Frequently Asked Questions
If you can't find the answer you are looking for, contact us on 0800 526 123.
How do I sign up?
What happens if I'm half-way through signing up and I can't finish my profile in one go?
I've submitted the profile but I can't see it live on the site.
When does the profile go live?
How much does it cost?
How will you advertise my property?
What if I don’t live in New Zealand?
What are your expectations of a host?
How much should I charge?
How much money will I make?
Being a Host
Do I need to offer meals?
Do I need to eat with guests?
How do I take reservations?
What do I do when I get a reservation?
How can I prepare my guest(s) room(s)?
Do we have to use the LookAfterMe product(s)?
How do I take payment?
Do I always have to be available?
What if I can’t meet my guest personally?
Should I have cancellation strategy?
Should I be GST Registered?
Should I be Credit card capable?
How often is my property assessed, and why?
Can Home Hosting be fun, or must I be a Professional?
You have 2 options :
- You can do it online yourself. At the top right hand side, click on the green 'Sign Up' button and start by filling your name, email address and password. Once you've clicked 'save', the next page gives you the option to start filling in your property details.
- Or, if you are not confident to do that yourself - we can create a profile for you by gathering information about your property over a phone call (for a small additional charge of $100).
Just hit the save button at the bottom of the page. You can come back to your profile simply by clicking on the Log in button.
This is because we have an additional check to vet you and your property. We want to make sure you are a real person and are ready to receive guests. We only send you our invoice and once you have paid, and we have approved the property, it goes live on our site.
The profile goes live once we have reviewed your profile and the Sign Up fee has been paid.
We have two activation packages, depending upon what suits you best.
- Our DIY (Do it Yourself) package is $89
- Our Done For You package is $189 Please click here for full details of inclusions.
Look After Me advertises through a wide range of on-line, print, events and other media avenues.
For more information visit the "how we advertise" page.
If you're a host, who loves the concept and has a room to offer overseas, please contact us anyway. Look After Me may expand to other countries if there is interest.
- Accurately represent your listing. Be clear about pricing, amenities, and expectations.
- Keep your calendar availability up-to-date.
- Respond promptly to messages & reservation requests.
- Coordinate check-in time in advance of the actual date.
- A reservation is a commitment. Your guests depend on you and you are an important part of their travel plans, so we expect our hosts to honour any commitment made to guests.
We recommend you structure your pricing with two prices – the first for a single guests and $20 - $50 higher for a couple.
- Basic listings (typically 1 – 2 star-equivalent) attract a nightly fee, starting from $45 through to $70 for a single or $55 - $110 couple.
- Classic listings (typically 3 – 4 star equivalent) from $70 to $150
- Premium listings (Typically 4 – 5 star equivalent) from $150.
To calculate how much you could earn - multiply the nightly rate by the number of nights you would like to host guests each month. For example, if you would only consider having guests during the weekend, the maximum available nights is 8. You could not expect more than 50% occupancy. Remember: we don't take any commission on the price you charge.
Income derived from providing small scale accommodation is usually secondary income for hosts. Those with more than two rooms and based in high traffic tourist areas can make a realistic return for their business.
Being a Host
For in-home hosting you must offer to provide breakfast (No obligation for holiday houses or house swaps). We recommend you make it clear what type of breakfast you offer: Full, Continental, and/or Special diet and we offer the following minimum guidelines:
Continental breakfast: selection of cereals, fruit (either fresh, stewed or canned), pure fruit juice (not fruit drinks), tea, coffee (ground - not instant unless specifically requested), toast and spreads, yoghurt, water and milk.
Full breakfast: includes the continental breakfast plus a cooked dish. You can provide a selection of cooked dishes from which guests order the night before, thereby simplifying the task next day.
Breakfast is usually left out for the guest to help themselves at their leisure (more like a home than a hotel), but by arrangement this can be served.
Not all guests want breakfast and if that is the case you can reduce the tariff slightly.
You may consider providing a cut lunch to enable guests to better enjoy their daytime activities.
This service will incur a charge in addition to the daily tariff.
There is no obligation to offer dinner, but by arrangement you may offer this to your guests.
Where dinner is offered it is usually advertised as being an extra cost and charged on a per person basis.
This is a matter of personal choice, and depends upon your family circumstances and on how you have set up your guest facilities.
Our advice is to try different approaches and discover for yourself what works best for you. Experience shows that the more interaction you have with guests, the better they enjoy their stay.
When you sign up to Look After Me, we ask your preference on how you are going to take bookings. Reservations usually come via telephone, email, or as a booking enquiry via our website.
