How to Start an Airbnb Business: Questions Answered

how to start an airbnb business

By  The Hospitable Team

Airbnb is an online marketplace for short-term rentals that allows hosts to rent out unused private accommodations to travelers as an alternative to staying at a hotel. Airbnb rental properties range from single rooms to entire houses and are available in more than 100,000 cities worldwide.

Tourists love Airbnb because it gives them a unique opportunity to live like a local while traveling the world. And with consistent hard work and dedication, running an Airbnb can be profitable for hosts. So if you’re looking to make extra money and build a thriving side hustle, listing your space through Airbnb is a good option.

If you’re considering renting out your property on Airbnb, here are tips on starting an Airbnb business and becoming a successful host.

If you are in an options-comparing mood, you may also want to check how Airbnb compares to Booking, Vrbo, and long-term renting.

How to Start an Airbnb: Important Things to Consider

Anyone can list a short-term rental property on the Airbnb marketplace, and signing up to become an Airbnb host is fairly simple. If you have a second home, an extra room in your primary residence, or an RV, you can start an Airbnb business.

Listing your rental space on Airbnb is free, but you’ll want to consider any extra costs you might incur as a host. They include Airbnb service fees (typically 3% on each booking), cleaning costs, and money you’ll need for supplies and goods to restock your space after each stay.

Besides, you should consider how much money you’ll need to invest into your property to make it cozy and visually appealing to guests to ensure a comfortable stay and enjoyable experience. For example, you may want to buy new durable furniture suitable for a rental apartment that will add personality to your space.

Interior décor is also important, and the aesthetics of your rental can have a great impact on your income potential. You may want to check out our article to find Airbnb decorating ideas and tips to help you create an inviting space and achieve the “wow” factor.

Then, you should learn about your city’s short-term rental laws and regulations to find out whether listing your space on Airbnb is legal and what requirements you need to meet. This step could save you headaches later.

A few cities ban short-term rentals completely, and some may restrict your ability to rent out your property short-term to certain zones. Many cities and counties require short-term rental property owners to register and obtain licenses and permits.

If you are considering starting an Airbnb in the US, you may want to check out our blog article that covers different aspects of Airbnb regulations by state. You’ll learn about STR laws in some popular locations.  

Make sure you can meet the basic Airbnb host requirements:

  • Provide the essentials, including toilet paper, soap, linens, and at least one towel and pillow per guest. Tick out all the boxes in our host checklist;
  • Keep your listing clean and free of health hazards before guests check in;
  • Accept reservation requests from guests when you’re available and provide a reliable check-in experience;
  • Avoid cancellations of confirmed reservations unless there are certain valid reasons that you can’t control—Airbnb cancellation policy is very strict;
  • Ensure timely communication with guests. Be quick to respond to your potential guests’ booking requests and inquiries. The slowest response time you can afford is 24 hours. Sometimes, to win a booking, you need to send a message within minutes of inquiry.

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How to Set Up an Airbnb

For hosts, renting out a short-term property is much more lucrative than taking on long-term tenants. But before you even sign-up to Airbnb and start creating your listing, you should prepare your house for welcoming guests.

Spruce up your place

Your space may be perfect for you, but it doesn’t mean it can be ideal for guests. So declutter your home, consider a proper house renovation, review must-have amenities, and deep clean every room.

You should take measures to ensure the safety of your guests. Equip your rental with such safety items as a functioning smoke alarm, carbon monoxide detector, fire extinguisher, as well as a first aid kit.

You’ll also need to set up a smooth check-in process. Today, more and more guests are looking for vacation rentals that offer a self-check-in option, eliminating the need for a host to be at the property in person when guests arrive.

So consider installing a smart lock, which you can manage remotely via your smartphone and easily change the code after each guest checks out. Offering your guests self-check-in will save you time and ensure a seamless experience for your guests right from the start.

There are a few significant differences between an apartment you want to live in and an apartment you want to rent out. And it’s not about saving on the quality of amenities. It’s about efficiency. We collected a set of recommendations to adjust your place for short-term rental. They will help you avoid some pitfalls and save you a lot of money on operational costs.

Create an attractive listing

Your Airbnb listing page is your first opportunity to attract the attention of potential guests. So it’s important to ensure that your listing accurately reflects what you offer to manage guest expectations. Setting the right expectations will help you avoid many problems and increase your chances of getting positive reviews.

