How you can make money renting out a room occasionally, your whole place or by providing experiences!
Airbnb used to just be about renting out your room or home but now you can provide experiences to make money on the side too. I’ve used AirBnB for a few years now and love it. It’s surprisingly easy to get started and I’ve made as much as $1,300 in a few days renting out my small apartment. In Canberra, I rented out a room and now I can provide experiences where I live which tourists can book too.
While I currently live in a city centre, I previously lived on the outskirts of Canberra and used Airbnb there too. The pricing is different depending on where I am located and what I am offering (e.g. whole house, just a room or a tourist experience e.g. photowalk, tour of an area, ghost tour, photographer for the tourist hot spots, cooking class, meeting famous people etc.)
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How to get started with Airbnb
Sign up free here and decide what you want to do. If you are using it as a traveller you can get $50 off your first trip here, or make money with renting your place out/offering experiences. Check your insurance and if you are renting your home, check your lease to ensure it is ok to do. You need to make sure you are covered if anything happens and also not doing anything illegal.
Take amazing photos
Depending on where you’re based you might be able to get a photographer for cheap through Airbnb to do photos of your place. If not, you need to take great photos. Think about what you’d want to see when looking to book. Make the home or room look light, airy, welcoming and guest ready instead of having it look like a dark, spare bedroom full of junk.
Write an accurate description
Follow the steps to do your listing and make sure everything you put in is accurate. Be super clear about what is on offer and what’s off limits. Set rules for the home, instructions for how to get the key, solid check in and check out times, pick your price (base it on how much rooms are going for in your area or do it a little less to get your rating up when starting out), then list it!
What do I recommend?
There are a few key things aside from great photos and an accurate listing everyone should include to make sure it’s a smooth transaction for all involved.
1.) Remember people expect hotels
Yes, this is your home, but people generally have high expectations. Keep it as clean as a hotel, offer nice linen, have a guidebook for the area, be great with communication and listen to all feedback.
If hosting children make sure the home is safe. I don’t rent to families with young kids because we have LEGO and other items I view as choking hazards. Also, in the apartment, I simply felt it was too risky. Look around your home and think about what would be a hazard then fix it.
2.) Go the extra mile
As a minimum, people expect linen, towels, toiletries etc. Offer a welcome basket for bookings longer than 3 days or make sure your place has tea, coffee, long life milk, butter in the fridge, that sort of thing so people can make themselves a cuppa as soon as they arrive. Alternatively, make it clear if the kitchen is not available for use.
3.) Have clear rules and consequences
I worked this out after having a few great bookings then one who was not so great, ate my food, left it dirty and didn’t leave on time, resulting in needing Airbnb to get involved.
Have a set check in and check out time. With your rules, make it clear if they do not check out on time, a fee is payable for each hour they are late or something similar. This is agreed to when they book. Have your settings include a security deposit e.g. $500 so if the worst happens and you need to act on this rule, there is a security deposit Airbnb will draw on. This is what happened to me and Airbnb customer service was fantastic.
4.) Have Airbnb only stuff
Separate towels, specific linen, a box with coffee etc, mini toiletries and so on can be kept together and used just for Airbnb. This way it is in great condition and you can whip it out when your place gets booked.
5.) Add a cleaning fee
Cleaning fees are expected and by having one with your booking you can either keep the fee or pay a cleaner. For people with back to back bookings, paying a cleaner is easier.
6.) Really sell the uniqueness of your place
What makes your home better than others or sets it apart? Are there great attractions nearby, do you have animals, is it all-inclusive, are you in a hot location etc. Work it out and be descriptive. Use words in your listing which will make your guest feel like they are already there.
Be amazing with it, but also be honest. I am a single mum of two kids, so when I was renting my place I made that clear. When renting just a room in Canberra, I mentioned the kids, the chickens, everything. Here in Melbourne, I rent the place out while I’m away and I make mention that one room is mine, the other is my kids so it is a Queen bed in one and bunk bed in another, plus there are some kids toys which can be left out if desired, but the place isn’t suitable for toddlers. Be honest and specific.
7.) Add the guidebook info!
Seriously, add in what you are close to, places for people to see and things to do to give them an idea of how far away your home is from everything they want to do. Feedback for me has been the guidebook really helped.
8.) Written instructions
Include instructions for how to use everything such as the dishwasher, Netflix, AC etc. This little page of tips has helped all my guests.
9.) Use the app
Download the app so you can communicate easily, edit your booking if needed and do everything on the go.
10.) Check the settings
If you want to be a superhost you need instant booking turned on (this also increases the chances of bookings). However, I prefer not having instant booking on so I can do a check on guests and see if they are ok. Go over all the settings and make sure you are comfortable with everything before making your place live.
You don’t need to be on all the time!
Decide when you want your place to be available then block the rest of the calendar. Mine is open only when I go away since the place is only big enough for my daughters and I. You don’t need to have it available 24/7.
Do experiences instead
If you don’t want to rent out your home, you can offer to do experiences instead such as taking photos for a set period of time as iconic locations, do a ghost tour or offer a cooking class. Things like this are popular provided you have a point of difference with it to make it really enticing. This option isn’t available in all cities yet.
As you can tell, I am a fan of AirBnB. Yes, I am aware there are a few cases of things going wrong, but it’s not common and Airbnb have been fantastic with customer service when I have needed help.