Airbnb was founded in 2008 in San Francisco. The founders wanted to change the way that people thought about travel, and they achieved that with incredible success. Today, Airbnb has over 2 million listings in 191 countries with the option to rent out a room, a home, or even a castle.
In the past decade, Airbnb has created many opportunities for the global community. Homeowners are able to earn extra income, travelers can see the world on their own budget and experience culture like a local, and the real locals can make money by offering excursions and guided tours using Airbnb Experiences and Adventures. Through this, there has been a ripple effect of opportunities for local businesses, primarily cleaning services.
The one aspect of Airbnb that builds trust between hosts and travelers is their rating system. Travelers rate each host after their visit, and hosts rate each traveler. After all, staying with a stranger or having strangers stay in your home can be unsettling. Value, location, communication, and accuracy are all factors a host is rated on. But, perhaps the most important rating a listing can receive is on the cleanliness. According to Airbnb, cleanliness is one of the major standards hosts are required to meet and hosts who consistently receive low cleanliness scores may be subject to penalties. Additionally, guests expect the same high standards of cleanliness as full-service hotels.
That is a lot of pressure on the hosts! Many work full-time jobs or do not live in the same area as their Airbnb. Because of this, Airbnb locations have emerged as a new type of client for residential cleaning services. Residential cleaning is typically considered B2C, but is now bridging the gap into B2B because hosts are running their home as a business. This is especially true for cleaning companies in areas that have a few months out of the year with a major increase in travel, such as beach or ski towns.
If you live in one of these areas, restructuring your business model or even starting a brand new cleaning business can be very profitable. Here are some details to consider if you are thinking about offering Airbnb cleaning services to hosts in your area.
Hire for the Season
Many businesses that operate in areas with seasonal tourism make a majority of their income for the year in that one season. Ensuring that you have enough resources is crucial. You may need to double the number of employees in your cleaning crew during the busy season. Additionally, when working with Airbnb hosts, you will be doing more business with each client. Where a typical residential client may only require services every two weeks, a host may require services twice a week or more. Additionally, customer satisfaction is a key factor in staying competitive. A loyal Airbnb host can be very profitable as a repeat client, so make sure your staff is trained and you have a standard of excellence that you continuously strive to meet. Learn more about training your staff in our article 7 Tips for Training New Maids and House Cleaning Employees.
Offer Competitive Services and Convenience
The variety of services an Airbnb property manager will require will differ from your typical cleaning job. Many hosts are aiming for “super host” status which means they want sparkling clean homes with unique and thoughtful touches. In order to build a reliable reputation and to stay competitive, you will want to offer services that go above and beyond. For example, in addition to the standard professional cleaning services between each guest, a host will expect fresh linens, deeper cleanings on a recurring basis, inventory reports and replenishment on supplies and toiletries, a check for damages or theft, and key management. They may even want details such as providing tour guide materials, welcome notes for guests, and even clean slippers, robes, and fresh chocolates.
Hosts are busy, as their Airbnb is usually a source of extra income; they hire a company not just for the quality of service and trust, but also the convenience. Be sure to make it easy for them to do business with you by enabling them to schedule recurring and on-demand services, make payments instantly, and handle all communications in one place such as an app or online platform.
Communication with the client will be primarily digital, so it is important to focus on engagement and clear communication to build trust. Offer photos or a video walkthrough of the home after each cleaning so that they know they are in good hands and that their guests can expect a comfortable stay. Make your clients feel confident that they won’t have to experience any surprise bad reviews on cleanliness, and you can expect them to hire you on a repeat basis.
Create Packages or Subscriptions
Each client will have different needs depending on the size of their listing, their volume of visitors, and the level of luxury they want to provide. Creating a completely custom service for each client can quickly become inefficient for your business. Instead, consider creating two or three packages or subscription levels that outline various services, ranging from basic to the works, with the option to upgrade and add on services. This will enable you to be transparent and provide straightforward pricing while also helping the client to establish fair cleaning fees on their listing.