Do you have an extra bedroom in your home collecting junk? A part of your home that you never seem to use? Maybe you have heard of how much your friend or a neighbor is earning from hosting on Airbnb and that has you thinking that there could be something worthwhile here. However, what should you know before you start? Start An Airbnb is a resource that explains what you should be aware of before you take that first step into short-term renting. Here is our list of eight top tips to manage your Airbnb expectations.
Determine Your Financial Goal
Yes, we all understand you want to make some cash from hosting on Airbnb but what is your financial goal exactly? Consider these because depending on your goals, the funds, time, and risk involved in hosting on Airbnb can be entirely different. A good way to assess your goals is first to determine what type of a host you aspire to be.
- Occasional income
- Steady income
- Income replacement
- Build a short-term legion
Consider Personal Safety
When you are hosting on Airbnb, you are inviting guests into your home. Moreover, if you are only renting part of your home and you will be living there, you are going to be passing the nights with guest under the same roof in your home. If the thought of that alone makes you feel uncomfortable, you will need to think of possible alternatives before hosting on Airbnb. However, hosting on Airbnb has been so rewarding for my family and me that if you manage the personal safety issues upfront then you will be much better off, as well as your guests. For a further breakdown you can read a previous post from Start An Airbnb: Setting Up For Safety And Security.
Cleanliness Is Next To Godliness
It is crucial that a guest arriving at an Airbnb property feels happy, and cleanliness plays a large part in how well received the place is. Let’s face it, not all of us have the time (or skill) to clean our home from top to bottom. Perhaps you adhere to, “if you want something done right, do it yourself.” Hiring a trained cleaner before and after each guest arrives can make a place shine and generate further bookings.
First Impressions Absolutely Matter
After a lengthened day of travel, often the first thing on a guest’s mind after setting down their bag is to sit and relax. While you are under no obligation to provide bonus items like coffee, water, shampoo, and shower gel to your Airbnb guests, these small items can make a massive difference to them and will be shown in their feedback. It does not hurt to ensure your listing involves pictures of the personal touches and freebies a visitor can expect when staying in your Airbnb.
Airbnb’s search ranking algorithm is based on many factors but host responsiveness is one of the biggest. Both response time and rate contribute to a host’s overall site ranking. Quickly replying to inquiries every time will increase the chances that your profile moves to the top of the list. Conversely, neglecting a question for more than 24 hours will cause your average rate to drop. To ensure your responses are fast and professional, stay on top of your Airbnb email notifications, and reply to inquiries in a friendly, helpful way as soon as you hear that notification sound.
Whether you own or rent, there are possibilities that you will have next-door-neighbors. How do you think they will feel when they find out your hosting on Airbnb? This will vary widely by City and neighborhood, so you will need to do some serious study for your particular area. If your city already has many hostile neighbors petitioning the city council to ban or restrict Airbnb, you will want to be extra careful before listing your home on Airbnb. Educate yourself on these things to know before hosting. Ultimately, you will need to decide if the potential headaches from your neighbors, HOA, and/or City are worth the effort to host on Airbnb. However, do not let fear dictate your decisions. In fact, this is your home and you are entitled to use your home as needed.
Risk & Liability
Outside of personal safety, you are opening yourself to a host of other hazards by hosting on Airbnb. You are placing your property at risk of theft. Therefore, possibly putting yourself at potential liability risk if your guests get injured or if they damage other property or injure neighbors. However, all of these risks can and should be minimized before you dive into hosting on Airbnb.
Pricing is not just setting your weekday and weekend rates and then forgetting about it unless you are okay with leaving earnings on the table. Optimal pricing takes some time to get right initially and to keep it right as you continue to host on Airbnb. Smart pricing will make or break your income. More so if you are hosting to supplement income. Optimal pricing means finding that magic number and hitting it every month. Feel free to check out how I hit my number my first month as a host.