Your Complete Airbnb Hosting Guide
Airbnb is changing the way people travel. It’s a rental marketplace where you can find homes, apartments, villas, and condos all around the world for anywhere from a week to a few months at a time.
It’s a way for travelers to enjoy a local experience. Travelers can immerse themselves in the culture rather than stay at a hotel that looks and feels like dozens of others around the world.
Airbnb rentals allow you to enjoy a “home away from home.” And as great as it is for travelers, it’s just as great for hosts looking to make some serious cash.
The most successful hosts are the ones who go the extra mile and do their best to create an incredible experience for their Airbnb guests. And today, that’s what we’re focusing on.
In this guide, we’ll discuss how to make the most of your Airbnb and how to keep your calendar booked.
Whether you’re renting out your home for the short-term or the entire year, continue reading for everything you need to know about making your rental a success.
What is Airbnb?
Airbnb was founded in 2008 with a mission to “create a world where people can belong through healthy travel that is local, authentic, diverse, inclusive and sustainable.”
They make it easy for millions of hosts around the world to earn money by renting out their homes and becoming “hospitality entrepreneurs.”
On Airbnb, you can find over five million places to stay in over 81,000 cities and 191 different countries.
As a traveler, booking with Airbnb is a no-brainer because you can enjoy an incredible and unique travel experience. But what is it that makes so many people want to be Airbnb hosts?
There are several reasons why millions of homeowners are flocking to Airbnb as their go-to online rental service.
Currently, the company has about 2.9 million hosts that book over 800,000 stays every night. A staggering 14,000 new hosts sign up every month.
Homeowners can make some serious side money, especially those that rent for extended periods of time.
The company protects its hosts and their homes, and it’s free to list your home on Airbnb, so for many hosts, there’s nothing to lose by creating a listing.
Hosts can set their prices, choose when they want to rent, and make the ultimate decision on who gets to stay in their home. Hosts pay a small 3% fee every time someone books their Airbnb listing.
They have the option to receive payment through PayPal, direct deposit, or other methods. And they get paid quickly – once a guest checks in, Airbnb sends you your money (minus the 3% fee).
Who Can be an Airbnb Host?
Now that you know the basics let’s talk about what it takes to become an Airbnb host.
Anyone can be an Airbnb host – as long as you have a property to rent out.
It’s completely free to sign up and list your home on the site. The company prides itself on having an incredibly diverse number of listings.
According to their website, “you can post airbeds in apartments, entire houses, rooms in bed and breakfasts or inns, tree houses in the woods, boats on the water, or enchanted castles.”
There are some nations where Airbnb is prohibited, such as Syria, Iran, North Korea, and Crimea.
But in other areas of the world, as long as you comply with international regulations and laws, as well as your local laws, you can be a host.
Speaking of local laws, many cities are cracking down on hosting requirements, making it it harder to list your home. So always check you city and counties requirements before getting started.
In order to stay on board as an Airbnb host, you must meet four basic requirements:
- Be Responsive
- Accept Reservation Requests
- Avoid Cancelling on Guests
- Get Positive Reviews
How Can I List My Home on Airbnb?
Creating an Airbnb listing on Airbnb is easy. It only takes a few moments to sign up, create an account, and start building your listing.
The Airbnb website will walk you through each step that you need to complete. You’ll have the option to create a description of your home and list the specific details that make your home special.
You can also include any additional information that you think your potential guests need to know or will want to know.
But if you want to get quality, regular bookings, you’ll need to make your home stand out from the other listings in your area. Take the time to create a strong listing with lots of details.
And before you finalize it, look at it from an objective point of view. Ask yourself, “Would I want to stay here?”
When it comes to creating a strong Airbnb listing, there are a few things to keep in mind.
For starters, you want to include high-quality photos. The better you can make your home look, the more likely you are to get top dollar for your listing.
Include all the relevant details, including the number of bedrooms, the number of bathrooms, and how many people it sleeps. Detail the amenities, such as high-end appliances in the kitchen, cable TV, audio and video systems, etc.
Be sure to include notes on the sleeping arrangements, too. This will vary whether you’re renting a room or renting the entire home.
Select the days your home is available for rent and set your prices. Before you finalize your listing, make sure you include any specific house rules that you have for your guests.
This consists of any check-in and check-out policies you may have.
Once you’ve completed your listing, you’ll need to submit it to Airbnb for approval. If you have a question about your listing or don’t get a response within a day or so, you can contact Airbnb directly.
Airbnb customer service is available 24/7 via phone, email, and chat.
If you have questions while you’re creating your listing or after you’ve finalized it, you can reach out to them for help.
If you realize that you left an important detail out, you can always go back in and edit or change your listing. In many cases, people find that after they’ve completed a few hosting experiences, there are things they want to change about the listing.
After you’ve had your first guest, you’ll have a much better understanding of what to expect from future guests.
With more experience, you’ll get better at it and know exactly what information to include as well as what not to include.
Visit the Airbnb hosting page to learn more about hosting and listing your property on the site.
How Can I Improve My Listing?
The more familiar you are with hosting, the better you will be at it.
Like anything in life, the experience will make you better – and that means you’ll be able to make more money.
Treat your listing seriously, and try some of these tricks to improve your listing and attract more interest. Eventually, if you work at it enough, you can become a Superhost.
