Telling the truth about SME life today

How to Set Up an Airbnb Business

How To Set Up An Airbnb Business

Renting out a spare room, home or holiday property on Airbnb can be a great way to earn extra income. With over 4 million Airbnb listings worldwide, it’s become very popular.

Getting an Airbnb business off the ground does take some effort initially. But run properly, it can become a rewarding and financially fruitful venture.

This guide covers key steps for successfully setting up your own Airbnb.

Deciding What to Rent Out

First you’ll need to decide what exactly to list on Airbnb. There are a few options:

  • Rent out a spare room – The quickest and easiest approach is to rent out an unused bedroom or just a bed in your home. You can host guests without having to vacate the entire property. Just make sure you’re comfortable having strangers in your space.
  • Rent an entire and unoccupied home – If you regularly travel or own a second home, consider listing your whole empty property on Airbnb when you’re away. While more work to maintain, renting an entire home earns higher income. But you’ll need to figure out how guests access it without you there.
  • Rent out a dedicated holiday let – Some investors buy apartments or cottages specifically to list on Airbnb and other short-term rental sites. More capital is required upfront, but holiday lets in popular areas bring in great returns.
  • Rent unique accommodations – Airbnb is also fantastic for more unconventional properties like houseboats, campervans, treehouses or yurts. Adventurous travellers enjoy these memorable stays, so they attract higher rates.

Take into account the space you have available, your comfort level hosting in your home, and potential demand in your local market. This will dictate the best property type to list..

Communicating Professionally with Guests

Clear communication with prospective and current guests is crucial. Follow these best practices:

Pre-arrival

  • Respond quickly to enquiries – within 24 hours ideally. Pre-approve bookings if possible to accelerate reservations.
  • Send a welcome message when a booking is confirmed covering arrival instructions, directions, access info and your contact details.
  • Follow up a few days before arrival to share check-in details and ask if they need anything prepared in advance.

During the stay

  • Be available by phone/text at check-in time in case guests have problems accessing the property or questions about anything.
  • Check in politely once or twice during a longer stay to ensure everything is satisfactory. Don’t overdo it.
  • Address any issues swiftly and helpfully to keep guests happy.

After departure

  • Message guests asking if they enjoyed their stay and would return. Thank first-timers for choosing your listing.
  • Respond professionally to all reviews, thanking happy guests. Apologise for and learn from any negatives.
  • Follow up if any significant problems occurred to seek a resolution.

Thoughtful communication goes a long way and will be rewarded with great reviews.

Preparing Your Property

To maximise appeal, make sure your property is inviting and comfortable for guests.

Cleanliness – Give the entire space a deep clean before listing. Scrub surfaces, floors, walls, windows and upholstery. Clean inside cabinets, under beds, behind furniture. Steam clean carpets and rugs. Sanitise the kitchen and bathrooms. Consider hiring professional cleaners if it feels overwhelming.

Furnishings – Provide comfortable, high-quality mattresses, bed linens, duvets and pillows. Check all furniture is sturdy and undamaged. Add decor items like mirrors, lamps, houseplants and artwork. Buy blackout curtains for bedrooms.

Facilities – All electronics, wifi internet, plumbing, heating and appliances should function properly. Equip the kitchen with everything needed for cooking meals and preparing food/drinks. Stock bathrooms with extra toilet paper, towels and toiletries.

Layout – Stage rooms effectively by thinking about furniture positioning, lamps, defining spaces etc. Remove unnecessary clutter that makes rooms feel smaller. Allow easy circulation through living areas. Add shelving and storage to maximise space.

Special Touches – Add thoughtful touches like fresh flowers, books, magazines, board games, guidebooks etc. Provide convenient items like phone chargers, umbrellas, sewing kits, first aid kit. Make it feel like a home, not just a rental.

Maintenance – Address any issues like dripping taps, broken tiles, damaged furniture right away. Install safety features like smoke and CO detectors. Improve outside areas by tidying gardens, adding lighting, pressure washing decks etc.

