By airbnbing our guest bedroom and second bathroom, my husband and I saved enough money to help fund a year-long trip around the world.
Here’s how you can earn extra income as an Airbnb host to pay for renovations, a wedding, a dream trip - anything.
Create your listing
Start by creating your listing. Your listing is like a profile page for your place. It includes a description, photos, and the price. It also includes your house rules and your guest preferences so that your guests fit your lifestyle.
- Write a killer Airbnb description
- Get free professional pictures. High quality pictures make a listing. Airbnb offers a free professional photography service that you should take advantage of.
- Set your price for success.
What to expect when you list your space
Guests can make reservations once your listing is live. You can enable auto-booking, where guests can automatically book your place, or you can choose to approve each booking request. We’ve enabled auto-booking on our place but require our guests to be “Offline ID Verified” for increased security.
Messages from your guests
Guests generally send you a message through Airbnb with their trip details. This helps you get to know your guest’s plans and answer any questions they may have.
I always make it a point to send guests a “thank you for booking” message and let them know I’ll be in touch closer to their arrival with check-in details. In my opinion, it’s better to send your guests updates when they need it instead of getting the information lost in their email and doubling your work.
Being responsive is also important because it shows guest you’re reliable and gives them more confidence about their booking decision.
Welcoming your guests
Prior to arrival
Roughly one week before a guest arrives, send them your check-in details. Provide them with all the details they need like, your address, how to access your place, and your number. Check-in information is always the same so I have a saved message that I copy and paste each time.
Check in and check out
The easier it is for your guests to check in and out the better. I have a flexible check in / out policy that guests really appreciate when they have an early morning flight in or a late flight out. The easier the key exchange the better, too. I prefer not having to meet the guest to exchange a key. Flights often get delayed and most international guest don’t have roaming on their phone so coordinating a key exchange is a hassle for everyone. We’re able to buzz guests in through our mobile phone and we leave a key on our kitchen counter. We’ve also been Airbnb hosts leave a lockbox with a key.
Cleanliness is one of the most important details. Guest expect an impeccably clean place. Pro tip: hire a cleaning service to help. You can recuperate your costs by adding a cleaning fee to the reservation.
The comfort of home
Provide your guests with a comfortable bed, soft towels and sheets as well as other at-home comforts like toiletries, tea, and coffee.
The extra details
To help our guest settle in and acquainted with the condo and the city we leave out a number of items:
- A welcome note with the keys
- A reference sheet that provides guests with the wi-fi information, our cellphone numbers, and other details, like how to control the temperature.
- Snacks. Most guest are hungry after the travels and haven’t had a chance to pick up any food so we’ll generally leave fruit out for our guest.
- A book of suggested restaurants and other amenities, as well as city attraction pamphlets. Pro tip: next time you are at the airport or come across a ‘city attractions’ booth in your city, pick up a few of these pamphlets including city and transit maps as well as the good touristy stuff.
- Metro tickets to get guests started. We suggest that guests take one and leave one if they have any left over after their travels.
Prior to departure
A day before departure send your guests the checkout information. I don’t ask my guests to take out the garbage or strip the bed, although many do. Again, the easier checkout is, the better.
Become a Superhost
By providing guests with an exceptional experience you can become a Superhost, and Super hosts get rewarded.
You get a profile badge on your listings as well as your profile. This badge will boost your listing and gives travelers more confidence to book your place. It can also help you book your own accommodation. Mauricio and I requested to book a cottage with friends and the only reason we got the booking was because we were Superhosts. The Superhost status provided hosts comfort in knowing we’d take care of their place.
Superhosts who maintain their status for a full year receive a $100 travel coupon.
I haven’t ever had to call Airbnb, but Superhosts get priority support when they call Airbnb.
Airbnb invites Superhosts to preview releases and attend exclusive events. As a Superhost I was able to try out numerous releases like Smart Pricing, which sets pricing based on demand, and City Host, which gives guests the option to experience city life with specialized guided experiences.
What's it like having people stay with you?
We love it! All our guests have been very friendly. The majority of our guests are touring the city and in most cases, we barely see each other. We leave the condo for work before most guests are up, and when we're home in the evening, they're out.
Aren’t you scared that someone will steal or break your stuff? And what happens if they do?
No. We have the attitude that if someone steals something, they probably need it more than we do. With that said, you can (and we do) include a security deposit for our reservations. Airbnb also provides a host guarantee for damages up to $1,000,000.
We also figure the likelihood of someone causing damage or stealing anything is very low when the guest has their Offline ID verified and has good reviews.
What’s the worst experience you’ve had?
For context, we’ve had many guests stay with us. Our worst experience was when a young couple forgot their key in the condo when they left for a concert. They couldn’t get back in since we were asleep and our phones were on silent. The couple ended up staying at a Tim Horton’s for a few hours until we woke up in the early morning and realized they hadn’t come home. We got in touch with them, they picked up their stuff, and left. In good faith, we provided them a refund.
I have a spare bedroom but don’t feel like cleaning and coordinating all the time. What can I do?
You can either hire a cleaning company, an Airbnb management service (they charge about 20%), or get involved in Airbnb’s new program that will connect you with Superhost who can manage your location.
What if I’m away for a period of time?
You’re able to block any dates from being booked straight from the mobile app. You can also automatically set up ‘cleaning days’ right before or right after a booking. This makes overall scheduling a breeze and gives you full control.
Have people canceled last minute on you, left early, or wanted to stay an extra night?
We set a flexible cancellation policy, which means our guests can receive a full refund when they cancel 1 day prior to arrival, except fees. We’ve only ever had one guest leave early for personal reasons. On the contrary, we’ve had multiple guests extend their stay.