How to List on Airbnb: Beginner’s Guide

how to list on airbnb

By The Hospitable Team

With over 6 million active listings in over 100,000 cities worldwide and 150 million users, Airbnb is the global leader in the vacation rental industry. Listing a property on this well-known rental listing site platform is essential for every short-term rental host.

If you’re thinking about renting out your home or apartment to travelers, in this guide, we’ll provide step-by-step instructions on how to list on Airbnb and appear higher in search results. You’ll also find some tips on how to run your short-term rental as you begin your journey as a host.

You may also want to check our blog post for more tips on getting the most out of the Airbnb strategy.

How to List on Airbnb

Airbnb has listings for different places to stay, many of which are single-family homes and investment properties. There are also tiny homes, cabins, RVs, treehouses, yurts, and more listings.

You don’t need to be a hospitality professional to list your property on Airbnb and become a host. It could be a smart way to earn additional income using a property you already own. In fact, you can start by renting out a spare room in your home or apartment.

But remember that being an Airbnb host is not just about providing your guests a place to stay. It’s about giving them a memorable experience, making them feel at home, and keeping them happy. You should be friendly, accommodating, and stay in constant touch with your guests to provide them with the information they need at the right time.

Effective communication via messages will lead to increased bookings from repeat guests and positive reviews, so it can be helpful to automate this process using tools like Hospitable and save time. Hospitable has ChatGPT integration that can help you reply to guests quickly and provide accurate and personalized answers.

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!

If you are ready to create your first listing on Airbnb, you can easily do it in the Host section of your Airbnb profile.

Sign up for Airbnb

If you’re a new Airbnb host, the first step in listing your property is signing up for the platform. When you’re on the Airbnb home page, you must click on the “Airbnb your home” tab and then “Airbnb Setup.”

You may create a host account using a phone number, Facebook, Google, Apple, or email. You can start on your own or be matched with an Airbnb Superhost who will provide you with guidance over chat or video.

Set up your Airbnb listing

You’ll need to fill out a form asking you to provide the following information about your rental.

The property type. You should select from the options Airbnb suggests: Apartment, House, Secondary unit, Unique space, Bed and breakfast, or Boutique hotel. Then you’ll be asked to define your accommodation further, choosing from options under each type to help your guests understand what your listing offers.

The space you’ll be renting out. You must decide what part of your property you want to offer your guests: an Entire place, a Private room, or a Shared room.

The number of guests. You should think carefully about how many people your rental space can accommodate so they can have a comfortable stay. Specify the number of bedrooms, beds, and bathrooms.

The property address. Provide the exact address, which your guests will be able to see after they have booked a reservation. Then pin the exact location of your rental property on Airbnb’s map.

Amenities. Select the amenities that travelers usually expect, such as essentials, Wi-Fi, air conditioning, heat, desk/workspace, etc., and safety amenities, such as a smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector. You’ll be able to add more amenities available at your rental after you publish your listing.

Spaces that your guests can use. Tick off common areas and rooms your guests can access during their stay, such as the kitchen, pool, gym, parking, etc.

Photos. Use a phone or camera to take beautiful pictures of your rental that highlight unique décor and amenities and add them to your listing. Airbnb recommends adding quality photos of every room your guests can access. You can also add more photos that present your space in the best possible light after you publish your listing.

Description. Describe your place to guests (500 characters)—tell them about the best features of your space and special amenities, and mention what you love about your neighborhood. Try to be creative and describe the unique experience travelers can have if they book your property. Use relevant words and phrases in your description to ensure your listing is included in the proper categories.

Title (max 50 characters). Your listing name should be eye-catching and descriptive. Use it to highlight what makes your rental special.

Finish and publish your listing

Keep in mind that since there are fewer steps to complete to publish a listing, certain default settings will automatically be applied to your listing. According to the information provided in the Airbnb Help Center, these new listing settings are:

  • Instant Book is on.
  • Smart Pricing is off.
  • No dates are blocked in your calendar.
  • Guests can book your rental space and check in on the same day.
  • Guests can book your property up to 1 year in advance.
  • The booking minimum for a guest is one night, and the booking maximum is 365 days.

You can change the default settings after you’ve published your listing. And before your Airbnb listing goes live, you need to complete the following steps:

  • Set your nightly rate (you’ll get an AI recommendation based on prices in comparable listings in your area).
  • Mark whether you want to offer your first three guests 20% off the nightly price. This can help attract first guests and get the reviews you need for a star rating.
  • Review local short-term rental laws and taxes and familiarize yourself with the Airbnb nondiscriminatory policy.
  • Review your listing and make sure that all details are correct.
  • Fill in all the required sections in your Airbnb profile, add a photo of yourself and a photo of your Government ID, and confirm your phone number.

After you publish your listing on Airbnb, it may take up to 72 hours to appear in the platform’s search results. Then you can work on optimizing your listing and edit any details.

Make final adjustments to your listing

Once your Airbnb listing is published, you can adjust additional settings, fine-tune details, and enter additional information for guests, such as

  • Add additional fees, such as cleaning fees, pet fees, and extra guest fees, to ensure that your revenue covers your expenses.
  • Adjust the settings in your booking calendar based on your requirements and preferences.
  • Set your house rules—they will appear on your listing page, and Airbnb guests will need to agree to them to book your rental.
  • Choose your cancellation policy from the suggested options. Keep in mind that travelers are more likely to book listings with a more flexible cancellation policy.
  • Add accessibility features and highlight each with a least one clear photo.
  • Add a house manual to provide your guests with tips on how to use your rental.
  • Add a guidebook to suggest your favorite restaurants, cafes, parks, stores, and local tourist attractions.