Access – Ensure easy access with well-lit entryways, slip-free steps and walkways. Provide secure key storage like lockboxes. Leave spare keys with trusted neighbours as backup.

Taking time to properly prepare your property makes a big difference in guest experiences and satisfaction.

Crafting Your Listing

Your listing content convinces potential guests to book, so polish it:

Photos – High-quality photos are critical. Capture all rooms, spaces, amenities and surroundings. Use natural lighting, style rooms nicely and avoid clutter and messy areas.

Title – Your title summarises the listing. Keep it short, memorable and keyword-rich to stand out in searches, eg. “Sunny Designer Flat in Camden Town”.

Description – Write a detailed description highlighting your property’s best features, facilities, conveniences and nearby attractions. Be honest about any quirks or flaws.

Amenities – List amenities thoroughly like parking, wi-fi, kitchen, washer etc. Call out any special features that make your listing unique.

Location – Talk up appealing aspects of the neighbourhood like cafes, shops, parks and public transport nearby. Link to maps.

House Rules – Explain any house rules and expectations clearly, like noise limits and checkout times. This avoids misunderstandings.

Cancellation Policy – Provide clear cancellation and refund policies. Be reasonable but firm.

Availability Calendar – Accurately mark dates and lengths when the property is available to book. Sync with your personal calendar.

A complete, compelling listing encourages browsers to become bookers.

Pricing Tips

Optimising your rates takes some fine-tuning. Some pointers:

  • Leverage Airbnb’s built-in Smart Pricing for data-driven rate suggestions based on demand trends. Override manually for custom prices.
  • View local competitor rates across multiple booking sites to gauge the market. Aim for the middle sweet spot – not the absolute lowest.
  • Factor in all costs – cleaning, maintenance, utilities, furnishings, amenities, tax, insurance etc. Don’t under-price.
  • Charge premium rates during peak seasons, holidays, big events and festivals when demand spikes. Go lower for off-peak periods.
  • Offer weekly, monthly or seasonal discounts of 10-20% to incentivise longer bookings which reduce turnover effort.
  • Add extra guest fees so you earn more from groups above your listing’s base occupancy. Cover increased utility use and wear.
  • Use Airbnb’s calendar to set custom rates on certain dates. Great for holidays, weekends, festivals etc.
  • Adjust pricing gradually based on occupancy, bookings and guest feedback. Find the ideal balance between value and profit margin.

Take time to optimise your rates for maximum revenue. Airbnb’s tools make it easy to adjust prices as needed.

Account Management

Consistently managing your Airbnb account well is crucial:

  • Keep your calendar updated daily, only showing dates actually available to book. Block off any new unavailable dates immediately.
  • Promptly confirm all booking requests. Pre-approve reservations when possible to accelerate bookings.
  • Refresh your listing regularly with new photos highlighting improvements and updates to the description.
  • Monitor upcoming bookings closely and stay organised with pre-arrival communication tasks.
  • Read all guest reviews after stays and respond politely to any negative feedback. Thank happy guests.
  • Frequently adjust pricing based on demand, occupancy rates, market conditions and neighbourhood events.
  • Make use of Airbnb tools for creating offers, setting long term availability, syncing calendars etc.
  • Closely follow Airbnb policy changes, updates and communications. Meet all requirements to remain in good standing.

Solid account management ensures your listing remains visible and enticing to potential guests searching and booking on Airbnb.

Maintaining Your Airbnb Property

Keeping your space properly maintained takes work but is essential:

  • Clean thoroughly after every rental – change all linens, wash towels, empty trash, sanitise bathrooms and kitchen etc.
  • Wipe surfaces like doorknobs, light switches, TV remotes etc to disinfect high-touch areas.
  • Remove rubbish, food waste and recycling. Replace bin liners.
  • Do laundry like rugs, cushion covers and other fabrics. Spot clean walls and soft furnishings as needed.
  • Replace worn items like damaged towels, broken appliances, missing cookware etc before the next guests.
  • Make repairs immediately if anything is broken or faulty like hot water, heating, electronics etc.
  • Maintain outside space – water gardens, pressure wash patios, check fencing etc.
  • Check supplies like soap, coffee, toilet paper etc and restock anything running low.

