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Empowering Short Stay Management

Property Investment Revolution #820

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20th August 2017, Property Investment Revolution Event, Founder and CEO of HostAStay, Mr Jordan Oon sharing on How Do You Maximize Your Property’s Investment Income to over 284% of rental !

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The key catalyst of starting a Short-Stay Management Platform is because we can observe that

there are more and more overhang properties in the market, whereby investors can’t sell and can’t rent out their units. These units are left empty, hoping that the property valuation will increase, however it will end up decreasing as it becomes a dead town.

20952915_1508966209187398_1020914103508220470_nHomestay is being a trend in South East Asia, more and more tourist are looking to stay in homestay as they can fully indulge and experience our culture along with the locals. The 2nd thing that tourist look for when they travel is the place of their stay during their trip, and a comfy home would ensure their trip to be a success. This is why HostAStay wants to ensure that all the homestays are at a certain standard, to leave a good impression to all tourist.

5There are more investors/property owners turning their homes into homestays, to earn the extra income by hosting guests. However, the beautiful dream of doing Airbnb turns out to be a nightmare. The horror kicks in after they list their units up to booking platforms. There are several things to handle after that:

  • Housekeeping
  • Booking Arrangements
  • Handover Keys
  • Guest Service
  • House Maintenance
  • Review and Rating

This is why, HostAStay will empower GooPro Management, together with Phoenix Plus Properties, support property investors by managing their properties to earn the extra income and ultimately increase valuation of the property.

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HostAStay Berhad Empowers Short-Stay Management companies by:

  1. MAXIMIZING your room rates
  2. MINIMIZING your operation cost
  3. OPTIMIZING your resources
  4. ACQUIRING more guest and units
  5. ENHANCING guest experience

And we provide:

  1. Professional photography services
  2. Operators training
  3. Quality control

Using world class system, to ensure operators, owners and guest gain the best out of each homestay unit. Together with our key industry partners, we can make Malaysia the top tourist location with the best HomeStays for international guests.

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Tip of the week – wake up and smell the five star reviews

At HostAStay, we believe that great Airbnb’s should delight all five of a guest’s senses. From the rich taste of complimentary coffee, to the soft touch of newly laundered and pressed linen, everything should say “welcome home!”

HostAStay’s host tip this week is to engage a sense that is often forgotten, but always makes an impact: smell. While the scent of a freshly cleaned home is incredible, we like to encourage our hosts to take it a step further for their guests by using candles or reed diffusers to help bring in those glorious reviews.

Both options hold a dual purpose. Tactfully placed around the property, either would make your home smell great, of course. But they can also add to your Airbnb’s interior design scheme, with funky patterns or striking colours. And luckily, both come in a variety of scents (and price points!) to suit your own personal taste, style and budget.

While we use both candles and reed diffusers in our homes, we personally prefer reed diffusers: they create a more subtle aroma for your home; they need replacing less often; and, as they aren’t a fire hazard, cause less stress for hosts and guests.

 

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Brick by brick – building a responsible, reliable business

Since getting into the sharing economy game what feels like many moons ago, it’s fair to say we’ve had some success – multiple amazing fundraising rounds, growth into new cities, etc. We owe a large part of this success to spending countless hours in ‘The Nest’ getting the basics right – while the sharing economy may be relatively new, hospitalityis old school, and we’ve years of experience in it. Accordingly, crunching the numbers suggests we’re doing something right: HostAStay homes are performing ‘better’ than Airbnb equivalents, with our average star rating at 4.9/5* for cleanliness. This is in no small part thanks to the fact we fully employ an in-house team of spectacular housekeepers and pay them a fair, living wage – outsourcing was not an option.

