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Airbnb For Dummies


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Table of Contents

Introduction 1 About This Book 1 Foolish Assumptions 2 Icons Used in This Book 3 Where to Go from Here 3 Part 1: Getting Started With Airbnb 5 Chapter 1: The Lowdown on Airbnb, Just the Basics 7 Looking at the Big Picture 7 The sharing economy - putting underutilized resources to use 8 Understanding what short-term rentals are 9 Knowing what you need to host 9 Recognizing the Benefits of Airbnb as a Platform Compared to Its Competition 10 Answering Common Questions That You as a Potential Host May Have 12 Why would I allow strangers into my house? 12 Is it safe to host on Airbnb? 13 Is my property suited for Airbnb? 14 Is it legal to host? 15 Am I suited to host on Airbnb? 15 What if a guest gets hurt? 16 What is the difference between couch surfing and Airbnb? 16 Chapter 2: Hosting on Airbnb: What It Really Means 17 Having a Hospitality Mind-set - What It Takes to Be a Host 17 Opening your heart and your home to guests 19 Establishing trust through transparency and dependability 20 Keeping your place clean and well equipped 20 Delivering on (rising) expectations 21 Setting up systems so your guests have a unique stay 21 Adding a touch of personal magic 22 Before Becoming an Airbnb Host: What to Consider 22 Being aware of your hidden expectations 22 Inviting strangers into your home 24 Making the commitment 24 Looking at how technologically savvy you are 25 Being aware of how your decision to host affects others in your life 26 Determining the type of host you want to become 27 Chapter 3: Determining Your Profit Potential 29 Decoding How Much You Can Really Make on Airbnb 30 Starting with national averages 30 Your location mostly determines your Airbnb profit potential 30 Researching Your Airbnb Market: Earning Statistics 32 Finding the crucial market statistics 33 Understanding the market deeper 35 Determining the Size of Your Pie 37 Factoring operating expenses 38 Estimating time commitment 39 Comparing the Big City versus Rural 42 Earning a profit in any market 42 Adding more Airbnb listings without purchasing property 43 Determining the Legality of Hosting in Your Market 44 Being aware of the potential risks of Airbnb hosting 44 Finding out what laws or restrictions apply to you 45 Part 2: Putting the Spotlight On Your Listing 47 Chapter 4: Preparing Your Property for Airbnb 49 Creating Profit Potential with Your Property 50 Maximizing the potential of your listing by optimizing your space 50 Starting your listing off strong 51 Determining the Amenities Guests Want in Your Market 52 Identifying the types of amenities to include in your listing 53 Looking at your competition to better gauge what guests want 54 Focusing on Which Amenities, Furniture, and Appliances to Include 54 Focusing on the must-have amenities 55 Remembering the often forgotten 57 Stuck between a must-have and a nice-to-have 58 Providing a bonus: The nice-to-haves 58 Surprising with the outstanding 59 Avoiding the wastes of money 60 Figuring Out What Space Is Accessible to Guests in Your Listing 61 Bedroom and bathroom 61 Kitchen 62 Access to living room, outdoor spaces, and other rooms 62 Managing Neighbors' Relations 62 Being a good neighbor: Why doing so is profitable 63 Investing in neighbor relations before you start 63 Communicating with your neighbors 64 Managing Landlord Relations 65 Being aware of the risks of hosting without consent 65 Asking your landlord if you can host on Airbnb 66 What landlords want to know when it comes to hosting 66 Pitching your landlord 67 Getting Proper Insurance Protection 68 Grasping the importance of being properly insured 68 Understanding Airbnb's liability protection and not relying on it alone 68 Buying your own insurance to ensure you're fully protected 69 Being a Guest First to Better Understand Hosting - Walk in Your Guests' Shoes 70 Chapter 5: Building the Perfect Listing 