What is an Airbnb listing?

An Airbnb listing refers to short-term accommodation that is made available for rent on the Airbnb platform. Airbnb made its name as a disruptor in the hotel space by allowing almost any owner to let out their property over the internet. This ensured that the platform was filled with truly unique stays.

Despite now being one of the largest online travel agency (OTA) platforms in the world, Airbnb has been careful to retain the unique and personal stays that made it famous. This means that it doesn’t allow large hotel chains onto its platform, but certain small and independent hoteliers do have an opportunity to join. And there are many reasons to join – just check out some of the key stats:

  • Airbnb recovered from 2020’s losses with a 280.2% increase in net income throughout 2021
  • Over 150 million worldwide users have booked over one billion stays
  • 6 guests check into an Airbnb listing every second.
  • There were almost 13 million listings as of December 2021
  • Airbnb listings constitute 19% of the total demand for lodging in the U.S

The opportunity of listing on Airbnb could potentially be incredible, so let’s look at some of the benefits and how you can start selling your rooms on the platform.

Benefits of listing your property on Airbnb

Airbnb is now about much more than its roots of renting out a spare room, with many B&Bs and boutique hotels joining the platform alongside unique accommodations such as barns, igloos, or treehouses.

Travellers love Airbnb because it gives them a larger range of options, the chance to stay somewhere truly original, and they can often find a great price.

Airbnb is certainly a great channel for properties who have something special to offer, and recent years have shown that Airbnb is becoming a leading revenue generator for hotels in particular markets, pushing into the same territory as the likes of Booking.com, Agoda, and Expedia.

Listing your small property on Airbnb has the potential to connect you to guests you’ve never reached before, boost your annual revenue, and help your brand reputation.

When you consider that the average host earns $9600 (USD) annually, your B&B or boutique hotel could be earning a lot more, given you will be connecting with travellers who do not typically book traditional properties, you may have more rooms available, and you have more flexibility when it comes to pricing.

Guests who stay with Airbnb hosts also stay 2.4 times longer than if they book a traditional hotel stay, so accessing these types of guests will allow you to lock-in more revenue without having to worry about marketing and selling to additional guests so often.

There’s also the simple benefit that Airbnb is just such a huge platform, with a massive budget and professional staff that market the platform and keep everything running smoothly. This means once you have a profile, you don’t have to worry about how travellers will find you – Airbnb takes care of it.

How much does it cost to list on Airbnb?

Like most other OTAs, it’s ‘free’ to list Airbnb. But the question “how much does it cost to list on Airbnb?” usually refers to the commission fee a platform applies to any bookings that it facilitates.

Airbnb has two types of commission fee:

  • Host-only fee: If you’re a professional hotelier, i.e. you run a traditional hospitality listing such as a hotel, hostel or b&b, you will pay a host-only fee, in which a commission is deducted from your payout. This fee is typically 14–16%, though hosts with stricter cancellation policies may pay more, and fees for monthly stays may be less.
  • Split fee: The other way that Airbnb charges commission is by splitting the fee between host and guest. This option is only available to amateur Airbnb hosts, not professional hoteliers, and sees the host getting charged a flat rate of 3%, while the guest gets charged approximately 14%, divided up into a range of service fees.

By way of comparison, traditional hotel booking sites such as Expedia and Booking.com tend to charge commissions in the region of 15%-25%.

How to list your property on Airbnb

Getting started with Airbnb is pretty fast and easy, and once you’re done you can easily make updates and alterations to your profile.

Here are the key steps in how to list your property on Airbnb:

  1. First you’ll need to sign up to create an account, which you can do from their home page or the hosting page.
  2. After that you can select ‘add listing’ and get started on filling out a form that requests basic information about your property. You’ll need to select whether you are listing an entire property, private room(s), or a shared room.
  3. Next you’ll need to specify how many guests your listing can accommodate, and what city you are located in. Note, at your property you can create a listing for each individual room you have.
  4. Then you’ll need to get into some specifics, such as what type of property your listing refers to. Apartment, House, Unique space, Bed and Breakfast, and boutique hotel are some of the most common examples.
  5. Based on your selections, more menus will appear so you can provide further details – like what amenities you offer or your exact address. There will be a preset list of options but you can edit and add more later once your listing is complete.
  6. You’ll also be required to upload photos and provide a description of your property to improve your Airbnb SEO information and give guests a good idea of what they can expect.
  7. By now you’re almost done! You’ll need to review Airbnb’s basic guest requirements, set any rules, or give any additional special details that need to be known.
  8. Finally you can set your pricing, and choose to opt-in to Airbnb’s smart pricing tool which seeks to optimise your price based on market demand.

So that’s the process in a nutshell. It’s important to consider that not any hotel or property can be listed on Airbnb. There are specific guidelines around what types of properties the platform is looking to showcase for travellers. 

These include:

  • Properties that have access to common gathering areas and/or events
  • Rooms with personal touches, unique or local design
  • Rooms that incorporate authentic influences
  • Characteristics that are not ‘standard’
  • High quality photographs
  • Locally relevant or unique amenities
  • Full-time owner/manager

However, not every property listing is created equal. There are some things you definitely should do when creating your B&B listing, and also some things you should avoid…

Best practices of listing your property on Airbnb

Now that we know how to list on Airbnb, let’s find out how to maximise your Airbnb property listing, because when you know how to optimise Airbnb listings and increase ratings, you’ll attract far more business through the platform.

