Whether you’re at the beginning stages of finally starting that Airbnb you’ve been dreaming of or you recently started your Airbnb and are already knee-deep in running it, you need to know one thing to be successful—Airbnb hosting is hard work!
No matter what you’ve heard, Airbnb hosting isn’t just sipping mimosas on the beach all day while effortlessly becoming a millionaire. But, if done right, you can turn the hurdles that come with owning a short-term rental into opportunities that have a huge impact on your bottom line. This post will help you do just that.
Read on for 24 secrets to succeeding on Airbnb in 2024—the lessons I’ve learned the hard way so YOU don’t have to. The things I Googled but got absolutely nowhere. The tips that would have helped me earn tens of thousands $$ more had I had someone sharing them with me. Issues that have kept me up at night worrying but now you don’t have to. Strategies that will help you succeed because you now know what to expect with your first short-term rental.
Stop Googling. Stop worrying. Start getting what you need to make Airbnb hosting work for you (not the other way around) right here. You’ll find this post packed with tons of helpful secrets to success from a 10x Superhost.
This post may contain affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. I’m not affiliated with Airbnb in any way (other than being an Airbnb host, of course). Read my full disclosure policy here.
- Airbnb Host Tips: Starting Your Airbnb Like A Pro
- 1. Even though local regulations are becoming more common, there are still tons of great opportunities.
- 2. Before deciding where to invest, you need to know the market.
- 3. Don’t be afraid to run the numbers.
- 4. You don’t necessarily need additional short-term rental insurance.
- 5. Running an Airbnb from afar is possible if you’re set up correctly.
- 6. Expect your revenue to fluctuate.
- 7. Planning ahead for furniture and supplies is crucial.
- 8. Airbnb startup costs really add up.
- 9. GREAT Airbnb listing photos are essential to success but are often overlooked by new hosts.
- 10. Know that you’ll be a 24/7 customer service representative.
- 11. Cleanliness can make or break your entire business.
- 12. Don’t underestimate the importance of the living room at your Airbnb.
- Airbnb Host Tips: Managing Your Airbnb With Ease
- 13. Your pricing will never be “set-it-and-forget-it”.
- 14. Despite what Airbnb wants you to think, a flexible cancellation policy is often not best for your business.
- 15. Preventing bad guests and parties can be much more of an art than a science.
- 16. Stop wasting your time responding to every message manually.
- 17. Getting negative reviews can be heartbreaking.
- 18. Stocking, restocking, and then restocking again takes tens of hours.
- 19. Sometimes, it can feel impossible to know what guests actually want and care about.
- 20. Airbnb hosting isn’t passive income but you can outsource a lot of the work.
- 21. You can’t afford to overlook the importance of regular property maintenance.
- 22. Putting your reviews on autopilot is key.
- 23. You’re not going to earn 5-star reviews with every stay.
- 24. If you want to succeed, you have to invest in keeping your bookings up.
Airbnb Host Tips: Starting Your Airbnb Like A Pro
1. Even though local regulations are becoming more common, there are still tons of great opportunities.
Sure, short-term rental regulations have increased over the past couple of years, but don’t let that scare you! There are still tons of great opportunities out there, you just have to find them.
As you start to nail down a specific location for your Airbnb, be sure to understand any requirements for short-term rentals in that area. Some municipalities and homeowners’ associations don’t allow short-term rentals at all. Others require certain permitting that can be cumbersome, expensive, and hard to get approved.
Usually, you can find short-term rental restrictions and permitting requirements online, but it doesn’t hurt to call the municipality and talk to someone directly, too, because what’s online is not always up-to-date.
2. Before deciding where to invest, you need to know the market.
How do you know where your Airbnb should be located? What’s the best market for Airbnbs? Where can you earn the most revenue? If you try to answer these questions on your own, you could spend tens of hours researching and never even identify a location you feel confident in.
Thankfully, AirDNA makes finding the right location for your Airbnb super easy. AirDNA instantly calculates the expected short-term rental revenue, nightly rate, and occupancy rate of any location or property you type in. If you want to maximize your revenue, this data is crucial before starting your Airbnb. The best part? This high-level rental data is totally free.
