In the beginning...
You'll want to make a profile on Airbnb to start. After that, you can add listings and start making money! Yes, we're jumping directly into this so let's get to it.
Once you're logged in, you can click the button to add a listing, you are taken to a simple page that asks you for your home type, location, and the number of guests it can comfortably fit.
We want to make an important note. You'll come across some chances to spin things to your advantage in your listing. If you have a pool, call it a backyard Oasis, but if you call your second floor apartment a penthouse, expect some bad reviews.
Home Type: You can list an entire place, private room or shared room. Select the most relevant, and select transparently. If you say "entire place," and someone pulls up on some college apartment, dorm-pod style ordeal, they're going to burn your building down.
This also means amenities. If there is a common area pool, you're not renting a whole place and everyone will hate you come midnight when 7 different groups want in on the same pool, kitchen, or bathroom. The Home Type distinction is one of the most important.
Number of guests: Imagine you're a guest in your listing. Think of every relevant sleeping spot, and count how many people can sleep there. Add it all up, and that's the number of guests. If you have a queen sized bed and a couch, that's 3. If you have those, and an inflatable mattress, it's still 3.
You can include something like "sleeps x number of additional guests on inflatable mattress, sunroom furniture, etc.," but if you include those spots in the actual listing numbers, you might catch a flagrant.
City: You understand this one, of course, but in the spirit of Boston real estate, let's make something clear. Dorchester is not Boston; it is Dorchester. With Airbnb, unless a surprise is a blatant positive, nix it. White lies are shady, and you don't want those reviews.
Once you get to this point, Airbnb will create an estimate of how much you might earn from this listing.
Now it's time to get more specific. You divvy things down into houses, apartments, or unique spaces like treehouses, reverse aquariums, etc. You'll then get prompted to include the number of beds, baths, the address, and the amenities.
The amenities are the fun part, and are where you're really going to sell people (other than the big 3 photos which we'll come back to that.) The amenities section has an extensive list of options. At the moment, you can only select the available options, but you'll get more options later so don't worry. You want to make of these two things: you want to include every single amenity, and not make a single incorrect addition. If people want a hot tub, and you claimed your bath tub as a hot tub, well, you know what happens. They'll get that extreme heat one way or another...
If an inaccuracy in your listing secured a booking, you're kind of screwed. You can always go back and edit a listing, but you'll have to send an approval request to any guests who have already booked. That can sometimes result in cancelations, so better to avoid it and have your stuff straight.
Paint the Picture
Your photos give the first impression, then, if a place passes that test, people will check the description. You'll want to let the photos speak for themselves, but let guests know the deal; how available are you to them, what can they expect that they might not pick up from the photos, what's interesting nearby, etc.
Upload as many as you want, but the first three are the most critical part of the whole listing. They paint the initial vibe of the place, and people, while scrolling thru countless options, won't even consider a place with bad photos because they scrolled right past it subconsciously. It's recommended to let a professional take the photos for you, unless you're good at real estate photography.
In the description you'll want to get the point across concisely while showing personality. It helps people remember you, like you're another character and not an NPC. Remember that people don't really want to read a thick paragraph, so it helps to split sentences, do bullet points, or something like that to break it into bites. You get to give your listing a title, so check other successful listings and see what they're doing if you don't have any ideas yet.
3. Getting Ready for Guests
In this section, you’ll review Airbnb’s basic guest requirements and can opt to make additional requirements such as the provision of a government-issued ID and/or recommendations from other 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.
We now welcome in the logistics. Booking settings decide guest requirements like linking their account with an official ID, or having a rating above a certain level. You'll also set the house rules in this section, like specifying if people can use the kitchen vs. use things in the kitchen. This way, you don't end up leaving a bad review on someone who rented from you because they used your truffle oil not knowing it was expensive nor that they were barred from using it because the description said they could use everything in the kitchen and now their Airbnb rating is screwed up because of your oversight and pettiness, Karen. (Any resemblance to real life situations in that scenario was purely coincidental.)
ANYWAYS, you'll want to really lay things out for you guests. What's the move in like, what can they expect? Cover all the bases you'd want covered if you were the guest renting your place.
You get to choose when people visit. You don't sign up as subject to Airbnb's will, you get to set the rules. You decide how often people can book, how long of a notice you'll need prior to booking, how far in advance people can book, and how long they can stay. You can even mark specific dates on a calendar as off-limits if you so choose.
Airbnb has smart pricing. It's a tool that gives you a suggested price based on similar listings. Their suggestions are based on data, but data doesn't usually work well when it comes to luxury goods, so go with your heart. If Smart Pricing suggests $300 a night, but you think you can justify $550 with your amenities, go for it. The market will respond accordingly.
If you use smart pricing, it automatically adjusts pricing based on things their data sees in the area. If there is a spike in bookings around you, they'll up your price. It's kind of like Uber Surges, except you're sober and not upset about it. You set a base, minimum, and maximum price, then Airbnb does the rest.
Stay competitive and know how your listing fits into your area. You understanding the "feel" of the market, like Case in Chiba City, is the difference between your listing performing exceptionally, or just missing the mark.
You can also offer special rates for bulk bookings, like taking 25% off if people book a full week at a time. When pricing, consider property costs like utilities, taxes-- Airbnb even lets you set a special fee for cleaning. Cover the map, and always communicate any additional charges to guests before they book.
4. Publish Your Airbnb Listing
It's time to go over your listing and make sure everything is right. Remember, anything you lied about, white lied about, or weren't entirely transparent about, will come back to bite you, and rightfully.
We recommend coming back to proofread in a few hours before you post it. You do that once or twice and it should come out well.
Once you post, it's time to sit back and sit back up because you're not done. It's time to promote your listing! Promoting listings is a skill that the mighty Realtors of Castles Unlimited have prided themselves on since 1985. Now is the time to reach out to us by clicking THIS LINK to contact us today, or by calling us at 617-964-3300. We'll speak soon!