Airbnb: What Is It and How to Use Your Home to Cash in


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You may have heard of Airbnb before and the name sounds familiar, but you still aren’t quite sure of how it works – or you may have never heard about it until just now. Either way, we’re here to give you the lowdown of how you can put that empty guest bedroom to good use and have extra spending money.

What is Airbnb?

Airbnb, also known as Air Bed and Breakfast was officially started in 2008 but has recently launched itself into success in approximately 2011. Driven by the idea of creating a convenient source of income for home and apartment owners while also giving wanderlust travelers an affordable place to crash, it could be said Air Bed and Breakfast has achieved such enormous success because it’s beneficial to both parties – an ‘I scratch your back, you scratch mine’ type of arrangement; the home owners get to make extra money to help with their own rent and other expenses, while travelers are able to avoid overpriced tourist hotels and save. With millions of Airbnb travelers and hosts around the world, word has definitely spread and it is clear that both parties want to take advantage of what Air Bed and Breakfast has to offer.

Hosts

image: blog.airbnb.com

The home and apartment owners offering up their spaces are called “hosts” in the Airbnb world. From a small corner of your apartment with an air mattress to a fully decked out guest bedroom, or even your entire home if you’re out of town, hosts are encouraged to offer whatever space they have available on Airbnb following the idea that ‘there is something for everyone’. Depending on the host’s location, their spaces could very well be perpetually booked, especially if they live in the heart or vicinity of a heavily tourist-y location (Like Los Angeles!). “I didn’t think I’d get much traffic, but I’ve been pretty much fully booked since I opened my new listing here…I’m a social person, and I’ve met some great people. ” says user melissacee on apartmentherapy.com. Whether a host is a social butterfly or prefers to keep to themselves, this all can be specified on a listing hosts are required to post on the Airbnb website which describes the space being advertised along with visually pleasing photos to entice travelers to want to stay in their home, a list of amenities offered and expectations of the hosts for their guests.  From there travelers can connect with hosts to see if they will be a match via messaging back and forth.

How to Cash In

Now that we’ve gone over the details, let’s discuss how to cash in your home and earn money on Airbnb.

Know Your Location

The price amount you choose to set should be determined on your location’s surrounding listing fees. Do some quick research on local hotel rates and even size up other Airbnb competition in your area to give you an idea of how much you should initially ask for. If it’s too high you won’t get any interest, but too low and you could be selling you and your space short. Are you a 15 minute drive from downtown? Do you live in the hills and have a great view? Play these things up on your profile, it will perk up the ears of tourists and travelers and make them more likely to select your home to spend their cash.

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures

Although there are plenty of travelers on Airbnb looking for places to stay during their vacations, there are also tons of hosts, who you are competing with for guests. Travelers have a good amount of options to choose from when picking out their next Airbnb location, and a great way to actively stand out from other Airbnb hosts in your area is to have high quality professional photos to accurately depict your space. Airbnb wants you to succeed (they do get a 3% cut after all), so if you become an active host they will be more than willing to have a professional photographer take flattering pictures of your home or apartment for free in order to get the attention of more potential guests.

Home Decor & Amenities

airbnb
image: airbnb.com

This is where you can put those home decor skills to the test! Referring back to the previous point of taking pictures, it’s important to ensure that your home appears to be welcoming and bright.
Eliminate excess clutter that may turn potential guests away, add a few mirrors on the walls and buy a few nice throw pillows for the guest bedroom – there are a ton of small ways you can completely reinvent your space to attract guests that are super easy. Try to avoid dark muted colors which can make your space appear smaller than it really is, especially in photographs.  Stand out by offering small amenities that would be simple for you to provide; for example, having free wifi, complementary shampoo,  morning breakfast (hence the name Air Bed and Breakfast) and listing that you have an in house washer and dryer are all attractive bonuses to travelers and can potentially allow you to list a higher initial price than you would have been able to do otherwise.

 

So, you think you have what it takes to be an Airbnb host?

 

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