73 Making a Strong First Impression 74 Creating a Listing That Gets Attention 76 Winning at Airbnb search engine optimization 76 Identifying the most important pillars when setting up your listing 78 Understanding how to play the long game to perform better 78 Writing a Strong Headline 79 What makes a great headline 80 What you need to know in order to draft a top-notch headline 81 How you can write your own headline 82 Drafting a Great Description 84 What to include in your listing description 84 Organizing your listing for success 84 Keeping the goal in mind (more bookings) 85 Setting House Rules 87 Knowing what to cover and why 88 Enforcing your house rules successfully: The how-to 89 Choosing a Cancellation Policy 90 Identifying the six cancellation policies 90 Selecting the policy that's right for you 91 Determining Appropriate Fees 93 Cleaning fees 93 Security deposit 94 Additional guest fees 95 Turning on Instant Book: The Pros and Cons 95 Chapter 6: Making Your Listing Shine with Photography 99 Setting Your Photo Strategy 100 Understanding why photos are so important 100 Analyzing which photos perform best and worst 100 Hiring a professional photographer: Why doing so is a smart decision 101 Staging Your Property for Photos 103 Realizing why property staging is key 103 Staging your space like a pro 104 Getting All the Shots 104 Mixing it up: From wide to detailed to closeup shots 105 Having a photography checklist 106 Working with Your Photographer to Get Great Photos 107 Lighting the shot 107 Composing the shot 107 Getting the proper exposure 108 Identifying Tips and Tricks Used by Top Listings and Superhosts 109 Part 3: Uncovering Important Pricing Essentials 111 Chapter 7: Setting Your Listing Pricing 113 Focusing on Baseline Pricing 114 Studying your competition: Gather comparable market data 114 Choosing a baseline pricing strategy 116 Ramping Up to Baseline Pricing 116 Understanding and Adjusting for Seasonality 117 Factoring in Temporality and Special Events: Going from High to Low 119 Using Dynamic Pricing: Yes or No? 121 Underperforming with Airbnb's Smart Pricing tool 122 Aligning incentives with third-party dynamic pricing tool 123 Setting Other Types of Fees 125 Setting the cleaning fee 125 Setting the extra person fee 127 Setting the security deposit 129 Lowering the barrier to booking 130 Chapter 8: Increasing Your Profit Potential 133 Leaving Money on the Table 134 Picking the Low Hanging Fruits First 135 Having a great listing profile 135 Delivering 5-star guest experiences consistently 135 Reducing Operating Costs 136 Recognizing where to take special care when cutting cost 136 Strategizing your cuts 138 Spending Smart: Best Purchases That You Can Make Now for Profits Later 139 Increasing Booking Revenue 142 Boosting occupancy rate 142 Raising average nightly rate (ANR) 142 Expanding listing availability 142 Doing all three: Yes or no? 142 Considering the four scenarios of Airbnb listing performance 144 Charging a premium over competition 148 Using dynamic pricing to take out the guesswork 149 Maximizing Overall Revenue Potential 149 Improving your offering to increase revenue potential 149 Increasing occupancy capacity 150 Creating Additional Revenue Sources 152 Chapter 9: Going on Cruise Control and Still Making Money 155 Choosing Sanity over Profits: Steer Clear of Burning Out 156 Figuring out what you can handle 156 Minimizing your time and stress is just as important as maximizing profits 158 Thinking about your hosting like a business 158 Identifying What You Can Eliminate 159 Automating to Make Your Life Easier 161 Automating check-ins 161 Automating pricing 163 Outsourcing Different Tasks 163 Outsourcing guest communication 164 Outsourcing guest reviews 165 Hiring a pro for cleaning 165 Hiring a professional property manager 167 Chapter 10: It's a Bird, It's a Plane No It's a Superhost! 