Edinburgh remains one of Europe's most popular tourist destinations because of its rich history and all there is to see and do for those who visit the city. Those who visit leave with amazing memories and are much more likely to return. Due to the number of tourists visiting the city, there is sufficient demand for accommodation, which is an opportunity.
Airbnb in Edinburgh
Airbnb is a service that allows homeowners (hosts) to rent out part of their space for a short period of time to people looking for a place to stay. Guests (travellers or renters) can pay for a shared space for several people, private spaces and even entire properties.
Airbnb is profitable for hosts, as they can charge higher daily or nightly rates than if people renting the space did so on a monthly basis. In addition, Airbnb helps hosts personalise the experience for their guests, which leads to a higher rating and therefore more bookings.
The new control area for short-term rentals in Edinburgh
It is important that we first discuss the new Short Term Lettings Control Area recently established in Edinburgh. In August 2022, the Scottish Government approved a proposal put forward by the City of Edinburgh Council to make the whole city a Short-Term Lettings Control Zone. This has significant implications for people planning to use their second homes to host on Airbnb.
This control zone covers the entire local area and applies to properties that are not the host's primary residence. If you are using part of the house you live in to host, this does not apply to you. If it does apply, you will need planning permission to continue your business, unless you have rented it out for more than 10 years.
Those looking to start short-term rental activities, such as becoming an Airbnb host in Edinburgh, can apply for planning permission. They can do this as long as the property they wish to use is not their main residence and they have not used it for this type of accommodation (i.e. without planning permission) for at least ten years.
Getting started with Edinburgh short lets
The two things you need to get started are a space and an Airbnb account. Remember, the space doesn't matter to Airbnb as long as you can find hosts willing to book it and you can provide an adequate experience for guests. Setting up an Airbnb account is relatively simple and you can follow the steps on their website to get started.
If all this seems overwhelming, you can let Airbnb management companies like Upper Key do everything for you. They will assess the property and list it on Airbnb. They will also help you find hosts that you prefer or that are suitable for the type of property you are offering.
Holiday Lettings Edinburgh: Registering your space
Registering your space on Airbnb, which you can let a management company do for you, is relatively easy. It's completely free, but be aware that Airbnb charges a service fee every time a booking is confirmed.
You can follow the required steps on their website, and you can even contact their customer service department if you have any problems with this process.
You will, however, need a few things before you can start posting an advert. These include all the details of the ad, such as a catchy title, location and description, as well as your photos. It is essential that you take special care when taking your photos and that you think about your guests.
Remember that they are the first thing people look at when reviewing an advertisement and should catch the user's attention. In addition, they should show the space in the best possible way. You need to take photos with a good camera - most modern smartphones do an excellent job - in good lighting and on a slightly overcast day to avoid direct sunlight illuminating your photo.
If you don't have the skills, you can hire a freelance photographer to take the photos for you.
You can choose when you stay with short term lets in Edinburgh
Airbnb gives you complete control over how and when you host. You can choose the days the property is available or not and choose the arrival and departure times. You can even set the maximum number of days a guest can stay.
Finally, you can set up house rules stating exactly what your guests can and cannot do.
Short Term Rentals in Edinburgh: Host Requirements
Airbnb has drawn up a list of minimum requirements that it expects from its hosts. Firstly, each host must provide their guest with the essentials, if not more. This includes a towel and pillow, sheets, soap and toilet paper. Many hosts provide a few extra items to enhance their guests' experience. This gives them higher ratings which can translate into more bookings.
Secondly, Airbnb expects hosts to be responsive and hosts are expected to understand this when they sign up. This means that hosts are expected to respond to booking requests and enquiries within 24 hours. Hosts are also expected to accept bookings promptly. The sooner you do this, the better for you.
Airbnb has specifically stated that it frowns on cancellations. This is because many people plan their trips based on the accommodation they have available. If someone travels thousands of miles only to be told they have nowhere to stay, that's a huge problem.
Finally, hosts are expected to maintain a high standard. This is not only about providing guests with a good experience, but also about making sure that guests leave them a good rating.
Airbnb marketing has become extremely important in recent years, whether you're listing an intimate cottage in Edinburgh or a house. Airbnb marketing can be a challenge, which is why it's a good idea to let Airbnb management companies like UpperKey handle it for you. They'll make sure your property is presented well so that it becomes the preferred option for potential guests.
However, if you decide to do it independently, you need to master marketing on Facebook and Instagram. Facebook may seem outdated in the current year, but it is still a powerful marketing tool. Create a business page on Facebook and use the advertising tools it contains to get your ad(s) out there.
Instagram is the ultimate marketing platform for businesses that rely on images to attract customers. If you have great photos, as we saw above, you are more likely to succeed on Instagram. You can also post videos showcasing the spaces you have available and telling your audience directly why they should check out your listing.
Finally, consider creating a professional video to post on various online platforms for even greater reach.
If you are an Airbnb host in Edinburgh, these are the most important things you need to know. While you can do this on your own, consider an property managers in Edinburgh like UpperKey, an Airbnb management company, to make your job easier and potentially increase your income.