As this post gets published, we’re enjoying one month in our condo in Hawaii. We’re fixing it up, making sure it’s guest-ready for the next guests and enjoying every minute of relaxing in our home away from home. We never planned on owning a rental unit (let alone two that are on an island) but having a space that we share has been so much fun and an amazing way to invest for us. We’re always on the hunt for our next property and thought: dang, you might have a space that you could rent out, too.
Do you have an extra room in your home? Or a cabin up north? Or a condo on an island? Or maybe you don’t have any of those things… yet, but you’re inspired about the idea of owning property that you can enjoy but that you can also share! Maybe you’re considering becoming an Airbnb host! I couldn’t be more excited for you, it’s one of the best decisions and investments Drew and I have made! When the world of Airbnb was new to us we hit the google search bar and did a ton of research!
There’s tons of information out there about how to decorate your Airbnb property, what to have on hand, the experience you should create, how to make a welcome guide, even how to finance an investment property in the first place… but we came up short on finding the most important things to do to get started. With all of the things we COULD be doing, where should our focus be and what was really important? I’m rounding up the things that need to get done and that you should be aware of as you embark on this new adventure.
Treat it like a business
The first thing is to think about this new endeavor as a business. What does that look like tactically? Hire an accountant and lawyer to advise you on all the things. Do you have new tax write-offs to consider? Does creating an LLC make the most sense for your situation? What are the local laws that may impact how you rent your property? What type of insurance would be best for you? The truth is, writing your Airbnb description, decorating your place to host guests, taking the photos and hitting publish is just the start.
To be truly successful you need to dig deeper and make sure you are protecting your investment and this is done by consulting with professionals and doing the work up front to make sure you are dotting your “i”‘s and crossing your “t”‘s. Airbnb has a great resource to make sure you’re getting the right approvals with your state, the correct licenses and ensures that you are “in the know” about all of the logistics that go into running a compliant Airbnb.
Focus on creating an experience
Like the advice I give to all entrepreneurs, focus on creating an experience for your guests. This could look like an elaborate welcome guide sharing all of the best places to see, things to do, things to know to have the best time where your Airbnb is located. It all starts with that first message after they inquire, the “thank you” for staying with us message and all the correspondence in between.
It’s the little things like a welcome bottle of wine to little details like things to enjoy your space even more (board games, things for the beach/lake/city/mountains, books, magazines, coffee). Give your guests tips on how to work the heat, the tv or any other complicated thing in your home so they don’t have to ask questions later. Have a guestbook to make them feel thought of and know that you care about them visiting your space.
Little gestures like these can make all the difference and set you apart from the other properties in your area and start that word of mouth marketing that is so invaluable.
Surround yourself with the right team
If I’ve learned anything over the last couple of years it’s this: surrounding yourself with the right team will make all the difference and this applies to running an Airbnb business as well. Finding the right team of cleaners, property managers and people who handle maintenance, have made what could be sometimes a headache when things inevitably go wrong, into a joy to work with the right people.
Do your homework, ask for referrals, interview candidates and find the right fit of people that will care for your space as your own. Another pro tip: set up systems, checklists, and workflows so that even though you aren’t personally doing the work, you can still oversee the process and care that goes into each and every step. This is the key to making this investment of yours as automated as possible.
Want more tips about Airbnb? I recorded a full podcast episode all about what it’s really like to host guests, run a business from afar, and how we focused on creating a “superhost” experience for our guests! Tune into that show now!