How to Become an AirBnB Host: The Ultimate Guide for Beginners in 2020

Updated: May 11, 2020

You have a room or property for rent.

But tenants aren't coming easily.

Perhaps you want to squeeze more money out of your rental property.

Maybe you're a people-person who wants a more exciting and fun way to be a landlord. A way that will occupy your time and give you opportunities to meet people from all over the world.

AirBnB guest having breakfast in bed

If so, you're probably thinking of joining the over 650,000 other AirBnB hosts worldwide and open your doors to guests from all over the world.

You're wondering, how to become an AirBnB host?

It sounds exciting. You've heard of the insane profits some hosts make. You think you've got what it takes to be a good AirBnB host.


You've also heard murmurings of low bookings in recent times.

Stories of horrible guests and experiences have reached you.

AirBnB has been banned in some cities or countries.

To make things worse, you've gone to AirBnB's website and attempted to sign-up as a host but all the options and settings are just plain confusing.

You're in a dilemma.

AirBnB sounds like.the perfect opportunity to make money, meet new people, and show-off your skills as a host but it could also turn into a nightmare.

Now, the million-dollar question:

How do you become an AirBnB host, profitably tap into the estimated US$30 billion market for hosts and at the same time avoid the pitfalls?

Do not fear, this comprehensive guide is going to help you ace this.

Table of Contents

1. Is AirBnB Profitable for Hosts?

2. How to Start Hosting (+ Bonus Video Tutorial)

3. How to Start a Profitable AirBnB Business

4. How to Become an AirBnB Host Without Owning Property

5. 9 Rules for Every First Time AirBnB Host

6. 5 Tips for Making Money with AirBnB

Is AirBnB Profitable for Hosts?

You may love meeting new people and you're probably a great host. But if you're going to be expending your own money, time, and energy towards this, it better be profitable.

Which leads us to this question…

How Much Can You Make as an AirBnB Host?

On average, hosts make about $924 per month. This according to research by Earnest, a financial institution.

Making money as an AirBnB host

The variance is wide though. Because of the number of variables. The size of your house, the services you offer, the location you're in, the segment you're in, and the number of people you can accommodate will influence your revenue.

So, is there a more precise way of estimating your potential revenue instead of relying on a global average? You bet.

AirBnB Calculator: How to Quickly Gauge Your Potential Revenue

AirBnB has a nifty tool that allows you to instantly get an indication of your income potential based on your geographical location and the number of rooms you have. This calculator tool is free.

Head over there now and key in your city or town in the "find out what you can earn" section. You'll see what your monthly income potential is. If it is within your expectations, things are looking good for your hosting career.

Cool Tip: The AirBnB Calculator is a rough estimate. For more accuracy, AirDNA is the best tool. Their paid service provides you with details on occupancy, growth, prices, and more in over 80,000 cities. The data here is invaluable for professional hosts.

How Long Does It Take to Become an AirBnB Host?

Theoretically, you can do it in 3 steps and in under 1.5 hours.

Signing up to become an AirBnB host

There is no tedious approval process you have to go through, no document submissions that you have to make (except to verify your identity) and no physical contracts you have to sign and mail back.

When you sign-up as a host, you will be asked to verify your identity by uploading any form of government identification. That can be done in less than 5 minutes.

The responsibility of complying with all your local laws and regulations lies on you. AirBnB makes this very clear in their Terms of Service (which you automatically agree to by using their service).

How to Start Hosting (+ Bonus Video Tutorial)

You’ve checked your potential income as a host and it looks promising. You’re feeling more confident. You’re telling yourself, “I can do this.”

So, let’s get started!

AirBnB Host Login: Create an Account

Visit AirBnB's host setup page. Click on "Get Started" and you'll be on your way to becoming a host within the next hour. After you’ve registered your email address and password (I don’t recommend using your Facebook or Google Account to sign-in), there are 3 broad steps to getting started as a host.

I'll walk you through every step in the video tutorial below.

Please note that AirBnB regularly updates their interface. Therefore, some variance between the video tutorial and the actual AirBnB website may occur.

That was easy wasn't it? Let's move on.

AirBnB Hosting Fees (Hint: It’s the Cheapest in Town)

What percentage does AirBnB take from hosts?

AirBnB's fee percentage

AirBnB (with some exception) charges the cheapest fee in comparison to other platforms like HomeAway, Agoda (Priceline), Expedia, and

Most of the time, you will be charged 3% of the booking subtotal which includes your nightly rate, cleaning fees, and other guest fees but excludes taxes and AirBnB fees.

You could be charged a little higher if you have a strict cancellation policy or if your listing is in Italy. If your listing is in Mainland China, the hosting fee is 10%.

You can read more on AirBnB's host setup page by clicking "Financials" at the top menu. Onward!

AirBnB Application: Download the App for Your Mobile Phone

If you’ve not already done this, it is an important basic step that you should complete. 

Your response times to inquiries and problems can make a big difference. With the app installed on your smartphone, you will receive notifications every time an inquiry comes in or every time a guest sends messages to you on the platform.

The app is available on Apple Store or Google Play Store.

Let’s move on to the more advanced stuff now.

How to Start a Profitable AirBnB Business

Always strive for profitability and not for the highest occupancy because...

Profitability Eats Occupancy for Breakfast

If the Ritz-Carlton wants 100% occupancy, all they’d have to do is charge $150 a night. There’d be a long queue of guests everyday.

Long queue to check-in

But the Ritz-Carlton wouldn’t do that.

Ponder this:

Is it better to have 30 nights a month booked at a daily rate of $150, or 10 nights a month booked at a daily rate of $1,300?

See what I mean? Profitability should be your strategy, always.

But how do you do that when other hosts are competing on price only?

Create a Perception of Value

Why would someone be willing to pay $1,300 a night at the Ritz-Carlton but balk at having to pay the same at The Trump International? 

It’s not necessarily because the Ritz-Carlton’s rooms are significantly better. It’s simply the perception of value. You can create this perception too.

Make your listing unique. Make it stand out. Make guests feel like they’re getting value for their money.

If you do this properly, you won’t have to compete on price alone.

Make no mistake though, pricing yourself correctly is very important. Let’s talk about this.

How to Setup Your AirBnB Price in 4 Steps

This is how most hosts price themselves; they look at the daily rates of other hosts in the neighborhood and copy. It’s a bad strategy.

Other hosts may be barely breaking even. By following the herd, you could end up losing money. 

A better way to price yourself is to know your costs, then derive your price from there. You can do this in a 4-step process.

How to setup your AirBnB price

#1 Calculate Your Costs and Your Break Even Point

Let's assume that you have an apartment to list on AirBnB with the following costs:

  • Cleaning - $45 per clean

  • Laundry - $15 per reservation

  • Electricity (average estimate) - $250 per month

  • Toiletries - $20 per month

  • Internet - $60 per month

  • Kitchen supplies - $55 per month

  • Mortgage / rent - $2,000 per month

The average AirBnB length of stay is about 3 days. At a 50% occupancy rate per month (15 days), you'll have 5 separate bookings.

Therefore, you'd be spending $225 per month on cleaning ($45 x 5) and $75 per month on laundry ($15 x 3). This brings your total monthly cost to $2,685.

You should always plan to breakeven with a 50% or lower occupancy. So, your daily rate to cover your cost can be calculated as follows:

Cost / # of days occupied

$2,685 / 15 days (50% occupancy) = $179

The next important question is - will guests pay you $179 per night to stay at your AirBnB?

#2 Research Market Prices & Occupancy

With a little bit of research, you'll be able to tell how realistic a daily rate of $179 is.

Let's assume your apartment is a 2-bedroom unit with 2 baths and is located in San Francisco. It also has 3 beds.

Go to AirBnB's main page and search for stays in San Francisco.

Search AirBnB listings

Look at apartments that are similar to yours, use the filters.

How to filter AirBnB search

Select 2 bedrooms, 2 baths and 3 beds.

Filter AirBnB search results

Next, in the map section zoom into the location where your apartment is located. You don't have to zoom in too close. Just tight enough to search within an area that can be considered similar.

Ensure you have the "Search as I move the map" option ticked.

Refine search using the AirBnB map

You'll now see a list of apartments that are similar to yours in the search results. This particular search has yielded 85 results. On the 1st page, the lowest priced listing is $168 and the highest is $565. Most of the listings are between $200 to $300.

$179 appears to be acceptable in this market. In fact, a daily rate of $200 will still be reasonable and can be your default price.

This is a great start because this market is equitable for you. But what if you found that all similar listings to yours were priced below $179?

In this case you have a problem.

The good news is that you can fix this problem. Remember value perception? People will pay your price if they find your offer irresistible. Therefore, if you can create a perception of value for your price, guests would be willing to pay.