Foundations covered, we then turned our collective brain to combining this basic brilliance with creating memorable guest experiences. The sharing economy is a crowded space, and too often we’re seeing businesses forget that sharing means caring– for their own staff, as well as customers. We’re passionate about people, so we spend a lot of time recruiting the crème de la crème, as well as providing them with the tools and training needed to get the job done right, every time. By not outsourcing teams like housekeepers, drivers or guest greeters, we have full control over their output and create a much better guest experience. Ensuring your guests have a great time is our bread and butter, so who better to look after the people making that happen than us? When things go wrong, we’re the first people to know, and can rectify it swiftly and smoothly – this would be no easy feat if using an agency. We also know that by having these core functions employed as fully valued members of staff, they feel the HostAStay love as much as we do, and strive to do their best every time they step foot in your home.

Can you tell how much we love our teams on the ground? Every decision we make has one main objective: how can we make life easier for our staff? And though that goes some way to showing them how valued they are, we also provide them with lots of TLC to ensure they stick around with us on the Hostmaker journey. As well as a fair wage, we regularly put on things like massage sessions and homeopathic therapy days, and our efforts are paying off. While the hospitality industry’s average staff retention rate is 30%, ours is soaring at 80%. This team stability is invaluable in making sure your homes are well-looked after, without exception.

Despite our constant growth, we’re confident that we’re managing to uphold our values at every stage of operation – including making sure you, our beloved hosts, are happy too. We speak to you personally when you have questions or concerns (robots are not welcome here), and we make sure that guests are warmly greeted and looked after for the duration of their stay. We love being a responsible employerwe love looking after your home and guests, and we can’t wait to see what’s in store for us next.

 

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Between the sheets – why good linen matters

Mums are full of advice: work less, eat more, drink less, save more. While we probably all honed our selective hearing skills before we flew the nest, there’s one pearl of wisdom from our youths that cements the fact that mums really do know best – a good night’s sleep is invaluable.

So, what makes a good night’s sleep? A quiet environment helps, as does downtime beforehand and a nightcap (or two). But above all, we’re advocates of quality bed linen. We’re talking high thread count, freshly laundered, ironed with precision and expertly fitted – hotel standard. While it’s understandable to slack a little when making a bed for your own use, or for a visiting relative, high quality, 5* bed linen is a must when hosting paying Airbnb guests. And though said guests love your home’s quirks and unique style – it’s a selling point when weighing up the merits of choosing Airbnb over a hotel – time and time again we’re finding that guests expect hotel standard linens and towels, with a lack thereof being reflected in their reviews when they leave.
For this reason, we’ve made perfect sheets (and towels) our mission. As part of our Airbnb Guest Ready Package, your guests enjoy 200 thread count, 100% cotton, freshly laundered and pressed bed linen, as well as 600gsm fluffy towels and fancy toiletries, with beds and bathrooms prepared by housekeepers trained to hotel standards. That’s the trick of our trade – our secret sauce. So, now that you’re armed with that nugget of info, what’s the benefit of having an Airbnb management service provide your linen, we hear you ask?

Well, stripping and making beds is hard work. Then there’s the time spent washing sheets, drying them, ironing them. And if you’ve got consecutive bookings, this workload quickly doubles, triples…etc. You could have your housekeeper do it. But that time could be better spent cleaning surfaces or tidying, for example. There’s also the option of taking them to the launderette. But that can get expensive, and become quite the bicep workout while carrying them there and back. As Airbnb hosts ourselves, we quickly learnt that a lot of work goes into getting bedrooms and bathrooms just right, so our Guest Ready linen offering is designed to take the hassle out of hosting, while ensuring your listing benefits from glowing reviews – all without you having to lift a finger. You’re welcome

 

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Amazing amenities: how to take your Airbnb to the next level

Think about the last time you stayed in an Airbnb.

Now, think about the last time you stayed in a Airbnb and were left wowed by the experience. Why was this? Most likely, it was a combination of things: the quality and uniqueness of the interior design; how you were made to feel right at home by whoever checked you in; your host giving you local shopping and dining recommendations to help you feel like a true local.

