It's true that renting out a place for a few months can be a good way to make some money, but the market for holiday rentals is already quite competitive. New hosts in particular are finding it more difficult to succeed on Airbnb now that there are over 4 million hosts registered and over 5.6 million listings available throughout the world.
Steps to Take Before Becoming an Airbnb Host
Find an attractive area
First, you need to make sure that the place you want to list on Airbnb is in a good spot for having guests. When you start looking at possible investment properties,
Ask yourself the following questions:
What kind of rental property do I want? (a house, condo, cottage, etc.)
Is this house in a city, town, or in the middle of nowhere?
Is it safe for guests to stay in the area around the property?
What interesting places are near the property that will make people want to stay there?
Does the location of the property see a lot of foot traffic all year?
How many competitors are there in the area around the property?
Deep dive on your competitors
Getting back to the last question, it's important to look into your competitors before you start your own Airbnb business. After all, you might find out that there are a lot of properties in your area that are just like yours. If that's the case, you'll need to figure out what makes yours different from the rest. Think about these things:
Who am I going up against? (Tip: You can find your competitors by filtering out properties on Airbnb that aren't in your area. You can also use software tools like AirDNA and Mashvisor to learn more about them.)
How many other properties are in the area around mine?
What kind of property and amenities do my competitors offer?
What do my competitors' prices and rates per night look like?
What unique things can I sell to make myself stand out?
Can I really compete with the other places to rent around me?
Find out the rules and laws about short-term rentals
Many cities and countries have put limits on or even outlawed vacation rentals, which hurts hosts who want to open businesses there. Make sure your property follows the rules and laws of your city or state so you don't have to pay big fines or penalties:
In what city or state do I want my Airbnb business to be based?
What rules do they have for my city or state?
What federal or state tax do I have to pay?
What, if any, business expenses can I write off as tax-free?
Consider fees and estimate expenses
Another important thing for hosts to think about is the fees and costs of keeping their house in good shape. When a guest books your home on Airbnb, you will also have to pay a "hosting fee" to Airbnb. This is on top of the taxes for the vacation rental and the state. On top of this, you will have to pay a certain amount of one-time and fixed costs for property maintenance. Here are some questions you should answer when figuring out how much your expenses will be:
Do you need to make any changes to the house to make it more appealing?
Do you need to fix it in any way to make sure it works perfectly?
Do you need to get new furniture or appliances for your Airbnb?
How will you make sure the place is clean between each booking?
How will you take care of repairs and maintenance in between bookings?
Find out who you want to reach.
The kind of hosting experience you want to offer will depend on who you want to host. So it's important to take the time to figure out who your ideal guest is and learn more about them. You can do this by asking some of the following questions:
How big and what kind is your Airbnb? How many rooms does it have and how many bathrooms?
How many people can you fit in your space without it being too cramped?
Where does it live? (Is it in the suburbs, near a beach, or in the middle of the city?)
Who lives in the nearby neighborhoods? (Are most of them families, students, people who work, etc.?)
Once you have written down the answers to these questions, you can start to think about who will be most interested in coming to your house.
Choose if you want to serve families with children.
If you want to serve families with kids, keep in mind that you'll need to take extra steps to make sure your space is safe for kids, especially those under the age of three.
Think about making your home pet-friendly.
Having an Airbnb that allows pets has both pros and cons for hosts. You'll have to decide if the extra cleaning and maintenance is worth the extra money you can make. Keep in mind that a pet fee can help you cover the costs of having a guest with pets.
Find out the pros and cons of short-term rentals that allow pets and how to get your place ready for them.
Target domestic travelers
People are choosing to travel closer to home and closer to home more and more these days. So, you should also market your home to people who are traveling within their own country. You can make your Airbnb more appealing to local travelers by doing things like:
If you have the space, set up an office for people who work from home or travel from place to place.
Wi-Fi should be fast and free.
Set up a comfortable area outside.
If you have a free parking spot, make it clearer in your listing that it's available.
Create a business plan.
A thorough business plan is a key part of being a successful Airbnb host. Your plan will help you figure out what your short-term and long-term goals are, what might get in the way, and what resources you need and where you are lacking. Consider these things as a good place to start:
What do I want my Airbnb business to accomplish?
