Step-By-Step Guide On How To Become An Airbnb Host And Make A Serious Side Income: By A Superhost
Updated: May 12
For better or worse, Airbnb has revolutionized the hospitality game like few other startups have. No longer can only proper established hotels and guest houses earn from hosting travelers and locals (much to their protest), but anyone with a room to spare can be an Airbnb host and earn a serious side or even main income. I've spoken about how I personally Airbnb a spare room in my own house as a side hustle. A lot of people want to be airbnb hosts themselves but don't know how to. They don't even know they're literally sitting on a goldmine in the form of a spare house, room or even a couch! Only if there was a way to monetize all this un-utilized space in the house, while also opening your doors to new people, experiences and culture!
As someone who Airbnbs on and off, I would say I'm a fairly experienced Airbnb host. In the past I've also enjoyed the title of a "Superhost", but one I lost rather quickly as it became rather tough to keep up with the requests and having to reject more than I could accept. (Since I was only airbnb-ing a couple of rooms for a minimum of a month each while I'd received an average of 5 requests per day!
So you see anyone, given the right attitude, a little head about home organization and decoration and a serious open mind for new people can be an Airbnb host.
Here's a step by step guide on becoming an Airbnb host.
1. Identify the space you want to Airbnb and a unique aspect of it
it could be a whole house, a spare room or even a niche like a terrace, patio or a garage. While it needs to be liveable, Airbnb really likes unique stays. So think of what's the unique aspect about your house? My house comes with a terrace while the other listing faces a lake. You think you could throw in maybe a dinner?
2. Open an account on Airbnb and complete all the verification steps
The first step of course is to first sign up to be a host on Airbnb! Duh. It's really important that you give the right address at the time of opening your Airbnb account as it's very difficult to have it changed later. Airbnb has tons of resources on getting started and other details you need to keep in mind when signing up to a host. Spend some time on going through those. Well, I've got you covered on the rest!
3. Price the accommodation fairly: You need to price your Airbnb listing according the following factors:
Airbnb has set a minimum of $10 or Rs. 850 per listing/per night in India. So by default, most Airbnb listings in India are priced over this. If you feel like that's too high to start with, you can always offer a discount on top of the listed price. Remember that Airbnb prices cuts a near 20% commission on your listed price and charges the guest nearly 20% more too. So a listing at Rs. 850 will cost your guest about Rs. 1100 while it'll give you about Rs. 650 in hand. (Dayum Airbnb, what a nit lil cash grab you've got in your hand!)
Location: Airbnb's in a high-traffic locations obviously command a better price than ones located remotely or off the main roads
Size: Your size will determine the Airbnb rate. A one room studio will be different from a 1BHK and so on.
Amenities: The amenities such as AC, washing machine, Kitchen, parking, furniture and furnishing etc all can be factored in
Value of the property
Your motivation for being an Airbnb host And last but not the least, the price should also be based on how much you want to earn. If your motive is pure business, you can price it however you want based on th above factors and based on the market, you'll get those rates or not. However, if profit is just one of your motivations for being an Airbnb host, socializing etc is another, then you can afford to price it lower.
4. Prepare the room to be Airbnb-ed
Having a spare room or house and listing it on Airbnb isn't enough. It also needs to be a property which meets the needs of its intended user.
1. Well-painted and damage-free space
First of all, it should be well-painted space free from mould, leaks and damages.
2. Clean and Hygienic
Secondly and perhaps most importantly, it should be extremely clean. Most guests place cleanliness at the top of their search criteria. Here's a great cheatsheet on deep cleaning your house in 2 hours or less. If you can't do it yourself, use services such as Urban Company to get the space deep cleaned for the first time and then subsequently before each check-in.
3. Have basic amenities
It should of course have the basic amenities like:
A comfortable and clean bed, with clean sheets, full pillows and a comfortable blanket or duvet.
A usable and ideally private bathroom
A space to store clothes or keep the luggage
Drinking water supply
Working desk and chair
Other than the basics, any other stuff you add is good to have and will add to the selleability of the place. You can add a natural element by introducing plants, fresh flowers and other decorative elements. You can even throw in a free breakfast or another meal to make it even more comfortable for the guest.
5. Upload good but latest photos of the space
The most important criteria for most guests in their search for a good Airbnb is the photos. They should inspire a vibe and not just showcase the space barely. At the same time, the photos should be honest and latest so as to keep the expectations real. Try to include all the angles of the space including the bathroom, the study area, the approach to the house and an exterior view of the house. Unlike traditional hotels, where guests can just walk in and book the place after determining its suitability, guests only rely on the description, the photos and the reviews to make their decision. So help provide all of it.
Here's a great guide on taking good photos of your Airbnb
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/7HOCS5YmELg" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture; web-share" allowfullscreen></iframe>
6. Write a good description and details of the place
The description doesn't have to be flowery or overly 'selly'. It should be descriptive, honest and elaborate. Airbnb has multiple spaces to define the place. There's a short summary, a "more", and other sections like "guest access", "the locality" and more. Fill it all to paint a real picture of the space. If you're lost for words, leverage ChatGPT and other AI programs to help write a description. A good formula to write an Airbnb description is to write whether the space is private or shared, does it have views, who else lives in the apartment and its location. (as Airbnb doesn't show the exact location when a user searches.)
6) Promote the listing at a few places and give a promotional discount
Airbnb is a competitive space and there's millions of hosts. If you're new to the platform, your listing can get buried at the last few pages and noone may ever find it. So initially, you may want to promote the space in a few groups or targeted forums or in response to a specific query about accomodation which your listing satisfies. Offer a 20-25% introductory discount to incentize users to trust a brand new listing. (After all it's a risk for them!)
You get a rating only after 3 reviews, so make sure at least your first 3 reviews are good ones!
7) Respond to every enquiry
Before booking requests, you're likely to get many enquiries about the property. These could be about the location, other details about the space or simply asking you to connect. It's prohibited to talk to guests outside of the Airbnb platform and you could be penalized for it. So make sure to respond to all enquiries to keep up your response rate high and keep all communication within Airbnb.