That said, before investing in any property, you’ve got to know the market on a much deeper level. With an AirDNA subscription, you can dive deep into market data like monthly revenue breakdowns, seasonality, and your competitors’ performance. AirDNA’s low-cost monthly subscription is well worth it for the confidence you’ll get before spending even a dollar (make that hundreds of thousands of dollars) on starting an Airbnb.
3. Don’t be afraid to run the numbers.
However, just understanding the market isn’t enough to make a sound real estate investment. Before making an offer on any specific property, you need to know if it would actually be profitable as an Airbnb. My free Airbnb profitability calculator will tell you just that.
This profitability calculator is exactly what I use to determine whether or not a potential investment property would be profitable as an Airbnb. Based on specific inputs you’ll plug in, this free downloadable instantly calculates three crucial financial metrics you need to make an informed investment decision.
With my Airbnb calculator, you can quickly assess whether or not a property would be profitable before you even spend time touring it.
4. You don’t necessarily need additional short-term rental insurance.
Before committing to third-party short-term rental insurance, it’s important to understand your existing coverage. Your homeowner’s insurance might already include coverage specific to renting out your property, so be sure to check your policy to find out. If you’re not covered, talk to your insurance provider about adding this in; you may be able to do so for free! Be sure to also take a look at Airbnb’s AirCover policy, which covers hosts with up to $1MM in liability insurance and $3MM in damage protection (as of February 2024).
The third type of insurance you can get is third-party short-term rental insurance that only applies on a booking-by-booking basis. This insurance typically requires you to pay a flat fee each time you get a booking to cover incidents that occur during that specific stay. This type of insurance is totally optional and I recommend learning about your existing coverage (noted above) before deciding whether or not you also want this additional third-party insurance.
5. Running an Airbnb from afar is possible if you’re set up correctly.
Maybe you already own property that would be perfect for an Airbnb but isn’t located near you. Or maybe you found a great real estate investment but it’s in an area other than where you live. Or maybe you travel a lot and want to make sure you can keep your new Airbnb business running when you’re not at home. Whatever the case, successfully managing your Airbnb remotely is totally possible with this guide on how to start a remote Airbnb.
6. Expect your revenue to fluctuate.
No matter where your Airbnb is located, chances are your revenue will fluctuate throughout the year. This is driven by several different factors, including typical seasonality for the area, unusual weather, changes in travel guest patterns, and much more.
For example, I grossed just shy of $19,000 my first month hosting. Then, wildfires near my Airbnb caused an unhealthy amount of smoke and evacuations nearby. For two whole months, I got zero bookings. $0 in revenue. The smoke was so bad that it wasn’t healthy for anyone to travel to the area. As an Airbnb host, you have to be able to survive low months like these.
One thing that helps is being prepared. AirDNA’s forecasting tool helps you do just. With AirDNA, you can quickly see your expected revenue every month. You also get historical seasonality, competitive data, and pricing recommendations. This tool not only helps you predict your revenue but also maximizes it. I use it constantly for my Airbnb.
7. Planning ahead for furniture and supplies is crucial.
When it comes to starting any Airbnb, getting all of your furniture and supplies before your first guest arrives is crucial. But achieving that is a lot harder than you might expect. You’ll need to first figure out what you need in every single room (100+ essential items!), then find and vet all of those items, ensure they fit within your budget, order them, track your orders, make sure they all arrive on time, and—finally—assemble everything.
It’s a ton of work. Staying on top of it all requires a lot of organization and planning. So, set yourself up for success (and save tons of time!) by downloading this FREE checklist I created for you:
8. Airbnb startup costs really add up.
Speaking of furniture and supplies, those are just one of the many expenses required during your first year of hosting on Airbnb. You’ll also need to pay Airbnb host fees, property maintenance, mortgage costs, and much more. The cost of all those expenses quickly adds up. Before you start an Airbnb, it’s crucial that you truly know how much it’s going to cost. With this simple step-by-step guide, you can quickly estimate your Airbnb startup costs.
9. GREAT Airbnb listing photos are essential to success but are often overlooked by new hosts.
The #1 most common (and biggest!) mistake I see on new Airbnb listings is poor listing photos. Your listing photos are crucial to success because they’re one of the first things your Airbnb guests will ever see about your property. Think about it—when you look for an Airbnb to stay in, what do you look at first? The photos!
