How to Become an Airbnb Host
Follow these steps to start an Airbnb business, meet new people, and make extra money.
Since Airbnb’s inception in 2007, the platform has become a popular travel tool with over one billion people using it to secure lodging around the world. In fact, as of 2022, more than 4 million hosts offer listings in 220 countries and regions.
For those who enjoy providing hospitality and meeting new people, joining Airbnb and learning how to become an Airbnb host can be a path to make money and connect with people from around the world.
Dennis Shirshikov, host and owner of this New York guest house, said becoming an Airbnb host was the best financial decision he’s ever made.
“[Hosting on Airbnb has] enabled us to have a better lifestyle and has given us the opportunity to meet many different and very interesting people,” Shirshikov said.
Continue reading to learn how to become an Airbnb host; then sign up to get your business started.
How to Start an Airbnb Business Step by Step
Follow this checklist as you prepare to Airbnb your home.
1. Do your research.
Before you sign up to host an Airbnb, it’s important to do your research and understand what laws or zoning rules need to be followed. It’s also a good idea to reread through any contracts, like a lease or homeowners association agreement, to understand if there are any restrictions on hosting guests at the property you’re considering listing. Some areas have specific taxes that apply to hosts, too.
Take a look at your local government’s laws and regulations and consult a tax professional or lawyer to ensure you’re following all of the rules when setting up your Airbnb business.
Once you have that out of the way, you’ll also want to estimate any up-front costs, such as furnishing the space, setting up Wi-Fi, and installing security measures.
2. Find a guest space.
An Airbnb accommodation can range from an extra room in your home, to an apartment, an igloo, or an entire house. Decide on the space where you want to host guests and make the necessary arrangements to get it ready, such as ensuring there are closed-off areas to give guests privacy.
3. Create a comfortable guest experience.
Airbnb hosting is all about the hospitality experience and ensuring guests enjoy their stay. For example, guests might appreciate small comforts while on vacation, such as high-quality bedding or blackout curtains. It’s also important to make sure the property is stocked with essentials, such as toilet paper, towels, and hygiene products like extra toothbrushes.
4. Determine if you’ll need help.
Airbnb hosts may choose to get help from someone else, called a co-host, to help maintain the property and assist guests. Co-hosts can be added to the Airbnb host profile to communicate with guests and manage bookings. If you choose to co-host with another person, be sure to be clear on responsibilities and how the co-host will be paid.
For example, a co-host might be in charge of cleaning the property between guests. Airbnb has a cleaning handbook to help set expectations and standards for hosts. Make a plan for how, when, and who will clean the space after guests leave, and purchase any needed cleaning supplies. You might consider enlisting the services of a cleaning company.
5. Set a competitive price.
You’ll want to have a competitive nightly rate for your listing to attract guests while still making a profit. To help determine your price, take a look at what other properties in the area charge and think about any amenities the location offers that guests can or can’t get nearby. Airbnb also provides specific Airbnb host tips and resources, such as Smart Pricing, which is a tool that will automatically set property rates based on demand, lead time, and other factors.
6. Create the property listing on Airbnb.
Now that the location is ready and the price is set, it’s time to list the property on Airbnb. Be sure to include photos that highlight what helps your space stand out and include details on what amenities will be available for guests. You’ll also want to be clear if the space is a separate, private property or if guests will be renting a room or portion of the property.
How Much Does Airbnb Charge Hosts?
To use Airbnb’s platform and payment tools, most hosts pay a service fee of 3 percent of the booking subtotal. The subtotal is the nightly fee plus any additional fees a host might want to include, such as a cleaning fee. For example, if the subtotal of the stay is $1,000, the Airbnb hosting fees will be $30 and the remaining $1,970 will go to the host.
Guests are also charged a service fee of 14 percent of the booking subtotal, so it’s essential to keep those additional costs for guests into account to keep your property at a competitive rate.
How Much Do Airbnb Hosts Make?
