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Construction & Development Effortless Rental Group News Hosting Tips Travel

Airbnb’s Open Homes Program Houses Hurricane Survivors

Helping those in need is nothing new for Airbnb. Since 2012, the company has connected thousands of people displaced by natural disasters and other emergency events with nearby hosts willing to donate their spare bedrooms. In 2015, Airbnb added a donation tool to their website for refugee assistance efforts through a partnership with The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Now, in response to the recent onslaught of hurricanes that have destroyed many homes and damaged countless others, Airbnb is once again stepping up to offer assistance in a crucial way: free shelter for those with nowhere else to go.

Through its Open Homes program, Airbnb creates a platform for hosts in disaster areas to list their homes for free. Then either partner agencies or verified account holders contact the hosts to set up bookings, which can last from one night to over a month, depending on the host’s preferences and availability. The process happens quickly, and people who have become homeless overnight soon have a secure and welcoming place to rest and recover.

“At the heart of our mission is the idea that people are fundamentally good and every community is a place where you can belong,” writes Airbnb CEO and Co-founder Brian Chesky on the Airbnb website.

Over 700 hosts signed up to help Hurricane Harvey evacuees and relief workers, and another 200+ have opened their homes in the US and the Caribbean to those affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, with numbers continuing to rise.

Even with all they’ve already accomplished, Airbnb founders don’t plan to stop anytime soon. In February, the company announced their goal to find free housing for 100,000 displaced people over the next five years. They will also donate $4 million over the next four years to the International Rescue Committee (IRC), to provide resources directly to refugees, evacuees, and others who need emergency assistance.

Founders are optimistic about the future generosity of hosts to help achieve these goals. Co-founder Joe Gebbia writes in an Airbnb blog post titled Opening More Homes to People in Need, “…Every single time we’ve asked our community to open their doors and hearts to help others, they have more than exceeded our expectations: they have humbled us with the immensity of their kindness.”

For more information and to volunteer your home, visit the Open Homes page here.

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Hosting Tips Rules & Regulations Travel

Partnering with a Rental Company vs. Doing It Alone

With the rise in popularity of short-term rentals, many owners are turning their investment properties into a second source of income. Once the decision to rent out the property using a short-term strategy has been made, there are numerous other questions that the owner must ask himself or herself: how much should I charge? How do I decorate my home? What do I include in my listing? Should I post on Airbnb, VRBO, or both?

There’s a lot to consider, especially when you’re starting out as a first-time renter. But the single most important decision you’ll make is whether you want to team up with a short-term rental management company or go at it alone.

One of the main benefits of a partnership with Effortless Rental Group is that you’ll be supported by a team of knowledgeable professionals who are dedicated to maximizing your monthly revenue. To learn how you can make exponentially more money when you work with us, versus renting on a short-term or long-term strategy alone, check out https://effortlessrentalgroup.com/hosting-tips/want-increase-earning-potential/

Increasing your earning potential is just the beginning. Effortless stands out from other rental management companies because we provide a turnkey service for our clients. This means that we take care of everything—from analytical pricing using our custom algorithms to handling all bookings and guest correspondence. Our professional cleaning company and re-stocking team will give you the peace of mind that everything is ready for your guests. In fact, many of our clients travel abroad for part of the year or even live out of state. They trust us to manage every single aspect of their rental property.

Owners who want to maximize their revenue and live their lives without worrying about the upkeep of their rental property choose to partner with Effortless Rental Group. We would be honored to work with you in the future. Please feel free to contact us anytime!

Effortless Rental Group

720.475.1486

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Hosting Tips

Space-Saving Design Ideas for Small Properties

  1. Don’t waste the space under the stairs

Take advantage of this valuable (and often forgotten) space and add a few shelves or a cozy reading nook. Whatever you choose to create, keep it minimal and uncluttered with horizontal lines and neutral accents.

mochacasa.com

houzz.com

 

  1. Fold-down furniture is your friend

There’s a good reason the Murphy bed, originally invented in the early 1900’s, is making a comeback. Fold-down furniture like the Murphy bed allows for multi-functional rooms and creates a ton of extra floor space when not in use.

gedyrivera.com

houzz.com

 

  1. Mirror, mirror, on the wall…

Who’s the most space-savvy of them all? Mirrors enlarge any space by creating the illusion of depth. In general, the bigger, the better—opt for tall and wide mirrors over small mirrors or gallery arrangements, which will have the opposite effect.

