Airbnb, a peer-to-peer booking platform, provides homeowners with the opportunity to earn a newfound income from their home by allowing guests to rent out their entire home or a private room. By following these 5 simple steps to become an Airbnb host, you'll have an Airbnb listing that rivals others and guest bookings flooding in in no time.
Step 1: Create an Airbnb account
To become an Airbnb host you need to firstly create an account by signing up on the Airbnb website. You can either sign up by using a Facebook profile, Google account or email address.
Step 2: Build your Airbnb host profile
Now you've got your Airbnb account, you need to fill out your hosting profile so potential guests know who you are and that you're a real person. Think about it - would you feel more inclined to book a home where you can see a picture of the owner/s and some basic information about them or a completely anonymous profile? The answer is of course the former. The more information and personalisation you can provide, the more comfortable someone will feel to book your home.
So what comprises a great Airbnb profile?
- First, have a clear picture of yourself for your profile picture. People will feel a deeper level of trust if they can see exactly who they're booking with. Make sure it's an appropriate front-on shot in which your face is clearly visible.
- Second, verify your profile by confirming your ID. Airbnb allows you to do this through several options, including; connecting your mobile phone number (not publicly visible), linking your Facebook account or a scanned Passport. Once your profile displays you're a 'verified' user, potential guests will know you're legit.
- Lastly, have a description of around 50 words to give potential guests an idea of who you are. As Airbnb is based upon the premise of facilitating peer-to-peer interaction, by providing some information about your background, why you've joined the Airbnb community, your hobbies and so on, it will give guests a better idea of who you are and provide that personal touch.
Here's an example of Brian Chesky's profile, one of the co-founders of Airbnb.
Step 3: Set up your property listing
Now the fun step - where you get to showcase your home to potential guests. While in some cases less is more - this is not one of them! As nobody knows your home better than you - make sure you give a full overview of your home's features.
So what information do you need to provide?
1. An introduction about your property - this is the first thing a potential guest will read, so this is where you really need to talk about your home's key features. If it has a balcony with a view, mention that. If it has a book shelf with books that guests can help themselves to during their stay, mention that. Whatever it is that you think guests will appreciate about your home, this is the place to tell them.
The key here though is to accurately describe your home. Nothing will get you bad reviews faster than deceptive or misleading statements about your home. So if you know for instance that your dishwasher is broken or a shower in a bathroom doesn't work, be upfront and disclose it. As always the case, honesty is the best policy and nothing will sour a guest's experience faster than finding out something that was included in the listing isn't true.
Here's an example of a description we wrote for a property we manage in Sydney:
2. Tick off your home's amenities - This is an easy step as Airbnb has a series of tick boxes which you can go through and check what your home has and doesn't. Again, make sure you go through and check every box, as every guest has different needs - so for some having a hair dryer might be an important consideration while for others it might be having a non-smoking environment. So again, take the time to go through and tick the boxes accurately that apply to your home.
Here's the same listing as above but with the amenities available in the property:
3. Your home's neighbourhood - The next step in getting your listing ready is to provide a full description about your home's neighbourhood. So outline what available transportation is nearby. Is your home close to any cafes, bars, restaurants or tourist attractions? What's something you'd highly recommend a guest do in your neighbourhood? For as much as a guest is booking to stay in your home, the location is also equally important, so telling them what's nearby is important. Here's an example from our listing:
4. Setting house rules - This is probably one of the most important components of your listing to ensure you'll feel comfortable handing over the keys to any guest who books to stay in your home. House rules are the ones that you set and which guests agree to abide when they book your home.
So if your home is non-smoking, not suitable for children and parties are not permitted, this is the place to write that. Should any of these rules be broken, you have the right to ask the guest to leave and void the rest of their booking.
We also recommend that you include a security deposit in the pricing of your home. So should you become aware that a rule has been broken in which there is a required financial cost to fix it, you can redeem the cost from the guest's security deposit.
