Do you want to become an Airbnb host but you don’t know how to start?
There are a couple of things to see when starting hosting on Airbnb. Today, we will focus on how to create an account and a listing.
I will guide you step by step in the process. You will feel that it’s easy once you know what to do.
1- Go to Airbnb Hosting website
Follow the link below to start.
Click on the get started button on the top left of the website.
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning that at not cost for you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
2- Decide what type of place you would like to offer to rent
a. Which kind of place you have?
The first two choices are obvious ones. You have to choose one of those if you want to rent a flat or a house.
The other ones are a bit more particular:
- secondary unit: what is a secondary unit on Airbnb? This is if you have a guest house, a guest suite you want to rent or if you are living in a farm stay and want to rent your place. This option can be used in the case that you would still live in the place when the guests are here. However, if you live in a normal flat or in a normal house and will share it with guests, I would suggest to still use the first 2 options for it.
- unique space: what are the unique spaces on Airbnb? those are unusual places that you can rent. Yurt, RV Camper, a Boat, a Tipi. If you want to rent such a place, make sure to choose this option, so that you can stand out from the others with this unique aspect!
- bed and breakfast: should I offer breakfast on Airbnb? choose this option if you want to provide breakfast for your guests as well. Think well before choosing this! I offered breakfast at the beginning, but it’s not worth the time, the money and the food waste in my opinion.
- boutique hotel: what is a boutique hotel? Recently, Airbnb added this option. If you have a hotel, hostel, resort and you want to list your room on Airbnb as well, you can now do it selecting this option.
b. Let’s be more specific
You have to specify here to Airbnb and your future guests, which type of flat, house or unique place you are renting.
There are several options, depending on what you chose out of the first 5 options.
Let’ explain some notions that you might not know when choosing the property type on Airbnb:
- casa particular: only for people from Cuba to rent on Airbnb
- serviced apartment: offer additional services similar to a hotel (daily cleaning, laundry service, concierge, etc. They are usually rent by business people
- trullo: only for people to rent on Airbnb those special houses from Italy
- Minsu: name of homestay in Airbnb in Taiwan
- Ryokan: name of homestay in Airbnb in Japan
c. Decide what your guests will rent
Once, you chose the property type, like below for instance, Airbnb will ask you what you will offer to your guests.
Will you rent the entire place, a private room or a shared room?
The entire place means that nobody else will have access to the place when your guests are renting it.
A private room means that guests will be sharing the kitchen, living room, bathroom and other common areas.
They might share the whole place with you or with other guests if you are renting more than one room there.
A shared room is like in an hostel or that they sleep in a common area (i.e. a sofa in the living room) . It means that you offer a room with several beds for different and independent guests.
Should I rent entire place, private room or shared room?
From my experience, I don’t like shared rooms. I am renting both private rooms and entire places. I like my guests to have comfort.
Another tip: if you are close to the place you want to rent, then renting separate private rooms in a same place can sometimes bring more money in than renting out the entire place.
However, renting private rooms is more work and time. As you will need to different check-in and cleaning.
If you are living far away from the place you will put on Airbnb, my tip offer only entire place.
d. Will the place be only for your guests?
Last question for this step.
If your place is only for guests, then you can have some personal touch in it, but your belongings should not be there.
If you are using this place for you sometimes and rent it for instance, only when you are going on holidays, then you should mention it.
Don’t do this mistake of having an inaccurate listing and getting bad reviews because of false expectations.
3- Set up the details of your listing
a. Sleeping areas
How many guests can you host and how many bedrooms will they have?
Count only the bedrooms where guests can sleep.
Count how many guests can sleep in each bedroom? Do you have a convertible sofa for another guest to sleep in?
I prefer offering real beds for my guests, I offer a convertible sofa only for large groups. I mention it in the listing and again in the message when they are booking to make sure they know it!
Be as precise as possible here.
Say for each room which kind of sleeping arrangements do you offer.
For instance, if you have a convertible sofa in the living room you can precise it in the common spaces.
If you are offering bunk beds, precise it as well. A lot of people might not like sleeping in bunk beds!
If you want to supply things for families during their stay and you can provide a crib, let them know as well. This could be a bonus for you!
b. Other rooms specifications
How many bathroom are you offering?
Make sure to say if the bathroom is private (inside as a suite or outside the sleeping room) or if it’s shared.
c. Enter the rental address
You might think that you don’t want to give the precise address but again having an inaccurate or incomplete listing is not what you want.
