How is our experience as AirBnB hosts? As real estate investors, this is a question that we get asked ALL the time! And the question is warranted considering at one point Amon and I had 3 AirBnB units in the San Francisco Bay Area! During this time we were able to generate a side income of between $7,000 and $10,000 a month. While we were doing this we learned so much and now I’m happy to pass that knowledge to you guys!
Keep reading to discover the 10 tips that we used during our time hosting through AirBnB on how to be awesome hosts and generate a LOT of side income!
1. Have a Business Plan
Yes folks, having an AirBnB DOES count as a real business, and you should treat it as such if you really want to be successful and maximize your profits. The first thing that you should do is create a business plan. Identify exactly what you want to accomplish with your AirBnB from a business standpoint. Ask yourself how much money you want to make, how much you will charge, who your target audience is, what your availability will be like, etc. and include all this information in your business plan. You also need to make sure that your business plan covers all the relevant rules and regulations around AirBnB operation in your city or area. For instance, you may be subject to ordinances that restrict the amount of income you can have or limit the amount of days you can have your property available for renters. This will obviously have an effect on your bottom line so you need to be aware of and account for these rules and regulations from the get go and include them in your business plan.
2. Understand What AirBnB Renting Really Entails
Renting your property as an AirBnB is very different than long-term rental property for instance. AirBnB is a completely different beast because it is not really in the same industry. With AirBnB’s you are in the tourism and hospitality industry, and as such you will have different priorities and needs. Your guest will expect a certain level of customer service, something that long term renting doesn’t require to anywhere near the same degree. This is all to say that with long-term rentals the amount of active involvement in the property is significantly less than with an AirBnB, which will require you to clean the unit after every guest or at the very least, supervise the people who you pay to do it.
3. Develop an Easy Check-In Plan
In our case, we had a self-check-in system so that guests could easily check themselves in to the unit at their own convenience, without needing to contact us. The check-in process is the first experience that your guests have at your property, and we found that guests really appreciated the ease and convenience of using our keyless system, which we established via automated locks on the doors, and this reflects positively in guest ratings.
4. Use Professional Photography
Like most people, we shot our own pictures when we first started on AirBnB. The results were perfectly fine, but it wasn’t until we hired a professional that we realized how lackluster they had really been. The new shots were GORGEOUS! Again, when you do something like AirBnb, treat it like a real business and don’t try to cut corners. Considering that, on average, hosts with professional photos book 24% more than those without, it's well worth the investment to get professional photographs of your space. Depending on where you live, AirBnB will offer free professional photography, but this isn’t guaranteed everywhere, so do your research!
5. Understand How To Utilize your Space
If you want to increase the number of people your property sleeps, you can easily do this by increasing the amount of bed space. Opting for bunk beds or pull-out couches will allow you to fit more people in the unit, which might both make the property more appealing and allow you to charge more. That said, there are some drawbacks to having more people in the property, including an increased rate of wear and tear, and increased risk of noise complaints, for example. This is where you need to go back to your initial business plan
6. Communicate with Neighbours
Not all people are going to like living next to an AirBnB, because, let's face it, doing so can be a real inconvenience sometimes. This is why you need to do your best to maintain a good relationship with the people who live nearby. While you run your AirBnB, continue to talk to your neighbours about their experience living next to your unit. By doing this you can not only show them that you’re taking their thoughts into consideration, but you can also figure out if there are any adjustments that you may be able to make to mitigate the negative impacts on them.
7. Cleanliness is Key
No one wants to book an awesome vacation only to start it off by stepping into a filthy apartment. I can not stress this enough: your property must be EMACULATE if you want those 5-start reviews! Seriously, it takes something as small as a hair on a pillow or a stain on a towel to disgust guests enough to ruin a trip. So make sure to double and triple check the property after every booking to make sure the unit is as clean as possible. No grease stains, no sticky floor spots, no dust- you should be able to eat off the floor! This level of detail should become second nature to you as that is what your guest will expect.
8. Use White Linens
Having white linen, particularly white sheets and towels, can go a long way towards making your property look and feel universally calming, refreshing and luxurious. And, because the colour white is associated with cleanliness, using white linens instead of darker colours will also serve to reinforce the cleanliness of your space.
9. Stock your AirBnB with Amenities
Make sure that you have different amenities available for guests to use free of cost. These could include things like a coffee maker, a hair-dryer, access to Netflix, shampoo, conditioner and soap in the bathrooms, etc. All of this goes towards contributing to a homely, luxurious feel that most guests will appreciate.
10. Provide a Small Gift
The last tip we have is to provide your guests with a small gift on their way out. Personally, we would always leave a small chocolate, a mint, some fruit, etc. This is so important because these little touches are what guests really remember when leaving a property. AirBnBs are supposed to be different from the traditional hotel experiences and providing your guests with a gift really lends a more personal touch, making their stay that much more unique and memorable. This little bit of added attention will end their stay on a positive note and the resulting positive reviews will make the expense well worth it!