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Be the perfect Airbnb host

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Hosts around South Africa are offering Airbnb travellers great experiences when traveling around the country. But what makes the perfect Airbnb host? NICOLA D’ELIA, GM for Middle East & Africa (MEA) offers some hosting tips.

Every day, from Amanzimtoti to Zeerust and every destination in between, hosts around South Africa are creating unforgettable experiences for thousands of Airbnb travellers.

Accuracy

Be sure everything in your listing—photos, details, house rules, pricing—accurately reflects what guests will experience. And don’t skimp on photos. Listings with better photos get more bookings. Airbnb actually offers free professional photography, and you can check here to see if your location is covered.

Communication

Get to know your guest’s travel plans so you can personalise their experience. Download the Airbnb app to respond to guests from wherever you are in the world. And aim to respond to all enquiries and reservation requests within 24 hours. We have found that hosts who respond in less than 12 hours get twice as many bookings per month.

Availability

Manage your calendar meticulously. Find the right match for your space by setting criteria and using Instant Book. Hosts who keep their availability calendars up to date receive five times more bookings than those who don’t.

Commitment

If you can’t keep a reservation, contact your would-be guest as soon as possible. Apologise profusely and bend over backwards to find back-up accommodations. Don’t forget to officially cancel online, too. Hosts can use Groups to help find another available host.

Cleanliness

Clean as if royalty were on their way for a slumber party. The cleaner your space, the more glowing your review. Our research shows that listings with 5-star cleanliness ratings receive 20% more bookings.

Amenities

Fresh bedding, towels, soap, and toilet paper are a must. Always have them available upon arrival. Plus feel free to add your own little luxuries, too, like maps, local wine, coffee beans, aromatherapy diffusers or even a vase of fresh-cut flowers.

Welcome

Show world-class hospitality with a prompt check-in time, transportation tips, and a tour of your space. Airbnb guests live for outside-the-box travel activities. Teach them how to eat, dance, and bungee-jump like a local.

Support

Check in on guests, be easily accessible, and go way out of your way to offer alternatives if things don’t go according to plan. Our world isn’t perfect. Pipes burst and ankles twist, but you have the power to help remedy these situations.

Reviews

Write a review (compliment or constructive feedback) for guests within 14 days of checkout. Approach this as if you were writing a thank-you note or a friendly letter encouraging one how to be a better guest. This will also help encourage your guests to write a review as guests are 70% more likely to review their host after their host reviews them.

And remember:

From pricing to easing the arrival of a guest, Airbnb offers a range of personalised tools that let you spend more time building lasting connections with guests instead of managing your listings. The newly revamped Host Dashboard on Airbnb is more personalised to your needs.

You can see everything that is important in one view: pending requests, upcoming guests, alerts, and reviews. This makes it easy to you keep track of your reservations and stay on top of your interactions with your guests.

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Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart

Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.

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As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page

KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching. 

The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter. 

The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style. 

The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button. 

The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on. 

In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode. 

Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.

Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.

Find them on Kickstarter here.

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Taxify enters Google Maps

A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.

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People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.

Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.

Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.

If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.

This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.

“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.

Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.

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