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The New Hassle-Free Way to Airbnb

The simplicity and safety of City Relay, the new hassle-free way to Airbnb your home, make Olivia Allwood-Mollon wish she'd heard of it earlier

Like many of my friends and neighbours, we can only afford our west London pads by working ungodly hours and often having to leave our domestic chaos to go on obligatory work trips several times a year. And if we don’t have work trips, we’re so over-stretched we really need valuable holiday time away from our cosmopolitan existence. Making ends meet in London is difficult at the best of times, but even more so as a home-owner with a mortgage and bills to pay.

I have friends who use Airbnb, either as their crash pad in other cities, or to cover their costs while they’re away, but the whole thing can seem daunting and risky—who’s to say you can trust the stranger taking over your home—and how does one even go about arranging everything?

Anyway, I was talking to a girlfriend who told me about City Relay—a company she’d used where all she does is tell them when she’s heading off and when she’s back, and they sort and arrange Airbnb guests, who they then vet, check in, change bed linen and clean for, while also locking up her valuables and adding toiletries for said guests to use. City Relay take care of everything from holding the guest’s luggage if they arrive before she leaves, to giving them a 24/7 emergency number just in case anything unforeseen goes wrong while she’s away.

Essentially they provide a super-safe, super-insured property management service while she’s away, and pay her for the privilege! They offer three options from just checking guests in, storing luggage between inconvenient arrival and departure times, and giving guests a 24 hour support number in case of domestic emergencies, to managing the property while she’s away, to finally marketing and managing—finding guests for her home, creating an Airbnb account on her home’s behalf and vetting guests so thoroughly that if anything unlikely were to happen, City Relay are totally culpable. So it actually is as risk-free as anything can be.

Airbnb is something I’ve vaguely thought about doing, several times, but being as busy and distracted as I am, I just hadn’t had time to look into the ins and outs, or make an account, or worry about details like check ins and outs, emergency keys, cleaning, out-of-hours boiler/plumber/electrician details, let alone worry about risk insurance. While I really, really could use the extra cash, it’s always seemed like a great idea—for another day.

Also as a first time Airbnb ‘host’, I imagine it helps to already have feedback saying your home is as it’s described, that you’re reliable, and that nothing’s gone wrong for previous guests. While all of this makes total sense—sorting all of this out has always fallen on the back-burner. The sort of thing I mean to do, right before the dog whines to go out, or a work call takes priority.

But the thing that totally swung it for me was the simple realisation that everything holding me back from arranging or getting around to any of this was just the hassle—and then finding City Relay charge just £20 a month for the more basic of their three options, no matter how many guests you have, to 12% of the guest’s payment to manage, to a maximum of just 20% if they do absolutely everything, including creating and managing and vouching for a whole account for your home!

I realised this expense would pay for itself several times over, given my alternative was doing sweet f-all with my home while I’m away, fretting about how I maybe can’t really afford to holiday willy-nilly, and feeling sort of guilty. 80% of a whole lot of money, which I would never, ever actually have got around to sorting and arranging myself, is such a no-brainer I’m secretly a bit annoyed my friend didn’t mention it earlier.


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