Chapter 1

The Ultimate Airbnb Host Guide

Airbnb is a vacation rental website that allows people to rent out their homes and gives travelers the opportunity to find and book the perfect non-hotel vacation accommodation in any city.

What was once an outdated industry has now transformed into an efficient and streamlined business opportunity for people around the world. Regardless of their level of experience, property owners can turn their unused spaces and homes into stable sources of income.

Travelers, on the other hand, can choose from a variety of rentals at different prices. From budget-friendly accommodation to luxury properties, there’s something for everyone. Nowadays, with more people gravitating towards authentic experiences, Airbnb provides curious travelers with the chance to feel like locals.


What is Airbnb?

Airbnb is a community network that makes it easy for vacation rental owners to list different kinds of properties online such as entire rentals, private rooms, shared spaces, or even unique accommodation (like yurts!). It allows guests to search through many property listings and then book the one that appeals to them the most.

One of the greatest advantages for travelers using Airbnb is the variety of options in types of vacation properties. These listings are not focused on traditional accommodations like hotels or motels, but rather take into account the private apartment. Instead of checking in through a generic lobby, guests get a much more authentic encounter. From castles to treehouses, Airbnb offers a lounging experience that is unlike any other.

According to Airbnb, more than 7 million hosts are using the platform in over 100,000 cities and 220 countries. Valued at over $35 billion today, Airbnb’s impact on the vacation rental industry continues to grow at a rapid pace.

Airbnb Host Guide

This online marketplace has now expanded from accommodation to experiences as well. Back in 2016, the company launched Airbnb Experiences. These activities are usually related to tourism and include things like local tours and classes. As a vacation rental owner, this presents a new opportunity to upsell your property by working together with local businesses.

What Does Airbnb Stand For?

Airbnb stands for ‘air mattress bed and breakfast’. The groundbreaking idea came from founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia when they first moved to San Francisco and struggled to pay their rent. To make ends meet, they decided to rent out inflatable air mattresses in their living room because hotels were fully booked from a conference being held. Despite breakfast not being included, the name stuck and is now recognized all over the world.

The Airbnb logo, known as the Bélo, has a story behind its design. Not only does it stand for the brand name, but it also symbolizes a head for people, a heart for love, and a location sign for places. Go ahead and look at the logo to see if you can spot all these symbols!

How Does Airbnb Work?

In exchange for their services and exposure, Airbnb charges a commission on listings. The company itself doesn’t own any properties. Instead, it allows owners to put all of their property listings in one place and conveniently manage them from there. 

Owners don’t need any technical or marketing knowledge to use the site. All of the resources that are needed to effectively list accommodation are readily available for the owner on the platform.

Apart from the high demand for affordable accommodation, Airbnb’s global success can also be attributed to its user experience and use of technology. From their 24/7 customer support to their easy-to-use platform, Airbnb allows anyone to become a host and generate income. 

In order to become a successful Airbnb host, there are certain aspects of the platform that you need to know and master. We will cover them in detail in the chapters of this Airbnb host guide, but here’s a brief preview of the most important elements.

Airbnb Listings: The Key to Success

There’s an art to creating a successful Airbnb listing. Despite what people say about not judging a book by its cover, guests will make assumptions based on what they see in your listing so it’s best to be overprepared. 

When creating a listing, you can edit details such as amenities and guest resources, the location, your property’s description, check-in information, photographs, and pricing. First, you’ll have to state what type of property you are renting out (entire place, private room, or shared space), the maximum number of guests you’re willing to host, and the city where it’s located. 

Airbnb Host Guide

Airbnb requires you to upload at least one photograph, but it’s recommended to have a few. The first three pictures are always on display so be sure to organize them wisely! 

How Do Payments on Airbnb Work?

Getting paid on Airbnb is simple. 24 hours after guests have checked in, a host’s payout will be processed. However, the funds will arrive depending on the payout method and typically take 1-7 business days. 

Airbnb charges two types of fees: split-fees and host-only fees. Split-fees are deducted from the host payout and also charged to guests. Host-only fees refer to fees that are charged only to guests and usually range from 14-16%. 

What Protection Do Airbnb Hosts Have?

