Call Us Today: +27-82-955 6464

How To Improve Your Home For Airbnb With These 11 Essential Tips

By in Home Owners with 0 Comments

How To Improve Your Home For Airbnb With These 11 Winning Tips

How To Improve Your Home For Airbnb

How much will this Airbnb score for uniqueness?

As a homeowner, your home is your investment. If you can improve your home for Airbnb you will generate more income. Obviously. By adding value the demand increases. And as soon as demand increases what do we do? We increase the rates. And you get more. If you don’t really want more you just increase the rates to slow occupancy. But that’s not our aim today! No.

We Are Looking At How To Improve Your Home For Airbnb

But before we start I want to ask a few questions using examples:

  1. Why Does This 3 Bedroom Home Make More Money Than Some Ten Sleepers?
  2. Improve Your Home For Airbnb By Choosing Your Location & Design
  3. How To Improve Your Home For Airbnb If The Exterior Is Not Great?
  4. How To Improve Your Home For Airbnb With An Inverter?
  5. How To Improve Your Home For Airbnb During Winter?
  6. Improve Your Home For Airbnb Digital Nomads
  7. Do You Love Dogs? Airbnb Will Love You!
  8. Attract Guests Outside Sunny Living Spaces


1. Why Does This 3 Bedroom Home Make More Money Than Some Ten Sleepers?

how to improve your airbnb - mbali

Mbali is in an estate amongst the mountains and vineyards of Constantia. Not Constantia proper but over the neck towards Hout Bay.

It has three bedrooms, and three ensuite bathrooms, with a luxurious and warm interior. And don’t forget the inviting pool. But it does not have a sea view. However, the view over the gorge is mystifying.

We have managed it for a few years. We had no reviews with conservative rates. But it changed quickly. A range of different guests stay here; not always 6 people. We had a gentleman stay here for a few months on his own.

If I could improve on this home I would try and have all rooms the same, but that’s the only minor issue.

Why do you think this place is doing well? Check the reviews and photos here?

2. When You Ask “How To Improve Your Home For Airbnb?” Would You Say It May Be Due To The Number Of Bathrooms?

Or should we include the number of ensuite bathrooms? Or is it the photos?

We have two similar luxury homes in Constantia. The homes are owned by a family. If we rent the one out they move into the other. And it’s an ideal experiment.

how to improve your airbnb exterior

4 Bathrooms

The main differences are the number of bathrooms; the one has 4 ensuite bathrooms (4B) and the other 3 ensuite bathrooms (3B). Because of the difference, we had to increase the 4B rates by 25% to try and even out occupancy. But 4B still book out more and first.

how to improve your airbnb purcell 3

3 Bathrooms

The 3 bathroom home photos were not great. Not bad. But we upgraded them to remove another variable. As soon as we added the new photos the more expensive 4B still booked out first.

Question: Is the number of ensuite bathrooms the reason?

Obviously, 4 ensuite gives you a lot more flexibility. Especially, if you have 4 couples sensitive to their ranking (ego) order. Whatever the reason; we have no other explanation.

Obviously, location is not a choice if you have bought already. Design can be changed but it may not be a cheap option.

3. Location Is One Of The Main Factors With Airbnb

how to improve your airbnb beach views

Have a look at Beach Views. This 5 bedroom, 10 sleeper has the ideal location. Nearly on the beach with pleasant views. As reviews increased, demand increased and allowed us to increase rates. 

4. Uniqueness Is Another Word For Higher Demand

improve your airbnb uniqueness

How can we design uniqueness into a home? The location, the exterior, interior design, fixtures and fittings.

Beach Views has all that and more; it’s also fully disabled-friendly. The ingredients exist. It’s there to be experienced by guests. And they love it.

Uniqueness sell; guests want to brag. But payback comes when they have a reason to GRAM (Instagram is just another word for brag). We need to give our guests a reason to brag. We must or try to create GRAMable memories. 

Cape Town does it very well. Have a look at this photo frame:

 how to improve airbnb using instagram

Credit: The Whole World Is a PlayGround

The question is: How do you do it at your Airbnb? The following is an example:

how to improve your airbnb for instagram

Credit: The Whole World Is a PlayGround

The idea is to have a wall, a background, or a frame with your home and then include a hashtag for social media. Cape Town uses #LOVECAPETOWN. If your home is called Karibu and it’s a WOW place hashtag it #WOWKARIBU. Now when guests share it you get the attention.

The payback comes when guests boast about your home

Tip: Your location is given, you may not want to change the exterior but do everything possible to make your home’s interior UNIQUE. And you may tell me it’s expensive. Yes, it may be a lot to fork out but why be average? The payback comes when guests boast about your home. They do it with reviews. And reviews ensure higher demand; higher income. And they do it on social media.

We spoke about the interior. It’s not a cheap change. But sometimes we must ask if the difference it makes will result in sufficient payback? The question of uniqueness is the answer.

5. If The Exterior Is Not Unique, Change It!

But before I get there; I remember walking the streets in Europe. The walls are high, thick and plaster falling off. The dated door is massive. And beyond all this is a lovely home. Who would have expected with such an exterior you’ll get this beautiful place. The exterior will not sell it. But it seems to not be an issue in many European cities.

Back to South Africa; fortunately, or unfortunately the exterior matters.

how to improve your airbnb interior

What a beautiful interior

Let’s have a look at this home with a very modern interior. The rooms are spacious, it has a lift, the beds are royal, there is a pool, jacuzzi, fire pit and views on the sea. It has everything but one:

I don’t have a crystal ball but I know this home should do a lot better.

