8 top tips on how to become an Airbnb host

29 Aug 2016

The numbers of people hosting on Airbnb continue to rise, but do you know how to become a host? Here’s a beginner’s guide to renting out your spare room.

Given the ease with which the likes of Airbnb allows people to both host and rent, more and more of us are getting involved. Over the summer ,Airbnb released figures for Ireland, saying that host numbers have doubled every year since 2009.

There are more than 11,000 households in Ireland listed on the site, and those numbers look to be rising ever more. Dublin is the destination of choice, with 240,000 guests hosted there through Airbnb in 2015.

Beyond the simple financial appeal, there is even a host perks programme, featuring discounts from companies on products and services.

“Airbnb guests are looking for authentic experiences and love to see destinations through a local lens. Ireland is renowned worldwide for its hospitality and some of the most inspiring and successful Airbnb hosts in the world are based here,” said Aisling Hassell, global head of customer experience at Airbnb, over the summer.

In a partnership with Siliconrepublic.com, an Airbnb offer – expiring this Wednesday (31 August) – sees all new hosts that use this link to set up their accounts receive €100 in cash.

Exclusively for new hosts in Dublin, the €100 bonus is transferable as cash and does not have to be used as credit on Airbnb. All payments will be made before 30 September.

Setting up as a host “only takes a few minutes”, according to Hassell, and new hosts could have their first booking “within days.” But how do you do it? Here are a few things to consider before you set up shop.


1. Find your value

This is a simple starter tool, provided on Airbnb’s host page. If you have a room, a shared room or even an entire premises that you’re looking to rent, what should you charge?

Airbnb compiles the average amount charged, breaking it down into rooms, numbers of guests and areas your premises is currently situated in.

So, for example, an entire place for two guests in Dublin will bring in on average €593 a week. While a private room, for two, in Cork, will get you a little under €200 a week.

2. Prepare your listing

As much detail as possible, and as many excellent images as you can manage, will help your listing. Something as simple as looking at other lettings in your area should give you a decent idea of how to present your property.

There tends to be an Airbnb ‘look’, too. Things like quotes in picture frames, or books in a foreign language, seem to be becoming the norm.

3. Target the right customers

Who lives in your area, what amenities are there and why would someone want to stay there? If you can answer these questions then, bingo, there’s your target market. Adapt your description, pricing and availability accordingly.

4. Rental duration

How you rent a property will largely be determined by what time that property is available to let. If it’s a room, or an entire venue consistently available, then that requires a different set-up to something you just want to do one weekend while you’re away. The calendar provided on Airbnb should make this process easier for hosts.

5. Time

Understand how much time and effort listing a property is going to take. Beyond the preparation tasks, which can prove time-consuming when you’re trying to get the message just right, or the images portraying exactly what you want them to portray, follow-on chores can be a drag.

Liaising with potential renters who message you through the service, vetting and subsequently meeting them can all take significant amounts of time.

6. Cleanliness

Your room, apartment or house can’t just look clean, it has to be spotless, just as a hotel would leave a room before your stay. Providing towels, toilet paper and clean bedsheets are absolute musts.

7. Insurance

Airbnb provides a ‘Host Guarantee’ to the value of €800,000, protecting your belongings against ‘accidental damage’. It also provides ‘Host Protection Insurance’, which protects hosts from liability in the event of a guest getting injured. If neither of these satisfy you, acquiring separate insurance is up to you.

8. Tax

Airbnb isn’t free money. Your taxing status will be determined by your jurisdiction. In Ireland, the average host earned €2,600 last year, however some rent for longer than others. It’s prudent to investigate what you’re entitled to, and what responsibilities you have, should your income rise and rise.

According to Taxback.com, you have to pay tax on income arising from all Irish properties rented out using Airbnb, regardless of wether or not you are an Irish resident, because hosting does not qualify for ‘rent-a-room relief’.

“The final amount of tax you’ll pay on your Airbnb income depends on how much you earn and will differ depending on whether you’re an occasional host or regular host,” it says.

Airbnb recently revealed it would launch a new partnership with Taxback to help hosts file their tax returns in Ireland and pay income tax on the money they earn from sharing their space.

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Main Airbnb image via Indypendenz/Shutterstock

Update: This article was updated on 30 August at 9.20am to clarify the ‘rent-a-room relief’ status of hosts in Ireland.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic