How I made 15k in my first 6 months on Airbnb

Diane Serra
Feb 20 · 6 min read

I’m a really big fan of Airbnb. I’ve enjoyed experiencing Airbnbs all around the world and in different situations- with an infant, with a toddler, with friends, with my parents, with my in-laws.

I always told myself I would have my own Airbnb one day so as I stayed in other Airbnbs on family vacations, I started to take mental notes on what worked and what didn’t.

This served me well the time came to turn our house into an Airbnb do to a work relocation to another country. So here’s what I did immediately when we decided we would put our house on Airbnb.

RESEARCH & PHOTOS

  1. I checked local laws in regards to vacation rental property licenses. Each city has their own rules and some require a tourist license which is relatively cheap in comparison to a hefty fine for not having one. Ours cost around 30 euros and it was absolutely required in our region.
  2. Peep other Airbnbs in your neighborhood. Why re-invent content when your neighbors who are also on Airbnb have already discovered the key words that work on a description page. Don’t copy but just notice key words that seem to be used in similar postings. For example- why use the word “House” when other Airbnbs in the similar size and offering are using the word “villa” or “chalet”. Good descriptions go a long way.
  3. Find your price. In my research (see number 2), I realized that prices in our area were all over the map even in houses that were comparable. So after doing a bit of strategizing on how much we would be paying out for fees, taxes and the cleaning team, we chose a price that made it all worth it.
  4. Take really good photos. No seriously- stage your house to perfection. Wait until there is tons of natural light shining through the house, make sure your yard is impeccable and you tucked those bed corners really well. Then take photos or hire a photographer. Oh- and add lots of photos to your listing page. Don’t you just hate it when you are looking for an Airbnb and they only have 4 or 5 photos? Yeah, me too. So don’t be that host. Give your future guests a lot to scroll through.

MAKE A GOOD LISTING DESCRIPTION

  1. Once I had photos ready I posted them immediately to our Airbnb listing page. We were actually in the process of upgrading some things to the house like air-conditioning and building a child-proof gate around the pool which we didn’t have photos to show yet. So I made mention of such upgrades in the listing and then added the new photos once those upgrades were made.
  2. I also made sure to describe who the house functions best for. For example- Perfect for families with small children or Perfect for two families traveling together or traveling with in-laws.
  3. Add places of interest in your listing description. For example- located just a short drive outside of Barcelona in the vineyard laden hills of Garraf Natural Park. We know people that seek vacation rentals in our area want the space the neighborhood provides, but they also want to know how far they are from the city.
  4. Be kind and include honest information about transportation. I would love to say that my house is within walking distance to a metro station, train station or bus line but it’s not. People who rent my house absolutely need a car. So I made sure to highlight that in the description to avoid any potential confusion or frustrations for future guests.

GO THE EXTRA MILE

disclaimer- none of this is required which is why our guests love it.

  1. We provide a bottle of cava (the popular beverage of the region) and a welcome note to greet our guests when they arrive.
  2. We have a co-host great them personally vs. a self check in. She gives them a tour of the house, the property and assures them that she is available at any time for any issues. (Because issues are inevitable, it’s best to be prepared).
  3. Lots of extras- we provide extras of everything because…. well, just in case! Extra towels, firewood, toilet paper, toiletries, blankets, pillows, etc. Over the years of using Airbnb myself as a traveler, I’ve encountered situations where an extra set of towels or blanket would have been nice.

BE PREPARED

I am fortunate to have a reliable team to manage the house for us. I manage all the bookings but our team keeps the property, pool and house clean and in order.

To best prepare my team for this, I made sure to make a folder for each team member with emergency contact phone numbers, the confirmed reservations for the year so that they could greet the guests by name and instructions on how to manage certain issues that may come up.

I also stocked our garage with extra cleaning and landscaping supplies for the year. This kept me diligent about tracking cleaning supply inventory and managing costs.

I cannot emphasize how important this step is. Understanding where every dollar goes will help you know if you are charging enough for your rental in order to make it all worth it. Additionally, having your team prepared for a potential issue allows for a fluid plan of action should shit hit the fan. (Because shit will inevitably hit the fan.)

THE NUMBERS

I posted the house on Airbnb in February 2018 and started receiving inquires and bookings right away starting for June. So from June-October 2018 we were booked back to back with exactly the type of guest we were wanting to rent our place- families traveling with small children and families traveling together/with in-laws. After everything was said and done, we had made 15k euros in our first 6 months and by the end of 2018, had made it to Super Host level because of all the great reviews left by guests.

This was awesome because although we had jumped into this as prepared as we could, we honestly weren’t expecting much with it being our first time owning an Airbnb.

HERE’S WHAT WE LEARNED

  1. Only accept reservations from guests who have a good rating from other hosts. Do not waiver in this. The importance of this that new users to Airbnb my not know that such things like leaving a review are highly important for hosts. Additionally, you want to avoid having a new user throw a raging party, thrash your place and cost you more money in the end than if you had just held out for a reservation from someone who had a good previous rating.
  2. A fast message reply from a host is always appreciated by guests. With us living in a separate time zone as our Airbnb, I make sure I am on-call or ready to answer any incoming questions, issues when I know there are guests in our house.
  3. I also make an effort to send a message welcoming them to the house before they actually check in and an additional message thanking them for staying with us before they leave. They always respond gratefully.
  4. The most important thing is to do your research and your math because it can be a lot of work and you want to make sure you know the numbers behind such an undertaking to determine if it is worth it.
  5. You can also look to hire those companies that run your Airbnb for you but after my research of such offerings in our area, they turned out to be unreliable and costly. For us is made more sense to manage it on our own with our own team.

So I hope this article has been helpful! And if you have any questions on anything regarding having an Airbnb, please feel free to reach out to me. I am happy to share my experience and help answer any questions you may have. hello@dianeserra.com

Diane Serra

Written by

I design, I code, I also write content. www.dianeserra.com

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