How to start a business on Airbnb

Follow these simple steps to start earning money on Airbnb.
By Airbnb on 24 Jun 2022
10 min video
Updated 21 Jul 2023


You don’t need to have experience running a business to become a successful Host on Airbnb. Take it from Superhosts Bryan and Catherine in Columbus, Ohio – neither had any small business or hospitality experience before they got started on Airbnb by listing a spare bedroom.

“Eight years later, we’re hosting four different properties and working on a bed and breakfast,” says Bryan.

If you’re thinking about opening your home or another space to guests and wondering how to start a hosting business on Airbnb, you’re in the right place. Here are some simple steps to help you get started, from figuring out how much money you could make to learning what day-to-day logistics are involved.

Assess your market

First, check out other places on Airbnb and bed and breakfasts in your area that are similar to your space. Try to get a sense of what they offer – and what they’re missing that you could provide.

Consider the visitors who might book your space. Does your area get a lot of business travellers or families on holiday? Are there local attractions, such as national parks or historic sites? This information might help inform your decisions around design, amenities and the length of stays you’d like to offer.

It’s important to find out what laws and taxes apply to short-term rentals in your area before you begin hosting. Airbnb can’t provide you with legal guidance or tax advice, but we can help you find info about hosting regulations.

Estimate your earning potential

After you’ve done some market research, we can help you estimate your earning potential. When setting your income goals, you may also want to think about your expenses and your pricing strategy:

List your expenses
To get a sense of your potential profits, estimate your upfront costs – for expenses like decor, wifi and other basics to get your space ready for bookings – as well as ongoing or recurring costs, such as linen, toiletries, cleaning services or mortgage payments. Be sure to note maintenance expenses too, such as needed repairs or annual chimney inspections.

“We keep a running spreadsheet of all our expenses and earnings – that way we know what’s coming in and going out.”
Superhost Bryan,
Columbus, Ohio

Set your pricing strategy
When setting your pricing strategy, know what other rentals are charging nearby throughout the year and how your initial price compares. You can adjust for demand by updating your price seasonally, at weekends and during big events.

Keep in mind that on top of your nightly price, guests pay a service fee and any additional fees you include. You’ll be able to increase your price as you accumulate five-star reviews, so don’t be afraid to start on the lower end.

Consider smart pricing
To automate your pricing, you can turn on Smart Pricing. The Smart Pricing tool takes over 70 factors into account, including season and demand – and you can set a minimum nightly rate so your price never dips below that amount.

Decide how you’ll host

There are many different ways to host on Airbnb, and some Hosts are able to dedicate more time to hosting than others. Figure out what your availability is likely to be and explore what tools and services could be helpful for you.

When Bryan and Catherine first started hosting, they did everything, Bryan says – from laundry to maintenance work. Eventually, they decided to pay for some of those services.

You can also automate some aspects of your business with tools like scheduled messages, quick replies and Instant Book.

You determine when and how often you host on Airbnb. Using calendar and booking settings, you can set your availability, set a minimum and maximum length of stay and more.

Create a unique guest experience

Your success as a Host depends on your ability to create a memorable experience for your guests.

Decide which guests you’d like to draw to your space – such as individuals with pets, couples, families or remote workers – and provide amenities that suit their needs. Consider the details that will make your listing stand out and your guests feel special, such as a thoughtful welcome note or local mementos.

“We worked with a local artist to sketch the outsides of our houses and turned them into little postcards that our guests can use or send home,” says Catherine.

Market your space

Listing your space on Airbnb is completely free and you pay a service fee only when a reservation is confirmed. We aim to make this process simple and straightforward: Just follow these easy steps.

Good photos and a catchy listing title are some of the first things people notice when they’re browsing stays on Airbnb, according to Catherine. Some Hosts take high-quality photos using a smartphone or you may also consider hiring a professional.
“We noticed a big difference in our bookings when we invested in professional photography.”
Superhost Catherine,
Columbus, Ohio

Remember that any space can be a perfect fit for someone. Make sure your listing details and photos are setting accurate expectations.

Get support from Airbnb

Airbnb strives to support Hosts every step of the way so you can host with confidence.


24 Jun 2022
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