*Sponsored by TD Insurance. I’ve received compensation from TD Insurance for this sponsored post. As always, all opinions are my own.*
Now that I have three properties that I am renting on a short-term basis, I find myself offering up a lot of advice and tips to people who are looking to start their own instant hotel.
I thought it would be a great idea to answer some of those frequently asked questions by writing a blog dedicated to my tips and tricks when it comes to attracting short-term renters while protecting your property.
TD Insurance has some great Home-Sharing & Home Insurance tips on their website, linked here: and it inspired me to talk to you guys about some of the steps I’ve taken to ensure my home is covered.
Many people are nervous about renting out their home to short-term guests. They don’t like the idea of people in their space or using their things. Personally, I got over it pretty quickly when the pay checks started to roll in!
Other people have questions about protecting their home and their belongings when becoming a host. They want to know what will happen if something gets broken, stolen etc. When I got into this whole new instant hotel world, I had the very same questions, and I wanted to make sure I was covered if something unexpected were to happen.
As a host, what your home insurance covers is limited. Your coverage assumes you’ll be staying in your home, so having unsupervised people staying in your residence is considered an unexpected risk. You’ll be expected as the host to take financial responsibility for damages caused by your guests and potentially accept liability for injuries or damages that happen under your roof.
A number of home-sharing apps offer insurance coverage to hosts and renters, but the protection is limited. Every company has their own specific policy, so it’s best to know what they will and won’t cover ahead of time. Some companies offer their own supplementary insurance to offset the areas their standard coverage might not include — TD Insurance has some really great options for this!
Before listing your residence, TD Insurance suggests contacting your advisor to let them know that you are renting out your home. They can answer questions about your policy, and this also alerts them to the rental situation so they will have documentation ready ahead of time if there is a guest-related insurance issue.
Here are a few things I did to make sure I was covered.
I talked to my insurance provider to make sure I would be covered in case of an incident at my home when I was renting it out. This added an increase to my overall costs for home insurance, but if I wasn’t covered for some reason and the house did burn down, that would be absolutely devastating. So #1, talk to your insurance provider if you want to find out more about home insurance coverage. You can reach out to TD Insurance here.
I added a safety deposit of $500 for every group that books my home. That means that if something small breaks, or they damage my property, I can submit a claim or dispute and their deposit will cover it.
In order to instantly book my home hotel, guests need to have their ID uploaded, and have had at least one positive review. Guests who do not qualify for this feature can send in a request. You can refuse a guest at any time.
Ensure your home is safe and up to date with smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and a fire extinguisher, just in case.
From a few things I have discovered as a host over the last few years, I’ve learnt that home-sharing is just like parenting. You want to be SUPER clear with your house guests about the house rules. That means you want to have everything laid out in your welcome guide and also on your home’s description page.
Example: Make sure you clearly say “NO parties, NO smoking, NO pets” in your house rules. So your guests know they cannot cross those boundaries. Trust me, if you forget to mention NO parties… there will likely be someone that books with the impression that they can have their friends over.
I have uploaded an example of my welcome guide that you can use as a template for your own. To download click here.
Extra guests mean extra mess, so if you feel the need to charge extra for additional guests, do not hesitate. At my downtown Instant Hotel, I charge an extra fee of $10 per guest over 5 because extra guests mean more cleaning, more laundry, more towels that need to dry and more bedding that needs to be supplied. They are getting an awesome deal by all cramming into one location, so I consider it a small fee.
At my larger rentals, I ask guests to strip the linens from the bed they slept in, wash and put away the dishes, and place towels in the laundry hampers. This helps keep the flipping time down, and means guests can check out at 11am and new guests can check in at 3pm.
Around the house, I have small sticky notes to help guests remember the house rules, such as “Do not leave water on the bathroom floor” or “Turn off the lights when leaving.” In my downtown property, I have framed house tips, like “This is an old building, Only TP in the toilet please.” Notes around the house can really save you from additional headaches.
Other frequently asked questions I receive from my guests are about heating or cooling the home, how to turn on the TV, how to use the BBQ or where certain things can be located. I’ve laid all those questions out in my home guide. As new questions come in, I adapt and change my home guide to fit my guests’ needs.
A few additional tips to make your home more bookable.
Use white linens — these are a hospitality must and can be bleached easily.
Install smart locks for easy self-check-in, and to save you from having to let guests in or recutting lost keys.
Stage your property for photos and have a professional photographer shoot wide and detailed shots of your rental. Beautiful photos will always sell your rental, and the more bookings you receive, the higher profile your listing will have.
Write reviews about your guests to encourage reviews from them. Getting your first few 5-star reviews will push your listing to the top and build confidence with your first-time visitors.
Responding to requests in a timely fashion will also improve your rating. So, don’t wait, respond immediately.
Add a special local touch. Magazines, restaurant guides, city tours: little things to encourage your guests to enjoy the city and the neighbourhood will leave a lasting impression.
Download my complete cleaning checklist here.
You can use this as a guide for your own checklist or to give to a third-party cleaner. Edit the cleaning list to suit your home needs.