How to succeed as an Airbnb property investor

Juls Rollnik says success as an Airbnb property investor comes from in-depth research and a focus on the factors that generate good reviews.

Airbnbs can be a lucrative property investment strategy, but the properties and approach need to be managed right.

For award-winning author, property investor and developer Juls Rollnik, the secret to success comes from experience and making decisions based on your guests’ comfort and needs.

On Property Hub’s Get Invested podcast, Juls joined KnowHow founder Bushy Martin to talk about maximising property investment potential on Airbnb.

Generating good reviews on Airbnb

For Juls, reviews are the currency of Airbnb. So doing thorough research and fully preparing yourself before finding and listing the property is key to succeeding on your journey.

“I would definitely educate myself with Airbnb. When I started, I knew I had to be prepared to start really well with my Airbnb because reviews are everything,” Juls said.

“If you get one or two bad reviews, you are dead in the water before you even begin. So you want to do a course, you want to buy a book, you want to go to public seminars and get yourself out there and be in it. Just arm yourself with as much information and be as prepared as possible. And what’s important to me is that I continue to educate myself every day.

“Then if you’re looking at buying a property, look at where you want to buy a property. That’s absolutely imperative. If you’re going to buy a place, what’s going to set your Airbnb apart from other people? Is it the location of the cafes, restaurants? Is it, you know, a farm in the middle of nowhere, but in a beautiful part of the world somewhere off the grid? So that’s something you really need to think about with your preparation, research, and education.”

Having clear, open communication with guests is also crucial.

“You want to have great communication because you need to be able to respond very quickly to requests and anything your guest is wanting to ask you about. You want to be honest in your communication. You want to be very honest about what’s going on at your Airbnb, for example if there’s construction going on across the road. Either way people will know because when they get to your Airbnb, you can’t hide and you can’t lie, and there’s nothing worse than a really angry guest because you haven’t been honest with them. So communication is absolutely imperative.”

Striving for excellence as an Airbnb host

One of the biggest mistakes investors make is not putting enough time into the strategy, and seeing Airbnbs as a quick cash grab.

“They don’t invest as much as they should. And you’ve got to think about it, an Airbnb, as a service oriented business,” Juls said.

“You’ve got guests who are coming to stay at your Airbnb, whether it’s a short term stay or whatever it might be, they’re coming to have a holiday where they want to have serenity and they want to be cared for. And this is one thing I really stress. Everybody wants to be cared for. That’s what we want, don’t we? We want people to care about us. We want to feel important. And I don’t think people give that as much thought as they should.

“Excellence is unforgettable. But I think that a lot of people look at Airbnb and think, I can make a bit of money on this. But it just doesn’t work that way, there’s so much more to do.”

Investing in the three pillars of comfort on Airbnb

Investing in great bedding, shower, and heating and cooling system are essential if you want to create a thriving Airbnb service which sees guests leave good reviews.

“I often will put myself in the other person’s shoes and say, ‘what would I like? what do I expect?’ With Airbnb you’re providing a service and it’s a home away from home, so you want to cater every little thing you want,” Juls said.

“You want your guests to come in and go, ‘oh wow, I’m really being looked after here’. And so the three pillars of comfort are probably the most important with Airbnb from my perspective, and if you do this right you’ll get that great review each and every time.

“So firstly, you want to invest in a decent bed and pillows. Now I recently had someone say, ‘what do you mean? Don’t you just buy a bed?’ And I said, ‘no’. The one thing people are going to do at your Airbnb is sleep. You don’t have to spend a fortune and everything’s tax deductible, which is great.

“How many times have you gone somewhere on a holiday and the pillows are terrible, or a beautiful accommodation where the mattress or the bed and the pillows have been forgotten about. So it’s so important because, mark my words, if people get a lovely, comfortable, peaceful sleep, and they just relax and they’ve got their head back on the pillow, you’ll get five star reviews.

“Then you want to have a good shower. It’s so important to have a shower that’s got a good flow and even a decent shower head because people having a shower with a crappy flow are not going to be happy. And also you need to have good heating and cooling. Do you know how many people used to tell me about the horror story of how they were too cold or how there was no air conditioning, so they left their Airbnb early. Any little annoyance is going to be a bad review.

“So the comfort is really important. You can have all the other lovely little things like wine and champagne and all that sort of thing, but just little things of comfort will really show the guests that you care about them.”

Listen to the full interview here.

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