Norwich Airbnb expert shares his top tips to help get the best reviews

Ollie Krol in one of the properties his company, The Good Host, manages as an Airbnb

Ollie Krol in one of the properties his company, The Good Host, manages as an Airbnb - Credit: Paul Cameron

Founder of The Good Host, Ollie Krol, knows what it takes to run a good Airbnb.

Four years ago he set up the firm with his friend, John Ellison, after spotting a gap in the market. Since then the business has grown and it now operates at scale, with a bigger team and its own software and systems in place - in fact, Ollie says, they are hoping to double their portfolio by the end of the year.

Native to Norfolk, Ollie cares about Norwich and its businesses and says he knows how important tourism is to the city – which is why he wants to help people have a great stay and holiday homeowners to make the most out of what they can offer, from what guests expect to what to do when it all goes wrong.

Here are his top tips for making sure your Airbnb is up to scratch.

Reception room overlooking City Hall in Norwich from an Airbnb property let out by The Good Host

If you want to let out your property as an Airbnb or holiday let, Ollie suggests testing it out by being its first guest - Credit: Image Quest Photography Michael Palmer

Be the first guest in the property
“It’s important to use the space like your guests will”, says Ollie. “Sit on the sofas, make a cup of coffee, watch the TV, use the internet, even have a shower. 

“I tend to think about making sure anything the guest will touch is functional and does the job it’s meant to. I spend a night in a new property and every single time I notice little snags to fix, such as a squeaky door or a loose door handle.

“Your space also needs to be extremely clean, so make sure it is.”

Double bedroom in a period apartment in Norwich, Norfolk, which is rented out as an Airnb

Inside one of The Good Host's property listings in Norwich, Norfolk - Credit: Image Quest Photography Michael Palmer

Quality linen – and lots of it!
“The bed is where your guests will spend the most time in your property,” he says.
“The linen needs to be high quality (400+ thread count) and be exceptionally clean, pressed and beautifully dressed. 

“Linen and towels are expensive and you need three complete sets to keep the laundry cycle working and have capacity for hiccups. The reason here is to have one set on the beds, one in the cupboard and one in the laundry. 

“White is best – it’s bleachable and makes the whole set interchangeable.”

Ollie’s extra tip? “Put the same size beds in the property, such as two doubles or two kings, not a mismatch.” 

Mid-century style reception room in an Airbnb property to let in Norwich, Norfolk

If you haven't got an eye for design, find someone who does, says Ollie - Credit: Copyright: Image Quest Photography Michael Palmer

Make your space beautiful and unique
If you haven’t got an eye for design, find someone who does – or pay for a designer to ‘dress’ the space. 

“It’s the cushions, throws, art and fine detail that punctuate the space and make it memorable,” says Ollie.

In the Photo Studio with Professional Equipment: Portrait of the Famous Photographer Holding State o

Photos are the first thing your guests will see, even before they book, Ollie says, so make sure you hire a professional - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Don’t do the photos yourself
Ollie’s pretty clear on this one. “It needs to be a professional with excellent photographic gear and post-production skills to craft breathtaking images. This is the first thing guests see and the most important part of your listing.

“Don’t snap the space on your smartphone, it won’t do your hard work justice! 

Woman recieve inbox view the pending e-mail communication, New messages on mobile smartphone.

Guests will expect you to sort out any problems that arise, so you will need to have your phone on hand and be able to respond to them in a timely manner - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Be available, friendly and respond to guests 24/7
“Guests are paying money to stay in your space and they expect you to be available to answer any questions, help fix any issues they are having and truly host them,” says Ollie.

“Many issues can be solved by preventative maintenance, good guest guides and well written pre-check-in information. 

“But, occasionally, things go wrong or you have more sensitive guests and you need to have your phone on and expect to look after your guests in a timely fashion (within the hour).  

“If you don’t look after the guests they will likely leave negative reviews and booking platforms will penalise you for not being available.”

Making your Airbnb a success can be more of a commitment than you might think, but Ollie says that is where management agencies like The Good Host can help.

“We do a monthly check in, out of five, and the owners are delighted,” says Ollie. “They’re pleased that we take care of their properties and a lot of the time, the properties are in better condition than when they gave them to us.

“They enjoy the fact that we do our job as a managing agent, and we don’t contact them all the time about problems, so the owners can carry on enjoying their lives and knowing we’re taking care of their property.”

To find out more, visit the website at thegoodhost.co.uk

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