I can’t even tell you how thrilling the idea of making money with Airbnb is to me. Reading stories of people who needed extra income or wanted to pay off debt and were able to successfully do it through Airbnb is just crazy exciting. And the thing is, it isn’t just people in high-end, beachfront locations that are able to make an income on Airbnb! Even if you live in the suburbs, you might be able to actually pay your mortgage with your earnings! I decided to do a little digging to see what expert Airbnb hosts had to say on how to get started, how to make money, and how to to stay successful!
*This post contains affiliate links through which I may make a commission. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
There are so many options out there to list your home through, why do so many people wind up choosing Airbnb?
Chances are, it’s becasue of some of these perks:
- Free to list (most places charge to list. Airbnb only takes a 3% commission from your sales.)
- You can list a variety of properties (even a castle…ya know if you have one laying around.)
- Choose your availability, prices, rules, and guest interaction. You have a lot of flexibility in the matter.
- Get a $1,000,000 insurance guarantee! It’s scary hosting people in your home when you can’t be there! But Airbnb has you covered!
- Traveler verification. (You can request additional information from your guests beyond what Airbnb requires.)
- Travelers pay before their stay. This way you can rest easy knowing you aren’t going to be ripped off.
- Get paid after check in with Airbnb’s secure payment system. Travelers pay before and as soon as they check-in, you can cash out!
Getting started with a listing is simple and totally free! Plus hosts get the final say in what they charge and when they host. Not to worry though, Airbnb will give you total guidance as well as a suggested price range. Check the Airbnb calculator to see how much you could be making!
How to get started hosting
Getting started being an Airbnb host is very simple. You can click here to see what your property value is worth and continue on filling in your information from there.
It’s free to get your listing started!
Naturally, you are going to want to make the best profile possible, and there are several ways you can do that.
Create a stylish space
Not everyone has a natural style ability. I get it. You have the option to hire a designer or stager, or ask a friend for help!
When all else fails, keep things as minimalist as possible. Think hotel-style bedroom.
- Neutral colors
- White linens and bedding (and learn how to make one properly!)
- Simple decor
- Clean environment
It’s also important to consider the style of the area you’re in. So, if you are on the beach, maybe you’ll use seashell lamps or prop a surfboard in the corner.
Use professional images
Be sure to have a photo of yourself in your profile image. When sharing photos of the space, make sure to use bright, well-lit photos that highlight the best parts of your Airbnb.
Capture photos of the outdoors, especially if you are in a desirable location.
Avoid photos of simple things like the inside of drawers or corners of rooms. I will never understand what makes anyone take a photo of a corner.
If you are not great at photography, hire a photographer! You are more likely to make your money back and then some if you have beautiful images of your space!
Create a keyword-heavy description
Create a detailed description of your place and make sure to talk up some of the major highlights.
Do not be a robot with your description. Ex. “Karen’s Place. 2 Bedroom. Whole space to yourself.”
Instead try using welcoming, comfort words that describe your space and the area in detail. Ex. “The Artist Loft. Spacious 2 bedroom apartment with style near downtown!”
Start with a low price
When you are first getting started, it’s important first and foremost to get great reviews from people you host! But first, you have to get people in the door!
That’s why it’s a great idea to start in a lower price range. It will help you welcome in guests quicker and get you more reviews for your listing which will encourage more people to book with you! Get a price estimate.
How to make money
Just getting your listing started will ensure that you start making money with Airbnb, but you want to make sure it’s profitable enough to be worth your time and energy!
Experienced Airbnb hosts had some great ideas on how to do this while still keeping a reasonable price range.
Keep rates competitive
You may start low, but be sure to adjust your price with your experience in hosting. At first, it may mean you don’t make as much of a profit while you are getting testimonials. But, don’t keep lowballing your prices, or you won’t make a beneficial income from hosting.
Require a multi-night stay
To ensure you are making a good sum of money, a good rule is to require people to stay at least 2-3 nights. This makes sure all of your time and energy is well spent.
If you are cleaning every 24 hours, you definitely won’t be getting your times worth! Having a 2+ night minimum stay helps avoid this problem.
Keep an open calendar
Keeping your calendar open allows more chances to find people to fill those spots. Unless you really know you are unable to host, do your best to keep your dates open and flexible.
Take advantage of events
My fellow Minnesotans took advantage of our 2018 Super Bowl by raising their prices on their Airbnbs. This is a smart idea. If you know there is going to be a major event occurring in your area and people will be needing places to stay, don’t be afraid to treat yourself as “in demand” and bump your price.
