Setting up your Airbnb host listings and account might seem like the simplest task in the world. But if you want to enjoy maximum visibility and achieve Superhost status, you’ll need to go beyond completing the basics.
Why advertise your vacation rental on Airbnb?
With just under 13 million listings, 150 million users and 356.9 million nights booked during 2021, Airbnb is the global leader for travel rentals.
Statistics show that it’s captured around 20% of the global market. With this level of global reach, listing on Airbnb is an essential part of your vacation rental booking strategy when starting out in the business.
Airbnb’s main competitors in the vacation rental space are VRBO, Booking.com and TripAdvisor Rentals, and although Airbnb is the market leader, we don’t recommend that you rely on one source for guest bookings, instead, you should adopt a multi-channel strategy to maximise visibility and achieve a healthy level of bookings.
For this article, we’re covering tips on how to set up your Airbnb host account. We’ll look at the other OTA (online travel agent) listing accounts in our next articles.
How to become an Airbnb host
It’s completely free to set up your account on Airbnb but you will be charged a service fee for every booking and your guest will also have to pay a fee for booking your accommodation on Airbnb. We’ll cover costs and services fees in the ‘Setting your Airbnb Rates’ section below.
To set up a personal host account on Airbnb visit their Hosts page and click on the ‘Try Hosting’ button.
Before you start
Before you get started take a minute to think about your vacation rental strategy.
Is Airbnb the only Online Travel Agency (OTA) you plan to use or are you considering a multiple channel strategy?
If multiple channels are your choice, you might consider a channel manager to help with the management. With Your.Rentals you can register in one place for free and link to 30+ major channels.
One Account = Multiple Channel Access!
Getting started with your Airbnb host account
There are 10 steps to setting up a complete Airbnb host account and it will take you around 30 minutes to complete the process. Here are our Airbnb host tips on how to set up your account and listings.
Click on Start a New Listing. You’ll have the opportunity here to watch a quick video introduction with Superhosts.
Step One: Type of Accommodation
Click ‘Let’s Go’ and the first detail you’ll need to input is the type of accommodation, choose from:
- Secondary Unit – this is usually accommodation within a shared property but which has its own private entrance/space. Such as a guest suite, an entire floor that has been closed off to guests, or a guest house within your property grounds.
- Unique Space
- Bed and Breakfast
- Boutique Hotel
Once you have chosen your top-level accommodation type, press Next and you’ll be asked to define the accommodation further.
Example: you might specify ‘House’, but is it a residential house, a villa, a cabin, or a cottage?
There are lots of options to choose from under each ‘type’ which helps the guest understand exactly what your accommodation offers.
Step Two: What space will guests have?
The next question to answer is what space will you offer your guests?
- An entire place: you rent your entire unit to the guest
- A private room: your guests have a private bedroom but share some common areas i.e. kitchen, living room, bathroom
- A shared room: there is no private space, your guests share the space with you or other guests
If you have multiple shared or private rooms, you should create an individual listing for each room, which will have its own separate calendar.
Step Three: Adding your address to your Airbnb host account
When it comes to adding your Airbnb address you can choose to add it manually or use the: My Current Location option. For this, you will need to give Airbnb access to your computer’s location and you may be asked to update your computer’s preferences to allow this.
You will also have the option to show your approximate or exact location on a map. But your address is never publicly shared.
Verify the location on the map. You can move the pin around to set the location and click on the next step.
Step Four: Guests & Amenities
The next step is to input the number of guests, beds, bedrooms and bathrooms.
And then select the amenities you offer to guests. These are broken down into three categories:
Standout amenities: those which grab the guest’s attention, such as a swimming pool, fire pit or hot tub.
Guest favourites: those essentials that help guests to make a booking decision based on their needs or type of stays, such as Wifi, free parking, or dedicated workspace.
Safety items: essential safety equipment that will give the guest peace of mind, such as a smoke alarm, first-aid kit, or fire extinguisher. It’s advisable to check in your region if these safety elements are essential equipment if you want to rent out your home to travellers.
Top Tip: Safety equipment additions help your listing stand out in search results.
Step Five: Adding photos to your Airbnb host account
You can add as many photos as you wish to showcase your accommodation. Airbnb says the average number is eight, but they recommend publishing around 20 photos. The more photos you add to your Airbnb listing the better.to tell your story.
You can drag and drop your photos around once they are uploaded, so they run in a sensible sequence.
Profile photo: Your profile photo is your star photo, the image that will be seen in search results and as the lead photo on your listing page, so it needs to be the best you have.
Tips for taking the best Airbnb rental property photography
- Make sure your accommodation is tidy, clean and organised. Don’t have lots of personal belongings hanging around in photos.
- Minimum five photos – ideal 20 photos
- Highlight your best features. Include photos of the USPs and special features, such as a pool, hot tub, view, terrace or garden. These will be the selling points for your accommodation.