When do I want to reach these goals? (Try to set dates that are realistic.)
How will I run the day-to-day parts of my business?
How will I manage? What tools and resources will I use?
What are my unique selling points that make me different from my competitors?
What KPIs should I keep an eye on to make sure my business is healthy?
What do I see the company being like in 5 years?
Stay covered with rental insurance
Even though it's not required, it's a good idea for hosts to get specialized insurance for their homes. Airbnb does offer Host Guarantee protection for some of your assets if you want basic coverage when you host. But this insurance doesn't cover things that go missing from your space or things that happen outside of your space, like damage from bad weather.
Also, most standard property insurance doesn't cover vacation rentals because renting for a short time is considered a business. When deciding whether or not to get insurance for your home, think about the following:
How much are the furniture and appliances in my Airbnb worth together?
Are there valuable things in my house, like expensive art or jewelry?
Is my house in a place that gets bad weather, like blizzards, hurricanes, and so on?
Do I want to rent out my house for the whole year or just for a few months?
How to Get Ready for Airbnb Guests
Once you've decided that being an Airbnb host is right for you, you can start getting your space ready for your first guest and making it look nice. This is an important step you must take before you can even think about making an Airbnb listing.
1. Stock your rental
Your furniture is a big part of how people decide whether or not to stay at your place. If your furniture doesn't go together well or looks bad, guests might not want to stay with you. Before you make any style choices, keep in mind that you're decorating for your ideal guest, not for yourself.
Consider the following things when deciding how to best furnish your Airbnb:
Your property's location (you can get ideas for how to decorate the inside of your home by looking at its neighborhood).
Your target guest (e.g., if you want to attract digital nomads, don't forget to set up a comfortable place to work)
You want to create a certain mood with your lighting and accessories.
Usefulness and ease of living (as furniture in vacation rentals is susceptible to premature wear and tear, purchase high-quality items that will provide a decent level of comfort to your guests).
Add supplies and amenities to your rental.
A vacation rental is more likely to be booked often if it has more amenities and supplies for guests. Remember that you don't have to spend a lot of money to add amenities. Here are some tips to get you going:
Play to your property's strengths. For example, if you have outdoor space, you could set up a grill or a fire pit. If you live in a city apartment, a balcony can be a great way to make it even more special.
Even small things can make a big difference (a smart TV, high-speed Wi-Fi, an espresso machine, etc.)
Don't forget to get things for every room (it can be helpful to work from a checklist).
Get your rental ready and clean it.
Before you list your house on Airbnb, you should make sure it is in great shape for your guests. If it doesn't look clean, your guest might be turned off and leave a bad review, which could hurt your rating as an Airbnb host.
On top of that, it looks like you're not a professional if your Airbnb isn't as clean as a hotel. So, if you want to stay competitive, you need to keep your space clean. The following should be on your cleaning list:
All rugs and carpets will be vacuumed.
The couches and pillows need a deep clean.
Mopping all floors
Cleaning all surfaces and counters by dusting and wiping them down
Using a disinfectant to clean every surface
All sheets and pillowcases will be washed and replaced.
washing all used towels and getting new ones
Every room needs more supplies.
You also need to decide how you will clean and whether or not you will charge guests a cleaning fee. When it comes to maintenance fees, there is no right or wrong answer because each host's property is different.
Start by figuring out how big your house is and how long it will take to clean it. It is much easier to clean a one-bedroom apartment than a four-bedroom house with a garden.
Putting up your listing on Airbnb
Now that you have a business plan and a spotless rental, you can start the fun process of making your first Airbnb listing. But there is more to making an ad than you might think at first. If you want to rank higher in Airbnb's search engine results page (SERP), there are a few steps you should take.
1. Post your listing on Airbnb
Putting up a listing on Airbnb is free, but it does take a little bit of planning. Follow these steps, which are the easiest way to do it:
Include a title that stands out.
Your listing needs to have a title that stands out and gets people's attention when they are looking through Airbnb's search results. This may sound like an impossible task, but with some careful wording and a sharp eye, you can position your listing to get more hits with a surefire title. Here are some tips for writing a title that really stands out:
Don't talk about your home's basic features, like that it's a two-bedroom apartment. Instead, talk about what makes it a good buy (a 2-bedroom apartment with stunning seaside views)
Change your title to reflect any changes or improvements.