Hosting on Airbnb can be a lucrative side business or even generate enough income to be a full-time job. In 2021, the typical U.S. host made $13,800 on Airbnb. However, host profits vary widely depending on where the property is located and how many properties the host owns. According to Airbnb, the top 10 states that earned new hosts the most income in 2021 were:
- California – $270 million
- Florida – $265 million
- Texas – $170 million
- New York – $115 million
- Georgia – $80 million
- North Carolina – $75 million
- Tennessee – $60 million
- Arizona – $60 million
- Colorado – $55 million
- Pennsylvania – $45 million
Christina LeVasseur, host of this mountain condo, says while Airbnb can create some work in terms of following state regulations and ensuring the business runs smoothly, the payoff can make it worth it.
“As long as you’re willing to treat Airbnb as a business and not as a get-rich-quick scheme, it can be very worth it,” LeVasseur said.
What Does Superhost Mean on Airbnb?
Airbnb evaluates its hosts and how the hosts are rated by guests every 3 months. These evaluations can earn hosts the title of ‘Superhost,’ which is Airbnb’s distinction for hosts who are the top-rated and most experienced. A Superhost title can lead to more bookings since guests may trust the Superhost recognition more. Airbnb also awards Superhosts a $100 Airbnb coupon every year they keep their status and Superhosts get an extra referral bonus when they refer new hosts to sign up.
The requirements to become a Superhost are:
- Maintain a 4.8 and above star rating by guests
- Complete 10 or more stays
- Maintain less than 1 percent cancellation rate
- Maintain a 90 percent response rate
Chris Pitzioris, owner and director of Superhost Plus, says hosts have the ability to cancel bookings, but it can negatively impact their Superhost status.
In addition, Pitzioris says, “If Airbnb hosts cancel too late or without good reason you can still be charged the full Airbnb service fee.”
Airbnb Host Tips That Can Set Your Property Apart
Marketing and excellent hospitality can be significant factors for a successful Airbnb business. Here is some advice on how to set up an Airbnb that will have guests leaving rave reviews.
Include lots of quality photos in your property listing.
To stop guests in their tracks as they scroll through Airbnb listings, make sure to use lots of high-quality photos to showcase the property. The first photo displayed in the search results is called a cover photo and should be the most inviting and attention-grabbing photo of the space. Airbnb also offers tips for hosts on how to take and edit photos with a smartphone.
Make check in easy.
Start your guests’ experience on the right foot with a seamless check-in process. Some hosts choose to provide guests with a unique door code so they can easily come and go from the property. Other hosts might provide codes to a lockbox to access a key or choose to meet the guests at the property to drop off the key. Whatever method you choose, make sure guests are aware of the check-in process and keep it as simple and efficient as possible.
Help guests live like locals.
A great way to create a standout hospitality experience is to give guests a taste of what it’s like to live in the area. If locals spend most evenings on the patio, make the property’s patio space shine with cozy furniture and outdoor lights. Or, if your area is known for bird-watching or fishing, stock a few items to help guests participate in those activities, such as binoculars or fishing poles.
Personalize the space.
The decor and furniture throughout the property can help set the tone for the type of experiences guests can have at the Airbnb property. Consider creating a theme within the space to help it feel cohesive throughout. Including unique furnishings or decor can be a way to stand out, such as displaying country-music records on the wall at a property in Nashville. However, try to keep things simple so the space doesn’t feel cluttered or overwhelming.
Find small ways to surprise and delight guests.
Small gestures can go a long way to make guests feel special and make their Airbnb experience unforgettable. Consider leaving a handwritten note to welcome guests to the property, or offer luxury robes and slippers so guests can lounge comfortably. These little, unexpected touches will impress guests and may inspire them to leave a favorable review of the experience.
Recommend the best spots.
As the host, you have all of the inside knowledge of your area’s finest spots. Share some of your favorite restaurants or sites with guests so they can enjoy the very best of the property’s location. If you greet guests in person, that’s a great time to share the recommendations. It’s also a good idea to have a written list of recommended spots with directions so guests can reference it later.
Stock food and drinks.
You also could stock the pantry or refrigerator with essentials, such as coffee, tea, and condiments, so guests have a few items to get started if they want to cook meals at the property. Or, you could consider offering a home-cooked breakfast for your guests. But before running to the grocery store, check your local laws and regulations to see if there are any restrictions on providing food or beverages for guests.
If you choose to leave some cooking and food essentials, make sure the items left in the refrigerator or pantry aren’t expired or leftovers from previous guests.
Ready to start your Airbnb business? Sign up now.