Avoid Losing Money: Beginner’s Guide to How to Become an Airbnb Host
You’re probably thinking about Airbnbing your spare bedroom, or bedrooms to earn some extra income. Well, you have stumbled upon the right blog. In this post, my goal is to help you get your first booking as soon as possible.
I’ll also show you how you can optimize your booking settings so that you can maximize your Airbnb income.
The first step is to figure out how much you can earn from Airbnb.
How to Become an Airbnb Host: Market Research
If you live in an undesirable area, then you should probably stop right here. A guest will never stay or book at a place that he or she is not comfortable staying.
There are two ways to find out how much you could earn: free tool vs. paid tool.
Go to Airbnb’s website and enter your address to see how much you could earn.
Here is the link to Airbnb.
This is only for serious hosts that want to earn as much money as possible. I’d suggest checking out Airdna. Airdna will give you all the data that you would possibly want like occupancy rate per month, how many competitors are around you, how much your competitors are charging, how much you can realistically charge, etc. etc.
You can sign up via Airdna. I recommend them only if you want to know your market before you jump in. This is just a smart way to not only see how much your home is worth but also learn about your competition in the market.
How to Become an Airbnb Host: Set Realistic Expectations
It’s important to know that hosting takes resources and time. It’s very different than a long-term tenant where it purely passive income. An Airbnb host will take some effort and time because you’re managing the guests’ expectations.
Below are some questions to help you sort this out.
What kind of business do you hope to run?
I knew that I wanted to run a passive income business that is not dependent on a location. So I made a short list on a very high-level.
- Not tied down to a location or chained to a desk
- the flexibility to work remotely and the freedom to travel when I want
- work fewer hours and stress less
How much time do you have to invest in this business?
When I started this business, I was just transitioning out from a consulting gig for a drone company. I knew that I didn’t want to go back to a full-time corporate job. So right then, I decided to focus on this full-time. I probably worked about 15-25 hours a week in this business. It took me about 6 weeks to get everything up and ready on Airbnb for my first unit.
What Kind of Airbnb Host Are You Going to be?
Generally speaking, here are the 5 types of Airbnb entrepreneurs. Note: some of you guys have reached out and told me that I couldn’t categorize all the possible hosts out there in 5 categories. You are right! This is why I said, “generally speaking.” 😉
The Opportunistic Entrepreneur
Opportunistic renters take advantage of peak tourist times in their hometown. These Airbnb hosts aren’t interested in making Airbnb a full-time affair but are always looking for creative new ways to earn some extra cash.
If you have a spare bedroom or couch, and you enjoy the concept of meeting young, budget-minded travelers, then renting a shared or a private room is for you. It’s a great way to make some additional income and meet some cool people in the process. When posting a shared rental, you’re selling yourself as much as your space.
The Jet Setter
Many of the latest listings on Airbnb are from the Jet Setter crowd. Jet Setters live a spontaneous lifestyle, blowing where the wind takes them for work or play. They’ve realized that renting their primary residence on Airbnb provides them with an even greater financial freedom to spread their wings more often.
These types of Airbnb’ers list their primary residence on a full^time basis without finding another permanent residence. These listings are typically priced at the higher end of the market at a “make it worth my time to go somewhere else” rate.
The Traditional Vacation Homeowner
The traditional vacation-rental homeowner typically wants longer-term tenants who are more thoroughly screened.
The Full-Time Entrepreneur
This Airbnb entrepreneur has at least one property listed on the site year-round with the goal of maximizing revenue and achieving 100% occupancy. Seeing the success of their first property, many rentalpreneurs have searched for additional properties to rent or buy to build their Airbnb empire.
Now that I am summarized the types of Airbnb entrepreneurs, did you decide which type you’re going to be?
How to Create your Airbnb Host Account
Need to start an account? Go to Airbnb and click Sign Up.
Use my referral code to get 40 dollars in credit, and I also get 20 dollars. Win-win!
You can sign up using your email address, Amex, Google, or Facebook account. It’s free to sign up.
Read my previous blog on how to set up your account or you can follow more in-depth steps below.