Next you need to estimate the occupancy levels in your neighborhood. This is fairly simply to do. Go to a listing’s page and click on the “Check-In” date. A calendar will pop out. The future dates that are struck-off are most probably booked.

Look at how many dates are struck-off for the next 30 days. 

How to gauge occupancy in an area

In the picture above, assuming you’re looking at the calendar on April 21st, you’d count all the dates that are struck-off between April 21st to May 20th (30 days). 

Based on this, you can estimate the occupancy for this listing to be 100% (30/30) for the next 30 days.

You should do this for the first 15 to 20 listings in the search results to get an average. The more listings you include, the more accurate your estimate will be. 

Also, be wary of peak months which can skew your findings.

Let’s assume after doing this for 20 listings, you find the average 30-day occupancy to be 65%. Therefore, with a minimum price of $179 per night, you can be profitable.

Let's look at the next part of your pricing strategy now.

#3 Make an Irresistible Offer

When you setup a listing for the first time, AirBnB will give you the option to give your first 3 guests a 20% discount. Choose this option to make your listing more attractive to prospective guests.

How to give discount to your first 3 guests

Your pricing for your first month should also be low. How low? 10% below the average. Take the first 20 listings (the more the better) in your research above and calculate the average nightly price.

If the average nightly price is $200, you should price yourself 10% below this which is $180.

To price yourself at $180 for the first month only, change your price from the calendar.

To do this:

1. Go to your main calendar

2. Select the desired listing

Change price for particular period in AirBnB

3. Scroll to the desired month

4. Select the dates

5. Turn off Smart Pricing (if it's on)

6. Set your desired price

7. Save

Change AirBnB price via the calendar

You're done!

What's the purpose of giving a 20% discount for your first 3 bookings and pricing yourself 10% below the average in the first month?

To increase your likelihood of getting a booking.

When you first publish your listing you don't have reviews yet. Without reviews, your chances of getting booked are slim. Lowering your pricing and giving discounts increases your listings attractiveness for those first few bookings.

There’s one more step to go.

#4 Fine Tune Your Price

Keep enhancing your value and nudging your price upwards. You should also be acutely aware of low-season periods and adjust your price down appropriately.

Your optimum price at any point is a balance between the highest price you can charge and the highest occupancy you can get.

Let me illustrate.

Let's say at $200, you're able to get 20 nights of bookings per month. That's a revenue of $4,000 per month.

If you raise your price to $350, your bookings drop to 10 nights which gives you $3,500 per month.

However, at $320 per night, you can get 15 nights booked giving you revenue of $4,800.

Therefore, the optimum price you should be charging is $320 per night. Because you get more revenue for less nights which means your profit is also higher.

You can use pricing tools like Wheelhouse to help you automate your pricing everyday for the optimum balance between price and nights booked. More on this next.

Optimise Your Daily Rates Automatically

Optimise your daily rates continuously

Use a pricing tool to do this. One of the best pricing tools for AirBnB is Wheelhouse. They have a 30-day free trial and are very easy to use. Wheelhouse claims that you can earn between 10% to 40% more in revenue by using their pricing tool.

They only charge between 1% (less than 10 properties) or 0.75% (10 or more properties) on every automated booking which is well worth the improvements it brings in revenue.

A Sneaky Way to Increase Your Average Price

One of the best features of AirBnB is that it allows you to dimension your pricing in many different ways.

This gives you the opportunity to generate more revenue and remain attractive, especially in very competitive neighbourhoods,

These are the additional fees that you can charge:

  • Cleaning fee

  • Extra guest fee

  • Other standard fees

You may wonder why charge your cleaning fee separately instead of lumping it together with your daily rate. Because you want to be competitively priced in the search results.

AirBnB only highlights your daily rate in the search results. The cleaning fee is visible to the prospective guest after she clicks on your listing. The cleaning fee is therefore effectively camouflaged in the search results.

You could charge $230 with your cleaning cost factored in or charge $200 with an additional $50 cleaning fee.

But imagine going through the search results for San Francisco in AirBnB. Would you click on the listing that's $230 per night or $200 if they both look attractive to you?

Charging for extra guests is another way to make your pricing versatile. For example, if you need to set-up extra beds beyond 2 persons, you can charge an additional fee for the 3rd and 4th person.

You can set all your additional fees in the "Pricing" section of your listing dashboard.

