I’ve been using Airbnb for many years now and absolutely love the concept! In fact, I’ve been l use Airbnb for much of travel accommodation because well it’s awesome.
Note: I’m at a point where I’m getting a house soon mainly to lease out on Airbnb. This was a big decision and one that took a lot of time to research and although I am in the process of getting a home I have spent countless hours researching about hosting on Airbnb and how to do it right which is why I figured it would be a good idea to write an article about it!
This article is a result of all the time I spent researching and experience I have with Airbnb’s basically a beginners guide to anyone looking to become a host on Airbnb. So without further let’s get started!
How To Become An Airbnb Host
The concept of Airbnb is simple you lease out extra space you don’t use as a room in your apartment or another home to a verified guest for money. The guest gets a cool experience with a local at an affordable price and you get extra income. WIN-WIN!
Now although this concept may sound simple being an Airbnb host is much more than just running a mini hotel it is sharing experience and making new friends and connections and much more!
Don’t worry in this Airbnb Hosting guide I will go step by step and break down the process to become an Airbnb host:
Step #1: Head to the Airbnb Sign up Page
Step #2: Fill in the Details of your Airbnb
- What kind of place you have
- Number of guests you can accommodate
- Number of beds/bathrooms
- Where your place is located
Set The Scene:
- Venue photos, short description, and title
Details for Guests:
- Booking settings (Request to book/instant book)
- Calendar details (when is it vacant/booked)
- Price of the Airbnb
Airbnb’s $1M USD Insurance
One of the major concerns about hosting with Airbnb is with the security of the homeowners belongings which is definitely understandable. This is why I dedicated a whole section specifically to talk about whether it’s safe to host your home to a stranger using Airbnb.
The short answer; YES! As you’re insured up to $1million against personal injury and property damage claims.
Airbnb is a multi-billion dollar company that has mammoth resources to back its service today more than some hotels and it makes sure to offer the best security to its hosts.
It does this through the Host Protection Insurance that is free liability insurance up to a million USD against personal injury or property damage claims.
So what does Airbnb cover?
Our Host Protection Insurance program provides primary liability coverage of up to $1 million USD per occurrence. This can be used in the event of third-party claims of bodily injury or personal property damage.
The program covers certain property damage in areas outside of the listing (like building lobby).
What’s does Airbnb not cover?
The Host Protection insurance program does not cover the following:
- Property damage due to pollution or mold
- Damage or injury from something done intentionally
- Loss of earnings
Airbnb Hosting tips: Guidelines and Advice for beginner Airbnb Hosts
While Airbnb Is a great concept that works for most people and it is definitely not for all so before I dive into the nitty gritty I wanted to address a few things most Airbnb Hosts don’t realize before becoming a host.
Does having strangers live in your home bother you?
Unless you have separate home chances are you will be sharing your own home with a stranger which can be a huge deal for some people. So you need to first ask yourself are you able to sleep at night having strangers live in your home? Most Airbnb owners keep their precious belongings (laptop, camera, jewelry) stored away securely so there’s nothing of monetary value.
Of course, there will always be objects that you will have to leave in your Airbnb like the decor that has some sentimental value but in most cases as long as you host verified and credible guests you should be just fine or there’s Airbnbs $1M insurance that will definitely have you covered.
Also detaching away from the dependency of things is a pretty healthy way to live more so when it opens a way to meet people from around the world and share experiences.
Are you cool interacting with Airbnb Guests?
Airbnb isn’t like a typical B&B it’s much more than that. So if you’re going to host guest to your home sometimes you’ll have to interact with them and help them out a little.
You don’t HAVE to always interact with them but basically be there for them if they need some help or a recommendation. Unless you have a housekeeper or property manager you’re going to have to do this yourself.
Do you have time for Airbnb?
Like I mentioned before Airbnb isn’t just an ordinary B&B and while it is a lucrative business it needs some time commitment and effort to get things running.
For instance, you will have to spend time answering requests from potential guests before they decide to stay in your Airbnb. You will also have to be a good host and sometimes go out of your way to earn that positive review, especially at the start.
As I mentioned previously a housekeeper/ property manager can save you a lot of hassle and time by interacting with the guests and managing your Airbnb instead of you so it’s a smart idea to get some help instead of doing everything on your own!
Don’t quit your job for Airbnb (at least at the start)
Even though Airbnb is a very lucrative market today there is a lot of competition making it difficult to be successful. It’s not an overnight thing it’s a business that will take some trial and error to get things right.
You wouldn’t quit your current job without knowing how much you’ll make from the new one right? Well, Airbnb is that “new job” where you don’t really know how much you will make and how long it will take you to make.
Instead, research your neighborhood and try to estimate how much other Airbnb hosts are making and then you’ll have a better idea of whether you’ll be making as much as your job.
Learn the local Leasing Law/regulations
Whether you are currently renting out an apartment, studio, or condo, you have to check with the local laws first before you list it out via Airbnb. Sometimes landlords and real estate developers don’t allow “subletting”. The best thing to do in this case is to approach your landlord and inform them of your plan to share out part of your space via Airbnb.
Make sure your Airbnb is ready and set a fair rental rate
When guests are coming over to your place you tidy it up right? The same goes for your Airbnb guest especially because they’re paying patrons!
Apart from this, you will also need to check for broken showers, drains, faulty wires, cracks in the wall or any other part of your house that needs rework. Some Airbnb guests are easy to please as compared to actual hotel guests, but making sure they are happy during their stay could go a long way in the success of your Airbnb!
Be Honest about your listing
I know I’ve said it before but be honest about your place. If it’s old and some areas are indeed torn or worn-out don’t cover it up. Just be honest about your listing and keep your rates low in this case. Don’t oversell it’ll only end up doing more damage!
Establish Ground rules and stick to them
Ground rules are important especially because they also determine the kind of guests that would be attracted to your listing. It is important and professional to be clear about the etiquette in your home so you would not end up with any house problems after their stay.
Please don’t make the mistake of assuming that your would-be guests already know what these rules are! You have to write them down and impose penalties or your home will be taken for granted.
Don’t Forget Security Measures
Though Airbnb has a good way to trace the identity of your guest it does not mean you don’t take precautions yourself. If you are about to leave your home with some guests lock your space and keep your valuables hidden.
Although Airbnb gives you insurance worth over 1$ million don’t hesitate to get yourself additional insurance policies that cover movable valuable like laptops, cameras, and other gadgets.
It’s okay to be picky when it comes to potential guests:
Potential guests can sometimes give away hints of what type of guest they will be. If you come across people that give away red flags just decline them politely and move onto another potential guest.
Minimum and maximum-stay requirement
Most Airbnb guests aren’t going to stay long but need to make sure you establish a minimum and maximum stay limit so your Airbnb isn’t taken advantage of.
Do mind your neighbors
You need to be aware of your neighbors and how they may get affected by the Airbnb’s guests. It’s a good idea to give them a heads up before listing the space on Airbnb.
Guidelines and Advice for Nailing that First listing
Airbnb is a simple concept but the platform can be a little overwhelming for first time hosts especially when there’s much competition to deal with today. However just follow the tips below to list your home Airbnb right from the start:
Complete Account Setup:
First impressions are everything in the Airbnb world yet I see Airbnb listings with little to no information which results in me just skipping over to another listing with a more detailed description.
- Details about the Airbnb:
With consumers getting more cynical it pays to genuinely fill in all the details to make sure visitors have a clear idea of what they are getting into.
Pro Tip: Do NOT lie about your amenities/utilities as this will just end up in negative reviews hurting the future success of your Airbnb.
- Your Hosting Profile:
This is often overlooked by many as most Airbnb owners don’t live in their homes but the visitor doesn’t know that!
Pro Tip: Sometimes a decision can be made on whether you look friendly in your picture so make sure you smile!
Name your Airbnb Listing:
Titles are another HUGE element in Airbnb because they’re the first CTA a visitor sees before deciding to click and view the Airbnb. So it pays (literally!) to have a smart name for your Airbnb listing.
