Becoming an AirBnB host can be a lucrative way to earn some sweet cash. Since it was founded in 2008, Airbnb has grown into a trusted community marketplace where individuals can list, discover and book accommodations worldwide. In fact, the home-sharing empire was selected as Inc.’s 2014 Company of the Year due to its disruptive, brazen and brilliant business plan. Travelers equally love this service because it offers 50% cheaper accommodation, allows them to stay with real people in a real neighborhood, and truly provides the comforts of home away from home.
If you have a room that you don’t use but would like to monetize it, now is the time to join over 1,200,000 listings across four continents.
The following steps and tips will help you step into this unique niche and generate more sales and profits as a result.
Determine the Legality of the Service in Your City
The laws of Airbnb and bed-and-breakfasts are grey in some areas. Therefore, you need to do some research before you list your space even if other people you know are already Airbnb hosts. This is especially true if you’re a renter who’s planning to rent your spot out while you’re away. There may be a clause in your agreement that prevents you from subleasing your apartment or having guests over for consecutive days.
Decide Which Room You’ll Rent Out
Airbnb allows you to host one of three types of spaces: Entire Place (studio apartment with a bathroom and kitchen or a hotel-style room with only a bed and bathroom), Private Room (a full room but the bathroom may be shared), and a Shared Room (a hostel-style room where there are multiple beds). The first type is bound to bring you the largest sum, which can go above $500 depending on your city, locale and duration of visit.
In addition to converting an extra room you don’t use or one of your college-aged children’s bedrooms, you can consider turning the following into a private room that reels in profits.
- A basement that has its own private entrance
- A carpeted and insulated garage
- A den located at the secluded side of your home
Spend a Little Time, Money and Effort on Designing the Room
With an empty space ahead of you, it’s time for you to start designing the room. Put yourself in the traveler’s shoes and decide what you may want in the space if you were traveling. In addition to your better judgment, take a look at the other rooms listed on Airbnb and jot down whatever catches your eye.
Remember to offer so much value to your visitors that they’ll choose you every time they come to visit. For instance, put more effort into the room’s theme and décor. And, in case you’re wondering, no, you don’t need to take loans to provide additional appliances. Once you rent out the room a couple of time, set aside some of your profits and invest in a 30-inch flatscreen TV, air conditioner and/or space heater, a mini fridge, and an iron and ironing board. Your space will grow more popular since you’re offering all the amenities of a hotel at a lower price.
List Your Room
Now that you’re done preparing your room, it’s time for you to list it on Airbnb. During this process, you need to be especially cautious while filling out the following five:
- Name – You need to come up with a good name that is only 35 characters long. This can be a challenge since this is the label people will identify your room by. For instance, your name should communicate the room’s amenities, its greatest feature and neighborhood. So choose wisely.
- Photos – The photo you choose should do more than just complement your name. They should show your room’s amenities and focus on its most interesting angles to give visitors an idea of what’s to come. You can also request free professional photography from Airbnb to get high quality images watermarked with ‘Verified by Airbnb’. These confirm that your description is accurate and put travelers’ minds at ease.
- Description – The first six lines you write are very important because they appear on the room’s page. Since many people don’t link the ‘+More’ link, you should focus on providing value through the first three sentences. Make sure to clarify the level of access visitors will have, the type of interaction you provide, and whatever you believe can sell the place to your guests.
- Pricing – Establish daily, weekend, weekly and monthly prices for your room. The best way to do this is to look at comps in your neighborhood or find out what other BnBs are asking for. Just remember to factor in Airbnb’s service fees (3% of what you charge) and guest fees (6-12% on top of whatever you charge).
- Guidebook – Airbnb allows you to create a guidebook for your neighborhood. That way, your guests will know where to move around once they get there. You can even print out the guidebook and offer it as a personal map.
Aside from these, make sure to set your reservation requirements to be on the safe side. This feature allows you to accept requests from guests who have already been verified by the company. Finally, set your page to Listed to make it public. Don’t expect instant responses though since new listings appear 12 hours after they have been indexed in search.
Become Visible to the Airbnb Community
To get your first booking, improve your room’s rankings by marketing it. Here are some tips to help you out.
- Flaunt a fun profile picture and add a nice description of who you are and why you’re a great host.
- Link your Facebook account to your Airbnb one to show your guests more about you. If yours is too personal, consider creating another just for this purpose.
- Get your friends to vouch for your room and hospitality. This can be easy if you link your Facebook account.
- Let the people you know tell their friends that you have a space available. This will help you secure your first few bookings.
After a guest’s stay is over, Airbnb will ask them and you to provide a review within 24 hours of checking out. By taking the first step, you’ll get reviewed quickly. If you still don’t hear from them, send through a reminder.
These steps will help you extend strong roots in the Airbnb community. However, to be truly successful, you need to complement them with being a great host. This entails responding to guests’ inquiries and reservation requests quickly, keeping commitments to guests and avoiding cancelations, helping guests during their stay and being extra friendly with all, and ensuring the cleanliness of the space you provide. So keep all this information in mind and you’ll shine as the newest Airbnb host.