Step 3: Get Ready for Guests
1. Guest Requirements
Before your listing goes live, Airbnb like to ensure that hosts feel confident about every guest that arrives at their place. That’s why they require certain information from all guests before they’re able to book.
You begin by reviewing the Airbnb requirements that all guests must meet before they can book:
New guests must also acknowledge that each place is unique, that they will respect their host’s place, and that they will stay in touch with their host.
You also have the option of adding both/either of the following additional requirements:
- Government-issued ID submitted to Airbnb
- Recommendations by other hosts and having no negative reviews (new Airbnb guests who haven’t yet been reviewed will always need to send you a request to book)
These optional settings are intended to provide hosts with comfort and certainty around who they let into their homes and space. Keep in mind that more requirements can mean fewer reservations.
2. House Rules
In addition to Airbnb’s requirements, guests must agree to all your house rulesbefore they book. Here you can let guests know if their trip is a right fit for your home. Airbnb provide some recommendations on common house rules. These include specifying whether:
You also have the option of adding any rules of your own. Examples include quiet hours or no shoes in the house.
Hosts never have to host a reservation they’re uncomfortable with. If you’re ever uncomfortable with a reservation, you can cancel penalty-free before or during a trip. An example is if the guest makes it clear they’ll likely break one of your rules, like bringing a pet or smoking.
You are also provided with the opportunity of telling Airbnb any details guests must know about your home here. These include:
- Must climb stairs
- Potential for noise (and when it’s likely to take place)
- Pet(s) live on property
- No parking on property
- Some spaces are shared
- Amenity limitations (e.g. weak Wi-Fi or limited hot water)
- Surveillance or recording devices on property
- Weapons on property
- Dangerous animals on property
3. How Guests Will Book
Airbnb will then give you a summary of how guests will book with you. There is nothing you need to do here.
4. Successful Hosting Starts With an Accurate Calendar
Airbnb remind you that guests will be able to book available days, so you should keep your calendar up to date to avoid surprise reservations. They also remind you that if you cancel because your calendar is inaccurate, you’ll receive penalties and those dates will be blocked.
All that’s required here is ticking a check-box:
Airbnb will ask you a few simple questions to help customize your calendar settings.
- Have you rented out your place before? You can choose between: “I’m new to this” or “I have”
- How often do you want to have guests? You can choose between: “Not sure yet”, “Part-time”, or “As often as possible”
6. Availability Settings: Notice
You’re required to specify how much advance notice you would like before a booking. Your options are:
At least one day’s notice can help you plan for a guest’s arrival, but you might miss out on last-minute trips. If you choose Same Day, you also specify the exact hour that guests must book before.
You can also specify when guests must check-in by specifying a check-in window that includes:
- A “From” time: Any time between 8am – 1am the following day
- A “To” time: Any time between 9am – 2am the following day
You also have the option of making either (or both) ends of the check-in window flexible.
7. Availability Settings: Booking Window
You’re able to specify how far in advance a guest can book. Your options are:
Airbnb remind you that you’ll get more reservations if you keep your calendar available and only block days you can’t host.
8 Availability Settings: Trip Length
You have the option of deciding how long guests can stay by setting a minimum and maximum trip length:
By default, there is no minimum or maximum trip length. Shorter trips can mean more bookings, but will require you to turnover your space more often.
New hosts are recommended against implementing a minimum stay requirement when starting off on Airbnb. This will help build up your number of bookings as quickly as possible.
When your listing goes live, guests will see your calendar and be able to book available days.
Here you’re able to look over your monthly calendars and pre-block any days you already know you do not want to make your place available for bookings.
You can therefore create your Airbnb listing before actually wanting to go live.
You have two options for setting your price: Smart Pricing and using a Base price only. Airbnb recommend Smart Pricing, and present this as the default option.
Smart Pricing will automatically adjust your nightly price as demand changes based on factors like popular local events, seasonality and weekend vs. weekdays. For example, on a day where few people are looking at your space, Airbnb will drop the price to attract more guests to book with you.
When you turn on Smart Pricing, you set the range you’re willing to charge each night. You can always turn off competitive pricing for specific days in your calendar.
New Airbnb hosts should start with a lower price to attract their first few bookings. Hosts who set prices within 5% of Airbnb’s price tips are nearly 4x more likely to get booked.
In setting up Smart Pricing, you need to tell Airbnb the following things:
- Base Price: Your default price when you turn off Smart Pricing
- Minimum Price: The lowest price you’re comfortable with
- Maximum Price: The highest price you’re willing to charge per night
Airbnb will offer a price tip for each.
If you opt with the base price only option, then you will not be required to enter a minimum and maximum price.
11. Welcome Offer
You have the option of offering 20% off to the first three guests who book your place.
These special offers help attract your first guests, and help get your first reviews. Once you get three reviews, you’ll get a star rating in search results, which will help your listing stand out. New listings that get booked and reviewed in the first month appear more often in search results and get an average of 3.6x more bookings in their first three months.
Airbnb let guests who are searching in your area know that they can save 20% if they book your home. This can help get more eyeballs looking over your listing, but only the first three guests who book will be eligible for the offer. After three guests have claimed your offer, it won’t be valid anymore. If no one claims the offer, it’ll automatically expire after 30 days.
12. Length of Stay Prices
To encourage longer stays, some hosts set a weekly or monthly discount.
If you want your listing to appear in searches for reservations of 28 nights or more, you’ll need to set a monthly discount. Weekly discounts will apply to any reservation of 7 – 27 nights.
Travellers often search by price. To help increase your chances of getting weekly stays, try setting a discount. Most travellers staying longer than one month book listings with discounts greater than 25%.
Both weekly and monthly discounts are a ‘ % off ’ (not dollar amount).
Airbnb will offer a weekly and monthly discount price tip (expressed as a %) which you’re able to accept or overwrite with your own amounts.
Based on your settings, Airbnb will summarize what you could expect…
14. Local Laws
As a final step, Airbnb will ensure that you’ve familiarized yourself with your local laws, as well as their Non-discrimination Policy.
Depending on your listing’s location, Airbnb may provide some general information on things such as local laws, taxes, rent regulation, zoning codes and business licences. Airbnb encourage hosts to consult a local lawyer or tax professional if they are unsure of anything.