Set additional fees
Set additional fees

Congratulations! You’re now a pricing ninja.

How to Become an AirBnB Host Without Owning Property?

The great thing about AirBnB is that you don't have to be a property owner to participate. In fact, many of the largest AirBnB hosts don't own their listings. They manage them for actual owners.

If you’re wondering how to become an AirBnB host for others, think no further. This section will tell you how to do it.

Let's start with the easiest way to become an AirBnB host without owning property.

Become an AirBnB Co-Host

If you think that you'll make a great host but don't have the capital to get started, this feature is ideal for you. AirBnB allows a host to choose up to 3 co-hosts per listing.

According to AirBnB, a co-host can;

  • Accept, decline, cancel, or alter reservations

  • See and respond to guest messages

  • Edit pricing and availability

  • Edit the listing description (such as pricing, photos, etc.)

  • Interact with customer service on the main host's behalf

You will not be able to view the main host's payout details.

Your fee is subject to discussions between you and the main host. You could charge a percentage on every booking, a fixed fee per booking, or a fixed monthly fee.

Your payment has to be made by the main host, and AirBnB will not deduct payments for you as a co-host. So, beware.

To become a co-host, you simply need to look for listings in a neighbourhood you want to work in and contact the hosts with an offer of your service.

When you select any listing on AirBnB and scroll down, you'll see the option to contact the host.

How to contact an AirBnB host

You can contact every host in the neighbourhood and specialise as co-host for that area.

Rent a Property

Another way to become an AirBnB host without owning property is to rent a property from a landlord and sublet it on AirBnB.

Renting and subletting is pretty straightforward. You become a tenant with the express understanding that you will be listing the property on AirBnB.

Note that you should never hide the fact that you are going to list the property on AirBnB. It is very important that you have the consent of the landlord and that this fact is inserted into the tenancy agreement.

Failure to do so, could make your venture illegal.

Renting a property to become an AirBnB host has its advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are:

  1. You have more control over operations

  2. You are not answerable to the landlord for your financial performance

  3. The potential for high yields (especially if you don't have to pay deposits)

The disadvantages are:

  1. High financial risk

  2. The possibility of the landlord increasing rent periodically

  3. A minimum 1-year commitment with the tenancy

In most places, the norm when you rent is to place deposits. These deposits make renting somewhat expensive. But it is possible to negotiate these deposits down.

I rarely put a deposit for the properties that I rented because I correctly framed my request to waive deposits.

I did the following:

  1. I built good rapport with the owner by being very transparent with how I operated

  2. I took the owner to visit my other listings to show how I kept them maintained

  3. I offered 2-year tenancies instead of 1-year

  4. I explained AirBnB’s USD$1,000,000 host guarantee that protected the property against damage

Remember; if a request in any negotiation is perceived to be reasonable, the other party will not be averse to that request.

Establish Joint Venture (JV) Partnerships

A JV is more complicated as it involves the landlord coming in as a partner. In a JV, you and the landlord come to a mutual agreement as follows:

  1. The landlord allows you to list and manage her property on AirBnB

  2. You will do all the work related to hosting

  3. Both of you will share a percentage of the revenue

Always do a revenue share and not a profit share. Revenue is easier to split. Splitting profits can become messy as you have to deduct cost from the revenue. Landlords may then scrutinise your costs and interfere with your operation.

The advantages of a JV are as follows:

  1. Your cost is variable so the financial risk is low

  2. Reduced maintenance costs

  3. You can expand very quickly due to the low startup cost

The disadvantages are:

  1. Lower profit potential

  2. High accountability to your JV partner

  3. Possibility of the JV partner hindering your operations

How do you structure a JV?

Just like a tenancy agreement, you must have a JV contract that spells out all the details. Be very specific.

The first thing you must decide is what costs will be borne by either party in the JV. In all my JV arrangements, I took care of the following costs:

  • Marketing (including photography)

  • Housekeeping (I would keep 100% of the cleaning fee charged to guests)

  • Essential supplies (toiletries, condiments, beverages, and detergents)

  • My own operation costs (staff, transport, equipment, office, etc)

  • Maintenance and repairs arising from my negligence or damage by guests

The owner (JV partner) looked after the rest of the costs which included:

  • Adequately furnishing the space

  • Maintenance and repairs from wear and tear (including servicing air-conditioners, half-yearly deep cleans, plumbing, etc)

  • Purchasing linen and towels

  • Utilities

  • Pest control

  • Internet

  • Cable / satellite TV

  • Safety items (including first-aid kit, smoke detector and fire extinguisher)

  • Any building service fee

The revenue split I find most equitable under the above circumstances is 70-30. You charge 30% of the total revenue and the owner takes 70%.

