A Step-by-Step Guide on How to List on Airbnb
A new Airbnb or short-term rental venture will yield social capital and, of course, financial capital – both without necessarily requiring any investments on your end. There are a number of roads you can go down to achieve Airbnb success and maximize the benefits of property management, and they all begin with publishing your first listing.
Here is a step-by-step guide to take you through the process of crafting and perfecting your first listing from start to finish. There’s no reason to get overwhelmed – creating your listing is the hard part. Once the listing is completed and published, you can hand us the keys to drive your Airbnb listing towards more bookings, with largely hands-off account management.
1. Getting Started
First things first: head to airbnb.com and select the ‘add listing’ option in the top right corner of the homepage. You’ll be directed to a form prompting you to fill in the most general criteria of your place. Take note that you can only complete this first form after to creating an account, so it may be more efficient to sign up (or log in) before you begin. If you have not yet signed up or logged in, you’ll be prompted to input your information at this point.
Home Type: These options are pretty straightforward and include entire place, private room or shared room. Select the option that best describes the property you are managing. This distinction is one of the most important, as both you and your guests may be particular about maintaining a certain level of privacy. So, make sure that you’re accurately building your listing as to attract the most appropriate guests for your property.
Before choosing “Entire place,” consider the fact that granting guests full access to your listing might necessitate access to other amenities on the property, such as a pool house or garage. Similarly, the “Private room” option includes more home sharing than you might typically expect, such as that of any connecting rooms, bathrooms, or kitchens.
Number of guests: This menu allows you to select the maximum number of people that can comfortably fit in your listing. For now, calculate how many people you can accommodate if each has his or her own bed, sofa bed, or inflatable mattress, provided that the sleeping arrangement is as comfortable as you would expect if you were the guest yourself. Finally, select the appropriate number from the drop-down list given.
City: Once you begin typing the name of your city, Airbnb will automatically suggest all relevant matches. Make the appropriate selection.
At this point, Airbnb will give you an estimate of how much you can earn per month based on your listing type, guest capacity and location.
Press ‘Continue’ and move on to the next part of Step 1.
Here, you will be prompted to provide more specific details about your listing. First, you must select the most accurate description of your property type from a list that includes Apartment, House, Secondary unit, Unique space, Bed and breakfast and Boutique hotel. Once you’ve chosen your listing type, you’ll need to select a more specific description from a second drop down menu. For example, if you’ve identified your listing as a ‘Unique space,’ you’ll need to further specify whether it is a barn, an igloo, a tent or one of several other options. Based on your selection, another menu will appear for you to fill out.
As you move along, you’ll provide more information about your listing, including the number of beds and bathrooms, the exact address and the amenities you offer.
Selecting the right amenities for your Airbnb is crucial. This section has a lengthy list of features that ranges from common or extra rooms, to home safety measures. At this stage of the listing, you are only given the option to select from the available list of amenities, but once the listing is created you will be able to edit this section and add additional or further descriptions and details. Make sure to include every appropriate feature as some guests can be swayed by certain extras or become totally uninterested due to a lack thereof. If you’re totally lost here, refer to this resource for the essentials that every host should include in order to maximize an Airbnb experience.
If an inaccurate listing secures a booking, you will not be able to change the faulty criteria of that listing without first sending an alteration request to the guest in question. This could cost you a booking and waste your time. So, be diligent with your listing details, because even a small error can have a big impact.
Keep in mind that at any point you can go back to edit the previous descriptions provided.
2. Setting the Scene
In this step, you’ll upload photos of your property, write a brief description of the place and inform potential guests how available you’ll be throughout their stay, what they can expect of the neighborhood and how they can get around the city.
Photos: Regardless of how many you decide to upload, the first 3 are the most important as they frame the window into your listing before users make the decision to click into the post or not. This is all the more reason to offer standout and high-quality pictures. Try to take this opportunity to show off amenities, quirky rooms, or other features unique to your property. Airbnb recommends using bigger photos for better resolution (1024 x 683px) and even offers free professional photography sessions to help you best capture your place.
Description: A great summary covers the major features of your listing in 250 characters or less. People like a bit of personality, so let yours shine through while explaining exactly what it is that makes your place unique. Too much writing looks daunting, so try to break it up; Bullet points and short sentences can go a long way.
You’ll also come up with a name for your listing. Think of the title as your first impression. You want to make those 35 characters engaging enough to capture attention and unique enough to accurately depict your place. Try using descriptive and pleasant adjectives to cushion your title.
Then you’ll add a photo of yourself to give guests an idea of who will be hosting them.
3. Getting Ready for Guests
This final section is broken into three parts: Booking Settings, Calendar and Price.
In this section, you’ll review Airbnb’s basic guest requirements and can opt to make additional requirements such as the provision of a government-issued ID and/or recommendations from other hosts and zero negative reviews. You’ll then set your house rules and provide important details about your home, like whether guests will have to climb stairs or find their own parking.
To get started, you’ll select how often you’d like to have guests on your property, how much notice you’ll require before your guests arrive, how far in advance they can book your place and how long they can stay.
Next, you’ll be able to manually flip through your calendar and block or unblock specific dates or even entire months. The specific dates available for rental should be inputted as soon as you publish your listing and should be updated regularly.
Airbnb will give you the option of utilizing their Smart Pricing tool, which will automatically update your prices according to the fluctuations of demand in your area.
You will then be required to set a base price, for which Airbnb will suggest a price based on the information that you’ve provided thus far as well as on trends currently shaping the local rental market, such as holidays, increased tourism, and more.
It’s important to remain relevant and competitive, so be sure to compare prices of similar Airbnb listings in your area.
Next, you’ll set a minimum price, a maximum price and the currency in which you’d like to charge your guests.
On top of general listing qualities and market activity, there are a few other factors you should consider when calculating a price. For one, you may want to exercise your option to tailor your listing’s going rates by creating weekly or monthly packages to encourage longer rentals. You should also factor in the cost of utilities, taxes, or cleaning ahead of time – Airbnb even gives you the option to add an additional cleaning fee to the price.
It’s important to note that while you cannot include these in a base rate, penalties for late check-ins or other situational variables that you plan on charging guests should be communicated before a booking is secured.
The last step in the pricing section will be to opt for or against certain promotions, like a 20% discount for your first 3 guests to help you attract travelers and get some initial reviews for your listing or weekly or monthly discounts for guests booking longer stays.
4. Publish Your Airbnb Listing
When you’ve finished all this and are happy with your listing, you’re ready to be published on Airbnb. One thing to keep in mind is to always be honest in your description. It won’t take long for the truth to come out once your guests arrive. However, it will be helpful for you to try and spin all of the features of your place in as positive a light as possible.
Exhausted? Great news! At this point, you have the option to simplify all of your operations by turning to Guesty, a centralized and intuitive platform for listing optimization, guest & staff communication, channel management and more. Go ahead – request a free demo with one of our product experts and see for yourself!