How to Start a Profitable Airbnb Rental
Airbnb has become one of the most popular accommodation booking sites on the web, and for good reason. Their site makes it super easy for anyone to find unique places to stay and more importantly, a place where property owners can earn income either part time or full time.
Renting out your space can be both exciting and daunting. Taking the time to be fully prepared before jumping into a short-term rental is vital. Here are a few important tips that I wanted to share about getting started as an Airbnb host and earning an income from your own property.
What you get hosting with Airbnb:
Your Space & Listing
Since your property is your greatest asset, you’ll want to make sure it is comfortable and convenient for guests. This is your opportunity to allow your guests to have a great stay, and get that “home away from home” feel. You will need to look at your space through the eyes of a visitor. Every detail should meet or exceed the promises you make in your listing description.
De-Personalize and De-Clutter
Start by removing your personal items and all clutter from the space. You want them to feel peaceful and at ease, not like they are staying in someone else’s space. They should be able to envision (and hopefully dream!) that this is THEIR space.
Often times we don’t notice our own clutter, as we see it more as “keeping things handy”. When setting up a space for guest start by clearing all the personal items from the space, and only adding back in what would be handy for guests.
Design and Decor
It is important to define your space and to own the niche of your choosing. “Niches make riches” and in short-term rentals this couldn’t be more true. People are looking for a one of a kind experience, and by creating a brand around your space, you can provide them that. Anything from a chance to live like a local, a romantic getaway, family cabin retreat, modern downtown space…people are looking for it all. What can you do to stand out, own a niche and become a highly sought-after location?
Check out our Shop with our favorite picks in design and decor to get your space feeling “just right”.
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
First and foremost, the visitors to your Airbnb page want to see what your place looks like. If you aren’t the best photographer, ask for help from someone who knows a little more about a camera and taking bright, clean photos. Your photos are what will sell your property to potential guests, so they’ve got to be good! Be sure to take photos of each room and make sure they are representative of what guests will see when they walk through the door.
A great tip when taking pictures of your space is to stand in each corner of the room, holding the camera at chest height, to really get a full feel of what the space is. Also remember to take great vignette shots of anything interesting in the room. Do you have a great fireplace, bar are or amazing desk space? Take shot and really show your space off! Tell a story of what makes your place special.
Write a Great Description
Your listing description is the next place that visitors look to see if your place has what they’re looking for. Airbnb allows for a shorter description at the top of your listing, so make sure to include the most important information here. Let guests know what your property is located near, the type of guest that would enjoy it the most, and anything else that makes them want to keep reading.
How do I write an Airbnb description?
An Airbnb description is more than just a rundown of your bed and bath counts—it’s a chance to connect with potential guests on an emotional level and share makes your rental one of a kind.
4 Simple Steps to Writing Your Perfect Airbnb Description
- Skip generic filler words
- Define your unique selling points
- Break down your description into the different areas of the property
- Sell your location
Not all of your guests come to your description looking for the same thing. A parent planning a multi-family getaway might be most concerned with your bed and bath configuration, while a group of outdoor enthusiasts or culture vultures may be most interested in how close you are to nearby destination. A couple looking to get away will be looking to ensure that it is a peaceful and cozy place, with privacy. Make sure that your description caters to all types of guests.
The following formula works well:
- Introduction: Write a brief introduction about the property using descriptive power words
- Bedrooms/bathrooms: Write a description of each bedroom and each bathroom
- Outdoor amenities: describe whatever you have outdoors: the pool, terrace, balcony, etc.
- Location: How far is your property from public transport, supermarkets & fun activities? Is it quiet? Are their bars, are you close to downtown?
Be sure to utilize the “+more” section below your intro. This is a great place to add additional information about your space that you will fill out in your dashboard. There is another area here under the “Space” section that allows you to provide a more detailed description. Fill this out completely and be sure to include all of your amenities and features.
Tips for Creating a Profitable Airbnb Rental
Make it easy for them to find what they’re looking for. Breaking your content into smaller sections makes it easy for every guest to skim your listing for exactly what they want to know.
Last but not least, think like a Guest –
Your potential guests are the ones you’re writing this description for, so keep them in mind throughout the entire writing process. Put yourself in their shoes and try to imagine who they might be.
- Why are they traveling?
- What is the main factor they look for when deciding on a short-term rental property?
- What might their expectations be?
A home that meets or exceeds their expectations based on the description will get you a 5-star review. Embellishing or misleading them as to what to expect will rightly earn you a negative review. Be honest, showcase your strengths and constantly be improving!
Set Your Price to Attract the Guests You Want
The price of your property or room can determine the type of guests that stay as well. Price your place based on the quality of your home, the amenities you offer, the location, and what you think it’s worth. Choosing a lower price just to make a quick buck or to compete with other properties could result in unwanted guests who don’t respect your property as much as someone who has paid a higher rate to stay.
