It takes more than just listing on Airbnb for a vacation rental business to thrive. You need to make your listing stand out from the rest.
Table of Contents
- What Investors and Hosts Should Know Before Listing on Airbnb
- 5 Steps to Starting an Airbnb Business
- A Step-by-Step Guide to Listing on Airbnb
- How to Make Your Airbnb Listing Stand Out
- Wrapping It Up
Most people think that once you’ve already launched your short-term rental business off the ground, you’re pretty much set. But that’s far from the truth. There is no autopilot mode when operating a vacation rental business. More than just listing your home on Airbnb and doing the legwork to keep the operation running smoothly, you also have to think strategically about improving your visibility on the platform.
You may operate the best Airbnb property ever in the history of mankind, but if your listing is just blending with the countless other options online, it will not reach its fullest income-generating potential.
What Investors and Hosts Should Know Before Listing on Airbnb
Starting a rental property business is a big deal. You need to consider several things before you take the dive. For those who are serious about it, here are a few things to know before listing your home on Airbnb:
It Is Not as Passive as an Income Source as Expected
People tend to think that after you launch a rental income business, you can just kick back, relax, and enjoy the ride. How we wish it were so, but it doesn’t work that way in the real world. There is nothing passive about running a rental property business, especially short-term rentals.
It will require lots of time and energy on the host’s end. Between responding to messages, maintaining the property, and working on accounting, running an Airbnb business is hard work.
Due Diligence Can Never Be Emphasized Too Much
Any smart investor or business owner knows that information is vital to the success of a particular investment or business venture. While financial capacity plays a significant role in owning an Airbnb or Airbnb Plus property, obtaining the right information and accurate real estate market data is equally important.
Before making any final decisions, an investor should perform extensive research and rental market analysis to get a better understanding of what the market offers. It will determine whether or not a specific location is worth investing in.
Expect to Spend a Lot on Makeovers
Whether you presently own a house that’s ideal for a vacation rental or you’re searching for income properties for sale, expect to spend a lot of money on home improvements. For rental property owners considering listing on Airbnb, understand that the platform imposes strict requirements.
Investors, especially first-time rental property investors, typically look for undervalued properties as they are a lot cheaper than turnkey investment properties. Generally, undervalued properties undergo home improvement projects to make them a good fit for the investor’s goal. But regardless of whether they’re intended to be flipped or converted into rental properties, it will cost an investor a significant amount of money to fix them.
Stocking up on the Basics Is a Must
More than just providing guests a clean and comfortable place to stay, hosts and investors should also keep the property stocked up on basic supplies. They include kitchen supplies, toiletries, linens, and other essentials needed to run an Airbnb rental.
Airbnb Needs to Earn, Too
Listing on Airbnb will cost you. To ensure that the services Airbnb provides are top-notch, the platform collects certain Airbnb fees from both hosts and guests.
So how much does Airbnb take?
Airbnb charges hosts a flat 3% service fee of a booking subtotal. By subtotal, we mean the initial nightly rate plus other fees like cleaning fees and additional guest fees where applicable. Guests, on the other hand, pay a 14% service fee of the subtotal.
For instance, if you’re charging $1,000 for a five-night stay plus a $50 cleaning fee, your subtotal is $1,050. Airbnb will collect 3% of your subtotal (approximately $31.50) as part of the host service fee. About 14% of the subtotal will be charged to your guest (around $147) and will be included in their payment. As the host, you get to earn $1,018.50 while your guest pays a total of $1,197.
Live by the Golden Rule
A good Airbnb host always keeps customer experience a priority. The best Airbnb hosts and Superhosts almost always get great reviews and feedback because they live by the Golden Rule. They realize that a successful rental property business entails putting themselves in their guests’ shoes. They go the extra mile to make sure that they give their guests the best possible experience that they would like to get if the shoe was on the other foot.
5 Steps to Starting an Airbnb Business
Now that we’ve laid down what investors should know about short-term rental businesses, let’s talk about how to start an Airbnb. The following are six simple steps to launching your own Airbnb business.