The exact revenue split that works for you will depend on your costs and the daily rate you can charge for the property. It is very important that you have an intimate knowledge of all your costs to determine the best revenue split.

In my experience, anything less than 25% for you is dangerously low.

Finally, you also need to specify processes. For example, if the air-conditioner suddenly fails or a leak occurs in the bathroom, how will you handle it? Your guests will want immediate restitution.

If the problem is due to wear and tear, the cost is borne by the owner. But what if the owner is uncontactable? I recommend having a clause that allows you to fix anything costing below $150 immediately without needing approval from the owner. You can bill the owner at the end of the month with proper documentation.

Other important elements that you should put in your contract include payment terms (when do you have to pay the owner his share of revenue), and termination process.

To summarise this section, you have 3 options if you do not own a property but want to become an AirBnB host. You can become a co-host, rent, or enter into a JV partnership. Look into these 3 options carefully and decide which one is most suited to you.

As a beginner, I would highly recommend that you go for the option with least risk and minimal capital. This is the co-hosting option followed by the JV option. As you get better at hosting, you could try renting.

Mutually agreeable JV partnership

Now let's look at how you can polish your hosting efforts.

9 Rules for Every First-Time AirBnB Host

#1 AirBnB Host Obligations: The 4 Basic Requirements for Hosts

AirBnB expects you to meet certain obligations as a host. They are as follows:

  1. Be responsive - respond to inquiries within 24 hours

  2. Accept reservation requests - no form of discrimination is allowed

  3. Avoid cancellations - heavy penalties apply for cancellations

  4. Maintain a high overall rating - consistent low ratings can see your listing suspended

Conforming to these requirements will increase your value, and bookings.

#2 AirBnB Host Checklist - A Sure Way to Prevent Screwups

To get yourself prepared as an AirBnB host, you'll need to look at hundreds of factors. I've attempted to simplify this by providing you with a checklist of the most important preparations.

This checklist will act as your guide in ensuring your hosting experience is an enjoyable one with minimal hiccups. You'll also get a practical insight into what being a host is like.

Download the checklist and go through it before you host your first guest.

#3 Keep Clean or Get Cleaned Out

Getting your space cleaned will be one of the most resource consuming parts of your job as a host.

Before you start hosting, you must decide how you'll handle the cleaning. You have the option of doing it yourself or hiring professional cleaners.

Cleaning an AirBnB listing

Doing it yourself can improve your profits.

If you're hiring professionals, interview and shortlist more than one. Have backup cleaners just in case.

Whatever option you go with, the end result - the cleanliness of the space - MUST be above average.

The entire space should be dust-free and sparkling clean. It should look and smell great.

If not, your guest experience is going to be below par and this can affect your review. In fact, one of the most common reasons for low reviews is poor cleanliness.

#4 Aim for 5-Star Reviews, Every Time

According to Joe Gebbia, one of AirBnB’s founders, you'll see a significant improvement to the number of bookings you get after the first 10 reviews.

Since your first 10 reviews are very important, you should aim for all of them to be 5-star reviews. In fact, beyond your first 10 reviews, you must aim for a 5-star review every time.

Getting a 5-star review is a process. 

Ensure that your property description on AirBnB is accurate and that you've made it clear what guests can expect from you.

Respond fast, follow-up with your guests regularly, and ensure that your property is VERY clean.

After your guest has checked out, send a message the guest to say:

  1. You’ll be giving him / her a 5-star review

  2. Why you think he /she was a good guest

Get 5-star reviews

Occasionally, a guest will give you a low rating even if you're a wonderful host. Don't let that get to you. Take it in your stride and accept the fact that pleasing everyone is impossible.

#5 Build a Strong USP

Remember our discussion on creating a perception of value?

A strong Unique Selling Proposition is a sure way to create this perception. It is almost always the key ingredient behind the success of any service or product.

How do you develop a strong USP? Don’t think of yourself as an accommodation provider. Think of yourself as someone who is providing a total experience. 

Travellers travel to explore or for work, never for the accommodation. 

When Craig and Jenny plan a holiday to the beautiful island of Bali, it’s because they want to experience the beaches, food, culture and laid-back lifestyle. It’s because of the possibility of them falling in love again in an Asian beach paradise. It’s not because there are AirBnBs there.

