When people travel, many want a more unique experience than they can get from a hotel. Airbnb has made that easier than ever by offering a marketplace where people can find apartments, houses, and condos available as short-term rentals all over the world. This gives them more space than a hotel room offers, and they can feel more immersed in their vacation.
Not only are Airbnbs great for travelers, but they are also a good way for someone with a vacation rental home to make some money. Your Airbnb investment could have very strong returns if you're an excellent host. To be a successful Airbnb host, you need to give your guests a unique and enjoyable experience beyond what they would get from a hotel. But what does it take to be a successful Airbnb host? We have put together this complete guide to Airbnb hosting to help you get started!
Before Listing Your Airbnb
It can be a little intimidating to figure out what your starting point should be for your Airbnb, so these are the things to consider before you list your home.
Goals and Expectations for Your Airbnb
What are your goals for your Airbnb? While one of the main goals is probably that you want to make money, are there other goals you have in mind? Determine if you want this to be a serious thing that you use as a major source of your income or something you do occasionally. Depending on your specific goals for generating income from the rental will help you determine the capital you will need to get started and the amount of risk that might be involved in running your Airbnb.
One important thing to keep in mind when running an Airbnb is that you are basically inviting strangers to stay in your home. Think that over before you decide to list the house and determine if the thought makes you uncomfortable. If it does make you feel uneasy, you might want to reconsider running an Airbnb there.
You should also ask yourself these questions before getting started:
- What kind of Airbnb host do I want to be?
- Do I have enough time available to run the Airbnb rental?
- What type of insurance do I need?
- Will this be too disruptive for my neighbors?
- Is this okay with my landlord? (If you are renting your property, make sure to check with the landlord before listing)
- Do I need to renovate my home or update appliances first?
- Is there enough tourism in my area to make this worthwhile?
Know Your Competition
With as popular as Airbnbs are these days, you are surely not the only Airbnb in your town. You need to identify your competition and find a way to make your listing look nicer than theirs.
What kind of properties show up when you search for Airbnb rentals in your city? How many are there? Is your house on par with the other listings? Ask yourself these questions when researching the competition.
You should also look at their photos, furniture, and reviews.
Local Rules & Regulations
Before opening your Airbnb, make sure you learn all of the local laws and regulations for running an Airbnb. Many cities have cracked down on Airbnbs, making it harder for someone to list their home. Some cities have even banned vacation rentals, so if you are in one of those areas, you will want to know. You may end up paying some significant fines or have other penalties.
You need to know all of the local regulations and laws, what taxes you may need to pay for running the Airbnb, and if you need to have a license to run it.
Get your listing right
Once your home is ready to be listed, you need to make your listing stand out. Here are some of the basics that you will need to make it stand out.
Get marketing right
Marketing is important to your Airbnb listing. You need to make sure you have an interesting title and description and go beyond a dull description, do not be afraid to get creative. You also need beautiful, high-quality photos that show the listing in the best light. If you are not a great photographer, invest in hiring a professional to take your listing photos; it can make a difference in your bookings. Make your host profile look great and work to get good reviews. All of these components will help make your listing stand out.
You can also promote your listing on social media, collaborate with travel writers in your area, and you can even optimize your Airbnb listing.
Position your listing for success
Your listing needs high-quality photos and a great description, but there is more to it than that with your Airbnb listing. Part of identifying your competitors is learning what they seem to be doing right so that you can make your listing stand out in comparison to theirs.
Set clear and simple house rules
You need to set clear rules for your Airbnb, like no smoking, no pets, quiet hours, and anything else that is off limits that potential guests need to know. Make sure you do not go overboard with your rules, though; if you get too restrictive, people are not going to be interested in renting from you.
Hosting Your Airbnb Smartly
The internet is filled with horror stories about guests trashing Airbnb rentals or even becoming squatters and refusing to leave to property. There are also horror stories about guests stealing the host's identity or property.
All of these nightmare stories are typically rare occurrences, and Airbnb wants to make sure that you can host with confidence that your property will be protected. Also, ensure you do not leave any information in the Airbnb that could be used to steal your identity, such as your passport or social security card.
Here are a few tips to help you host smarter.
Get Pricing Right
The pricing on Airbnbs fluctuates regularly, so you cannot just set your price once and call it a day. The best way to manage your pricing is to use a dynamic pricing tool that will monitor the daily prices and adjust your rates according to the rules you set for it.
Keep in mind that Airbnb does charge fees when you have a guest stay at your property. This is something that you can factor into your pricing.
Vet Your Guests
Airbnb has several features that make it easy to vet or assess potential guests before they book a stay on your property. You want to make sure that the guests are not troublemakers. You can vet them by:
- Checking their Airbnb profile: incomplete profiles can be a red flag.
- Check for past reviews from other hosts.
- Ask questions.
- Why are you visiting this city?
- Are you bringing anyone else with you? If so, who are they?
- Meet them in person for their check-in.
Streamline Your Processes
If your Airbnb listing is a busy one, or you have multiple listings, it is easy to optimize and automate some of your processes.
If your guests often have the same questions for you, you can create template answers to copy and paste. You can also use an automatic messaging system that will respond to those questions for you, so you are responding a lot faster, which looks good to prospective guests that are considering your listing.
Frequently Asked Questions About Hosting an Airbnb
You might still have some questions we have not yet addressed in this guide, so we put together this list of frequently asked questions about hosting an Airbnb for you.
How many steps does it take to begin hosting on Airbnb?
There are only three steps to start hosting on Airbnb.
1. List your property.
2. Decide the schedule, pricing, and rules for your guests.
3. Welcome your first guest. Be sure to check out our Airbnb Welcome Book guide.
This may be a bit of a simplification, but these are the basic steps.
Can anyone be an Airbnb host?
Airbnb has some standards and guidelines they require for their hosts, so you will need to look at those before you decide to become an Airbnb host. If you meet the standards and guidelines set by Airbnb, then anyone can become an Airbnb host.
What if there is property damage?
Airbnb has a Host Guarantee that gives you up to $1,000,000 in protection to cover things like property damages. There is also host protection insurance available on the Airbnb website for damages. Not all damages are covered, though, so make sure you read the exceptions to coverage.
Why should you host on Airbnb?
When you use Airbnb, you maintain control of the availability, rules, pricing, and even how you interact with your guests. With the protections Airbnb offers, it is a great choice if you want to turn a home into a vacation rental.
Are the guests booking on Airbnb verified?
Yes. Airbnb requires all guests to give them personal information to verify their identity when they book their listing.