Achieving an excellent status in the world of online booking platforms is quite hard when you don’t know where to start. We have prepared a beginner’s guide to help you in your journey to becoming an excellent Airbnb host.
So to start this off, let’s look at
What is an Airbnb?
Airbnb is an online marketplace that connects people who want to rent out their homes with people who are looking for accommodations in a certain locality. It is a shortened version of its original name, AirBedandBreakfast.com. The platform can be accessed by its consumers on its website or via a mobile app. It is located in San Francisco, California.
What is an Airbnb Super Host?
Superhosts are experienced hosts who provide an excellent or ideal standard for other hosts, and great experiences for their guests. When a host reaches the Superhost status, a badge symbolizing the best in hospitality will automatically appear on all Superhost listings and profiles.
To become an Airbnb Superhost, a host must meet the following standards:
Completed a minimum of 10 trips in a year or 3 reservations that total 100 nights at least
Immediately able to respond to guests, maintain 90% response rate or higher
A 5-star review of at least 80%
What is an Airbnb service fee?
As with any other business, Airbnb charges a service fee to help Airbnb run smoothly and cover the costs of the products, services, and support provided, like 24/7 customer support, a service fee is charged when a booking is confirmed.
There are two different service fees for booking a place to stay on Airbnb, the split fee where both hosts and guests are charged a service fee, and the host-only fee where only the host pays a service fee.
The service fee is refundable given the following conditions:
When a booking is canceled within 48 hours
Have not canceled 3 reservations in the last 12 months.
The canceled reservation doesn’t overlap with another reservation in your account
The total nightly rate can be fully refundable based on your host’s cancellation policy
However, it is best to refer to your host’s cancellation policy to know more details on what’s refundable.
How to Make Your Airbnb Listing stand out
If you have a space to rent out and share with travelers, you’re not far away from getting started and earn money as an Airbnb host. In doing so, be descriptive in your listing description, your attention to detail will make your guests see you as a host who pays attention to the little things, use quality photos, and complete your host profile.
Use high-quality photos
Highlight your home’s unique features and write a detailed description of the spaces included in your listing, like bedrooms, shared rooms, kitchen, and bathroom. Guests usually spend more time looking at photos than any other part of a listing as high-quality photos would give them the idea of what staying in your home will feel like.
Write an accurate description of your space
Make a detailed summary description of your place for guests to read before they get into the details of the listing. Describe it in such a way you would want a friend or relative to stay at your place. Write about what makes it more interesting and special, mention the luxuries your property may have such as in-house laundry, spectacular views, or free parking that would make guests visualize themselves to be enjoying your place.
Moreover, naming your listing is just as helpful as the photographs. This must be the first thing to appear in the results. Always go back to the selling points, and consider mentioning one of them in your listing name.
Create a significant Airbnb host profile
Your profile makes a great impression for others to know more about you before they rent out your space. Guests usually look for a profile that somehow assures them of your reliability and authenticity. When creating an Airbnb host profile, hosts are encouraged to verify their identity and require guests to provide identification before they book with you.
Your profile must show your qualities as a person, including your hobbies and interests, the type of books you’re fond of reading, and even the kinds of music you like. Additionally, a profile picture of yourself would help guests know who they’ll be staying with or who will welcome them to the place. Your credibility matters, it would help to ask for recommendations from friends, former tenants, landlords, and other people who know you best. This would help the Airbnb community feel more comfortable making a reservation with you.
Getting Started as a Host on AIRBNB
Creating a listing is the first step to getting started as an Airbnb host. Then, determine the type of listing you’re renting. Is it your entire house, apartment, or just a room within it? Do you have a barn or treehouse?
Lastly, include important details about the listing, such as the number of bedrooms and beds offered, the number of guests allowed, bed arrangements, number of bathrooms, and other relevant details about your listing. These details are essential for guests, mainly for families and groups, as bed set-up and occupancy limits are big factors in choosing the right Airbnb.
So, take pleasure in being your own boss, generate extra income, and make lasting connections through hosting.
7 TIPS FOR AIRBNB HOSTS
1. First impressions matter
Once you’ve completed the listing’s primary details, hosts who use high-quality or professional photos in their Airbnb listing get to earn more than most hosts who do not use quality images. This is one of the top reasons that guests choose to book a certain listing based on the quality of the images. Take photos of all the important spaces, clean up the space, and make it clutter-free.
2. Know your local laws
Before officially becoming an Airbnb host, it’s important to understand how the laws work in your city. There are cities with some of the strictest policies regarding renting or hosting on Airbnb, while others have relaxed requirements. Potential hosts should review their local laws before listing a space on Airbnb. In most cities, you must register, get a permit, or obtain a license before listing your property or accepting guests. Certain types of short-term bookings may be prohibited altogether. Local governments vary greatly in how they enforce home-rental laws.
