03 Apr 2019

How to set up your house as a short-term rental

Whether you’ve got a spare room, you're an empty-nester or lucky enough to own a second home, you could make some extra cash in the booming short-term rental market.

From Homestay to Airbnb, a number of new agencies have mushroomed in the past few years to help you market your holiday rental.

Despite the fact the short-term rental market has become increasingly competitive, homeowners are still capitalising on it in droves.

According to AirDNA market data, there were 1,034 active listings in Melbourne’s beachside suburb of St Kilda and 812 Airbnb listings in Sydney’s Bondi Beach alone.

The lucrative benefits of renting out your property to holidaymakers still by far outweighs the costs, experts say.

However, short-term rental property owners need to stay ahead of the pack by making a point of difference, with a focus on quality, to trump the competition.

The additional income you can generate is well above the initial expense, according to short-term stay property manager Angela Carrick, who runs Air Design Austalia.

The Sydneysider manages about 20 properties for landlords, handling everything from furniture purchases, property styling, professional photography, cleaning, maintenance, listings and bookings.

There remains heavy demand for properties she manages, with a 95 per cent occupancy rating each year, she says.

“A lot of my clients are baby boomers wanting to make a bit of extra money while travelling the world and who don’t have time to manage their property,” she says.

Her main advice for a successful short-stay rental relates to furnishings.

"They don’t have to cost to earth but property owners should spend more on high-quality items," she says.

“Travellers like to stay somewhere stylish, impeccably clean and slightly quirky.”

Here’s some top tips for setting up a short-term rental.


Furniture and styling can have a huge impact on bookings, so make sure the property is tastefully presented. This helps generate higher rental income.

Know your point of difference

Got a pool? Right near the beach and you offer a kayak as part of the property?

Are you right near the best local restaurants?

Make sure you include your point of difference at the top of your advertisement for the property.


Ease of communication and being a responsible host is paramount, so make sure you address guests enquiries in a timely manner to earn five-star reviews to help secure future bookings.

Replying to all reviews, whether positive or negative, is also a great way to show you are a good communicator.

Pricing variation

Look for peaks and troughs in visitation to your local area when setting rental rates.

Varying your pricing can help hosts achieve returns much higher than standard long-term rentals, according to professional Airbnb management agency MadeComfy.


Creating a guide book listing handy information about the property and its surrounds can be a massive drawcard. It can include information about local restaurants and places to visit, the Wifi password and who to call if something goes wrong.

Multiple booking sites

Do some research to understand which booking sites are driving guests to your region and property type and also consider listing on multiple sites.


Guests are paying for comfort, so make sure you provide a good-quality mattress and high thread count linen, which is worth the extra cost.


Indoor greenery can bring life to a property, so opt for easy-care plants that don’t need too much water.


If you’re not handy with a camera, you should pay for professional photography to present your property in the best possible light.


A bad review can cost you dearly. Make sure you keep the property immaculately clean and deal with any maintenance issues immediately.

Provide extras

Guests love the small extras. Good-quality coffee and tea, providing shampoo and conditioner and milk in the fridge is always appreciated.


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