1. Look for an Ideal Location
The very first thing any prospective rental property investor should consider is location. Any wise investor knows how important location is in real estate investing. According to the real estate analytics website Mashvisor, here are the top five locations for Airbnb as of May 2022, arranged from the highest to the lowest cash on cash return:
- Median Property Price: $270,960
- Average Price per Square Foot: $120
- Monthly Airbnb Rental Income: $4,886
- Airbnb Cash on Cash Return: 9.46%
- Airbnb Cap Rate: 9.68%
- Airbnb Daily Rate: $239
- Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 56%
Berkeley Springs, WV
- Median Property Price: $363,270
- Average Price per Square Foot: $188
- Monthly Airbnb Rental Income: $4,161
- Airbnb Cash on Cash Return: 8.33%
- Airbnb Cap Rate: 8.53%
- Airbnb Daily Rate: $208
- Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 68%
State College, PA
- Median Property Price: $515,089
- Average Price per Square Foot: $253
- Monthly Airbnb Rental Income: $6,452
- Airbnb Cash on Cash Return: 8.30%
- Airbnb Cap Rate: 8.45%
- Airbnb Daily Rate: $535
- Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 43%
- Median Property Price: $375,025
- Average Price per Square Foot: $212
- Monthly Airbnb Rental Income: $4,447
- Airbnb Cash on Cash Return: 8.17%
- Airbnb Cap Rate: 8.36%
- Airbnb Daily Rate: $318
- Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 55%
- Median Property Price: $310,858
- Average Price per Square Foot: $215
- Monthly Airbnb Rental Income: $3,687
- Airbnb Cash on Cash Return: 7.90%
- Airbnb Cap Rate: 8.14%
- Airbnb Daily Rate: $159
- Airbnb Occupancy Rate: 62%
Of course, there are still countless places that are great for an Airbnb business. You just need to do your own research to find a market you’re interested in and comfortable with.
To learn more about how Mashvisor can help you find profitable investment properties, schedule a demo now.
2. Perform Due Diligence
We’ve already discussed the importance of performing due diligence. A serious investor knows that possessing the right information and data will lead them to make better investment decisions. Know what the market can offer. Find out the local regulations on short-term rental properties. Use real estate comps and rental comps to your advantage.
To help you, we recommend using a website like Mashvisor to spot the best deals you can find in your chosen market. It’s been a helpful platform for thousands of investors looking for the right properties. The platform gives users access to a wide range of real estate market data and investing tools to make the process a lot easier.
3. Pick the Right Property
Once you’ve done your due diligence, it is now time to pick the best property that lines up with your investment goals. If you did your homework, the most profitable rental properties would stand out for you. All you need to do is perform a rental property analysis for the ones you’ve shortlisted to find the right property for you.
4. Ensure the Property Meets Airbnb Standards
So let’s say that you’ve already purchased the property. Now it’s time to prepare it to be rented out as a vacation rental property.
First, you need to spruce up the property to make it fit for guests. Next, you need to ensure that it meets Airbnb’s standards for hosting. In order to do so, you need to make certain updates on the property. It also includes adhering to the platform’s health and safety requirements. In light of COVID-19, Airbnb came up with a set of safety practices to ensure guest safety.
Once you’ve met the platform’s standards, you may now proceed with listing on Airbnb.
5. Get Your Property Listed
Listing on Airbnb is pretty straightforward. Assuming that you’ve already qualified as an Airbnb property, all you need to do is create a new listing. Keep in mind to use top-quality photos for your listing. Make sure to also write out a detailed description of the property and the services you offer. Be as accurate and informative as possible.
How to Delete a Listing on Airbnb
On the flip side, if you want to delete a listing on Airbnb, just go to your listing and click Edit. Click Deactivate Listing under the Listing Status and just follow the instructions.
You may snooze, unlist, or deactivate your listing on Airbnb anytime. Just remember that when you do any of these things, you will stop getting bookings, which will affect your rental income.
Related: How to Start an Airbnb Business
A Step-by-Step Guide to Listing on Airbnb
Let’s talk a bit more about listing on Airbnb. Here are a few tips for listing on Airbnb:
1. Create an Account
If you don’t have an account with Airbnb yet, you can easily create one for free. Just visit Airbnb’s sign-up page and click on Get Started. It will ask you to register using your Google, Facebook, or e-mail account.
2. Fill Out the Sign-up Form
From the sign-up page, fill out the necessary information, such as your location and property details. You can pin your location or type in the specific address.
3. Showcase the Property’s Amenities
In your description, be sure to include your property’s amenities. Other than it is required by law, guests looking for accommodations are most likely to have confidence in a property with safety features.
Smoke detectors. Carbon monoxide detectors. Fire extinguishers. Door locks. Safety cards. First aid kit. They are the safety features that increase guest confidence and make a place more attractive.
If you also offer other amenities like a swimming pool, hot tub, gym, exclusive parking, or elevators, be sure to include them all in the description.
