What it's really like and how to do it
My experience as an AirBnB host has been absolutely positive. Of the over 20 guests I've hosted in a span of 6 months, I've had just one negative experience (which to be honest I could have avoided). AirBnB is a great way to:
- Experience a city the way a local does
- Make some money while you're away
- Keep those plants watered (just kidding, all of mine are dead)
'How do I even start?' is the question I usually get from friends about hosting. Listing your home on AirBnB can be a little time-consuming in the beginning, but once the listing is posted it takes virtually no maintenance besides answering requests. Here I have a little step-by-step if you're feeling overwhelmed.
- If you live with a roommate or in a boarding house type of situation please clear it with them before listing your room. If you live alone, gon' head!
- The text boxes you're given to describe your place can set you apart! Go heavy on keywords. You kind of have to create an identity for your place. Think industrial loft, luxury condo, chic studio, private guesthouse, etc...
- When it comes to amenities, check everything off that you have. Nothing more, nothing less. AirBnB, and guests in general look for certain things when searching. If you don't have shampoo, don't say you have shampoo. If you have access to a pool, make sure you say so!
- Availability can get tricky. You can either keep your calendar open and when people request say it's not available if it's not available OR you can set aside dates that your place is available. The latter is going to mean less BS, more reservations.
- When pricing your place, make sure you're actually making some coins. Look at the places around you and price around that. The AirBnB price tool is good if you don't want to set your own prices, but sometimes makes your price per night undesirably low.
- Always respond as quickly as you can to reservation requests. If you don't feel like answering them, you can turn on instant book, meaning anyone can book for a night that's available. Be warned: if you turn on instant book and go back and deny their reservation you can be penalized!
Prepping for guests:
- Deeply clean your home. Like a deep-ass clean. I always put myself in the shoes of the guest. No hairs on the counter, no leftovers in the fridge (if you can help it). Some guests can be really cool but some can be super picky so err on the side of picky.
- Hide or take away valuables or anything with personal information . Some people lock these things away in a cabinet, some keep them at a friends' house. It really depends on how long you'll be gone.
- Have an extra set of cheap (but comfy) linens for your guests to use. If you have back-to-back guests you won't have time to wash them, so you'll need them.
- Make sure the guest knows where and when to meet you or get the keys. If you have a lock box make sure they've got the combo. If you're meeting them make sure you're easy to find.
After they leave:
- Always make sure they've enjoyed their stay if you have a chance to talk to them while getting the keys back. This will help you later...
- Leave them a short and sweet (but accurate) review. This is not like a group project where we evaluate everyone with a 5/5. If they left your house a disaster then say so.
- Clean your place then it's on to the next one!
Once you get the hang of it, hosting on AirBnB is a breeze. For many it's nearly-passive secondary income. If you have other questions you feel I didn't answer, leave them in the comments. I hope you'll join the community of happy hosts!