mogome.com

freshome.com

  

  1. Area rugs suggest separate rooms

This is particularly true in studio apartments or in large spaces that are being used for two functions, like as both a living room and a dining area. Rugs in contrasting colors divide the space and designate each area for its intended purpose.

home-designing.com

jeleba.com

 

  1. Use expandable furniture whenever possible

Maximize your space by buying tables with slide-out or add-on segments to use only when you have guests over. Keep an eye out for pieces that have hidden storage compartments and a fold-out design like the table below—they’ll let you stash your stuff out of sight.

red.lateefabryant.com

westelm.com

 

  1. Install shelves and furniture on the wall

If you haven’t jumped on the floating shelf train, get going. This popular design trend frees your floor from bulky and heavy pieces and adds a modern feel to your home. Consider mounting your desk or dining table on the wall to free up even more space.

irastar.com

decorpad.com

 

  1. Keep things out of sight under the bed

Trust us—your dinner guests don’t need to see your flannel pajamas or your favorite moth-eaten sweater you can’t seem to throw away. Store seasonal items, shoes, or extra sheets under the bed instead. Get a bed with built-in storage or opt for some baskets to slide underneath the frame.

homesfeed.com

iconhomedesign.com

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Hosting Tips

Sleep Like a Baby with 1 Simple Change to Your Beds

We all know that how much we enjoy our day has a lot to do with the amount—and the quality—of our sleep the night before. You’ve also probably heard that sleep is critical in staying healthy, managing pain, and forming new memories. But did you know that good pillows are the easiest way to ensure a good night’s sleep? And that changing out your pillows in your rental property is the quickest way to drastically change your guests’ experience for the better?

There is a plethora of pillows on the market, with various firmness, textures, sizes, and shapes. We’ve picked our favorites that will make sure your guests get a good night’s sleep and are geared up for sightseeing in Denver the next day. When your guests are well rested, they have more energy to explore Denver—and write you a positive review on Airbnb or VRBO at the end of their trip. Speaking of Airbnb and VRBO, feel free to mention the brand and type of pillows in your listing—it shows potential guests that you’ve put time and thought into making sure they’re comfortable during their stay at your home.

 

Our top choice: Coop Home Goods Shredded Hypoallergenic Memory Foam Pillow, from $50

This pillow outperforms and out-reviews any other pillow on the current market. The firmness can be adjusted by adding or removing foam, and the natural materials meet CertiPUR-US standards for allergy sufferers and guests sensitive to harsh materials. The removable fill also makes it easy to adjust the pillow to fit side, back, or stomach sleepers. Long-lasting and affordable, switching out your current pillows for these ones will make your Airbnb or VRBO rental property stand out from the rest.

 

Utopia Bedding Premium Super Plush Fiber Filled Pillows (2-pack), from $19

At $19 for a 2-pack of queen-sized pillows, these fluffy pillows are definitely the winners when it comes to price. Hypo-allergenic with an anti-microbial finish, these fiber-filled pillows will ensure asthma and allergy sufferers get a good night’s rest. The full polyester stuffing resists compression and deformation over years of use. Note: the pillows are shipped in a vacuum-sealed bag—for best results, allow pillows to expand for 2-3 days before use.

 

Foamily Premium Hypoallergenic Stuffer Pillow Insert Sham Square, from $7

For maximum comfort on your bed or couch, these inserts by Foamily are our top pick. The pillows stay fluffy and do not deflate over time, and offer a good level of support for the back and neck. They come in a range of sizes to perfectly fit in your shams and provide your Airbnb property with some stylish accents. And beginning at $7 for the 12” x 12” size, the price can’t be beat.

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Hosting Tips Travel

How to Make Your Home Appealing to Business Travelers

Many of your guests will be traveling for pleasure, but you’ll get some who are in town for a meeting or convention. It’s important that your home accommodates business travelers with all of the amenities they’ll need during their stay. When you set up your home with special business features, along with having a solid review background, a speedy response rate, and several other specifications, Airbnb alerts potential guests who look at your listing that your property is “Business Travel Ready.” This title attached to your listing greatly increases your chances of getting a booking request. For a good place to start, take a look at our list of home additions geared toward business travelers.

