Renting out a spare room is now considered one of the fastest and easiest ways to earn a passive income. Some super hosts on Airbnb UK are earning in excess of £50,000 per year from their properties.
Making some extra money using your spare room, annexe or even spare property is widely considered passive income. If you have someone stay with you, it’ll be necessary to tidy, wash bed linen and possibly cook breakfast, if it’s something you are prepared to offer.
You, as the host, need to be prepared to share your home or specific areas like the bathroom and kitchen – but with rates around £50 a night for a private double room within your home, and on average £228 a night for the sole use of a flat or apartment (which can be much more depending on location) the income is very high for the time invested.
In this how-to guide we are going to cover all ins and outs of making money on Airbnb in the UK and everything you need to get started listing your property on Airbnb
What is Airbnb
Airbnb is a rental marketplace. It allows people to list their property, or room in their property, to rent on a nightly basis. Bookings are made and paid for through the Airbnb website, so you are not expected to collect money from the person staying with you.
People who are looking for a place to stay in your area will search Airbnb, find a place that appeals and make a booking through the Airbnb website. Just like booking a hotel room.
Airbnb started in California. San Francisco, to be exact. Three would-be entrepreneurs who were renting an apartment together noticed that all hotels in the area were sold out due to a conference happening in town.
They decided to make some extra money by advertising space in their apartment. At the time this ‘space’ was a blow-up air mattress (hence the ‘Air’ part of the Airbnb name), a duvet and pillow in their living area for 3 days and nights, and they would provide breakfast to any paying guests.
The ‘spaces’ were booked quickly, and the service went very well. They made over $1,000 for the long weekend by doing, well very little. Seeing the opportunity, they set up Airbnb – a marketplace which could connect people with properties and space to rent, with guests looking for somewhere to stay.
Airbnb has not only become a global phenomenon but has also become a billion-dollar business in a relatively short amount of time.
How much could I earn from Airbnb rentals
Introduction over, now let’s talk cash. The amount you could earn from Airbnb is relative to two things:
- The location of your property;
- The size of the space you are renting;
If your property is in a prime location – say next to a major town with lots of visitors and few hotel rooms which are always fully booked, you could earn around £75-£100 for a private double room per night.
If you had a second property, a two-room apartment for example, and could rent out the sole use of the property, you could charge upwards of £250 per night.
Your space doesn’t necessarily need to be in a popular urban town. You could be located in a rural location for people to get away too for a mini break. These are also very popular on Airbnb, and again although prices vary you could be charging £60-£70 for a private double room or £150-£200 a night for a self-contained annexe.
It’s best to search Airbnb for your area and see how much others are charging for similar size properties or rooms. This essentially is your competition. If you can find ways of providing a better overall service, more facilities or add-ons or a cheaper price, the better.
Remember all Airbnb stays are reviewed by their guest after the stay. The better you are as a host, the higher your rating – and the higher your rating not only are people going to be more encouraged to stay with you, but you will find Airbnb will start promoting your property ahead of your competition.
How to I list my property on Airbnb
The Airbnb Hosting in 3 Steps guide shows this to be three easy steps:
- List your property for free;
- Decide how you want to host;
- Welcome your first guest;
There is of course a little more to it than that, but considering Airbnb has 2.9 million hosts (those renting out space on Airbnb) and 800,000 nightly rentals, it isn’t too complicated to do.
1. Register for an Airbnb Account
Register for your account at Airbnb Registrations, complete your details and validate your account;
2. Follow the ‘Listing Your Space’ link
This is where you can tell Airbnb about your property like the type (i.e. Room in a house, Entire Place etc…) plus how many people your space can be rented to at one time, and also the location.
In this section you will also need to list all of the amenities your guests will have access to. Be clear and very specific. The more items you list the more attractive it will be to a paying guest. This can include things like a kitchen, a bathroom (which is mandatory if someone stays with) and perhaps things like a TV, Washing Machine access, Fridge etc… All those comforts to make someone’s stay that little bit easier and nicer.
3. Upload Photos
Brushing up on your photographic skills and techniques can pay you dividends here. You will need to upload photos of your space or property. The photos are one of the first things your potential guests will see, so make sure they are clear, bright and in a good light.
It is well worth the time spent looking through YouTube and online instructions on how to take good photos of your property. This hour spent could be the difference between a nice monthly income and a great monthly income.
Here ‘s one video that may be of help:
4. Your Airbnb rental options and conditions
This section is where you list dates in which your property is available. You may decide you don’t want to rent your space every night but maybe just at the weekends. You can set an availability calendar, plus also how many days-notice, minimum, must someone book in advance of their stay.
This prevents a 4pm booking coming through for a same day stay that you are not ready for, expect or want.
