By The Hospitable Team
Airbnb is the biggest online marketplace that connects travelers looking for a place to stay where they can enjoy a local experience and hosts looking to earn extra income or build a successful STR business. There’s an opportunity for everyone as Airbnb allows hosts to list not only entire vacation rental homes or apartments but also shared spaces, such as private bedrooms within homes or even shared rooms.
Hosting on Airbnb can be a very lucrative and rewarding path, but it’s not that simple. With more than 6 million listings from more than 4 million property owners, competing on Airbnb has become harder, especially for new hosts.
If you want to stand out and reach potential guests, creating an unforgettable guest experience from the start is crucial. That’s why we’ve created this comprehensive Airbnb hosting guide that covers all the essential things you need to do to begin hosting and set your business for success.
Table of Contents
Research Your Target Audience
Before you start on Airbnb and create your listing, you must understand what type of travelers your rental space would appeal to. Understanding the needs of your target audience will help you define the kind of hosting experience you want to offer. Then you’ll be able to create a listing that appeals to people most likely to book with you.
So you should take time to define and research your ideal guests and base your marketing strategies around them. You can ask yourself a few questions that will help identify what kind of people would love to stay in your property:
- How many people can your rental space comfortably accommodate?
- Where is your Airbnb located? (Is it in the city center, in the suburbs, near a beach, or in the wood?) Are there any tourist attractions nearby?
- Who are the people in your neighborhood? (Are they working professionals, students, or mostly families?)
Once you’ve answered these questions about your rental property and local area, you can start thinking about your target guest personas. These are specific types of guests that will be most interested in renting your Airbnb, and they will be the focus of your marketing efforts.
For example, you may target families with small children, business travelers, digital nomads, couples looking for a romantic vacation, pet lovers, or larger groups looking for a vacation among friends. You should pick one specific type of guest and make creating a perfect experience for them your northern star. When making any decision about your short-term rental business, ask yourself if it aligns with your target guest.
Give the target persona a name and get to know them. Think about how old they are and what they do. What are their interests and hobbies? What are their vacation-specific priorities and concerns? You need to create a fictional but completely believable person with a name, a personality, and dreams for their perfect vacation.
Creating target guest personas will help you in every stage of building your Airbnb business:
- You’ll be able to provide amenities, furniture, and decor specific to the people who will appreciate it the most.
- It will help you develop catchy Airbnb names and write better listing descriptions.
- You’ll be able to communicate with your guests more effectively and use the right tone of voice in your messages.
And vacation rental software like Hospitable.com can help you automate conversations with your guests and ensure that the automated messages sound and feel human.
Have conversations with your guests even when you sleep.
Prepare Your Property for Airbnb Guests
Now you can start preparing your home or apartment to welcome your first guest. You need to complete this process before you create an Airbnb listing. Remember: accepting guests is not the same as having friends to stay for the weekend. Modern travelers have high expectations when they’re looking for a place to stay, so you need to get your home ready for them. To attract guests and give them a great experience, you’ll need to remove clutter and invest in refurbishment to spruce your space.
Make sure your rental is safe
Take measures for fire prevention and equip your home with safety items like smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and functioning fire extinguishers. Put a well-stocked first aid kit in the unit so guests can have the necessary tools in case of an accident during their stay.
Walk around your space to identify any areas that could pose a danger to your guests. Are there any loose steps, exposed wires, or any other hazards that may cause injury to guests? Get them fixed and remove or lock up any objects that could be dangerous to your guests. Provide contact details for all emergency services.
Check out our article to learn what you can do to minimize safety risks to your Airbnb guests.
Make your place look incredible
It’s important to impress your guests with the appearance of your home and create a welcoming atmosphere where they will feel comfortable. So you’ll need to upgrade your interior design and decorate and furnish your home to create a beautiful, cozy space for your target guests.
Making your home picture-perfect will help your listing stand out in search results and can get you more bookings. And the best thing is that it’s possible to create a unique, stunning space for guests without spending much money. Check out our blog article to find Airbnb decorating ideas and tips on making your home look appealing to your target guests.
Use common sense when you make decisions about choosing the right flooring materials, furniture, and decor when remodeling your rental. Your goal is to find a balance between Instagram-worthy Airbnb interior design, comfort, and durability. Choose a style that most travelers find appealing and purchase practical, durable furniture. Such an approach will save you money in the long run.
Learn more about interior design for short-term rentals in our recent masterclass.
Equip your rental with amenities and supplies
Airbnb guests expect certain essential amenities for a comfortable stay, like bed linens, pillows, bath towels, shampoo, soap (for hands and body), and kitchen utensils. Airbnb strongly encourages hosts to provide these basics because travelers will likely look elsewhere for a more comfortable stay without them.
