banner

To help you better understand all of the moving pieces we help manage, we’ve put together a few resources answering any questions you may have.

Hotel Ready Rentals

At French Bay Real Estates, we believe that the perfect short term rental experience is created from both your beautiful space and the incredible, thoughtful amenities that you provide.

Now that you’ve decided to turn your home into a short term rental, it’s time to build the dream listing. Your guests are looking for more than a place to sleep at night -- that’s why they areopting out of the traditional hotel room experience. Beyond the essential basics like disposable toothbrushes and towels, surprise your guests with a magnified makeup mirror, for example.The more detailed you are with providing accommodations, the more pleasant your guests will find your home to be. ​The key here is: comfort and consistency. ​Make sure your guests have everything they need.

Imagine yourself walking into a carefully planned week-long trip away from home and as youwalk into your rental, you notice all the details that your host took extra care to maintain. A fullset of amenities will help you stand out from other hosts. Airbnb is starting to notice thoughtful hosts, recognizing their efforts and promoting them to ​premium status​.

All in all, we’ve recognized that the more high-end and all-encompassing your amenities are, the higher the cost is to put your listing together. We highly encourage you to invest in your shortterm rental with amenities because the return will not only result in better reviews, but it will also result in a greater number of bookings at a higher night rate, meaning more money in your pocket. Depending on your home and the guests you are marketing to, amenities can be purchased in any home decorating and furniture store. Grab this Hotel Ready Rentals Guide oremail us​ to get a printer friendly PDF and make sure you don’t miss a thing. Happy shopping!

Kitchen

Sometimes, traditional hotels offer a kitchenette of a certain size for a sizable extra cost on your bill. Therefore, one of the most appealing aspects of short term rentals is that guests will have access to a full kitchen and the ability to cook at ease. ​It’s important to stock up your kitchen with appliances and dinnerware so guests can make basic meals and have a cup of coffee to start their day.​ Keep in mind, you are not expected to provide food in the pantry or fridge, but a selection of K-cups, for example, will show that you really care.

●Keurig (and K-cups) or any type of coffee making device, even a French Press.
●Kettle, electric or stovetop
●Coffee and tea
●Salt and pepper
●Sugar
●Butter
●Olive oil
●Microwave
●Refrigerator, mini or full size
●Small toaster oven or toaster
●Cutting board and sharpened knives
●Tupperware
●Fully size pots and pans
●Ice cube trays
●Kitchen towels
●Oven mits and hot pads

Dining Room

●Cutlery and serving utensils
●Bowls/plates/wine and water glasses/mugs
●Placemats or tablecloths
●Napkins, paper ones work but cloth is classier
●Center piece

Bathrooms

We all know the feeling of forgetting certain toiletries when you’re away from home. It’sabsolutely essential to provide bathroom basics because this one room can make or break the guest experience. To go above and beyond your guests’ standard expectations from the traditional hotel room, top off your bathroom counters with toiletries that will make their stay that much more comfortable. ​Don’t be afraid to buy bathroom supplies in bulk and keep extras under the sink, guests will be appreciative of the preparation in advance. ​You can make the process even easier by installing body wash, shampoo, and conditioner dispensers directlyin your shower.

●Toilet paper
●Shampoo/conditioner/body wash
●Body lotion
●Hand soap
●Hand towels
●Face towels/bath towels (per guest)
●Towel hooks
●Bath rug
●Anti-slip bath mat
●Hair dryer
●Magnified makeup mirror
●Feminine products
●Q-tips
●Sewing kit
●First aid kit
●Sunscreen
●Toothpaste
●Disposable toothbrush
●Disposable razors (the most basic)
●Trash cans and liners

Master Bedroom

Help make the very best of your guests’ living experience while they are traveling. Many people treat vacation housing as “just a place to sleep after a full day of exploring”. ​Break through thatby going above and beyond providing a great night’s sleep. ​This is the room in your short term rental that we encourage splurging on. After all, the organizer of the trip, and likely thepayer, will be staying in the master bedroom.

●Mattress and mattress protector
●Pillows (per guest) and pillow protector
●Blankets (comforter) and duvet cover
●Sheets/linen
●Tissue box
●Alarm clock
●Pen and notepad
●Safe for passports and valuables
●Full length mirror
●Additional lighting such as a bedside reading lamp
●Trash can and liners
●Ironing board and iron
●Fans/heaters
●Foot rug

Other Bedrooms

Depending on how big your party is, you might be hosting more than one bedroom of guests. Bedrooms other than the master’s bedroom should be treated the same but may include pull out sofas, futons, and bedding in communal areas such as the living room or game room. While the master bedroom should be stocked with high thread count linens fit for the queen, your additional bedrooms may utilize lower thread count linens as a way to reduce costs.

●Mattress and mattress protector
●Pillows (per guest) and pillow protector
●Blankets (comforter) and duvet cover
●Sheets/linen
●Tissue box
●Alarm clock
●Safe for passports and valuables
●Additional lighting such as a bedside reading lamp
●Trash can and liners
●Fans/heaters
●Foot rug

Living Room

The short term rental experience is not complete without a great communal living space like aliving room or family room. Offer your guests a comfortable common area so that they can unwind and socialize outside of their bedrooms after a long day of traveling.

●TV with remote, including additional connectors (HDMI, Mac, etc.)
●High speed internet and Wifi
●Books and magazines (local attraction brochures)
●Desk or workspace
●Coloring books, crayons and coloring pencils
●Pens
●Playing cards
●International power adaptors
●Extension cords
●Standing fan
●Space heater
●Trash cans and liners
●Lighting
●Fire extinguishers/smoke detector
●Lockbox Near the door

●Umbrellas
●Shoe rack
●Key holder
●Coat rack

Outside Areas

If your home allows, outside areas will really be the cherry on top of the sundae for manyguests. Your vacation home will be a big hit when you provide an option to socialize outdoors. Make sure your guests are able to operate these accommodations easily and safely.

●Patio chairs
●Outdoor dining area
●Grill with gas or charcoal
●Yard games (bocce, croquet, can-jam, etc.)
●Basic beach gear (beach towels, cooler, etc.)
●Folding lawn/beach chairs
●Firepit or fire table
●Cleaning Supplies for Storage

More often than not, guests are very respectful of your home. In case of spills or consumable amenities that run out, it’s a great idea to keep some extras on hand. Here is a list of supplies that are regularly used by all types of renters.

●Hand soap
●Dishwashing liquid
●Carpet cleaner
●All-purpose cleaner
●Bleach
●Disinfectant
●Trash bags
●Tupperware
●Extra light bulbs
●Broom
●Dustpan

More Cleaning...

If your home has space and is outfitted with these amenities, guests will greatly appreciate the flexibility, especially if they are staying for a week or longer.

●Washing machine/dryer/clothing rack
●Detergent/dryer sheets

After you’ve combed through this guide and prepared all of your amenities, your short termrental is more than dressed up and ready to house your guests! If you have questions thatweren’t answered here or suggestions for this guide, please contact us at [email protected]. Remember to check back for more guides coming soon tohelp you build out the best short term rental experience.

Insurance

Short Term Rentals Insurance Guide: homeowners, this is how you can protect your home and yourselves

Many homeowners naturally hesitate when they consider opening their home to short term renters. The risks are there -- everything from dishes breaking to small kitchen fires. At ​FrenchBay Real Estate​, we understand that your home not only carries meaning beyond just four wallsand an income stream. You’ve undoubtedly invested a good amount of money into building a welcoming home for you and the best short term rental for your guests. ​This guide is an overview on how you as a homeowner can protect yourself in an efficient and effectiveway.

This guide is designed to help you evaluate the various insurance packages available to homeowners interested in renting a primary or secondary home, however, nothing beats talking directly with your insurance provider. We want to make sure that when tragedies strike, your liability at both the property level and guest level is carefully considered and that any damagesor loss you and your property experience are covered.

