Airbnb has completely changed the hospitality industry.
In the past, only landlords or hotel owners could make money from renting rooms.
But that’s not the case any more thanks to the sharing economy.
These days, you can simply sign up for Airbnb, list your apartment or home (either the whole thing or just a room), and open it up to anyone who wants to pay you to stay there.
People are making some serious cash on Airbnb.
Just by renting out part of your home, or the whole house, to other people, you can earn tens of thousands of dollars each year.
On average, a typical host earns roughly $920 per month through short-term rentals.
But there’s no cap, and a lot of people earn more… much more.
In fact, there are several hosts who earn millions of dollars each year.
One article, published on TravelAndLeisure.com, profiles an unnamed host who made more than $15 million in 2016.
Now, while that’s reassuring to many of us, there’s a catch:
He owns more than 880 properties and rents all of them out.
So, it would appear that in order to become an Airbnb millionaire, you might have to be a real estate mogul.
Luckily, there are still plenty of ways that you can make extra money as a host.
Check out these 9 tips on how you can earn more money as an Airbnb host.
Identify Your Niche
As an Airbnb host, it’s important to remember that you’re a business.
That’s the bottom line.
Although it may seem like you’re just renting out an extra room in your apartment, you run a business.
Therefore, you need to start thinking like a business person.
One of the things that all great business people do is identify their niche, aka their target audience.
If you can figure out what type of people are most attracted to your listing, you’ll have an easier time marketing to them.
It will also help you cater to their needs better.
In other words, if you know who your customer is and what they want out of the product, you’ll be able to give them exactly what they’re looking for.
This will help reduce vacancies and increase earnings.
Here’s an example:
If the majority of your clients are low-to-mid-income people who are traveling for business and just want the cheapest place to stay for a night, it shouldn’t be that hard to cater to them.
You give ‘em a clean, comfortable place with cozy sheets and maybe a coffee maker with some fresh coffee next to it.
They’ll be psyched.
The place is clean.
They had a good night sleep.
And you even took extra steps to make sure they didn’t have to run around looking for good coffee before their sales meeting.
You can also set your price low if this is your demographic.
Also, you can tailor your listing to include statements like, “perfect for people traveling for work.”
That way, they’ll be able to find you when they’re browsing for somewhere to stay.
If your target clients are eco-conscious couples who want to stay in some kind of luxury sustainable housing situation, you’ll have to position yourself a little differently.
For example, you might stock your place with environmentally-friendly appliances, a Brita filter, and other stuff that green-type people like.
Of course, you’ll also make sure to photograph those things for your listing to attract them.
Consider hiring a professional photographer to take pictures of your spare room, apartment, or house.
It can be expensive up front, but you’ll attract way more visitors to your listing.
No matter who your target customer is, you should work hard to figure out who they are.
As soon as you do that, it’s going to be a lot easier to get people to book your listing.
Set Your Own Price
One of Airbnb’s most popular features is its Smart Pricing option.
This feature allows Airbnb to set your nightly rate automatically in accordance with local averages.
So, if you leave Smart Pricing on (which is the default feature), the app will automatically set your rate for you.
Ideally, the feature would work to help you make the most amount of money.
But, many hosts report that this feature actually prevents them from making as much as they could be making.
As many hosts point out, Smart Pricing often sets the price too high or too low.
If the app sets your price too high, you’ll lose out on potential customers who can’t afford to rent with you.
If it sets your price too low, you won’t earn as much as you could be earning.
Instead, most hosts recommend setting your own price by comparing their listing with local competitors and assessing the quality of your listing to theirs.
If you decide to set your own rate, it’s important to be honest with yourself about the value of your property.
You should compare your rental, and its price, to others in your area.
Don’t compare it to places in New York City or San Francisco, because those will obviously be way more expensive.
Ask yourself these questions when pricing your Airbnb listing:
- Do other local listings have better (or worse) amenities than you do?
- Do others offer their guests something that you can’t?
- Do they have a full tub, for example, while you only have a standing shower?
During your time as a host, you may have to experiment with different prices to see what works best.
But, once you figure out how much people are willing to spend, you’ll be able to maximize your profits.
Make Your Place as Convenient and Comfortable as Possible
This one may seem obvious, but it’s crucial.
You don’t have to transform your apartment into a 5-star hotel, but you do want to do as much as possible to get a 5-star review.
There are a few things you can do to make it nicer:
- Have comfortable bedding (and extra sheets/pillows/blankets in case they need them).
- Make the WiFi easily accessible (a whiteboard or text message with the password).
- Have water and snacks available for your guests, and make it clear that they are welcome to have some.
- Always have extras of the necessities (like clean towels, toilet paper, etc.)
Ultimately, these basic amenities will show your guests that you care about their comfort.
And, hopefully, they’ll earn you some good reviews.
Convenience is just as important as comfort.
Make it extremely easy for your guests to check-in and pick up their keys.
Hire a Professional Cleaner for Upkeep
If your place is dirty, customers aren’t going to be happy.
