Airbnb created a home sharing platform and community that changed the rental and travel industry forever.
Many sign up on Airbnb to meet new people from around the world, learn about proper hosting techniques and get connected with an international community of property owners. But the one underlying reason for all – to earn extra income from short term rental.
But here’s the real question,
How do you really earn that additional cash on Airbnb?
To learn more about how hosts make a success of their Airbnb business, we spoke to a successful superhost in Hong Kong to get insights to the tricks of the trade.
GuestReady: What made you want to start as an Airbnb host?
Superhost: As I live in Hong Kong where rents are among the most expensive in the world, I wanted to make some extra money to cover my rent while being away and subsidize my travel expenses. My Airbnb bookings can pay for most of my travel expenses, and sometimes even generate a profit on top of my trip.
GuestReady: What are the challenges of being an Airbnb host?
Superhost: The main challenge when starting is to understand how Airbnb works and what kind of expectations the guests may have. This requires a lot of research on strategies that you can apply and on top of that, you need to familiarize yourself with the regulations regarding short term rental in your city. But, after a few bookings, you get better at it.
On a regular basis, maintaining the listing and the apartment can be quite a challenge especially with all the administrative and logistic matters involved (e.g. updating, responding to guests, arranging a good cleaning and passing the keys to guests while being away, etc.) which is why I use GuestReady to assist me!
GuestReady: How do you maximize your occupancy especially for last-minute travels?
Superhost: If I’m already travelling and my apartment is not rented out, I would lower the price at the last-minute. The average stay is usually 3-4 days and I ask for a minimum stay of 2 nights, but in this case, reducing it to 1 night may also help drive more last-minute bookings. Offering a flexible cancellation policy such as not asking for deposit from the guests or using the instant booking function would also help generate more last-minute bookings.
GuestReady: What kind of pricing strategy do you apply?
Superhost: I keep my calendar open all the time at high prices. If anyone books, I would then arrange a trip somewhere or go for a short weekend getaway while making a profit. When I already have travel plans, I usually use the smart pricing function of Airbnb, although sometimes the recommended price may be low so I would increase it by 20% or so. I also give promotions or discounts (maybe around 10%) on bookings of more than 1 week, as those are the easiest to manage. There are times too that I offer guests additional services at a small fee.I keep my calendar open at high rates. If anyone books, I stay in a hotel and still make profit Click To Tweet
GuestReady: Since you still stay in that apartment, how do you protect belongings and screen guests?
Superhost: I check the profile and reviews of every guest that sends me a request. I declined a few guests whenever I felt uncomfortable hosting because of bad reviews or very limited profile or interaction. But my experiences so far have been all good. As Airbnb is still relatively new, maybe around half of the users booking are first timers or new users. I would ask them to fill-in their profile, verify the government ID before booking, and then send them detailed instructions for the check-in.
Sometimes, in order for better peace of mind, I would also ask for a security deposit and keep a checklist or inventory of the things that I need to lock up or keep safe before renting it out.
GuestReady: What happens when you are in a travelling spree and you are unable to check-in guests yourself or look after their queries?
Superhost: GuestReady really assists me in all aspects of hosting, not only the logistic part of passing keys or cleaning my apartment. I can handle bookings for my last-minute travels and earn a profit from there; but when travelling is continuous, I leave all tasks to GuestReady. On top of logistical issues, they also cover all steps in managing my listing – making sure my apartment is safely occupied while I’m traveling, ensuring the price is optimized and the guests are happy.
GuestReady: As a host, how do you make it comfortable for guests in a new country and in your home?
Superhost: I send my guests a lot of details about the apartment (e.g. house manual, instructions on appliance use, etc.), the neighborhood, how to get there, and such before they arrive. I also give them a hard copy of all those in the apartment as well as some guidebooks and information about what to do and see in Hong Kong. Sometimes, I would also ask if they have any special requests or needs so that I can better arrange the apartment for those or what the purpose of their trip is so I can recommend sites that would be more suited to them.
GuestReady: What makes a great Airbnb host?
Superhost: So far, the things that work for me are good interaction with the guests before and during the stay, keeping the apartment very clean, ensuring that everything works properly in the apartment (nothing is broken), provide some extra goodies for the guests (soap, shampoo, slippers, clean towels, water, tea, extra blanket in winter, etc).
I also had some good experiences as an Airbnb guest, which I can use to improve as a host but a very good strategy is selling the experience more than the place. It might be cheaper than a hotel (and that’s always positive) but most guests have good experiences with Airbnb because they stay with local people in a ‘local’ neighborhood and can make international friends instead of feeling like a tourist. They really appreciate the tips for a more authentic experience and to truly immerse into a new culture.