Airbnb Hosting 101

Airbnb hosting

By The Hospitable Team

Interested in hosting on Airbnb? Renting out your property short-term can be very lucrative and rewarding. But while turning your vacation home or even a spare bedroom in your primary home into a way to generate extra income may sound appealing, actually getting started isn’t that simple.

The vacation rental industry has grown significantly in recent years, so it has become highly competitive. It has become more challenging for new Airbnb hosts to stand out and reach potential guests. There are a lot of things to consider, learn, and master if you want to achieve success in your rentalpreneur journey.

That’s why we’ve created this article that covers everything about Airbnb hosting. Here we’ll provide the step-by-step framework to help you get started and succeed on Airbnb.

You may want to download our extended guide on Airbnb hosting.

Do Your Research and Plan Everything

Before you begin your Airbnb hosting journey, it’s essential to do some planning and research. First, you need to ensure that your home or apartment is a great place for hosting Airbnb guests.

For example, running a vacation rental makes financial sense if your property is located in a popular travel destination. If you don’t own a property, you may consider such a popular way of running Airbnb as rental arbitrage, which is legal and lucrative in many locations.

You should also research your competitors because you may find out that your local area is filled with short-term rental properties that are just like yours. Then you’ll need to define some unique selling points that will set you apart from your competition.

Remember that many cities and countries have strict short-term rental laws and regulations. That means you need to thoroughly review your local government’s policies and make sure that running an Airbnb is legal and that your property adheres to the regulations and laws of your city or state.

If you live in the US and are considering turning your property into a vacation rental, you may want to check out our blog article covering different aspects of current Airbnb regulations by state.

Estimate your expenses. Running a short-term rental is a business, so you must pay vacation rental and state-applicable taxes. And although you can list your property on the Airbnb platform for free, you’ll need to pay a service fee every time a guest books your home. Besides, there are costs of redecorating and refurnishing your home and expenses you’ll need to pay for cleanings, repairs, and property maintenance.

Define and research your target audience. Think about the type of travelers your Airbnb would appeal to. Understanding their needs will help you define what kind of customer experience you want to offer and create a listing that will look appealing to travelers most likely to book a stay at your rental.

For example, if your house is big enough to comfortably accommodate a large group of people, you may target families with kids. But keep in mind that then you will need to take extra measures to ensure your rental space is safe for children, especially those under three years old.

You may also offer a pet-friendly Airbnb because it’s one of the most searched amenities. But a pet-friendly property requires extra cleaning and maintenance, so many hosts ask guests to pay a pet fee to cover the costs of hosting a guest with pets.

Once you define your ideal guests who can be most interested in staying at your property, you should focus your marketing efforts on them.

Understanding your target audience and their needs during a vacation will help you make your listing appealing to them by providing furniture, amenities, and decor specific to those travelers who will appreciate it. You’ll also be able to write better descriptions and communicate with your guests more effectively via personalized messages.

You should also draw up a business plan that will help you define your complete Airbnb strategy, identify risks and chances for success, and ensure you are going in the right direction. You need to specify your short-term and long-term goals and set realistic timelines for achieving them. You should also develop a unique value proposition to set you apart from your competitors.  

Make Your Property Guest-Perfect

Now you can start preparing and sprucing up your home or apartment to welcome your first Airbnb guests. You must complete this important process before creating an Airbnb listing. Remember that modern travelers have high expectations when looking for a place to stay, so you should do your best to ensure that your rental space is guest-perfect.

Furnish your rental

Furnish and decorate your home elegantly to create a cozy, welcoming space and provide the best guest experience. You may consider creating a themed Airbnb to make your property stand out from other vacation rentals. But before you make any interior design decisions, it’s important to remember that you’re styling your rental space for your target guests and not you personally.

When remodeling your rental and choosing furniture, flooring materials, and decor, you should try to balance stunning interior design, durability, practicality, and comfort. This approach will help you create a beautiful space your guests will love without spending much money.

You may want to check out our blog article to find some Airbnb decorating ideas and tips on how to create a cozy and inviting space for your target guests and achieve the “wow” factor.

Add amenities and supplies

Travelers who use Airbnb to find a place to stay expect certain essential amenities, like bed linens, pillows, kitchen utensils, bath towels, shampoo, hand and body soap. Airbnb encourages all hosts to provide these basic items because travelers will likely choose another listing for a more comfortable and pleasant stay if you don’t offer them.

