The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Airbnb Hosting

Airbnb Hosting Guide

We’ve blogged about many of the challenges that current Airbnb hosts face and how to address them but we keep getting questions from many who aren’t currently hosts but are seriously thinking about Airbnb hosting.

Where do I even start?

So, if you’re just starting to think about becoming a host, start here and follow these steps to give yourself the best chance of success.

This is the Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Airbnb Hosting.

Before You Even List on Airbnb

Understand Rental Arbitrage

There is an underlying market force that makes all of the short-term rental market possible.  And that force is called rental arbitrage.  This will exist in EVERY market that makes it viable for Airbnb hosting but not all markets are created equal.  Know what it means to quickly assess to what degree your area is well suited for you to host.

Ten Things to Consider Before You Host on Airbnb

Before we dive in and into some of the details, here are ten hosting considerations to think about.  Having a better sense of these items will make your path to hosting a much smoother journey.  It’s not just your and your extra room, hosting on Airbnb could involve many other parties and more commitment that you expected.   You don’t need to answer these questions yet but they do provide relevant context to the topics below.

What Kind of Host Do You Want to Be?

What type Airbnb are you?Yes, we know you want to make some money doing this but there are more than financial benefits to becoming an Airbnb host.

What do you want to get out of hosting?

There are three main types of hosts out there–those that want to make a few extra bucks with their available space, those who want a stable secondary source of income, and those who want to build a serious Airbnb business that will eventually become their main source of income.

The more income potential you desire, the more planning, capital, work, and risk you’re going to be taking on.  What you want to be able to achieve will dictate the location, size, and nature of your listings as well as the tools and strategies you will be using.

Are you even cut out to host?  If you’re ONE of these types of potential hosts, please don’t host on Airbnb and ruin it for the rest of us.

Do you have the six qualities that make a great rentrepreneur?

Have Realistic Expectations About Time Commitment

airbnb hostingYou don’t just list your unit and then the money starts to come in.  It takes time to chat with potential guests who ask questions before they’re willing to book with yours.  It takes time and effort to earn great reviews.  It takes time to check guests in and check guests out.

Set the right expectations about time commitment by evaluating how much time it’ll likely take for you to host on Airbnb.

Starting out and doing everything on their own, beginner hosts are often shocked by the amount of time and effort needed to consistently deliver an experience for their guests.

But as they get into their groove, become more efficient, and utilizing tools for automation, hosts learn ways to save time and energy without lowering their quality of service.  

Know the Size of Your Prize BEFORE Hosting

Would you quit your current job before knowing how much your new job would pay you? Of course not.

But that’s exactly what most new hosts do.  They jump right into hosting on Airbnb before knowing the size of their prize.

Even though Airbnb has grown by leaps and bounds, there are still markets that just don’t and won’t have enough demand to support hosting.  Wouldn’t you want to know if you’re in one of these markets?

On the flip side, you should also find out whether you’re in a super hot Airbnb market.  Otherwise, you might be happy with making $2000 a month when you should be making twice that.

So how do you know the size of your prize?  Go get a market report from a trusted data provider.  LearnAirbnb recommends AirDNA–they have extensive data for all major Airbnb markets and can give you a realistic expectation for how much you can probably make hosting on Airbnb in your market with your listing.

PRO RESEARCH TIP: Sign up for AirDNA and get your market report BEFORE investing time and money into Airbnb hosting.  Don’t jump in until you’re certain the market has enough demand to make it all worth your efforts.

Get The Proper Insurance Coverage

airbnb insuranceEspecially if you’re renting out your own home, your home insurance plan is almost guaranteed not to cover any damage that results from short-term renting.  Yes, Airbnb’s $1M guarantee gives great comfort but if you have some special items or risk factors not covered by their policy, you likely need additional insurance.  Learn all about Airbnb’s liability insurance policy here and see if it’s enough for you.

Remember You Have Neighbors

Are you in a quiet gated community with early to bed neighbors who are very very sensitive to noise or outsiders?  If you’re living in a unit that is part of a community with shared space, you have to keep your neighbors in mind.  Even if you have your own standalone house, you will want to consider managing your relations with your neighbors.  An angry neighbor could kill your Airbnb hosting dreams.

Noise complaints are the biggest indicator for unhappy neighbors.  Check out a nifty product that can help you prevent and manage noise issues with guests.

Yes, Get Your Landlord’s Okay

airbnb landlord permissionYes, it might mean that you can’t host in your current apartment if your current landlord forbids it.  Many apartments aren’t open to short-term subleasing.  But there are ways to increase your odds if you approach your landlord in the right way.  If all else fails, consider finding a new apartment that would allow you to host or look to getting a dedicated unit.

Find the Right Customers for Your Unit

airbnb hostingYes, you love your place but not everyone else visiting your area will think the same.  In order to maximize your odds of success, you will need to position your unit’s listing to appeal to the customers who are most likely to book with you.  Sure, business travelers might be willing to pay higher rates but if your unit is located far from the business district in your area, you’re better off targeting someone else on Airbnb.

Know Who You’re Competing With

You’re not the only game in town and you will have competition.  The more you know about them and the better you understand what makes them appealing or not appealing to potential guests, the better you are able to adjust your offering to have a winning Airbnb listing.  But first, you need to be able to identify the right competition.

Get all the Essentials for Your Listing

airbnb hostingAs more and more hosts bring listings onto the market to compete for the guests, so too have guest expectations grown.  What used to be a nice-to-haves are now must-haves.  Certain amenities are absolutely essential to delivering a great experience.

Especially if you’re serious about hosting, your furnishings and amenities could make a big difference.  Every unit must have furniture so what should you consider when purchasing furniture?   Choice of furniture can be distilled into two things: function and form.  You must consider what pieces are important to your guests?  What need is it fulfilling?

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