But as Airbnb experts, we know that there is one thing that every incredible Airbnb experience has in common: amenities. While these little touches are sadly sometimes overlooked by hosts, they are always appreciated by guests when they’re packing for their trip, and during their stay. Plus, according to one of Airbnb’s co-founders, amenities can also help you pocket a little extra cash per night:

“We’ve found that if you offer a hair dryer, you can make on average $10 more a night”

Nathan Blecharczyk, Airbnb Co-Founder

While providing simple amenities may seem like a no-brainer, you would be surprised as to how many hosts forget to have them ready for guests in their home, or include them on the Airbnb listing itself! If this is you, don’t worry! We’ve got you covered. Both of Hostmaker’s service options include all the basics that your guests will need.

Do you already have the basics down, and are looking to add a little extra guest appeal to your home? We like your style! Here are three extra tips for you achieving hosts out there:

Why not save your guests the last-minute panic buy at the airport and curate your own home library for them to use during their stay? Include everything from the books about the city, to the latest murder mystery bestseller.

Or if you want to give your guests a more relaxing experience, provide some scented candles, reed diffusers and extra-special bathroom products to really help your guests unwind

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5 tips to decorate your home for Airbnb

You’ve heard the phrase looks can be deceiving? Well, your future Airbnb guests don’t agree. When deciding which city pad to pick for their holiday, guests rely heavily on the listing pictures – and they’ve got a discerning eye. That’s why having your home look its best in listing shots (and having it live up to that image when guests arrive) should be one of your top priorities when sharing your home on Airbnb.

We’ve already told you some of our favourite ways to make guests feel at home. But if your abode needs a little more TLC to appeal to guests – perhaps the decor is dated or too cluttered– allow us to offer 5 easy, quick wins that’ll have your listing attracting scores of guests. And scoring 5* reviews, too

  1. Try a fresh coat of paint
    This is probably the easiest and most affordable way to improve a whole room – the colour of the walls has the power to affect your home’s entire energy. Neutral tones are a great blank canvas for your colourful, more personal touches, and there’s no chance of them putting any guests off. However, if you don’t want to play it safe, some of Farrow & Ball’s bright colours, like Citron No. 74 and St Giles Blue No. 280, are sure to add a whole new dimension to your space.
  2. Roll out a rug
    It’s important that your new home feels lived in as well as fresh – after all, that’s what adds the character that hotel-phobic Airbnb guests look for. A rug can be a great statement in any living space, complementing other furnishings while also adding a layer of comfort. And boldly patterned rugs are also an easy way to enhance a room’s style.
  3. Get arty
    Great art is another foolproof way to add colour and charm to an otherwise plain area – evolving its look and adding interest to attract guests. Pick out one or two key colours from your room, and look for art that has them within its palette. Art should work with a room, not against it, which means don’t choose Andy Warhol prints for your country-chic apartment. And remember to hang them with the centre at eye level.
  4. Shop around
    We’re masters of the home makeover (check out our Pinterest boardif you don’t believe us), and we’ve found that the most unexpected places can throw up the best interior pieces. Zara has great statement end tables, eBay is amazing for mid-century modern gems, and Etsy is great for unusual prints and pictures. When shopping for trinkets for your home, don’t rule out any location before you’ve taken a peek – you never know what you’ll find, and what that piece could go on to inspire.
  5. Let it breathe
    We’ve already mentioned the need for your home to look lived in, cosy and comfortable, despite its refreshed look. A good way to achieve an au-natural aesthetic is to allow your home to develop organically over time. Building up a space slowly, adding only the most perfect pieces when you see them, means the overall look will be much more appealing, while also feeling less forced. This will really show in your Airbnb listing photography, and will help tempt lots more guests to make a booking.

If all that sounds like a lot of work, our Airbnb management service offer home redecoration as part of our package. However, if you fancy yourself as a DIY wiz, then give the above steps a go and watch the bookings pour in. Then tag us on social media so we can see your handy work!

 

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How to rank higher in Airbnb search results – it pays to talk

In the Airbnb world, searching for your own listing as a guest would is the equivalent to ‘Googling yourself’ – and we’ve all done it. In fact, far from a vacant exercise, it’s actually a great way to check up on competition in order to ensure a healthy flow of guests through your door. And as we’re creatures of convenience, the higher your listing ranks in the search results, the more likely you are to get a booking, no matter how lovely your parquet floors and original features! So, how do you pull your listing to the top of the search results? The answer is communication. Communication is key.

