How Can Airbnb change your life?

Jun 23, 2023

Now that you know what Airbnb is, let me show you a few basic ways that you can get started. All the options below can be listed on Airbnb, but the chance of them being successful will depend on the location,facilities, marketing, and pricing.

Not all homes are suitable for Airbnb and you will need to do an assessment on your property before deciding to take the plunge to list your space.

You may be surprised to know that only three of the five investment properties my family owns are listed on Airbnb. Two of these properties are houses in the outer suburbs of Cairns (Queensland Australia) and to furnish and fit-out the properties would be too expensive for the return I believe could be achieved on Airbnb. The two homes not listed on Airbnb do not offer a pool or anything special, so the nightly rate that I would charge to guests would have to be extremely low. I believe the most optimal strategy for ROI (return on investment) is to long term lease these properties.

The three properties that are listed on Airbnb and owned by my husband and I, are situated in the city centre and are occupied by Airbnb guests a minimum of 5 nights a week. We have the luxury of using these properties ourselves when we want and when they do have guests in them they are bringing in a great income for us. The locations that do attract a lot of inquiries on Airbnb are usually those that are close to tourist attractions, airports, city centers, convention centers, beaches, and lakes. I have listed properties in suburbs that are too far away from the action and the occupancy on those places is very low. The owners of these properties decided to list on Airbnb mainly to earn a small amount of income while having the freedom to use the property themselves.

The facilities of a property also impact its success. Those properties that are unique, such as homes in the rainforest or places that have a resort-style pool are very popular with guests. If you can offer the latest in technology, like unlimited and super-fast wi-fi, smart TVs in all bedrooms, a pool table and a games room, you can also expect that the property will get booked out quickly.

The marketing of the property includes having professional photos, floorplans (rare to see these on listings but they attract a lot of inquiries), a detailed description and a comprehensive listing on Airbnb. Once the listing has gone live, there is also the opportunity to push the link through your own website or social media avenues. Let your family and friends know that your “instant hotel” has opened for business.

Pricing is where a lot of people come unstuck. I see too many property owners getting greedy, believing that their home is worth more than guests believe it is… and it sits empty. Please don’t think that all of the
properties you see on Airbnb are being booked enough to be turning a profit — most are sitting vacant. Research your market before setting your prices and then use the smart pricing algorithm on Airbnb. It will
increase or decrease your pricing according to demand at the time in your location. Please be aware that Airbnb is constantly updating or changing their systems, policies and procedures. What you are reading today is current in 2018, but you will need to get updated information if you are reading this a few years from now.

So, let’s look at a few ways that Airbnb can dramatically change your life and your bank balance.

Rent a Room in Your House

One of the best ways to explore the Airbnb platform is to start in your own home. Perhaps you have a spare room in your house or a granny flat sitting empty in the backyard? Airbnb now offers the perfect platform to turn these spare rooms into extra income that might just mean you don’t have to take on that second job or work overtime any longer. If there is a space where travelers can lay their head, you’re sitting on a potential goldmine.

You will have to be prepared to share common spaces such as the lounge room, kitchen, and patios with visitors in your home. This might be quite a culture shock for some homeowners, so consider this very seriously before committing. On the listing, you need to be very specific about boundaries and point out exactly what the guests can expect before they turn up on your doorstep. If you don’t want guests to park their car in your garage, you are going to have to specifically write that “parking is on-street only”.

You must also be very specific about the use of wi-fi as some guests will expect to have unlimited access and may spend all day downloading movies which could use up your data allowance if you have a capped broadband package. If you are happy to share a meal with your guests, write this into the description and let them know if there are any extra charges if they take up the offer of dinner. As much as you want to set boundaries, your guests will want the same respect — they are paying for their own privacy.

When setting up the listing on Airbnb, you will be asked a lot of questions about your home including shared spaces, wi-fi set up, private entries, whether there is a private bathroom for guests to use and if linen is included. Please take the time to fully answer all questions and check your listing completely before you activate it online. It only takes one little mistake for your new guest to turn up on your doorstep with no notice… because you forgot the section on “instant bookings with no notice needed”.\

The Pros

  • You will make money.
  • You will make lots of new friends from all over the world.
  • Your spare room will produce enough income for you to give up your second job or cut back your hours at work.

The Cons

  • Strangers will be staying in your home and sharing your common spaces.
  • Your personal space may be invaded.
  • You will be expected to entertain, even on days that you want to sit around in your underwear on the couch.

Rent Out Your Home While You Are on Holidays

The traditional solution when you go on holiday is to ask a friend, relative or neighbor to care for your house while you’re away. An alternative is to pay someone to do it for you or get a house-sitter to stay at your place. Unfortunately, there wasn’t really a solution for paying the bills while you sipped cocktails on a tropical beach… until now.

Listing your home on Airbnb and engaging a co-host or professional management company to “babysit” your listing while you’re away may not only bring in extra money while you travel but it may mean you can extend your travel plans to stay away for longer.

One of my favorite examples of how this can work so well was a couple who had Host My Home manage their property for a few months while they went overseas on the trip of a lifetime. The house was in the outer suburbs of Cairns, a wooden pole home surrounded by rainforest without any typical attractions such as a pool. Realistically, this couple was engaging our services to ensure that their home was looked after while they were away and that someone could manage the gardening, check security, water their plants and perhaps make them a little bit of money to cover their bills while they traveled.

