Dec 13, 2020
Running a successful Airbnb is not as easy as it may seem. With so many Australians unable to travel internationally, we expect that local travel is going to be very popular over the next 12 months. We caught up with Natalie Ravalico from Ripple at Port Willunga in South Australia to learn about how she set up her successful Airbnb listing. Natalie provides advice about what really matters when preparing the property and why being 10 minutes away from the stunning wine country of McLaren Vale has made her sought-after property booked out until Feb 2021!
Thanks for catching up with us Natalie. Tell us about your property and why you decided to list it on Airbnb.
We bought the property originally as a holiday home for our family and then decided it would be a good idea to rent it out while we weren’t using it. It’s in a beautiful pocket of Port Willunga in South Australia called the Old Survey area. There’s only a limited amount of properties in that area and it’s two minutes walking distance from one of the most exclusive beaches on the South Australian coastline. It’s a beautiful beach to walk during summer or winter really and is famous for the old jetty which was built back in the 1800s. A lot of divers enjoy exploring a famous shipwreck just off the coast called the Star of Greece. They often say that Port Willunga is in between the sea and the vines so it’s a great place to explore all year round with the beach and wineries close by.
When you made the decision to list your property, what did you have to do to the property to make it ready for your first visitors?
We stayed there initially for a couple of days to discover what we were missing. This was really important to learn what a potential visitor might want from staying at our place and the area surrounding us. It gave me a chance to style the property with some exclusive furnishings and artwork that one might not necessarily have in their home. Ultimately a place that if you were visiting, you wouldn’t need to bring anything. We made sure there was great linen, towels, beach toys, sunscreen, games, kid’s highchairs – everything you would need for a great vacation.
How long did it take to receive your first booking?
Pretty quick actually. Maybe a day after we listed. Before we listed, we had to make sure the property was safe, like making sure the fire extinguishers work. I got professional photos taken of the property as I felt that a lot of the other properties listed in the area weren’t displayed in a very appealing way. I wanted our property to stand out. We have had a lot of bridal parties stay with us, especially if they are getting married in the area. I think if you have a nice event, then staying at nice accommodation just makes the experience a lot more special. Starting my own Instagram account for the property has been a great help to market the property. I can post more photos of the property, share experiences from other visitors. It also allows me to share with potential visitors the restaurants, cafes, wineries which we enjoy in the area.
How did Covid affect your business?
All our bookings were cancelled from March to May within a week. At the time, we were pretty much fully booked in April with a lot of people travelling from interstate. Airbnb were really good about it. I believe there were no cancellation fees. I felt really sorry for one customer who postponed and cancelled three times as she was booking the place to stay for her wedding. Things have definitely picked back up though. I don’t have a spare weekend until February 2021 which is great.
What are your tips for someone considering listing their property on Airbnb?
I really believe you need to consider having nice things in the property that people might not necessarily have in their own homes. We made sure there was nice artwork in a lot of the rooms which people have certainly commented on. Screen your guests. I have the booking set so people can’t instantly book, they have to message me first and tell me a little more about what their plans are before I will approve them to stay. I really don’t want large groups with loud parties in the house. Having really nice linen also makes a difference. We are constantly updating the rooms and moving furniture around as we have regular visitors, and we want to ensure the property is kept fresh.
Best things to do in Adelaide?
Besides from visiting the many wine regions in South Australia and eating some amazing food, there are some great places to explore in the city. So many bars, such as Hellbound and East End Cellars, great restaurants – Africola and Shobosho and iconic pubs like The Grace Emily Hotel to visit. During Summer the city does come alive with The Tour Down Under, Womad, The Adelaide Festival and The Fringe. There is always something to do.
Best wineries to visit in the region?
Some of my favourites are D’Arenberg, Samuels Gorge, SC Pannel, Alpha Box & Dice and Coriole. I could go on forever… there are so many great wineries!
In Mclaren Vale – Darrys Verandah, Pizzatecca, The Current Shed, Gather at Coriole. These are my favourites.
When you and your family travel, do you prefer hotels or Airbnb?
I guess it depends on where we are travelling. I would definitely be inclined to look on Airbnb. It’s quite a nice community. I’ve actually stayed at one of my visitor’s accommodation when I visited Melbourne earlier this year. The best part about staying in an Airbnb are the local recommendations you receive from your host. Places to eat, places to visit, even local tips or insights which you might not otherwise receive if you were staying at a hotel. It takes away the research you would often plan when visiting a new place.
Next travel destination for you and your family?
We’re actually looking at doing an Airbnb swap with another family who have a place at Black Point right on the beach in the York Peninsula. The shack is right on the sand so you can be eating dinner on the deck while watching the kids play on the beach. Somehow, I don’t think we will be travelling overseas any time soon.
5 things you always pack on a holiday?
- These days I am usually packing for my 2 children before myself so after I have all their bags sorted..
- Comfortable shoes
- A book to read on the plane or download new music to listen to ( book is hardly touched due to the 2 children mentioned above)
- Eye mask and ear plugs for the plane to sleep if I get the chance
- Clothes that I can easily wear together that does not require too much thinking
- A good moisturizer
How many shoes do you pack when you travel?
Three pairs are my usual standard. I generally pack a pair of sneakers, a pair of sandal heels to dress up at night and if I am travelling in summer a pair of slides, if it’s a winter trip a pair of boots. That usually covers most things I need for a trip away.
How do you pack your shoes when you travel? (Straight into the suitcase? Pack them in a bag?)
Definitely use a shoe bag. I don’t want any dirt from the soles of my shoes going onto my clothes, so I am one of those people who actually use the shoe bags.
Favourite apps to use when you travel?
- Airbnb (obviously) for accommodation
- Instagram for general research of an area
- Eater (it’s not an app but a great website) to research restaurants
Favourite cherrichella style?
Whisper in lemon. Love the colour and the raffia heel. Perfect summer block heel.
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