Climbing the ranks

Airbnb’s search ranking algorithm is based on a number of things, but host responsiveness is one of the biggest factors. There are two factors that Airbnb look for: response time, and response rate. Having a 100% response rate, and fast response times, will send you soaring to the top of the list, but did you know that neglecting an enquiry for 24 hours will cause your average response rate to drop? Even more scary is the fact that you could even have your account shut down if you ignore an enquiry for 2 days! It may sound like a lot of effort to keep on top of your inbox, but lucky for you we’ve done the hard work: demystifying the ranking mystery. All you need to do is ensure your phone’s always on you, with email alerts set to loud, and that you respond in a friendly, helpful manner as soon as you hear that satisfying ping!

Five-star service

Guests aren’t just chatty before booking, either. Once they’ve committed, they’ll be full of excited questions: when can they arrive? How will they check out? Will there be milk? And as a dutiful host, deserving of a great review after their stay, you’ll need to be on top of these messages too – responses in-stay have just as much impact on your response rate. This means you’ll need to be armed with the facts, and answering questions in a timely manner, should you wish to rank highly and achieve a 5* rating.
Unfortunately, it’s not always appropriate to whip out your phone and begin typing replies to curious guests. Most board rooms frown on that type of thing, and though we can’t quite understand why, not all long-haul flights have wifi yet. But wait, there’s hope! Any Airbnb management service worth its salt (hint hint) will offer an inbox management solution, and as well as guaranteeing to answer all communication in a timely manner (maintaining your well-earned 100% response rate and fast response speed), they’re experts in their field. This means their replies, both before guests book and during guest stays, will charm visitors’ socks off while answering any and all questions. And naturally, this goes a long way towards securing 5* reviews once they’ve checked out! You can read more about our inbox management service here.

 

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How much time are you spending managing your Airbnb listing?

Managing an Airbnb listing can feel like a full-time job – in fact, speaking from experience, it can feel like ten different jobs all at once!

Not only is there the time it takes to set up your listing, but a great Airbnb host will take the time to optimize the listing – either by updating the information to answer some of the most frequently asked questions from guests, or changing the cover photo to find out which has the best guest appeal.

And that’s not even taking into account the pricing, guest messaging prior, during and after the stay, preparing your home and greeting your guests – once all this is completed, you’ll be ready to take a well-earned break!

We think it would be better for you to sit back with your feet up, possibly on a beach, with a cocktail in hand and let some of these lovely people take care of all those stresses.

The HostAStay team is now over 50 people who help care for your home and ensure your guests have a fantastic trip – take a look at some of the faces who keep the cogs turning to make sure every Hostmaker Airbnb guest is kept happy:

Housekeeper – maybe you’ve met some of our housekeepers at your home, if you have, we’re sure you’ll agree that they work their socks off (or usually, they just work in their socks!) to get your home guest ready.

Housekeeping supervisor – quality control is the final step before your guests arrive! As we fully employ our team, we can ensure they are regularly supervised and trained – this means your cleanliness rating is in good hands.

Welcome wizard – every great Airbnb experience should start with an in-person check-in to introduce your guests properly to your home and city. Our concierges are also sharing their local tips with your guests so that they can enjoy their stay as locals do.

Operations coordinator – each week we have over 500 services across London – these are the eyes in the sky to make sure that everything is running to plan, we call them the Calendar Queens – we like to think in a past life they were London cabbies because these girls definitely have The Knowledge.

Warehouse operative – the keeper of the keys works tirelessly packing your linen, towels, tea, coffee, hand wash and cleaning supplies ready for each service – our warehouse team work as the central cog which keep the rest of the operations running smoothly.

Van driver – the muscle who run around town to deliver fresh linen, towels and welcome packs to support the housekeeping team – our premium linen is a real WOW factor for guests and so we like to thank our driving team for making those moments possible.