Understand the competition
The first thing to do is to check out some of the top listings in your area. See what they have to offer and take note of how they are marketing their property.
You don’t need to copy what they’re doing, but you can borrow their ideas and apply those to your listing.
Every home is unique, so take the time to describe yours adequately. A few details could mean the difference between a traveler booking your home or one down the block.
If you have a fantastic view, include it in your photo gallery. That’s always a selling point, so make sure you have great photos that show your incredible view.
Is your home within walking distance to great bars and restaurants? Are you located near a big venue? If so, make sure you mention that in your listing.
But you don’t have to be in a popular destination or in proximity to a landmark to market your home on Airbnb.
You can play up other aspects of your home with some descriptive words. Some people prefer a quiet and cozy home with a quaint feel, so if that’s what you’ve got, say so!
Include great photos
Photos are key. There’s no way for a traveler to visit your home before they check in, so make sure your photos are an accurate representation of the space.
Think of it the same way you would if you were putting your home up for sale. Your photos need to show the best angles, the best features and have the best lighting.
Also, it’s wise to get your house professionally cleaned before you take photos. If you have a great camera or a new smartphone that takes excellent pictures, you can use that.
If you don’t, it might be worth hiring a professional photographer to take your photos to the next level.
Create a great host profile
Travelers considering renting an Airbnb don’t just want to know about the home – they also want to know about the person they’re renting from.
With a great host profile, you can set yourself apart from the competition in more ways than one.
People want to rent from clean, professional, and kind hosts. They want their hosts to be hospitable.
After all, they’re going to be sleeping in a stranger’s home, so they want the peace of mind that they’re renting from the right person.
Create your host profile to reflect your lifestyle and show people what kind of host you are.
Set solid prices
Don’t list your home until you know what it’s worth. One of the biggest mistakes that hosts make is to list their home for too little or too much.
When it comes to renting on Airbnb, be fair. Location and size are the most significant factors in determining the price, so keep that in mind so you can be honest, yet competitive.
If you need some assistance in determining your rental rate, Airbnb will provide a suggested rate based on your location. Or you can use a tool like Wheelhouse for help. That will give you a good indication of how you should price your home.
Get 5 Star Reviews
Getting quality reviews is perhaps the most important part of improving your Airbnb listing. How do you get great Airbnb reviews, it’s pretty straight forward. You just need to provide an amazing guest experience:
- Being completely honest in your listing – no one wants to be deceived.
- Make your rental as clean as possible – consider hiring professional cleaners to make your rental as sparkling clean
- Be responsive – make sure to respond to questions in a timely manner
- Go above and beyond – providing a little extra can go a long way
How Much Money Can I Make With Airbnb?
The amount you can make depends upon your location, your listing, and how often you choose to rent. But there are some other factors to consider as well.
You may need to stock your home with soap, detergent, toilet paper, new pillows, new sheets, cleaning supplies, and other little things to make your guests comfortable.
It’s recommended that hosts get their homes cleaned after each stay, so make sure you factor a cleaning fee into your rates.
All of these things will eat into your profits, so consider them when you price your listing.
According to Priceonomics, “Hosts on Airbnb are earning more than anyone else in the gig economy and are raking in an average of $924 a month.”
Just remember, the better you get at hosting, the more positive reviews you’ll get. And the more positive reviews you have, the more money you can put in your pocket!
Things to Consider Before Hosting
Hosting isn’t for everyone. There are a few things you need to consider before listing your home on Airbnb.
What are you expecting as an Airbnb host?
Decide if you want to make a little cash on the side or build an Airbnb empire. Your answer will determine how much time you should expect to invest in working as an Airbnb host.
Are you comfortable with strangers sleeping in your home?
If the thought of a stranger in your home terrifies you, then Airbnb likely isn’t for you.
Yes, you can vet travelers online, but check-in time is the first time you’ll get to meet them in person.
Make sure you’re ready to go through the trouble of getting your home prepared for a guest that you don’t know.
If you’re only renting a portion of your home, make sure you can handle living with a stranger for the duration of the rental.
Understanding Risks and Liabilities
Do all the research you can do before deciding to be an Airbnb host. Make sure you’ve got the proper insurance policy and that you have a plan in place in case things go awry.
Related: Airbnb Laws Every Host Needs to Know
Just because someone seems nice online doesn’t mean that they’re going to be a great house guest.
In addition to your regular homeowners and renters insurance, Airbnb also offers a Host Guarantee which has some additional protections. The host guarantee protects against property damage up to $1 million, which provides some night peace of mind.
Renting your home on Airbnb is a great way to earn extra cash or fill a vacation home that you only visit once or twice a year. But to be successful, you’ll have to do some work.
Creating the perfect listing can take time, so if you’re planning to become an Airbnb host, make sure you dot your I’s and cross your T’s.
There’s no point in creating a sub-par listing. Take the time to create a robust listing with great photos that show everything your house has to offer.
If you have trouble creating your listing or have questions at any time, you can always contact Airbnb for support.
Do your homework, do your research, and decide if hosting on Airbnb is right for you.
Whether you live in Seattle, NYC, or London, you can make great money with Airbnb.
With a bit of work and patience, you can turn your home into the most coveted “hotel” in town!