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Have you ever wanted to become an Airbnb host but didn’t know where to begin? Well, you’re in luck. To help you get started hosting, we recently asked some of our top hosts what they wished they’d known before they welcomed their first guests. Here’s what they had to say.  

Setting expectations

People host for all different types of reasons. Some hosts use the extra income to help pay their bills, fund their next trip, or save for the future. Other hosts love meeting new people, sharing stories, and helping guests have a great trip by providing a local’s perspective. Before creating a profile, think about what you want to get out of hosting and share those expectations with your neighbors and other people living in your home or building. This includes discussing how often you’ll be hosting, creating house rules that all guests will abide by, and exploring trust and safety resources like our $1,000,000 Host Guarantee and our $1,000,000 Host Protection Policy.

Creating your profile

Now that you’ve established what you want to get out of hosting, it’s time to create your profile. Even though many people find it awkward to talk about themselves, this is your chance to shine because a carefully crafted profile can make a great first impression. Share things like where you’re from, what you do for work, what you love to do in your free time, and what are your favorite foods/movies/bands. If you can make a connection with a potential guest, they’ll be likelier to book your listing. Just remember to be natural and describe yourself as you would if you were meeting someone for the first time. Aside from a written description, also be sure to also add a photo to help guests put a face to your listing.

Creating a listing

Next up is creating your listing. Throughout this process, always remember that including the right content and images in your listing is key to attracting more guests. One aspect of a listing that has a tendency to be overlooked is the headline. Make sure your headline isn’t generic and that it entices guests by providing some detail about your listing. For example, “newly renovated bungalow near central arts district” sounds much more inviting than “cozy two bedroom apartment”.

Choosing photos for your listing

Photos also play a huge role in capturing travelers’ interest and guests often spend more time looking at photos than any other part of your listing. Think about the best and most appealing quality of your listing, and then make sure it’s featured in your primary image.

Determining a price

Determining a price for your listing is another key differentiator that will have a big impact on your experience hosting. A great place to begin your pricing journey is to browse similar listings. Look for places in a comparable neighborhood with the same amount of bedrooms and then examine if the reviews mention anything about pricing. Often times guests will mention if a listing’s price was affordable, too low, or too high. Use that feedback to determine a standard base rate. If you’d like to set different prices for weekends versus weekdays, you can do that manually or use our Smart Pricing tool.

Writing a description

A good listing description shows potential guests that you’re passionate about your home and also lets them picture themselves there. Many successful hosts break out their listing description into different sections so they can describe the home itself, the amenities, the surrounding neighborhood, transportation accessibility, and anything else that might be helpful. Other information that’s important to add is an overview of your check-in and check out process. If a guest had to travel a long way to get your listing, the last thing they want is to be unsure of how to find and enter your home. The same goes for check out. A clearly communicated check out process that includes when they should check out and how to lock up can save you from unwanted stress later.

Welcoming your first guests

Now that your listing is live the real fun starts. If you don’t have Instant Book turned on, you’re likely going to receive messages from interested potential guests. Responding to guests promptly is important, so choose to accept or decline a reservation request as soon as possible. Remember that if you let four consecutive reservation requests or booking inquiries expire without responding, your listing may be temporarily deactivated. To be sure that you never miss a message, download the Airbnb mobile app or enable text notifications for messages from guests.

Getting your space guest ready

A clean, uncluttered space can make an instant impression and set the tone for a guest’s entire stay. Experienced hosts will even go one step further and stock their space with extras that communicate their personality and unique hosting style. For example, adding a handwritten welcome note and providing information about how to use basic amenities like the coffee machine or wifi can really go a long way in making guests feel at home.

Getting paid

Getting paid is one of the most rewarding parts of hosting. The way our payments process works is that guests pay once they book their reservation and we release the money to you 24 hours after your guests have checked in. From there, you can choose one of the following ways to get paid: direct deposit, PayPal, or a number of other options.  

Writing a review

Last but not least in every trip is writing a review. Trust is a cornerstone of the Airbnb community and our reviews system helps foster a sense of trust by letting hosts know who is going to be staying in their home. After a trip is complete you’ll be prompted to write a review for your guests. When writing your review be sure to be honest, thoughtful, and detailed. Guests will also write you a review and leave star ratings about the cleanliness, location, value, and accuracy of your listing description.

Happy hosting

We hope that this getting started checklist has been helpful and walks you through the process of what it takes to be a successful host. For more in depth resources about the different aspects of hosting, visit our host toolkits.