Bookings that come through the website, automatically book out the calendar, but this can be changed if the booking is not accepted.
Firstly, consider if you are available to take the booking and that your accommodation fits the needs of your guests and the number in their party.
If the booking suits you then make the following enquiries of your guest (not necessarily in this order):
1. Confirm date of arrival and date of departure and the number of guests
3. Check the special needs or dietary requirements of your guests
4. Confirm the price you charge and how you would like to be paid
5. Explain how meals work at your place (breakfast included, other meals by arrangement, self-catering) and negotiate suggested charges for that.
6. Discuss the time of arrival and negotiate any pick ups and the price
7. Explain the directions to your property, using street names and landmarks.
Please contact us if you'd like an email template of what we recommend.
All rooms, no matter what standard must meet the following minimum standards:
- Clean, fresh towels and linen
- Room and bathroom to be spotlessly clean
- No hairs of any kind on the bed
- Very tidy and dust free
- Provision of Look After Me toiletries (minimum a soap) and guest gift
- Water and glass
- Rubbish bin
- Bedside lamp
- Smoke detector (usually in hallway)
- Provision for personal belongings
There are various options available. All hosts receive our hosting starter kit, with 50 ml bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body wash and body lotion. These may be refilled with your own favourite brand of toiletries.
- Premium rooms should offer our full complement of toiletries.
- Classic homes should at least have a 50 ml shampoo and conditioner and soap as a minimum.
- Basic rooms should at least offer a soap.
Once the booking is confirmed please explain your preferred payment option to your guest. This can either be cash on arrival or payment into your bank account prior.
Look After Me does not take any commission.
Each property has its own booking calendar. This means you can block out your property when it is not convenient for you to take guests.
If you are unable for whatever reason to be available to greet your guest you may arrange to leave a key at an agreed place on the property.
Alternatively arrange for a friend or a family member to greet your guest and settle them.
Make sure you give clear expectations of what time you will be at the property and your contact phone number should they need to contact you.
A hand written welcome note, some homebaking, or our Look After Me Business cards and/or sweets or chocolates in an obvious place are a nice gesture of welcome.
Yes you should, and unless otherwise specified in your website profile, all Look After Me rooms operate using these following recommendations:
- For a full refund, cancellation must be made five full days prior to listing's local check in time (or 3:00 PM if not specified) on the day of check in.
- If the guest cancels less than 5 days in advance, the first night is non-refundable but the remaining nights will be 50% refunded.
- If the guest arrives and decides to leave early, the nights not spent are not refunded.
If your anticipated turnover is going to be over $60,000 per annum, you have to be. If close to that turnover, it would be worth going to your local IRD office. If you are GST registered, your quoted tariff should include the GST content.
Most guests will pay cash on arrival or into the bank account prior to arrival, or during the stay so you don't have to accept credit card.
As part of our sign up process, we will initially assess your property, usually within a month of your sign up. Thereafter an accredited Look After Me assessor will reassess your property every two years. If you have a current Qualmark rating for your property, the requirement for a further Look After Me assessment is waived.
We sincerely hope that Home Hosting is fun, and if it's not then don't do it. Having "fun" 100% of the time with your guests (or at least giving the genuine appearance of having fun) even when you are not feeling that great, makes you a professional. A good maxim is "promise only what you can deliver and deliver more than you promise". Guest satisfaction comes from having their expectations exceeded - so have fun but do the job right.
Local authority by-laws differ and some regulations may be interpreted or applied differently in various parts of New Zealand.
No you don't have to have a liquor licence - an amendment to the Sale of Liquor Act (1999) exempts hosts from the requirement to have a licence.
Should I have a smoke detector in my property?
Part of our assessment criteria includes the inspection of a working smoke detector on the property and we do a brief check on the location of the exits guests would use in case of a fire and provide guidelines on sensible evacuation policies.
Prospective hosts are encouraged to use common sense in this regard.
What about insurance?
We strongly recommend that you have full insurance cover while operating a B&B/homestay. You can contact your insurance provider and enquire about ‘InnKeeper’s Insurance’. In most cases this is only marginally more expensive than standard home and contents insurance.
While Public Liability and Fire & General insurance may not be a legal requirement, you do have a heavy responsibility for your guests and their possessions so adequate protections need to be in place.
We recommend these protections are put in place within a month of signing up with Look After Me. Insurance protection is provided on a doctrine of "full disclosure" and if you neglect to advise your insurance provider that you are home hosting you will probably find you have no protection at all.
Should I pay tax from my revenue from LookAfterMe?
If your income from LookAfterMe is less than $232 per week, you will not have to file a tax return or pay tax.
For more information please see the following links: