People all over the world have been listing their properties on Airbnb and accepting travelers looking for a unique local experience and stay. The website has enabled the monetization of recreational properties, spare bedrooms, or unused basement suites globally and been a fantastic opportunity for those entrepreneurial enough to try.
Have you thought about listing your own space(s) on Airbnb?
Starting an Airbnb and becoming a host is easier than you might think! While success is never guaranteed, if you provide an excellent experience in a great location then you’re well on your way to becoming a Superhost (highest achievement as Airbnb host)!
There are 5 major steps to getting started on Airbnb:
Half of the fun of Airbnb is the ability to rent out practically anything. If you can dream of it, it's likely already being rented on Airbnb. Knowing what type of space you intend on renting on Airbnb is the first step to starting your journey as an Airbnb host.
The most common place to start on Airbnb is a spare room or suite in your personal home. But for those without a home to rent there are a few strategies available to list spaces on Airbnb such as rental arbitrage, co-hosting, and/or property management. All three strategies allow you to rent out spaces that you don’t own! Awesome right! Rental arbitrage, co-hosting, and property management can all be great strategies but it’s important to educate yourself on the legality, pros, and cons of each.
If you’re really bold perhaps you should try renting out a truly unique space:
Once you have the location secured, it's time to start creating the perfect atmosphere for your guests. Try to pick a theme and stick to it. Your theme does not need to be over-the-top, keep the design elements tasteful and playful.
Here are few ideas to get you started on your theme:
Boho-chic - Think hanging hammock chairs, warm tones, and modern art that feels cozy and comfortable.
Chicago Style - This theme has modern finishes and pops of color with exposed brick walls. Finding the perfect balance between classic and modern will be sure to set your Airbnb apart.
Beachside - Bring the outside in! Furnish your home with wicker chair furniture, driftwood accents with a bright and airy living room.
Family Friendly - Comfy couches, board games, and cozy spaces! Create a space that is great for families looking to spend time together. Make it pet-friendly for an extra bonus.
Budget-Friendly - providing a budget-friendly option can be a great strategy! Look for great deals at Ikea, thrift stores, and Craigslist. Just remember budget-friendly doesn’t mean it has to look bland.
Now that you’ve found your space and determined your theme next is to build your team!
Think to yourself, what work will I do, what work will I contract out? Consider what you are excited to do, what are you good at, what are weak at. Having a strong team will be key to your success on Airbnb.
Team members and roles to consider are:
While many hosts choose to do all of the above; it can be a smart strategy to stick to your strengths and of course consider your time. If your only able to host part-time it may be necessary to find some help in the form of a co-host and/or cleaner. If your unable to provide anytime to hosting consider a property manager to help you.
Once you’ve got your space, set up your unit, and built your team, the next step is getting your listing live on Airbnb! There are a number of decisions you’ll need to make in order to list effectively on the site, such as:
Take your time and consider these questions carefully. Look at other Airbnb units in your market and Airbnbs that you really love. What are they doing that’s great? What would you do to improve?
Get a second pair of eyes to help on developing your listing. Ask a trusted friend or family member to look through your listing and provide honest feedback.
Setting up your listing and property is far from a make-it-and-forget-it process. Once you’ve got started you should continue to review your performance on Airbnb, use guest feedback, and optimize your unit.
Consider the SEO of your Airbnb property. How can you get your property to rank higher in the search results?
Look into the performance metrics of your unit such as search to view and view to book. Can you impact these ratios by making edits to your title, descriptions, and photos?
Ask for reviews and feedback from guests. Use that feedback to improve and provide a better experience and stay.
Stay in your unit yourself from time to time. It can be very enlightening to find out what the true experience is like. Perhaps you’ll notice it’s too warm, the coffee maker is hard to use, the bed is uncomfortable, or there is no good place to charge your phone. You’ll never know what it’s like to be a guest until you live it.