And we know that finding coverage for your short term rental can be both complicated and time consuming. The following sections provide a brief overview for you on risk management, insurance types to explore, what coverage is offered through the major STR marketplaces(Airbnb, Homeaway, etc.) and a menu of recommended insurance companies. Grab this STR Insurance Guide or ​email us​ to get a printer friendly PDF and make sure you are preparedwhen you begin researching the perfect insurance package for you and your home.

The Importance of Risk Management

You must be thinking: do I really need special vacation rental insurance for my property on top of the homeowners or landlord insurance policy I already have? As with so many things, the answer is it depends, however, there’s a strong likelihood you will want to consider additional short term rental insurance. Because homeowners insurance only covers owner occupied properties and landlord insurance policies only cover tenant occupied properties, there is a gap in coverage for primary and second homes that are utilized by the homeowner and are alsoused as short term a rental income generating property. ​Short term rentals are unique because at any given moment the home could be occupied by transient occupants (i.e.nightly guests), owners themselves and sometimes not occupied at all. ​Vacation rental insurance is the only way you can cover all three types of occupancies, ensuring you and yourhome are all protected.

Not only is your home valuable, so are your belongings within it. It’s important to make sure you have all the property and liability coverage you need.

Generally, the risks that come with becoming a short term rental homeowner falls within three categories: theft of items, bodily injury and damage to property. These scenarios come in a big range, accidents occur all across the board from guests slipping on the floor, the random break in, or a bachelor party gone wild resulting in your glass living room table shattered. When accidents like this occur, your first step is documentation. Take photos and videos that most accurately describe what happened. Then, you will file a claim to your security deposit, but this security deposit only covers theft and damaged property, and ​only​ to the amount you set as your security deposit. After filing for your security deposit, contact your marketplace with photo evidence of the accident. Then, you and your market place will approach your insurance company together.

Types of Insurance

There are many different types of insurance policies available for purchase from both local andnational companies. The below sections detail the most prominent insurance policies and terminology you’ll come across when shopping around. What kind of insurance are you looking for today?

Homeowners Insurance

●Homeowner’s insurance is the most basic type of property insurance that covers losses and damages to your home and theassets in it.
●This type of insurance is the most bottom line insurance thatprovides liability coverage against accidents to your property.
●Similar to health insurance, you will need to pay a deductiblebecause your insurance kicks in when you need it.
●Typically, homeowners insurance will cover losses ranging fromweather to injuries to theft or lost belongings.

Is your home your primary residence?

●Generally, it costs less to insure the house you live in versus theone that you don’t, approximately 20-30% less.
●While your primary home will contain most of your earthlybelongings and valuables, it’s not uncommon that some of yourvaluables will be in your second home that is rented out as avacation home. This is why it’s important to insure your secondhome with a policy that covers the property, as well as an amountequivalent to the value of items kept in the property.

Is your home considered your second home, and not your primaryresidence?

●Check with your primary homeowner’s insurance first because your policy can possibly cover your second home. You may not need topurchase a new policy for your vacation home or investment property.
●A homeowner’s insurance policy might not provide enoughcoverage for your rental property.
●For STR homeowners, you’ll need a more comprehensiveinsurance than just simply the homeowner’s insurance.
●We also suggest purchasing an umbrella insurance policy foradditional coverage of those once in a hundred year life events.

Landlord Insurance

●Landlord insurance exists to cover property owners that are rentingout one or more residential properties fulltime.
●This insurance policy can cover anything that can cause financialloss including fires, break-ins, severe weather, etc.
●When your rental unit is not habitable due to circumstance beyondyour control, this insurance can help cover the loss of income.
●Landlord insurance covers the following:
  ○Property damage due to theft, weather, fire, other damages.
  ○Liability insurance that can be caused by trespassing, bodily injuries, etc.
  ○Loss of income can lead to this insurance policy providingyou “rental reimbursement”.