169 What Makes a Superhost: Putting the Guest First and Foremost 170 Meeting Superhost Requirements 171 Becoming a Superhost: The how-to 171 What you can do to reach Superhost status 172 Maintaining Superhost Status 173 Your response rate 173 Your cancellation rate 174 Your overall guest reviews 175 Losing Superhost Status and Bouncing Back 177 Eyeing Superhost Alternatives: Business Travel Ready and Family Friendly 178 Part 4: Mastering Your Guests' Experience 181 Chapter 11: Comprehending What Being a Good Host Means 183 Understanding the Guest Search Experience 184 Looking at the steps to reach booking 184 Eliminating friction from the booking process 186 Identifying the Fundamentals of Guest Satisfaction 187 Recognizing the factors that can affect guest satisfaction 188 Being realistic 188 Creating Your Guest-Centric Plan 190 Minimizing guess stress with a guidebook 191 Creating pleasant little surprises 192 Catering to Your Ideal Guest Type 193 Business travelers 194 Senior travelers 194 International travelers 194 Families with young children 195 Young travelers 195 Pet owners 195 Sanctuary seekers 196 Chapter 12: Creating a Seamless Check-In Process 197 Communicating Check-In Information with Guests 198 Sending messages to your guests prior to check-in 198 Preventing potential issues before check-in 202 Preparing for Your Guest Check-In 203 Getting your property ready for check-in 203 Getting yourself ready for the check-in 204 Handling the Check-In Process 206 Doing in-person check-ins 206 Doing a remote self-check-in 207 Handling early arrivals 210 Chapter 13: Continuing a Stress-Free Guest Stay Post Check-In to Check-Out 213 Setting the Tone for Your Guests' Arrival 214 Ensuring Your Guests Enjoy Their Stay 215 Understanding why guests won't voice complaints directly 215 Opening communications with guests 216 Keeping a guest book for guests to sign 216 Going the extra mile for your guests 217 Ensuring a Smooth Check-Out 218 Planning your check-out 218 Doing remote check-outs 220 Doing in-person check-outs 220 Knowing What to Do After Guests Leave 221 Assessing the state of your property 221 Filing a claim with Airbnb 221 Following up with your guests 222 Blocking out a day or two before and after reservations for preparation time 224 Managing and Responding to Guest Reviews 225 Understanding the nature of Airbnb's positive leaning reviews 225 Responding to positive guest reviews 226 Minimizing the occurrence negative reviews 227 Minimizing the impact of negative reviews 230 Reviewing your guests in return 231 Chapter 14: Upkeeping Your Space to Keep the Reservations Coming 233 Maintaining Your Space to Ensure Long-Term Success on Airbnb 234 Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors 234 Doors and windows 234 Heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) 235 Water heating 236 Other aspects to consider 236 Cleaning Your Space - The No 1 Biggest Headache 237 Mastering the turnover 237 Checking for damages 238 Restocking consumables 239 Restaging rooms 239 Identifying what needs to be cleaned in a turnover: Your handy checklist 239 Systemizing the cleaning process 241 Using Professional Cleaners 242 Having a Cleaning Backup Plan in Place 243 When you may need a backup 244 What to include in your backup 244 Part 5: Taking Your Airbnb Hosting to the Next Level 245 Chapter 15: Elevating Your Hosting Game with Airbnb PLUS 247 Knowing What Airbnb PLUS Is 248 Recognizing what an Airbnb PLUS listing looks like 248 Identifying the benefits of Airbnb PLUS 250 Identifying the drawbacks to PLUS 251 Becoming Airbnb PLUS Certified: The How-To 252 Identifying PLUS potential 253 Applying for Airbnb PLUS 253 Chapter 16: Exploring the Many Nontraditional Listing Opportunities 255 Understanding Nontraditional Listings 256 Knowing when to consider nontraditional 256 The advantages of going nontraditional 257 The disadvantages of going nontraditional 258 Going Small to Earn Big 260 Looking at the Many Ways to Go Small 262 Crafting a Story for Guests 263 Chapter 17: Subdividing Your Airbnb 265 Understanding What Subdividing Your Airbnb