Airbnb for Dummies

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2020-05-05
  • Publisher: For Dummies

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Make extra money—and your guests extra happy—with Airbnb! 

You’ve got that spare tower, mansion, apartment, couch, or perhaps even treehouse (really—there are more than 2,400 treehouses listed on Airbnb). You’re a polite, clean, and tolerant host. And you want to make some money. Congratulations, you’re fully qualified to become part of the Airbnb revolution! Whether you’re looking to break into the business, or have already started and are researching ways of making your guests feel even more pampered as you grow your reputation and income, Airbnb for Dummies is the perfect venue for you. And this applies whether you currently own property or not! 

Sit back in your lounge recliner and let the owners and founders of Learnairbnb.com show you the ins and outs of the short-term rental boom that connects hosts with travelers looking for more economical and personal travel experiences across the world. Sip a refreshing drink as you learn how to manage the day-to-day—from maintaining listings to keeping things clean for your guests—and how to maximize and increase your profits.

  • Make an attractive listing
  • Perfect your pricing
  • Profit without a property
  • Create amazing guest experiences

So, get hold of a copy, read it in your favorite spot, and watch as the money and excited guests beat a path to your door!

Author Biography

Symon He, MBA, and James Svetec are the experts behind LearnBNB.com. Symon is also a real estate investing instructor with Linkedin Learning, and Udemy, and James is the founder of BNB Mastery Program, the No. 1 expert in rapidly scaling an Airbnb business.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

