Another Beautiful Home in Okubo

In April we started Airbnb management of this absolutely stunning new apartment in Okubo. From the moment it was listed it started getting bookings. Since then its been solidly booked and making roughly 420000 yen a month!

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Setting up an Airbnb in Tokyo

SO YOU WANT TO SET UP AN AIRBNB IN JAPAN? HERE’S YOUR GUIDE TO NAILING IT IN 14 STEPS!

NOTE: This is a brief overview of a much more comprehensive guide that I am currently writing including areas in Tokyo I would recommend, links to other blog posts, lawyers advice etc If you’d like to receive that once it is finished then please write to me below.

Setting up a Air BnB property in any country can be a daunting task. More so in an unfamiliar city with its own fairly complicated rules and regulations. The photography, the listing, the house guide, rules, inventory etc and that’s before you’ve even started taking bookings.

Tokyo is a phenomenal market for Air BnB with tourism at an all time high and the Olympics and Rugby world cup coming soon. BUT the competition is also fierce. Air BnB grew by 500% in 2015 alone (https://japantoday.com/category/features/opinions/airbnb-takes-off-in-japan-but-the-party-is-over-for-many-seeking-to-ride-the-boom) leaving a over supply of rental options and massive choice for visitors. HOWEVER the best properties on Air BnB are still fully booked year round. And as the number of properties increases only the very best of them will continue to do well. So WHAT DOES IT TAKE to be the best?

Here are some points to consider:

1: Your Airbnb listing HAS to stand out. This is make or break for any property. Without a good listing you will fail. No matter how amazing your space is, no matter the location, if you don’t present it at its absolute best then you will not be maximizing your profit. To have a good listing though… you need a good property. The best properties are clean, light, well decorated in a neutral style.

2: And then of course it needs to be presented in the best possible way. Hiring a professional photographer to photograph your place is a very good idea. It is likely that they will do a better job than you in less time. Either way your property must look unique, eye catching, homely and appealing. All the rooms and all the facilities should be clearly photographed and beautifully presented.

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3: Your TITLE must be catchy and unique and ideally list the main selling points of your property, proximity to station, a huge bed, amazing views, whatever it happens to be.

4: The description covers all of the main points that can’t be seen in your photos. It lets your potential guests know what is amazing and special about staying in your home and in your neighbourhood.

5: Once you start to receive enquiries then you have to be very prepared. Guests have a thousand questions that need to be answered and you have to be there 100% of the time to answer them. Quickly scrolling through reviews on Air BnB it is clear that one of the biggest negative points for any guest is when the host is unavailable or difficult to contact. Fluency in English is a absolute must; almost all of the communication carried out on Air BnB in Japan is in English and you need to be able to answer questions in a very clear, friendly and helpful way.

6: Commonly in Japan guests will be sent directions and a house guide. This needs to outline everything from where they can do their shopping to how to use the washing machine. They need to know how to get to your property and what to do if they get lost. They will need to know how to get the key and any difficulty they may have getting in. Hosts do this with a varying degree of success, some just send a basic set of instructions over the Airbnb app. The more experienced hosts know that a comprehensive PDF guide with pictures and step by step instructions makes guests feel more welcome and makes a huge difference to their overall holiday experience. Figuring out Japanese air con can be a great deal more difficult than you imagine.

7: The house rules need to be brief but comprehensive and easy to follow. Disposal of trash for instance is one of the main reasons apartment blocks have cited for not wishing to accommodate foreigners. In Japan the trash has to be separated in the correct way and disposed of on the correct day, guests need to be able to understand this without it being a burden.

8: You will need to be on hand 24 hours a day, seven days a week to deal with any emergencies your guests may have. Lost keys or lost people. You’ll be amazed what your guests expect from you.

9: The check out is as important as the check in. The guests have to know where to leave the key and when to leave the property. If they need to leave luggage as is often the case then they need to know where they can do this.

10: The cleaning has to be done to absolutely the highest standards. Your linen needs to be cleaned, dried and replaced. All trash needs to be sorted and disposed of and the entire place needs to be dusted, wiped and vacuumed. All this needs to be carried out with in the 5 hours or so from check out to check in.

11: Quite often the next guests will want to check in early. Where do they leave their luggage if this is not possible and can they get they key early?

12: So, you’ve decorated your space, photographed it, listed it, prepared the guide and directions, figured out how to welcome your guests and priced it correctly. You have taken bookings and started receiving guests. There are two more thing to consider:

13: YOUR RATING IS KING.

If anything on this list is not done to appropriate standards then guests can be merciless with reviews. The first three reviews you get are vital, these will determine how the next few months of bookings will go. If you fail to get consistently high ratings then your property will sink down the Air BnB search list and you will receive fewer bookings.

14: JAPANESE LAW

Right now there is no legal structure in place to deal with Airbnb in Japan. It is absolutely essential that you and your guests treat their neighbors with respect and behave in a considerate and polite manner while in Tokyo. Any complaint can potentially threaten your whole business here regardless of whether you own your property or not. There are proposed laws that may come into effect in January 2018. These may limit rental of your space to 180 days a year. There are many ways to continue leasing your property year round and remain completely legal but an in depth understanding of the Japanese regulations, fluent Japanese and a good lawyer are essential.

If this all sounds like a lot of work that’s because it is. It can be a full time job sometimes. We started off with a few properties and then our friends saw how well we were doing and asked us to manage theirs. Ultimately we decided to create a company for Airbnb management in Tokyo and set up www.MyTokyoHome.com . We provide all the services listed above for a very competitive fee (15% of booking revenue plus cleaning). Our clients have found that they earn as much or more with us than did by themselves… but don’t have to do any work. We are still a small company and focused exclusively on the Tokyo area. We have a passion for what we do and a sincere love of welcoming guests from all over the world. We have managed to consistently book our properties for an average of 95% of the time and have maintained a 4.9 star rating across all of our properties (as of May 2017). If you have a property that you would like managed or have any other questions at all it would be a pleasure to hear from you. We endeavor to reply within the working day.

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