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How to list your Hostel on Airbnb

How to list your Hostel on Airbnb

So you want to start a Hostel? Wondering where to begin?

It's an exciting venture! Hostel ownership and management can be a challenging, yet fun, process!

Perhaps you want to provide a space where different people can mix and mingle? Or provide a space for camaraderie for like-minded travelers to discover a new city together? Either way, you’ve decided to find out how to start your own hostel. (Still with us?) You may need to take a few steps to bring your dream to fruition, and we can guide you along the way.

Here, we will review all the questions around what factors to consider when opening a hostel and much more. Let's dive into the details.

Why choosing to own a Hostel is a Smart Choice?

Hip-Hybrid Hostels is the rage in the travel industry. Today, Hosteling looks beyond traditional methods of accommodation and has made globe-trotting on a budget much easier. Hostels are already reshaping the industry, as travelers seek a relaxed environment with full-fledged hospitality concepts. It is the rise of the new “niche” with hip dorms with bunk beds in addition to private rooms and family rooms!

Key elements to think of when starting a Hostel?

1. Market research

  • Location is crucial. Check whether it is commercially viable to open the business at your proposed location. Your best bet may be to set up in a central location, optimally in the city closer to subways/ bus stops.
  • Identify your potential customers' interests, behaviors, and needs
  • Be aware of the latest market trends in hostels
  • Check out the other hostels in the area and see what you can offer that they do not!

2. Create a Concept

  • Assess your target customer - Eg: Backpackers, Millennials, Older couples, Solo Travelers, Groups of Friends, etc.
  • What experiences do you plan to offer them? Foster authentic experiences. These could range from having a bonfire, local cultural events, adrenaline-rushing activities, barbeque nights, organizing a pub crawl, and much more. It has been found that offering such experiences helps boost occupancy levels for rental properties by approximately 20%!

3. Size and Scale

There is no limit as to the number of beds in a hostel. Everything depends on the number of rooms you plan to offer. More beds, More money! 20 beds are the minimum. Fewer beds mean less income per day and higher fixed costs per bed.

Pro Tip: Focus on 30+ beds hostel plans which will generate more income

4. Legal aspects

Most cities need hostel licenses and permissions. Consult your local government to determine the rules governing the establishment of a hostel. Before you establish your hostel, you must apply for and acquire the required permits (and factor the price of these into your start-up costs.)

5. Equipment

There are many things you'll need to start a hostel, including:

  • *Dormitory furniture and supplies: beds, bedding, lockers, etc.
  • Washroom supplies: toilets, showers, hot water, hair Dryers, etc.
  • Common rooms: Beanbags, leisure equipment (foosball tables, pool tables)
  • Kitchen equipment: ovens, fridges, microwaves, utensils, etc.
  • Reception area: desk, computer stations, printer, card machine, etc.
  • Security-related equipment: door with access control, video surveillance cameras, etc.*

6. Business Plan

Here, the goal is to develop a business plan that estimates how well the hostel will perform, given a set of assumptions. You will need to estimate the target room prices, average capacity utilization, and operating costs. Some of the components of a hostel business plan include an investment thesis, your management team, a mission statement, the hostel description, market feasibility, channel strategy, promotions/marketing, and financial analysis.

Another important question is: Are you renting or buying the property?

What are the Benefits of Starting a Hostel?

Hostels provide a great way to meet new people and experience new things. You get to meet people from all walks of life and every corner of the world. How great is that?

In spite of the lower revenue per guest, hostels are still profitable because they have a greater number of guests and fewer amenities to maintain or services to offer. The ratio of staff to guests is extremely advantageous, and the profit per square meter is higher compared to others in the industry.

Can you list a hostel on Airbnb

Why Partner with Airbnb to List your Hostel?

Airbnb is a platform that caters to various travelers: penny pinchers, high spenders, and everyone in between. When you partner with Airbnb the benefits you stand to gain are immense. Here are a few key takeaways:

1. Listing is Free

Creating an Airbnb listing is entirely free! However, a service fee is applicable.

2. Lower Commission Costs

An estimated 3% service fee is charged for each confirmed booking.

3. Screening Your Guests

You can screen your guests before their reservation. Once guests check out of an Airbnb property, hosts will have the chance to review them, their stay, and how they treated their space. This practice pressures guests into respecting the properties they are in and allows future hosts to make better decisions.

4. Convenience

Airbnb offers a great deal of flexibility. You can choose which days you want to operate. You can also sync your personal calendar to your listing and ensure schedules are aligned.

5. Affordable Advertising

Advertise your property, with a built-in system for handling payment and bookings!

6. Direct Communication

Communicate directly with guests via the main Airbnb platform and app (Airbnb requires all communication to remain on their platform to be protected by their insurance policy). This interaction is an integral part of their welcoming, host-led service.

7. Reach New Audiences

Partnering on Airbnb is a great way to reach a new demographic with the vast majority of travelers surfing for accommodation on listed Airbnb properties.

8. Tougher Cancellation Policies

Airbnb has created flexible, moderate, and strict levels of cancellation policies that hosts can select when creating their listings. In all cases, the Airbnb service fee is non-refundable, which helps to limit the practice of travelers booking multiple rooms and then canceling on all but one at the last minute.