Vacation Rental Insurance

●This is the best way to safeguard your investment in your vacationhome.
●Vacation Rental Insurance covers many features of the homeowners insurance but offers additional protection.
●The typical VR insurance covers items including the following:
  ○Injuries of guests actively renting your home
  ○Damages to the guests’ property while he or she is staying in your home
  ○Damages to your own property caused by a guest rentingyour home
  ○Coverage for adjacent property damage caused by yourguest (for example, if your property is in an apartment complex)
●This is the bare minimum of the coverage you will need. As with landlord insurance, you will likely want to search for a policy thathas some level of lost earnings coverage should your finances be materially impacted by a natural disaster or the need for major repairs.

Umbrella Insurance

●An umbrella insurance policy provides additional coverage whichgoes above and beyond the limits of your basic policies(homeowners, car, health, etc.).
●Umbrella policies typically provide protection from bodily injury liability claims and property damage liability claims.
●Umbrella policies can cover legal fees, false arrest, libel and slander.
●Umbrella insurance policies are used when you are found liable and need to pay for damages or if you are ever sued and need topay for legal defense.
●While not directly related to real estate and the act of renting ahome short term, umbrella policies are always a good thing to thinkabout if you can afford them.

Major Marketplace Insurance

It’s helpful to learn about how the leaders of this industry are protecting their homeowners. Some of their insurance programs are quite similar to the types of insurance listed above in the first informational chart. There are important differences that we have noted below so you can make the best informed decision when choosing your insurance package.

At French Bay Real Estate, we suggest joining a marketplace like Airbnb and Homeaway has the smart way to approach owning a STR. These two major market places offer $1 million ingeneral liability insurance for boths guests and hosts, covering damage to your property or personal injury to a guest. Their longevity in the marketplace and good reputation for providing coverage for STR homeowners certainly do not go unnoticed. We recommend steering clear ofother industry marketplaces, such as TripAdvisor, since they do not offer comprehensive general liability insurance to their hosts. If you are opting to self-host your rental through a website such as Squarespace or Wordpress, please know that you alone are liable for any damages.

Are you ready to market your listing after you have chosen a major marketplace? Refer to our comprehensive Marketing Guide for our best tips and tricks.

Airbnb’s Host Protection Insurance Program

The Airbnb Host Protection Insurance Program covers the following incidents:

●Primary liability coverage for up to $1 million in the event of bodily injury and property damage
●When guests suffer an injury during a stay, landlords and homeowners associations have coverage
●When guests damages building property, the program may cover guest damages
●Can serve as your primary coverage for eligible claims

Here’s the ​full summary ​of the program with conditions, limitations and exclusions listed for the services that Airbnb provides.

Airbnb clearly states that the Host Protect Insurance program is not liable for the following:

●Intentional acts (including assault, sexual abuse,batter)
●Loss of earnings
●Personal and advertising injury
●Fungi or bacteria
●Chinese Drywall
●Communicable diseases
●Acts of terrorism
●Product liability
●Pollution
●Lead, asbestos, lead or sicilia

HomeAway and VRBO(Vacation Rental By Owner)

HomeAway and VRBO utilize Proper Insurance as their comprehensive vacation rental insurance. Proper Insurance provides insurance for your building (or buildings),belongings, income and liability. Here are some important features of Proper Insurance:

●With Proper Insurance, you won’t need two separatepolicies if you have more than one home
●Proper Insurance knows that vacation rentalproperties can be used for personal use, commercial short term rental use and sometimes will be unoccupied. Therefore, this insurance package is a homeowner’s insurance, landlord’s insurance and business insurance policy all in one.
●Proper Insurance will provide coverage for the building and its contents and personal property. It also includes replacement cost valuation.
●There is no time limit in their business income coverage feature.
●Proper Insurance is ultimately a business policy and it carries commercial general liability of $1-$2million.

TripAdvisor/FlipKey

It’s important to note here that TripAdvisor does not offer any insurance to hosts. They only provide insurance for guests.

