After the strange events over the last couple of years, it’s fair to say that everyone could do with a holiday. But what’s better than a holiday? Providing others with their well-earned break while earning a bit of spare cash. Airbnb has taken the world by storm since its humble beginnings, hitting its peak of popularity in 2021. This year, 14,000 new hosts joined the platform each month[i], leaving the service geared up for a busy 2022. So, to help you stand out in the crowd, we’ve put together some tips to help you become an A* Airbnb host – Superhost status will be within your grasp in less than five minutes!
Airbnb is a service that allows owners to safely rent out their property to travellers who need a place to stay. Usually, this is as an alternative to hotels for holiday-makers. Depending on the listing, stayers may have a single room, a suite of rooms or an entire property to themselves. This business venture began in 2007 when two designers with room to spare invited in three travellers with nowhere to stay. These designers gave them air beds to sleep on and turned part of their property into a bed and breakfast style staying area to accommodate their guests. Upon realising that it could quickly become a successful venture, they brought in a Chef Technology Officer, who helped put together a website that offered short-term living space for those who couldn’t book a hotel. They launched this site under the name Airbedandbreakfast.com in 2008. They eventually shortened the name to Airbnb, and, as of 2021, the site has 2.9 million hosts worldwide[ii].
The average Airbnb host can make an average of £3,100 a year[iii], though this figure is dependent on several variables. For example, Airbnb takes a percentage of 3% as their service fee. This is because of their 24/7 customer support, the educational resources they provide, and the protection they guarantee for hosts and their hosting properties. On top of this, Airbnb earnings are not exempt from tax, and all profits will be added to your total taxable income.
Overall, the amount you can earn from Airbnb will depend on the location of your property, the size of the space you are renting and your customer service. Nevertheless, Airbnb is an excellent option as a passive income, though you’d better not quit the day job just yet!
Being a successful Airbnb host doesn’t have to take over your life, but there are certain things you can do to make you stand out from the crowd.
You should consider several things before becoming an Airbnb host because you may not have the means. Although Airbnb is a safe, straightforward business, there are things you must ensure for you and your property to be suitable. Before becoming an Airbnb host, you need to think about:
You must understand how the laws work in your area. Some cities, such as Paris and New York, can be strict with Airbnb policies, so you must know precisely how to host a property on Airbnb in your city. For example, you may be required to register, apply for a permit or obtain a license before you can list your property. In addition, in some places, certain short-term bookings may not be allowed at all. So, before setting up an Airbnb, you should go through your local laws and permissions to ensure that you can do so.
You may need several different permissions to list your property on Airbnb. These include permissions from your:
Planning permission is usually unnecessary if you rent out the property for short periods and keep it as your family home. However, if you will only use it as a rental, then a change of use will likely be necessary. On top of this, you also have to look for any restrictive covenants in your title deeds. These are agreements made between the original seller and buyer of the property that dictates how to use it. Sellers and neighbouring properties can enforce these, and this may interfere with an Airbnb hosting. So ensure you rightfully obtain any permissions and rules stuck to before listing your property.
Whether you’re renting out a single room or a whole property, the décor is essential. Making guests comfortable in a stylish atmosphere should be a priority since a good review will lead to more bookings in the future. Consider your target guest, the location of your property, and the atmosphere you want to create – for example, you could place some comfy angel chairs for a modern vibe, or perhaps some wingback chairs for a more traditional style. Your interior design doesn’t have to be over the top – as long as the result is appealing, welcoming and comfortable, it’s done its job.
Now that permissions are confirmed, and your place is presentable, you can set up your listing! Through the Airbnb host page, use the questions asked to fill out information about your listing. Remember to include intricate details such as the number of beds, maximum number of guests and whether pets are allowed, as these are important to guests. Ensure that you are honest at every step of this process – people want to be assured that you and your property are genuine, and guests will quickly pick up on any tall tales on the listing. If guests leave bad reviews, you are less likely to get future tenants. Follow your information with some high-quality photos, preferably taken with a good-quality camera and professional lighting. Images play a huge part in a potential guests decision, so ensure you show your property in the best possible light.
The price will make a massive difference in bookings. You want to remain competitive but also affordable. So research listings in your area, get a general idea of what similar properties are going for and consider what sets your hosting space apart from them. Also, consider factors like your property type, size, and the number of guests you allow when researching. Airbnb’s What’s My Place Worth tool can help you determine how much money you can expect to make by comparing geographical factors, the type of listing and past booking data in the area. This may help you set a reasonable price.
A good host can provide prompt communication, encouraging guests to respond similarly. This means being readily available to reply quickly. Honesty is also vital when communicating with guests, even when discussing awkward topics like prices or procedures, so guests know exactly what to expect. Finally, you must never communicate outside of Airbnb since you will be out of their protection.
Also, adding a layer of communication to your booking processes is a good idea, so you have control. Being able to talk with potential guests, check their profiles and read reviews before accepting a stay helps you understand who’s booking your property. It also gives you the option to refuse guests if they may cause trouble or excess noise.
There are three main tiers that you can select from for an Airbnb cancellation policy. They are:
For longer stays, however, these tiers will be different. Ensure you provide a cancellation policy that will suit both you and your guests, and be prepared to allow a little wiggle room for special circumstances. Treat people decently at every step of the process, and your guests will be booking you out every other week!
Cleanliness is so important, especially in 2021. Your property needs to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between each stay to keep your guests safe and happy. Of course, you can hire a professional cleaner to do this, but that will likely bump up your listing price and potentially put guests off. Whether you do so yourself or not, ensure that facilities and objects are well cleaned before guests arrive for a satisfactory stay.
Being the best host you can means people are likely to recommend you, leave good reviews and even come back. A few key things make a good host and help you reach the coveted Superhost status, which will encourage people to book your listing. To be a superb host, you should:
Although it will take some time, Airbnb can be a very profitable side hustle. With some effort and patience, your property can help you build your income and meet an exciting range of new people. We’ll bet you can’t wait!
Office and marketing manager for Sloane & Sons Stylish Chairs, who sell a range of high-quality tub chairs, accent chairs and more.
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