How to List on Airbnb: A Step-by-Step Guide
So, you’ve decided to become an Airbnb host – where do you start? Whether you are renting out an entire property or a room within your home, the sharing economy is a great place to be. The first step to getting involved is listing your property.
Here is a step-by-step guide to take you through the process of crafting and perfecting your first Airbnb listing from start to finish.
1. Let’s Get Started
If you haven’t yet opened an account, now is the time to do so. After you are logged in, select the ‘add listing’ option in the top right corner of the homepage. You’ll be directed to a form prompting you to fill in the most general criteria of your place, starting with the city location.
Now you need to provide more specific details about your listing. First, select the best way to characterize your rental, whether it is an apartment, house, boutique hotel or something a little more unique. Then you can get even more specific by selecting from another drop down menu with further specifications with descriptors such as a villa, cabin, a nature lodge or even a converted bus. There are a lot of options here to give potential guests a clear picture of the nature of the accommodation you are offering.
Next you will describe the type of occupancy you offer, whether your guests will have the entire property to themselves or will be sharing a space with you or other guests. You want to select the option that best describes your property. This distinction is one of the most important, as both you and your guests may be particular about maintaining a certain level of privacy. So, make sure that you’re accurately presenting your listing to attract the most appropriate guests for your property.
Before choosing “Entire place,” consider the fact that granting guests full access to your listing might necessitate access to other amenities on the property, such as a pool house or garage. Similarly, the “Private room” option includes more home sharing than you might typically expect, such as that of any connecting rooms, bathrooms, or kitchens.
As you move along in the process, you’ll provide more information about your listing including the number of guests you can accommodate, the amount of bathrooms and so on.
One thing to note: when selecting the maximum number of guests, do so according to the number of people that can comfortably fit in your listing. Calculate how many people you can accommodate if each has his or her own bed, sofa bed, or inflatable mattress, provided that the sleeping arrangement is as comfortable as you would expect if you were the guest yourself.
Selecting the right amenities for your Airbnb is crucial. This section has a lengthy list of features, from stand out amenities such as a pool, barbecue or exercise equipment, to guest favorites such as wifi, free parking and air conditioning, and lastly safety items such as a first aid kit and a smoke alarm. At this stage of the listing, you are only given the option to select from the available list of amenities, but once the listing is created you will be able to edit this section and add additional or further descriptions and details. Make sure to include every appropriate feature as some guests can be swayed by certain extras or become totally uninterested due to a lack thereof. If you want to make a great impression, start with the most popular amenities that every host should include in order to maximize an Airbnb experience.
2. Painting the Picture
In the next few steps, you’ll have the opportunity to give a clear picture (literally and figuratively) about what guests will experience during a stay at your property. Here is where you will upload the impressive photos of your property, write a persuasive description and in general improve your Airbnb SEO details .
Airbnb requires you to upload at least five photos, but the more the better. It’s important to be strategic about the order in which you post the photos. Choose your best one for the cover photo as that will be the image first displayed and the one which users will base their decision to click on your listing or not. The next four images you post will be the primary images on your listing page and all photos after that will appear in your listing’s image gallery.
Your photos, especially the first five, will be the biggest factor in attracting guests so make sure to do a great job in showing off the best aspects of your property. Take this opportunity to show off amenities, quirky rooms, or other unique features. This is one area where it is worthwhile to invest your time or even some expense to present high quality photos that will create a “wow” factor for potential guests.
A great summary covers the major features of your listing in 500 characters or less. People like a bit of personality, so let yours shine through while explaining exactly what it is that makes your place unique. Too much writing looks daunting, so break it up; Bullet points and short sentences can go a long way.
You’ll also need to create a title for your listing. Think of the title as your first impression. You want to make those 50 characters engaging enough to capture attention and unique enough to accurately depict your place. Try using descriptive and pleasant adjectives to cushion your title.
3. Getting Ready for Guests
The price you set for your listing is the deciding factor for your guests to book or not to book. However, don’t worry, you won’t be choosing a price out of the blue. Airbnb will suggest a range of base prices that are common for listings like yours, based on your location, the amenities you offer, the season, the general demand and trends in the local market.
While it’s recommended to set a base price within the range they suggest, it’s important to do your research in order to remain relevant and competitive, so be sure to compare prices of similar Airbnb listings in your area. Don’t get too hung up on this right now, however, because you can change your prices at any time.
The last step in the pricing section gives you the opportunity to add a promotion of a 20% discount for your first three guests to help you attract travelers and get some initial reviews for your listing. This is highly recommended. You want to start getting bookings and reviews as soon as possible and giving guests that extra incentive to book can go a long way to get you started.
After your listing is published you can go in and play around with your pricing by customizing your rates based on day of the week, season or length of stay. You may want to tailor your listing’s going rates by creating weekly or monthly packages to encourage longer rentals. Make sure to factor in the cost of utilities, taxes, or cleaning ahead of time – Airbnb even gives you the option to add an additional cleaning fee to the price.
You can also activate Airbnb’s Smart Pricing tool, which will automatically update your prices according to the fluctuations of demand in your area.
It’s important to note that while you cannot include these in a base rate, penalties for late check-ins or other situational variables that you plan on charging guests should be communicated before a booking is secured.
4. Publish Your Airbnb Listing
After your prices are set, you’re ready to publish. Once you press publish, your listing will officially go up within 24 hours. After publishing you can go back in to set your booking settings and calendar.
5. Getting Guest Ready
After your listing is published you need to set up your calendar and booking settings.
Your calendar is a critical part of your listing. It’s essential to keep your rental’s availability up to date for maximum success and to reduce the risk of cancellations. To get started, select the dates your property is available and block those that are not. In your settings you can decide how much advance notice or preparation time you would like between bookings.
In this section, you’ll review Airbnb’s basic guest requirements and you can opt to make additional requirements such as the provision of a government-issued ID and/or recommendations from other Airbnb hosts and zero negative reviews. You’ll then set your house rules and provide important details about your home, like whether guests will have to climb stairs or find their own parking. If you do have any restrictions, it’s best to provide them in detail here to make sure you are bringing in the guests that are the right match for your rental.
Well, that’s a wrap! Setting up your listing is just the first step and if you have multiple listings this can be a bit time consuming. The good news is that you have the option to simplify all of your operations by turning to Guesty For Hosts, a centralized, mobile-first platform that simplifies guest communication, channel management and more. Go ahead, start a free trial and see for yourself!