Your job as the host is to give them that experience. Are you great at cooking local food? Do you know the best-kept secrets of your neighborhood? Can you help your guests soak in the local culture? Does your space stand out?

You are unique. Let your AirBnB be an extension of your uniqueness.

#6 Pay Attention to Your House Rules

Before guests can confirm their reservation with you, they’ll be shown your house rules and asked if they agree to it. They can’t proceed with the reservation if they don’t.

Your house rules will establish what your guests can expect when staying in your space. It will also help make your hosting experience more pleasant.

Tell your guests all the do’s and don’ts when they use your space. 

How do you expect guests to behave in your property? Do you expect them to clean-up before they check-out? Where do you want them to leave the trash? Can they wear shoes inside the property? Do you allow cooking? Can your guests smoke? Do you allow parties?

Establish clear guidelines but don’t overdo it. Having 100 rules is simply too difficult for anyone to follow.

By the way, I’d always say no to parties. Allowing your AirBnB to be used for parties can invite a lot of trouble.

#7 Establish Self Check-In Procedures

AirBnB strongly encourages that you have an option for guests to self check-in.

Establish self check-in procedures

This is desirable for you because of the efficiency, especially if you don't stay on the property.

I personally think you should meet your guests when they arrive so you can give them an orientation, develop some rapport, and ensure that they're not dodgy.

However, you still want to have the self check-in option available because you may not be able to meet your guests every time.

You must provide your guests with clear check-in instructions. Before their arrival, send them a message with:

  • the complete address,

  • directions to your property,

  • your contact number,

  • instructions on getting the key to the property,

  • check-in and check-out time,

  • a reminder to adhere to your house rules, and

  • any other special instructions.

The more clarity you provide your guests with, the more likely their experience will be good.

#8 Don’t Keep Your Guests Waiting

Guests hate to wait.

Save yourself from a lot of grief by planning their check-in and check-out. If you need 3 hours to get your place cleaned and prepared for the next guest, ensure you have that much time at least between a check-out and check-in.

Your check-out time in this case could be 12 p.m and your check-in time could be 3 p.m.

If you need a full day to get your space ready for the next guest, you can change the "preparation time."

To set your check-in and check-out time and preparation time, go to the "Availability" section in your listing dashboard.

How to set your availability on AirBnB

#9 Create an Impressive Guidebook

A guidebook helps your guests get the best experience from your city or town. It tells them all the places they should or can visit during their stay.

More importantly, AirBnB says that hosts with guidebooks get more bookings.

You can create a guidebook from your hosting dashboard. Simply click on the icon with your photo on the top right corner and select “Your guidebook” from the drop down menu.

Create a list of all your recommendations that cover sightseeing, the food scene, shopping, and drinks & nightlife. You can also include useful phrases, cautions and much more. Make your guidebook comprehensive.

You can create more than one guidebook.

You can also assign more than one listing to a guidebook. This is useful if you have many listings in the same neighborhood.

AirBnB guidebook

5 Tips for Making Money with AirBnB

We've got most of the basic stuff out of the way. Let's look at how you can host like a pro now.

Tip #1: How to Improve Your Listing’s Search Ranking

Get on User’s Wish Lists

If your space is on many users' Wishlists, it gets a boost in search result rankings. AirBnB acknowledged this in 2017.

So get all your friends, family, and guests to add your listing to their Wishlists. This can be done by clicking the heart-shaped icon wherever it appears on your listing as highlighted in the pictures below.

How to add to a listing to AirBnB wishlist
How to add to a listing to AirBnB wishlist

The Instant Book Feature Will Give You an Instant Boost

In 2017 AirBnB released a blog post stating that listings with the instant book feature turned on are prioritised in search results. This essentially means if you want to rank well in the AirBnB search results, you should have instant book turned on.

If you want to check if it’s on, select a listing from your hosting dashboard, and click on "Booking settings."

How to turn on instant book

Instant book allows prospective guests to book your place without requiring any acceptance from you.

But what if you get a guest who has very bad reviews or plain creepy instant book your place?

You are allowed to cancel an instant book without penalty if you are uncomfortable with the guest. When cancelling the reservation, be sure to select "I'm uncomfortable with the reservation or the guest has broken my House Rules," option.

You are only allowed to cancel a maximum of 3 instant books in a year without penalty.

