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The best ways to maximise your Airbnb earnings

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Written by: Robert Nichols
02/02/2017
As more consumers look to Airbnb to supplement their income by renting out rooms or property, here are 10 top tips to help you maximise your takings.

1. Be smart with the 90-day limit

Airbnb is a great short-term solution for landlords or sellers who have a vacant property. There’s emphasis on the words “short-term” here because home listings in Greater London are now limited to 90 days per calendar year.

That isn’t to say however that you should rule out Airbnb if you’re a landlord who favours long-term tenancies. Tenant demand surges by up to 64% in June-September, as recent graduates head straight to London to find their first job. It’s a clever idea therefore to synchronise your tenancy dates to take advantage of higher prices and shorter voids in summer. One way of doing so – and potentially maximising your income – is to put your property on Airbnb during the colder months, before switching to a long-let or as an assured shorthold tenancy when demand is at its highest in the summer.

It’s also important to remember that it is only ‘entire home’ listings that are subject to 90-day rule, so there is nothing to stop you renting out one or even three out of four rooms of an entire home for the whole year. The rents you can achieve during weekend stays or overnight stays can easily match or beat what you could achieve for a monthly rental income from a normal tenancy – plus you can enjoy the flexibility of choosing when to put your property up for rent, and when not to.

2. Get the price right

Pricing your Airbnb listing right is key to maximising your income. Typically properties earn at least 25% more on a short-term or Airbnb let than on a long-term tenancy, even with a 70% occupancy rate.

If you haven’t rented out your property before, look at similar listings in your area that have lots of reviews to get an idea about the right price range. It’s always worth starting at a slightly lower price to capture the initial bookings. After you build up your reviews, you’ll need to raise your prices accordingly.

3. Selling your home?

If you’re selling, or in the process of selling a vacant second home, why not make some extra income while the property is on the market? Some estate agents will give owners the option to put their property on Airbnb while it’s on the market with them – whether it’s for one week or three months.

4. What’s the Wi-Fi code?

Wi-Fi: it’s an absolute must in Airbnb properties. Most guests will automatically tick ‘Wireless Internet’ as a must-have amenity when searching Airbnb, so if your property doesn’t provide Wi-Fi, it won’t show up in their search. If you don’t already have Wi-Fi already installed in the property, consider buying a dongle or finding another short-term solution.

5. Location, location, location

It’s a common misconception that only super central properties work on Airbnb. Portico Host claim that there’s a massive market for families looking for short-term solutions, perhaps while they’re searching for a house to buy or rent, and also strong demand from people who are working temporarily in the capital. In fact nearly 10% of Airbnb customers travel for business. These guests are usually looking for a longer-let and are less concerned about the location of the property.

6. Keep your guests happy

Success on Airbnb is measured by happy customers and good reviews. The number one rated London listing on AirDNA (an Airbnb data site) is a room within a flat, (the host stayed in the other room), boasting 48 five star reviews. Scrolling through the property reviews, certain points come up again and again: great communication, spotlessly clean, super responsive, and that the property perfectly matches the description.

It’s so important that you clearly communicate what you’re offering, as a guest is going to be disappointed if the property doesn’t live up to its description. The more great reviews you get, the more bookings you’re likely to achieve and the higher the price you can charge.

7. Be selective

The hardest part for any Airbnb host is to weed out troublesome guests. If you’re using Instant Book, a button which allows guests to book without any sort of email exchange, make sure to check the guest/s can provide a Government ID and have recommendations from other guests.

If you’re not using Instant Book, it’s imperative you respond to any communications quickly and politely, not just while vetting guests but also when replying to messages and questions guests have during their stay.

8. Convenient check-in times

Convenience is key with short-term rentals. Guests will want to be able to check-in and check-out at times that suit them, so having round the clock access is a real bonus.

9. Coupling up

Earn money from your property when you’re not using it. If you spend a lot of time at your partners’ home, it may be worth putting your room or property on Airbnb. It’s a fantastic way of generating passive income, and you can choose when it’s available to rent and when it’s not.

10. Consider getting your Airbnb property managed

If Airbnb sounds like a perfect solution but you’d rather let someone experienced take care of the whole process, you could take on a rental management service to do the work for you for a fee.

Robert Nichols is managing director of Portico

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