How to become an AirBnB host
Posted on Jan 16, 2018
Do you have a secret dream to run a bed & breakfast, but you’re not sure how to begin? Do you have a guest room that only sees guests a couple of times a year? Are you interested in earning extra income? Becoming an Airbnb (or similar online marketplace for lodging services) host might be for you!
Emporia has a number of fine hotels available for visitors, but during events like the Glass Blown Open and Dirty Kanza those hotels are at capacity. Additionally, an increasing number of travelers prefer an alternative to hotel life, opting for stays at homes across the country and across the globe. This has created an opportunity for anyone with a spare bed to become an innkeeper through sites like Airbnb.
If this sounds intriguing, read on for some basic information about becoming a host, along with links to some additional reading.
What can I rent?
When you search for a place to stay on Airbnb, you’ll find everything from private guest rooms to shared spaces to RVs to entire homes or condos for rent. Essentially you can offer whatever you have available, but you’ll get more interest when you can offer these amenities:
- Private bedroom
- Private bathroom
- Separate entrance
Before you create your profile and list your room or property, do an objective analysis of the space and identify anything that needs to be repaired or upgraded. Does the room need a fresh coat of paint? Does the carpet need cleaning? Do all the lights work? Is there a lock on the door for your guests’ privacy? A thorough cleaning and fresh linens are highly recommended.
Next think about extra amenities. What would you like to have available if you were the guest? Coffee maker? Mini-fridge? TV? A guide to Emporia is recommended – you can pick up free copies of the official Emporia Visitors Guide at the Convention & Visitors Bureau. Some people create their own folders or booklets with their favorite sights, restaurants, and activities in Emporia and the surrounding area. If you want to go the extra mile for your guests, a selection of local chocolates or coffee or other goodies will put a smile on their faces – and add to the good review they post after their visit.
Once you have your space “company ready”, it’s time to create a profile on your preferred site and create your first listing. Take lots of photos of the space as well as the exterior of the building and any other amenities that will be available to guests, such as a swimming pool, grilling area, off-street parking, laundry facilities, etc. Describe the space clearly and accurately so guests know what to expect. It’s tempting to embellish or Photoshop imperfections, but being up front about the space is in your best interest.
When it comes to pricing, search for other properties listed in Emporia and use their listings to guide your own. All money is handled through the website (be sure to check the fees each site charges), then deposited in the account you specify after the guests check in, so you are not responsible for collecting payment.
A word about security
Welcoming strangers into your home may cause a twinge of concern. Fortunately sites like Airbnb have policies and practices in place to address these concerns. The site requires verified information from both hosts and guests, including phone numbers. Additionally, guests can review properties, a common feature for almost any hotel or motel, but hosts can also review guests. When you receive a booking request, you’re given access to the potential guest’s profile and reviews from other hosts he or she has stayed with previously. This allows you to screen potential guests and make sure they’re a good fit for your property.
Airbnb includes Host Guarantee, which protects your home and your stuff from accidental damage, and Host Protection Insurance, which protects you from liability in case your guests get hurt or cause property damage, free of charge to each host. It’s advisable to check with your home insurance agent about what is and is not covered when you rent to someone else. You may also want to upgrade or add locks to areas that will be off limits to guests.
Get ready to welcome your guests!
Once you’ve listed your space, it’s time to wait for the queries to start coming in. Vet your potential guests, confirm your bookings, fluff those pillows, and get ready to welcome your first guests!