Your listing photos will show up prominently in search results and at the top of your listing, so they’re what your guests are bound to look at first and spend the most time on. If a guest doesn’t like what they see, they will quickly click over to another listing they’re considering and you’ll never get that booking. If you want to earn as much money as you can from your Airbnb, then you need my guide to optimizing your entire Airbnb listing, including those oh-so-crucial photos.
10. Know that you’ll be a 24/7 customer service representative.
One thing that might surprise you most as a new Airbnb host is just how much you’ll be talking to your guests. As an Airbnb host, you’re responsible for responding to guests day and night. Some of your guests’ messages will be quick and easy to respond to. Other messages will require an hour or more to address an issue and craft the right response. It’s crucial that you respond thoughtfully to every message and not let your emotions get the best of you. Learn how to best respond in tough situations in this blog post.
11. Cleanliness can make or break your entire business.
Another surprising lesson I learned right away as a new Airbnb host is just how much guests care about cleaning (it’s one of the most often mentioned things in my reviews). But how do you ensure your place is cleaned to guest expectations? Should you hire one cleaner that you work directly with? Or a big company with tons of experience?
If possible, I would recommend a small-sized cleaning company that can, hopefully, give you the best of both worlds. Ideally, they’d be small enough to really care about each individual home (you don’t want to be “just a number”) but big enough and established enough to be experienced with short-term rental turnovers, really take their business seriously, and have enough cleaners to have a backup if your typical cleaner can’t make it from time to time. Learn more about what your guests expect here.
12. Don’t underestimate the importance of the living room at your Airbnb.
The living room is the number one place where all of your guests will get together. Sure, they might sit down at your dining table to eat as a group. Or maybe they’ll spread out across your backyard to chat, but the living room is where they’ll all sit down to relax after a long day of enjoying the wonderful activities the area has to offer. It’s where they’ll sip their morning coffee and talk through their plans for the day. And when it’s time to play a board game, they’ll carve out a spot for everyone in their group to gather around.
Plus, your living room will show up prominently on your Airbnb listing; it’s one crucial part of creating a fantastic listing that helps your potential Airbnb guests feel like your Airbnb is perfect for them. So, it’s crucial that your living room is both cozy and stylish. That’s what makes each of these 5 Airbnb living room decor ideas perfect. They’re not only comfortable and great-looking but also inexpensive–an Airbnb host’s dream!
Airbnb Host Tips: Managing Your Airbnb With Ease
13. Your pricing will never be “set-it-and-forget-it”.
Once you’ve been hosting for a bit, you might find that one of the hardest aspects is actually determining your pricing. That’s because if your pricing is too high, you’ll miss out on great bookings. If your pricing is too low, you’ll earn less from each booking than you otherwise could have. So, how do you find the sweet spot?
While there are automated pricing tools that save you tons of time and give you a data-driven reference point to work off of, these tools will always require a human element if you want to maximize revenue. Here’s the strategy I use to determine my optimal pricing stress-free.
14. Despite what Airbnb wants you to think, a flexible cancellation policy is often not best for your business.
My first year hosting, I felt like Airbnb was constantly pushing me to a less and less strict cancellation policy. “You’ll get more bookings!” they said. “You’ll attract more potential guests!” they said. “You’ll show up in more search results!” they said. So, I tested out a flexible cancellation policy—and had an AWFUL experience.
Allowing guests to cancel last-minute penalty-free can lead to you getting tons of bookings that aren’t committed to actually following through; instead, they’ll block those dates on your calendar and then cancel last-minute, leading you to be super stressed and miss out on tons of great revenue. Find out which cancellation policy is best for you right here.
15. Preventing bad guests and parties can be much more of an art than a science.
Have you ever felt oh-so-excited to see a booking come in, only to get a pit in your stomach as you read through the guest’s profile?
Unfortunately, when you get a booking or booking request, you’re working with such little information about your guest that it can be super hard to determine whether or not they’ll be a total nightmare. Instead of stressing with every single booking, steal the strategies I’ve implemented that have completely prevented parties at my Airbnb.
16. Stop wasting your time responding to every message manually.
If you’re manually sending every message to your guests, then you’re wasting tons of time, causing unnecessary stress, and leaving tons of room for error. Utilizing automated messages to give guests the info they need–when they need it–is one of the easiest things you can do to save time managing your Airbnb. Here are 5 can’t-miss automated messages you need to set up right now.