Here are a few tips on Airbnb Listing Names:
- Be competitive and descriptive including USP i.e close to the central area
- Mention events in the title
- Include location in the title to appear in the search results of main search engines.
Note: Airbnb is monitored by Google so a listing is basically a new page. Hence adding keywords such as “location + Home type” can sometimes make you appear on google.
Add Good Pictures:
With the advent of technology in smartphones, anyone can take HD images which are more than enough for an Airbnb listing. I sometimes make a decision to book an Airbnb based on the picture it has.
Here are a few tips to follow:
- Upload many nice pictures of a listing
- Consider Airbnb’s photography service(fee applies) to get better images and a verification tag
- Fill in the Picture titles
- Add a picture of a map to your place (makes a huge difference)
Pricing your Airbnb:
- For new Airbnb Listing with no reviews consider having a competitive price or even lower (as a PROMO offer)
Pro tip: Do a quick search for listing in your neighborhood and if possible try to beat their price.
- Pay attention to extra charge per person. Consider having a lower price for a single individual and gradually increasing for more guests.
- After a certain point, you will want to find the best price for your Airbnb listing always try to keep this as high as possible to attract good guests and at the same time remain competitive.
- Start low in the beginning but make sure the price is fair. This will result in more bookings and more reviews and the faster your Airbnb will gain traction.
- Always make sure you offer the basic amenities and if you don’t spend a few bucks on required essentials like a hair blower or steam iron. Trust me it’s worth it!
- Get as many “easy” amenities as possible. Stuff like CO detectors that cost $6 that add another tick to your listings profile.
- Get a business ready title if you are in a city center or business busy area
Sleep/Invite a friend to stay in your Airbnb
Sleep in the room you are offering and test out what it’s like to live in your Airbnb or just invite a friend to try it out and take their feedback.
It’s very important to get a perspective from a visitor to truly build an Airbnb that people love.
- Remember you are running a business so educate yourself on the permits and implement them
- Study all the Airbnb rules and regulation especially regarding cancellations and always have a phone line in case you need help beyond what’s available in the help section.
- Ask for references: References are things other people/friends say about you. Although this is different from reviews but tends to add more credibility
- Be a good host! Remember Airbnb algorithm likes you more if you have higher ratings and this will attract more guests.
- Don’t cancel the confirmed reservation as it hurts your host rating quite badly
Check-In and Misc:
- Try to be present during check-in of your guests. A friendly face and warm welcome will go a long way to get those positive reviews
- Don’t let guests in early if the home is not yet clean as this will most likely result in a negative impression of the place
- Try to offer 24-hour self-check-in to target guests that come after midnight which is surprisingly a lot. All it takes is a combination lock worth $15-$30 and your good to go!
- Always send your guests a quick message during their first days to ask them if everything is okay and up to their standards. This makes them know you are thinking about them and their experience.
Pro tip: Sometimes it’s good to keep in touch in case something isn’t working and they can’t be bothered to tell you unless you ask them which most likely results in a positive review for being a good host.
Dealing with Bad Experiences:
- Always remember the Airbnb is YOUR’S and it’s YOUR rules only as sometimes you will have to point it out to a bad guest.
- Always be polite and try to resolve an issue with the guest first! if you can’t handle it call Airbnb as they tend to take the host’s side most of the time.
- There are some refund-hunters out there that look for the slightest opportunity to claim a refund or ask for a discount. In this situation try to see what’s the best way to handle it either by refunding them and avoiding dispute or standing your initial position if the claim is unreasonable.
Final Thoughts: Airbnb Hosting Tips
Airbnb is a great concept that has been around for a while now and yes people have made a lot of money from it but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Just like any business, it will take some time (and mistakes) to get things right and finally start making good money from it.
It definitely isn’t for the faint-hearted as Airbnb is equivalent to running a hotel or B&B which is well a difficult business. Unless you have the resources to outsource and automate (which should be the way to go after some time) expect a huge time and energy commitment to this Airbnb venture.
Thank you for reading! If you have any questions regarding Airbnb Hosting do let me know in the comments below.