1. Have a professional take photographs of your property

Photographs on Airbnb are critical; guests use these almost exclusively to make their final decision about where they will stay. Your pictures should showcase a clean, comfortable space, and guests should be able to see most of the details within the photograph. If you have any features that are particularly quirky or charming about your property, this should be a main focus in the images you display.

2. Include information about unique and interesting details

Many travellers are searching on Airbnb because they’re hoping to find something authentic and different from everything else. Within your property description, offer insight into the many facets that make your B&B unique within the marketplace. When it comes to capturing the attention of these types of travellers, the smallest details can often have the biggest impact, and anything viewed as ‘standard’ will likely be a turnoff.

3. Write an interesting and inviting headline

The headline for your listing should focus on the special, one-of-a-kind experience guests will enjoy at your B&B. Instead of using a generic headline such as ‘Stay at Our Wine Country Bed and Breakfast’, you might consider ‘Experience the Life of a Vintner at Our Vineyard Estate’.

Top three ways to increase your Airbnb listing

On Airbnb, to manage listing performance you need to put yourself in the shoes of a potential guest, and make your accommodation the most enticing of all. Here’s how to list your house on Airbnb more effectively.

1. Avoid pricing your rooms at the highest price point

Many people are looking for a bargain on Airbnb. You don’t have to give away the rooms at your property by listing them at the lowest possible price per night, but you will want to think long and hard before pricing your rooms too high. Many people will avoid expensive properties as they search for a better deal on the site.

2. Don’t write a bland description

The description of your property should include interesting and valuable content. You won’t want to use fluff to bolster it, but rather use powerful details that will capture the attention of prospective guests.

3. Don’t be afraid to get a little personal

If your profile does not include a photo of yourself as well as a short biography, you are probably going to miss out on bookings. Airbnb travellers often want to make connections in the places they are going, and that includes developing a relationship with their host, or at least being able to get a positive impression of them.

How to optimise your Airbnb listing and increase rating

Even more ways you can make sure your listing is top quality are:

  1. Upload a lot of photos showing all parts of your property
  2. Don’t cancel on guests at short notice or without reason
  3. Keep your calendar up-to-date
  4. Be honest, but positive, in your descriptions
  5. Keep features and amenities updated
  6. Write a catchy and inviting headline
  7. Include key details on the most interesting and important features of your property and local area
  8. Gather as many reviews as you can
  9. Tell a story about yourself (the host) and the property’s history

Another thing you can try, that will help increase bookings, is Airbnb’s instant book feature. This allows guests to book without pre-screening and improves your ranking. However, you may not want to enable this immediately – especially if you are the sole operator of your property.

How to advertise your Airbnb listing on socials 

Sure, your listing will show up when an Airbnb user searches your area, but to get the word out to a wider audience, you should consider capitalising on social media.

How to advertise your Airbnb listing on socials? Simple: you’ll find a share button in your host dashboard by navigating to Menu > Listing > Preview Listing > Share. This button will let you either share your listing directly to a social platform like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or copy a link that you can paste in yourself. You can then work to engage with potential guests!

Manage your Airbnb listing with ease using Little Hotelier

Little Hotelier customers, or those undertaking a free trial, will be able to add Airbnb as an online channel on Little Hotelier’s channel manager. You’ll be able to manage your distribution through Airbnb in a very similar way to how you would use your channel manager with Booking.com or Expedia for example.

Providing your hotel is approved and you have an active listing you can get online very quickly with Little Hotelier. The best thing about Little Hotelier’s channel manager is that adding an additional channel requires no extra effort once connected – your inventory and reservations are updated automatically in real-time and shared with your property management system (front desk system).

Little Hotelier’s channel manager is a tool that helps little hoteliers manage their booking channels better. It integrates 450+ channels, including Airbnb, and gives you the power to update and optimise your complete suite of listings in a matter of clicks, from information to price to availability. It allows you to wave goodbye to inconsistencies, outdated info and double bookings.

The result? Hoteliers using our channel manager have enjoyed up to 46% more bookings, resulting in a 63x return on investment.

  • Simple synchronisation: When your tools talk to each other, your work can be simplified, streamlined and automated. Little Hotelier links your listings to your marketing, management and front desk tools, allowing you to get a complete view of your operations through a single, simple portal.
  • No extra fees or commission: No commission, no extra cost and no lock-in contract – unlike OTAs and other booking channels, we connect you with Airbnb and almost every other OTA you can imagine for a single, fixed monthly fee.
  • Instant room and rate updates: As soon as a guest makes a booking through an OTA our channel manager makes appropriate changes across all your listings – dreaded double bookings are a thing of the past!

Not a Little Hotelier customer but keen to connect with Airbnb? Get started with a free trial here or click below to watch a demo of Little Hotelier’s channel manager.

By Dean Elphick

Dean is the Senior Content Marketing Specialist of Little Hotelier, the all-in-one software solution purpose-built to make the lives of small accommodation providers easier. Dean has made writing and creating content his passion for the entirety of his professional life, which includes more than six years at Little Hotelier. Through content, Dean aims to provide education, inspiration, assistance, and, ultimately, value for small accommodation businesses looking to improve the way they run their operations (and live their life).