24 Essential Tips For Airbnb Hosts
With over 6 million listings worldwide, Airbnb is at the forefront of a hospitality revolution. The peer-to-peer app connects users who are either looking for a cheaper alternative to hotels or who have some extra space to rent out to guests.
Airbnb hosts have a range of goals. Some want to make a little extra money here and there to help offset their costs of living. Others are avid travelers who want to offer their space to like-minded people when they’re not on the road. More enterprising hosts have several listings on Airbnb and make a full-time living using the platform.
No matter your ambitions, Airbnb offers you a great way to diversify your income. But if you’re new to hosting, you might have some reservations about getting started. How do you manage your listing? What sort of amenities do you need to provide? What about insurance? Here, we’ll give you our top 23 tips for new Airbnb hosts so you can start your journey off right.
Ready to take the dive into the exciting world of Airbnb hosting?
Before You Get Started
- Figure out if you’re allowed to host. Before you get too excited and dive down the Airbnb rabbit hole, keep in mind that it’s easier in some places than in others. Some cities have restrictive zoning laws and tax codes when it comes to renting your space to guests. And if you’re currently renting your apartment or house, you’re going to want to get the green light from your landlord or management company.
- See if you’re in a good area for Airbnb. Use a service like AirDNA to get an idea of the short-term rental situation in your area. If you live somewhere with a high demand and expensive hotel rates, you’ll probably do well.
- Visit someone else’s Airbnb. Think of it as scoping out the competition or just doing some basic research. Before you become a host and create your first listing, go out and use Airbnb as a guest a few times, to get an idea of what the experience is like from the renter’s perspective.
- Determine your hosting goals. It’s good to know how far you want to go as an Airbnb host. Do you just want to make a little extra money while meeting interesting new people? Or are you trying to use your space as a legitimate income source? Your goals will determine your approach as a host.
- Read about the host guarantee. A lot of new hosts get worried about security and liability. What if something gets stolen? What if a guest knocks a hole through the wall? One of the things that sets Airbnb apart is their amazing insurance policy for hosts. Their host guarantee covers you up to $1,000,000. It doesn’t cover everything, but it’ll insure you from most things that can happen to your property.
- Upgrade to smart home devices. Investing in a smart thermostat like Nest will let you control temperatures in your property remotely and save big on energy costs. You can keep tabs on water use, potentially save money on your water bill, and protect your property from water damage with Flo by Moen.
Get Your Listing Right The First Time
- Set the right price. Get a feel for the prices in your area. You want to price competitively to ensure you get a good booking rate while not leaving too much money on the table. If you’re new to the game, you might want to price a little lower so you can get bookings faster and get those 5-star reviews.
- Pay attention to the calendar. Are there any local festivals or events going on in your area? Certain times of year see huge spikes in accommodation demands. Don’t fall asleep at the wheel here — learn when to raise (or lower) your rates according to local trends.
- Make your listing memorable. Photos are everything. Use several well-lit, high-res photos of your property. Make your best photo your thumbnail. Dropping a few hundred dollars on a professional photographer could go a long way. And if your property has an amazing view, put those photos in your listing!
- Be honest. Don’t be afraid to be upfront about any potential negatives about your space. If you live in a noisy neighborhood, put it in your listing. You can even spin it into a positive. Write about how you live in a lively neighborhood with plenty of nightlife activities, but don’t leave out that it might get noisy at night.
- Highlight the extras. Does your property have convenient parking in a city where parking is usually a nightmare? Do you have an air bed for extra guests? Put any little positive detail you can think of in your listing. Quirky things like pianos or vintage arcade machines can add unexpected value to your listing and lead to more bookings.
- Tidy up your Airbnb profile. It’s not just your property listing you have to worry about. You also have a personal profile. Get someone to take a nice photo (no selfies, please). Make it personable and inviting. Your personal profile has a rating that is based both on your hosting and your guest history. So if you’re using Airbnb as a guest, make sure you’re a good guest.
Become A Guest Relations Expert
- Be a great communicator. Respond to guest messages right away. Don’t use cut-and-paste responses. Use the guest’s name and give them a personalized message. A warm, personable tone goes a long way toward getting great guest reviews.
- Establish clear house rules, but be flexible. Things like no smoking should be obvious, but it’s best to have a clear list of “house rules.” The important thing is not to go overboard. Your guests are on vacation — they’re not staying at a boarding house. Be flexible on things like check-in times and quiet times. On the flipside, don’t be afraid to put your foot down if guests are being unreasonable.
- Be prepared for late check-ins. Eventually one of your guests is going to arrive late. Maybe their flight got delayed or they got stuck in traffic. Whatever the reason, they need to get into the property and you might either be asleep or not there to let them in. Consider getting a lockbox or a keycode door handle to give guests after-hours access.
- Create a guidebook for your guests. A little three-ring binder with some vital information laid out in clear, simple language will leave a great first impression. Go over all the amenities in your property like tv, cable, wifi and kitchen gadgets. Highlight some of the local attractions in your area. Additionally, guide your guests to some of the more practical places in your area, like drugstores, supermarkets and public transportation.
- Keep notes of frequently asked questions. As you start to host more and more guests, you’re bound to get asked the same questions, both about the property and about the neighborhood. Screenshot any questions you get in the app and start building a “frequently asked questions” (FAQ) guide. You can print this out and keep it in your guest guidebook.
Make Your Space Incredible
- Leave your guests a welcome gift. Everyone loves free stuff. A bottle of wine or a six-pack from the local craft brewery will wow your guests as soon as they walk in. If you’re renting to a family, chocolates are a great option. You can even factor these into your costs when you price your listing.
- Keep your space organized. Your guests are staying with you so they can have a comfortable space to come back to after exploring the area. They don’t want to spend time searching for coffee filters and fumbling for light switches. Keep your kitchen and bathroom cabinets well organized and clutter-free. If you have lots of light switches, label each switch. These little touches go a long way.
- Cleanliness is the most important thing. Everything else you do for your space goes right out the window if you don’t keep it clean. After each visit, change the linens, take out the garbage, and make the bathroom and kitchen spotless. Nothing will drag down your rating like a dirty space, and the smallest detail could turn somebody off.
- Give your guests the “hotel impression.” Airbnb is a great alternative to hotels because it’s more personable and laid-back. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take some lessons from hotels. Little soaps and shampoo bottles in the bathroom leave a great impression.
- Have all the safety essentials for your space. Hopefully, you or your guests won’t need any of these things, but skimping in this area is out of the question. Smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers and first-aid kits are all non-negotiable essentials for your Airbnb space. Have everything in working order and reference them in your guest guidebook.
- Give your guests indoor entertainment options. Most people probably don’t plan on spending their entire trips inside their Airbnb rental. But bad weather, hangovers and other unexpected things might keep your guests indoors for the day. You don’t want them dying of boredom. Invest in an HD TV and one or two streaming services for rainy days.
- Create pre- and post-stay checklists. Creating routines as an Airbnb host will make your life easier and help you avoid forgetting important tasks. Have checklists of tasks to clean, restock and prepare your space before your guests check-in and after they check out.