Create extra person and cleaning fees
Rather than listing a large amount, add on additional cleaning fees or “extra person fees.” This will encourage more people to initially click on your listing because of the lower price.
However, I personally would mention these fees in your description. When I have booked an Airbnb and all of a sudden saw the price shoot up, it felt like I was lied to and I often wound up canceling my booking. So tread lightly.
After really doing my research, it makes sense to me why a lot of these practices are used across the Airbnb platform, I just think it’s important to be upfront about your costs.
How to get the best reviews
If you have ever worked retail, you know what they say, “The customer is always right.” This doesn’t mean you should allow your travelers to walk all over you, but if they have a complaint, be willing, and open to listen.
Being kind and courteous is more likely to get you a positive response and a good review. Beyond just common courtesy, here are some additional ideas to consider:
Add bathroom perks
People love amenities. Make sure to have plenty of extra toilet paper. You could also supply small shampoo and conditioner or lotion. These add a nice little touch and make a person feel like they’ve been pampered (even just a little).
Here are a few more fun bathroom perks to offer:
Leaving a welcome note for your guests is a great idea especially if you haven’t met them in person.
Just a quick note on a sticky pad could go a long way!
Have you ever moved into a new house and the previous owners left you a pack of beer? It’s an amazing way to live, let me tell you!
While you might want to steer clear of booze (unless you check in before hand) a great idea is to leave out popular food items from local businesses. This is something you might even be able to get a discount on if you check with the businesses in advance!
Aside from your basic bedding, it’s a good idea to go above and beyond with extra pillows and blankets.
You never know what people’s comfort level might be, but in case they want additional bedding, it’s good to give them that option.
Keep it clean
People paying to stay in your home don’t want to see filth or grime. Be courteous to your guests and encourage good reviews by allowing them to enter a well maintained, clean home.
Just like a hotel, be sure to leave them a note to the wifi password. Some people don’t want to have to ask you.
Be a tour guide
This area may be totally new to them, so fill them in on your favorite local places. What’s the best restaurant, any fun museums or tourist attractions? Give them the scoop on what’s going on around town. Bonus points if you leave a map!
Then there are above and beyond conveniences to offer. Things like an umbrella, especially if you are in an area that tends to get a lot of rain. A bike, stroller for families and games and movies!
The more you spoil them, the happier they will be!
The downsides of Airbnb hosting
Just like anything else in life, it can’t all be rainbows and sunshine, right? So what are some of the downfalls and potential drawbacks of being an Airbnb host?
Opening your home up to people you don’t know can leave you vulnerable to crimes like this. Although most Airbnb travelers are hoping to gain positive reviews themselves, there are always those bad eggs out there.
Thankfully, this is part of what Airbnb’s insurance helps prevent you from!
Hosting people in your home will require you to do some cleaning before they arrive (and after they leave).
If you are hoping to avoid this travesty, you can always hire a cleaner or work with a property company that will take care of everything for you (including booking). This of course means they will take a fraction of your earnings — but also gives you the freedom to be a completely hands-off host!
Working for reviews
Not only might you have to do a little extra smiling to get positive reviews, but you may have to press for them after.
Because your hosting business depends strongly on positive feedback, you may need to press a bit from previous guests in order to get it. Although, from what I hear, Airbnb does most of this heavy lifting for you.
It weirds people out sometimes about having total strangers entering their home. If you are hosting just a room rather than an entire home, this may mean interacting with someone you don’t know. Depending on your desire for social interaction, this could make things awkward!
From the sounds of it, however, most travelers are traveling in order to be outside of their rooms. So, you may not wind up doing much interacting after all.
How to ensure your safety
There are measures you can take, beyond Airbnb’s $1,000,000 insurance coverage, to make sure you and your possessions are safe.
Only accept reviewed guests
Like I said, the rules are really up to you. If you want to make sure the people coming into your home are quality, trustworthy people, use their reviews as proof.
Don’t accept anyone unless they have already stayed in an Airbnb and had a successful, positive review from the host!
If you have more valuable items that you don’t want to be taken or destroyed, be sure to tuck them away in a special place.
This is of course if you are hosting out your home. Many people just use rental properties as Airbnb stays!
Opening your home (even a rental) to strangers is definitely something you need to think about beforehand. Make sure you weigh all your options.
While this extra stream of income could allow for more travel, or assist you in paying off your debt and building wealth, it very well not be worth the trouble.
It’s an appealing idea if you have the space available for hosting, or if it’s something you hope to do long-term. Just be smart before making the leap! Get started as an Airbnb host.