9. Insurance and Liability

Airbnb’s host guarantee provides up to $1 million in insurance coverage for property damage. The liability insurance has conditions and limitations. Read the fine print for more information.

Requirements to list your Hostel on Airbnb

All hosts are urged to fulfill the following basic criteria for each listing in order to provide a pleasant, comfortable stay for guests:

  • Be responsive: Maintain a high response rate by replying to booking inquiries and reservation requests within 24 hours.
  • Accept reservation requests: Make guests feel welcome by accepting requests whenever you’re available.
  • Avoid cancellations: avoid canceling on guests–their travel plans depend on it.
  • Maintain a high overall rating: Guests like to know they can expect a consistent level of quality, no matter where they book.

Your performance is tracked against the average level of performance for all hosts on Airbnb. Listings that consistently fall below the average could be subject to penalties.

How to list your Hostel on Airbnb?

1. Create your Free Account

If you haven't yet made an account, you can Sign up here!

2. Start your Listing

The Basics Preliminarily details like the location of your place, what type of property you’re offering.

Managing your Listing This is the most important section for hosts when listing the Hostel

  1. List your space

  2. If you want to list multiple rooms in your house, you can create a separate listing for each space you have available. Each room will have its own calendar and listing page that should accurately reflect the number of beds and amenities, as well as what space will be shared with others.

  3. To add bed types to your listing:

  • Go to Your listings on airbnb.com and select a listing
  • Click Manage Listing
  • Below your listing title and next to the listing icons, click Edit
  • Under Sleeping arrangements, click the arrow and add the number and types of beds
  • Click Save

Take Photos of the Space When deciding where to stay, guests love browsing photos. If you want to take great photos, clean up your area beforehand. Utilize natural light and landscape mode to take photos of each area. You can also see Vacation Rental Photography: The Guide to Stand out Airbnb Photos

Accentuate Unique Details Consider what your place has to offer in the title and description of your listing, such as a pool or a view. Highlight your guest communal spaces, guest bathrooms, hygiene conditions, food, and beverage availability, etc. This will spark interest in potential guests swiping through your listing.

3. Setting your Controls

Add your House Rules To help guests understand your Hostel’s expectations, add rules for your space, including details like restrictions on smoking, pets, or parties.

Set your Calendar To make sure you only get reservations you can host, update your Airbnb calendar with your availability. You can also get specific about how much advance notice you need or how far in advance guests can book.

Pick your Prices What you charge is always up to you but Airbnb has tools to help you match your prices with demand and custom pricing controls for times like weekends and specific seasons.

Review your Local Laws Some cities have rules covering home-sharing, like night limits, registration requirements, or special taxes.

4. Prepping your space

Hygiene is Key! Clean each room that guests can access, especially bedrooms, bathrooms, and the kitchen. Check that there’s no hair, dust, or mold on surfaces and floors, and make the bed(s) with fresh linens. Because of the shared nature of your space, ensure that it is as hygienic as possible!

Pro Tip: Invest in a cleaning service on-site, a small investment that will go a long way.

Provide Essentials To help guests feel at home, consider providing amenities like soap, shampoo, toilet paper, bed linens, and towels. Many hostels charge extra for basic amenities but providing them can ensure your hostel takes the lead you're looking for. Imagine the reviews your guests will leave - and this goes a long way to sustaining your business!

Provide Check-in Details Be prepared to check guests in and out, or recruit friends or family to help. If no one will be around, you can always use a lockbox, electronic lock, or other forms of self-check-in.

“Finishing Touches” Guests love the little details. A house manual with simple instructions and tips can help orient guests. Especially when sharing communal spaces it’s important to define your space to keep everyone happy!

5. Publish your Hostel Listing

Once you have woven all the elements of your property together, you are now ready to start welcoming guests! Go ahead and hit the Publish button! You are ready more than ever before!

How can Hostaway help?

You need tools to manage your Hostel Listing - and this is made easy with Hostaway.

Managing a hostel comes with its own set of challenges. It requires a full-time commitment. Fortunately, several software solutions exist to help make hostel management easier through handling things like booking reservations, processing payments, and much more.

Hostaway is a unique vacation rental software that offers deep channel integrations and support. Hostaway provides property managers with the flexibility of the most advanced solutions while being easy to use.

Trusted by thousands of successful property managers globally, the dashboard and mobile app allow users to manage their marketing, sales, accounting, reporting, payment, and communication needs all in one place. The software is designed with teams in mind - so it's easy to train staff and keep them happy while improving business at the same time!

Join hands with us and let us help you become a “hosteler extraordinaire” Contact us.

Ready to find out how Hostaway can transform your business?

Hostaway is proud to support thousands of Property Managers and Airbnb Hosts Around the world. We take pride in being Top Ranked in Vacation Rental Software Review Sites: Capterra, G2, Software Advice, Trust Pilot, to name just a few! Check out our reviews and read the Hostaway Case Studies from real successful and growing Short-Term Rental Managers!