5. Set a Price for your Airbnb Rental
This is where you set a price for your space on a nightly basis, and whether you offer any deals or reductions for longer stays (i.e. more than 7 days etc…)
If you are struggling to come up with a price, look at similar listings in your area. You don’t want to over-price your listing and lose out to competitors. Your Airbnb rental price can be changed, so you can set a price now and change later if needs be
6. Get ready for your first Airbnb Guest!
Once everything is ready, in place and Airbnb has accepted your listing, you just need to sit back and wait for your first booking!
How much should I charge for rent on Airbnb
This is where research, research and more research comes in to play. There isn’t a set rule. Many large chains have the flexibility of dynamic pricing, which allows them to adjust the price of their rooms based on demand.
If they see demand going up, prices automatically increase. This is why you often pay different prices for the same hotel room on different nights.
You need to consider a few factors when trying to work out how much to charge for your Airbnb space:
- How much are my competitors charging?
- How much are local hotels charging?
- What is the general availability of my competitors and local hotels?
- Are there regular special events, conferences, concerts or exhibitions held?
You need to ensure you are not pricing yourself out of the market. You don’t want to be charging 50% more than nearby competitors or hotels that have availability.
When starting though you need to really stand out, because you will have no to few reviews and ratings. You need to get people staying with you to boost your ratings. This means you may have to considerably undercut your competitors to attract guests.
Don’t undercut them too much or potential guests may wonder why your space is so cheap and may scare guests away.
If you undercut your competitors by around 20% it should be enough to entice guests without them worrying the space is sub-standard. Once you have god solid reviews under your host page, you can begin to slowly increase your price.
How can I make my Airbnb listing stand out
If you decide to list your property or space on Airbnb you need to find a way to stay ahead of the competition and get continuous bookings.
There are a few ways to do this:
Take Great Photos of your Airbnb Accommodation
The two things almost everyone searching for rooms or space to rent on Airbnb is the price, and the photos. You have approx.. 2 seconds to capture the guest before they’re off looking at someone else’s room. This means you need to make sure your photo REALLY looks good.
We have already covered this topic above, see the video on how best to take great photos of your property that really encourages bookings
Friendly Listing Details
If you have hooked a potential guest with your photos and your price, they’ll want to click on your listing to reveal more. This is where your listing must read like a great sales pitch. You must be honest of course, but here you want to sell yourself as a friendly reliable host and really to make the guest want to stay with you.
If you’re looking for some inspiration look at the listing of ‘Superhosts’. These are hosts with amazing feedback and ratings by guests staying with them. See how they write their rental listing. What words they use and how they describe their space.
Don’t just look at one but look at a few superhost listings and you’ll start to see commonalities in the way they describe features, amenities, surrounding area, selling points and of course the place your guest will be sleeping.
Do not write your listing as if you have just 2 minutes to spare. It needs to be explanatory and detailed. Don’t use abbreviations or ‘text-speak’. You are providing guest accommodation for rent, so you need to be professional.
If grammar is not your thing, ask friends or family to read your listing – particularly any members with a good grasp of the English written language.
There are a variety of online tools and Microsoft Word add-ons such as Grammarly that can help.
Make your words dance off the page in a friendly but professional manner and you will encourage visitors to your listing.
Is Airbnb safe
Airbnb has just under 3million properties and accommodation space to rent worldwide. Every night around the world, on average, 800,000 stays are made through Airbnb bookings.
Almost all of these go without issue, but you have to remember Airbnb are a marketplace. They simply provide a platform to connect you and a potential guest. This guest is still a stranger to you. Airbnb do carry out some small checks for anyone outside the US (inside the US more formal checks are done) but essentially you are letting a complete stranger in to your home.
This alone may be too scary a proposition for some. If that’s the case, then becoming an Airbnb host may not be for you.
The same though goes for a guest. They are also entering the house of a stranger with the intention of sleeping for the night.
The ratings and reviews help. Each person that lists a place to stay, and each guest, are reviewed. If you find your potential guest stays regularly at Airbnb properties, and has great solid feedback, this is of course a good sign.
It’s also worth noting that Airbnb have a Airbnb Host Guarantee which provides property damage of up to $1million (approx. £830,000) free of charge to all properties that list with them. Make sure you read this in detail to find out how you are covered (their website shows every property listing in every country is covered).
I highly recommend you thoroughly read through the Airbnb Trust page, which describes in great details the trust and safety policies, things Airbnb do to try and help, things to be aware of and who to turn to if you have any issues.
Hosting your accommodation – whatever that is – on Airbnb could be one of the easiest and most lucrative ways to earn an almost completely passive income.
You have to of course be comfortable with people potentially sharing your home. Sharing your kitchen, sharing your bathroom and sharing your space.
If the thought of this, together with meeting new exciting people and earning some extra money sounds appealing then this could be the very thing to get in to.
You could be on your way to becoming a Super Host and the benefits that come with it!