A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Host on Airbnb | Airbnb Host Tips

How to host on Airbnb

In this post, we will cover step one of your journey to becoming a Passive Airbnb entrepreneur. I know you are pretty excited and so am I!

I am excited to share with you some of the tips and insights that I have learned along the way to best optimize your listing so that you can generate more passive income than your neighbors.

Step 1 - Creating Your Airbnb Account

If you don’t have an Airbnb account yet, 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, Facebook account, Google account, or Amex. Signing up and creating an Airbnb account is free.

You can read my previous blog on how to set up your account or you can follow more in-depth steps below.

The Face Of It All: The Profile Picture

Think of your hosting profile as your resume: make sure your personality shines through and that you come across as a safe investment to your target guests. Even without reviews, a promising profile may gain you the trust of your potential guests.

An example of a headshot and a host profile:how to host on airbnb

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:

A Step-by-Step Guide on How To Create and Host on Airbnb

This is my own… 😉

What are some of the same attributes that make a great profile?

What to do!

  1. Do smile: nothing symbolizes the open arms of a welcoming Airbnb host more than some pearly whites.
  2. Do include your significant other or any relevant family members sharing the Airbnb account. The image of the family gives off positive emotions, while it also conveys the image of togetherness, community, and comfort. These are all things that may very well be the final push for a guest who’s on the fence.
  3. Do make sure your profile picture is clear, and of good quality. You don’t want to scare away guests by representing yourself as an ambiguous blur who doesn’t even bother to take the time to refine your own physical features.
  4. Do be color conscious. Certain colors, like red and blue, can manipulate the feel-good emotions, like comfort and calmness (respectively), that your potential guests feel when looking at your profile. In other words, there’s a psychology of colors that can be spliced into your photograph to help sway bookings.

What not to do!

  1. Don’t include any distracting surroundings that steal attention away from you. Just as you aim to keep your listing summary straightforward and succinct, you want to convey who you are with as little background noise as possible.
  2. Don’t take a photograph that is so overly professional that it looks staged.  While you want to appear sleek, staying approachable and friendly is your number one concern – these are the most overt qualities in a good host.

Your Biography

How to host on Airbnb

Include anything and everything ‘optional’ if it’s relevant to you, whether it’s your alma mater or any proficient/fluent languages in which you write or speak. You never know, maybe you’ll land a guest who can relate in more ways than one and those seemingly minor details are exactly what sold them on you.

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 hopes and dreams and reasons for being an Airbnb host, but more importantly, get a little creative with it. Help people get to know you a little better, show some personality, and stand out. Keep in mind that while bookings are, in a way, clients of yours, Airbnb is first and foremost a peer-to-peer and community-based interface.

You can help people get to know you a little better, show some personality, and stand out. Keep in mind that while bookings are, in a way, clients of yours, Airbnb is first and foremost a peer-to-peer and community-based interface.

Trust and Verification

The Airbnb community relies heavily on trust. They require everyone to go through their verification process. This process includes phone, email, social profile, and in some cases, a photo-ID.

Airbnb just wants to be a trustworthy middleman between host and guest communication – they want to be true in their word that John Doe really is John Doe. And aren’t you thankful for that? If you have children in your household, then requiring an official ID is something you need to consider.

Step 2 - Create and Optimize Your Listing

700 words later, you finally make it into the money-making section. Congrats on making it this far. 🙂

I will show you here how to best optimize your listing.

Are you curious to know how much money you can make from Airbnb? This is a free tool that I use to gauge my market potential. It is not 100% accurate, but it is in the rough ballpark.

In my experience, it’s showing me the low-end of how much I could make. For example, it says that I could make $1180 per week for one of my current unit in Mountain View, but I generally make upwards of $1500 per week.

Why does Airbnb do this? It is because they want to undersell and overdeliver.

Getting started

Log into Airbnb and go to the top right corner, hover over Host, then go down to “list your space.”

It should take you to this page:

A Step-by-Step Guide on How To Create and Host on Airbnb

Property type: there are 3 options that you can choose from the drop-down: entire home, private room, or shared room.

Accommodates: This menu allows you to select the maximum number of people that can comfortably fit in your place. It’s important to understand that capacity is not limited to bed space: you will have the opportunity to indicate the number of available beds in the subsequent steps (given you selected the “Entire home/apt” room type). Finally, select the appropriate number of guests from the drop-down menu.

City: Once you begin typing the name of the city where your place resides, Airbnb will automatically suggest all relevant matches. Your choice will allow you to press ‘Continue’ and move on to the next step of the listing.

Amenities: You want to list all of the services that you will provide for the guest. It is important to be thorough in this section. Do not check off a box if you don’t have it.

One of my units does not have a television and still, I have gotten guests renting from my space expecting a T.V.

Space: If you’re renting out an entire home, then guests will expect to use your whole place including the kitchen or any amenities associated with your home.

Tip: guests care about parking and if you have a designated spot, then it’ll sway them to book with you. Another tip: if you live in a sunny area like Southern California, then an A/C unit will be critical for getting more bookings.

