Airbnb is an online marketplace that connects people who need a place to stay with people who have a spare room, apartment, or home to rent. The platform allows individuals and property owners to list their properties for short-term rentals, such as for a night, a weekend, or a week. As a result, vacationers can reserve lodging that is both less expensive and more interesting than the standard hotel room. But how to start an Airbnb business? Let’s start with understanding how Airbnb works and its history of growth. 

Airbnb company overview

Since its founding in 2008, the company has expanded significantly, becoming one of the leading vacation rental platforms worldwide. More than 220 countries and regions have posted listings on it, bringing the total to almost 4 million. Accommodations listed on Airbnb range from single rooms in shared apartments and houses to complete homes and apartments to unique and exotic places like treehouses and castles.

Airbnb not only acts as a matchmaker between renters and hosts but also offers various additional services, such as safe payment processing, customer assistance, and a review system where visitors may rate their experiences. For both the host and the guest, this helps establish a solid foundation of trust that is essential for a successful exchange.

On December 9, 2020, the firm began trading on public markets. It’s initial public offering (IPO) brought in $3.5 billion, with shares increasing by 114% on their first trading day.

The influence of short-term rentals on housing availability and cost as well as on neighborhoods and communities has been a source of contention in several cities and nations where Airbnb has encountered opposition. The company’s “One Host, One Home” policy limits the number of houses a host can advertise, and it works with governments to collect and pay hotel and tourism taxes to help it succeed in a highly regulated industry.

Airbnb is still very popular among travelers who want to avoid traditional hotel chains. More and more people are using it for business and corporate trips, and it is expanding its services to meet demand.

How Airbnb works for hosts

how airbnb works for hosts

Short-term rentals (for one night, a weekend, or a week) are available on Airbnb from both private individuals and property owners. Listing a property on Airbnb is a fundamental process for hosts. Here’s a rundown of how it all functions:

  • Set up an Airbnb profile

Getting started with Airbnb requires hosts to sign up for a profile. To do this, go to the Airbnb website and select the “Become a host” option.

  • Fill in the details

After creating an account, hosts can immediately begin posting their homes online. This entails detailing the property in question, including its location, size, amenities, and pictures. Both the listing price and the booking availability calendar are under the host’s control.

  • Get ready for booking requests

As soon as a property is published, potential visitors can search for available dates and lodging options that suit their needs. Guests can make a booking request if they are interested in staying at a particular property.

  • Accept guest’s requests

When a booking request is sent to a host, the host can look over the information provided to determine if they wish to accept the booking, including the potential guest’s profile, the requested dates, and the associated costs.

  • Get the payment

If the host accepts the reservation, the guest will be charged, and Airbnb will pay the host.

  • Stay in touch with your guests

Hosts should stay in touch with their visitors before, during, and after their stay to answer any questions, address any concerns, and ensure everything goes smoothly.

  • Feedback matters

After a visit, hosts and guests can leave feedback for each other, which can go a long way toward establishing rapport and guaranteeing future stays go smoothly.

  • Update availability status

Hosts can change their rates and availability by logging into their host dashboard on Airbnb. To ensure the safety and enjoyment of their guests, hosts must also keep their properties in compliance with local ordinances governing vacation rentals.

5 Steps to Starting a Successful Airbnb Business

Airbnb's property management

1. Prepare your Airbnb space

Airbnb hosts should check their space for cleanliness, amenities, and security before advertising it to potential visitors. Fixing things up, replacing worn-out furniture, or installing modern conveniences like high-speed internet or a coffee maker are all examples of what this could entail. High-quality photographs highlighting your home’s finest characteristics are also recommended. Include the correct number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the total square footage, and any unique features like a pool or hot tub.

2. Form a Legal Business Entity

You should form a legal business entity if you intend to earn a substantial income from your Airbnb business. This can assist in keeping your assets safe and make it simpler to handle your money. Besides sole proprietorships and partnerships, there are also limited liability companies (LLCs) and corporations. Each possible entity structure has benefits and drawbacks, so it’s crucial to learn about your options. There’s a chance you’ll also need to get legal approval, sign up with the authorities, and secure coverage.