You can also change your title to include any deals or specials you are running at the moment.
Use abbreviations to make words shorter and get the most out of the number of characters in your title.
If your title has more than 50 characters, it will be cut off in the search results.
Find out how to make the best Airbnb tiles for your listings.
Add pictures to your ad.
Photos are an important part of your listing because they are the first thing that potential guests will see. Because of this, it's important to spend time and money on your pictures to make sure they look nice and professional. Here are a few tips for taking photos that stand out:
Use a camera to take pictures of your listing.
Take pictures from a corner to make sure your space doesn't look too small or crowded.
Take pictures of the inside and outside of your home.
If you're not a pro or don't have the right equipment, you might want to hire one. It's important to make sure that the photos on your Airbnb listing are of good quality and stand out.
Use free online editing tools to give your photos more color and contrast, but don't go overboard with saturation and contrast or they might look fake.
Write a description for a listing
If a new host has great photos of their property, they might think they don't need to write a description for their listing. The truth is that your Airbnb photos and listing description work together to get people to book your place.
This is your chance to market and sell your rental to the people you want to rent it. Mention all the good things, but also be honest about the bad things. You don't want to give guests the wrong idea.
Here are some good ways to describe something:
Use words that will stick in people's minds, like "delightful," "breathtaking," or "cozy," instead of "nice," "beautiful," or "comfortable."
Mention the things that make your home stand out, like an indoor pool or a place to eat outside. You can also talk about nearby attractions, like how close the beach is or how close the metro station is.
Tell people what kind of experience they can have in your space. For example, maybe your Airbnb is a writer's retreat, a haven for artists, or a romantic getaway. Think about your ideal guest here)
Don't make the description of your listing sound too much like an ad. For example, don't use phrases like "special offer—don't miss out!" or "book now before it's too late!"
Airbnb has a process for both hosts and guests to check their IDs. This is to cut down on fraud and scams. It makes sure that everyone is who they say they are by verifying their IDs. You don't have to show an ID to get verified, but if you want to host on Airbnb, it's highly recommended that you do.
Getting verified is good for you as a host in a number of ways. The most important thing is to get a "Verified ID" badge on your profile. This shows potential guests that you can be trusted and are a real person. This, in turn, makes it easier for guests to book with a verified Airbnb host, which brings in more reservations.
Set up your profile and account as an Airbnb host.
The next thing you should do is make a hosting profile and fill it out. Having a host profile is helpful in a number of ways. First, it lets Airbnb know that you are a real host who is using the site.
Second, if you have a detailed Airbnb host profile, it shows potential guests that you are trustworthy and honest. If a guest finds your Airbnb listing, they will probably check out your host profile to see if it's a scam or not. Your profile could make a guest choose to book with you instead of a competitor. So, taking the time to set up your profile is well worth it. Among the things you can do, you can:
Adding a picture of yourself from recently
Using your profile description to talk about yourself
Include some of your hobbies and interests to make your profile more about you.
Set the price of your vacation home
Keep in mind that finding the right price for your vacation home can be a tricky balancing act. If a host sets the price of their rental too low, they might get guests who aren't responsible or aren't nice. If the price is too high, it's likely that guests who are interested will go to a competitor instead.
At the same time, you need to make sure that the price you choose for your booking fee covers all your operating costs and still lets you make a profit. Also, you should change your prices based on your busy and slow times of year and any special deals you offer. Pricing might seem like a huge job, but once you do it a few times, you'll get the hang of it. You can use some of the following pricing strategies:
Choose whether you want more bookings at a lower rate per night or fewer bookings at a higher rate. Looking at the type and location of your Airbnb can help you make this choice.
Use a flexible pricing strategy (this is a popular strategy that utilizes data and metrics to drive pricing for income growth)
Keep a close eye on your competitors' prices so you know when they change.