Airbnb is a problem solver for hosts in many different ways. One of the potential problems that owners are faced with is possible damage done to their property. It is always advised that hosts have their own insurance protection but Airbnb likes to provide additional coverage.

This extra protection for hosts is offered through their Airbnb Insurance program. This helps to protect against some of the damages that can occur when renting a vacation property. It does not replace standard insurance and comes with some rules and restrictions.

Airbnb Host Guide

There are no extra costs for this program and it is available for any owners that are using the Airbnb platform. Understanding what is covered by this guarantee ensures that hosts know when they have the right to make a claim. When a claim is justified, the process for submitting the claim is quick and easy.

With protection like this in place, hosts are able to be more comfortable when accepting bookings. In addition to this, Airbnb also has a Host Protection Insurance which is only applicable in some countries.

The Importance of Airbnb Reviews

Airbnb prioritizes both host and guest reviews. These are equally important and have a big impact on the success of your vacation rental business.

Host Reviews

Guests get the chance to post a review about their experience, helping other travelers make the right decision for themselves based on what they read. It gives guests a chance to share what they liked and didn’t like about their rental experience, mentioning specifics like the location or how much money they spent.

Owners appreciate the fact that travelers get to leave a review and even encourage it as it results in more exposure to their listing. Even if a negative review arises, hosts can use it as constructive criticism and improve issues that they may have missed.

Guest Reviews

The host also gets the chance to leave a review about the guest who rented their home. Unlike with a hotel, this is important for the guests as it testifies to their credibility in the event they want to book rentals again from this platform.

 

Airbnb Host Guide

Answering Doubts with Airbnb Customer Support

Both owners and guests are able to contact Airbnb representatives by telephone or mail. To contact via email, the user must be signed in. Guests will usually receive a contact number when they receive their confirmation email. This is the best number for guests to use if they want to contact Airbnb via telephone.

In most cases, it is not necessary to contact Airbnb directly because there is a very extensive Help Center set up on the website which is broken down into main categories. Each of them answers specific questions that are most commonly asked.

This section also provides a lot of step-by-step directions to follow, assisting users with all aspects of the site.

How Easy Is Airbnb to Use?

The Airbnb platform is easy for both owners and guests to register on, which then allows them to take advantage of the benefits and features that this online site has to offer. It is easy to navigate and provides all the information a guest needs to make an informed decision. Hosts are able to save time managing their properties while maintaining a competitive business.

The reason why Airbnb has managed to grow so much over the past years is because of how straightforward the hosting process is. It gives everyday people, who might not have a background in real estate or property management, a chance to enter the industry and provide a personalized experience for travelers.

Is Airbnb Safe for Hosts?

There’s a degree of risk in every business. However, with the right Airbnb vetting process, you can avoid problems like property damage, theft, and house parties. 

Airbnb offers safety guidelines and their “host protection insurance” for up to $1 million (USD), but filing a claim can be complicated and not all damages are covered.

If you are serious about starting your Airbnb business:

  • Consider additional house insurance with a local company you trust
  • Always read reviews and check the identification of potential guests before accepting them into your house
  • Install home-security systems and alarms (theft, fire, water flood, etc.)
  • Add a damage deposit to your Airbnb rates
  • Be aware of squatters

Insurance means even more expenses, but as they say: better safe than sorry!

 

Airbnb Host Guide

Why Should You List Your Property on Airbnb?

Listing your property on Airbnb provides great visibility and a much broader reach for your business, especially if you’re just starting out in the industry. As a host, you’re granted the flexibility to customize your listing and host whenever works best for you. With its easy-to-use platform and simplified payment system, you can start receiving bookings from the very first day.

Airbnb’s profitability depends on many different factors like your property, your location, your prices, and how much you’ll have to pay in fees and taxes. Hosting on Airbnb is usually quite profitable in touristic destination cities with high-demand for short-term homestays and living quarters. However, with the recent interest in more rural and isolated accommodation, properties off the beaten path are thriving as well. Each rental business is different so it’s worth it to invest some time in data-analysis for your local market to really understand if your Airbnb listing will succeed. 

With the help of this guide, you’ll quickly learn how to become the best Airbnb host. Not only will you save time and effort, but you’ll also increase your bookings and provide memorable experiences for travelers from around the world.