When looking for a place to rent, the location of it is a very important point!
Don’t worry, your exact address will only be given once the guests will have confirmed the booking. The point in the map when looking for a place before booking will show the area where the rental is.
d. List your amenities offered
Tick here as many amenities as you have.
Tip: If you see some things on the lists that you don’t have yet and think might be important, pin it and buy them for your guests. For instance, an iron is good if you are offering your place to business people.
e. What guests will have access to?
If you have a pool, hot tub or gym access at your property make sure to mention it here!
Those are high selling points!
Tell your future guests as well if they have access to a kitchen, a parking or a lift.
4. Describe your place
a. Choose the right pictures
b. Write description of your place
- General information: be as precise as possible here but at the same time make it appealing for your guests. You should put your selling points in the first lines here.
- Additional information about the place: kitchen access, Netflix or cable tv, possibility to rent kids’ gear? shared bathroom? Stairs?
- How available will you be for your guests? will you be available only on the phone? at check-in? nearby during the stay ?
- How is your neighborhood?: many cafés, restaurants, shops, noisy/quiet.
- How can they get around? easy parking, bus stops, how to reach from airport
The more you say here, the less repetitive questions you will get from your potential guests.
5. Name your place
One of the most important thing! It will attract people or pull them away!
Here are some tips how to choose the right name for your Airbnb listing.
6. Choose Booking Requirements
a. Requirements before booking
Airbnb already adds some booking requirements that guests must comply before they can complete their booking (email, phone number, payment details).
Guests must also send you a message with details about their trip (how many guests are coming, check-in time) and agree to your house rules.
There are 2 other requirements that you can add to be more on the safe side:
- having an official ID scanned
- profiles with recommendations from other hosts and without negative reviews
My advice would be to ask for the official ID but not the other option.
We all know that negative reviews can be subjective, so ruling out people automatically without reading yourself the reviews is a bit too much according to me.
b. Your house rules
Do you want to host families at your place?
Do you accept pets?
Do you allow parties or smoking inside?
If you want to attract families, make sure to show it in the pictures with a crib or some toys and maybe even mention it in your title.
Same if you allow pets, then write it down in the title to stand out and make it easier for guests to choose a place suitable for pets.
Be sure to specify in your house rules where the pets are allowed, if they can only be in the garden and not in the bedroom. That way, you avoid any bad surprises!
Allowing parties or smoking inside can have very bad consequences on the long-term for your property. Be sure to think deeply about it before accepting it or not.
You can also add other rules like: be quiet between 10pm-8am, do not bring other people inside the house, think about the environment turn off the AC, tv, and lights before leaving the place, clean your dishes and take the trash out at check-out.
c. Be precise about your place
You might think that creating a listing is taking some time already, but the more information you give here, the less questions you will need to answer afterwards.
You want your guests to know beforehand how many stairs they will have to climb, that it can be noisy, that there is pet on the property and which spaces are shared.
Right now, the media are talking a lot about surveillance in Airbnbs, so make sure to tell your guests beforehand if you have some!
d. Disable instant booking
Airbnb has now set Instant Booking as the Default option for Guests booking.
From my experience, if you want to review each guest before you confirm their booking, then it’s better to disable it.
How can you disable Instant Booking on Airbnb? You can do it right now, when creating your listing.
Click on “I want to review every guest”. Airbnb will explain you why they think Instant Booking is better. Again, I do think it’s not.
e. Booking notice and Check-in time
This setting will depend on how far away you are from the place you are renting, your availability and how much time do you need to prepare for your next check-in.
For instance, in my homesharing place on Airbnb, I am quite available from last-minute booking. For the other flat I have which is an hour away, I need at least one day notice prior to check-in date.
Think about the latest time the guests can book your place last minute.
If it’s same day, in my homesharing property, I accept booking until 5pm. If it’s for the other property far away, then I accept booking until noon the day before to have time to go there without being in a rush.
Advice for last minute request: always have clean towels and beds done already or at least bedsheets cleaned. That way, you won’t be stressed washing bedsheets and towels on the last minute!
You can choose at what time guests can come to check-in. It’s usually in the middle of the afternoon and until evening.
Sometimes, you might have guests asking for an early check-in time. This can be adapted to each guest, but as a rule having a check-in time in the afternoon is working well for us.
How far in advance can people book?
If you want to rent for long-term and have returning guests, opening your calendar for at least one year in advance is good.
