The peer-to-peer renting culture has boomed over the past few years, with more and more people choosing to rent out their apartments, spare rooms or holiday homes over the internet to earn extra income.
Renting out extra living space through Airbnb may seem like a quick and easy way to make money. In practice, it pays to consider what's really involved and whether this will suit you before you jump on the bandwagon.
What do you want to get out of hosting?
Consider what you want to achieve by listing your accommodation on Airbnb. Do you simply want to supplement your income during high season, develop a second source of income, or make renting your primary source of income?
Consider that the more serious you are about making a profit from Airbnb, the more planning, work and capital you’ll require.
Is Airbnb the right platform for your rental?
Airbnb is one of the largest and most popular platforms of its kind. However, it's not the only alternative.
Consider whether the space you're renting may be a better fit or attract more guests on another platform – for example, one that specialises in family-friendly or gay-friendly accommodation.
If you do choose to list space on Airbnb, it's still a good idea to advertise on other platforms to increase your chances of being seen. Some examples of alternative platforms for listings are HomeAway, Tripping, FlipKey, Kid&Coe and Roomorama.
Are you allowed to offer short-term leases/sub-letting?
Beware that your landlord or the body corporate of your complex may forbid short-term leasing or subletting.
If this is the case and you don't get the necessary permission to rent your property, you'll be committing a breach of your lease and could face eviction.
What’s your target market?
Figure out who’s most likely to want to rent your space. This will usually depend on the location, size and facilities of your rental.
Make your rental more attractive to your key target market by tailoring it to meet the requirements of this group. For example, if you’re targeting families, make sure that the rental is appealing and safe for small children. If you’re targeting business people, make sure there's reliable Wi-Fi and a telephone line.
How much will it cost you to host guests?
As well as start-up costs, you’ll have on-going expenses such as water and electricity, insurance, maintenance, cleaning, internet and complimentary toiletries.
Make sure you assess all of your likely start-up and on-going expenses before you commit, and before you price your rental.
Do you have the time to manage the rental yourself? If not, can you afford to hire someone to do it for you?
Managing a listing takes a lot of time and effort. You'll need time to deal with booking inquiries and guests’ messages, be available for key exchanges and restock supplies regularly.
In some cases, you may have only a few hours between the departure of one set of guests and the arrival of new guests – meaning you have to clean and restock the accommodation quickly.
If you can afford it, you can hire a cleaning service to clean between rentals and a property manager to manage bookings, answer messages, make utility payments, manage maintenance and repairs, restock the rental, and do key exchanges on your behalf. Just beware that hiring help will eat into your profits.
What will you charge?
Airbnb hosts are free to name their own prices, but it’s important not to over- or under-charge. Over-charging will deter guests. Under-charging could leave you with a financial loss – and it may give users the impression that there's something wrong with your rental.
Before you decide on a price, look at what your competitors are charging. Also be ready to adjust your prices as appropriate. For instance, you may have to vary your prices in and out of season.
How can you raise your price?
Sometimes you can raise the value of your rental by offering add-ons. For example, you might offer guests a good breakfast. You can also offer extras ranging from a coffee machine and electric blankets to snorkelling gear and an umbrella if your accommodation is near the beach.
Affordable storage for Airbnb hosts
At XtraSpace, we offer clean, secure storage space that's ideal for Airbnb hosts.
You can make your accommodation more appealing to guests by storing away all unnecessary clutter and personal belongings. It's also useful having space to store spare towels, bedding and other supplies until they're needed.