D## Introduction If you think you have what it takes, read on to find out how. Let's start with the basics first! Airbnb We've been using Airbnb all over Europe since 2012 and we've learnt a lot about running a successful business as well as the benefits of short term rentals.
This website allows people to rent their accommodation out for short periods of time (usually a few days). They use a digital booking system and guests pay a fee to list their property for viewing and checking-in.
Whether you’re on holiday or working abroad, it can sometimes feel hard to find suitable accommodation. Airbnb means that anyone can now rent out their spare room, house or apartment. Guests choose whether they want a private room, shared spaces, or anything else and make the payment accordingly. It lets them stay in one area for a couple weeks but travel elsewhere. Why might someone do this? Perhaps they just finished a long contract and need some extra cash before going travelling again. And if they already live somewhere but still choose to rent out their accommodation, it allows them to save money by making a small profit each week rather than paying expensive bills like a hotel would. Or perhaps they were previously homeless or had to move into temporary housing while renovating a property. For example, you may be working with a renovation contractor who needs somewhere to stay when he’s renovating a building, which will eventually house his new business. For both renters and hosts, Airbnb makes finding an affordable place to stay incredibly easy and hassle-free.
The process is very simple. Firstly, you register with the site and fill in details about the property you wish to list. Next, you simply select the dates you will be available to rent, set the rental price, and complete the booking form. The guest registers with the site by entering details about themselves as well as the place they’ll be staying. A confirmation email is sent to both parties once the property has been added to the rental calendar. There are different options regarding privacy depending on what kind of property you’re listing - whether it’s a single room, two bedrooms, studio, etc. Each offer slightly different sets of privacy features. You get to decide what kind of sharing experience you’d prefer - do you want to share space with friends or family? Do you mind having strangers around? A good host also has to go through a thorough review process to ensure that they’re providing a safe and secure environment. Every host must check the safety of its property and provide evidence of any necessary repairs. This ensures that guests won’t stay somewhere that isn’t fit for human habitation, nor is it fair to charge people for a place that could become unsafe during their stay. And finally, all properties undergo a quality assurance process, which involves visiting the host’s home to ensure that everything runs smoothly.
For starters, your property is guaranteed to make a return at least equal to the amount you charged, plus a premium per hour. In fact, according to recent research, the average Airbnb host earns between $3,500-$6,400 every month hosting short term rentals. That’s great money, even better if they can charge at least double that. Hosts tend to choose the more popular destinations like New York, Tokyo, London, Paris, Berlin and Miami because they know these places tend to attract higher-end tourists from around the world. If you live in a smaller city, where demand tends to be lower, you can focus your efforts on less expensive locations or go to the place you love best. This means that if you have a friend working overseas, chances are they'll end up searching for suitable accommodation along with him/her. It's also a lot easier to find someone trustworthy if you have other travellers to interact with via the Airbnb platform.
Of course, for many hosts it’s not only financial benefits that drive them to use Airbnb, but the social aspects as well. With your home you get to meet lots of new interesting people from all backgrounds and cultures. Perhaps you’d even end up dating, moving in together or forming friendships with someone you wouldn't otherwise have met. At worst, you may come across a really awesome traveller who stays with you as a favour, and that's priceless too.
To create a unique atmosphere within your residence, you can decorate rooms with things that are special to you, including photos or souvenirs from travels past. This makes your home feel more welcoming, especially if you have kids - so let them help design a theme that matches their favourite superheroes or cartoon characters. And if you’re feeling particularly creative, you can build your own furniture and accessories to set the perfect mood around the place. Now that we know what Airbnb is, here are the 11 best Airbnb listing optimzation ideas for canadians to implement:
The key to success is to launch early. We started our first Airbnb listing 6 months ago and the difference was remarkable. Our profit margin had grown by 70% in the following three months. In addition, because of the increased traffic to our property, it took us twice as long to prepare. But the extra time allowed us to improve our offering, which resulted in a 15% increase in bookings. The bottom line: If you wait too long, you risk losing precious customers, which affects everything. By starting early, you’re able to keep the pressure on yourself. After all, you’ve got time to learn and grow.
