So you’ve been hearing from a friend that she’s making some effortless cash listing her unit on Airbnb.
But how much time does it really take to host on Airbnb?
Let us explain…
Time vs. Profits
If you want to host on Airbnb, especially if you want to do so profitably, you must be able to execute on a number of expectations that Airbnb guests have come to expect.
These can include:
- Near real-time communications with guests
- Clear and transparent communication
- Smooth check ins and check outs
- Clean and neat rooms, bathrooms, couches, beds, kitchens, etc…
Fulfilling all of these expectations takes money, time, or both, regardless of whether you’re a single unit host or a full time host of multiple units.
Deciding on which to optimize for will depend on what kind of host do you intend to become.
Single Unit Host vs. Full Time Airbnb Host
If you’re just looking to make a few extra dollars by listing your own place from time to time, you’ll be spending less overall time as a host on Airbnb.
But you spend more time on your single unit than a full time rentrepreneur (our term for full-time hosts) would on a single unit who is looking to build a portfolio of Airbnb units.
While the full time rentrepreneur is trying to maximize their total profits per hour of time spent managing their entire portfolio, a single unit host is just trying to maximize the total profits for that one unit. See the difference?
As a full-time host looking to expand, you are looking at things such as automation, pricing companies, or Airbnb cleaning services.
One Unit Example
Let’s say you’re listing an extra room you have in your apartment on Airbnb and trying to book as many days as possible.
If you are in a relatively popular city and you have a great listing, you should be able to achieve 20+ nights booked every month.
Let’s assume 21 days booked at 3 nights per stay to make a total of 7 stays a month.
These 7 stays require check ins, check outs, cleaning, and possible emergencies (e.g. locked out). Let’s say the check-in’s and check-outs are on average relatively smooth and so they in total take at most an hour combined.
Assume you need another 2 hours to get the unit clean and ready for the next check-in. The check in and check outs along with cleaning already take up 21 hours a month.
Also this does not include the time required communicating with the guest before they book (and time that you use to communicate with guests that end up not booking with you), or time you need to spend researching and updating your listing on a regular basis–another 10-20 hours.
Adding all these up, you could easily be spending 30-40 total hours a month managing your Airbnb unit.
Of course, you could just make your listing and pricing once and then forget about it, but you’d be leaving profits on the table.
And if you decide to set up a dedicated unit that is not your primary residence, you’ll also need to factor things like commute time. However, hosts who focus on dedicated units usually intend to operate multiple units, and thus are more inclined to utilize 3rd party maids for cleaning and build systems to automate check ins and check outs.
With automation of check ins, check outs, and cleaning, the same unit would primarily require the host’s time for guest communications and bookings (in this case 10-20 hours/month for the unit). While this reduces each unit’s profit potential, it will free the host up to pursue more units, which will allow the host to ultimately make more money for each hour put in.
Automate Your Airbnb Listing
For ultimate in hosting automation (and by far the best ROI for hosts), SmartBNB helps hosts automate practically everything, allowing hosts to become a “4 Hour Host”. If you’ve started hosting and are doing all of the hosting duties on your own, you know that Airbnb hosting is anything but passive. Now you don’t have to aim to be a completely passive host to utilize SmartBNB. It can help free you up from the repetitive tasks that could end up taking 2+ hours a day–think responding to guest inquiries, sending communications to cleaners, logging to update your calendar, etc…
While there is a bit of a learning curve, SmartBNB can help hosts automate up to 95% of the guest communications. They even have an AI that you can train to spot similar questions and to automatically answer! And the automation can be specified by listing. It’s hard enough to keep a 100% response rate on your own but how do you maintain a sub 5 minute response time? The answer is SmartBNB. There is no way you can answer guest inquiries when you’re asleep.
Also, it’s believed that Airbnb favors listings that are frequently updated by their hosts–pricing and calendar–and SmartBNB can give your listing a “heartbeat” login activity every 5 minutes.
Once hosts get past the initial two-week learning curve, we’ve found that hosts could expect to save upwards of 20+ hours a month.
On an average month, how much time do you spend in total as a host on Airbnb? Share below!
Have questions about your Airbnb unit? Contact us here.
This is a fantastic post, thanks for sharing.
Hi Symon and Jim !
I believe at another great way to reduce your input as a host is to automate as much of the communication with your guests, but there was no really exciting solution.
So I have created my own tools available at https://smartbnb.io. I believe it is much better than static generic messages, because the integration with Airbnb allows to automatically fill in the blanks with the actual data from guests or their reservation.
It currently supports 28 languages (so you can interact with your guests in the language that is the best fit), and can automatically send message for booking inquiries, requests to book, pre-approvals, and of course when a reservation was just accepted. You can also schedule messages a few days/hours before/after the check-in or checks-outs. There are plenty of options to configure this tool to actually function like you want it to, and not force into robot messaging if you don’t feel like it. You can check-it out on https://smartbnb.io/messaging
I love this article so much. As an Airbnb host for 4 years now, I regularly get comments from non-hosts that “it looks so easy… I could rent out my extra room.” Now that I have heard that for so many years, I give much shorter replies for individuals to seriously consider the TIME ramifications of the commitment. (And I hope that they like cleaning!)
Thank you for a very honest post that I have shared with others—
Are you able offer AirBnB at the weekends only to start off with?