When Joe Gebbia, Brian Chesky and Nathan Blecharczyk came up with the idea of AirBnB, it was motivated by a need for housing and accommodation during travel. A hotel room simply can’t offer the same level of comfort and intimacy that a home can offer.
As the concept caught on globally, an overwhelming number of people started seeing the platform and homestays as a better alternative to the hotel experience. Today, AirBnb is listed in 191 countries – so in almost every corner of the world, a wayward traveler can find a homely accommodation at the press of a button.
Before one lists their home on Airbnb, there are a few things to consider.
Airbnb essentially means inviting total strangers into the host’s personal space. That is not an easy thing to do, especially if one is a private kind of person. It may work best if the host prefers to leave the entire house for the guest or the living quarters are completely demarcated.
AirBnb offers a lot of insurance and protections to hosts. That said, it still involves allowing strangers into an often personal space.
Once there is a guest in a space, the host has to constantly cater to their needs to prevent the dreaded bad review. This means making time (lots of time) to be at hand to answer questions and make sure the guest feels comfortable and safe.
In addition, the host should expect emergencies that may require their physical presence. A host has to be flexible, because needs could arise at anytime.
Since the coming of Airbnb, many homeowners have jumped onto the bandwagon to rent out their homes and spaces. That means there’s a lot of competition. It’s imperative for hosts to identify the special features that they can offer which their competitors cannot.
With Airbnb comes the risk of theft, fire, injury and even death. Although there is Airbnb liability insurance, the psychological repercussions of such actions can impact the host and their family – especially if the location holds sentimental value.
As an Airbnb host’s imperative for one to constantly learn, adapt and change certain aspects of their listings depending on the wave of demand and local market trends. Failure to do this is a sure-fire guarantee of failure to achieve the profit levels necessary to keep it up.
If after considering all the above, you’re still sold on the idea of being an Airbnb host, here are the steps to take for getting on board.
The first part is creating an Airbnb account, which is fairly simple. There are four options to sign up with: the host’s Facebook account, email address, Amex or Google account. The creation of an Airbnb account is free.
During the signup process it is best to put in as many details about the listing and as much as one can about themselves. Nothing scares potential guests off quicker than a mysterious host.
2. Put up the listing
Listing writing is an art form – it’s recommended you enlist the help of a professional writer to put together an excellent listing write up. The best part of putting up a listing with Airbnb is that they do not leave hosts alone to figure it out. They’re constantly on hand to offer advice and direction with their stellar customer service support.
For example, new hosts may be wondering how much to charge per night or how many nights to make available for guests. Airbnb provides pricing suggestions depending on the property, season and location.
Visuals are a critically important part of the listing – so much so that in the early days of AirBnb, Brian Chesky would personally go to the homes of his first customers and take professional photos of their spaces.
While describing the amenities helps a lot the deal is cinched by photos of the space. So before any photos are taken, declutter the space and remove any personal items.
The photos should be taken in natural lighting because natural light is brutally honest. For example, the pool lit up in the night may look great but with natural lighting, it gives a more accurate picture of the area.
Speaking of accuracy, make sure the description of the amenities is accurate and honest. Remember, guests leave reviews and their reviews can make or break your hosting dreams. If anything is dishonestly depicted the property loses credibility with guests.
Another important piece of information when talking about the listing is the type of neighborhood it is in. Is it a lively loft in the middle of town? Is it quiet and suburban with very little activity around? What are the nearby attractions and what transport options are available to get there?
4. Talk about the perks
Guests on Airbnb are always looking for the accommodations with the best perks. These usually include the standard offering of
Additional perks can be breakfast included in the rate, local teas or coffee, laundry services, toiletries, and even a guide. While the host doesn’t have to add any of the extra perks, their worth as a host can go up incredibly just by making a few additions.
Also, let the guests know about nearby attractions like parks, tourist attraction sites, nature trails, markets, and shopping malls. It’s also a good idea to let them know about the nearest grocery store, restaurant, hospital, and public transport system.
Preparing to have the house cleaned and stocked means employing the services of cleaning services and odd job agencies. Most hosts wait until they’ve received a booking to begin looking for these services. However, it’s crucial for the success of the listing to arrange for these services before any bookings come through to ensure smooth operations once the guests have started arriving.
It’s in the best interests of the host to make necessary arrangements even as they set up their Airbnb listing. This ensures both the guest and the host can enjoy having each other.
In the event of an issue, address them with tact. No one wants to be put on blast. The Airbnb resolution center helps to resolve issues securely, professionally and privately. This enable parties involved to have an impartial arbitrator and resolve issues amicably.
And that’s it! You’re ready to start hosting. Most importantly, make sure to go above and beyond in your duties as a host – as big of a leap as it might be putting your home up to somebody else, it’s just as big a leap for someone to come and live in a strange place. Take care of your guests, and they’ll take care of you.
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