Means 265 Recognizing the upsides to subdividing 267 Understanding the downsides to subdividing 267 Determining When to Subdivide 268 Diving into Subdivisions Economics 270 Calculating your subdivision payoff 270 Adding an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) 274 Advantages of accessory dwelling units 274 Disadvantages of accessory dwelling units 275 Chapter 18: Hosting without a Property through Airbnb Experiences 277 Introducing Airbnb Experiences 278 Considering the Advantages and Disadvantages to Hosting an Experience 279 The advantages of hosting an Experience 280 The disadvantages of hosting an Experience 281 Understanding the Keys to Successful Experiences 281 Knowing your target audience 281 Creating a meaningful story 282 Engaging and immersing the guests 283 Choosing the ideal location 284 Building and sustaining momentum 284 Making the economics work from day one 286 Brainstorming Unique Airbnb Experience Concepts 290 Using the mix-and-match strategy 291 Capitalizing on a growing trend 291 Going extreme 292 Going weird and one of a kind 292 Submitting Your Airbnb Experience for Approval 293 Understanding Airbnb's three pillars of quality Experiences 293 Preparing to apply 294 Filling out the application 295 Getting approval 300 Reapplying when rejected 301 Looking at the Future of Airbnb Experiences 301 Part 6: Tackling Important Money Matters 303 Chapter 19: Understanding Airbnb Taxes 305 Getting Serious about Taxes 306 Knowing how Airbnb income is taxed 307 Asking the important questions 308 Taking Account of Your Airbnb Earnings 311 Deciphering the gross earnings report 311 Getting tax forms from Airbnb 314 Taking Account of Your Airbnb Expenses 314 Understanding deductible expenses 315 Comprehending capitalized expenses 315 Knowing what deductible expenses to track 317 Knowing what documents to keep 318 Exploring Recent Tax Law Changes 320 Deducting 100 percent bonus depreciation on personal property 320 Getting the 20 percent pass-through deduction 320 Chapter 20: Making Big Bucks as an Airbnb Co-Host 323 Co-Hosting: What It Actually Takes to Manage Other People's Listings 324 Understanding the basics of co-hosting 324 Considering co-hosting: Is it right for you? 325 Identifying the benefits to co-hosting 326 Running your co-hosting business through a legal entity 327 Scaling Your Income through Co-Hosting 327 Starting to co-host: The how-to 327 Turn hosting for others on autopilot 328 Growing your co-hosting business to your desired level of income in record time 329 Part 7: The Part of Tens 331 Chapter 21: Ten Tips to Be a Better Host 333 Research Your Market before Hosting 333 Become a Guest First 333 Invite But Never Impose 334 Offer More than Promised 334 Touch Base with Your Guests Regularly 334 Use Tiny Helpful Labels 335 Always Have Extra Supply 335 Use Action Shots in Your Photos 335 Disclose and Highlight Potential Negatives Up Front 336 Measure Return on Time 336 Chapter 22: Ten Best Purchases for Hosts 337 Futon Couch or Sofa Bed 337 Floor Mats for Every Entrance 338 Shoe Racks 338 Universal Phone Chargers for Every Room 338 Large Capacity Appliances 338 Storage Lockers with Locks 339 High Quality Mattress and Linens 339 Smart Locks 339 Automation Tools 339 Better Coffee Options 340 Chapter 23: Ten Ways to Increase Your Earnings 341 Putting Your Best Listing Forward 341 Asking Guests to Leave Reviews 342 Tailoring Amenities to Your Audience 342 Offering Add-On Goods and Services 342 Using Appropriate Pricing 342 Hosting More Listings 343 Listing an Airbnb Experience 343 Thinking Long Term 343 Renting Something Else 344 Avoiding Catastrophic Losses 344 Index 345

About the Author

Symon He, MBA, and James Svetec are the experts behind LearnBNB.com. Symon is also a real estate investing instructor with Linkedin Learning, and Udemy, and James is the founder of BNB Mastery Program, the No. 1 expert in rapidly scaling an Airbnb business.

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