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Castle Heights, Grassmarket.
Castle Heights, Grassmarket. Image courtesy of Airbnb.

Time Out’s guide to becoming an Airbnb host

Thinking about becoming an Airbnb host? Read everything you need to know about welcoming guests into your beautiful home

Written by
Rosemary Waugh
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By this point in time we don’t need to preach the virtues of Airbnb. You know the score: travel the globe and live like a local in some of the most unique homes around. But Airbnb would, of course, be nothing without its generous, creative and entrepreneurial hosts - and maybe you’d like to become one of them. If you’ve got an entire house, a spare room or a quirky barn/cabin/boathouse/shepherd hut that you’re looking to share with the world, read on to discover how you could become an Airbnb host and earn a nice bit of extra cash in the process.

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Log on and sign up
Studio Apartment in the Centre of St. Ives. Image courtesy of Airbnb

Log on and sign up

The first step to becoming an Airbnb host is as simple as ordering an online shop, booking a manicure or reorganising the succulents in the bathroom (unless your collection’s really, really big). Just log-on to Airbnb’s host page and start building a profile for your property. Looking to list a cosy apartment in artsy St Ives? Or a stylish city pad in Hampstead? Not a problem. Just be sure to add all the information accurately so your potential guests know what to expect and can easily search for your home on the website. Remember to also read Airbnb’s policies on how much you, and they, earn from each booking.

Capture your home’s best angle
Green Bank Shepherd's Hut Cockermouth. Image courtesy of Airbnb

Capture your home’s best angle

First impressions matter, especially when you’re up against some truly stunning properties - like this ancient Scottish castle - on Airbnb. Take your time sprucing up the room or property you plan to list, getting rid of unnecessary clutter and being creative with the decorative flourishes. Then, take your snaps carefully and when your home is - literally - shown in its best light. Remember, you want that rustic Lake District charm to really sing out.

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Refine the small print
The Buzzardry, Luxury Woodland Treehouse Retreat. Image courtesy of Airbnb

Refine the small print

Being an Airbnb host can be a whole lot of fun, but before you get to start sharing local knowledge with new international besties, it’s best to get some details down first. Your ‘necessary admin’ list (reward yourself with a nice drink afterwards) should include checking any local regulations and laws regarding hosting people, accurately pricing your home, deciding on a cancellation policy, coming up with clear pets rules, and opting for instant booking or approving your guests first. Yes, it’s dry but in the long run it’ll mean happier guests, happier hosts and happier tree houses

Anticipate the hiccups
Opulent Four-Poster at a Georgian Terrace. Image courtesy of Airbnb

Anticipate the hiccups

Accidents do happen, as we all know from when we dropped a steaming mug of tea down two flights of stairs and it smashed on the hallway floor (only us?). Decide in advance what you want your damages policy to be. You might decide to let the little things slide - a chipped side plate, a teeny sprinkling of mud on the living room rug. But what’s your stance on a window getting accidentally smashed when you’re not there? And, moreover, who are you going to suggest your guests phone in the event of such a mishap? Draw up some unambiguous (and polite!) rules and a list of emergency numbers. Lecture over, now let’s swoon at this gorgeous Georgian apartment in Bath.

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Acquire super powers
Bijou Notting Hill mews house close to Portobello. Image courtesy of Airbnb

Acquire super powers

If you get really into this Airbnb hosting thing, you might want to aim to become a Superhost. There is no formal application process, but Superhost status is granted to hosts who meet certain criteria regarding excellent service to their guests, great reviews and the use of Airbnb properties themselves on trips. The Superhost properties we’ve taken a liking to include this Bijou Notting Hill Mews house and this sleek Edinburgh apartment with fantastic castle views.

Learn more about becoming an Airbnb host

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