Being an Airbnb host is an enticing concept for many. Short-term rentals are a great way to earn some extra income and gives you a chance to meet new people from new cultures. Airbnb is by far the most popular platform for vacation rentals, and you’ve no doubt heard a lot about how some people living solely off renting their properties out to tourists.

On the other hand, you’ve no doubt heard horror stories of Airbnb rentals being completely trashed, items stolen and neighbors terrorized. With both sides of the story true to some extent, would you dare to try your luck and become an Airbnb host? According to Priceconomics data from 2017, the average Airbnb host monthly income was $924. This number has likely increased with the soaring popularity the platform has garnered since. And while some hosts earn more than others depending on various factors, such as the location, at least 50% of all hosts can earn more than $500 a month.

So where do you start? You’ve no doubt searched the Internet for information on how to become an Airbnb host, what are the best practices, prerequisites, and other useful data. In this article, we are going to be sharing some first-hand information you might not find on the official Airbnb website or other resources on the web.

Airbnb Fee Structure Favors the Host

One of the main reasons people are able to earn a lot of money as Airbnb hosts is that the platform’s fee structure greatly favors the hosts. Due to the increased demand for affordable vacation rentals, especially in dense tourist areas, there is a surplus of tourists looking for lodging on Airbnb.

In order to incentivize the hosts to match the increased demand, the company tilts the structure of their commissions in favor of the host.

An Airbnb host only pays a 3% to the platform per booking, while guests pay up to 12%. A lot of other platforms charge a flat fee to hosts exclusively. This is why Airbnb has quickly become a favorite for hosts and tourists alike. It has the best ratio between supply and demand.

A Clean Rental Is More Likely To Get Higher Ratings

When starting out as Airbnb hosts, most people look to fully equip the rental with the latest 4K TV’s, espresso machines and smart mirrors. But what most tend to neglect is the state in which they are renting out the apartment.

If you want your rental to get better ratings, renting it out spotlessly clean is imperative. That is why experienced Airbnb hosts partner with companies like MaidThis to make sure the bathroom, kitchen and other key areas are always immaculately clean.

Invest In Rental Photography

All the amenities you invest in will surely make your guests’ stay more pleasant. But they won’t help you get more guests in the first place. What will help are gorgeous photos of your Airbnb rental. Most hosts use their smartphone to capture a few snaps of their apartment. Hiring a service that specializes in Airbnb cleaning before the photoshoot is also a good idea, as professional photography tends to capture a lot of details.

However professional photographers can really help you bring out the best in your apartment. They can make it look bigger, brighter and better. They can hide its flaws and accent its strong points.

While professional photography is encouraged, you should go easy on the photo editing. Heavily edited photos look fake and might deter potential visitors. Visitors may fear they may have been taken from a stock photography website. Instead, opt in for rental redecoration to make your rental stand out both on pictures and in person.

Aspire To Become A Superhost

One of the easiest way to gain more views and in turn, more visitors, is being featured on the front page. New listings are featured on the front page by default for 72 hours. Becoming a superhost changes that, as your listing will be prominently featured at the beginning of the search.

In order to qualify for a superhost you need to host at least 10 trips each year. You must respond to inquiries promptly and never cancel on your visitors. You also need to receive 5-star reviews in at least 80% of your ratings. Not only will your listing be featured but you’ll also receive $100 in Airbnb credit annually.

Offer Free Stuff To Your Guests

Not everyone can dedicate enough time to become a superhost, and that’s fine. But if you want your listing to be on page one, you’ll need good reviews. Apart from following all the previous guidelines, one quick and easy way to “buy” your guests’ affection is to offer them freebies.

Make sure to stock up the apartment with fresh fruit and vegetables, bread, coffee, milk, beer etc. Not only will this save them some time on shopping, but they will also appreciate you as a host. They’ll be more inclined to award you with a good review. We’ve already covered how you can make your guests’ stay more enjoyable in the linked article if you need any more ideas.

There’s A Way To Turn Unfair Reviews To Your Advantage

Sometimes, no matter how accurate your listing is or how good of a host you are, certain guests will vent their frustrations off in the reviews. If you marked your rental as having no Internet access and then someone complains about Wi-Fi being inaccessible, why should your ratings suffer?

Fortunately, Airbnb lets hosts comment on these claims and set the record straight. If you are active in addressing these concerns, future guests are more likely to book despite a few negative reviews.

Whatever you do, try to be as respectable and detailed as possible when responding to these accusations. Apologize to the guest if you feel the need to and reassure your future guests that you will take care of the issue.

Ignore The Automatic Pricing Feature

The auto pricing feature on Airbnb determines the price based on the average market rate. Similar rentals in the area as well as seasonal demand. However, as Airbnb is motivated by getting more bookings through the app, they tend to lower the hosts’ profit margin.

For that reason, it’s better to change your rates manually instead. It might be more work, but you will be able to set the price so that it isn’t too far from the average while still earning more.

About the Author: MaidThis is a California-based cleaning service specializing in turnover vacation rental cleaning. Maid service is available in the greater Los Angeles, Orange County, and Bay Area (San Francisco, San Jose, etc) geographies.