Most travelers consider amenities their top priority and often filter search results to find listings that provide them. According to Airbnb, the most searched amenities are

  • WiFi
  • A Jacuzzi
  • A kitchen
  • A dedicated workspace
  • Air conditioning or heating
  • A pet-friendly space
  • A kitchen
  • A pool
  • A washer or dryer

If you offer these amenities to your guests, you’re more likely to enjoy consistent bookings and positive reviews. And don’t forget to stock your Airbnb with the necessary supplies that guests expect to find. Check out our blog article to find a comprehensive Airbnb supplies list for each room.

Make sure your home is safe

It’s your responsibility as a host to take measures for fire prevention because fire is one of the biggest risks in any home. You should equip your rental with safety items like carbon monoxide detectors, smoke alarms, and fire extinguishers.

You should also have a well-stocked first aid kit at your property and periodically restock it. Then your guests can have the necessary tools if they have an accident during their stay.

Take measures to minimize hazards. Walk around your home to identify any areas that could harm your guests. If there are any loose steps or exposed wires, get them fixed. Provide your guests with detailed instructions on how to safely use home appliances.

If you need more information about home safety, check out our blog article to learn about the best practices that can help minimize safety risks to your Airbnb guests.

Gather a Team to Help You with Cleaning and Maintenance

Airbnb guests expect hotel-grade cleanliness, so before you create a listing, you need to properly clean each room of your house to make it look spotless. If your guests notice just one small thing that was not cleaned properly, they will be disappointed and may leave negative reviews, which is bad for your reputation as an Airbnb host.

It’s also important to clean your rental space thoroughly between every guest, every time. This way, you can make your guests happy and earn great reviews that will help you get more bookings.

The constant routine of cleaning your home can be very time-consuming, especially if you have a lot of guests. That’s why it makes sense to hire professional vacation rental clears and provide them with a cleaning checklist they need to follow during each turnover to keep your place sparkling clean.

Hiring a reliable, professional cleaning service for your short-term rental is an important business decision because it can mean the difference between an excellent review and a lost customer. There are many things to consider if you want to ensure consistent turnovers, so you may want to check out our blog article to find helpful tips on selecting a cleaning company for Airbnb.

One of the biggest responsibilities of any Airbnb host is ongoing maintenance. You must perform it on time to keep your home in good condition and avoid many problems that may require costly repairs. That means you might need a team to help you with routine maintenance and small repairs.

Managing your cleaners and maintenance team will be easier and less time-consuming if you use vacation rental software like Hospitable. Our system will assign tasks automatically based on booking information. You only need to set rules.

Take your team management to the next level

Grant necessary access, assign tasks automatically, share a calendar, send reminders, and more.

Organize a Smooth Self-Check-In

Many Airbnb guests prefer the convenience of self-check-in and search for this amenity on Airbnb. So if you want to attract more guests to your listing, installing a smart lock on your front door is a good idea. It’s a keyless entry system that allows guests to check in using a unique code that you can change remotely for each guest using your smartphone.

The best thing is that smart locks integrate with vacation rental software like Hospitable, making them easy to manage automatically. And some smart locks can integrate with security cameras, allowing you to monitor who comes in and out of your vacation rental.

Offering a self-check-in is also very convenient for STR hosts. It will help save you time, especially if your guests arrive earlier or later than the check-in time. But you should provide your guests with detailed check-in instructions for accessing your space and include many high-quality photos that illustrate each step of this process.

Decide on Your Pricing Strategy

It’s important to get your pricing right from the beginning, and actually, it’s all about finding the balance. If you set your nightly rates too high, you could end up with more vacant days, but if you price your rental too low, you will be leaving money on the table.

When setting your pricing strategy, you should consider the rates that other hosts in your area charge, the amenities you offer, and the seasonal trends in supply and demand. Additionally, you need to ensure the nightly rate you select for your Airbnb property covers all your operating costs and allows you to generate a profit.

Airbnb has its pricing service, but the company is interested in ensuring your STR property is booked, so they might suggest the best price for guests but not for you as the host.

