By Jason Burgess
With the exponential rise of accommodation hubs like Air BnB, there is no better time than now to rethink those empty rooms and start earning yourself some added income.
Accommodation make-overs are great for letting your creative juices flow. But before you start conjuring up how you can convert your extra spaces into extra dollars, check out homestay websites first, to see what the competition is offering. If you are serious about providing an exceptional visitor experience and earning top dollar from your home, then plan your space from a visitor’s perspective. If your do-up dollars are limited, do not fret. There are accommodation options for every taste and budget. Hosting travellers now could be your ticket to more substantial refurbishments in the future.
Define your style
Unique spaces tend to attract added earnings. If you already have a historic home or character house, expose those old bricks and beams, vintage pipeworks and lights. If you live by the beach or a river then a nautical or maritime motif might be in order. Think captain’s cabins, boatsheds, lighthouses, surf shacks, rough-hewn or whitewash timber walls, embellished with old beach signs or photos, portholes and ships doors.
A country setting could evoke a manor house with refined trappings or rarefied nods to bygone pastoral eras. Maybe ranch is more your thing, complete with repurposed vintage farm implements as furniture or fixtures. Overhead skylights, will by day give a sense of wide open skies and at night an opportunity for star gazing.
Whatever your homestyle or lifestyle there is someone out there with shared interests. A purpose-built tree house with mod cons will woo passing glampers. While art lovers may adore staying in a creative compound, wine aficionados might like a night in a barn among the vines, and meditators some time in a minimalist mountain retreat.
Before all that though, the fundamentals of a standard renovation still apply. Functionality and comfort come first. If everything is working, warm and dry the guest will fully enjoy the experience and be more likely to share their pleasure with others.
Where to begin?
Home comforts start with small touches. Even if you are just giving a spare room a once-over-lightly then at the least make sure there is a comfy bed, a decent mirror (full length is always a winner) and a wardrobe with hangers and room for linen storage.
Colourwise, stick to an easy-clean, neutral palette and consider artwork as more than wallpaper. Art has the ability to transport or relax your guest. If in doubt hang things pertaining to your local scene or the history of your area. Blinds and shutters will lend a room an airy feel, while blackout drapes in the sleeping quarters can help achieve a good night’s rest. Consider adding acoustic insulation or soundproofing particularly between floors or where walls back onto neighbours.
Lighting can be a real issue for travellers, particularly bedside reading. Dimmable, flexible-head LED’s positioned and controllable from either side of the bed are hard to beat. Dimmable overheads (LED’s for long term savings) give guests options for mood or practical uses. Natural window light and ranch sliders will transform a room while views onto private zones create a sense of space. A patio with outside seating will increase guest enjoyment.
Add a shelf and luggage rack so your guest can stay organised above the floor. A desk with chair or a reading-seat provide areas to relax and work away from the bed. An ironing station and a hairdryer (with a long enough lead to get near a mirror) never go amiss. Wi-fi access and a TV are virtually prerequisites. Subtle conveniences such as a shaver plug in the bathroom, and sockets by the bed, on a shelf or near a desk, make for ease of use and charging for devices. A guest safe offers peace of mind for your visitors and an out-of-bounds or locked area will keep your valuables secure. Add some storage for clean sheets and towels, for long-term stays.
How can I increase my returns?
A private bathroom always attracts value. Extra’s like magnifying mirrors, make-up lights, double sinks, walk-in showers, heating lights and towel rails all contribute to a better user experience. A well sited hot-tub is a nice selling point. As is a kitchenette. This can be as simple as a sink; toaster, kettle, coffee press or perk and always, a trashcan. A microwave and/or portable cooktop; a small fridge and appropriate crockery and cutlery will likely require cabinetry. Unless already permitted, permanent appliances like cooktops and ovens may mean consents and added costs with your local council.
Outside, factor in safe parking, security lights, key storage or coded door locks and always keep the privacy of your neighbours in mind.
"You should not provide spaces with sub-standard cleanliness, undisclosed lack of running water or electricity, or that are not spaces (e.g. camping gear) or not stationary (e.g. moving boats).” - Airbnb
- Ensure you have a functioning smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector, and that your property meets local government safety guidelines.
- Ensure you provide a functioning and maintained fire extinguisher.
- Make a First Aid kit available.
- Emergency checklist: Post a clearly marked fire escape route, with local emergency numbers and the nearest hospital. Provide an emergency contact number for yourself, as well as backup, for easy guest reference. Also, make clear how you should be contacted if the guest has questions or issues arise.
- Access: identify any areas where guests might trip or fall and either remove the hazard or mark clearly. Fix any exposed wires. Ensure any stairs are safe and have railings. Remove or lock up any objects that may be dangerous to your guests. Ensure your home is safe for children, or else notify guests of potential hazards.
- Ensure your home is properly ventilated and that temperature control is clearly marked and functional. Ensure guests are clear about how to safely use the heater.
- Unless you specify non-smoking then a Smoking Area should be designated.
Get in touch
If you are thinking about renovating your property to make it stand out as an Airbnb, get in touch with Refresh today. We can guide you through every stage of your project, from design through to completion.
Check out this Airbnb renovation Refresh carried out in Queenstown
All Refresh Renovations franchises are independently owned and operated.