Set your house rules
When it comes to Airbnb house rules, hosts should be honest and open with their guests. Putting your rules in your listing description is a good idea because it lets guests know right away what you expect from them. Then, they can decide if the rules work for the kind of stay they want. This can help keep misunderstandings from happening later. You should also put a copy of your house rules in your property, in addition to putting them in your Airbnb listing. Some rules that most Airbnb hosts know and follow:
When guests can check in and out.
Breakages and damages
Cleaning up and keeping things clean
Safety for parties and extra guests
Choose your policy on cancellations
It's important to pick a cancellation policy that fits with how you want to run your business and the types of stays you offer.
If you choose the Flexible cancellation policy, you might get more bookings, but guests can cancel free of charge up to 24 hours before their reservation starts. By using the Moderate policy, hosts are protected from cancellations at the last minute. With this policy, though, a refund for canceling will still be less than the booking fee.
Under the Strict policy, guests who cancel less than a week before their stay will have to pay the full booking fee. This will help you get more serious guests, but you may get far fewer reservations than if you had a Moderate or Flexible policy.
Choosing the long-term cancellation policy makes sense if you let people stay for a long time.
Plan when you will check in and when you will leave.
If you want to get the most out of your Airbnb bookings, you need to make sure that your house is cleaned and ready for the next reservation quickly and efficiently. This means that guests need to know exactly when they need to check out.
It's important for the smooth running of your vacation rental business that your guests know when they should check in and check out. It will not only make your job as a host easier, but it will also help your guests have a better time. So, your booking confirmation email and house rules should make it clear when your guests can check in and when they have to leave.
As the host, it's your job to make it as easy as possible for guests to check in. To give your guests their keys, you'll either have to be there yourself or send someone else in your place. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more guests are choosing to book short-term rentals that let them self-check in. This gives them the freedom to arrive when they want and allows them to follow social distance rules.
Not only should you tell your guests what time they can check out, but you should also leave them clear instructions on how to check out. Some examples for rules include:
Please do the following:
Put your trash bags outside in the big bin.
Place used towels in the main bedroom's laundry basket.
Close and lock all doors and windows.
Clean all the dishes and put them away.
Turn off all the appliances
Check one last time to make sure you didn't forget anything.
Attracting and Maintaining Constant Bookings
Raise the rank of your listing in Search Engine results.
It's no secret that Airbnb is a very competitive platform, with thousands of new hosts and listings joining every day. The Airbnb listings on the first page are much more likely to be booked than the ones on the third and fourth pages. Because of this, you should try to get your listing to rank higher on Airbnb SERP pages to make it more visible and get more bookings. Some important things that can help your Airbnb rating are:
Keeping your Airbnb calendar up to date
Changing your prices often.
Use Instant Book to respond quickly to messages.
as many five-star reviews as possible
Get the word out about your listing.
You need a well-thought-out marketing plan to take your visibility one step further and reach even more people outside of Airbnb. Marketing your listing may seem like a hard job, but it's important if you want to get more people to see it and make as much money as possible.
If your competitors are actively marketing their Airbnb listings and you're not, you're also likely to fall behind. But selling your homes doesn't have to be a lot of work. By using the tips below, you can create a marketing plan that uses more than one approach and is sure to work.
Use a targeted marketing plan.
The first thing you should do is try to see things from your audience's point of view. How old are they? What platforms do they use to get information or have fun? By keeping in mind your ideal guest, you can start to plan and customize your marketing strategy for them.
You can also look at what your competitors are doing to promote their listings, but keep in mind that your marketing goals and needs might be different from theirs. Use their ideas as a guide, but don't make your plan exactly the same as theirs.
Using social media is a great way for hosts to reach more people and get more bookings. But not all platforms are good at marketing short-term rentals in the same way. Visual platforms like Instagram and Pinterest tend to do better because people like to look at them. Still, it may be worth it to make a Facebook page for your Airbnb listing because you can still promote it in targeted Facebook groups and use hashtags to reach the right people.
Another way to get more people to know about your brand on social media is to work with local businesses and companies. You can make a deal with these businesses and give a special discount to people who book through your promotion. If you do this, your partners will post about your work together on all of their social media accounts. This gets more people to know about your brand and is a great way to help your local community.
Make a website for your business so people can book directly.
