What Makes A House A Great Airbnb?

by Jennifer McMurrayDecember 11, 2018

It’s no secret, Airbnb rentals are the new standard in travel. From bungalows in exotic locations to cabins isolated in the mountains, Airbnb offers so much more than a standard hotel experience. Whether you’re traveling domestically or internationally, you can bet there’s an Airbnb awaiting. In fact, there are over 5+ million Airbnbs globally– not including rentals on other sites like VRBO.

It’s also not a secret that homeowners & investors are seeing the financial potential in either renting out their own home or purchasing investment properties to utilize as an Airbnb. A quick scan through Airbnb listings shows tiny houses, mansions, historic cottages, modern studios, and even RVs! There is no one size fits all for a successful Airbnb, but there are a few things that make a house a great Airbnb! Before you list your home, consider the three fundamentals for a successful Airbnb: location, amenities, and experiences.

Location, Location, Location.

As in real estate, arguably the most important factor to a great Airbnb is a prime location. Whether you live in South Dakota or Miami, each geographic area has an anchor- the ocean, a major league stadium, a world-class museum, a national park, or a concert venue to name a few. These locations are what draw people to your area. The closer you are to several anchors, the more people are traveling to your specific area. Naturally, if your studio apartment is within walking distance to a museum and a stadium, you will attract even more travelers that are visiting. As many travelers fly to their destination, a walkable location is also appealing- can they walk to a coffee shop or a bistro? Those are assets that make a location very appealing!

But while a centrally located home or apartment is ideal, not all Airbnb travelers are looking to be in the middle of it all. In fact, there are Airbnb listings that cater to travelers wishing to unplug and get away from the hustle and bustle so your isolated location may be appealing! Do you have a cabin in the middle of the mountains with no neighbors for miles? Many travelers find that location desirable!

Whether you’re in the city, the beach, the desert, or the middle of nowhere, it’s important to know how many travelers are actually searching for lodging in your area. It’s not wise to just assume your location has a demand. There are websites like AirDna that offer up-to-date statistics on Airbnb demand in your area.

It’s More Than Just Providing A Bed

Airbnb hosting isn’t like typical real estate investing. It’s not just providing a bed for a traveler. Hosting is part of the hospitality industry. And as more and more hosts offer their homes on sites like Airbnb, hosts are competing by providing more and more amenities. If you’re renting a condo by the beach, consider providing beach toys & towels. If you’re renting a ski cabin in the mountains, consider stocking your home with sunscreen, goggles, and hand warmers. The expectation of Airbnb hosting is to typically provide more than a standard hotel. Guests notice and appreciate not only basic amenities like Internet and linens, but they generally look for extra touches like snacks, filtered water, board games, and movie libraries.

Airbnb provides a list of standard expected amenities, and while a host isn’t required to provide wow amenities, the gesture certainly goes a long way with guests. The more amenities provided by a host, the more appealing a rental will be!

Give Guests An Experience

Hosting is way more about the people and the experience than it is about the income and the investment. Airbnb has recognized that and transitioned their business model to include experiences. Experiences are designed for travelers to enjoy more than just a warm bed. For example, if you own a ranch, you could offer horseback riding experiences. Or maybe you’re a master gardener, and you could offer gardening sessions for guests—all at additional revenue to you!

However, if you don’t sign-on to offer an experience to guests, you should still be offering them a memorable time at your Airbnb. Dialoguing with guests prior to their arrival and discovering why they’ll be in town allows you the opportunity to make them feel welcomed. Are they coming in town for a major league baseball game? Consider providing maps to the stadium, a small souvenir, and a bag of roasted peanuts to welcome them. Creating a memorable experience for guests does not have to be elaborate or expensive, but it can certainly pay off with appreciate and repeat guests!

There are so many factors that create a great Airbnb, and no two Airbnbs are the same. The reason they are all different is that they each offer guests something different. By capitalizing on ideal locations, providing amenities that guests need and want, and by offering a memorable experience, hosts can quickly create a great Airbnb—whether that’s in a tent in Colorado or a tree house in Singapore!

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About The Author
Jennifer McMurray
Jennifer is an accidental house flipper turned Realtor and real estate investor. She is the voice behind the blog, Bachelorette Pad Flip. Over five years, Jennifer paid off $70,000 in student loan debt through real estate investing. She's passionate about the power of real estate. She's also passionate about southern cooking, good architecture, and thrift store treasure hunting. She calls Northwest Arkansas home with her cat Smokey, but she has a deep love affair with South Florida.