Airbnb tips for hosts: a first-time Airbnb guide

Airbnb tips for hosts: a first-time Airbnb guide

Airbnb lets you make money and meet travelers from around the world by renting out extra space in your home. Follow these five tips for a great first time hosting experience. We’ll look at how Airbnb works and what becoming a host can offer you. We’ll also explore what you should expect as a host and how to earn stellar ratings from your guests.

What is Airbnb?

Airbnb is a peer to peer network that lets you rent out your extra room, apartment, or house for a short period of time. In exchange for a portion of the rental price, Airbnb lets you create a listing for your space and connect with potential renters. Airbnb is growing in popularity — according to Wikipedia, Airbnb hosts come from 34,000 cities and close to 200 countries. Travelers often use the system of short term, peer to peer renting as an alternative to costly hotels or as a way to connect with new people and gain a unique perspective on a new city.
Becoming an Airbnb host is straightforward. Create a listing for your space, including detailed description, photos, and the price that you’ve set. Then accept renters you think will be a good fit for your home (you can get to know potential renters through interacting with them directly on the Airbnb website or by asking for references, checking their social media presence, and the like). Arrange when you’ll meet your renters to give them keys, clarify your expectations, and give them a warm welcome. Then, once your renters have left, get your space ready for your next group of renters.

Five ways to be a successful Airbnb host

As a beginner, hosting may seem overwhelming. However, these five tips will help you host well.

Do your homework

Before you list your space on the Airbnb website, you’ll need to do some preliminary research. Your first question to answer should be: is Airbnb legal in your area? Some areas prohibit Airbnb’s specialty of short term rentals. Other areas may require you to register or obtain a permit. If you’ve determined that Airbnb hosting is legal for your city, you’ll also want to consider whether it’s legal for your individual situation. Do you have a landlord? If so, will your landlord allow you to sublet your apartment? If you don’t own your home, checking with your landlord should be among your first steps before you create a listing on the Airbnb website. Additionally, you’ll want to look into the best way to file taxes after you start renting through Airbnb. Taxes for the income you gain through the website can be complicated, but it pays to take the time and talk to the right people in order to file correctly. You should also check your insurance policy and determine whether you’ll want to boost your insurance in case of an incident involving your renters. Airbnb offers up to $1,000,000 in home owner protection insurance–however, you’ll want to review which scenarios their coverage excludes and includes.

Take the time you need

Although the process for renting your space on Airbnb is simple, hosting successfully takes time. Checking for messages, responding to potential renters, cleaning your space and getting it ready for renters, and managing other details may require you to dedicate some time each day to hosting. However, the investment of your time can give you a reputation as a capable and confidence inspiring host.

Communicate well and often

Communicating with renters and potential renters tops the list of tasks you’ll want to do almost every day. Your guests will appreciate prompt responses to questions they have about your space. Clear communication can also help you learn whether potential renters would be a good fit for your space, and can help you limit misunderstandings about your expectations and boundaries.

Prepare for your guests

Preparing for the arrival of your renters should begin well before they show up at your door. Creating a house manual will help you communicate your expectations to your renters, as well as provide them with safety information. A house manual should include relevant safety information about your house, such as the location of fire alarms and emergency exits. It should also list the boundaries that you’ve set, such as the items or areas of the house that you have place off-limits, and the policies you’ve created regarding noise levels, parties, and other activities that could annoy your neighbors or cause damage to your house.

Make your home inviting

One of the best ways to be a great host is to make your space inviting to guests. This starts with your online listing. When describing your apartment or spare room, you should be accurate and detailed. Don’t lie about your space’s weaknesses–but make sure to highlight its strengths, too! Emphasize any unique or especially great aspects, such as the view, the furnishings, or the location relative to local sights. Photos can be a huge asset when you’re listing your space. If you want help with photographing your space, and you live in certain major cities, you may be able to get photos taken for free by an Airbnb photographer (check the Airbnb website for more information). If you’re taking the photos yourself, aim to use as much natural light as possible, and to include a range of photos that highlight different aspects of the room.

Part of creating an inviting space involves cleaning it well. If you don’t have time to give your space a thorough cleaning between renters, find a flexible, reliable cleaning service that will help you show your renters that you care.

Being a fantastic host includes anticipating some of the basic needs that your renters will have during their stay with you. Essentials such as paper products and soap should be obvious. A few simple breakfast foods, a map of the city, or even a cordial greeting and your tips on where to find the best restaurant can be the finishing touches that make your renters feel welcome and eager to rent with you again.

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