Most travelers say that amenities are their top priority for a great trip, so you should stock up on the essentials to help your guests feel comfortable. But if your vacation rental offers more amenities and supplies for guests, it’s more likely to enjoy consistent bookings. According to Airbnb, travelers often filter search results to find such popular amenities as
- A pool
- A kitchen
- Free parking on the premises
- A washer or dryer
- A Jacuzzi
- Air conditioning or heating
- Dedicated workspace.
You should also think about specific amenities that might appeal to the types of travelers you want to attract and add these items to meet their expectations. For example, families with kids will feel more comfortable in your space if you provide them with baby gates, high chairs, cribs, kids’ cups, plates, and utensils. Many people are traveling with pets, so supplying bowls for pet food and water, pet-friendly furniture covers, scratching posts, and litter boxes might be helpful.
You’ll feel more confident when stocking supplies to ensure a homely stay for your guests if you work from a checklist of all the Airbnb essentials and extras.
Find Reliable Cleaning and Maintenance Teams
Before you list your vacation rental on Airbnb, you need to clean each room in your house to ensure it is spotless. If your guests notice just one small thing that was not cleaned properly, they will be disappointed and may leave a negative review, damaging your reputation.
Cleanliness is of the utmost importance to Airbnb guests, so keeping your rental space spick and span is a must to stay competitive. That’s why it makes sense to outsource your cleaning responsibilities to professional cleaners and provide them with a cleaning checklist that they need to follow to ensure they’ve covered everything.
When choosing your cleaning service, you should look for experience, accountability, responsiveness, and quality performance. And don’t forget to check reviews of the cleaning company written by other hosts. Find more insights into building a stellar cleaning team in our recent podcast.
Another important responsibility for STR hosts is ongoing rental property maintenance that should be performed on time to keep the property in good condition. Neglecting minor issues like a small leak in the roof or a stuck toilet may result in more significant problems requiring extensive and costly repairs. That means you might need to hire an electrician and a plumber to help you handle regular maintenance and small repairs.
Managing your cleaning and maintenance teams will be easier if you automate this process using vacation rental software like Hospitable.com. Set rules for automated task management or assign tasks manually. Your team members don’t even have (while they can if they wish) to create Hospitable accounts—we will send out email and SMS reminders.
Take your team management to the next level
Set up the Self-check-in Using Smart Locks
A lot of STR hosts and guests prefer the convenience of self-check-in. It’s a great way to improve your guest experience and saves you time, especially in the case of early or late arrivals. Offering self-check-in can also attract guests searching for this amenity on Airbnb. But you should provide your guests with detailed check-in instructions with many photos that illustrate each step of the process and update your rental property with a smart lock.
Installing a smart lock allows you to forget about lost keys and ultimately control who can access your vacation rental home. A smart lock uses a security code you can generate and change remotely using your smartphone. The code expires when your guests check out. Some smart locks can integrate with security cameras, so you’ll be able to monitor who comes in and out of your home.
Besides, smart locks integrate with vacation rental apps like Hospitable, making them very easy to manage. Hospitable automatically creates and sends unique codes to your guests shortly before check-in, so you don’t have to manually type out a code for each guest.
Check out our blog article to learn more about how to automate your check-in with smart locks.
Define Your Pricing Strategy
It’s completely up to you what to charge per night, but you need to ensure that your booking fee covers all your operating costs and allows you to generate a profit. It’s also important to keep your rates competitive, so it helps to look at some comparable listings on Airbnb. You may miss out on bookings if you set higher nightly prices than in comparable rentals nearby. But if you set the right price, you’ll be able to attract more guests.
The location of your rental and its size are the most significant factors in determining the price. But when setting the pricing strategy for your Airbnb listing, you should also consider what other hosts in your area charge, the amenities you offer, and the seasonality. This info can help you find a fair price that feels right for you and your guests.
When you are new to Airbnb and have no reviews, travelers may hesitate to book your listing. You can entice your first guests with a lower rate than your competitors. And when you receive a few positive reviews, you can increase your price to match the demand in your local area.
Another option is to use dynamic pricing tools like PriceLabs to help you set prices that guarantee a high occupancy rate for your Airbnb and maximize your revenue. Its smart algorithm recommends daily rates for each listing based on market supply and demand data, seasonal changes, local events, holiday predictions, and the number of days left to book.
PriceLabs allows you to implement your pricing strategies as well. Using advanced customization options, you can set different minimum prices for weekends, adjust last-minute discounts, adjust rates based on your listing performance, and more.