Here are some tips on how to set up an Airbnb listing:

  • Describe your space in detail and emphasize what makes it unique. Consider the type of guests that will appreciate your rental the most and make your description appealing to your target audience. Try to create a vivid picture of the experience your guests can have if they book your property. Use relevant words and phrases to help the Airbnb algorithm categorize and show your property in appropriate categories.
  • Provide high-quality images of your whole Upload several photos of each room from different angles and pictures of top amenities and focal points to help guests imagine themselves in your home. If your rental has any accessibility features that can help guests easily navigate your space, you should also add photos of each of them to your listing.
  • List your amenities. Many guests search for such popular amenities as a laptop-friendly workspace, WiFi, a pet-friendly space, and free parking, so it’s important to mention any you offer.
  • Create a list of house rules to explain to your guests the dos and don’ts at your vacation rental property and help them understand your hosting style. Clear house rules can also help travelers determine whether your vacation rental is a good fit for them.
  • Price your listing competitively. This way, you’ll attract guests and get more bookings. Charging a competitive nightly rate may also help your listing to rank higher in Airbnb search results. The key to finding a competitive price is understanding the local demand, so a good idea is to check the average prices of similar listings nearby. This information will help you find the nightly rate that feels right for you and your guests.

You may also want to check out our detailed guide, where we provide step-by-step instructions on listing a rental on Airbnb and optimizing your listing to appear higher in search results.

Manage your Airbnb efficiently

Getting started in the Airbnb business is fairly easy. Managing guests is the real trick. Providing excellent customer service is the backbone of any successful business, and being an Airbnb host is no different. Here are some tips on how to run a successful Airbnb property.

Keep your rental space clean and guest-ready at all times. Cleanliness is the top priority for Airbnb guests, so you should always go above and beyond with your cleaning standards. And since vacation rental cleaning is very time-consuming, it’s better to delegate this task to professionals and hire cleaning services. Provide your cleaners with a comprehensive cleaning checklist that they must follow during each turnover.

Be polite to your guests and respond quickly to their inquiries. Remember that first impressions count, so keep the tone friendly yet professional and efficient. Be available to answer your guests’ questions 24/7 and proactively communicate with them via messages during all stages of their journey. This way, you’ll be able to provide them with the necessary information at the right time and make them feel special and cared for.

Perform routine property maintenance to keep your rental space in great shape. It can help prevent many severe issues from happening. Fix all problems ASAP: if a guest reports a leaky tap, you should fix it immediately and apologize to the guest and show empathy.

If you decide to take on multiple properties, build a team that includes such professionals as plumbers, electricians, cleaners, and hire laundry services. Ensure you have the necessary process and tools to manage your team.

Regularly update your booking calendar to help potential guests determine when your rental property is available. Block dates when you aren’t hosting and set the minimum and maximum number of nights guests can stay. That can help you prevent unnecessary cancelations.

If you provide a memorable guest experience, you’ll be rewarded with positive reviews, higher placement in search rankings, and get more bookings. But as you see, running an Airbnb involves a lot of responsibilities and requires a lot of time. So a smart decision is to streamline your routine hosting operations using vacation rental software like Hospitable.

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With Hospitable, you can automate many repetitive tasks, including guest messaging, assigning tasks to your team, updating calendars and prices on multiple channels, etc. As a result, you’ll have more time to focus on what matters—providing your guests with a fantastic experience to make them happy. Hospitable will give you all the tools and features needed to grow your STR business.


Becoming an Airbnb host can be a great option if you need some additional income, or it can become a full-time business. There are minimal startup costs, and a lot of the setup and marketing are done for you on the platform.

We’ve provided you with tips on how to start an Airbnb business, but becoming a successful Airbnb host is not just about landing a booking. It’s about providing your guests with the best experience.

Use our guide to reduce your operational cost in the long run while providing an excellent guest experience.

Airbnb hosting guide

Airbnb Hosting Guide for Beginners

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. 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.

airbnb host checklist

Airbnb Host Checklist: Setting Up for Airbnb

Planning to start a short-term rental business on Airbnb and are looking for an Airbnb startup checklist? In this post, you’ll find an Airbnb host checklist of essential things you will need to invest in for the greatest experience for your guests.

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9 Simple Solutions to Reduce Operational Cost in Short-term Rental Business

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