Building at least 1-2 hours between guest stays gives time to thoroughly clean, replace supplies and do laundry.

Managing Your Airbnb Listing

In addition to your physical property, your Airbnb listing itself needs active management:

  • Keep your calendar constantly updated with correct availability. Block off any new dates as they are booked.
  • Respond to booking inquiries within 24 hours to confirm availability and encourage reservations.
  • Refresh your listing regularly with updated pricing, photos and description details.
  • Monitor upcoming bookings and stay on top of pre-arrival communication tasks.
  • Address any negative feedback professionally. Apologise for legitimate criticisms and learn from them.
  • Utilise Airbnb tools to create offers, set pricing promotions and indicate long-term availability.
  • Follow Airbnb closely for policy changes, updates and platform improvements.

Proper account management keeps your listing visible and enticing for prospective guests.

Dealing with any Issues

Dealing with any Issues

Despite your best efforts, occasional problems can pop up:

  • Have clear cancellation and refund policies and stick to them consistently if a guest cancels.
  • Collect a security deposit you can deduct against repairs for excessive damages beyond normal wear and tear.
  • Establish quiet hours and noise rules. Handle any neighbour noise complaints promptly and politely.
  • Provide precise instructions on accessing the property to avoid guest lockouts. Also leave spare keys with a trusted neighbour just in case.
  • Keep the contact details of a plumber, electrician etc handy to fix faults urgently if anything breaks down during a stay.
  • Build some buffer time between bookings so you can still prepare for the next guests even if previous guests leave late.

Remaining pragmatic, empathetic and solution-oriented will help resolve any issues while protecting your reputation.

Complying with Regulations

There are some legal obligations to meet when renting your home:

  • Research rules for short-term rentals in your city and obtain any required licences or permits.
  • Disclose your rental income and pay taxes on it appropriately. Keep detailed records.
  • Inform your insurer and get proper home insurance that covers short-term lets. Specialist Airbnb policies also available.
  • Install smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, CO monitors etc and ensure gas appliances meet safety standards.
  • Risk assess for hazards, provide first aid kit, post emergency numbers clearly etc.

While not hugely onerous, full compliance avoids hefty fines down the road.

Growing Your Airbnb Business

Once up and running, consider expanding your Airbnb in these ways:

  • List more properties – add additional rooms in your home or entire homes you own. Become a co-host.
  • Target niche markets – tailor listings to suit families, business travellers, groups etc.
  • Use other booking sites – cross-list on Booking.com, VRBO, TripAdvisor etc to maximise visibility.
  • Offer additional services like cleaning, grocery delivery, airport transfers for extra revenue.
  • Partner with local businesses – hotels, B&Bs, tour companies, event planners etc to cross-promote.
  • Earn Superhost status through excellent reviews, response rate and occupancy.
  • Outsource tasks like cleaning, co-hosting and photography to lighten your workload.
  • Specialise your property for a unique experience tailored to location, amenities or themes.

More listings and strategic partnerships can significantly scale your earnings over time.

In Summary

Done properly, an Airbnb can deliver great additional income from unused living space.

Following the steps covered – like preparing your property appealingly, crafting an enticing listing, optimising pricing, communicating well and actively managing your account – will help avoid common pitfalls.

Consistently delivering superb guest experiences will maximise your bookings, occupancy and reviews. Then over time, expanding your properties, services and partnerships allows your business to thrive.

Trending

Topic

Related Stories

More From

Most Read

Trending

If you enjoyed this article,
why not join our newsletter?

We promise only quality content, tailored to suit what our readers like to see!