When a guest stays in your home, they shouldn’t need to worry about anything. Dishes, extra blankets, and anything else you choose to provide should be easily accessible for them. We once stayed in a cabin in the woods for a week. When we arrived there was an immense stack of fluffy white towels and washcloths. We joked that there’s no way we’d ever need them all. In the end we used almost every towel, and were so grateful for them. As a guest, that’s what you want. To WANT for nothing.
Make sure you post Wifi info somewhere readily available, as it is often the first thing people are after, especially if they’ve been travelling.
Think Like a GUEST
We once stayed in an Airbnb that was a basement apartment of a house that was supposed to be unoccupied. At 7am on our first morning there we were woken by very loud noises, crashing and moving furniture.
I emailed the Airbnb Host who was ever so sweet, said she was packing up the top portion and truly thought she was being quiet. She was very apologetic and left us a bottle of nice wine and two glasses by our door. We were so grateful for that touch! Only problem? Even though it had a kitchen, there was no cork screw!
We tried the tricks you see online (I can categorically say that putting the bottle in a shoe and banging on the wall does NOT work! Haha) We eventually pushed the cork in with a chopstick, as we were desperate and in the middle of nowhere!
Take some time in your space. Spend the night there even. If you’re renting out just a room, try staying in that space for the evening. Does it have everything you want? Do you find yourself heading back to your part of the house for anything?
Add a Guide Book
Leaving a Guide Book with local attractions, nearby restaurants and the best spots to hang out in your neighborhood. Really give them a taste of what it’s like to be a native to the area and showcase your city’s best features. Know of a great hiking spot, or the place withe BEST bloody Mary’s? Let them know!
A good guide book would also contain relevant tips about the house they should know. Outline anything they might need to know about the house, such as how to operate the heat/air conditioner. We actually stayed in an Airbnb in the UK where you had to de-pressurize the radiator at times or the hot water wouldn’t work. (I had NO idea about this, my husband knew a little better but not much!) She left detailed instructions, with pictures for exactly how to fix it. This was so useful, as of course our initial reaction was worried we’d broken something or would have to have a maintenance person come fix it.
You can also add safety features like the fire extinguisher and first aid kit location. A well put together guide eliminates any need for the guests to contact you for simple questions, and gives your guests more freedom to enjoy their time rather than contacting you or searching for answers.
Covering Your Bases
As with any new business venture, it is important to protect yourself. Here are some of our top tips for staying in the clear.
The Airbnb Host Guarantee provides protection for up to $1,000,000 to a host for damages to covered property in the rare event of guest damages above the security deposit or if no security deposit is in place.
The Host Guarantee Program however does NOT cover cash and securities, collectibles, rare artwork, jewelry, pets or personal liability. We recommend that hosts secure or remove valuables when renting their place. The program also doesn’t cover loss or damage to property due to wear and tear.
If you are renting your property, you will need to get renter’s insurance from an insurance company. Depending on whether you’re renting long-term or short-term, the insurance agent will be able to help you choose the best coverage for your needs. Should anything happen to your guests or the property when they are occupying the premises, you’ll want to make sure you are protected.
Clearly Outline Your Cancellation Policy
Your cancellation policy will let guests and site visitors know straight up what will happen if they want to cancel. Always include this in your listing and rental agreement to protect yourself from lost income. For more on choosing the right cancellation policy for you check out our post here.
Consider an Additional Rental Agreement
Every Airbnb hosts dreams of renting their property to only the best guests. Although separate Airbnb rental agreements are less commonly used on Airbnb than other vacation rental platforms and are not obligatory, you may want to consider using one. That’s because Airbnb rental agreements give you added protection from random surprises that can arise when renting your property.
Although Airbnb covers hosts and guests for most aspects of a vacation rental stay, there are some things that you might want to emphasize with the agreement. A rental agreement is a perfect opportunity to make sure that guests understand the house rules and the potential consequences if said rules are broken.
An Airbnb rental agreement reduces the risk of you renting your property to unsavory guests. It also gives you greater legal protection in the event that an Airbnb guest books your property under false pretenses.
You should especially consider an Airbnb rental agreement if there are special provisions that aren’t easy to address on the Airbnb platform, such as homeowner association (HOA) rules.
Share your home on Airbnb to build up your savings, fund your next trip, achieve financial freedom or simply meet interesting travelers.
Share any space without sign-up charges, from a shared living room to a second home and everything in-between.
Choose your own schedule, prices, and requirements for guests. Airbnb is there to help along the way.
Once your listing is live, qualified guests can reach out. You can message them with any questions before their stay.