As mentioned earlier, Airbnb works on a ‘per night’ basis. However, many hosts list their rooms without specifying prices by using the ‘room for you’ option, meaning guests will assume they can stay for free. Obviously, this doesn’t sit well with most customers, who expect a rate to be clearly stated. But as a host, you can actually benefit from these listings. If you offer the option of “No Charge” then you’re able to receive almost 100% of your entire booking cost back in free nights – and since the guest assumes he’s staying for free, you can actually charge for nothing. So basically, you’re left holding almost a full house without doing anything except the usual cleaning and maintenance required.
Another advantage of offering no cost nights is that you may be eligible for government tax deductions depending on your income level. If you’re a student, for instance, you’re generally entitled to claim 50% of the value of your expenses back under GST. In this case, if you claim no costs, it would be considered a business expense under the GST system. There are also ways you can structure the price to reduce your overall taxable income, although this comes with its own set of problems such as increased transaction fees to cover processing charges and additional costs to the customer. Still unsure? Think it over. If you’re a student and offer no charge nights, you can easily afford the initial price of an airbed – and potentially earn far more than that in profit each year. Plus, you’re giving something back to society, which is a win-win situation for everyone.
You may know all about the importance of being organised in your professional life, but this also applies to your Airbnb property. Just like a proper property manager, you need to manage everything from arranging service providers, to preparing menus and taking delivery orders. In my case, I had a separate website built that included all kinds of services - including Airbnb-related ones. But instead of creating individual pages for each service type, I simply created a single page and linked those that needed to communicate with each other. When my guests make an inquiry about a particular service, I'll show them a brief description of the item from my webpage, ask them for feedback, and then redirect them to the correct resource. This way, I cut down on the number of times I had to look things up in my books. The information I provided in this manner is very useful, regardless of whether my guests wanted me to refer them to another service provider or give them the contact information for someone else online.
Using technology for your Airbnb property means you don't need to spend endless hours dealing with maintenance issues, billing or paperwork. This saves you valuable time. If you're serious about Airbnb, it pays to invest in the tools you need to succeed. For example, I use digital marketing platforms to advertise my property. Instead of sending out flyers, I create content tailored to specific audiences which increases my chances of attracting new clients, while decreasing the frequency of people calling and emailing me. I've been using Google Analytics for years now and it's saved me countless dollars each week - it provides detailed stats on where my audience is coming from, how much they're spending on advertising their trips and allows me to measure overall performance across various websites. Another tool I use is TripAdvisor, which gives me realtime reviews and ratings on my property based on what guests have said. My guests have even come back to thank me for posting so I'm happy with this. Lastly, I use Airbnb's Instant Book system to list my property and handle enquiries. It's automated and requires no interaction on my end at all. So instead of wasting resources and time handling phone calls, emails, chats and instant messages, the system takes care of those tasks for me.
A couple weeks ago, a friend of mine shared her recent experience on Airbnb and she made some excellent points, even though it was about safety. Her point was that while the concept behind Airbnb is great and it does provide safety for travelers, the reality is that the quality of service varies drastically between properties. When it comes to safety issues, she emphasized that a high-quality property is one that keeps their homes safe and clean. She also mentioned that a lot of the properties you deal with have a lacklustre attitude, don't take proper care of their property and often have terrible hygiene standards. She did mention that there is an option to filter hosts which allows you to identify properties with low quality and safety standards – but it also takes away options from potential guests. So when searching for accommodations, focus on the positive aspects of the property rather than the negative. You can check out the pictures, read reviews and do a thorough inspection after booking. It’s better to find a property with more positives than negatives as this means there are fewer risks involved and it’s less likely that your stay won’t go as planned.
Remember the story I told you about my neighbour? Her property turned out to be a bit of a letdown, despite listing prices that suggested otherwise. What happened? Well, she had a bad relationship with the previous tenant that led him to vandalize her place. Even though he hadn't lived there for quite some time, it still showed. Guests with bad vibes don't inspire confidence and can discourage others. As a result, when visitors arrive, they feel uncomfortable and take off. So how do you prevent this? Simple. Do everything in your powers to ensure that your guests leave feeling comfortable. Give them their keys right away, so they feel secure and relaxed. Clean everything before they arrive so they know the property is ready to be occupied. Set a good time schedule for cleaning and prepare breakfast in advance (especially if guests want to wake up late). Create a welcoming environment with pictures and personal items that represent you and your family, like toys or photos related to where you grew up and loved ones you lost.