17. Getting negative reviews can be heartbreaking.
If you care about giving your guests a great experience (and just based on the fact that you’re reading this blog post, I know you do!) then getting a less-than-perfect review after all the time and money you’ve invested into your Airbnb can be super upsetting (I’m speaking from personal experience here).
The truth is, a guest’s experience is not only totally subjective (even if your place is “perfect” guests are bound to have different preferences–it’s impossible to please everyone) but, on top of that, things can and will go wrong! You can’t be at your Airbnb every minute of every day finding and fixing potential issues. Instead, embrace the imperfection and learn how to make negative reviews work in your favor.
18. Stocking, restocking, and then restocking again takes tens of hours.
If you’re deciding what to buy every single time something runs low at your Airbnb (which is all the time!) then you know just how long it takes to find the right item with the perfect balance of high-quality and low-price. Instead of reinventing the wheel every time your Airbnb needs one little thing, let me do the hard work for you. Get 100+ inexpensive and high-quality items for your Airbnb right here.
19. Sometimes, it can feel impossible to know what guests actually want and care about.
One day you’re getting a message from a guest saying they LOVE your mattress and asking where you bought it so they can buy it for their homes. The next day, a different guest is saying your beds were so uncomfortable they had to sleep on the couch. (Again, speaking from experience here!)
Hopefully, you can’t relate. But if you can, you know first-hand that it’s impossible to please every guest. The truth is, everyone wants something different and you’ll never know everything that every guest wants before their stay (nor should you! that’s way too stressful!) BUT, knowing what most guests want in an Airbnb and making sure you’re meeting those expectations is crucial to earning more 5-star reviews.
20. Airbnb hosting isn’t passive income but you can outsource a lot of the work.
My biggest unexpected lesson learned from my first year Airbnb hosting was just how much work goes into managing an Airbnb (and that customer service really is a skill that you can’t afford to lack as a host!). If you think you need a little help managing all the day-to-day requirements of hosting (I sure do!) then hiring a co-host might be perfect for you.
It’s important to be honest with yourself when managing your Airbnb all on your own is just too much, especially on top of everything else you’ve got going on. If you think you might need some help running your Airbnb and giving every guest a 5-star experience, then consider hiring a co-host.
21. You can’t afford to overlook the importance of regular property maintenance.
I’ve said it before and I’ll never stop saying it–property maintenance is crucial to maximize your profitability and increase your 5-star reviews. No one knows or cares for your Airbnb like you do. Prevent issues before guests tell you about them in their reviews by regularly visiting your property yourself and finding and fixing any issues. Make it easy with this step-by-step guide to a thorough property maintenance check.
22. Putting your reviews on autopilot is key.
When it comes to Airbnb reviews, you can’t mess around—reviews can make or break your entire business. Don’t risk learning about how reviews work through trial and error. Get five real examples of reviews I’ve left my Airbnb guests and my super simple 3-step process to make writing your own Airbnb reviews a breeze.
23. You’re not going to earn 5-star reviews with every stay.
Let’s face it, Airbnb reviews are simultaneously the best and worst part of hosting on Airbnb. That’s because all the hard work you put into hosting can feel worthwhile when a guest leaves a glowing review. And, well, a less-than-perfect review can make you wonder if you got into the right business in the first place.
Some lucky hosts have nothing but exceptional reviews. Others are struggling to get out of a streak of negative reviews. Most of us are somewhere in between. No matter where you stand, this guide can help you successfully handle negative Airbnb reviews.
24. If you want to succeed, you have to invest in keeping your bookings up.
One thing this past year has taught many of us is that Airbnb bookings are no longer flowing in the way they used to. The truth is, in 2023 we saw both an increase in supply of Airbnbs and a decrease in demand for Airbnbs. In 2024, having a lackluster listing just isn’t going to cut it anymore. To be successful, your listing needs to rank high in search results and convince as many potential guests as possible to excitedly hit “book!”. If you want your Airbnb to still be around this time next year, you need to do what it takes to start earning more bookings—here’s how.
Great work! Whether you’re getting ready to start an Airbnb or are knee-deep in running your existing rental, you’re now well-equipped to navigate your Airbnb journey like a pro. I hope the tips in this post help you avoid tons of unexpected mistakes, maximize your profits, and successfully navigate issues that come your way as an Airbnb host. Congrats! The fun has only just begun.
Do you have any questions about Airbnb hosting? Let’s chat in the comments.
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