(If you’re interested in becoming a host after you read this post, visit my referral link to get started!)
How Does Airbnb Work For Hosts?
With no background in hospitality, and no real expectations, we started hosting Airbnb guests 3 years ago. We found 11 valuable benefits to being an Airbnb host.
1. Earn Money
Of course, this is the most obvious, but extra income is the number one end game when considering whether to become an Airbnb host. There are all types of Airbnb rentals, from apartments to bed-and-breakfast locations, camps, cabins, and single rooms in someone’s home. For us, renting the small garden apartment in our basement through Airbnb has allowed us to make some purchases to improve our apartment space, which in turn increases the overall value of our home. It has given us the funds for a few personal extras as well, and it’s nice to have a little money set aside for a rainy day that isn’t tied to anything else. It’s a no-brainer.
2. Leave It To The Experts
No matter what negative feedback I may have heard or read about Airbnb from other people, my personal experience has been very, very good.
- The listings that the Airbnb app creates are attractive, allow you to add a lot of information and present your property exactly how you want it to appear to your guests.
- Calendar is clean, clear, and works great.
- Communication is excellent on both sides of the equation. Everything from the communication between you and Airbnb, and you and your guests, is right up front and detailed.
- In my real business, I must collect money from my clients. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s hard, and sometimes it drives me crazy. I appreciate that this is never a problem through the Airbnb app. They do it all, and you just watch it deposit into your checking account.
- My experience with getting practical support from Airbnb has been good. The one time I had a problem with my rental and I had to cancel my reservations for about a month, they took care of everything. I actually had people coming that very afternoon and I was in a total panic. I didn’t have to worry about it…they handled it. For me, that’s worth its weight in gold.
I must note that their search engine optimization is not always the best, and how my online listing appears in search results is not great. I frequently see other rentals outside of my area turn up ahead of mine, even when I do a highly specific geographic search. Not sure why that is – I am a Super Host with great reviews. There are other ways that I could promote my property on social media, etc., but I just haven’t gotten around to it. That being said, people do find me so I can’t complain too much.
3. Meet Great People
As a new Airbnb host, I was terrified the first few times I had guests. Having someone I don’t know stay in my home – even in a separate space – is not something I was 100% comfortable with in the beginning. I wasn’t even sure I could do it. We are at heart country people, and fall into the category of North Country folk who are friendly, will always lend a hand when you need it, but won’t fall over themselves to make your acquaintance.
My first guests were a couple from the western part of the state. They were young professionals, engaged, and just as sweet as they could be. I really enjoyed meeting them…they were super quiet and left everything in the apartment just the way they found it. I was hooked.
Since that first guest, we have had all types of people, all ages, from all walks of life. Our guest profile is typically couples, young professionals for the most part, who come to visit the Lake George or Saratoga Springs region for a few days. It’s so nice to see people relax and unwind, and it frequently reminds me why we choose to live where we do! We have never had a problem with a guest (well, maybe just one, but it didn’t involve anything frightening or destructive).
One of the greatest benefits to being an Airbnb host for me has been the privilege of getting to know people from varying ethnic backgrounds. People are so interesting, and eager to share their experiences as well as hear yours. It’s been nothing but amazing.
4. Improve Your Home
This is one of the things that I have learned to appreciate as an Airbnb host. We have a lovely property. It’s 11 acres with a couple of ponds, a large yard, and our house was actually built from an antique barn. It is in a word, rustic. True rustic, not the type of polished rustic you see in Architectural Digest. Since it’s basically a barn, it is what it is, but it’s the little things around our property that we tend to pay more attention to now, and consistently want to improve upon.
For instance, the bathroom in our rental space had not been updated since we bought the property several years ago. We had one guest who messaged me after leaving to let me know that there was a crack in the bathtub floor! I was so appreciative they let me know… I might not have realized it right away because it wasn’t very visible when cleaning. Needless to say, we contacted Airbnb and they redirected our guests to other rentals for the next six weeks while we found a contractor to install the new bathtub and shower. Not an improvement we planned upon, but nice to have it done nevertheless!
Our grounds are a big part of what makes our property unique. I’ve always loved to garden, but knowing that I have guests looking over the property and browsing the grounds makes it doubly important to me that everything looks right. I do spend more time keeping the property in good shape, buying flowers and shrubs, keeping it manicured and the apartment squeaky clean. First impressions are important, so when people drive in our driveway I want them to have a memorable experience.
