Superhost tips to manage and grow your business
Strategy is key, from thinking about your nightly price to investing in your space
Keep records from the start to stay organized
Grow your hosting business with great hospitality—and great reviews
For one part of our celebration of Black History Month, we spoke with two Superhosts about how they became entrepreneurs—and the hosting insights they’ve gathered along the way.
Among many practical tips about growing your business, these Hosts shared that thinking strategically about nightly rates, keeping careful accounting records, and investing in their spaces from the beginning really paid off. We got so many great suggestions that we were inspired to launch a new series of articles about entrepreneurship and the business aspects of hosting.
We’re starting our series by featuring tips from Host Advisory Board member Pamellah of Malindi, Kenya, an entrepreneur and founder of a wedding planning company; and former Host Advisory Board member Reed of Philadelphia, a teacher and entrepreneur—or, as he puts it, a “teacherpreneur.”
Strategize your nightly price
Both Hosts determined their nightly prices by adding up their mortgage or rent and utilities and other recurring expenses and calculating their base rates from there.
“As long as I’m covering my costs when starting up, I’m not nervous,” Reed says. “You’re not going to get rich quick. I’m getting rich slow.”
For Pamellah, a quick adjustment of her nightly rate yielded a big return. At first, she priced her listing “so high, based on how much I’d put into it,” she says. She didn’t get any bookings.
“Two hours after reducing my price, I never stopped hosting,” Pamellah says. “It was back-to-back bookings.” She was able to quickly increase her price—and after just three months, she became a Superhost.
Let your price reflect your reviews
Reed compared his place with similar listings in his area to gradually increase his nightly rate. “Once you get established, you start getting great reviews,” he says, and you’ll be able to raise your price.
Pamellah had a similar experience. “The more I got reviews, the more I could add to my price, to where I was comfortable,” she says.
Embrace an entrepreneurial spirit
“At the end of the day, hosting is a business,” Reed says. “There are benefits of being a business owner in America.” This doesn’t just benefit the Host—it benefits the Host’s community. “Folks sharing their homes provide economic opportunity,” he says.
Reed likens Black Wall Street to his own philosophy of hosting and entrepreneurship. “On Black Wall Street, they were taking their homes and doing the same thing: starting small, leveraging it, growing businesses, and developing from there,” he says.
Black Wall Street was a thriving economic and cultural community in Tulsa, Oklahoma, founded and developed by African-Americans at the turn of the 20th century. “Just acknowledging that ethos of Black resistance, Black liberation—Black folks continuing in the tradition of Black Wall Street,” Reed says.
Hosting has also brought an element of connection with guests and his community that Reed deeply appreciates: “It really has been a blessing.”
Keep records from the start
Since remaining business-minded has been key to both Hosts’ success, they recommend getting organized before welcoming your first guests.
“I set up a separate account to track my expenses, so when it’s tax time, I’m not in bad shape for turning it over to my accountant—or I can do it myself,” Reed says.
When it comes to finances, asking for help can be crucial. “If you need to get a tax advisor, or you need to do a little research on how to make sense of the numbers, do that,” he says.
Update your listing regularly
To stay competitive, Pamellah suggests that Hosts update their listings often. She’s committed to helping other Hosts in her area become successful, and the number-one question she asks them is simple: “When was the last time you were actually active on your listing?” she says.
She recommends updating your pictures frequently, especially for different seasons, and comparing your pricing with your neighbors often. She adds that it’s smart to set aside time daily–even a few minutes—to check your listing and make sure you’ve responded to guests.
Create a welcoming environment
Pamellah emphasizes that becoming an established Host isn’t just about a beautiful space and glowing reviews. “Pricing is just one factor to bring guests in,” she says. “How do you treat your guests?”
She prefers to welcome her guests in person. “I create a beautiful atmosphere, so they feel welcome and wanted,” she says. “That is the heart of Airbnb: to make every guest feel welcome and a sense of belonging.”
Reed echoes the sentiment and suggests Hosts use Airbnb as guests, so they can find out what’s working in other people’s spaces. “Remix some ideas that you get from other cool listings,” he says. “The experience you get as a guest is going to make you a better Host.”
“Your hospitality and the way you make people feel connected are the whole ethos of Airbnb,” he says. “If you embody that ethos, folks are going to come back.”
Information contained in this article may have changed since publication.
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