I remember making a joke before they left that if we did make a decent amount from the property that they could just “keep traveling”…well, guess what happened? The house was super-popular on Airbnb, bringing in a constant return of $700 (after our fees were deducted) for the home-owners. Guests were attracted to the unique nature of the home and the opportunity to see Australian wildlife up close. I remember the excitement of writing emails to the homeowners to let them know about the flow of bookings and how I needed them to keep traveling. Which they did, extending their trip by a few more weeks!

I have also seen people take holidays who would never have been able to do so before, using the income they are making on their Airbnb properties. A single mother who worked as a teacher’s aid asked me to manage her property for six weeks in 2017. She calculated that with her income from Airbnb bookings, she could not only pay her mortgage, rates and electricity bill, but she could also afford to visit her family interstate for the first time in years! So, what are the pros and cons of renting your house out while you are on holiday?

The Pros

  • You will make money.
  • As guests are vetted, you know only recommended guests are accepted.
  • Airbnb offers a ‘Host Guarantee’ to cover any damage to your personal property.
  • The security of your home will be increased with people staying there.
  • Your home will be professionally cleaned and maintained on a
    regular basis.

The Cons

  • Strangers will be staying in your home and sleeping in your bed.
  • Your appliances and furniture will be used (I would recommend
  • you lock up any personal items you don’t want to be touched).
  • There are no guarantees that bookings will coincide with your
  • holidays.
  • Your neighbors

Rent Out Your Investment Property

Have you got an investment property with a long-term tenant in it? Perhaps it is not performing as well as you would like it to financially, or maybe you would like to have the freedom to use the property yourself. Imagine being able to stay in your own investment property whenever you want instead of having to ensure you have to have a tenant at all times in order to meet your financial repayments on the property.

If the property is located close to the city center, tourist attractions, convention centers or offers amazing views, it will most likely be well-sought-after by Airbnb travelers. You can research this by looking on the site or consulting third-party websites like AirDNA to see how many other properties are listed and what type of income they’re producing.

The beauty of Airbnb is that you can list your property ahead of time to see if it works. For example, you may not have tenants moving out of your investment property for a few weeks but there is nothing stopping you from listing the property ahead of time (if you have good photos), keeping the calendar blocked until your tenants have departed. If your tenants have nice furniture, you could always ask permission to photograph the home with their furniture in it and make it known in the description on Airbnb that the property has been newly refurbished, and the furniture will be slightly different once the guests arrive.

This allows you to see how many people inquire and book your property. I have used this method a couple of times with properties we were not 100% sure of and it worked well in getting advance bookings. You will need to check your body corporate and local council laws in relation to using the property for short-term leasing.

You will also need to check your home insurance to ensure it covers paying guests staying at your property.

The Pros

  • You will make money.
  • You will be able to stay in your own investment property if you need to.
  • Your property will probably be better-maintained and cleaned
  • more regularly than if it was being leased long-term.

The Cons

  • It is quite an expensive exercise to set up a property to be “Airbnb-ready”.
  • There are no guarantees of occupancy and there is a risk that your property may sit empty.
  • You will have to check insurance policies and body corporate
  • rulings to ensure your investment property is meeting all regulations.

Buy Yourself a Holiday Home

Imagine purchasing a property in your dream holiday destination and staying in it every year, knowing that it’s not costing you a cent! What if, by listing this home on Airbnb, you could not only cover the property costs but have the holiday home of your dreams?

Firstly, you need to find a property that appeals to you (and other holidaymakers) and get an appraisal done by a professional Airbnb property management company to ensure that demand and occupancy are high enough to make this a successful investment. You will then want to engage a full-time property manager to manage the logistics of running the property as a holiday home for you and make sure it is regularly cleaned while earning maximum income throughout the peak season.

When you are looking at income, make sure you are covering all the annual expenses of the property including rates, insurances, and mortgage repayments. The most appealing part about this whole arrangement is that you — the property owner — will get to holiday in your property and it won’t cost you a cent.

The Pros

  • You will make money and be able to pay off your dream holiday home.
  • If you like to holiday in a particular destination, surely others feel the same way, so it should be popular.
  • Your property will be cleaned and maintained on a regular basis, so when you use it there will be nothing to do but put your feet up.

The Cons

  • The times you want to holiday may clash with the peak season— and you won’t be making money while you’re staying there.
  • There are no guarantees of occupancy and there is a risk that your property may sit empty.
  • You will have all your friends and family wanting to holiday at your property.

Can AirBnb Really Change Your Life?

Engaging with Airbnb can offer numerous benefits. It can provide a considerable return on your investment, enable you to meet new people from around the world, and offer you the flexibility to use your property as you wish. However, remember that it is not without its drawbacks. Privacy might be compromised, and there's always the risk of the property sitting vacant for long periods.

Make sure you carefully evaluate your property and its potential before taking the plunge. Consider its location, unique selling points, and the likely demands of potential guests. How you market and price your listing can also greatly impact your success. Make use of professional photographs and comprehensive descriptions to highlight what makes your property special. Most importantly, set realistic expectations and avoid overpricing – it's better to have a fully booked property than an empty one with high prices.

And lastly, remember that the world of Airbnb is constantly evolving. Stay updated with the latest policies, systems, and procedures to ensure you're always making the most of what the platform has to offer. Experiment with different strategies, take calculated risks, and don't forget to enjoy the journey. Remember, the Airbnb game isn't just about making money, but also about sharing unique experiences and creating memorable stays for your guests.

In the end, every property is different, and every host's experience will vary. It's up to you to navigate your unique path on Airbnb. Happy hosting!