luckily, Airsorted can take care of it all for you.

After an initial onboarding meeting – and once the first clean has taken place – we’ll schedule a professional photographer for your home. This is FREE for our full-time hosts, and just £99 for those with less availability. There’s no need for you to be present (unless you’d like to be!) and we’ll take care of the selection, editing, and upload.

Want to see some our work? Here’s some examples:

Lockboxes – All You Need To Know

Here at Houst we use lockboxes for all our homes. But why? Are they safe? And why don’t we meet guests in-person?

Here’s everything you need to know:

What is a lockbox?

Simply, a lockbox is a small, external safe containing a key. Lockboxes can either be attached to a wall or a railing.

How does a lockbox work?

We use two types of lockbox: wall-mounted and railing.

  • We’ll secure a wall-mounted lockbox to a wall, usually by the entrance to the property itself.
  • We’ll normally attach a railing lockbox to a nearby bicycle rack, using a bicycle cable to secure it in place.

We provide guests with the lockbox code via an online portal, which expires at the end of their reservation. Guests will then enter the code and – depending on the lockbox type – either twist the handle or squeeze two buttons. The lockbox will open and the keys can be retrieved.

How do guests find the lockbox?

Houst provide guests with a mobilefriendly lockbox guide. This guide includes:

  • A map of the local area.
  • A step-by-step picture guide from the front door of the property to the lockbox.
  • Accompanying written instructions.
  • A diagram of how to open the lockbox.
  • The telephone number for our Guest Support Team.

See here for an example of an Houst lockbox guide.

Are my keys safe in the lockbox?

The security of your home is always our priority, so let’s take a closer look at our lockboxes:

  • Railing: MasterLock 5414. MasterLock are one of the most trusted brands in security. The lockbox has a solid zinc body and a dual-locking system for additional security. The protective cover offers defence against the elements too. These lockboxes are used widely by Britain’s NHS to access homes requiring social care.

And to be completely safe, your keys are always untagged, other than with an Houst homecode. We keep spares locked away in our office too.

Important Point: The lockboxes are almost always empty. Either your guests or our cleaners will have the keys. The lockbox is used only on changeover day.

Should I use a lockbox?

There’s a range of reasons to use a lockbox:

  1. It’s easy for guests: Not everyone wants a 20-minute house tour, or an extensive run-down of the neighbourhood. Most guests just want to check-in and chill out.
  2. 24/7 Access: Early flight? Or maybe you stayed in the bar longer than intended. A lockbox makes things easy at any time, day or night. No more curtailing of plans to meet your host.
  3. Airbnb Work Collection: Installing a lockbox means you’ll be eligible for inclusion on Airbnb’s ‘Work Collection’ – homes for business travellers.
  4. Easy Maintenance: Our maintenance partners are happy to access via the lockbox too, meaning you don’t have to wait (or pay someone…) to let them in.
  5. Friends and Family: How many times have you had to taxi a key to your mother-in-law, or leave a key under the doormat for your friend? Lockboxes are a safer and easier solution for everyone involved.
Our guides are mobile-friendly and easy to follow.

How do I install one?

No need to worry – we’ll do it for you!

If you think the railing lockbox is best for you then your Account Manager will install one at your onboard meeting.

And if the wall-mounted sounds more suitable we’ll schedule our handyman to install it a few days later (in a spot of your choice, of course).

Best of all? Your sign-up fee covers both the lockbox and its installation.


Ready to get started? Call our New Homes Advisors now on +44 203 389 8886.

Edinburgh Fringe 2019: Airsorted’s Top Tips

Edinburgh is a cultural Mecca of a city, with a rich history that champions values of inclusion and freedom of speech, particularly through the arts. With under 500,000 inhabitants, it is a relatively small city, but it punches well above its weight in the artistic world. 

The Fringe Festival is the jewel in Edinburgh’s cultural crown. It’s the biggest and most-loved arts festival on the planet – a month-long thespian takeover of almost the entire city, showcasing everything from music and theatre to comedy, dance, cabaret and art. 

And, as there’s no formal decision process to determine who gets to perform, the diversity of shows (both amazing and terrible) at the Fringe is truly something to behold. That’s all part of the fun! 

The Airsorted team in Edinburgh have been sampling the best – and worst – of this year’s acts so far. Here are their top tips on what not to miss: 

Comedy

Agnes recommends Foil, Arms and Hog: The internet sensations return for their tenth sold-out Fringe in a row. The Irish comedy group have been a fixture at the festival for years now, and with good reason. Observational and topical, their comedy is hard to pin to a specific genre. Agnes has seen them three years running! Buy Tickets.

Andrew recommends Weegie Hink Ae That? Presents: Nae Bother: Possibly having searched for the most Scottish show he could find, Andrew’s pick is a sketch-based comedy show riffing left, right and centre on Scottish culture and society. Buy Tickets.

Fringe Party Edinburgh
Revellers on Royal Mile

Music

Helen recommends Abandoman – Road to Coachella: What happens when you combine audience heckles with hip hop, pop, house and more? Abandoman happens. An improvised music show where audience participation is mandatory – it’s an entirely different show each night! Buy Tickets.

Ruta recommends Baby Wants Candy: Not dissimilar is Baby Wants Candy, which each night begins by asking the audience to shout out a new title. A full band, entirely improvised musical then develops over the following 60 minutes, never to be performed again! Buy Tickets.

Variety at Edinburgh Fringe
The Fringe is all about variety!