And they’re not going to leave good reviews.
In fact, cleanliness is the #1 complaint that customers have about their stay.
Unless you have the time to constantly maintain the place (and to do an amazing job) it hire a professional to do it for you.
A good, professional cleaner, shouldn’t leave any stain unscrubbed.
Therefore, you won’t have to worry about the place being gross when your customer arrives.
And, if they don’t do a good job, find someone else.
We should also mention here, though, that you need to make sure you space out your listings.
Otherwise, you may not have time for the cleaner to come in.
The last thing you want is for one guest to show up right after another guest checks out.
Don’t be afraid to tack on a cleaning fee for the cleaning either.
As long as every Airbnb guest shows up to a nice, clean place, you should have a pretty easy time earning positive reviews.
Perfect Your Profile
Keeping your place nice and clean will help you get good reviews.
But, it won’t necessarily bring new customers in, especially early on.
If you want to attract new guests (and get a steady flow of customers), you have to have an appealing profile. This is essentially your main form of advertising.
In other words, when someone starts browsing for a place in your area, you want them to click your link.
Not only does this mean that your listing has to look perfect (with stunning photographs), but that your own profile has to look good too.
Here are a few tips:
- Have a nice, clear photograph of yourself. You should look friendly-no one wants to stay with a grump.
- Sell yourself in the description. Let your potential guests know that you’re kind and welcoming if it’s a shared space. Also be sure to let your guests know that you will go above and beyond to provide privacy.
- Include a few references. Airbnb gives you the opportunity to include a few endorsements from previous guests. The more you include, the better.
- List your contact info. Potential customers want to be able to get in touch if they need to. Jot your email down in your profile so they can reach out for more information.
- Get verified. The platform allows you to verify your ID to let potential guests know that you’re exactly who you say you are. It helps you to show that you’re a trustworthy individual. To learn how to get verified, click here.
It’s very important for you to spend some time perfecting your profile.
Many frequent users actually say that a sketchy profile is a dealbreaker for them.
So, tuning yours up may actually bring in more customers.
Review Your Guests
As we’ve pointed out above, It’s important to garner positive reviews from your guests.
But, it’s just as important to leave reviews on your guest’s profile, especially if they were a good guest.
This is mainly because, if the guest had a positive experience and knows that you also had a positive experience, they’re far more likely to return when they come back to town.
And, if they don’t return, there’s always the chance that they’ll refer someone else to your place.
Furthermore, some hosts report that failing to leave a review affected their Accuracy rating, which is crucial to your search results.
If you’re Accuracy rating drops, you may show up lower in the results than you would if you have a better score.
Either way, it’s helpful for you, your guests, and the rest of the Airbnb community because it boosts accountability on the platform.
Promote, Promote, Promote
You can always post your listing and sit back while you wait for potential guests to stumble upon it when they’re browsing.
But, if you really want to step your game up, you should go above and beyond to promote your listing.
Make a few Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter posts about it every once in a while to let people know that your listing is for rent.
That way, the people in your network will keep you in mind and refer their friends to you if they’re in your city.
You can also make a little extra cash just by inviting your friends to sign up for Airbnb (and they don’t even have to rent your listing).
All you have to do is get a promo link from the Airbnb website and send it out to your network.
The more people who click the link and sign up for the service, they more money you’ll earn.
Currently, Airbnb will pay you $20 for every friend who signs up and books a room, and $75 for every friend who signs up and lists their own place as a rental.
Stay Informed About Local Events
Local events like conventions and sporting events can be a HUGE opportunity for Airbnb hosts.
You’ll not only have a surefire chance of booking your room, but you may also be able to increase your prices if the demand is high enough.
This year, for example, Minneapolis Airbnb apartments are going for as high as $5,000 for a two-day stay during the Super Bowl.
So, keep up with the events that are taking place in your area and plan for those times.
You wouldn’t want to miss out on money like that.
You wouldn’t want to out holiday prices either.
During Christmas and Thanksgiving, for example, people are willing to spend more because they’re traveling to see family.
Or even if you live in a wintertime destination (i.e Colorado or New Hampshire), you could earn higher-than-average prices for your place.
Special events and holidays can earn you so much extra cash, in fact, that you may even want to consider staying with a friend or family member during those times.
It may be inconvenient, but doubling your income for that period of time could be worth the hassle.
Treat It Like a Job
When it comes down to it, the best thing you can do to make more money as an Airbnb host is to think of it as a job and to treat it as such.
You have your own Airbnb business, so act accordingly.
Even if you are only doing it part-time to earn some extra income, you need to maximize the experience in order to make it worth it.
So, although it may be a pain to schlep over cleaning and toil over your listing, it’s going to help you out in the long run.
Remember, jobs are inconvenient sometimes, too.
Not everyone wants to wake up every day and go to work but they do it anyway.
In the end, this is how you have to think of your Airbnb gig if you want to earn more cash.
If you put the time and hard work into Airbnb then your customers will be happy, you’ll earn good reviews, and all of your efforts will pay off.