Travelers from around the world are recognizing West Virginia as a hidden vacation destination. Accessible, affordable, beautiful, historical—it checks all the right boxes for modern travelers.'
The uptick in travel has proved a welcome source of economic stimulus for communities across the state, and homeowners in rural areas have been quick to get into the home-sharing business through the online service Airbnb. Roughly 900 home-sharing hosts in West Virginia brought in a combined $10 million in supplemental income in 2018.
Interested in entering the Airbnb market? Before going forward with home-sharing, it’s important to factor the following into your approach to hosting, according to David Sibray, publisher of West Virginia Explorer, which advertises lodging statewide.
A frequent guest of state Airbnbs, Sibray says there are three categories of preparedness all potential hosts should understand — cleanliness, security, and regulations.
"Above all, I'd recommend that Airbnb owners pay close attention to the providing a safe, clean environment for tenants and that the be sure to take into account local law," Sibray said.
"The last thing you want is to make all the necessary investments, only to be shut down before you open or soon thereafter. Home-sharing can be fun and lucrative, but it requires organization and attention to detail."
Airbnb hosts in West Virginia will be sharing their homes with many hikers, skiers, and college-sports revelers, which increases the chance guests will leave behind a messy and disheveled environment. Making sure the living space can be rapidly reset to a fresh and clean state will speed up the turnaround time for relisting. Start with the beds: copper-infused memory foam mattresses will provide antimicrobial protection, meanwhile, an upfront investment in numerous sheet sets for each bed will enable you to quickly swap dirty bedding with fresh linen. Keeping a kit of cleaning supplies suitable for the living space will also quicken the process in between guests.
The majority of folks in West Virginia live in cities and towns with only a few thousand people. Living in a community where everyone seems to know everyone else, it can be easy to get laid back about home security. How many times have we heard communities described as the sort of place where people leave their front doors unlocked overnight? Those who choose to list their homes on Airbnb need to be more careful about home security, considering the high volume of strangers and outsiders who are coming and going. It’s as much for the safety and security of your guests as it is for your property and possibly yourself. With so many options to choose from when it comes to smart home security technology, the hard part is picking.
It’s important to check the local regulations regarding home renters rights, zoning, and other factors at play for Airbnb hosts. The legal hurdles will vary for Airbnb hosts in West Virginia depending on the city where their property is located. While most folks won’t encounter much more than some paperwork, others may have to take it a few steps further if their local lawmakers deem it necessary.
The growing demand for Airbnb in West Virginia has presented a great opportunity to many homeowners in the Mountain State. Those interested in pursuing this potential income stream just need to do their homework before getting into the home sharing hospitality business in West Virginia.