 

  1. A workspace set up for laptops in an office nook or room

This is the single most important item for the business traveler in your home. Even if your guest is planning to explore your city a bit for pleasure, the main reason he or she is there is for business. A workspace in your home is essential, whether it’s an entire office or just a corner of the living room set up with a desk and chair. There should be an outlet nearby and enough space for a laptop and a few folders.

 

  1. Fast Wi-Fi

You should have Wi-Fi whether or not you want to cater to business travelers, as your guests will need to be able to look up where to eat on their phones or communicate with people back home. It’s especially important for business travelers to have high-speed internet so that they can do research, get in touch with colleagues, or figure out where their meeting is located.

 

  1. Toiletry essentials

Shampoo, toilet paper, clean towels, and a hair dryer are on the list of features Airbnb deems necessary for a listing to receive the “Business Travel Ready” label. Your business-oriented guests will be glad that your home matches the level of amenities they would find if they were getting ready in a hotel room. No need to spring for the most expensive salon shampoo and conditioner, but make a little effort to provide something nice.

 

  1. A printer/fax/scanner

This one is pretty self-explanatory—if your guests need to receive documents or send them elsewhere during their stay at your place, they’ll be glad to have the supplies to do it. Business travelers might need to print notes for a meeting, but it’s not a bad idea to have a printer available for all of your guests. People may want to print out concert or event tickets, or boarding passes for their flight out of your city.

 

  1. Hangers and an iron

Your guests will need to prepare for their meeting or conference, and you can help them accomplish this. Hangers and an iron are essential items for all types of guests, but even more so for guests traveling on business. It’s a good call to have plenty of hangers and closet space, as well as an ironing board (small is fine) to go along with the iron.

 

  1. If possible, a meeting area

It doesn’t hurt to designate a specific area of your home as a space for guests to brainstorm ideas alone or with others. This could be a home office or extra room—it doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Throw in a couple desk chairs, a desk or table, and a dry-erase board on the wall and you’re good to go.

 

  1. A list of coffee shops for remote work

Sometimes inspiration doesn’t hit until we get outside and into the real world. If you know a guest is going to be staying at your home for business, it’s not a bad idea to leave behind a short list of coffee shops nearby. Whether they want to post up there for the day or just stop by for a quick latte before heading to their conference, they’ll appreciate the effort. Check out https://effortlessrentalgroup.com/entertainment/7-best-denver-coffee-shops/ for a list of our favorite coffee shops in Denver.

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Hosting Tips

Tips for Troubleshooting Issues with Guests

As a host, you deal with all sorts of people: young and old, seasoned travelers and newbies, cooperative and—not so cooperative. While most of your guests will hopefully be stand-up people, there will inevitably be a few who give you trouble. But don’t fear—we’ve compiled a list of tips for dealing with the issues that your guests might throw your way.

  1. Excessive complaints and requests

Most of the requests from your guests will be reasonable, like dinner recommendations or a couple extra towels. But occasionally you might come across a guest who asks for way too much—like new sheets for every bed in the house—or contacts you constantly, blowing up your phone every five minutes. It will be annoying, and you’ll feel like telling them off. But try to keep your cool—if you do, these same guests will hopefully write you a review at the end of their stay that acknowledges how you took care of their every request. Unless they just can’t be satisfied, in which case you’re out of luck and simply have to grin and bear it. A good question to ask these guests: “Is there anything else I can do to make your stay as enjoyable as possible?” The answer might be “no,” but hopefully they’ll appreciate your dedication.

  1. Disruptive and disorderly

As you rack up more months as a host, you’ll probably get a handful of guests who just want to use your home as a party spot. A lot of these guests are respectful partiers, but some are not. Your neighbors might call you during your guests’ stay to report the noise, or in the case of excessive noise or excessively awful neighbors, they might just call the cops directly. It’s pretty unlikely that your guests will get in any legal trouble with the cops (unless, of course, they’re unruly and rude toward the officers), but it’s still a hassle and makes you look bad to your neighbors. If a party is out of control and the cops are called, it’s not a bad idea to write that in your review on your guest’s profile. Future hosts should know what to expect if they allow this guest to stay in their home.