Set the Scene

How to host on Airbnb

This is probably the most important section of your listing. You get to upload your photos of the space. It is important to take professional quality pictures because your pictures will do the actual selling and it is much more important than coming up with a clever title.

I outsource my photos to a local photographer. I will share my process on this later.

Edit Your Description

Your summary description is meant to be a brief overview of your place that guests read before they get into the details.

You can also use your description to remind guests that people from all backgrounds are welcome in your home.

It is important to highlight the best features of your home in 2-3 sentences because the description is capped at 500 characters.

Airbnb has some optional descriptions, but I would highly recommend you to take the time and do this. This will provide guests a better overall picture of your home.  Some of the optional suggestions are: what guests can access, about your place, how to get around, and etc etc.

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

The Do’s

  1. 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.
  2. Sum up the best feature of your home in one sentence.
  3. Mention if your home is near any major attractions. Is it near Disneyland? What about its proximity to downtown?
  4. Undersell and over deliver.

The Don’ts

  1. Please do not use funky special characters like @#$%. This will only make your listing less professional.
  2. Do not capitalize all of your characters. However, you can use caps to highlight a word.
  3. Do not oversell and under deliver.

Here is an example of my own listing:

A Step-by-Step Guide on How To Create and Host on Airbnb

As you can see that I listed the fact that my apartment is steps from downtown. This is a major plus for some folks that do not have a car but still want to experience downtown area.

Some more examples:

how to host on airbnb

Ultra-tip: if you live near a convention center, for example, Las Vegas has an annual convention called CES and if your listing is near the convention where thousands of people fly in from all over the country, then you can quickly change your listing to reflect that.

I can guarantee that you will get booked out!

Calendar Settings

How to host on Airbnb

You have to keep an accurate calendar in order to maximize profit. So, it’s really important to update your calendar regularly. In fact, Airbnb gives higher search ranking for hosts that go into their calendar regularly.
For the most of us, if we are doing this full-time, then we should need to worry about blocking out dates.
For some of us who want to do this part-time, this is where you make changes.

Tips on how to properly set up your calendar: 

Airbnb will ask you how much notice you would need before a guest arrives. I had customized my cutoff time on the same day before 10 am. You can have a different cutoff hour. Just be realistic about how long it would take you to clean. I chose 10 am because regular check-in time for me is at 4 pm. I want to give ample time for my cleaner to turn the unit around for the next guest.

Now, why do I do this?

It is to maximize profit. If I had selected 1, or 2 days, that means Airbnb will automatically block up to 2 days after my guest checks out. This also means you will lose those two available days to host.

You get the idea.

Tips on how advanced your guests can book and for how long:

I keep my calendar open for 3 months in advance.
Why do I do this?
I get to charge more during the high-seasons. From my own data, I charge an average night of 200 dollars in the months of July and August. That is 25% more than what I charge normally. Just be aware that there are guests that book 6-8 months in advance because they wanted to take advantage of your low-season pricing for a high-season booking.
I do not mind the 1 night minimal and I have no imposed maximum nights. I would highly recommend you to do the same because if you had a 3 night minimal and there is a gap of 2 days between the check out of your previous guest and check-in of your next guest, then you will automatically lose the ability to host those two days…
Not good!

Pricing Strategy

How to host on Airbnb

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.

Smart Pricing

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.

Welcome Offer

This is a new feature that was recently added to Airbnb. The goal behind it is to kickstart your new listing in order to attract new bookings.

Why add a welcome offer?

New listings that get booked and reviewed in the first month appear more often in search results and get an average of 3.6x more bookings in their first 3 months.

In other words, increased visibility!

If you are already pricing your daily rate below market rate, then I would not add a welcome offer. But, if you are not, then you should definitely consider a welcome offer!


I give 3% discount on weekly and monthly stays. It is up to you, but I see some hosts give as much as 30% for a monthly stay.

I discourage such a high discount when you are just starting out with 1 unit. The hosts that are able to do this is because they generally have multiple units.

They make money on volume, so it is okay for them to shell out hefty discounts. For example, here a host is offering 30% off for 30 days or more.

Did you also notice how many units he has? He has 30 different properties…

Yeah, only do this when you became a heavy hitter.

Note on Cancellation: 

how to host on airbnb

I believe that you get 2 cancellations penalty-free if you have instant booking turned on.

(check out this blog post on how to optimize your cancellation policies)

I had to recently cancel a reservation because the guest wanted to use my place as a birthday celebration. That made me uncomfortable because I was sure that it was going to be a party.


This by far is the longest post that I’ve written. 2,459 words later, you have made it! Tip of the hat to you!!

Interest in learning how to build your rental arbitrage empire? You can subscribe to my blog and learn tips and insights on my process of creating a profitable 6-figure passive income business using other people’s home.



  • CommanderMoney
    Posted at 19:42h, 10 December Reply

    Thanks Sam! I’ve heard that the pricing strategy is key to trying to fill occupancy. Air BnB automated suggests when you start out that you should price yourself above the market as you get 3 months of higher visibility. Thoughts?

    • Sam Zuo
      Posted at 21:13h, 10 December Reply

      Airbnb will give hosts with lower pricing higher search results.

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