Here's an example of the house rules we've set for a property we manage:
5. Pricing - To determine the best price to charge guests to book your home, you should firstly look at other similar homes on Airbnb around your neighbourhood and how much they are charging. Get a sense for what amenities each owner is providing and how this compares to what you're offering.
The key to remember with pricing is that you're trying to optimise your occupancy at the best possible rate. So whilst it might be tempting to charge a premium price for your home, if no one is willing to pay the price tag you've set, then all your work to get your listing up will have been for nothing.
The good thing is that Airbnb provides a 'Smart Pricing' tool which you can switch on and it will account for the size of your home against demand. So for instance, if it's summer in which more tourists are likely to be visiting and there isn't a lot of competition in the form of other Airbnb properties, then Smart Pricing will factor in this supply and demand to increase the nightly rate for your home.
Step 4: Taking photographs for your listing
The saying "a picture says 1,000 words" has never been more true than when it comes to Airbnb. Pictures of your home are the make or break for a guest when deciding whether to book or not.
So before you start taking pictures, you need to make sure that your home is clean and tidy. Put dishes and plates away. Don't leave your washing out. Put your clothes away in the cupboard.
Also, lighting is key! Make sure that you take your photos when it's a nice sunny day. If it's overcast, your pictures will look dull and be nowhere near as inviting. Below is an example of a picture taken on a clear day - you can see it really makes a difference in how light and bright your home will look, allowing you to make a great impression to influence a guests decision to book your home.
Make sure as well that you add some pictures of your local neighbourhood, whether they are pictures you take or are publicly available on the internet. Guests like to know about the area where your home is located, so lifestyle shots of a local street that has cafes and restaurants or pictures of a local tourist attraction will really help them imagine themselves staying in your home.
A fantastic service that Airbnb offers in some cities is professional photography for free! If available in your city, we highly recommend arranging to do this, as high-resolution images will give your home that professional feel, which is what guests are looking at when considering to make a booking.
Step 5: Getting your home 'guest ready'
So you've accepted your first booking and your guest is due to arrive in a few days.
Before you go, you need to ensure that your home is ready to ensure your guest will have a great stay. There are a few basic necessities you should consider here to ensure this will happen:
1) Provide fresh towels and clean linen - Airbnb guests nowdays expect that hosts will provide this, so before you leave, ensure you have clean linen and towels ready to go or alternatively head out and buy some.
2) Store your personal belongings away - make sure you leave some space for your guests to store their clothes in your wardrobe. Of course, you don't need to clear out everything, however, not leaving any space is a sure way to receive a bad review.
Make sure as well anything valuable you would hate to see get stolen or damaged while you're away is put somewhere secure. Of course such instances are very rare amongst the Airbnb community, however, as the old saying goes, it's better to be safe than sorry.
3) Provide some basic toiletries and staples - Put yourself in the shoes of a guest here and think about your own travel experiences. When you've arrived at your accommodation after a long flight or drive, one of the first things most people like to do is have a nice cup of tea or jump in the shower to freshen up. So be a considerate host and provide some shampoo or have some tea bags with milk available. It will go a long way to making a great impression on your guest.
4) Clean out your fridge and pantry before you go - nothing will make a bad first impression as fast as finding something that's gone off in your fridge. So before you leave, check the use by dates and any items that you think will have the potential to sour, put in the bin.
We recently wrote a blog about how much storage do Airbnb guests need, which provides a lot more information , so we recommend reading it for more details.
And that's it!
By following these steps you'll be an Airbnb host in no time and a great one at that.
If you have any other tips and tricks on setting up an Airbnb account, we'd love to know. Provide us your comments in the box below.
At MadeComfy, we provide an end-to-end management service for the short-term rental of homes through Airbnb. So if you have any further questions, we'd be happy to help! Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our Contact Us page
Customer or non-customer of MadeComfy, we want to help you to profit from the Airbnb boom. Did you experience firsthand that it is quite difficult and takes a lot of time to manage your Airbnb and other property? Don't make it difficult for your self and start using a professional short-term rental management company today. Learn more on our home rental management services!