About This Book 1

Foolish Assumptions 2

Icons Used in This Book 3

Where to Go from Here 3

Part 1: Getting Started With Airbnb 5

Chapter 1: The Lowdown on Airbnb, Just the Basics 7

Looking at the Big Picture 7

The sharing economy — putting underutilized resources to use 8

Understanding what short-term rentals are 9

Knowing what you need to host 9

Recognizing the Benefits of Airbnb as a Platform Compared to Its Competition 10

Answering Common Questions That You as a Potential Host May Have 12

Why would I allow strangers into my house? 12

Is it safe to host on Airbnb? 13

Is my property suited for Airbnb? 14

Is it legal to host? 15

Am I suited to host on Airbnb? 15

What if a guest gets hurt? 16

What is the difference between couch surfing and Airbnb? 16

Chapter 2: Hosting on Airbnb: What It Really Means 17

Having a Hospitality Mind-set — What It Takes to Be a Host 17

Opening your heart and your home to guests 19

Establishing trust through transparency and dependability 20

Keeping your place clean and well equipped 20

Delivering on (rising) expectations 21

Setting up systems so your guests have a unique stay 21

Adding a touch of personal magic 22

Before Becoming an Airbnb Host: What to Consider 22

Being aware of your hidden expectations 22

Inviting strangers into your home 24

Making the commitment 24

Looking at how technologically savvy you are 25

Being aware of how your decision to host affects others in your life 26

Determining the type of host you want to become 27

Chapter 3: Determining Your Profit Potential 29

Decoding How Much You Can Really Make on Airbnb 30

Starting with national averages 30

Your location mostly determines your Airbnb profit potential 30

Researching Your Airbnb Market: Earning Statistics 32

Finding the crucial market statistics 33

Understanding the market deeper 35

Determining the Size of Your Pie 37

Factoring operating expenses 38

Estimating time commitment 39

Comparing the Big City versus Rural 42

Earning a profit in any market 42

Adding more Airbnb listings without purchasing property 43

Determining the Legality of Hosting in Your Market 44

Being aware of the potential risks of Airbnb hosting 44

Finding out what laws or restrictions apply to you 45

Part 2: Putting the Spotlight On Your Listing 47

Chapter 4: Preparing Your Property for Airbnb 49

Creating Profit Potential with Your Property 50

Maximizing the potential of your listing by optimizing your space 50

Starting your listing off strong 51

Determining the Amenities Guests Want in Your Market 52

Identifying the types of amenities to include in your listing 53

Looking at your competition to better gauge what guests want 54

Focusing on Which Amenities, Furniture, and Appliances to Include 54

Focusing on the must-have amenities 55

Remembering the often forgotten 57

Stuck between a must-have and a nice-to-have 58

Providing a bonus: The nice-to-haves 58

Surprising with the outstanding 59

Avoiding the wastes of money 60

Figuring Out What Space Is Accessible to Guests in Your Listing 61

Bedroom and bathroom 61

Kitchen 62

Access to living room, outdoor spaces, and other rooms 62

Managing Neighbors’ Relations 62

Being a good neighbor: Why doing so is profitable 63

Investing in neighbor relations before you start 63

Communicating with your neighbors 64

Managing Landlord Relations 65

Being aware of the risks of hosting without consent 65

Asking your landlord if you can host on Airbnb 66

What landlords want to know when it comes to hosting 66

Pitching your landlord 67

Getting Proper Insurance Protection 68

Grasping the importance of being properly insured 68

Understanding Airbnb’s liability protection and not relying on it alone 68

Buying your own insurance to ensure you’re fully protected 69

Being a Guest First to Better Understand Hosting — Walk in Your Guests’ Shoes 70

Chapter 5: Building the Perfect Listing 73

Making a Strong First Impression 74

Creating a Listing That Gets Attention 76

Winning at Airbnb search engine optimization 76

Identifying the most important pillars when setting up your listing 78

Understanding how to play the long game to perform better 78

Writing a Strong Headline 79

What makes a great headline 80

What you need to know in order to draft a top-notch headline 81

How you can write your own headline 82

Drafting a Great Description 84

What to include in your listing description 84

Organizing your listing for success 84

Keeping the goal in mind (more bookings) 85

Setting House Rules 87

Knowing what to cover and why 88

Enforcing your house rules successfully: The how-to 89

Choosing a Cancellation Policy 90

Identifying the six cancellation policies 90

Selecting the policy that’s right for you 91

Determining Appropriate Fees 93

Cleaning fees 93

Security deposit 94

Additional guest fees 95

Turning on Instant Book: The Pros and Cons 95

Chapter 6: Making Your Listing Shine with Photography 99

Setting Your Photo Strategy 100

Understanding why photos are so important 100

Analyzing which photos perform best and worst 100

Hiring a professional photographer: Why doing so is a smart decision 101

Staging Your Property for Photos 103

Realizing why property staging is key 103

Staging your space like a pro 104

Getting All the Shots 104

Mixing it up: From wide to detailed to closeup shots 105

Having a photography checklist 106

Working with Your Photographer to Get Great Photos 107

Lighting the shot 107

Composing the shot 107

Getting the proper exposure 108

Identifying Tips and Tricks Used by Top Listings and Superhosts 109

Part 3: Uncovering Important Pricing Essentials 111

Chapter 7: Setting Your Listing Pricing 113

Focusing on Baseline Pricing 114

Studying your competition: Gather comparable market data 114

Choosing a baseline pricing strategy 116

Ramping Up to Baseline Pricing 116

Understanding and Adjusting for Seasonality 117

Factoring in Temporality and Special Events: Going from High to Low 119

Using Dynamic Pricing: Yes or No? 121

Underperforming with Airbnb’s Smart Pricing tool 122

Aligning incentives with third-party dynamic pricing tool 123

Setting Other Types of Fees 125

Setting the cleaning fee 125

Setting the extra person fee 127

Setting the security deposit 129

Lowering the barrier to booking 130

Chapter 8: Increasing Your Profit Potential 133

Leaving Money on the Table 134

Picking the Low Hanging Fruits First 135

Having a great listing profile 135

Delivering 5-star guest experiences consistently 135

Reducing Operating Costs 136

Recognizing where to take special care when cutting cost 136

Strategizing your cuts 138

Spending Smart: Best Purchases That You Can Make Now for Profits Later 139

Increasing Booking Revenue 142

Boosting occupancy rate 142

Raising average nightly rate (ANR) 142

Expanding listing availability 142

Doing all three: Yes or no? 142

Considering the four scenarios of Airbnb listing performance 144

Charging a premium over competition 148

Using dynamic pricing to take out the guesswork 149

Maximizing Overall Revenue Potential 149

Improving your offering to increase revenue potential 149

Increasing occupancy capacity 150

Creating Additional Revenue Sources 152

Chapter 9: Going on Cruise Control and Still Making Money 155

Choosing Sanity over Profits: Steer Clear of Burning Out 156

Figuring out what you can handle 156

Minimizing your time and stress is just as important as maximizing profits 158

Thinking about your hosting like a business 158

Identifying What You Can Eliminate 159

Automating to Make Your Life Easier 161

Automating check-ins 161

Automating pricing 163

Outsourcing Different Tasks 163

Outsourcing guest communication 164

Outsourcing guest reviews 165

Hiring a pro for cleaning 165

Hiring a professional property manager 167

Chapter 10: It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane  No  It’s a Superhost! 169