If you want to do it only when you are going on vacation yourself, then choose 3 or 6 months ahead and remember to block the unavailable dates in your calendar.
How long can guests stay?
The longer the guests stay the easier it is for you. You won’t have to take time for check-in, check-out and cleaning.
Later on in another post, I will tell you about a great technique to be sure to have less short stays and more longer stays without having a low occupancy rate!
For now, think about the time and cost for you to prepare for a new guest, do you think the time and money investing for a 1-night-stay is worth it?
If for you it is, for instance, if you are homesharing with your guests, then you can accept 1 night stay. Otherwise, I would say that having a minimum stay of 2-3 nights is better.
Again, this depends a lot of the expenses for each stay and the price per night. Think about it well before accepting shorter stays.
7. Update your calendars
a. Synchronize your other calendars
b. Update your Airbnb calendar
You can choose when you want to start receiving guests. From my experience, a lot of first-time hosts were surprised of how quick their property got booked!
If you indeed choose the right prices, put the right pictures and description, you will very soon have bookings and money coming in!
When can I start hosting?
Make sure your place is totally clean and that you have all the essentials before opening your calendar for booking for the upcoming days.
If you have things to improve before hosting, you can open your calendar for in 2 weeks time.
That way, you have time to make your Airbnb property perfect for your guests without stress! You will prepare it knowing that soon people will come enjoy it and you will receive them well-prepared.
8. Choose your prices
As for everything, to have a good pricing strategy is essential.
When you are setting up your listing, Airbnb offer you the possibility to use the Smart Pricing System.
This can be good tool to use for you as it will automate the prices according to the demand!
However, my advice is to check as well by yourself once in a while to compare your prices with competitors’ prices. Last month, checking competition prices, I got bookings for prices 300% more expensive than usual for a huge festival in my city!
a. Base price
First, you need to choose your base price to become Airbnb host.
To do this, enter in another tab in Airbnb as a guest. Do a research for a listing similar to yours (number of guests, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, area, type of property,…).
My advice here is to have prices a bit lower than your direct competitors. This means that if another host is offering a lower price but for a property not as good as yours, then you don’t have to be lower than them!
My advice here: do not follow the tips written in blue by Airbnb!! There are usually way lower than what you could earn!
b. Take into account the fees on both sides!
One thing that you need to take into account as well are the fees applied by Airbnb to your prices. Airbnb adds fees both to the host and the guest.
For instance, if your price per night is $39 then the price that your possible guests see is $45
Make sure when choosing your price that you will still be ok with it once Airbnb takes out its fees.
Moreover, be sure that your price is good based on the competition even after Airbnb adds up its fees to your guest.
c. Minimum and Maximum prices for Airbnb Smart Pricing
You can now use the automated system of Airbnb for prices. Airbnb will adapt the prices depending on the demand. It will help you to have more bookings even when demand is lower.
Be sure to put the minimum price you would accept to be paid, thinking of your expenses, time spent and the money you want to make out of it.
For maximum prices, let the sky be limit as they say! Joking apart, don’t put too high, because guests might leave you lower reviews if they think that it was not worth it. Always stay with correct prices.
My advice here is to check the first weeks how is the Smart Pricing System is working for you at the beginning.
If you like it because it saves you time to check all the time the competition and change the prices according to demands and you are ok with having lower prices than you could maybe get with a not automatic system, then use it.
If you prefer lower bookings, but higher prices, then I would advise you to not use this system as Airbnb tend to choose the lower prices a lot!
d. Longer stay discounts
As said before, having guests booking your Airbnb for longer stays is way better!
That’s why, having discounts for longer stays helps you fill out your calendar with longer bookings.
Airbnb advices 21% discount for weekly stays and 50% discount for monthly stays.
My advice would be 20% for weekly and 25% for monthly stays.
Once again, the best is to check the competition and see if you price is good according to the competition for the longer stays as well.
d. How to choose the cleaning fee as a host?
This is a fixed fee that you are choosing yourself and which adds up to your night rate.
It is supposed to cover the expenses for cleaning before check-in and after check-out.
You can check out the full post how to set up your cleaning fee here.
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Over to you, I would love hearing your stories on why you decided to become Airbnb host?Share in the comments!
I decided to pay my bills and I am earning much more, that it enables me to travel the world with my partner and our baby!
Please remember to pin it!
I’m Natacha, a French vegan Airbnb host who has been working online for the past 4 years. I help hosts stand out and make more money online so they can have a good work-life balance!