When it comes to staying in someone’s home, guests tend to feel comfortable with you if you offer them amenities such as towels, toiletries and bedding. For me, all of my rooms are self-contained and include a fridge and microwave. This gives me the freedom to prepare snacks for breakfast, lunch and dinner whenever I choose. Since I’m a vegetarian, I only bring vegetarian food for myself and guests who share my dietary preferences. It’s a simple gesture that goes a long way as people appreciate having things they usually wouldn't have access to when travelling. They also know I plan ahead and I love having control over what happens during their stay. Some travellers actually tell me that I have the best cup of coffee on the block!
Social media is not just a means of generating income through affiliate marketing. It's also an easy way to connect with those seeking your services as a host. While social media platforms aren't specifically aimed towards travel, it's still a good place to promote your services. A couple of examples worth considering include: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Once again, these aren’t the only types of social media available, but they all require a different approach to promoting yourself. Facebook for example, offers both paid and unpaid ads as well as event posts. Instagram lets users post images and videos while Twitter allows users to publish messages as short as 140 characters. All of these outlets are important for anyone looking to reach a broader demographic for hosting purposes.
Airbnb has become so popular that it’s common to see groups of Airbnb owners get together to generate leads through special offers. These specials involve inviting a bunch of guests or a certain segment of guests and then offering them discounted rates or unique deals. For example, I recently offered five nights for $70 per person. This offer was effective because I had a group of six friends that were coming into town for New Year's Eve. That meant around 10 people would be staying at my house for 5 nights. In addition to this, I offered unique packages based on each guest’s interests and hobbies. For example, one friend wanted to go surfing, another wanted to kayak down the river while my daughter was planning on using the staycation package to take advantage of free admission at a local museum.
Hosting may seem like one thing, but there’s quite a learning curve involved. So make sure you choose your property carefully. If you can afford it, a studio or smaller suite will likely be better than a 2 bedroom apartment - especially if it's located in a busy area where noise pollution may be a problem. If this isn’t possible, consider asking your guests to be mindful of noise pollution when they arrive since they’ll be sleeping next to each other. This is often referred to as ‘one person, one room’ or OPR. Also make sure you have enough bedrooms if you want to host more than two guests.
Think about how much time you might have each day to manage and oversee your listing. Will you have the time to clean? How many properties do you want to manage? What type of space do you hope to find? Will it need renovations before the guests arrive? Are you willing to spend the extra money needed to ensure your property meets expectations? There are multiple factors to taking into consideration and you should plan accordingly before listing.
One aspect that separates the top hosts from the rest is the quality of photos they use for marketing purposes. Hosts with beautiful properties tend to attract visitors and they are more likely to book and pay full price. I suggest creating high quality images that showcase what your property looks like inside, out and any unique features. Remember to use natural light wherever possible so that your photo doesn't look too dark.
Before opening your doors to strangers, you should have some idea of why travellers prefer this particular accommodation platform over other options in the marketplace. The most obvious reason is trust, and Airbnb is an extremely trustworthy company. Once you've done your research, it pays to stay in touch with a few hosts and read their reviews to ensure their feedback matches yours.
Airbnb is fairly safe but there's always potential for risks to arise. If you don’t live in an area that receives heavy traffic then expect that when you accept reservations you’ll be dealing with a lot of interruptions during peak hours throughout the year. In the meantime, make sure you have insurance if anything does happen. Other risks include the possibility of becoming homeless and possibly losing money. If you’re worried about being faced with these issues then perhaps it might be safer to hire a professional property manager instead of trying to tackle these tasks on your own.
In order to be listed on Airbnb, your property must first be approved by the website. Once all the info has been received from the application process and a reservation request has been made, your property will appear in travelers' searches and they will be able to click “book” to reserve a spot.
The world of technology has changed quite dramatically over the last decade. While it may be difficult to believe now, back in 2008 most properties didn't have wifi and mobile devices weren't in use. Nowadays, this is completely obsolete and you must continue to update your listing to reflect these changes. It's a good idea to try and list your property on sites such as Google Maps before making an official listing. Then, once you receive a booking request, ask if there are any improvements that can be made prior to arrival.
Start small by listing a single room or spare bedroom. As you gain experience, keep adding to your collection to meet the needs of travellers for longer stays. Before doing anything, make sure you're ready and understand exactly how this new service will work for you.
