Becoming an Airbnb host is one of the best things I’ve ever done. It’s afforded me many amazing opportunities since I started hosting in 2017, and it’s been a lot of fun! I’ve used the extra money I’ve earned from Airbnb to travel, to fund other business ventures, and I’ve met lots of interesting people from around the world.
Perhaps one of my favorite parts of hosting is helping others start their very own Airbnb business. While hosting can be a great experience, many things can go wrong if you don’t know what you are doing. I put this list of common mistakes new hosts make to help you avoid losing precious time and money in the process.
Read on to be sure you’re not making these mistakes!
1) Not having the essentials for your guests
Airbnbs with the best ratings and reviews provide guests with a great experience. To make your guests’ stay as enjoyable as possible, stock your Airbnb rental with must-haves.
If you’re looking for a list of items to help you get started, I share my Airbnb host starter kit here. My Amazon store is packed with items that will help you start your listing quickly and easily.
2) Not treating your Airbnb rental like a real business
Like any business, you’re going to have to invest adequate amounts of resources if you want to be successful and profitable. Not investing in your business upfront can be a costly mistake.
Certain investments of your time and money can help increase your bookings and grow your Airbnb hosting business substantially.
- Network- Share your Airbnb business with your network. Start with friends and family, then use social media to grow your reach. Facebook groups, LinkedIn, and travel sites are also useful forms of advertising.
- Get business cards– Don’t limit your promotion to online venues. Talk to people in person and advertise your business with tactile, memorable mementos like business cards or custom trinkets.
- Promote your Airbnb listing on social media- Social media is an essential part of marketing for any business. Post as much as possible while using relevant hashtags.
- Splurge for professional photos- Photos are the top thing guests look for when deciding where to book their stay. If you want the best guests and bookings make sure your listing has high-quality photos. Airbnb offers this service and will take the fee from your first few bookings if you cannot pay for them outright.
- Create an LLC to capture expenses- Aside from the potential legal protections, you can get awesome tax benefits by running your Airbnb hosting business through an LLC.
3) Not taking advantage of Good Credit Cards
If you’re anything like me you’ll love shopping for and decorating your Airbnb rental, it’s one of the most fun parts of Airbnb hosting! Credit cards are great for purchasing all the necessities for your Airbnb, plus all the little extras that will make your Airbnb rental stand out. You can also earn points to reinvest in your business, or for your personal travel! I use the Chase Sapphire Preferred card or the Chase Ink Business Unlimited for most purchases in my Airbnb rental business.
Not only can you rack up rewards points to get free travel, but using a credit card exclusively for your Airbnb purchases is also a great way to keep track of your expenses. With a credit card or debit card, you can just export all purchases made from the card to a site like QuickBooks or any other site where you keep track of expenses for your year-end taxes. I use both QuickBooks and Wave (free) to track my business expenses.
CAUTION: Credit cards offer great benefits for you and your Airbnb hosting business. However be sure to pay the balance, in full, each month to avoid paying interest!
4) Not having proper insurance and security
Airbnb offers some protections for hosts’ property and loss of income, but you’re going to want more protection. There are even some cases where you can void your homeowner’s policy if you host over a certain number of days out of the year. Talk to an insurance broker to be sure you have the right policy for your Airbnb hosting business. This way, you can protect yourself from liabilities that can arise from being a host as well as protect your property.
Also, Be sure to also have an alarm system, like Simpli Safe, with EXTERNAL CAMERAS (internal cameras are not permitted by Airbnb.) If possible, get noise monitors, too. This will help prevent issues like unauthorized parties, and unapproved guests.
5) Not communicating with your guests
Start off on the right foot with a personalized welcome message to your guests in the Airbnb messaging app. Include things like the WiFi password, your contact information, and house rules to make the beginning of your guests’ stay as convenient as possible.
Remember, things can and will go wrong when you start hosting. Do your best to communicate with guests preemptively, BEFORE things go wrong. They’ll appreciate your efforts to communicate and be proactive. Also, be sure to keep ALL conversations on the Airbnb app, just in case you need a record of them later. It will matter when trying to solve disputes and arbitrate issues with Airbnb and your guests.
Don’t forget to ask for reviews at the end of each stay as well as referrals. A quick thank you message asking for a review and referral should do the trick, for example:
“Thank you for your stay, I hope you enjoyed it! I’ll be giving you a great review, and I hope you’ll give me a review too. If you know of anyone that might enjoy our space, please share with your network if you can!”
6) Not communicating with Airbnb
Again, things will go wrong at some point in your Airbnb hosting journey. If you start to have issues with guests, or your property, communicate with Airbnb as soon as possible. Being proactive when issues arise will ensure you don’t lose SuperHost status, reservations, or revenue.
7) Not having a team
You’re going to need help running your Airbnb business — even more so if you have multiple listings. Hire the right team so you can get the assistance you need with work like cleaning, security as needed, and general support for your Airbnb listing. Turnover BNB is a great cleaning service that can help you keep up with turnover for your Airbnb rental.
8) Not understanding your expenses
You want to start hosting on Airbnb to earn money, right? How can you be sure you’re succeeding in that goal without keeping track of all your expenses against your revenue?
You need to keep good records of your expenses for things like supplies, repairs, and necessary upgrades. You should be recording YOUR labor as an expense also. After tallying all of that up, are you still profitable? If not take a second look at how you’re running your Airbnb hosting business. Then, find ways to automate, systematize and become more profitable.
9) Not screening guests properly
Every reservation isn’t a good one. I found out the hard way when a guest threw a big party and completely trashed my place. You can avoid this costly mistake by properly screening your guests. Here are some tips on screening:
- Check for complete Airbnb profiles
- Review guests’ reviews
- Check references
- Pay attention to online interactions
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions about who they are coming with and their reason for travel
- In some cases, 1-day reservations with one, locally-based guest can mean there is a party planned. If you don’t want this, make your no-gatherings rule known up-front.
10) Not being organized
Airbnb hosting is a much more enjoyable experience if you’re organized and plan ahead. You can do this by:
- Keep a hosting calendar updated and synced to your personal calendar.
- Keep track of all of your expenses (see #3 above)
- Have a detailed process for check-in and check-out
If you create and stick to an organized routine you, and your guests, will be much happier.
I’ve enjoyed my time as an Airbnb host, and I think you will too. Are you ready to get started as an Airbnb host? Click here to set up your first listing. If you sign up using this link, you’ll get discounted ACCESS to my Airbnb Masterclass course! Once you start your profile, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to hop on the waiting list!