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How to Airbnb your flat in London and go travelling

This ‘How to Airbnb your flat in London’ post is sponsored by GuestReady

Hands up if you’ve ever stayed in an Airbnb and thought to yourself ‘I could totally do this with my own flat the next time I go travelling!’ Only to remember all the admin that comes along with putting your flat on Airbnb and quickly forgetting it altogether. 🙋

The last thing you want to deal with when you’re away on holiday is checking people in, answering their questions, finding a place for them to pick up and drop off keys, organising cleaners, etc. etc. etc. It’s basically impossible to do alone, unless you have family living nearby or you’re renting out a spare flat that you’re not using. (Let’s all take a quick second to laugh at the idea of having a spare flat in London)

So how do you Airbnb your flat in London and go travelling? The answer is actually surprisingly simple. You get an agency like GuestReady to manage the bookings for you. Turns out you don’t need to be around to manage guests and be at their beck and call, because that’s exactly what they’ll do on your behalf.

While you’re off travelling the world and having a lovely time, or visiting your family and friends back home, you’re also making money from renting your flat. Genius!

Sign up to become an Airbnb Host here

How it works

We all know London accommodation isn’t cheap and Airbnb is honestly so much better than staying at a hotel – well, most of the time. I mean I wouldn’t say no to a Shangri-La suite, is all I’m saying. But in London there are over 80,000 Airbnb listings, and people are booking 800,000 Airbnb stays around the world. Every. Single. Night. So the market is huge, leaving you in a pretty good position to rent out your space while you’re off travelling the world.

To use an agency to Airbnb your flat in London, you need to be going away for a decent chunk of time (think 4 weeks in Australia over Christmas, for example). Or you might have a job where you travel a lot, which means your flat is left empty for a couple of weeks each year. You probably won’t be able to use an agency if you’re just away for the weekend every now and then.

So how it works is that GuestReady take a percentage of your earnings in exchange for organising basically everything you need. They manage all the day-to-day admin including your online listing, photography, pricing management, guest communication, cleaning, laundry, toiletries and check-in and check-out of guests. Yes an agency will take a cut of your earnings, but let’s be honest – you probably can’t do it without them. So you’re still making a big profit compared to just leaving your flat empty while you’re away.

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What are the pros of using an agency?

Pros to using an agency like GuestReady to Airbnb your flat in London are:

  • You can charge more per night on Airbnb than you would for a monthly sublet organised through a friend or a site like SpareRoom, and an agency will help you get the best price possible for your property
  • Someone else is in charge of everything that you need. From changing the linen to taking beautiful photos of your flat and writing a listing that will attract more bookings
  • They supply hotel-style amenities like 5-star quality housekeeping, luxury hotel linen and fancy toiletries. Your flat will probably never be cleaner!
  • You’re covered by Airbnb insurance for up to $1million in property damages at no extra cost to you, making it less risky than subletting your home privately
  • You literally make money for doing nothing

What does it cost to Airbnb your flat in London?

Signing up as a host on Airbnb and listing your property is completely free. Once you get a reservation, Airbnb generally charge their hosts a flat 3% service fee per reservation to help cover the cost of running the business. According to their website, it’s among the lowest fees in the industry.

GuestReady work on a commission basis, meaning they only make money if you do, which is a great incentive for them to lease your home. It also means that you won’t be left out of pocket if your property doesn’t get booked. Depending on which option you choose, they will take between 10%-20% as commission. You can find out more about their Airbnb rental services here.

What are the risks involved with home sharing?

We’re seeing more and more home sharing options popping up as a sustainable way to travel and support local communities. Websites like Airbnb and HomeAway have created a huge surge in guest stays outside of traditional tourist areas. After all, that’s one of the biggest pros of renting through Airbnb – you can avoid the tourist traps and have a more authentic, local experience all for a fraction of the price of a hotel.

Of course with home sharing come a few risks, and it’s normal to be a bit nervous about leasing your home to total strangers. If you’re leasing your flat directly, you need to vet the person/people as thoroughly as possible before you accept a booking. If you’re using an agency like GuestReady, then they’ll vet every potential guest for you before approving their stay. Airbnb hosts also automatically qualify for the free Airbnb Host Guarantee programme. That includes free $1M protection for property damage and free $1M liability insurance.


Warning: Make sure you check your rental contract before you sublet your flat to make sure it doesn’t go against your lease. If there’s a subletting clause and the landlord finds out then you could lose your deposit, be liable for other payments or even face eviction.


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Stories from GuestReady’s Airbnb hosts

Are you still a bit unsure if this whole concept is relevant to you? Here are a couple of examples based on people who have used agencies to let their London homes.

5 week holiday in New Zealand

A couple living in London booked a 5-week trip to New Zealand over the summer and wanted to Airbnb their flat, but had no way of dealing with the logistics. So they asked GuestReady to manage their property while they were away. The agency optimised nightly rates, handled all guest comms, greeted guests at check-in and managed the cleaning and linen providers on their behalf. By the end, their holiday paid for itself.

Regular business trips

A consultant in London travels a lot for work, meaning his Shoreditch apartment is often empty. He uses an agency to Airbnb his flat whenever he’s away by updating his availability calendar with his travel dates. Whenever he leaves for a trip, a cleaning team is sent in to make sure the flat is ready for guests. Then they clean up again so he comes home to a spotless home!

Find out more about GuestReady on www.guestready.com

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