  1. Broken/stolen items in your home

This is the number one fear of short-term rental hosts, and with good reason—you’ve spent a ton of time and money furnishing and designing your home, and you don’t want things to get messed up. But especially with rowdier guests (see above), something is bound to get broken at some point. The first line of defense should always be to talk to the guest directly. Most likely, they will have realized that they damaged something during their stay and will be quick to sort out the repayment process. In some cases, though, guests will say that the item was already broken or that they never saw an item that you know they stole. This is when you contact Airbnb and let them handle it. They deal with guests like this every day and are more experienced at settling these matters than you are. Note: be sure that your guest actually damaged/stole an item. It’s embarrassing (and sometimes legally problematic) to accuse a guest of doing something he or she did not do.

  1. Payment issues

All payments should be handled through Airbnb or your other short-term renting platform, so they should be the first people you contact with any issues. Airbnb employs a team of people whose job it is to work out problems of this nature, so it’s probably a better idea to contact them than to try and resolve an issue with a guest on your own. If you are going to contact a guest directly about money (for example, in the event that a guest damages something in your home), make sure you know how much the item costs and can back it up with a receipt or a link to the product online. As we all know, people get pretty touchy with money, so having all of the information and conveying it in a clear way is always helpful.

  1. A bad review on your profile

If this happens because of a specific problem that you were not able to fix, it’s a good call to own up to it and apologize in your response to the review. Maybe it was out of your hands, like you were out of town and the pipes froze, but you should still apologize for the inconvenience. That’s where the respond option to reviews really comes in handy—but try not to launch into a paragraph of self-defense where you also attack the guest for being too needy and whiny. This just makes you look bad. Unless of course, you have some real evidence for your claims—like the guest broke all of the beds and sprayed red paint on the walls. If not, keep it friendly.

Sometimes you can do everything right and still get a cranky guest who writes you a bad review. There’s not a whole lot you can do in this case. If you want to respond, keep it short—something like, “I did everything I could to accommodate [guest’s name] during his stay. It’s unfortunate that he had such a bad stay. I hope he finds what he’s looking for in the future.” Something concise and polite will do. There’s no need to start an emotionally-charged comment war.

Just remember that for every guest who gives you issues, there will be at least 20 more who don’t. Being a host is usually a great experience, and when it’s not, just remind yourself that they call it “short-term” rental for a reason—your guest will be out soon enough.

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Hosting Tips

How to Optimize Your Airbnb Listing

To get the maximum number of guests every month, you want to have engaging content and photos in your listing. Not only does this increase your likelihood of getting booked, it also adds to the total number of views on your listing, adding to the attractiveness of your property. We’ve come up with some tips below to make your listing the best it can be.

  1. Get a professional photographer

We’re all visual people, and we’re more likely to spend money on something when it’s presented attractively. Sure, you could snap some photos with your iPhone and call it a day, but your listing will look way more put together with professional photos. A photographer will be more knowledgeable about angles, lighting, and variation than you will—and it will show in the polished photos that emphasize the best features of your home.

  1. Write an attention-grabbing teaser

In the initial description, it’s better to focus on a couple awesome features of your home or neighborhood than to delve into a laundry list of reasons why someone should stay at your place. This is the first thing your potential guest will read, so make sure you know your audience. Is your place in the middle of the hottest stretch of bars and clubs in your city? Or in a super family-friendly area with a rec center and park across the street? Figure out who your home will appeal to most and use your teaser to reel them in.

  1. Think about the special features of your space

This is the section in which you should really go into detail about the unique parts of your home. Try to stay away from generic descriptions and really zone in on what makes your home special. Is there a reading nook with a great view? A tree-lined backyard perfect for kids? A rooftop hot tub? It’s always good to link these features with activities your potential guests could imagine themselves doing. For example, instead of just mentioning that there’s a large back deck, write that the back deck is a perfect place to unwind after a day of sightseeing. Zero in on a few of these features and your home will really come to life.

  1. Put some thought into the neighborhood section

One of the things that your potential guests will want most is to stay in an appealing area, whether that means they’re close to bars, in a quiet mountain setting, or in a suburban neighborhood safe for kids. Do a little research to find out what’s in your neighborhood. Maybe there’s a farmer’s market every Saturday that your guests would enjoy, or a coffee shop down the street that makes a great chai. It’s also good to mention any museums, historical sites, and concert venues in the immediate area.