Host manager – think of her as your proxy – she’s the one in charge of your home when you’re away, tying together the day-to-day logistics and maintenance to ensure your home is performing at its best – as your representative, she will also step-up to lead Airbnb resolution centre conversations if there’s ever the need for one.

Inbox ninja –  hosting is as much about your Airbnb conversations as your in-person interaction with guests – your guests’ arrival in London will be seamless with our fantastic inbox team, you can rest assure that they’ll receive VIP treatment before, during and after their stay.

Pricing specialist – this is where those extra hours really come in handy – as a host, you probably don’t have time to analyse the competing listings in your area, or think strategically about booking patterns of guests – that’s where our team excel in making sure you’re getting the best possible rates and occupancy for your listing.

Rescue runner – ask any Airbnb host and they’ll tell you that maintenance issues are a nightmare when guests are instay – with our man-on-a-moped running about town, we make sure when your home is misbehaving, it won’t impact your guests.

In a nutshell, here is the team behind your five star reviews. Now seat back, relax, and enjoy.

Host A Stay is here to look after your home and your guests.

 

 

 

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How to: get 5* ratings on your Christmas Airbnb bookings

Christmas is coming, and with it the traditions of glad tidings, Christmas trees and gift-giving – as well as the occasional family fued  ! Our most-beloved Christmas memories often take place at home, which is why making your place homely, festive and comfortable this Winter is guaranteed to bring a smile to guests’ faces, and 5*s to your listing reviews. And if you’re not sure where to start, we’ve pulled together some simple, hassle-free tips for making guests feel at home during Christmas bookings below:

  1. Make it a family affair

Though traditions vary from family to family, but a Christmas tree is an almost unanimous staple. And while they’re by no means mandatory, adding one to your living space for Airbnb guests to enjoy is a great way to show incoming families that you care about their in-stay experience. It’s guaranteed to make any little ones feel welcome too, and stockings hung on the beds booked by younger guests is another thoughtful way to give guests an unbeatable festive stay.

  1. The gift of giving

Sharing your home with paying guests is rewarding in itself, but giving gifts has to take the medal for the best way to achieve inner-joy during the holidays. So why not double-up on glad tidings and give your paying guests a little something extra? Some inexpensive yet thoughtful ideas that are proven to go down a treat are crackers, mince pies and cards. Line these up where there’ll be spotted as soon as they’ve settled in and the 5* reviews (and warm, fuzzy feelings) are sure to make an appearance.

  1. Comfort and joy

Ensuring guests are comfy and cosy goes beyond making sure the boiler is serviced and the manual is easily accessible – though that definitely helps! A great way to ensure your home is the perfect place for families to snuggle up and enjoy the holiday season is to provide atmospheric extras such as candles, throws and blankets. A plentiful DVD supply will also keep smiles on faces, especially if there are some festive favourites in there too! In case you’re wondering, ours is Elf.

  1. Warming welcomes

If you’re able to greet your guest in person, mulled wine (or hot Ribena for the under-aged members of the party!) is a lovely way to set a guests’ first impressions soaring, while also putting them in the holiday mood. If not, we know a great Airbnb property management service that are happy to take care of it for you, provided you provide the essentials (hint: it’s us).

  1. Think festive

A great Airbnb listing should provide insightful local recommendations as well as neighbourhood tips. But a first-class listing goes the extra mile, and this includes updating local recommendations to include the city’s Winter attractions, like pop-up ice rinks, themed bars and Christmas markets (e.g. Winter Wonderland). Another great idea, and one that will certainly be appreciated by guests – and reflected in their reviews – is to offer specific area tips for those planning to venture out during the bank holidays. We’ve found the two most important to be: when the supermarkets are closed, and when the tube won’t be running. You can find the latter here

So there you have it, 5 easy, quick ways to ensure your Christmas bookings are special, and ones that guests feel are deserving of 5*s. And if you do try out any of our tips, we’d love to see them in action – you can tag us on Facebook or mention us on Twitter!

Source: How to: get 5* ratings on your Christmas Airbnb bookings