How to start a business on Airbnb
You don’t need to have experience running a business to become a successful Host on Airbnb. Take it from Superhosts Bryan and Catherine in Columbus, Ohio—neither had any small business or hospitality experience before they got started on Airbnb by listing a spare bedroom.
“Eight years later, we’re hosting four different properties and working on a bed and breakfast,” says Bryan.
If you’re thinking about opening your home or another space to guests and wondering how to start a hosting business on Airbnb, you’re in the right place. Here are some simple steps to help you get started, from figuring out how much money you could make to learning what day-to-day logistics are involved.
Assess your market
First, check out other places on Airbnb and bed and breakfasts in your area that are similar to your space. Try to get a sense of what they offer—and what they’re missing that you could provide.
Consider the visitors who might book your space. Does your area get a lot of business travellers or families on vacation? Are there local attractions, like national parks or historic sites? This information might help inform your decisions around design, amenities, and the length of stays you’d like to offer.It’s important to find out what laws and taxes apply to short-term rentals in your area before you begin hosting. Airbnb can’t provide you with legal guidance or tax advice, but we can help you find info about hosting regulations.
Estimate your earning potential
After you’ve done some market research, we can help you estimate your earning potential. When setting your income goals, you may also want to think about your expenses and your pricing strategy:
List your expenses
To get a sense of your potential profits, estimate your upfront costs—for expenses like decor, wifi, and other basics to get your space ready for bookings—as well as ongoing or recurring costs, like linens, toiletries, cleaning services, or mortgage payments. Be sure to note maintenance expenses, too, such as needed repairs or annual chimney inspections.
Set your pricing strategy
When setting your pricing strategy, know what other rentals are charging nearby throughout the year and how your initial price compares. You can adjust for demand by updating your price seasonally, on weekends, and during big events.
Keep in mind that on top of your nightly price, guests pay a service fee and any additional fees you include. You’ll be able to increase your price as you accumulate five-star reviews, so don’t be afraid to start on the lower end.
Consider smart pricing
To automate your pricing, you can turn on Smart Pricing. The Smart Pricing tool takes over 70 factors into account, including season and demand—and you can set a minimum nightly rate, so your price never dips below that amount.
Decide how you’ll host
There are many different ways to host on Airbnb, and some Hosts are able to dedicate more time to hosting than others. Figure out what your availability is likely to be, and explore what tools and services could be helpful for you.
When Bryan and Catherine first started hosting, they did everything, Bryan says—from laundry to maintenance work. Eventually, they decided to pay for some of those services.
You can also automate some aspects of your business with tools like scheduled messages, quick replies, and Instant Book.
You determine when and how often you host on Airbnb. Using calendar and booking settings, you can set your availability, set a minimum and maximum length of stay, and more.
Create a unique guest experience
Your success as a Host depends on your ability to create a memorable experience for your guests.
Decide which guests you’d like to draw to your space—such as individuals with pets, couples, families, or remote workers—and provide amenities that suit their needs. Consider the details that will make your listing stand out and your guests feel special, like a thoughtful welcome note or local mementos.
“We worked with a local artist to sketch the outsides of our houses, and turned them into little postcards that our guests can use or send home,” says Catherine.
Market your space
Listing your space on Airbnb is completely free, and you pay a service fee only when a reservation is confirmed. We aim to make this process simple and straightforward: Just follow these easy steps.Good photos and a catchy listing title are some of the first things people notice when they’re browsing stays on Airbnb, according to Catherine. Some Hosts take high-quality photos using a smartphone, or you may also consider hiring a professional.
Remember that any space can be a perfect fit for someone. Make sure your listing details and photos are setting accurate expectations.
Get support from Airbnb
Airbnb strives to support Hosts every step of the way, so you can host with confidence.
- Wondering about insurance? AirCover for Hosts provides top-to-bottom protection, always included, always free, only on Airbnb.
- To connect with other Hosts, head to the Community Centre, or join your local Host Club.
- You can also Ask a Superhost if you have questions or need help getting started.
- Find more hosting tips in the Resource Centre.
- Our dedicated customer support team is available 24/7.
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