Beef Up Your Listing Quality for More Bookings

Besides instant book, AirBnB also gives serious weight to the number of clicks your listing gets. You rank better if more users click on your listing in the search results.

3 things will affect your click through rate (CTR):

  • Your listing title

  • The main photo

  • The price

All 3 have to be optimised to be as attractive as possible to elicit clicks.

You also want to ensure that prospective guests book your place after clicking on it from the search result. 

Great descriptions with plenty of attractive detail improve your chances of getting booked.

Describe your neighbourhood, populate the guest book, put in your house rules, let guests know how you'll interact with them, explain how to get to your place. Don't leave anything out.

Tip #2: Superhost Status Will Give You Superpowers

AirBnB rewards its best hosts with a title that comes with plenty of perks (including a badge). Its best hosts are called "superhosts."

In order to become a super host, you will need to meet the following criteria:

  • Minimum 4.8-star overall rating

  • Completed at least 10 stays in the past year or 100 nights from 3 stays

  • Have a cancellation rate of less than 1% at all times

  • Have a 90% response rate

The review period for superhost status is every 3 months. If you're able to get 10 bookings within this review period, you qualify for superhost status. You don't have to wait 1-year.

Tip #3: Join the Elusive AirBnB Plus Category

AirBnB upgrades some listings to "AirBnB Plus."

Example of an AirBnB Plus

AirBnB Plus listings get additional prominence and it’s easier to price yourself higher if your listing is in this category.

Unfortunately, you can't opt-in for this on the website . You must get an invitation from AirBnB to upgrade. After you receive this invitation, AirBnB will review your space and you may have to make recommended improvements. After passing their stringent review process, your listing becomes an "AirBnB Plus."

To increase your chances of getting an invitation, you must be an exceptional host with a 4.8-star rating and no penalised cancellations in the last one year.

Your space must also be aesthetically beautiful, very well maintained and "fully equipped with amenities like wifi, coffee, and quality linen."

Tip #4: The Professional Host's Data Bank

AirDNA gives you a lot of data on the AirBnB market for different neighbourhoods. It’s the best tool for gaining valuable insights that can help you decide whether you should become an AirBnB host and to shape your strategy.

Before you start hosting, it will be worth your time to look at some key statistics for your neighbourhood using the free analysis. You will get limited data but it can help you make early assumptions.

If you're looking at investing in AirBnB properties or becoming an AirBnB entrepreneur, the paid version of AirDNA is an absolute must-have.

Tip #5: AirBnB Experience - A Great Way to Increase Your Earnings

When AirBnB first introduced experiences, I thought it would be a game-changer. This feature allows full-time hosts to earn additional income by simply leveraging expertise and knowledge of local neighbourhoods.

Your profit margin with an experience can be insanely high.

The type of experiences that can be offered to potential guests is limitless. Do you have an intimate knowledge of the best places to eat in your neighbourhood? Do you like bar hopping on weekends? Do you know the best hiking trails? Are you good at cooking local dishes? Do you teach yoga?

An AirBnB experience

Any interest, skill, or local knowledge you have can be made into an experience. The best part? You get to do what you enjoy with people from all over the world and get paid for it!

To host an experience, visit AirBnB's "Host an experience" page.

Then follow the instructions to create your very own experience.

You must ensure that your experience is unique, personal and hosted by you or a co-host. Services like airport transfers, and chauffeur-driven car rentals do not qualify as an experience.

Boom! You’ve made it to the end. At this point, you probably know more than the average AirBnB host.

Now Go Take Your First Step Towards Becoming and AirBnB Host

Many AirBnB hosts do not diligently research if their property or neighbourhood is suitable for AirBnB and end up wasting time, effort, and money. Don't make this mistake.

But once you've determined that AirBnB is worthwhile for you, take action. 

You’ll quickly be on your way to generating income from your property, meeting people from all over the world, and acting as a local tourism ambassador. 

Yes, it will be hard in the beginning. Hospitality is a brutally demanding service. There will be the occasional guest who finds everything wrong with your space.

But you’ll learn. And you’ll get better. You’ll meet guests who take the time to bring you gifts from their home countries. You’ll get reviews that make you feel proud. You’ll make some great friends.

Enjoy being an AirBB host

That’s how to become an AirBnB host.

So go ahead and take action. Sign-up as a host today.

Make that extra money on your property. Meet people from all over the world. Share your local advantage. Kick ass doing it.

Happy hosting!

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