Airbnb Host Login: the Profile Picture
When creating a profile think of it as having a business resume. You want your personality to shine and for the listing to come across as a safe and friendly environment. Even with starting off at zero reviews, a promising and positive profile can help to gain the trust of potential clients.
Get creative with your biography because this is where guests will get a chance to read what is unique or interesting about you!
Here is another example:
This is my own… 😉
What are some of the same attributes that make a great profile?
Include whatever is relevant to you, whether it’s your proficient language or alma mater. You never know how it might connect to the right person and spark a connection.
I speak Mandarin, and I have hosted a few guests from China, so it is definitely beneficial to include that in your biography.
Describe your dreams, reasons, and hopes for being an Airbnb host. The most important thing to remember is to be creative. Help your potential guests to get to know you better by showing some of your personality. This will help you to stand out. People who are looking for a place to book should be seen as future possible clients.
What to do
- Do smile: It’s a universal sign of hospitality. Nothing will show your guest that you are more welcoming than a shining smile.
- Do include family or your significant other to your Airbnb account. A family image gives off positive vibes, helping to also convey a sense of community, togetherness, and comfort.
- Do have a clear, high-quality profile picture. You don’t want to accidentally turn-off guests by having a strange, blurry image for your profile.
- Do be conscious of colors. Studies show that certain colors can manipulate people’s emotions. Your potential guest should feel a sense of calm and comfort when viewing your profile. There’s a whole psychology of color you can manipulate to help your listings.
What not to do
- Don’t include distractions that steal away your attention. Aim to show the guest who you are with as little distraction as possible.
- Don’t take perfect, over-the-top photographs that look staged- even if it was. While it is a goal to stay sleek, overdoing it may make you seem unapproachable.
How to Optimize your Calendar Settings to Avoid Losing Money
I was recently helping a new host to set up his Airbnb. When I was going through his calendar setting, I found that he put his “advance notice” to 2 days!
What does that mean?
It means that Airbnb will automatically block out your calendar two days after your last guest checks out. This means that you are going to lose 2 calendar days worth of booking! Do not do that!
Get a cleaning crew or a maid to help you turn your bedroom around on the same day, so you can maximize your revenue income.
Alright, let’s get to the actual specifics of creating your first listing. You can check out the ultimate guide here. Be warned, it is very long. It has over 2000 thousand words.
I won’t do that to you in this post, so I’ll be covering the most important aspects of creating your listing.
Name Your Place
Your listing title is the second most important aspect of your listing. Let’s go over some Do’s and Don’ts
- Utilize as much listing space as Airbnb Provides and currently, they provide 50 characters. This is where you can come up with a memorable or clever title.
- Sum up the best feature of your home in one sentence.
- Mention if your home is near any major attractions. Is it near Disneyland? What about its proximity to downtown?
- Undersell and over deliver.
- Please do not use funky special characters like @#$%. This will only make your listing less professional.
- Do not capitalize all of your characters. However, you can use caps to highlight a word.
- Do not oversell and under deliver.
I have a minimum pricing set at $140 per night. That is the least amount that I am willing to let my unit go for. However, I do not have a maximum pricing, because why would you want to set the cap on how much you can earn per night?
If you are first starting out, it is important to set your nightly price slightly below market rate.
Because you want to drive more reservations to increase your credibility! Guests will book with hosts that have more positive reviews just as you would want to stay with a host who has more positive reviews. I will talk more about reviews later.
Do some research on Airbnb to see how much money other hosts are charging per night and then set your nightly rate accordingly. A good rule of thumb is to go 15-20% below the market rate.
Do not turn on smart pricing.
I repeat, DO NOT!
I say this because I have done my research. In a nutshell, smart pricing will automatically price your daily rates, and it is usually well below the market rate in order to compete with hotels.
There is a tool that I use for automatic pricing. It is a company called Beyond Pricing. If you are curious about it, you can sign up here through my referral code. If you want more information, check out my new blog post on why smart Airbnb hosts do not use Smart Pricing.
I bet you feel more prepared now. Am I missing something? Feel free to comment below!
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