How to Start an Airbnb and Make Money Fast (2023 Guide)

If you’ve read my story, you’ll know that I was able to start an Airbnb business and generate around $125,000 in revenues in my first year! Yes – you read that right! $125,000 of revenues in my first year of operations.

I did this while working full-time at my 9-5 job. From my experience, investing in real estate and running a successful Airbnb business has been one of the best side hustles I’ve ever done!

Airbnb Revenues

You might be wondering how Airbnb works for hosts and the steps I took to make my Airbnb business so successful.

Lucky for you, I’m here to share my top tips and secrets on how to start an Airbnb business and how you can do the same!

How to Start an Airbnb and Make Money Fast?

1. Pick a Popular Location

One of the most significant contributors to the success of my vacation rental was the location. You know what they say – location, location, location! This should be on your list of how to start an Airbnb business.

I live in Canada, so I picked the Mont Tremblant area because it’s a popular spot, but above and beyond that, it’s a four-season holiday destination. This means I was fully booked all year round, which increased my revenues significantly.

Mont Tremblant has something unique to offer throughout the year, from skiing in the winter to hiking in the spring and summer, and of course, the magical fall foliage. It truly is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream come true, and capitalizing on this made all the difference for me and my success.

When you’re thinking of how to start an Airbnb business and what location it should be in, remember to choose a popular spot all year round and not just in the summer or the winter.

2. Focus on Design and Architecture

People are looking for an exciting, design-inspired getaway in 2023 and beyond. Gone are the days of people using Airbnb as just a hotel alternative. Now more than ever, guests seek relaxing, architectural getaways that inspire creativity and rest.

Our property was designed by YH2 Architecture, a trendy and renowned architecture team based in Montreal.

When I saw the potential of this dreamy, spa-inspired escape, I knew that Scandinavian design and architecture would also resonate with others!

Airbnb Photography
Photo Credit: Jenna Marie Mancini & Jona James Media

3. Incorporate Smart Technology

One of the best tips I can give when it comes to how to start an Airbnb business is to invest and incorporate smart technology throughout your rental.

Some of the most crucial technology we incorporated into our Airbnb was a smart lock for seamless guest check-in, wireless security cameras, and a smart TV which gave guest access to Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney and all their other favourite streaming services.

Guests love streamlined technology, which will give your rental a better rating for innovative tech amenities!

4. Invest in a Good Mattress

When you stay at a hotel or go down south for an all-inclusive vacation, you’ll notice immediately if the mattress is comfortable and if you’ve had a good night’s rest!

Comfort and quality mattresses are essential for a fantastic guest experience. Investing in a good bed should be top of mind when considering how to start an Airbnb business!

Also, remember to have several options for pillows – four pillows per bed (some soft and some firm) gives guests more options for comfort and tranquillity.

5. Incorporate Luxury Linens

Similar to investing in a good mattress, incorporating luxury linens in your rental property will help set it apart from others in the area. Focus on ensuring crisp white sheets and white towels.

If possible and within your budget, commercial cleaning of linens will go a long way in ensuring that your sheets are spotless and always fresh! The number of positive comments we received on our linens proved that it was an excellent area to invest in.

You’ll find you can charge more per night by offering your guests a luxury experience, which means you can make money faster!

6. Furnish your Airbnb with High-End Furniture

When furnishing your Airbnb, make sure to select high-end quality furniture that is built to last.

You might be tempted to furnish your property completely with Ikea furniture, but investing in better quality, timeless pieces will go a long way toward impressing your guests.

If you’re on a budget, consider buying second-hand furniture or looking for Black Friday sales to get the best deal!

7. Get Professional Photography

Professional photography is a non-negotiable when setting up an Airbnb vacation rental. If anything, it’s one of the essential tips for starting an Airbnb – especially a successful one!

Out of all the things I invested in, I got professional photography done seasonally, which meant I had a ton of content to post on social media throughout the year.

Someone might be interested in renting your property, but the beautiful pictures usually seal the deal and convert an interested renter to a confirmed one.

Here are some of the professional photos of my Airbnb!

