By Mina Phillips

If you are considering converting your Queenstown property into an Airbnb rental, you’ve chosen a great location. According to New Zealand economic consultancy Infometrics, Queenstown is New Zealand’s second highest visitor destination, bringing in around 180,000 Airbnb guests annually. It’s a great opportunity to bring in additional income, save for retirement or perhaps that holiday you’ve been dreaming of.

What is involved in becoming an Airbnb host?

Becoming an Airbnb host provides homeowners with an opportunity to offer guest accommodation with pricing, availability and house rules that work for them. According to Airbnb New Zealand, becoming a host is a three step process. Firstly, you list your space on the Airbnb website, for free. Next, you select hosting options that work for your lifestyle. From there you can begin accepting guests.

How much money can I make from an Airbnb?

How much you charge is entirely up to you. It’s a good idea to compare your space to other similar Airbnb homes in the area and see what they are charging. Some Queenstown Airbnb’s charge approximately $60 per night for small spaces, such as sleepouts. Others charge $2,000+ for luxury accommodation.

What features are common in Airbnb “superhost” homes?

A “superhost” is an Airbnb host who, in short, is excellent at communicating with guests and receives consistent high ratings. What many Queenstown superhosts have in common is that their properties offer fantastic views and are near the local township. Many also offer unique home features which help their property to stand out. This might be through providing unique accommodation, such as a “glamping” experience, or through the attraction of a spa pool during the colder months.

How can I convert my property into an Airbnb?

If you don’t have a large budget to start with, focus on what you would value most after a long day of travelling and exploring. A comfortable bed is essential, along with a good quality shower. Renovate Magazine recommends adding a private bathroom, if space allows, as it adds value. Airbnb mentions wifi, hair dryers, heating and washing machines as some of the most sought after amenities within Queenstown Airbnb’s, so having these in your space would be a good start.

David Dolphin, from Refresh Renovations Queenstown, receives frequent Airbnb enquiries; around 33% of his renovations are for Airbnb conversions. These renovations have included a deck extension, a full renovation on an old bungalow, a garage conversion into a studio apartment, and adding a one-room addition onto an existing home.

According to David, there are a few imperative basics when it comes to comfortable Airbnb’s.

“Insulation and heating, as well as air conditioning, are absolutely essential in our part of the country, with huge temperature variations between winter and summer”, explain David. “Maximising views, where they are available, is a must.”

David also encourages Airbnb hosts to choose “robust, durable materials, fixtures and fittings that will withstand a constant stream of short-stay guests. Wiring for high-quality internet access is usually expected by guests. The odd luxury item can make a property stand out from the rest.”

How could I improve my Airbnb through renovation work?

David encourages Airbnb owners to invest in indoor/outdoor flow. This might be through a ranch slider installation or by building a deck; allowing guests to enjoy the view that Queenstown has to offer. Kitchens and bathrooms are a standout feature, explains David; especially in Airbnb photos.

“Making kitchens and bathrooms "pop" for Airbnb photos is a big priority. This doesn't mean having to spend a fortune - a good quality bathroom or kitchen renovation can still be achieved on a smaller budget.”

David adds that making accommodation more comfortable and functional should be prioritised in Airbnb renovations. This might include improving access, creating separation from the owners’ house, or creating a private outdoor area.


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