- Use natural daylight to create the optimum atmosphere. Unless you have an incredible outdoor space that looks great lit up at night, take all photos during the day with open curtains and lights on if necessary.
- Landscape format photos are recommended over portrait format.
- Good resolution. Take photos that are at least 1024×683 px. Small, blurry photos will not get your accommodation booked.
Step Six: Create your Airbnb title
Your profile photos and title are two of the most important elements of your Airbnb listing. These are what will ultimately make your listing stand out in search results.
Your Airbnb title should be a maximum of 50 characters and incorporate all the most important facts to grab the attention of your ideal guests, such as:
- Calahonda 1 bedroom, beachside apartment with pool.
Here you are telling your guests where it is, how many bedrooms, and two USPs – beachside and pool.
It’s quite a tight squeeze to fit in the top elements of your accommodation into 50 characters, so you might have to play around a bit to make it work.
Step Seven: Writing the description for your Airbnb listing
Next, you will start to build a picture around the accommodation by adding two highlight words that summarise the experience.
You can choose from peaceful, family-friendly, central, unique, stylish and spacious.
Next, you will write the description using a maximum of 500 characters.
Don’t forget to include:
- Welcome intro from YOU – the host – which summarises the stay experience and who it’s for – family-friendly, pet-friendly, romantic couples retreat, multigenerational or friend groups.
- Reiterate the USPs – amazing views, hot tub, beachfront
- Describe the accommodation: it helps the guest if you set the scene by walking them through the space in order. Imagine your guest arrives and you are showing them around. They walk through the front door and you will probably show them the living space, kitchen, terrace first, and then finish up in the bedrooms and bathroom – your description should do the same.
- Tell them about your location: what can a guest expect from your location? Amenities, activities and places to visit.
Read our article How to write a vacation rental description for more tips and inspiration on creating your Airbnb listing.
Step Eight: Setting your Airbnb rates
It’s essential to do an investigation into competitor rates before you start preparing your Airbnb listing. Of course, the quality of your accommodation and location will determine how much you can charge, but try to set rates that are much lower or much higher than your competition.
- Setting them lower means you’ll always have to compete on price
- Setting them higher means that you’ll always be expected to offer more than your competitors
Check out what amenities and special features your competitors offer, how many beds to guests ratio, and what prices are being set through different seasons and peak periods.
When you reach the section to set your Airbnb rates, the system will give you example rates based on your location and accommodation type/size.
You will also be given the option to offer a 20% discount to your first three guests to kickstart bookings.
You’ll be able to fine-tune your nightly rates, adding seasonal rates, once you have completed the set-up.
Airbnb Host Fees
Airbnb charges a service fee on every booking received.
There are two different structures to choose from:
- Split fee: the fee is shared between host and guest.
As a host, you pay 3% (nightly rate + cleaning fee).
The guest fees vary depending on different factors but are generally under 14.2% of the booking subtotal (nightly rate + cleaning fee).
- Host-only fee: you pay the entire fee which is deducted from your payout and is generally around 14-16%.
Fees can vary depending on your location, cancellation policy and host status.
Step Nine: Finishing off your Airbnb listing
Finally, you will be asked to confirm whether you are hosting as:
- A private individual
- As a business
And whether you have the following items:
Security cameras: hosts must confirm if security cameras or recording devices are installed on-site and cameras and recording devices are prohibited in the bedroom and bathroom spaces.
Weapons: You must disclose if you have weapons on-site and confirm they are secure and locked away from guests.
Dangerous animals: Any potentially dangerous animals on-site should be disclosed prior to booking and locked away during the guest’s stay.
Step 10: Review your listing
Finally, it’s time to review your listing. Make sure you read through everything carefully and all details are correct.
Of course, you can go back and edit the title, photos and description at any time, but any mistakes when you launch the listing could mean losing your first guest bookings.
If everything is correct press save and you will be ready to start receiving enquiries!
At this point, Airbnb will give you the option to review your price settings, adding seasonal prices to your listing.
If your location requires you to register with the local government, you will also be asked to do this and include your licence number before your listing is published.
Once you have set up your listing, you’ll find some great hosting resources and articles to help you work out the finer details of your guest experience, such as which cancellation policy to include, cleaning and check-in protocol and tips for welcoming different guest types, such as families, pet and business travellers.
Airbnb Instant Booking option
The Airbnb Instant Booking option is automatically switched on when you set up your listing. If you do not wish to accept instant bookings, then you can switch this off in the Menu section under listings.
Want to know about Airbnb’s Instant Booking option? Read our Complete Guide to Instant Booking for Vacation Rental Hosts.
If setting up your Airbnb listing sounds daunting, you can chat with a Superhost during the process or jump over to the Airbnb Hosts Forum for advice from other hosts.
What’s more, our Your.Rentals support team can also help you to set up your OTA (online travel agent) listings and show you how to synchronise your listings via our vacation rentals channel manager.