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What is Airbnb?
Airbnb is a platform that connects people who have a space they're looking to let – whether that's a room, a flat, a castle or a tree house – with guests who want to stay there. Chances are you've probably stayed in an Airbnb before, their competitive pricing and flexibility make them ideal for family holidays, but have you considered hosting? If your home is eligible, it could be a simple way to top up your income or fund your own travel plans.
How does Airbnb work?
Hosts create a listing (more on that later), Airbnb then allows guests to get in touch, book, and pay entirely through their platform. They verify personal profiles, offer a messaging system, and collect and transfer payments securely to make booking and hosting as simple as possible. Both hosts and guests receive reviews after a stay, too, which help everyone make informed decisions.
How to become an Airbnb host
1. Create your listing
Whatever space you're working with, make sure to give a detailed description that includes all the information you'd like to know before booking accommodation, for example: what's on offer nearby? Is it good for families? Also, make sure to take plenty of pictures in order to give prospective guests an accurate idea of the space. Much like online dating, you want your photos to be flattering, but not misleading.
You will have full control of your availability, pricing, house rules, and how you interact with guests. You can set check-in times and handle the process however you like.
Airbnb does offer a handy tool to help you gauge pricing, but how much you charge is entirely up to you.
2. Welcome guests
You can chat to your guests before they arrive using the Airbnb messaging feature
Most hosts clean the spaces guests can use, and provide essentials like clean sheets, towels, and toilet paper – again, what you choose to offer is up to you.
You can greet your guests in person, if you like, or simply leave a key or a code for them to collect.
3. Get paid
And now for everyone's favourite part. Guests are charged before arrival, and you are paid automatically after check in, minus a 3% service fee. You can get paid via PayPal, direct deposit, or international money wire, and a few other ways too.
Things to consider before hosting
Before you can get started as an Airbnb host, you need to check what the regulations are around hosting short-term paying guests in your area and, if you rent your home, you need to get permission from your landlord, too. It's also worth discussing your plans with your neighbours and taking their thoughts into consideration when creating your house rules.
Airbnb also has suggested guidelines for responsible hosting in the UK which are worth a read before you get started.
The idea of opening your home to strangers can be daunting, so Airbnb provides some guarantees for your peace of mind.
Host protection insurance
Parents of small (and not so small) children know that accidents happen – a lot. However, with Airbnb's £600,000 host protection insurance, you don't have to worry about forking out if your guests accidentally damage your property or themselves. This is included at no extra cost when you create a listing.
ID verification process
Although Airbnb asks all guests to submit a profile photo and verify their phone & email before they can make a booking, for extra security you can ask that all prospective guests have their IDs verified before booking a stay at your property. You can find out more about this here.
Find out how much your home is worth
Find out how much that spare bedroom could be worth if you got rid of the drum kit gathering dust by creating a listing on Airbnb. It's free, and you could rustle up a bit of extra cash for your own holidays.