After you’ve combed through this guide, hopefully you feel more prepared to make a decision onwhich type of insurance is most suitable for your property. If you have questions that weren’t answered here or suggestions for this guide, please contact us at [email protected]​. Remember to check back for more guides coming soon tohelp you build out the best short term rental experience.

Marketing

Short Term Rental Marketing Guide

From all-inclusive resorts to boutique hotels to one-of-a-kind homes; the way people vacation is changing.

After the transportation plans are confirmed, guests will meticulously search for the most affordable and most comfortable housing. Short term rentals have experienced a dramatic rise around the United States and now, the world. Guests are opting out of the more traditional hotel suites and instead, looking for down-to-earth villas, condos and single-family rentals of various sizes in an attempt to personalize their travel. ​Short term rentals are competitively priced,located in better locations and can provide a much more customizable experience for the guest.

To clear up the air, here are some important distinguishing factors between short term rentals and long term rentals.

Short term rentals:

●Also known as a vacation rental
●Renting out a furnished home, apartment or condominium
●Mostly rented out on weekly or nightly basis
●More privacy, more space, more affordable than hotels especially during peak seasons
●Flexibility in accommodation and amenities
●For the homeowner: big tax breaks, larger income generation and increased profit margins

Long term rentals:

●Owner of property rents out for months at a time
●Not common among vacationers or business travelers
●Not always furnished
●Utilities are rarely included in rental amount

As vacation housing prices continue to increase, so do the expectations of travelers. Homeowners like you are quickly catching up to this pace, furnishing and servicing properties sothat they are attractive and well-prepared. Now that you’ve put together the perfect short termrental, it’s time to put a beautiful bow-tie on it. Building your short term rental’s online reputationis absolutely essential in turning a meaningful profit in an efficient manner. Great marketing can determine how effectively and efficiently you can bring in more guests to your home. Here at FrenchBay Real Estate​, we know that getting started with marketing your home can be intimidating, we put together a holistic guide for you on the key details you cannot miss.

The Description and Listing

Put your best foot forward and make sure your guests’ first impression is a good one. The beauty of posting your listing on the internet is that marketing is that much more personable yet wide-reaching. Write a very detailed summary of what guests can expect when they book your listing and how you can accommodate and adapt to their specific rental needs. Be sure to ​bulkup your description​ with visuals: this will help guests piece their dream rental to your listing. Give your guests a true taste of what it means to relax in your listing on their vacation.​ It is critical to dress up your listing with an attractive and clean host profile picture, photography and videos. Consider hiring a professional to produce the most high quality visual content for you, it’s worth the investment.

●Preemptively answer your guests’ questions about your listing with detailed written descriptions as well as professional photography and videos.
●Your listing will stand out because of your attention to detail to effort to create the bestimpression online for your guests.
●Answer the question, “what makes your listing unique?” Then capture the uniqueness visually.

Host Profile

A great host profile will automatically put your guests at ease and encourage them to book their short term rental with you. ​Guests are drawn to hosts who are experienced, professional, accommodating and approachable.​ Your host profile should be inviting -- just like your listing.

●Post a professional but personable host profile picture.
●Make sure all sections of your profile is filled out -- no one should be left behind!
●Use colloquial language when introducing yourself as a host, but no text slang. You may also want to consider explaining why you love renting your home and some of the experiences you’ve had renting other hosts’ homes.
●Be responsive for your guests!
●Keep your host profile (and listings!) updated.

Customer Service

Now that you’ve built out a great host profile and listing page, it’s time to jump into conversations with guests so that they know they aren’t just booking to a random name on the internet. Customer service is the most important step in marketing because now that you havethe attention of your potential guests, you must move them from consideration to purchase. Building a sense of trust with a potential guest can take some work, so here are a few tips and tricks that we have in our arsenal. ​They are tried and true -- but the bottom line is: be authentic and remain professional.