Occupancy is high. But rates can or should be higher. I believe the exterior can be changed. 

how to improve your airbnb exterior

The Airbnb game; uniqueness is why people stay. Is it the exterior common? Will a change in the exterior make a massive difference? It’s a risk worth taking? I never, ever argue when I (the house in context) can climb the uniqueness-ladder. 

Give the exterior a facelift; clad it or paint it

If your home is amongst many similar-looking homes with an interior like the one above you have a great opportunity to be unique; give the exterior a facelift; clad it or paint it. Have a look at this revamp or this one and this great change over:

Improve Your Home For Airbnb

The roof and walls look great. And the stoep!

If you are unique others will follow your lead. If not you’ll always be a step or two behind.

6. How To Improve Your Home For Airbnb With An Inverter?

The answer is obvious for South Africans. Our government has not solved the issue. And load shedding due to them will affect us for many years. In the meantime invest R7500 for a basic inverter/battery option. All guests want is enough power for a light, the internet and TV.

There is no reason, in this connected age, to be bored. We want visual stuff to occupy us. And if you don’t you become resentful. Now I can handle that but I cannot handle a guest who gives us a bad review because of our incompetent government.

Keep getting 5-star reviews to ensure your income increases. Pay R7500 for an inverter and guarantee happy guests.

The good news is most of our owners have invested. Clever!

7. Reduce High Electricity Usage

loadshedding airbnb improvements inverter

Winter is cold. It rains. It may even be damp. On top of it, we have Eskom issues. Oh, I forgot! Demand is lower and rates are under pressure. But guests may be oblivious to our concerns.

They will use electricity if we allow them. At most homes, we have a limit on consumption. But nothing stops you from ensuring a cosy stay without forking out for electricity. Various tips can be found here.

Remember: Heating an aircon, geyser, washer and dryer consumes most electricity. What can you do to limit the cost while keeping guests happy? 

8. Get Rid Of Damp

In Cape Town, getting rid of damp is nearly impossible. Unfortunately, guests from dryer areas are not used to dampness. The other day we had (not a regular renting owner) who said the guests are lying there is no damp! No. 

If the guest says it is damp then adapt. The guest is right. When a guest sees a flaw, minute, it gives her an excuse to become more critical. Airbnb is a long term investment. Don’t let damp pull you down.

There are various ways to fix the issue. One is to warn the guest before they book – to limit surprises. But fixing is better. 

9. Improve Your Home For Airbnb Digital Nomads

I have mentioned this a few times. Guests are staying longer and working from “home”. More here.

how to improve your airbnb for digital nomads

A recent Harris poll indicated 74 per cent of Americans already working remotely would have a holiday where they live and work somewhere other than their home for an extended period of time. And there are nearly half (46%) of those who work remotely in the US who say they’ve used Airbnb to find a remote working destination.

But get a workspace, have high-speed internet and a cosy home. The obvious is to have long stay discounts. This does not mean you have less income. No, you just have fewer changeovers with higher occupancy. (Pre Covid rates were higher but occupancy lower).

10. Do You Love Dogs? Airbnb Will Love You! And You Are AIRCOVER(ED).

how to improve your airbnb with pets

Who wants to leave you behind?

Lately, we opened many homes as pet friendly. It’s a winner. But it’s not carte blanche! And we are not suggesting all homes are pet friendly. But if you love pets consider how you can make your holiday home pet friendly will bring you returns.

We select the pets carefully and they pay a pet fee. And if you are concerned, don’t be. The pets behaved very well. The guests care about their personal reviews and behave well. 

BTW: Airbnb says the number of amenities searched using the “allow pets” filter jumped 90% compared to last year. This is all part of the post-Covid trends where guests stay longer and therefore bring their dog along. 

You Are Covered For Damages By Airbnb’s Aircover

BTW: If you are still sceptical then watch this short video on Airbnb Insurance called AirCover. It includes accidents and damage caused by dogs. 

11. Attract Guests With Outside Living Spaces

null 1

When a guest encounters your home, online, she views the photos – first. They want to see uniqueness, sun and fun. The question: Are your photos showing off the sun and fun?

We have two lovely, similar, apartments we manage in Simonstown. Both have a balcony with braai. The one’s balcony had a lovely sunny photo. The other apartment’s balcony photo was taken with no sun. The guest wanted the sunny one. It was not available and we offered the not sunny one. But the guest said no as he wanted sun. But both will have sun. It was just the wrong photo.

My point: Guests come to Cape Town for a lot of things. But they spend most of their time at home. If you don’t provide sunny outside living spaces and don’t have proper photos they go elsewhere.

A pool without an outside living/dining area is losing out.

A pool is a great addition. But without the living area around it, you have not invested wisely. You have to create the dream; they must be able to imagine a lazy day in the sun on sun loungers, under an umbrella for lunch at your informal dining area.

If I Ask You How To Improve Your Home For Airbnb? What Would You Suggest?

We have discussed location, ensuite bathrooms, design, exterior, uniqueness, and winter issues. If you look at all these and others you may consider what you believe is the most important factor to consider when answering; How To Improve Your Home For Airbnb? The biggy!

Let me know. I would love to hear from you.


Johan Horak

P.S. Creating stay experiences from 5 Star Managed Airbnbs In And Around Cape Town

Leave a Reply