How to get rich using Airbnb?

Can you get rich using Airbnb? Some I'm sure do. But how do they do that exactly?

Most of the stories I've read about those who's say they've made sooo much money using Airbnb go something like this - "I was taking a six week vacation (they are usually from the USA) and decided to give using Airbnb a try to rent out my apartment while I was away. I was making so much money I decided to quit my job and stay on vacation forever." Or some bullshit like this. The obvious point they never seem to touch on is the fact they already own a apartment in a very central location in a major city, presumably mortgage free, and had they rented this out in the normal fashion to a local worker would have made almost as much money anyway. So do I know a way to get rich using Airbnb? Well no exactly but I did come across a listing once in central London looked like the best way of getting some serious earnings. It was a one bed flat with a double bed in the bedroom and instead of sofas and dining table etc in the living room it has two (2) double beds. So that makes 3 double beds in a one bed flat. It was advertised as sleeps 6 persons, which is does of course with three double beds. It had the one shower room and a small kitchen. The price was £150 a night - THATS £1050 A WEEK!

So to get rich on airbnb do as follows:

  1. Get a one bed apartment in central London
  2. Put one double bed in the bedroom and two double beds in the living room. No other furniture is needed
  3. List for £150 a night, sleeps 6
  4. Repeat

When is the peak season on Airbnb and how to get rich on Airbnb?

I’ve noticed a reduction in the number of bookings coming through. I’ve got quite a few empty slots from the end of August through September and beyond (in my experience people tend to book only a few weeks in advance so it’s no surprise December is still empty for example). A quick look on the Airbnb Groups discussion page for London hosts and many of the comments there are saying the same thing – not enough bookings.

What to do if your not getting bookings?

I price my listings cheap and to have an empty room now and again is disappointing but no big deal for me. Those with expensive big listings (such as whole apartments in the city centre) are missing out on big money if they have any vacancy. The question is what can you do (if anything) to solve the problem? The obvious answer is to cut your price – better less money than no money. But this does eliminate the possibility of getting a last minute booking at a good price.
“it was as if a light switch went off in final part of July. Suddenly enquiries and bookings just stopped across all my listings”- airbnb host in London groups
A similar thing happened in January I recall and this didn’t really pick up until April. I also noticed more listings appearing in my area at a discount to even my low prices so that’s not helping. My only solution is to keep my prices low and ride it out. I often get last minute bookings – the big advantage of operating in a major city like London. I assumed August and September would be the high season when I would clean up but this is clearly not the case.

Getting one star ratings from guests

My star ratings have been getting worse and worse lately. Most guests leave very nice written reviews but when it comes to the stars they often give a 3 or 4 with some even putting a single star. My biggest problem is one I simply cannot change and that’s my location. I live in Newham east London, one of the worst areas for poverty in London but it’s not dangerous (no gangs on street corners etc) and it’s reasonably central (zone 3) and has decent transport connections and plenty of shops/fast food. My biggest draw card is my price – I’m very cheap and my property is fully refurbished and still has the ‘new’ feel. I would have thought someone might say "well the location isn’t perfect but what do you expect at this price." But it doesn’t seem to work that way.
“I would have thought someone might say well the location isn’t perfect but what do you expect at this price”

How to get rich on Airbnb

I’ve just come across a listing where the host has put two double beds in the living room and another double bed in the bedroom and charges £150 a night, sleeps 6. Now that’s a way to make money on Airbnb!

So what’s it really like being an Airbnb host

I've been a Airbnb host now for nearly a year and have had over 150 guests in that time. Most guests stay for only a couple of days which suits me fine as the longer guests stay I find they are more likely to hang around the house and eat smelly takeaways in the bedrooms instead of exploring the city.

Weekly and monthly rates

I choose not to offer a weekly or monthly rate for the reason that I don't like longer term guests. I don't offer use of the kitchen or living areas in my house so guests are limited to their bedroom and a bathroom. My ideal guests is a tourist who has come to visit the city of London for a few days and only uses the house for a sleep and a shower. This means I get the house to myself for the majority of the time and wear and tear is kept to a minimum. The downside is a greater turnover of guests means the sheets and towels need changing more often.

Guest check-in's

Guests will want to arrive in their own time and leave at a time that suits them. I have set my check-out time as 11am and my check-in as 12. I always ask my guests if they can give me a rough idea of what time they will be arriving but I always take their answer with a pinch of salt. Most guests misjudge the amount of time it will take them to arrive at my house especially those coming from the airport. If a guests says they will arrive at 3pm I usually expect them to arrive sometime after 4pm. I'm not out to rubbish my guests but most people don't realise just how big London really is. I work full time in the city so It's usually impossible for me to check my guests in in person. I'm lucky in that my wife stays at home during the day and is there to meet the guests in person and show them their rooms and explain the house rules. If you don't have a family member to check your guests in then you are going to have to hire someone else to do it. This can be expensive as guests tend to arrive late and what seems like an easy task can mean waiting around, possibly for hours.

Price Competition

I would love to charge more for my listings but I really can't or I will price myself out of the market. Several new listings have opened up in my area and most of them at a slightly cheaper price than me (some as low as £17 a night for a double room!). However these listings don't look as professional as mine and my listings have lots of positive reviews so I still get plenty of guests. My experience so far has been that new listings come on at lower prices and some old ones tend to drop off as they no longer feel the hassle is worth it. Airbnb is still new so lots of people would not have tried it yet so the potential for market growth is still huge but we shall see.

Is the money worth it?

Being a host can be a lot of hassle and it's certainly not for everyone. I very rarely have an empty room (the city of London is a popular destination) so I maximise my earnings potential. For analysis I would say the yield on a airbnb listing is about 5% (a normal buy-to-let might be about 4%) so not massive. If your looking to get rich using Airbnb then your probably headed for a huge disappointment. I would say however in a good location the money is very steady and it's a great alternative to renting out a room full time to a local.