Tips for Starting an Airbnb Business

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Airbnb bedroomIt’s no surprise, we’re big fans of travel and exploring the world. Our team has been experiencing and writing about places around the world for nearly a decade. With the rise in popularity of vacation rentals, we’ve been sharing tips on how to find the best lodging via vacation rental websites for your next trip and wanted to share some insights into renting your home to make some cash as well. I rented our condo one weekend for a one-time event but it’s not nearly the same as having a full-time vacation property. So when we traveled to Cuba in 2017 and met Sarah Rylee, who manages two Airbnb properties in New York City (links below), we were intrigued to learn more about what it’s like to be on the other side. Read our interview with Sarah where we learned firsthand what you will need to know when starting an Airbnb business and tips to be successful.

Click Here to Become an Airbnb Host

What is Airbnb?

Airbnb is a platform that helps people with rooms available and people in need of them to connect and share homes.

What’s your typical Airbnb average occupancy rate?

Generally, I’m booked constantly. The most per month I usually have unbooked is 1 to 3 nights.

Can you share a little about the Airbnb profit calculator?

It changes every month but in general my rent and bills are paid and I make a small profit as well.

Are there Airbnb host requirements on becoming an Airbnb host?

Hosts must add all the same requirements as guests (uploading a photo and bio, sending Airbnb your passport info so they can prove you are who you say you are, etc.). But also there are a list of requirements to stay on as a host. You must have a clean habitable space and in order to become a “Super Host” you must have a minimum of 80% 5-star reviews to prove that guests really love your place. I’m currently at 84%.

What are some Airbnb success factors? Any Airbnb host tips?

I think Airbnb strategy all depends on where you live and the type of place you are offering. Something to keep in mind is that not everyone will love your space and your hosting style so it’s important to be very clear in your listing right away so the guest has a vibe for who you are and what they should expect. When I first started I had a few guests that left me bad reviews and it was for nothing more than they didn’t like my personality (I’m very laid back and like to laugh and joke with people. These guests wanted someone who was less of a friend and more of a professional). So I started to add art to the walls in my place and tapestries that give it more of a boho artist vibe that would (and has) attracted more of the type of people that will get along with who I am. Remember the guests are coming to you because they don’t want to stay at a hotel so add some personal touches!

How much do Airbnb hosts make, how much does Airbnb take from the host, and how much money can you make on Airbnb?

This completely depends on the location and how often you’d like to rent your space. I know other hosts that only rent on weekends for just some extra money, whereas I rent constantly. Hosts are independent contractors with Airbnb, so it really is up to you to decide how much you’ll make. Airbnb takes a small percentage of the total from both the host (3%) and the guest (6-12%), based on the cost of the reservation. For my rentals, that are around $100/night, it is usually around $10 give or take.

What are the benefits to Airbnb vs renting out (long-term)?

Depending on where you live, you can make more money on Airbnb. In smaller towns, I would think it may be a better idea to rent to someone because you are guaranteed to bring in cash flow vs. in a larger city where there are a lot of tourists, Airbnb is the obvious choice.

Video: Why Host on Airbnb

Watch this two-minute video from Airbnb to hear some success stories and learn from the hosts themselves why they enjoy renting their spaces.

About Sarah Rylee

Sarah Rylee headshotSarah Rylee is a New York City-based animal loving traveler that is on the constant hunt for the fluffiest animal to cuddle and the yummiest fruit to eat. You can follow her on Instagram @sarahrylee or check out her YouTube channel.

Thanks Sarah for sharing and pulling back the curtain (or should we say tapestry) on how to get started with an Airbnb business. Your tips will surely help the aspiring Airbnb hosts out there! Keep in mind, while the business of vacation rentals sounds lucrative, it is still taxable by the IRS. So make sure you report any income to the government. Read more about the tax consequences from Forbes.

Do you have experience hosting on Airbnb? 

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Awesome, I want to do this! Our spare bed room is just sitting there never getting used. Sara’s tips helped me face my fears of letting strangers in our home.