3. Create Your Airbnb Listing

You can start advertising your Airbnb listing as soon as your house is available and your business is organized. The location, size, features, and images of your property should all be included. The schedule for pricing and availability will also need to be established. Put in the extra effort to make your listing stand out by describing its unique selling points in detail and providing high-resolution images.

4. Improve Your Host Rating

There is a correlation between a host’s rating, the number of reservations they receive, and the revenue earned. Guests will give you a higher rating if they feel heard, if the accommodations are well-maintained, and if their requests and concerns are addressed quickly. Try to anticipate what your guests may require and be proactive in responding to their communications. Offer to pick up and drop off guests at the airport and provide tours of the area if requested.

5. Scale up Your Business

Now that your Airbnb is up and running, you can begin planning for expansion. Increasing your portfolio size, employing more people to handle your listings, and trying out new services like cleaning and management are all examples of ways to increase your income.

You can also rent out many units in one building, like a hotel, motel, or apartment complex. In addition to keeping up with the latest industry developments and laws, providing ever-better service and products is vital to attracting and retaining customers.

Remember that as a host, you’ll also be responsible for taking reservations, performing cleaning and maintenance tasks, corresponding with guests, and solving any problems that may arise. You should also check that you are paying all applicable taxes and complying with all local legislation concerning short-term rentals.

Can I start an Airbnb business with no money?

If you are interested in how to start an Airbnb business with no money, there is a solution.

Firstly, know that starting in the Airbnb industry without a financial cushion can be challenging, as its business model involves purchasing a house and spending additional money on upkeep, advertising, and other related costs.

But making money on Airbnb without investment is possible!

There are ways to launch an Airbnb business on a shoestring budget:

1. Rent out your space

It’s possible to generate income from Airbnb without purchasing a second property just by renting out a spare room in your current home. Before making a more significant investment, this strategy might serve as a means of testing the market and generating revenue.

2. Collaborate with other property owners

You can join forces with someone who does if you don’t have any real estate to your name. Someone you know, someone you trust, or someone you just met could be your future business partner.

3. Get funding

Consider purchasing a property that will need some work at a reduced price so it can be renovated and rented out. Still, this would necessitate an investment, though perhaps one that is smaller than buying a turnkey home. You can start an Airbnb business with the help of various funding sources, including loans, crowdfunding platforms, and angel investors.

Keep in mind that no matter what route you use to start your Airbnb business, you’ll need to put in a lot of time, effort, and persistence. A well-thought-out business strategy and budget are also essential to keep on track and make the most of your resources.

Can I Make Money with Airbnb without owning property?

If you are interested in how to start an Airbnb business without owning a house, consider the following ways: 

Property management: You can offer property management services for homeowners who want to list their property on Airbnb but don’t have the time or expertise to manage it themselves. This can include tasks such as creating and managing the listing, communicating with guests, handling bookings, and coordinating cleaning and maintenance.

Renting properties on behalf of others: You can also make money by renting properties on behalf of others, such as landlords or real estate investors. You can find properties that are suitable for short-term rentals and then rent them out on Airbnb on behalf of the owner.

Co-hosting: Co-hosting is when an experienced host teams up with a new host to help them get started on Airbnb. As a co-host, you help new hosts manage their bookings, respond to guests, and provide tips and advice.

While these are all viable alternatives to home ownership that could result in financial gain through Airbnb, they also each have their own unique set of obstacles and responsibilities. To be successful as an Airbnb host, you need to be well-versed in the Airbnb platform, local rules, and the local short-term rental market. To be successful in this role, you need also to have the ability to communicate effectively, be very organized, and deliver outstanding service to guests.

The Bottom Line

Starting an Airbnb can be a profitable income-generating strategy. Start with a deep understanding of the Airbnb platform, local laws and regulations, and the short-term rental market, as well as good communication and organizational skills. Regardless of the method, starting an Airbnb business requires a solid business plan, budget, patience, and hard work.

Besides, starting an Airbnb business does not always require owning a property. There are other options, such as property management, renting properties on behalf of others, or even being a co-host. While these options can provide a way to make money with Airbnb without property ownership, they also come with their own set of challenges and responsibilities.


Tetiana Artemova

Tetiana Artemova is an entrepreneur and owner of IStartHub, a business media for ambitious female entrepreneurs and small business owners.