4. Use High-Quality Photos
We cannot stress enough how important it is to invest in high-quality photos for your listing. Potential guests look at photos more than they read the descriptions. No matter how well you put together your description, if you don’t include photos that stand out, chances are folks will just scroll past your listing.
5. Prepare for Guests
Once you’ve done all of the above, the final step is to set up your house rules, prices, and calendars.
Set your house rules to let people know what their restrictions and responsibilities are when they book your property. Is the place ideal for families with young children? Are pets allowed on the property? Is it okay to smoke on-site? Do you have a lights-out rule? Setting house rules is also a good way of filtering out potential bad guests from renting out your property.
Airbnb gives hosts the benefit of adjusting their rates however they want to. Such flexibility can be used to increase (or decrease) rates according to demand. You may set your pricing to adjust to demand (within a range that you set) or offer fixed rates, depending on how you want it. You may also offer discounts, which are a great way to attract more guests.
As an Airbnb host, you have the benefit of setting up your calendar according to your preference. Keep your calendar settings updated regularly, so you only get bookings that work in accordance with your schedule.
How to Make Your Airbnb Listing Stand Out
You’ve made it this far. Great! It shows how serious you are about boosting your Airbnb visibility. It takes more than just listing your property on Airbnb to make potential guests take notice of it. You need to be strategic and purposeful with your listing. Here are a few practical tips on how to make your listing more visible on Airbnb:
1. Invest in a Good Professional Photographer
Investing in a photographer might cost you a little extra, but it will give you excellent returns in the long run. Listings with high-quality photos tend to attract more guests, which leads to more bookings and higher income. A professional-grade photo can easily capture the essence of your property more than your words can. It will make your listing pop out from the others and draw more queries about your property.
2. Be as Detailed and Accurate as You Can With Your Description
Now, just because you took the best photos doesn’t mean you can slack off in the property description department. The two go hand in hand.
A good property description is not only detailed but honest. Do not be pretentious with your listing. Don’t try to pass it off as a luxury vacation rental when it’s not. Be as detailed and as accurate as you can about your property.
You may also include nearby public features, such as restaurants, grocery stores, public parks, and other similar things that can boost their Airbnb experience.
3. Update Your Listing Regularly
When filling out details for your Airbnb listing, be sure to complete all sections. A complete listing on Airbnb is more likely to get more bookings compared to ones that are incomplete. Guests are more attracted to listings that provide all the information they need upfront.
That being said, any changes in rules and policies need to be updated on your Airbnb listing. If any home improvements were made, be sure to upload new photos to show potential guests what the new and improved property looks like. Even if you just decorated for the holidays, keep your listing updated always.
4. Be Quick to Respond to Queries
Airbnb’s algorithm is set up in a way that it gives hosts with a stellar performance and ratings greater visibility. One of the ways to get a high rating is by responding to messages in a timely manner. Guests don’t want to wait forever to hear from a host about an inquiry. A host who is quick to respond makes potential guests feel valued and are more likely to attract bookings.
5. Offer Family-Friendly Options
Adding family-friendly features to your listing on Airbnb can help boost your visibility on the platform. Having stuff like high chairs, baby gates, board games, mattresses, and some toys (both for kids and pets) will make your property more attractive to potential guests with families.
6. Create a Professional Looking Profile
Guests typically check out host profiles before they make any final decisions. Your profile makes you connect with your guests in a personal way. An Airbnb host profile that is put together well can increase confidence in you and your property. Attach a good quality photo of yourself on your profile along with a short honest description of yourself.
Remember that your profile is an opportunity to make a good impression, so make it count.
7. Provide Welcome Gifts to Your Guests
It’s one thing to welcome guests to your property. It’s another to make them feel welcome. Make your guests’ experience unforgettable by providing them with free welcome gifts. Not only is it a great way to make an impression, but it’s also an expression of your appreciation that they booked your property. Adding a personal touch will encourage them to leave a positive review after their stay.
Wrapping It Up
Making your listing on Airbnb stand out is an excellent way to improve your occupancy rate, ultimately leading to a higher monthly rental income. However, even if you’re a wiz at coming up with the best listings, that’s just half the battle. The other half is still all about finding the right rental property with the best potential for profit.
Investors will do well to use technology to their advantage and work with a website like Mashvisor. The real estate platform specializes in helping property investors locate the best and most profitable properties in a market. It gives users access to updated market information, the latest rental comps, and the most efficient real estate investment tools. They make research and analysis a lot easier and faster compared to the traditional way of doing things.
To find more information about Mashvisor, click here to sign up for a 7-day free trial now, followed by 15% off for life.