Jordan and I LOVE to travel. We spent five weeks last summer backpacking through Europe, and we loved all the fun people we got to meet, beautiful places we got to see, and amazing food and drinks we got to try. During our trip, we stayed almost exclusively in Airbnb’s, doing everything from staying with people in their homes to renting out private apartments. We had such a fun experience and loved how we experienced a more “local” feel of the cities that we stayed in. It also saved us a ton of money (which we of course spent on more fun things like delicious food and German beer).
If you’ve never traveled with Airbnb, you should check out this post I wrote a few weeks back about how to use it! I go through all the details of creating your profile so future hosts will accept you and what to look for when booking spaces. Okay, you’ve read that and are still interested in hosting? Let’s get going!
Once we got back and moved into our new house (you can see a tour of our house here!), we decided to put our guest room on Airbnb and see if we’d get any travelers wanting to visit on little corner of the world. Within a day we had our first reservations, and the reservations haven’t stopped pouring in ever since! During peak travel months (like summertime), we’ve had guests about 4-5 nights a week. And at $50/night, that can add up to between $600-$800/month. Not bad for doing a couple extra loads of laundry and making some small talk!
If you have a spare bedroom and aren’t too scared to meet new people, I encourage you to give this a try! It’s been such a great way to make a little extra cash and meet people. We’ve loved everything about it so far!
How To Make Money With Airbnb
Create a personal Airbnb profile.
Since people will be staying in your home, they’ll want to know you’re safe and “normal.” Fill out your profile as thoroughly as you can, including lots of details about what you do, hobbies, favorites, places you’ve traveled, etc. People are much more likely to stay with you if you seem like a normal person! You can check out my Airbnb profile here for an example. You will also need to provide several forms of ID verification so Airbnb can verify you are safe for future guests, so make sure to verify in as many ways as you can!
Create your listing.
Once you’ve fully filled out your profile, it’s time to create your listing! In the upper right corner of your dashboard (like the homepage), you’ll see a button to List Your Space. Click it and get started. Here are a few tips:
1) Give basic information about what guests can expect in your space. Is it a private room, shared room, or whole home? Is there a private bathroom or will guests be sharing the bathroom with you? Are there pets or children in the home? Give as many details as you can about the logistical aspects of your space so people know what to expect. Airbnb has a space to check what basic amenities are available (like wifi, washer/dryer/ free parking, etc), so make sure to fill out this space as well.
2) Give details about the surrounding area. Where is your home in relation to other things that might interest your guest? Are you close to downtown or major transportation hubs like airports, train stations, or bus stations? Are you close to any major freeways? Are there lots of stores, restaurants, etc nearby or are you more isolated? Do your best to sell the best features of your space while still being honest so guests know what to expect. If you’re a 20 minute drive from downtown, make sure guests know this so they aren’t surprised when they arrive!
3) Clearly describe some house rules and expectations. What you do here is totally up to you! If you have specific check in/out times that work for you, make sure to say that. If guests must be home by a certain time, say that too. Think about what will work for you and your family and make sure guests know that ahead of time!
4) Upload clear and bright pictures. Include pictures of the guest room, the bathroom (even if it’s shared), the main living/area and kitchen, and any other spaces guests are able to access. This is a big part of guests being attracted to your listing, so make sure to get some pictures that accurately show the size and offerings of your space. Check out our listing below for an idea of how to do these first three steps!
House in Kansas City, United States. Our home is a great place to stay on a road trip or visit to KC. We live 5 min off I-435/I-35 & 15 min from downtown KC. Enjoy a quiet, peaceful home, a beautiful deck w/woods view, & easy access to many local highways, restaurants, and stores. … View all listings in Kansas City
5) Choose a price per night. Airbnb has a tool that will help you figure out what other listings in your area are charging, but it might be helpful to do a little exploring yourself and see what seems normal. I’d recommend starting out by charging about 20% less than other similar Airbnb’s in your area so new guests will have a reason to stay with you even though you don’t have any reviews. We started out at $40/night until we got some good reviews, moved it to $45 once we were getting pretty consistent business, and just upped it to $50 now that we are Airbnb superhosts and have lots of good reviews! This is still comparable to other local listings but makes it more worth our time to host people.
6) Figure out your payment preferences. All payments are handled through Airbnb, so guests will never pay you directly. Guests pay Airbnb, and then Airbnb pays you via check or direct deposit. This makes it more secure and helps avoid any sort of awkward interaction with guests. We just have Airbnb linked to our bank account so we the money just gets deposited in our account 1-3 days after our guests check in. This is super easy and definitely what I recommend!
7) Publish your listing and wait! You should start to see some reservation requests rolling in soon. If you don’t, you might need to reevaluate your listing and see if you need to add more details, include better photos, or lower your prices.
Make Your First Reservation.
Once you get your first reservation request, you have a few options. You do NOT have to accept every reservation! Read through the message the person sent with the reservation (if they didn’t send one, this is a red flag and we usually decline). Check out their profile and see if they have other reviews from previous hosts and seem like someone who could be a good fit. Then, make the call and do one of the following things:
1) Message them back for more info: If the guest didn’t give any information about when they’d be arriving/departing and you need to know that, ask! Ask any followup questions you might have if you aren’t ready to book the reservation.
2) Decline the reservation: There is NOTHING wrong with declining a reservation. We often decline reservations if the people don’t send a polite message or haven’t filled out their profile. We also often decline reservations of people staying for multiple days, since we usually don’t want people just hanging at our house during the day. You don’t have to explain why you’re declining unless you want to. Just send a polite message back explaining you’re unavailable (even if you are available), thank them for their interest, and decline!
3) Accept the reservation: If the person seems like someone you’d enjoy having your home, accept the reservation! Figure out when they’ll be arriving/departing and give them any information they need to know about directions, parking, etc. Then just wait for their arrival!
Open up your doors!
I could write a whole post (and probably will!) about how to be a good host with Airbnb, but it’s really just ol’ fashioned good hospitality. Make sure to have clean sheets and towels and give them information they might need like your wifi password, phone numbers, etc. Beyond that, try to anticipate things your guests might need: toiletries, q-tips, extra toilet paper, etc. We also have a sheet in the room with a brief explanation of the different parts of Kansas City they could visit and some of our favorite restaurant recommendations in each place!
We also provide a light breakfast in the mornings. Nothing fancy, but we always set out some granola bars, cereal, and bananas, and tell guests there is milk, yogurt, and juice in the fridge and coffee in the pot if they want them. Our guests consistently comment on this in their reviews, and even though it’s a “B&B” and you’d expect some breakfast, we’ve been amazed by how many hosts don’t provide it. This is a great way to make your guests feel welcome and go that extra mile!
Once they leave, make sure to leave a review so future hosts are more likely to host the guest. They can’t see your review until they review your space (and vice versa) so once you have both completed the review or over 14 days have passed, you’ll be able to see what they thought of your place! Hopefully they will have lots of good things to say!
What are you waiting for?
We have LOVED using Airbnb to travel and have loved using it to host! We’ve made over $1700 since we started using Airbnb in March, and it has been a great way to make a little extra cash for pretty much just doing a few extra loads of laundry and making a little small talk. Airbnb is a great company with a mission we love, and if you have an extra bedroom and the desire to make some extra money and meet new people, I hope you’ll give it a try!
I’d love to answer any questions you have about how this all works, so feel free to email me or comment below with any questions!
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