What Makes a Superhost: Putting the Guest First and Foremost 170

Meeting Superhost Requirements 171

Becoming a Superhost: The how-to 171

What you can do to reach Superhost status 172

Maintaining Superhost Status 173

Your response rate 173

Your cancellation rate 174

Your overall guest reviews 175

Losing Superhost Status and Bouncing Back 177

Eyeing Superhost Alternatives: Business Travel Ready and Family Friendly 178

Part 4: Mastering Your Guests’ Experience 181

Chapter 11: Comprehending What Being a Good Host Means 183

Understanding the Guest Search Experience 184

Looking at the steps to reach booking 184

Eliminating friction from the booking process 186

Identifying the Fundamentals of Guest Satisfaction 187

Recognizing the factors that can affect guest satisfaction 188

Being realistic 188

Creating Your Guest-Centric Plan 190

Minimizing guess stress with a guidebook 191

Creating pleasant little surprises 192

Catering to Your Ideal Guest Type 193

Business travelers 194

Senior travelers 194

International travelers 194

Families with young children 195

Young travelers 195

Pet owners 195

Sanctuary seekers 196

Chapter 12: Creating a Seamless Check-In Process 197

Communicating Check-In Information with Guests 198

Sending messages to your guests prior to check-in 198

Preventing potential issues before check-in 202

Preparing for Your Guest Check-In 203

Getting your property ready for check-in 203

Getting yourself ready for the check-in 204

Handling the Check-In Process 206

Doing in-person check-ins 206

Doing a remote self-check-in 207

Handling early arrivals 210

Chapter 13: Continuing a Stress-Free Guest Stay Post Check-In to Check-Out 213

Setting the Tone for Your Guests’ Arrival 214

Ensuring Your Guests Enjoy Their Stay 215

Understanding why guests won’t voice complaints directly 215

Opening communications with guests 216

Keeping a guest book for guests to sign 216

Going the extra mile for your guests 217

Ensuring a Smooth Check-Out 218

Planning your check-out 218

Doing remote check-outs 220

Doing in-person check-outs 220

Knowing What to Do After Guests Leave 221

Assessing the state of your property 221

Filing a claim with Airbnb 221

Following up with your guests 222

Blocking out a day or two before and after reservations for preparation time 224

Managing and Responding to Guest Reviews 225

Understanding the nature of Airbnb’s positive leaning reviews 225

Responding to positive guest reviews 226

Minimizing the occurrence negative reviews 227

Minimizing the impact of negative reviews 230

Reviewing your guests in return 231

Chapter 14: Upkeeping Your Space to Keep the Reservations Coming 233

Maintaining Your Space to Ensure Long-Term Success on Airbnb 234

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors 234

Doors and windows 234

Heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) 235

Water heating 236

Other aspects to consider 236

Cleaning Your Space — The No 1 Biggest Headache 237

Mastering the turnover 237

Checking for damages 238

Restocking consumables 239

Restaging rooms 239

Identifying what needs to be cleaned in a turnover: Your handy checklist 239

Systemizing the cleaning process 241

Using Professional Cleaners 242

Having a Cleaning Backup Plan in Place 243

When you may need a backup 244

What to include in your backup 244

Part 5: Taking Your Airbnb Hosting to the Next Level 245

Chapter 15: Elevating Your Hosting Game with Airbnb PLUS 247

Knowing What Airbnb PLUS Is 248

Recognizing what an Airbnb PLUS listing looks like 248

Identifying the benefits of Airbnb PLUS 250

Identifying the drawbacks to PLUS 251

Becoming Airbnb PLUS Certified: The How-To 252

Identifying PLUS potential 253

Applying for Airbnb PLUS 253

Chapter 16: Exploring the Many Nontraditional Listing Opportunities 255

Understanding Nontraditional Listings 256

Knowing when to consider nontraditional 256

The advantages of going nontraditional 257

The disadvantages of going nontraditional 258

Going Small to Earn Big 260

Looking at the Many Ways to Go Small 262

