With over one million listings in 190 countries, Airbnb has achieved unparalleled growth within its industry since its 2008 launch. While it's had its share of controversy, Airbnb’s success is founded on the ability for essentially anyone to list an extra room on their website. If you're considering renting out your apartment, residence, or property on Airbnb, here are ten tips for running a successful Airbnb business.
1. Quality Photographs Make a Difference
The time that you invest in taking high-quality photographs is well worth it. Ten photos of your residence is optimal. Take photographs that capture the character of the place, the surrounding area, and any amenities. You should also consider hiring a professional photographer because the average quality of photographs has markedly increased on Airbnb's website of late. Professional photos can help your listing stand out from the rest. One host, Gary Bearchell, was approached by a professional photographer who offered to shoot his rental property in return for staying at the place for a night. "The popularity his photos have brought us would have been worth giving him a whole month for free," he said in an article in "Fast Company."
Renting out a property on Airbnb requires a substantial time commitment if you want to be successful. Be prepared to devote some portion of each day to the task. One advantage that traditional hotels offer is time, because booking a hotel room only requires one single interaction. By contrast, getting a place on Airbnb requires multiple interactions with the host. So to reduce the amount of waiting time for guests, you need to pay constant attention to notifications and be ready to respond at any given moment.
3. First Impressions
As simple as it may seem, friendliness is a distinguishing factor for Airbnb hosts. Successful hosts are often those who are able to imagine themselves as a guest, and it's a good idea to reply quickly and pleasantly to all guest queries, which creates a better rapport and connection. This will increase the chances of guests choosing you over someone else.
4. Individualized Experience
To stand apart on Airbnb, think about the type of experience you will be creating for prospective guests. With scores of listings on the website, hosts who highlight the features of their location, such as nearby activities and the types of experiences that the guest could have there, are likely to gain more attention than those who simply list the property details.
One main reason why individuals rent an Airbnb property is that it's more cost effective than staying at a hotel. Pricing the listing reasonably can also increase the likelihood of guests posting a good review, which in turn creates a multiplier effect that's crucial to running a successful property. In addition, hosts can use Airdna, a website designed for hosts to assess how they can make more money by using analytics.
6. Response Time
Responding quickly is essential for creating the best experience for your guests and can also reduce the chances of potential guests booking somewhere else. Creating prepared responses can help save time when responding to inquiries from prospective guests.
7. Installing a Lockbox
If guests are running late or have travel delays, one way to save time is to consider installing a smart lock or lock box. This way hosts won't have to be hanging around late in the evening to give the guests their keys – guests can essentially check themselves into their Airbnb residence.
The laws surrounding renting out a property on Airbnb vary from city to city. For instance, San Francisco, Portland, and Paris have recently enforced a law for Airbnb hosts to pay an occupancy tax. In New York, it's illegal to rent a property for under 30 days under the Multiple Dwelling Law if the primary resident isn't present. You need to be aware of the specific laws in your city.
9. Cleaning Service
Cleaning the property yourself, rather than paying for a cleaning service, is one way to cut costs. But as one former host in Montreal says, however, “if I did it again, I would hire a cleaning service and charge a cleaning fee for short stays.”
Successful hosts are all about details. In addition to stocking the place with necessities, you should consider having board games, books, movies and entertainment options for your guests. Additionally, be sure the kitchen has condiments, coffee, and tea. Some hosts will even have a bottle of wine for guests when they first arrive, while others provide welcome gifts.
The Bottom Line
Airbnb has significantly altered the nature of the short-term property rental market. Running an Airbnb property can provide extra income on the side for hosts, and it could even generate five or six figures in annual revenue for those who have multiple listings. Although it's not suited for everyone, Airbnb offers a number of ways for homeowners or renters to benefit from its extensive platform.