Since it was founded in 2008, Airbnb has continuously become more popular among hosts and renters. In many cases, it offers higher investment returns than long-term occupancy for hosts. For travellers, it hopefully provides a safer, platform-brokered search for the perfect overnight accommodations in foreign cities without the fear of getting duped by unscrupulous hosts.
Indeed, you’ve thought about putting up your own Airbnb rental business, except you don’t know where or how to start. Hopefully, this can guide you to launching a successful and profitable listing business on Airbnb.
Find a good location
When it comes to tourism-based businesses, finding a suitable location is paramount. Even if you list a beautiful, affordable, ‘gram-worthy room, loft, or house, it won’t receive much attention if it’s in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nothing to do.
You can narrow your search to highly touristic areas and those locations that offer unique experiences to guests, such as a rare view of the Northern lights, incredible summer escapes, historic villages, or something to that effect. Afterwards, utilize platforms that can determine the profitability of Airbnb locations to refine your shortlist further.
Pick your first property
Once you’ve decided on a location, you can pick your flagship listing. When choosing a property to invest in, look for features that will impress any guest so you don’t have to spend much on jazzing it up.
You have to think like an Airbnb guest to understand what travellers usually look for when booking accommodations. Think back on all your great Airbnb experiences and what it is about those listings that made you happy, comfortable, and satisfied during your stay.
If you don’t have a lot of starting capital for this venture, you can also invest in a fixer-upper, especially if you have the time to DIY repairs and upgrades so you can still make the place beautiful and worth the price you have in mind for it.
You can also keep it super simple. Some hosts put up glamping tents and camping spaces, so in the beginning, maybe start small, and like any good host looking to set up a home or rental, make sure to visit as many antique stores as possible as that where you’ll typically find fabulous finds at a fair price.
Acclimate yourself with Airbnb’s rules
Once you’ve got your eyes and heart set on a location and a specific property within that area, it’s time to seriously sit down and thoroughly read the rules and requirements for Airbnb hosts.
Furthermore, you must check the specific laws and rules concerning short-term renting in the area where you want to manage a listing, as some townships or municipalities have frozen short-term rentals or don’t allow them at all. Just make sure to do your research and make sure to secure all permits and licenses that might be required of you.
Getting in touch with a lawyer specializing in real estate might be a good idea at this point to ensure that everything is in order for your business.
Lay down rules for prospective guests
Airbnb’s rules can guide you in creating separate policies for your guests. You are not obliged to do so, but as an entrepreneur in the accommodations industry, it’s necessary to set some ground rules that will allow you to take in clients who are better prepared.
For example, you should also have a policy for guest cancellations and observation of cleanliness in the area. Some landlords charge extra for the obligatory cleanup after every guest, but that doesn’t mean your guests should trash the place! You should also be guided by the property regulations, especially if your Airbnb site is a condo unit or an apartment grouped in one community. Some considerations could include smoking inside the premises, illegal activities, and sometimes even excessive noise.
On top of that, you should also have a general guide for your stay. Where to find what, a listing of house rules, and suggestions of places to shop and things to do nearby.
Name your price
As a new Airbnb host, pricing your property may be the most daunting task before starting your rental business. Of course, the price tag you put on your place could either make or break your business altogether. Pick a high price; then your prospective guests might get turned off by the impossible cost of renting your place. But by picking a low rate, you may never turn a profit or break even. Either way, you’d be losing money.
So the key here is to find the right balance between making profits and satisfying your clients. Our advice? Compare prices of similar Airbnb listings nearby so you can get a glimpse of the market value of your property. Adjust as you go along. Conduct a trial month and see if your price is too high or too low. Just be sure it’s a reasonable amount first so you can attract clients.
We suggest coming in a little low, and after you have great reviews and many happy guests and have worked out any issues, raise the rate to what you’d like to be charging based on what the market can handle.
Make a kickass listing
Speaking of attracting clients, the best way to get clients on board is to make a listing that will stand out. This is achieved by taking excellent but preferably non-retouched photos of your place. If you were a client, ask yourself what details you would want to know right from the get-go and put that in your listing. Don’t forget to put your contact details so that prospective clients can reach you when they need to know more.
Collect good reviews
Collecting good reviews comes naturally for an Airbnb host who has an outstanding property and has delivered a good experience for his clients. Your duties as a host do not end once your clients have safely arrived at your property, but it involves constant communication when necessary. So to get good reviews, you need to be able to keep your rental property in good condition, plus you should also be a gracious host. Pro-tip, if you’re starting, ask your friends to rent your Airbnb even for a discounted rate (almost nothing) to collect those first good reviews.
Keep in mind; it’s your job to offer a guest place and be a super host. You will never please everyone, so focus on the ones you can and do!
Scale the business
Once you’re confident with your operations, it’s probably time to scale your business either in the same area or look for an even more profitable place to set up another rental home. Just be sure it’s a place you could regularly visit (or hire a trusted person) to inspect your property and ensure it’s presentable enough for guests.
Having your own Airbnb is much like becoming a landlord in every sense of the word. However, the best part about it is that the site gives you a platform that secures your profits and markets your business even from the comfort of your home. So there isn’t any reason for you to fail, especially if you follow the steps outlined above, stay focused and enjoy being a great host.