Improve your Airbnb ranking

We’ve covered all the musts of listing on Airbnb, but you can also do some extra things to improve your Airbnb ranking. Then your listing will appear more often on top of results when potential guests search for properties in your market, leading to more listing views and bookings.

Here is what you can do to optimize the performance of your listing based on Airbnb SEO requirements:

  • Upload professional photos that represent your listing to attract guests.
  • Include keywords that travelers use when they search on the Airbnb platform in your title and property description.
  • Make your description scannable—break it down into sections and use bullet points and numbered lists.
  • List all amenities that apply to your rental—travelers are more likely to choose a property with more amenities than similar listings with a few extra options.
  • Use Instant Book, which simplifies the booking process for guests and is part of the Airbnb search algorithm.
  • Speed up your response rate and response time—respond to booking inquiries as fast as possible, and don’t leave any guest messages unanswered.
  • Set competitive pricing, and don’t charge a higher price than your competitors unless you offer significantly more amenities.
  • Work on getting as many 5-star reviews as possible—give guests a great stay and encourage them to leave you a positive review in your check-out message.

4 Hosting Tips for a Successful Start

Creating a listing on Airbnb is just the first step—being a host comes with many responsibilities, and you must be prepared for them. Managing a short-term rental property can be tricky, but with these 4 top tips, you can handle everything like a pro.

Hire a reliable cleaner

Cleanliness of a rental space is the top priority for all Airbnb guests. It’s one of the aspects of their stay that they always comment on in their reviews, and it’s the number one cause of guest complaints.

Cleaning your property yourself is a way to reduce management costs, but it only makes sense if you live locally and have time to treat your vacation rental as a full-time job. But even if it seems an attractive option, can you guarantee that you’ll be ready and willing to thoroughly clean the entire property more than once a week?

Remember that in high season, you might deal with quick turnarounds when you’ve got a group of travelers leaving on the same day as another arrives, which can be very stressful. So if you don’t want to handle cleaning yourself, consider hiring professional cleaners to help you stay on top of your cleaning routine.

That’s a great alternative that will allow you to meet guests’ expectations for a tidy vacation rental and have more time to focus on other important aspects of your business. And if you opt for vacation rental software like Hospitable, you can assign cleaning tasks automatically based on booking information. Our system will notify your team even about same-day turnovers.

All your STR business in one convenient window

Automate communication, manage channels, sync calendars, push pricing updates, notify your team, and much more!
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It’s also important to provide your cleaners with a detailed cleaning checklist so that they know exactly what you would like done for your property during each turnover. This way, you can ensure your place is always spotless when guests arrive. Then you’ll be able to make a great first impression on your guests that can turn into 5-star reviews that help keep your place booked.

Get the price right

When it comes to setting prices for your Airbnb listing, you should focus on maximizing your occupancy and know when to adjust your nightly rates to ensure they are competitive.

To make the most out of your vacation rental property, you should constantly check and update your pricing according to market trends, seasonality, events in your area, public holidays, etc. This approach will help you optimize your pricing strategy for maximum revenue.

Adjusting your prices manually is very time-consuming, but you can automate your Airbnb pricing strategy using a dynamic pricing tool. It can significantly reduce your workload and save you a lot of time.

Dynamic pricing tools can provide recommendations based on factors such as market supply and demand, historical and current booking data, seasonal trends, special events, and holiday predictions. They also allow STR hosts to set rules based on occupancy, booking window, and other factors and tailor their pricing strategy to their unique circumstances and goals.

Airbnb considers pricing one of the most important factors for its ranking algorithm and gives preferences to competitively priced listings. So if you implement dynamic pricing to your listing, you’ll definitely see its impact on your ranking.

List your property on multiple channels

Listing your property on just one booking website means putting your eggs in one basket. Relying on a single platform is too risky because if its algorithm changes significantly, potential guests may stop seeing your rental.

So you need to list your property on other OTAs, such as Vrbo and Listing your vacation rental on multiple channels is a widespread and effective distribution strategy that will help you get more visibility and attract more bookings.

Managing your listings on multiple vacation rental platforms is difficult if you do it manually. Still, you’ll save yourself tons of time if you use a vacation rental channel manager like Hospitable. You won’t have to worry about juggling multiple calendars and will protect yourself against double bookings. 

Automate as much as possible

Running a vacation rental business can quickly become a full-time job, especially if you manage multiple listings. With the constant stream of short-term rental guests, managing reservations, and responding to booking inquiries and guest messages, assigning tasks to your team can become a little overwhelming.

That’s why using vacation rental software like Hospitable makes sense to automate as much of your routine as possible. With Hospitable, you’ll be able to streamline almost all your routine operations and decrease your workload.

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.

Powered by AI, Hospitable has comprehensive features, including automated guest messaging, task management and team collaboration, a channel manager to sync accounts on multiple platforms, and lots more. Our all-in-one vacation rental software solution can take a lot off your plate, saving you time that you can devote to scaling your STR business.

You may want to check out the inspiring success story of Kareem Sargeant, who has successfully scaled his STR business across 11 different cities in the US while using Hospitable to streamline operations.

Final Word

Creating a basic listing on Airbnb is easy because it requires no specific skills or knowledge. But if you want to attract more bookings, creating an outstanding listing with nice-looking photos and comprehensive information is crucial.

Hopefully, our guide can give you a good idea of how to list on Airbnb, enhance your ranking on the platform, attract more guests, secure bookings, and make your business more efficient. Just follow our tips, and you’ll be on your way to building a successful vacation rental business.   

You may also want to check out our blog post to learn how to list on Vrbo, where we share step-by-step instructions and tips on optimizing your listing.

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