Airbnb is working with governments worldwide to clarify these rules so that everyone has a clear understanding of what the laws are. Airbnb will take care of calculating, collecting, and remitting local occupancy tax on the host’s behalf in some tax authorities. Occupancy tax is calculated differently in every area, and the target goal is to extend this benefit to more hosts around the world.
3. Set your price and know your fees
When the legality of hosting in your city has been verified, what follows next is to determine how much you want to charge your guests. A valuable Airbnb pricing strategy for hosts is to determine the market value by looking at comparable listings in your city or neighborhood. To start your business, you may consider lowering your price slightly below other comparable listings to attract your first few guests and garner credibility with future guests. Airbnb will also suggest a price per night for your property, but it’s up to you to charge what you want.
As for determining nightly rates, hosts must consider add-on fees, like in certain cities and municipalities, Airbnb has made agreements with the local government to collect and pay local taxes on behalf of hosts, which is called occupancy taxes and fees. The guests incur the cost, ranging from 9% to 18% of the host’s income. Some hosts include this fee at their nightly rate, while some prefer to single out this fee on the booking page to provide transparency to guests.
The cleaning fee is a commonly displayed fee on Airbnb listings in which hosts have the freedom to determine its cost. However, it’s highly encouraged to consider a reasonable amount as a very high cleaning fee may affect a potential guest from booking that listing.
4. Communication is key
Generally, a great host replies to guests promptly and has a polite tone in their response. Hosts should also be transparent and straightforward when communicating about expectations, total costs, and check-in and check-out procedures to avoid any problems.
It’s likewise important to keep all communication with guests inside Airbnb and never agree to rent outside of the platform as you would not be qualified for Airbnb’s host guarantee (property damage protection up to $1 million) if an untoward incident were to happen with a guest.
Many hosts choose to see a potential guest’s profile and read their reviews before approving a stay. This is to make sure they know who’s staying at their listing and the expectations of the guest are suited for the place. Usually, they welcome a message from the prospective guest knowing their purpose for the stay. It is recommended that guests contact hosts before booking, this would indicate clear communication with a good guest before arrival.
5. Determine your cancellation policy
As an Airbnb host, you have to determine the cancellation policy that suits you best and allow changes as needed. For instance, a guest writes three days ahead of arrival, but a death in the family occurs, thus they will no longer be staying at your listing, a full refund can be offered then.
Hosts may decide to provide full or partial refunds to guests on a case-by-case basis outside of the Airbnb cancellation policy window. There are three main tiers in choosing your cancellation policy: flexible, moderate, and strict.
Cancellations are a common occurrence, both for guests and hosts alike. As a host, a flexible cancellation policy (guests can cancel 24 hours before a stay) means a last-minute cancellation by a guest and you’re scrambling to fill occupancy or losing revenue for that expected stay. A strict cancellation policy for a host means you’re allowed only to give back the cleaning fee cost. Such a strict cancellation policy may put off a guest if their travel plans need flexibility.
6. Consider hiring a professional cleaner
Cleanliness is another important feature that is popular in Airbnb and property locations, especially in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hiring a professional cleaning service is highly recommended to tend to your listing so you can focus on the other important things as an Airbnb host. Guests are meticulous when it comes to cleanliness since they’re renting someone else’s property.
Guests expect perfection in cleanliness, and that’s not a category they are willing to compromise on. With a professional cleaner, all you have to do is set a cleaning appointment each time you have incoming guests or periodically as agreed upon in the listing if you have long-term guests (more than 28 days). And since the guests pay a cleaning fee, the cost helps offset your professional cleaning service to ensure a sparkling-clean listing all year round.
7. Aim for Superhost status
If you are a host who is serious about bringing in stable income from hosting your place, you should aim for Superhost status. As the name suggests, Superhosts are the top hosts on Airbnb, they are reliable and secured. And they show a consistent record of outstanding customer service. Being a Superhost, you will be given priority placement when guests run a search, higher occupancy rates than non-Superhosts, and 60% more revenue per available day.
A Superhost status would require the following criteria:
Has completed at least 10 stays or three reservations that total at least 100 nights
Keep up a 90% response rate or higher
Maintain a 1% percent cancellation rate (one cancellation per 100 reservations) or lower, with consideration for those that fall under Airbnb’s Extenuating Circumstances policy
Maintain a 4.8 overall rating (based on the date the guest left a review, not the date the guest checked out)
IS AIRBNB PROFITABLE FOR HOSTS?
Airbnb has clearly changed the nature of the short-term property or vacation rental business. You must treat your Airbnb as a profession, whether you’re renting out a single room in your home or an entire apartment. Given the above tips, a smooth-running Airbnb can build an income with your vacation rental, and hosts with multiple listings could even generate five to six figures in annual revenue.
Ultimately, you’ll also have the chance to become a Superhost and be able to welcome many more Airbnb customers. It’s a process that will take a lot of time but is not impossible to attain.