This is a huge community. Learn as much as you can from others on the platform. If you notice a property has an average rating of three stars, chances are there’s something that they could improve upon. Use this knowledge to help you grow as a host. Similarly, if you notice some negative reviews on Airbnb and you feel it has something in common with yours, contact them and explain how you can rectify any concerns.
While Airbnb is probably the easiest travel platform online for travellers, it doesn’t mean you should throw your hands up and walk away after receiving a booking request. Most hosts will respond promptly and quickly, but sometimes you might encounter a traveller that takes forever to respond or is constantly requesting updates. If you’ve got a property, follow through. Ensure that you can deliver what you promised in your listing, even if that means changing your offer to suit your client’s budget or needs. There’s no set standard for a review so it’d be wise to learn from the experiences of those who have stayed in your home. The first few reviews will be written by the owner, but after guests start reviewing their experience, you’ll start seeing positive comments from travellers about the overall hosting experience.
If you’re a creative individual, you can create personalised amenities for your guests based on their preferences that will increase the likelihood of repeat bookings. Examples can range from including personalised mugs in the kitchen to personalising your bed linens.
This step should occur before the booking process begins. If you think you won’t receive enough bookings or you think that your listing will end up costing you more than anticipated, then cut your losses. If your property isn’t working for you, you shouldn’t keep spending time and effort promoting it. Instead, search for another property.
Airbnb provides tools such as their map view which allows individuals to filter through listings and hotels based on their location. They also offer a host scorecard that shows the percentage of bookings made by the traveler compared to the total amount requested. Another tool is their calendar view which helps you keep track of upcoming events that are happening within your neighbourhood. These tools help you manage your property effectively so you’ll be able to focus more time on building relationships with travellers.
As noted above, one big misconception surrounding Airbnb is that it tends to be used by travellers for extended stays. Airbnb is primarily a “short term” accommodation option that is more geared towards meeting the needs of travellers for weekend or holiday stays. It's not uncommon to encounter situations where guests have trouble finding a suitable property in a nearby city or province. In addition, the majority of airbnbs are used within a 200 kilometer radius so it’s easy to underestimate the distance between cities. Finally, it’s also important to note that most of the hosts do not want to live in their properties while they are trying to build their brand. This puts a lot of pressure on these hosts since they cannot just rent out their house whenever they receive a booking request.
It’s natural to get frustrated when your guests leave bad feedback because they didn’t like how your place was maintained. However, this is completely understandable. After all, your guest is paying you money to stay with their belongings. Therefore, if you provide them with a clean and well-maintained home, it makes sense that they won’t mind being provided better accommodations during their stay.
Your website may be outdated and need updating. If you don’t understand how websites work, ask someone who does.
Learn what people expect from a trip. What do they need? Do they want lots of restaurants and shops near the destination? Are they looking for quiet neighbourhoods? How far are they willing to travel for lodging? Is there a particular type of experience/activity that they are seeking out? You would be surprised at how much information you can gather from the travellers themselves!
Having positive reviews on sites such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google, Expedia, Facebook and Instagram can help attract new customers. These sites provide a free advertising opportunity for your business. The key takeaway point here is that it only takes a few minutes to write a positive review of your business.
If people searching for “bed and breakfast Montreal” come to your local site, then they are instantly attracted to your business. By providing your visitors with relevant content, they’ll find your business easier, especially if you have multiple locations. There’s also plenty of opportunities to share information on social media such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.
A great host experience is often about attention to details. Things like providing maps and directions to the property, cleanliness of the home, clean towels, warm water at the tub, stocked fridge, clean kitchen counters and trash cans — the list goes on and on. Think of it like hosting a party. Would you invite the person cleaning the house or preparing food over you? Think about how valuable your time is to your visitors. So invest your efforts in creating the best possible experience for your guests.
You should never lie to potential guests about a number of things. For instance, did you know that many Airbnb users will check out other listings on the internet even though they booked through a certain host’s profile? And what about other guests? Have you encountered someone else using your listing without informing you? Most importantly, if you are selling yourself short on your profile (such as hiding negatives), you can bet that future potential guests will see right through that too.
Hosting does not have to take place in an area that caters to tourists. You can also reach out to locals to become your friends in the local host community just like I did. If you’re a young family, ask neighbours to babysit. It also wouldn’t hurt to reach out to a local coffee shop or restaurant and let them know that you'd love to have visitors as long as you didn’t have to pay extra.