  1. Don’t be afraid to set house rules

If your basement is off limits or your next-door neighbors are super sensitive to noise, let your guests know in the listing (and write it again somewhere in the house). The last thing you want is for there to be an issue because your guests say they didn’t know about your rules. Then if something does happen during their stay, you can refer back to your listing. It’s always good for you and your guests to be on the same page as early as possible—and putting your expectations into your listing guarantees that.

 

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Hosting Tips

Tips for First-Time Airbnb Hosts

The world of short-term rental can be intimidating for someone who has never hosted before. We’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks to help you get started and make sure your transition into hosting goes smoothly.

  1. Don’t sweat the small stuff

You might not be able to get everything perfect right when you start out, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Don’t panic if you can’t get exactly the bed linens you want or if your plates don’t all match. You obviously want your home to look as presentable as possible, but don’t forget that setting up your space is supposed to be fun for you too—not overly stressful.

  1. Show your guests you care in little ways

Your guests will appreciate when you go the extra mile to make sure their stay goes well. When we say “little ways,” we mean little—nothing too expensive or time consuming. Check out [https://effortlessrentalgroup.com/hosting-tips/6-simple-items-add-home-happy-guests/] for a list of simple items you can add to your home to show your guests that you care, making them more likely to write you a good review at the end of their stay.

  1. Inform your neighbors

People will take note when there are strangers suddenly walking in and out of your house, so it’s a good idea to let them know that you’ll be hosting. It’s up to you how much detail you go into—maybe you tell them you’re a host on Airbnb or maybe you just say that you’ll have guests staying for a while—but a little heads-up is a good call regardless.

  1. Respond to your reviews

This goes for positive and negative reviews, especially your first few of each. For positive reviews, thank your guests for staying with you and tell them you’re glad they enjoyed their stay. For negative reviews, try to target their main problem and (politely) address whether it was out of your hands or not. Even if the issue was not your fault, apologize for the inconvenience. The idea is to set a precedent for the rest of your reviewers. When potential guests see that you’ve taken the time to respond to feedback, they’ll feel like they’re in good hands when they stay with you in the future.

Categories
Hosting Tips Rules & Regulations

2017 Brings Changes for Airbnb Renters

With the new year comes new responsibilities for short-term rental owners in the Denver area. Owners are now required to hold a short-term rental license, obtainable from the City and County of Denver website, in order to rent out their properties for stays shorter than 30 days. Not all American cities require a short-term license—state officials make the call on a case-by-case basis. Part of the licensing process involves proving that a property is an owner’s primary residence and posting his or her Business License Number on the Airbnb listing. The fee for the STR license application is $25 and an owner can be fined up to $999 for advertising their property without a legitimate license.

Learn more about the new Denver STR License at www.Denvergov.org/STR

Categories
Hosting Tips

Is Your Property Guest-Ready?

The reason your guests are booking your property instead of a hotel is because they want to feel like they’re staying in a home. Make the most of your space and maximize your monthly income by fully stocking your space with everything your guests will need during their stay. We’ve compiled a list to get you started:

KITCHEN

  • Pots and pans with lids
  • Cooking utensils: spatula, serving spoons, colander, cheese grater, etc.
  • Plates/bowls/glasses/silverware/mugs for 150% maximum capacity (if your property accommodates 6 people, you should have at least 9 plates, bowls, silverware sets, etc.)
  • Wine glasses
  • Wine key/corkscrew
  • Kitchen knives
  • Salt/pepper/olive oil
  • Coffee maker
  • Kitchen towels

BATHROOM

  • Bathmat
  • Towels: 3 sets for each guest (bath towel, washcloth, hand towel)
  • Shower curtain for shower-rod setups
  • Squeegee for glass shower setups
  • Toilet paper
  • Hand soap

BEDROOMS

  • 2 full sets of sheets for each bed (1 on the bed, 1 for backup)
  • 2 duvet covers for each bed (1 on the bed, 1 for backup)
  • Mattress for each bed (pillow top recommended)
  • Mattress cover for each bed
  • Bedside table and lamp
  • Hangers

LIVING ROOM

  • Couches (ideally with pullout mattress)
  • Television with cable
  • Coffee table

MISC.

  • Vacuum
  • Broom & dustpan
  • Mop & bucket
  • Window covers (blinds, shades, etc.)
  • Cleaning products: paper towels, dish soap, dishwasher soap, sponges, glass cleaner
  • Extra light bulbs

This is a partial list and does not include décor or personal touches that make your property stand out from the rest.