Crafting a Story for Guests 263

Chapter 17: Subdividing Your Airbnb 265

Understanding What Subdividing Your Airbnb Means 265

Recognizing the upsides to subdividing 267

Understanding the downsides to subdividing 267

Determining When to Subdivide 268

Diving into Subdivisions Economics 270

Calculating your subdivision payoff 270

Adding an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) 274

Advantages of accessory dwelling units 274

Disadvantages of accessory dwelling units 275

Chapter 18: Hosting without a Property through Airbnb Experiences 277

Introducing Airbnb Experiences 278

Considering the Advantages and Disadvantages to Hosting an Experience 279

The advantages of hosting an Experience 280

The disadvantages of hosting an Experience 281

Understanding the Keys to Successful Experiences 281

Knowing your target audience 281

Creating a meaningful story 282

Engaging and immersing the guests 283

Choosing the ideal location 284

Building and sustaining momentum 284

Making the economics work from day one 286

Brainstorming Unique Airbnb Experience Concepts 290

Using the mix-and-match strategy 291

Capitalizing on a growing trend 291

Going extreme 292

Going weird and one of a kind 292

Submitting Your Airbnb Experience for Approval 293

Understanding Airbnb’s three pillars of quality Experiences 293

Preparing to apply 294

Filling out the application 295

Getting approval 300

Reapplying when rejected 301

Looking at the Future of Airbnb Experiences 301

Part 6: Tackling Important Money Matters 303

Chapter 19: Understanding Airbnb Taxes 305

Getting Serious about Taxes 306

Knowing how Airbnb income is taxed 307

Asking the important questions 308

Taking Account of Your Airbnb Earnings 311

Deciphering the gross earnings report 311

Getting tax forms from Airbnb 314

Taking Account of Your Airbnb Expenses 314

Understanding deductible expenses 315

Comprehending capitalized expenses 315

Knowing what deductible expenses to track 317

Knowing what documents to keep 318

Exploring Recent Tax Law Changes 320

Deducting 100 percent bonus depreciation on personal property 320

Getting the 20 percent pass-through deduction 320

Chapter 20: Making Big Bucks as an Airbnb Co-Host 323

Co-Hosting: What It Actually Takes to Manage Other People’s Listings 324

Understanding the basics of co-hosting 324

Considering co-hosting: Is it right for you? 325

Identifying the benefits to co-hosting 326

Running your co-hosting business through a legal entity 327

Scaling Your Income through Co-Hosting 327

Starting to co-host: The how-to 327

Turn hosting for others on autopilot 328

Growing your co-hosting business to your desired level of income in record time 329

Part 7: The Part of Tens 331

Chapter 21: Ten Tips to Be a Better Host 333

Research Your Market before Hosting 333

Become a Guest First 333

Invite But Never Impose 334

Offer More than Promised 334

Touch Base with Your Guests Regularly 334

Use Tiny Helpful Labels 335

Always Have Extra Supply 335

Use Action Shots in Your Photos 335

Disclose and Highlight Potential Negatives Up Front 336

Measure Return on Time 336

Chapter 22: Ten Best Purchases for Hosts 337

Futon Couch or Sofa Bed 337

Floor Mats for Every Entrance 338

Shoe Racks 338

Universal Phone Chargers for Every Room 338

Large Capacity Appliances 338

Storage Lockers with Locks 339

High Quality Mattress and Linens 339

Smart Locks 339

Automation Tools 339

Better Coffee Options 340

Chapter 23: Ten Ways to Increase Your Earnings 341

Putting Your Best Listing Forward 341

Asking Guests to Leave Reviews 342

Tailoring Amenities to Your Audience 342

Offering Add-On Goods and Services 342

Using Appropriate Pricing 342

Hosting More Listings 343

Listing an Airbnb Experience 343

Thinking Long Term 343

Renting Something Else 344

Avoiding Catastrophic Losses 344

Index 345

Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

The Used, Rental and eBook copies of this book are not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

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