Sheets are clean, a map is hanging on the wall behind my bed, and the Wifi code is written in a frame on the nightstand… Yep, I’m ready to become the perfect Airbnb host!
I was juggling with the idea since last year and I finally took my decision.
A lot of people I know want to do the same, but can’t make up their mind. That’s why I made up this beginner’s guide including:
- My answers to the 3 most common questions about hosting
- How to be the perfect host
- How to be the perfect guest
1. Does it bother you that strangers live among your things?
The answer depends of the relation you have toward your possessions. On my side, once I removed my laptop, my camera and my cellphone from my apartment, there’s nothing of monetary value.
Of course, there are objects that have a sentimental value, but I detach myself from them more and more everyday. For me, the decision to rent my place to strangers is a part of my process to value experience more than possessions. I prefer to meet new people and to welcome them in my home than to protect my belongings.
Also, it is important to remember that every host gets insurance with Airbnb. They will help you if anything bad happens.
2. Is it complicated to become a host?
Absolutely not. It is very easy to create your listing. You have complete freedom to choose the availability, the price, the maximum number of nights, etc. If you only want to rent a room for one weekend during the month, or only when you’re on a trip, you can. It’s a step by step process.
When you’ll get your first request, Airbnb’s system will assist you with notifications and emails to help you to think about everything.
3. Is it a good way to make extra money?
Yes, but it all depends of how you promote your space.
Of course, if you are on a prime location, you may have more requests, but it’s also a question of branding. I suggest to put extra energy in your pictures and to show details that make your home special. A little bit of home staging cannot hurt anyone, as long as you stay honest about what you offer.
About honesty, please choose a price that makes sense with the quality and location you offer. If I rent a space for 100$ per night, I expect it to be shining, decorated with taste, and calm. I don’t have the same expectations if I pay 25$ a night. Ask yourself if you would be satisfied to get a place like yours for the price you ask.
On my side, I don’t make profit with Airbnb, but it’s a personal choice. The moment I reach the equal amount of money than the amount I pay my rent, I stop. I don’t want to see my hosting on Airbnb like a business, but that’s my way of thinking. I only want to make extra money to travel more and share my place when I don’t use it.
How to be the perfect host
I have way more experience as a guest than as a host, but here’s what I truly appreciated from the hosts I had.
Sign up to Airbnb using my code, and get a discount on your first reservation.
Keep your apartment clean
And I don’t mean clean like “good enough”. I do mean really clean. Your hair on the bathroom sink may don’t repulse yourself, but it is disgusting for a stranger.
Craft a map with everything important around your place
Some of the hosts I met on Airbnb had made small maps of their neighbourhood, showing their favorite restaurants, parks, groceries and important things to know such as bus stations and metro stations.
You can photocopy it so your guests can take it to explore around.
Airbnb has now a cool new feature to create your guide directly on the website.
If you can’t be reach, leave another contact. Guests can always reach you through AirBnb’s website, but what if there’s an emergency? If you are out of town, always someone else to be in charge.
You should also read about the difference between an insurance and the AirbnB’s host guarantee.
How to be the perfect guest
Sign up to Airbnb using my code, and get a discount on your first reservation.
Want other tips? You might like: How to Save Money to Travel
Send a personal message to your potential host
Sending a personal message to your potential host will show that you took the time to read their profile. Saying why you choose their appartement and what you plan to do in their town is more likely to get your reservation approved and make your host in confidence.
Don’t take a refusal personal
Even if their calendar shows availabilities, nothing oblige a host to rent you a room. Don’t take any refusal personal, maybe they forgot to update their calendar, or maybe they are not comfortable having you at their place for a matter of compatibility. Would you be roommate with anyone even if they pay the rent? No? It’s the same thing here.
Take your time to find the perfect place
I rented magical places on Airbnb! I spent nights in a school bus transformed in a room, a small house built in a container, or a room with a spectacular view of Lisbon. Search! On Airbnb, you can find houses in trees, boats, and other original places to stay.
Please keep in mind that it’s not an hotel
Even if you only stay for one night, see it as a very short flatsharing. An Airbnb room will never be as clean as a hotel room. People really live there. A used cup near the sink, some clothes hanging on the line… this is normal.
Also, even if you come from a 10 hours flights and are completely jet lag, it is polite to take five minutes to speak with your host at your arrival. After, you can agonize in peace in your room.
Contact your host if you are late
It is one of the most important advice I can give you.
It’s not because you go to someone’s place that this person will be there waiting for you 24/7. Personally, I always give my departure destination, and my approximate time of arrival. For example, I quit Santa Barbara by car around 3pm, I should be in Los Angeles around 5pm. Your host know their town, and they will be able to evaluate that with traffic, you are more likely to be there around 6pm.
If you come by plane, you may not be able to communicate a delay to your host. Before departure, give them your flight number, so they can take a look at the airport’s website.
Play by the rules
Don’t ask to pay cash without using the Airbnb’s website. Even if we all want to save money and avoid paying the reservation fee, it is safer for you and your host to book via the official website. There’s an insurance for your host that comes with any reservation.
Give an honest feedback
Part of the success of Airbnb comes from the community around it. It is important to comment about your host and the room to help other travelers to make their choice.
There are two options for comments: public or private. If you had a horrible experience with a host, it’s a good idea to tell it publicly so you’ll avoid drama for future guests. On the other side, if everything went well, but a detail annoyed you, no need to bitch publicly, a short private message to tell your host what he can improve is fine.
Do you need to tip?
People ask me if they need to tip their host. Objectively, you do what you want. But, instead of giving money, I rather suggest to give a small gift, like a bottle of wine or a box of chocolate, as you would do with a friend. I don’t always give something, but I do if a host made the experience very special.
New to AirBnb? Get a credit on your first reservation!
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If you book using my link, you get a credit on your first reservation, and I get a credit too. Win win! (Some conditions may apply and Airbnb change the value of the coupon regularly.)
You should also make sure you talk to your insurance provider before renting. A lot of them will refuse to insure you in case you’re renting on AirBnb. Of course, AirBnB offers host guarantee in case something happens, but that’s only in case you’ve exhausted all other possibilities and it can take weeks.
Make sure you know who are you renting your place to. I have friends who had really horrible guests and really bad experiences with their renters. It’s important to keep your property safe.
Thanks for the comment and the link. I will include it in the post since I think it is truly good info for my readers and anyone wanting to rent their place on Airbnb. However, I also know a lot of people (and I include myself) who had wonderful experience with their AirBnB renters. You can have really horrible stories about renting a hotel room, but would you say you’d never rent one? Probably not. Like in every situation, I think both good and bad situations can happen, and not a whole service should be banned from your life for that.
thanks a lot for the link, I appreciate that. Of course, I agree with you completely. It’s not a reason to forget about the whole service, it’s still a very nice way to make some additional money and I really like the whole idea of AirBnB. But as a realtor, I find people consider their homes as the most valuable things they own, so it’s only natural to be extra-cautios when deciding to rent through AirBnB.
Booking.com for example doesn’t show you anything about the renters, while AirBnB sometimes requires references, which I think is the best idea ever.
The most important thing is to think it through and protect yourself the best you can.