Thursday, September 17, 2015

Being an Airbnb Host in KL

living room2

September marks the day me and hubs have been Airbnb hosts for one year and five months. It felt just like yesterday that we hosted our first Airbnb guests. Today, we have hosted guests from 20 different countries and we don’t feel like stopping.

We didn’t decide to become hosts right away. We toyed around the idea while waiting to get the keys to our apartment. We did a lot of internet research. Finally in April 2014, me and hubs decided to commit ourselves to being hosts. We actually decided to give it a try for 3 months, then if it didn’t work out, we would rent it out on a normal lease term; or we would move in.

We never looked back.

Why did we decided to become hosts? Believe it or not, it wasn’t for the money. We couldn’t make up our minds if we wanted to stay in the house we bought, or to rent it out a minimum two years. We already had a rental home in the same building.

So we decided to rent it short term, which, if we changed our minds, we could stop immediately. Plus renting out short term would allow us to take care of the house better.

We also thought that it would be an awesome experience to host travellers and tourists from other countries! We genuinely didn’t think that we could earn much more than a long term lease, but we’re proven wrong.


One of our early guests from France, stayed for 3 months with us.

Hosting Our First Guest

Back in April 2014, I remember getting our first confirmed booking. We were ecstatic! We worked on the house for almost 2 months and finally we were hosting our first guest! It was nerve-wrecking! Our guest was an American family staying in Pahang, with a toddler and a baby.

We greeted the family at the ground floor, took them upstairs and chit-chatted the whole way. Thoughts were swirling in my head, all not very positive. I was sure they’ll hate the place! Maybe the curtains were not dark enough or it was too noisy! We made sure to check on them in the middle of their stay. On the check-out day, we told them to leave the keys in the house. Then I waited for the review.

A few days later, I received an email saying that my guest have left a review. That was it. Our first good review to keep us going.


Tyler from USA having a good time in KL.

Keys to Hosting Success

Over the year, we learned a few secrets to running a smooth short stay.

1. Create a keyless system for check-in and check-outs.

2. Limit turnover times or better yet, hire somebody to do it for you.

3. Create a guide book to the city. The guests will thank you.

4. This goes without saying: install the Airbnb app on the phone.

The Good and Bad

Overall, we definitely had good experiences, save a couple slipups, but that’s to be expected. Nothing goes well 100% of the time. Most of our guests were courteous, independent and adventurous. We never got our house trashed or anything like that. The worst was having a RM5 mug broken and a locked room occasionally. If anything, most of them left the house as clean as the way we prepared it for them. Some even emptied the trash before they left.

I think in the beginning it’s important to let our guests know what to expect. Someone who’s never used Airbnb before have high expectations of your place being like a hotel so that’s gonna be a problem.

The general consensus among the other hosts in KL is the same. The best thing about using Airbnb is that you get to filter your guests. You can have a conversation with them before allowing them to book. Whenever I encounter someone a little bit rude or weird (it’s up to you how to define weird), I immediately declined to host them. This saves you from the headache of having to deal with a difficult guest.

Being a host is not easy, especially when you’re doing it while having a full-time job. Or when you’re a mommy. Sometimes being hospitable requires more than a message and a phone call, and you have to rush to help them out.

And don’t get me started with sheets. If you’re a housewife, you know laundry is our greatest enemy. And it never stops coming. Imagine having to handle another load—and we run a 3 bedroom.. with three beds topped with duvet.

I don’t know how long we’ll keep this up, but right now, minus the sheets, we love hosting on Airbnb. There’s nothing more refreshing than meeting people from so many different countries and backgrounds with different languages! We’ve even hosted a group who knew almost no English. You never appreciate technology until you realize you could communicate in a foreign language without actually knowing how to, thanks to Google translator.

So yeah, if you’re an Airbnb host, do say hello! And if you’re interested to book our charming apartment in suburban KL, go here.

If you would like to host in KL and get an extra RM214 for your first hosting gig, use my referral here to get started!


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