Established in 2008, Airbnb markets itself as a community where people who have extra rooms, entire properties or experiences to share can reach out to others who are seeking to rent or pay for lodging or a new experience. The platform is available worldwide and can be accessed through multiple devices. Based in San Francisco, Calif., Airbnb offers travel experiences at a multitude of price points throughout nearly 200 countries around the globe.
If you are a property owner, Airbnb can help you reach millions of potential customers to generate some short-term rental income. If you are vacationer or a traveler, you can locate and rent exactly what you are seeking in terms of size, location and amenities.
How To Start
Once you decide to use Airbnb, starting the process involves several easy steps.
1. Register on the Airbnb site. This is a simple process that adds your basic information into its system.
2. Create your listing. Although you'll want to spend some time making sure your property shines among the competition, be sure to be honest about what you have to offer. Include all the important information like location, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and limits on the number of guests you are willing to accept. Then, spend some time taking flattering pictures of your property, inside and out. Be sure to highlight those things that would appeal to potential guests like a fire pit, barbecue, pond, hot tub or outdoor play set.
3. Set your rules. You'll need to make some decisions about which weeks your property will be available for rental, whether you allow smoking or pets inside your property, and your cancellation policy. Airbnb is a very user-friendly site and provides a wide range of tools to help walk you through the decisions you need to make so you don't forget anything.
Benefits and Protections
Besides reaching a large number of potential renters, Airbnb has instituted a number of services for both hosts and guests to protect themselves from potential problems. Here are some protections that are in place for you as a host:
1. Airbnb host Guarantee. Airbnb offers this extra insurance coverage for hosts in case of damage caused by guests. This insurance would protect you in addition to your regular homeowner's and liability insurance policies. Some restrictions apply.
2. User Reviews. Both hosts and guests are encouraged to provide reviews after a travel experience. In this way, you can learn about your potential guests before accepting their request for a reservation. You'll be able to see how other hosts have reviewed their behavior and care of their properties and rest assured that they will treat yours in a similar positive manner.
3. Host-Determined Cancellation Policies. As a host, you can set how flexible you'd like to be in terms of cancellations. If a guest cancels within a particular period, you may be entitled to some portion or all of the rental fee. Airbnb provides the platform to set and enforce this policy as well as collect any resulting fees.
Other Hosting Options
Besides the straightforward renting of a room or entire home, Airbnb provides several other hosting opportunities that vacation rental owners may want to consider.
First, as an Airbnb host, you can make a co-host arrangement with another party. If, for instance, you own one or more vacation rental properties but do not wish to handle the day-to-day responsibilities like screening clients, fielding questions about the property, and ensuring that the property is ready for the next customer, you may want to hire a co-host. These individuals can take over those responsibilities for an agreed-upon fee, and Airbnb can manage the financial disbursements through its site.
If you can find a talented co-host, that individual may be able to go the extra mile to promote your listing to Superhost status. Airbnb Superhosts are generally more successful and obtain more rentals than standard hosts.
Second, Airbnb encourages hosts to develop travel experiences for visitors. For those interested in doing so, you can plan a unique experience based on your personal talents, expertise and interests. Once you have created your experience, register the opportunity with Airbnb and the site will walk you through the process to list and market your travel experience.
As a nearly decade-old travel community platform, Airbnb has earned a positive reputation for helping vacation property owners access a global market of travelers and vacationers seeking alternatives to traditional lodging options. The organization has successfully created a platform that meets the needs of both hosts and renters.