Having your own website is another way to get people to look at your listings. A website is important because it gives you the chance to get direct bookings for reservations. It also gives your Airbnb hosting business more credibility and makes it look more like a business. Here are some ways you can make your website stand out:
Making a logo for your business and putting it on your website
Using the colors of your brand on every page of your site
Adding photos that draw attention to your listings
Putting links on all of your social media sites
Using a payment processor is a safe way to handle payments made online.
Putting up a "About me" section so that potential guests can learn a little more about you.
How to Become a Great Host
You're almost ready to join the Airbnb hosting community now that your house is ready and your listings are live. But you won't get very far if you don't have key skills as a host. Guests aren't just looking for the best Airbnb listing or the one that stands out the most. They want to know that the person they're staying with cares about them. It's not enough to be a good host; you need to be a great host to make the experience better for your guests:
1. Be responsive to guest messages
When it comes to your message, being proactive is good for you for two reasons. First, guests have a good impression of you if you answer their messages and questions quickly. If you answer a guest's message right away, they are more likely to book with you than if you answer a day later.
Second, if you have a high response rate on Airbnb, it shows that you are an active host on the site. This can help you move up in the SERPs and become a Superhost.
Make a guest book for a vacation rental
You want your Airbnb guests to feel at ease and like they belong there. After all, a comfortable stay is a more enjoyable stay, which makes it more likely that people will give you good reviews and come back again. At the same time, you want to tell guests about rules and instructions without coming off as harsh and rude. The best thing to do in both cases is to make a book for your guests to sign.
A welcome book is a full, portable guide to your property that will help your guests find their way around while they are there. It has information that guests will find useful and important, such as:
A note from you as their host saying hello
How to check in and check out
A list of all of the rules for your home.
What to do and what not to do at your house
How-to guides for using things
Your phone number, the number of your security company, and other emergency numbers
A list of recommended local sights with their most recent prices.
Get more reviews with five stars.
It's not just about how many reviews there are; it's also about how good they are. These days, guests put a lot of weight on what other guests have said about a place. Because of this, the reviews that hosts get on Airbnb can have a big effect on whether or not a guest decides to book with them.
Not only can great reviews help you get more bookings, but they can also help hosts in other ways. No host wants to get a bad review, but they can help you figure out how to make your service better.
If you do get a bad review, you should answer it in public. Tell the guest that you heard what they had to say and thank them for taking the time to tell you. This shows past and future guests that you care about how they feel and are committed to making your service better.
A great way to encourage guests to write a positive review for you is to write one for them first. It can also act as a reminder if guests have forgotten to leave you a review.
Get the Superhost title
Becoming an Airbnb Superhost is a sure way to get more bookings and guests who come back again and again. Superhost status is given to hosts who have been recognized by Airbnb for giving their guests great service. You won't become a Superhost overnight, but you can start working on meeting the following requirements:
Host at least ten trips every year (keeping Instant Book activated can help you achieve this faster)
Keep a response rate of at least 90%
Have a rate of cancellation of less than 1%
Get at least 4.8 or more stars as a host.
Make sure 80% of your reviews are 5 stars.
When you become a Superhost, Airbnb will add a Superhost badge to your profile and listings. This makes it easy for guests to see that you're a Superhost, which will make them more likely to book your place.
Learn as much as you can.
Lastly, if you want to be a great host, you should know that you can always learn more. The vacation rental business is always changing, and new trends come and go with the wind. Whether you're just starting out or have been hosting on Airbnb for a long time, if you want to be the best, you have to keep an open mind and be willing to learn all your life.
Some ways to keep up with what's going on in the hosting world are:
Subscribing to YouTube channels that deal with managing vacation rentals
Bookmarking host forums and blogs
Attending online events like webinars and virtual meet-ups on platforms like Clubhouse
Joining host groups on LinkedIn and Facebook.
The best thing about these resources is that they are free and are used by hosts who have the same or similar goals.
It takes time and work to become a great Airbnb host, but anyone can do it if they work hard and don't give up. Use automation to get where you want to go faster and easier. Software for vacation rentals and other ProTech tools are now indispensable helpers that save time on property management and make it easier to keep your business under control. If you haven't tried automating your vacation rental business yet, you should do it soon (since your competitors are already doing it!).