A better solution is to use a third-party dynamic pricing tool. Such tools can assess your location, competition, and demand for accommodations in your area and seasonal changes, and propose optimized rates to increase your occupancy and maximize your revenue.

Ensure Perfect Communication with Your Guests

After you create your outstanding Airbnb listing with stunning photos of your vacation rental and it goes live, you can start accepting bookings. But you should remember that modern travelers aren’t just looking for the best STR property or the most amazing listing. They want to stay at a place that feels like a home away from home and know that their host cares about them.

That means you need to focus on building relationships with your guests and be ready to go the extra mile to meet their expectations and provide memorable experiences. Proactive communication with guests is key here because it helps you make a great impression on your guests and enhance their experience by providing accurate information at the right time.

You should create a personalized message flow for each guest that covers all the customer journey stages, from booking inquiries to check-out and beyond. You should also be polite and comprehensive when answering your guests’ questions.

First, you should respond quickly to any messages and inquiries you get during the pre-booking phase. The faster you respond to guests’ messages, the more likely they are to book a stay at your Airbnb.

Have conversations with your guests even when you sleep.

We will detect questions and answer on your behalf; send fully custom messages triggered by events, and much more!

Besides, if you maintain a high response rate, it will signal to an Airbnb algorithm that you are an active host on the platform. This way, you can improve your rankings and increase your listing’s visibility.

The main goal of sending messages to guests between the booking and check-in is to provide the necessary information about your home and local attractions, house rules, and check-in instructions. Sending a welcome message is a great way to give travelers essential details they should know when they arrive at your home and give them some helpful tips.

While your guests stay at your Airbnb, you should focus your messages on welcoming them to your property and detecting potential issues. It’s crucial to contact your guests after they’ve checked in to make them feel cared for and let them know you’re always there to help. You can also give your guests a well-designed welcome guide to help them navigate your home and the local area.

Leave as many written instructions for your Airbnb guests as you can. Then the guests will be able to find the necessary info when needed and won’t have to call or message you whenever they have a question. Check out our blog article to find out what to include in your house manual to ensure it offers value to your guests and proactively answers their possible questions.

Finally, you should send a personalized message to your guest after they check out to encourage them to leave you a good review. The best approach is to leave a positive review for your guest on the Airbnb platform and then send them a thank-you message. You should inform your guest about your review and request them to write a review for you.

List Your Vacation Rental on Other Channels

Although Airbnb is the biggest OTA website, it’s not the only option to list your property. Creating listings on other major booking websites, such as Vrbo and Booking.com can increase your exposure and attract more bookings.

These popular platforms operate in 220+ countries across the globe, and millions of travelers visit them every day to book a stay. Listing on them will help you increase your online presence and reach domestic and international travelers.

But if you want to become independent and avoid paying hefty OTA fees, you should create your direct booking website. Then you’ll be able to develop relationships with your guests and drive repeat direct bookings. You can easily build your website using Hospitable’s Direct offering and have complete control of your bookings and how you market your STR property.

Automate Your Hosting Routine

Once your vacation rental business is up and running, you’ll most likely notice that there are a lot of routine tasks that you need to do every day:

  • Communicating with guests via messages
  • Updating the calendar and prices on all your distribution channels
  • Coordinating with professional cleaners and maintenance team
  • Managing guest reviews and more.

This workload can look like a part-time or full-time job and quickly become overwhelming if you do everything manually. Fortunately, there’s a better option. You can automate many routine tasks if you use vacation rental management software like Hospitable.

All your STR business in one convenient window

Automate communication, manage channels, sync calendars, push pricing updates, notify your team, and much more!
Start today with a 14-day free trial.

Our tool offers comprehensive useful features and can help set your STR business on autopilot. You’ll be able to automate almost all your daily tasks and make your business more efficient. Then you’ll have more time to focus on scaling your STR business and doing things you enjoy the most.

Final Thought

In this article, we’ve wanted to touch on different aspects of getting started and succeeding as a STR host, and we hope that this could be a helpful Airbnb hosting 101 resource for you.

And although great Airbnb hosting takes time and effort to master, with consistent work and dedication, success is far more attainable than you might think. Here we’ve covered the basics of starting a vacation rental business on Airbnb, but if you want to learn more, you can find more articles with helpful tips and expert insights on our blog.

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