5. Develop Management Skills
This may sound strange, but even a single property listing requires a degree of management ability. Because my husband and I both work at “real” jobs that demand a good deal of our time, I have had to learn to be more efficient. Managing my time so that I am available to prepare the rental for each guest to my satisfaction, cleaning the bathroom, doing laundry, ironing sheets and pillowcases (yes, I do that), using the leaf blower to clean the patio and the garage…scheduling the right time for yard work, making sure guests have a freshly mowed lawn to enjoy, and trying to be there to greet them when they arrive as often as possible – all of this takes time management and commitment. I also need to know where to get Keurig coffee the cheapest, what non-allergenic cleaning supplies work the best, and even where to get the best sheets for the money,
It makes me smile now when I think how frantic I was first year I rented our property. It took a little while to get into the rhythm, but now that I have it, it’s wonderful. My only regret is that I don’t have another listing to manage!
6. Pride in Hosting
My grandmother ran a bed and breakfast at her home on Lake George during the first half of the 19th century when the northern Lake George region was still quite remote. I remember looking at her guestbook, and marveling at the people that came to stay all the way from NY city. They rented canoes, and had a large wooden boat they gave guests rides in. My grandmother was all business… I remember she had all sorts of cool kitchen tools, equipment and dishware, and a “mangle” for ironing linens (a safety nightmare). It was a scary looking piece of equipment, but it definitely spoke to her commitment to excellence, as well as her version of efficiency!
Ever since I was a young woman, I yearned to be an innkeeper. It was something I inherently knew that I would enjoy and be good at, but the right opportunity never presented itself. Admittedly, one of the greatest benefits for me is when my guests express delight at something small like flowers on the table, or a homemade snack I might leave for them, or the way my linens smell. (I have had people ask me what I do to get them smell so good. Sorry, it’s a secret!) Even more than money, it is pride in a job well done that is the primary motivation and reward for me personally. I love that part of hosting. Out of all these 11 valuable benefits to being an Airbnb host, this is the one most important to me.
One of the features I like best about the Airbnb model is the flexibility. The Airbnb app is actually pretty great, and allows me to rent the apartment only when it’s comfortable for me to do so. I have family that comes home on the holidays and specific weekends, so I can block off any days, weeks, or months I like! (And I work to consistently improve the rental, so my family really appreciates that they have a nice place to stay when they come to visit!)
One of the ways I manage my rental is that I have a minimum of 2 nights in the summer, and a maximum of five nights. That way, I don’t have to clean the apartment every day, nor do I have to put up with someone who is annoying or a bad fit for our space for more than 5 nights. It’s never happened, but you never know! (That North Country thing again.)
Airbnb has a number of options for booking, including an instant booking option. I’m fussy about who stays in my home, so I do not take advantage of that option, but it’s there if I choose to do so. Because of our lifestyle, I prefer to know who my guests are and manage my time in a way that works for me.
8. Hometown USA
Our property is uniquely situated right in the middle of several popular tourist locations, with super easy access to the beauty of the Adirondack Mountains. I do love where I live, but like anything else, the common can become commonplace at times.
When guests ask me for recommendations for everything from hiking spots to festivals to dining, it always gives me a feeling of pride that our area has so much to offer. We are fortunate to live in stunningly beautiful natural surroundings, yet there is plenty of opportunity to explore everything from the arts to horse racing to outdoor recreation of all levels.
9. Pet Friendly
For us, that is! This may be one of the less obvious benefits to being an Airbnb host, but for us it matters. We have two German Shepherds, but because we live on 11 acres and don’t have much company other than family, they don’t really get to interact with regular people that often. Having people come to the house in a strange car, with strange smells and voices is a good thing for our pets. They learn good manners and how to interact with strangers – even on their own turf. Especially on their own turf.
Our guests love meeting the dogs also (although they are not allowed in the apartment), and it makes them comfortable – sometimes it’s a little reminder of home for business travelers.
10. Great Retirement Opportunity
Posting an air B&B Is a great retirement opportunity! As we age and move into retirement, this will provide us with a revenue stream that we can work with, adjusting our level of commitment as we see fit. In addition to enjoying the extra income and added tax benefits, this is a great way for us to keep physically active and maintain our home.
11. Life Experience
Although we are closer to the end of our working lives than we are the beginning, my husband and I have always valued the benefits that new and exciting experiences provide us. Whether it be learning to raise chickens, starting a new business, walking to the top of the tallest church steeple in the world, or taking a john boat ride through the Okefenokee alligator-filled swamp (my personal nightmare), we are formed by all of the experiences we have.
The year that I turned 50, I started the website FiftyIsTheNewForty.com. Years later, I expanded the content to reflect more years, more people, and more experiences, and WinsomeToWisdom.com was born! For me, try new things and learning more about the world around me has always been important… I definitely fall in the category of a lifelong learner. So, Airbnb was another personal, social and cultural cultural phenomenon I wanted to try, and it has definitely been a positive outcome both personally and financially.
This list of 11 valuable benefits of being an Airbnb host comes from our own experience. If you are thinking about it, it might be a good idea to try it first! Here is a credit for up to $55 you can use on your first trip! Happy travels!