The vast majority of hosts will say that the initial response rate can vary greatly depending on what day they post their listing and what day they accept bookings. Once the cycle repeats, however, they tend to have consistent success rates. Also, it took me many years of trial and error to learn how my profile and description worked. This meant that, when I saw that a potential client wasn’t responding to my offers, I could address it quickly without having wasted too much time. But, I have found that, once you find the right combination of listings that suits travellers, everything else falls into place.
It depends on how much time you want to dedicate to your business, your skill level, where you live, and whether or not you rent out your primary residence. There’s no shortage of hosts making between $2000-$6000 per month in Vancouver alone. Most hosts don’t expect to make any money immediately. However, you won’t earn any unless there is at least one booking per week. You can choose to stay at that listing for a very limited period of time. Alternatively, you can offer discounts in exchange for longer stays. There are different ways to monetize your Airbnb business. Some hosts report earning 20% – 50% of their monthly income from “secondary” sources such as commissions received from other local businesses or online marketing services. These income streams add significant revenue into an already strong base. What are the main costs of running an Airbnb? Your biggest expenses are labour, utilities, taxes, and security deposits. Many hosts are required to secure home liability insurance ($50/year for homes less than $300k & $100/year for those valued at over $300k). You also need to buy a home warranty in case things go wrong. You will likely need a cleaning service during peak season, especially for large group events. All of these expenses must be included in your calculation. Airbnb charges a platform fee of 2.5%. You can negotiate a price on the final booking, but generally expect to pay this amount in addition to the above expenses.
There’s no surefire way to predict how Airbnb will perform in real estate, but here are some tips that can help you increase your chances of success.
If you’re looking to make a full-time living out of the experience, you’ll need to consider how much time you will invest in each property. Will you be renting out just one property or is this a side hustle for you? It all boils down to how much free time you can devote to this venture. For example, I decided to quit my job to pursue a career in real estate as a host on Airbnb. I was lucky enough to find a partner that shared my passion. Together, we managed both properties while working full-time jobs alongside building our careers. We made $6,000 monthly. If you’re a student, perhaps you can rent the occasional spare room to cover living expenses. Airbnb is great for students, because you can pick and chose which areas in your city you wish to focus on. The goal is simple: find the most lucrative areas, and build profitable partnerships with locals who can refer you to their friends and families.
You should know the neighbourhood better than anyone else in the city. Knowing the history and culture of your area helps you identify opportunities. You can leverage your knowledge and insights to turn a profit by sharing them with your community or potential business partners. I’m fortunate to live in a vibrant neighbourhood that happens to be filled with many restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and retail stores. I take full advantage of the area by inviting my friends and family to brunch, dinner, drinks, and even yoga classes.
The price point of an Airbnb listing varies greatly depending on factors including: Location (the neighbourhood, proximity to parks, amenities, major highways, etc…) Furnishing (how ‘lived-in’ the apartment feels) Amenities (pools, gym, parking, free wifi, etc…) Seasonality (peak vs. off-peak pricing)
Neighbourhood demographics (number of college students, number of international tourists, etc… ) In order to determine the best price for a particular listing, you MUST ask to speak to the previous guests about their experience and your price.
Just because one individual rents her place out doesn’t mean she’s going to take an offer from someone else. Some hosts refuse to accept bookings that don’t meet their standards. However, most owners tend to be more flexible once they have the right guest profile (young, couples, international) or have a positive feedback score.
By definition, “brand” describes the personal traits and experiences of an individual, group or organisation. It’s a representation of who they are and how they interact with others. As a host, you play a critical role in establishing a brand for your listings. You could be known for being a laidback host or an amazing cook. Maybe you host parties where you invite everyone in your social media following to visit during certain seasons. Whatever your brand, it’s important to define it and create value for your guests. Hosts with a strong brand attract guests that will stay longer, generate higher revenue, and leave reviews that reflect a higher quality experience.
While booking and payment processing takes up the bulk of your time, you shouldn’t forget to actively engage with your guests. The moment you become aware of a booking request, respond immediately to verify their details, confirm their check-out time (if they aren’t arriving before 9am), and send any relevant messages or updates that might have occurred since the last communication. You will never be too busy to communicate!
Successful Airbnb hosts operate like small business owners. They manage multiple properties, work around their own availability, negotiate prices based off of demand, provide high quality customer support, and engage with their guests.