If you have a second home, or an extra room, or even just a computer, you can start and scale an Airbnb business. But maybe you’re reading this without a clue about how to start an Airbnb. Maybe you already have a listing. Maybe you just don't know how to momentum as a new host.
Today, let’s talk about how to be a successful Airbnb host and grow your business.
But first, we need to take a look at how the short term rental industry has evolved over time.
First is the traditional vacation rental industry. These people used traditional ways of marketing their properties: their own websites, etc. Then came HomeAway. These types of vacation rentals still exist. But today we're going to talk about the professional Airbnb host.
Airbnb, now valued at an estimated $38 billion, came from modest beginnings. Initially, the Airbnb founders envisioned a platform where people could make money off an extra air mattress.
Now, it’s a full-blown industry. People are using the platform as a career. The timeline went something like this:
So how do you start an Airbnb in a professional capacity?
You can start with my ultimate Airbnb host starter guide. This will show you how to start an Airbnb, prepare the listing and get your first booking. What about growing, though?
There are 5 elements to focus on when you learn how to start an Airbnb.
When you begin, your main focus will be getting more bookings. There’s lots of competition out there. Many other bookings competing for the top. You can’t move forward until you start getting reviews.
And you can’t get reviews until you get bookings. You’ll get your initial bookings by:
And doing everything to work with the Airbnb SEO, which we’ll talk about below.
Your job isn't over after you get bookings. Remember, you’re now a hospitality professional. And without positive reviews, your Airbnb business won’t thrive.
If you take anything from this lesson on how to start an Airbnb, it's this: guest experience is number one, always.
Try to go the extra mile and always put yourself in your guests’ shoes.
Your Airbnb business is only as good as your guest reviews. Remember, you’re in business and you shouldn’t leave it up to chance. Chase those reviews! One good way to do it is to leave your guest a review. They’ll get notified that you left them one. However, they won’t be able to see it until they leave you one.
That curiosity gap always works! Also, be sure to ask them for a review. After all, you’ve over-delivered on their experience, right? So the review should be a great one!
Stay a student. Always study new ways to automate your Airbnb business, ways you can provide an outstanding guest experience, and news about regulations and the short-term rental industry in general. Connect with other hosts and share experiences and learn from them. Never stop learning. You’re an entrepreneur now and this will be vital to your business growth
There’s always room for improvement. Always. What was the universe’s greatest guest experience 50 years ago is now outdated. Expectations change. Keep learning how to improve your guest’s experience.
But how exactly do you do that? Now that we’ve gone over the basic steps of how to start an Airbnb, let’s see the next important step in gaining moment. How to provide a unique hospitality experience.
I think I’ve said it enough times for you to understand, but I’ll say it again. If you want to know how to start an Airbnb and grow it into a money-making machine, hospitality is the answer. Today, Airbnb guests are looking for the best experience, not just a place to sleep.
What makes up a unique hospitality experience?
There’s more to turning strangers into guests than slapping your listing onto Airbnb. The short term rental industry is more competitive than ever. It’s a business. Treat it like one.
That means you need to understand every part of your guest’s journey as a customer.
When you first learn how to start an Airbnb, you’ll probably learn more about how to make your home Airbnb ready and whether you should incorporate your rental property. But just like any other business, you need to understand the process your guests go through before becoming guests.
This will let you optimize each step to give your listing the greatest chance of being booked and rebooked. Every step is important for your Airbnb business, even before the stay.
You want to start optimizing your guest’s Airbnb experience from the beginning. Not once they get to your place.
Once your Airbnb listing is actually visible, you’ll have to optimize it for sales. In the corporate world, we call it ‘conversion’.
There are also 5 steps to doing this:
When you finally have your guests where you want them (in your property), now you have to woo them with your extra-miley-ness.
This is how you’re going to get the raving reviews you need.
Do things they won’t always expect from an Airbnb host, like the following:
Learning how to start an Airbnb isn’t just about setting up your listing and getting bookings. It’s about running a business, having systems and the right mindset.