Outdoor Renovations

How to turn your holiday home into a side hustle

Soul Home's Simone Mathews shares her tips for renting out a holiday house.
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Feeling the pinch? If you’re one of the estimated 2 million Australians who own at least one additional property, you could be sitting on an untapped goldmine. Renting it out to holidaymakers might be an easy way to earn some passive income (cash earnt through very little effort or a fuss-free side hustle).

According to research by Booking.com, three in four Australian holiday-home owners are considering turning their weekender into short-term accommodation due to the rise in living expenses. And there is money to be made. The average monthly revenue for a short-term rental in Hobart, for example, is about $3800. But there’s more to it than popping clean linen on the bed and sticking some photos online.

Stone fireplace in the living room of SOUL of Gerringong
The Simone Mathews-designed holiday home, SOUL of Gerringong, is next-level. (Credit: Image: supplied)

How to prepare to rent out your holiday house

You will need to choose a vacation-rental platform such as Airbnb, Booking or Stayz (or a combination of platforms) if you want maximum reach. Suss out the competition: use these sites to research similar holiday homes in your area. This will help inform your pricing, too.

Get to know your local government regulations on renting out holiday homes, which changes from state to state. In many parts of New South Wales, for example, you can only rent out short-term rental accommodation for 180 days per year if you don’t live on the premises. If you do live on the property, renting out a granny flat for example, you can rent it out for 365 days per year.

Beachy living room
Nearly half of holidaymakers cite styling and decor as the key reason they choose a holiday rental over another one. Simone has nailed it here, at SOUL of Gerringong. (Credit: Image: supplied)

How to style your home as holiday accommodation

Most importantly, styling is everything, dah-ling. The survey by Booking found that the number-one reason people choose one holiday home over another is because it appears to be clean and tidy (65% of respondents picked this option). Almost 45% of respondents say the quality of the interiors and decor affect their decision.

So, we asked Simone Mathews of Soul Home to share her top tips for turning a private holiday house into short-term rental accommodation. Simone has created blissful beachy holiday homes such as The SOUL of Gerringong, The Pause and The Palm House Gerroa, so rest assured, this interior designer knows what she’s talking about.

Simone Matthews of Soul Homes welcoming us at the front door.
Simone Mathews of Soul Homes has made a career of transforming beautiful, breezy holiday homes. (Credit: Image: supplied)

Check your location

“Location, location, location! A holiday rental needs to be in the right spot; if it is a coastal property, the closer to the beach the better. The classic Australian beach house still tops the list for Aussie travellers as the most appealing home to book (61%), reports Booking.com. If your place is in a remote location, make sure that the neighbours are not visible.” 

Include these must-haves in the bedroom

“Many of these are often overlooked. Invest in:

  • a comfortable bed — guests will always remember if they had a great night’s sleep or not
  • a full-length mirror in all the guest rooms (or one in the property, at least). Think of it like a hotel room — guests want to be able to check their reflection before they go out
  • and wall hooks in guest rooms are so handy for hanging things up, even if there’s a wardrobe, since a lot of guests don’t unpack.”

Provide enough of everything

“This is one of the hardest things to get right when preparing your home to be a holiday rental: understanding the quantities of items your guests will need. As a general rule, you need three of everything when it comes to linen and towels, for example, to ensure that your property/business runs with ease.”  

Cosy bed at SOUL of Gerringong beach house.
A comfortable bed and high-quality linen are paramount in a holiday house, as seen in SOUL of Gerringong by Simone Mathews. (Credit: Image: supplied)

Style for your market

“A common mistake is creating a holiday-home space to your own taste, rather than to the target market of guests to the area. Be careful not to ‘over-style’ the property, as well.” 

Don’t make it too precious

“A holiday property should be set up with quality in mind, but you also want guests to be able to relax from the moment they arrive, and not be anxious during their whole stay about breaking something.”

Try these simple but affordable hacks 

  • “Make your guest rooms feel like a hotel suite: install wall lights on either side of the bed paired with simple side tables.”
  • “Display tableware in your kitchen on open shelving to instantly add style to the kitchen and make it easy for guests to find things.”
  • “Add greenery: it always lifts a space and allows guests to feel connected to the outdoors. That is what the majority of all holidays are about! For real plants, ivy and peace lilies are really hardy. Or, you can use faux plants; just remember to dust them regularly.”

Rent your home out for photo shoots! 

Don’t have a holiday home or not ready to be a card-carrying Airbnb host? You can still turn your stylish abode into a side hustle with platforms such as Aloca — an online community linking property owners to creators for shoots, workshops, events and ‘micro-weddings’. Rent your property out for a couple of hours to a full day. Sounds like easy money to us. 

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