Spoken Word

Amber recommends James Rowland’s Revelations: Story-telling at its best, and the Fringe at its most thrillingly intimate. Rowland tells Edinburgh the tale of his sperm donation… and then what happened next. The winner of the ThreeWeeksEditors Award 2018. Buy Tickets.

Harry recommends Mythos: Stephen Fry’s one-man show is his first for over 40 years. An exploration of Greek mythology, Fry brings to life the gods, heroes and creatures of the ancient myths. From Hesiod to Narcissus, expect insight and humour in this trilogy of shows. Buy Tickets.


If it’s too late for you to get involved with the Fringe this year then don’t worry, there’s always next year! Why not make it an extra memorable trip and stay in one of these incredible Airbnb properties too.

And if you’re interested in hosting during the Festival then take a look at this guide.

Wondering how much you could earn? Head to our Pricing Calculator for an immediate estimate.

Optimise your Airbnb – 5 Pro Tips You Didn’t Know

As an Account Manager at Airsorted – the world’s largest Airbnb management company – I know a thing or two about optimising your listing.

There’s plenty of blogs out there suggesting you throw a rug here, leave a plant pot there, and ensure you keep the tea bags topped up. That’s important, but certain tips only reveal themselves with experience.

1. Don’t turn off ‘Instant Book’.

Instant Book. Sounds scary, doesn’t it? Up there with ‘Golden Goal’.

It isn’t.

Airbnb simply wants to make it as easy and quick as possible for guests to book their stay (before they lose interest or change their mind). So they promote properties with Instant Book turned on, and relegate those that don’t.

A search for Airbnb listings in Cape Town showed that:

  • A huge 62.4% of the first page results had Instant Book on.
  • Just 39.6% of the second page had Instant Book on.

The Instant Book properties were being pushed forward.

Now here’s the secret. You can cancel all Instant Book reservations penalty-free up to and including the day of check-in. When cancelling online you must select ‘I am uncomfortable with the reservation’ as your reason. Any other selection will result in a penalty.

Airbnb cancellation instant book
With great power comes great responsibility…

Likewise, if phoning Airbnb, the magic words are “I am uncomfortable”. Stand your ground, know your rights, and be safe in the knowledge that you do have complete control over the guests you welcome!

2. Change your property location.

Wait, what?

Okay, so whilst you can’t actually uproot your house and plant it outside London Eye you can make your Airbnb location more attractive.

airbnb adjust location pin
Looks about right.

Airbnb does not show a guest your specific location until they’ve booked. It would be a little risky if they did – anyone could know when the property was empty. Instead, during set-up, you’ll be asked to set an approximate location of your home.

You can use this tool to nudge your home slightly further towards that trendy high street or tourist hotspot. Don’t go mad though – its important to set guest expectations too!

3. Not all amenities are born equal.

Selecting certain property features boosts the visibility of your listing. You’ll also be automatically included as part of Airbnb’s ‘Work Collection’ – that is, Airbnb for business travellers.

This is a growing market on Airbnb. It now accounts for over 15% of all Airbnb stays!

Here is a list of exactly what you’ll need:

  • Iron
  • Laptop-friendly workspace
  • Hangers
  • Hair dryer
  • ‘Essentials’ (toilet paper, soap, towels, bed linens, and pillows)
  • Internet and WiFi (they are separate amenities on Airbnb!)
  • Shampoo
  • 24-hour self check-in (a key lockbox, keypad, smartlock, or by getting the key or access from a concierge)
  • Smoke detector
  • Carbon monoxide detector — they’re £12 and our data shows a 7.5% uplift in occupancy for those with one installed!
  • TV
airbnb work collection business
A whole new world…

Remember, you don’t need to spend a fortune on any of the above.

4. Fill out your life host story.

Guests like to know they’re renting off a real person.

Airbnb started out as a way for people to share their sofa with passing travellers. It’s fair to say things have moved on, but the platform still has a focus on the personal, human element.

So it’s definitely worth filling out your profile. You’ll need to:

  1. Upload a profile picture featuring you! Put a face to the name. Avoid a generic picture of Big Ben or Sydney Opera House.
  2. Under ‘About Me’, write a little about why you’re hosting. It doesn’t need to be your life story though. Airbnb suggests you enter your ‘Life Motto’ but we aren’t all from California so feel free to ignore their advice.
  3. Add the languages you speak. Even if you’re French is a little, ahem,
    élémentaire its worth putting on!
  4. Upload as many forms of ID as you can, as well as your phone number and email address. Think about it – you want to know who is staying in your home, and guests would like a similar peace of mind!
profile photo airbnb
Have we met before?

5. You’ve got 5 seconds to sell your listing.

Being able to sell your Airbnb to a potential guest quickly is vital. Guests spend an average of just five seconds looking at a listing before returning to the search results.

Ensure the picture which best shows off your space is the cover photo. This is the photo guests will see alongside rival listings.

Once a guest clicks through to your page they will be presented with four more photos. This will be the first four, in order, that you arranged on the ‘Edit Photos’ screen.

Don’t show off your living room four times. Select a bedroom (or two), a kitchen, and maybe even a bathroom. It should be your home at a glance.

good listing airbnb
Good!
bad listing airbnb
Not so good!

With luck, you might get longer than five seconds.


Feels too much like hard-work? Let Airsorted take care of it for you – we’ll build your listing, find your guests, and clean your home. Find out how much you could earn with our price calculator.

These five tips were inspired by a longer article written by my colleague Jonny. His excellent, detailed tips (all 19 of them!) can be found here.