Master Communication with Guests
Once your house is guest-ready, and your listing with beautiful photos is live on Airbnb, you are ready to start receiving reservations. But you can’t expect to get far and outperform your competitors if you lack some essential host skills.
Travelers aren’t just looking for the perfect Airbnb rental or the most eye-catching listing. Guests want to feel welcome and know they are booking with a host who cares about them and is ready to go the extra mile to meet their expectations and provide a perfect stay.
Being an Airbnb host is about hospitality and creating the best guest experience possible; communication with guests is key here. It helps build relationships with guests and improve their experience by providing accurate information. Communication is one of the major categories in vacation rental reviews, which are crucial to your success as an Airbnb host.
During the pre-booking phase, it’s important to respond fast to any inquiries and be polite and comprehensive when answering their questions to make a good impression on travelers. The faster you respond to their messages, the more likely they are to book with you.
The main goal of communication with guests between the booking and check-in is to provide information about your property, check-in instructions, and house rules. Send them a welcome letter to introduce them to your rental space and provide them with some useful tips. Make the info easy to absorb—use short paragraphs and bullet points.
Communication with guests during their stay focuses on welcoming your guests at your property and detecting potential issues. You should contact your guests after they’ve checked in to make sure everything is okay and let them know you’re there to help. The good idea is to provide your guests with a printed, well-designed welcome guide to help them navigate your property.
The more written instructions you leave for your Airbnb guests, the better. Then they won’t have to call you whenever they have a question. Check out our article to learn what to include in your house manual to ensure it offers value to your guests.
The goal of communication with guests after their check-out is to encourage them to leave you a positive review. So you should leave a review for your guests on Airbnb and send them a thank-you message to inform them about it and request them to write a review for you.
Automate reviews management
Consider Additional Distribution Channels
Airbnb is a great platform to offer your rental space to potential guests. But it’s not the only one, so you should also explore other platforms. If you want to maximize your earnings and build a successful vacation rental business, you should list your rental property on other top OTA sites, such as Vrbo and Booking.com.
Airbnb, Booking.com, and Vrbo are the biggest players in the vacation rental market and the places where most travelers go to book a short-term rental. These internationally recognized companies operate in 220+ countries across the globe and are excellent channels to expand your online presence and reach larger audiences.
Another way to drive traffic to your listing and get more reservations is creating your own direct booking website. It’s easy to do using our dedicated service Hospitable Direct. Your direct booking website will help you save on OTA fees and develop relationships with guests to drive repeat bookings.
Automate your STR Business Using Vacation Rental Management Software
Once your STR business is up and running, you’ll notice a lot of routine tasks that need to be done daily—communicating with guests, updating the calendar and prices on all your channels, and coordinating with cleaners and the maintenance team. This can look like a full-time job and can quickly become overwhelming if you try to do it all manually.
Fortunately, you can automate many processes if you use vacation rental management software like Hospitable.com. Our tool has a comprehensive set of features and will automate most of the routine tasks. With Hospitable, you can automate your guest messaging, manage cleaning and maintenance tasks remotely, instantly sync reservations across platforms to prevent double bookings, and more. Hospitable will cut your workload and give you the time to focus on the important aspects of running your STR business you enjoy the most.
All your STR business in one convenient window
Start now with a 14-day free trial.
If you’re a property owner interested in renting out your space on Airbnb, this beginner’s Airbnb hosting guide should help you get started.
It takes time and effort to become a great STR host, but you can do it if you stay motivated, work consistently, and never stop learning. Luckily, many free resources are available online that can help you stay on the pulse of the hosting community.
Your journey to success will be faster and easier if you use automation. Vacation rental software like Hospitable can help you make your business more efficient and keep it under control with less hassle.
Airbnb FAQ for New Hosts
Thinking about creating a listing on Airbnb to rent out your property short-term and earn extra income? As an aspiring Airbnb host, it’s most likely you have tons of questions about hosting on this well-known platform. In this article, you’ll find answers to the most common questions that potential Airbnb hosts may have.
Vrbo Tips for Owners
Looking to make money on Vrbo as a vacation rental owner? It’s one of the biggest platforms in the industry that features more than 2 million properties across 200 countries. If you want to attract travelers, you should do your best to stand out. Here are effective Vrbo tips for owners to help you do just that.
Booking.com Host Guide for Beginners
Today, Booking.com is one of the largest accommodation booking platforms, with more than 28 million listings in 226 countries and territories across the globe. Planning to become the part of this crowd? Our guide will get you started.