One of the hottest trends over the past couple of years in regards to travel actually falls in line with the real estate world. Forget the days of high hotel prices and sub-par accommodations, when now you can find comfort in someone else’s humble abode. This modern-day luxury is none other than Airbnb, which aside from making traveling to other places more convenient, it’s actually a great market for those with extra properties or space within their own home that are looking to make a few extra bucks. Before you list your property on this trendy site, there are a few things you should take into consideration prior to diving in. Below you will not only find a guide to successful hosting with this company but, a step by step breakdown of how you can make the most bang for your buck.

Where do I start?

Before you list your property with Airbnb, it’s in your best interest to do as much research as possible with properties that are similar to your own in the area. For example, if you have a studio apartment in downtown Seattle, then you will want to search all current studio listings for that area. This will allow you to feel out the competition in more of an observatory way not necessarily for comparison but, more so in understanding just exactly what the general market looks like. Of course, you want those seeking temporary occupancy to choose your spot over others however, if your property resides in a city or area of high demand, there really is no need to stay in this competitive mentality.

As you scope out the scene, you will want to take note of a few specific details when it comes to current listings. For one, how much are they charging per night? What does their listing include as far as standout features or just general amenities? Do they provide any supplementary information such as main attractions in the city, places to shop or dine, etc?

What kind of host are you?

Which brings us to another point, what kind of a host are you looking to be? If you just want to list your property to make a few extra bucks here and there, then all of the extra bells and whistles really aren’t necessary. The reason we prompt this question is because of a little thing called rental arbitrage. Say your studio in downtown Seattle costs you $1,200 a month and other hosts with similar properties in this area are listing for $125 a night. Technically, you only need to rent your property for 10 nights of the month in order to make rent. This means that if you rent your studio out for all 30 to 31 days of the month, your achievable revenue far exceeds the actual cost of the property.

Henceforth, you have an opportunity not only to take care of an existing expense, but to make a significant income on top of whatever else it is that you already do for work. Just like anything else in life, the more effort you put in and more equipped you are with knowledge, the better the outcome of your success. The most important aspect for achieving continual success with Airbnb is claiming the title of the super host. Reaching this super host status will guarantee that your property is booked about 80% of the time bookers search in your area.

Create an account

After you’ve done your research and are clear on what type of host you are, the next step is to create an account with Airbnb. Connect your browser to airbnb.com and select “List Your Space,” in the upper right-hand corner. Once you click on the tab, it will bring you to a page where you will insert all of the general information about your property listing. Such as the home type, room type, how many people suitable for accommodations, and the city.

Once you provide this general information, the site will direct you to the second phase, which incorporates more specific information in regards to your property. Once your listing books, if there is any inaccurate information this oversight will cost you not only money, but your time as well. In that case, be very meticulous when it comes to the information that you present on your page. If you happen to notice any discrepancies prior to someone booking, you can go back and edit your page for accuracy. You can even preview your page as a booker in search of space so that you may have multiple perspectives of just how your listing looks.

Let me check my calendar

When it comes to posting availability about your listing, Airbnb presents three options, which mirror a multitude of facets. This includes how long you want your listing to remain on the Airbnb market, as opposed to specifying dates for rental. These options come in the form of “Always,” if you want your listing to remain indefinitely, “Sometimes,” for particular dates or set periods of time, and “One Time,” which limits the display of your listing to a set period of time. This bit of information needs to be inputted as soon as you post your listing on Airbnb as well as monitored and updated regularly.

Name your price  

When it comes to any form of product up for consumption, pricing is a crucial point. You want to post your listing at a price that reflects not only the value of the experience but, the general market of competitors with similar products. To make it easy, Airbnb will suggest a price for your listing that is based on the information that you post on your profile. These prices will vary depending on components such as what is currently on the rental market, tourism, and national holidays.

You do have the option of exploring the price generator on your own however, for first-time listers, Airbnb recommends starting below asking value for other listings similar to your own. This incentive will spark people’s interest in your page and allow you to grow your sprouting business. Despite these recommendations, it is important to stay up to speed with similar listings not only on the Airbnb site but, in your general area as well. This demands a certain level of continuous research so that you can stay up to date with what is happening inside the world of temporary rentals.

Another incentive to drive bookers towards your listing is creating a package deal in reference to the time frame of their stay. For instance, if bookers stay 3 nights instead of 1 or 2, their price per night may drop to a lower rate. Which will not only offer bookers a deal for possibly extending their travel time, but also raise your potential for revenue. You can create these periodically, for instance, during the off-season or even weekly at first to put your listing above others with a similar space in your area.

Word on the street is…

Taking it back to the aforementioned super host status that will carry your listing to success with Airbnb, one of the best ways to reach this optimum level is through reviews. Since this is essentially the online reputation of your business, you want to make sure that you are serving out an exceptional product that will generate high-quality reviews. Bookers in search of a residence during their travel will reference these reviews and are more likely to choose your listing if the quality and quantity of your reviews surpass your competition. Although you do not have total control over what people will say about their individual experience, there are many actions that you can take in order to ensure a more than satisfactory response from your future bookers.

Say, “Cheese!”

One of the best ways to draw attention to your profile and listing is by posting high-quality images of your product. As humans, we draw major influence from our optical vision and if the eye catches something aesthetically appealing, our attention is immediately drawn. You can take these photos with an up to date smartphone or digital camera, paired with the right lighting, and you’ve got yourself some new marketing material for your page.

Which brings us to our next point of reference; what exactly you have in the pictures that are enticing bookers as well as adding to the value of your product. You want to paint an image of the most comfortable yet enticing living space possible. Working with a particular color scheme makes all the elements in the room pop, so you may want to consider some form of coordination when it comes to the following; bed sheets, decorations, pictures or art, wall paint, other pieces of furniture, etc. While we typically do these things naturally when it comes to creating rooms for ourselves, you may want to consult the latest design trends or possibly go with a theme that relates to the location; such as the beach, or sports team, etc.

A little extra bang for your buck

Another great component of your listing that may set you apart from the crowd is extra amenities. There is a segment under the initial page setup that asks a couple of general amenity questions however, the more your listing sparkles, the better your chances are of grabbing the booker’s attention. Some of the general amenities may include TV, WiFi, cable, air conditioning, heating, a kitchen, etc. There is even a section for extras such as a washer, dryer, hot tub, pool, as well as the option of including food or even fully cooked meals for your guests. As many of these as you can incorporate into your listing, which also factors into the overall cost of the experience, the more likely bookers are to select your space.

You may even want to look into adding more upgrades, such as city maps and guides, personal recommendations in the area, the main attractions around town, or even history behind this particular location. The more special your bookers feel, the more likely they are to leave you a raving review that will only continue compounding your business in the form of future bookers.

Other things to consider

Even though you may have the perfect space and the ambition to grow an amazing business, there may be extenuating circumstances out of your control. One major component behind even posting your property is first finding out if your association allows this type of action. As the reputation of Airbnb rises, many communities are choosing to create bylaws that prohibit the use of these services. If you own your property outright, then you have nothing to worry about. Yet, it may be in your best interest to first consult the advice of a property manager or other affiliate of authority just to make sure that you have all of your ducks in a row. With this clearance, you are on your way to a successful business that presents a plethora of opportunity for financial growth and overall betterment in your quality of life.

In a nutshell

As you can see, there is a world of opportunity out there when it comes to listing your property with Airbnb. Whether you work this as your side hustle or main source of income, there are plenty of options for increasing your financial status. If you find this article useful, please feel free to share it with a friend or on social media through a link back. We appreciate your time and wish you the best of success in your future adventures through listing with Airbnb.

This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.