●Keep a short response time to inquiries so guests don’t feel ignored or lose interest. You can do this with Airbnb’s “saved messages” feature and turning on notifications on your mobile.
●Always highlight the amenities of your listing, what local attractions they’ll experiencea round your listing and how great your listing is in consideration to the nature of their trip. Don’t forget:​ you’re helping them plan out their dream vacation!
●Set your expectations by screening guests very early on. No matter how professionalyou are, not all guests are great guests. Trust your gut when moving forward withr eservations.

Guest Reviews

Guest reviews are like street cred, it’s the backbone of building trust with any future guest.​ As long as your reviews are organic, your Airbnb SEO will grow automatically and resultin more bookings. ​Guest reviews build out your profile but also influence future bookings.​ With agreat host profile, visually appealing listing, responsive customer service and flexible accommodations, guests will know you care.

●Ask guests to leave a review promptly after their stay. You should also review them as guests on their profiles, so that they feel the love as well.
●Collect references in order to legitimize your profile. Nothing is more attractive than a great track record.
●They won’t always be 5-star reviews, unfortunately. If you get a bad review, take it into consideration and improve. You may also respond to any negative review, allowing youto further explain any extenuating circumstances.

Booking Settings

With over 4,000,000 listings worldwide on Airbnb alone, it’s more important than ever to remain competitive with your listing quality and price. To stand out, get familiar with how listing works with search engine optimization (SEO). Your guests’ targeted searches will more often than notdepend on your calendar, price and their length of stay. ​Also, Airbnb rewards hosts who areactive with their calendars, responsive with inquiries and enthusiastic about customer service and accommodation by ranking them higher in their SEO.​ Make sure all of that is translated in your profile and listing.

●Update your calendar monthly so that your SEO on Airbnb is up-to-date. This is pretty high commitment but it’s also going to get you on the map.
●Turn on the “Instant Book” function as soon as possible. “This show cases your listing’s flexibility and, therefore, match more potential guests’ targeted searches.”
●Reservations are a two way street. Everyone has heard of short term rental horror stories but with a few preventative measures you can ensure a great hosting experience. We suggest asking guests to provide their information for screening, consider requiringgovernment ID, email address, phone number and a security deposit at a level that encourages responsible rental behavior.

Pricing

Pricing a listing is part art and part science. Airbnb’s smart pricing feature is a great starting point for determining your listing’s nightly rate. However, many times their algorithm doesn’t account for seasonality of a destination, unique features such as water frontage, or even competition from local hotels and other short term rentals. ​Maximizing nightly pricing and cleaning fees, which are passed on to renters as an additional expense, can mean to difference between just barely turning a profit and earning a healthy amount of passive income.​ The French Bay Real Estate team suggests the following simple steps to help you begin to more effectively pricing your home.

●It’s important to show that your price fluctuates with the demand of your listing. How is your nightly pricing competitive?
●Explain weekly and monthly discounts if you provide these.
●During peak seasons or major events and holidays, offer ​variable pricing​ so that your listing is competitive with those similar to yours.
●How is your security deposit set up? Explain this to your guests.

Off-Platform Promotion

You’ve put together a host profile and listing that stands out on the website. Your customers ervice is impeccable and your calendar is up to date. What’s next? Off-platform promotion of your listing. ​Never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth and social media.

●Consider building out ​a beautiful Instagram​ so that guests know you are active on other platforms as well. Guests will take note of your archive of photos and the way you interact in the comments section.
●You can also use other social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook but Instagram is the most adaptive for visual posts.
●Low dollar ad words can also help you achieve the biggest bang for your buck. This will contribute to optimizing your listing on short term rental search engines.
●Print media is not dead yet! If your community allows, we encourage distributing property brochures and booklets locally.

After you make sure your listings have covered the points in this guide, your marketing plan isready for take off! If you have questions that weren’t answered here or suggestions for thisguide, please contact us at ​[email protected]​. Remember to check back formore guides coming soon to help you build out the best short term rental experience.