How to Make More Money Renting Out Your Home, According to Airbnb Superhosts

Airbnb just made it easier for hosts to rent their homes, so we asked two experienced hosts about their best practices.

A mature couple walk up the entrance of a luxury villa

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Airbnb has completely transformed the home rental market, allowing homeowners around the world to list private rooms or their entire place. Nowadays, more than 4 million hosts use the platform to bring in record earnings. The third quarter of 2022 has seen a 30% increase in revenues for hosts compared to the same period last year, according to Airbnb data.

In an effort to encourage potential hosts to list their properties on Airbnb, today the company launched a new feature on its website, Airbnb Setup, along with more home protections and an enhanced guest verification system. Using video and audio calls or messaging, Airbnb Setup will give first-time hosts the option to have one-on-one assistance from Superhosts, the company's highly rated and experienced hosts. People listing their properties for the first time also have the opportunity to have an experienced guest stay at their home and provide suggestions on improving it along with the overall experience.  

So if you are thinking of becoming an Airbnb host ahead of the busy holiday travel season, we chatted with two Superhosts, Ansel Troy from Oakland, California, and Caroline Francis from Bracebridge, Ontario, who rent homes on the platform year-round to give us their best tips and advice on how to make your home more attractive to guests and maximize your profits.

Worry Less About Your Location

Homes with a prime location may sell for more, but when it comes to renting one, that's not always the case. When Troy first listed his tiny house on a busy street in East Oakland, he was skeptical as to whether guests would pay to stay in his neighborhood — especially with a motorcycle club around the corner — but his property took off. Why? He focused on making it attractive to guests through original design and unique amenities.

And in Francis's case, the fact that her house — a small cabin in the woods about 2.5 hours north of Toronto — is away from the city worked in her favor. In fact, she made that her selling point to attract renters interested in off-the-grid living.

Mountain house balcony seating

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Focus on the Décor

Both Troy and Francis agree that a unique approach to interior design is key to making your rental property stand out. When Troy first listed his tiny house, he said it looked "boring."

"I would just focus on [the fact that] I have the tiny house on wheels. And I just thought that that would be enough. And when I updated the décor, I was able to raise my prices because I was getting a lot more interest," he explained.

Francis designed her cabin to stand out from other listings in the area with its modern, bright, and airy feel. She went for a sleek, minimal aesthetic and incorporated pieces from local artists to add a personal touch and additional character.

Think About What Your Guests Want

"I think that many hosts would benefit from removing themselves and their preferences and thinking about what do people like, not what I like. I don't have any plants in my house, but I know people like plants. So that's what I put in the Airbnb. They give people a sense of relaxation," Troy said. He also incorporated statement décor pieces, such as a modern, see-through speaker that he wouldn't necessarily have in his own home.

And when Francis and her partner were deciding on the architecture for their rental, which they built from scratch, she had to give up on her dream of having an A-frame property. They went for a mono-pitch roof instead because it made the home's second level, where the bed was, more spacious.

 Beach cottage and dune grass in Cape Cod.

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Don't Hype the Listing in the Description

Good reviews will help your listing get booked. One of the reasons guests leave unfavorable reviews is that the home was not as described or as pictured. That's why Francis and Troy recommend hosts be as honest as possible about what their home is and isn't and list its good and bad features. They suggest being upfront about all the things your guests may encounter on property or in the neighborhood that are not visible in the photos. This will build trust in your guests and ensure they are satisfied and have a good experience, and, in turn, leave you a good review. For Caroline, for example, that means telling potential guests that there are bugs and wildlife, such as bears, in the area. And Troy wrote in his home's description that it is located on a busy street with a school, and his neighbors have roosters.

"I don't want to try to get everybody because I just know that some people don't want to hear a rooster in the morning. I tell people about the polarizing features because if I don't tell them everything, then they're going to give me bad reviews," he added.

Photos are Key

First impressions matter; high-quality photos will present your listing in the best light, making it stand out on Airbnb. For Troy, photography is crucial, so he enlisted the help of a professional.

Do some research on the photographers in your area, especially those who have experience shooting home interiors for real estate agencies. Then, check out their Instagram accounts or portfolio sites to ensure their photography style aligns with your vision for the rental and its design aesthetic.  

Amenities Matter

Guests are more likely to book a home — and pay more for it — when it offers high-end or unique amenities. Troy installed a soaking bathtub in the bathroom of his tiny house that also features a dedicated work desk.

And Francis added a screened porch to her cabin — a desirable feature that not many properties in the area have. What her listing lacks in square footage, it makes up in great amenities such as an outdoor shower, a hammock, a fire pit, and a garden. She also made sure that her home doesn't lack any basic features that guests may need even in an off-the-grid home, such as lighting via rechargeable LED lights, water that's pumped from a storage tank, a kitchenette with a stove, two sinks, and a composting toilet.  

According to data by Airbnb, the most searched-for amenities for the holidays are pools, Wi-Fi, a kitchen, a jacuzzi, and parking.

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