How to start an Airbnb
Photo Credits: Danovick Samson
Airbnb Kitchen
Photo Credits: Brooke Stephenson

8. Give a Unique Welcome Gift

Nothing makes a stronger first impression than a unique and local-inspired welcome gift. You can try to pick something that matches the vibe of your vacation rental.

Try adding in chocolates, wine and a custom card, and your guests will be sure to send you a message thanking you for your thoughtfulness.

For my Airbnb business, I sourced a local gift box with handmade rosemary soap, a custom candle called “Cabin Escape,” and lavender essential oil Epsom salts. I can’t tell you the number of times guests messaged me to ask me about the gift box or mentioned that it inspired deep relaxation during their stay!

9. Build your Brand on Social Media

I built my brand on social media before my property was even ready! I had photos taken of the property under construction and even highlighted and documented site visits as the property continued progressing toward completion.

The response was phenomenal – people became invested in my project and asked when the booking calendar would go live. I confirmed bookings through Instagram even before my property, and the Airbnb booking link was ready!

The built-up demand and hype made all the difference in my revenues and ensured that I started earning from day 1, not 2-3 months later.

I continued to post on social media, including upcoming available dates and guest reviews. I also collaborated with local content creators to visit the space, highlight all the amenities, and bring attention to the uniqueness of my property.

My bookings increased after a popular content creator stayed at my cabin.

Airbnb Content Creation
Photo Credit: Val Lacroix

10. Focus on Getting 5-Star Reviews

Providing the best guest service, prioritizing client needs, and focusing on exceptional communication pays off big time!

The more reviews you have and the better your thoughts are, the more likely you will have repeat guests and new guests who are confident in your listing.

So far, I’ve managed to get 88 five-star reviews. I have yet to get a single four-star overall review!

From my experience, sending a check-in message two days before a guest’s visit, as well as on the day of check-in, was very much appreciated by guests. They found the communication helpful and guided them on the essential things they needed to know to plan their visit!

11. Get Featured in Blogs and Publications

When you think about starting an Airbnb business, getting featured in blogs, publications, or other social media sites should be top of mind.

The more eyes there are on your vacation rental, the better the chances you will get booked! Try reaching out to popular blogs and other publications to ensure that guests are aware of the unique offerings of your property!

It’s a win-win situation – content is generated for the blog while you get tons of exposure for your rental property.

12. Understand Local Laws and Regulations

Before you even think about how to start an Airbnb business, you need to be aware of local laws and regulations on short-term rentals.

Due to the rising popularity of Airbnb vacation rentals, there is a lot of red tape and bureaucracy on what properties can be rented out. Many areas prohibit short-term rentals, and property zoning becomes incredibly important to ensure your Airbnb can run legally.

Take your time with this step. It took me months to find the perfect location and property. I visited many projects and asked hundreds of questions before being satisfied with my choice. My property was zoned in an area specifically for short-term rentals, so this was a key deciding factor for me to move forward.

13. Hire a Good Cleaning and Management Team

I can’t stress enough the importance of a good cleaning and management team. You can have the perfect listing with the most amazing photos, but if your property is clean and well-managed, you will not succeed in generating significant revenues.

Before I even purchased the property, we talked to the developer and locals about property management. After receiving some recommendations, we ensured they had good reviews by looking at other Airbnb listings they managed and customer feedback.

Once we figured out the team we wanted to work with, we set up a meeting to discuss our property and what we were looking for. This helped to align our goals and vision and to ensure we would work well as a team.

We also discussed cleaning and management costs, allowing me to determine profitability and create a budget of anticipated cash flows and expenses.

Similar to what I noted above under “understand local laws and regulations,” – take your time with this step and do your research.

We didn’t self-manage our cleanings because we live around 2.5 hours away from our Airbnb, but if you live close by and can take on the cleaning yourself, you’re sure to save more money which will make your Airbnb even more profitable!

14. Make Regular Property Visits

It’s essential to make regular visits to your rental property to ensure it is well-maintained.

There are always things to re-stock, such as gifts, laundry detergent, batteries, paper towels and items to replace because your rental property sees a lot of traffic.

You might need to repaint some walls or do minor touch-ups through the property, as you will note there can be a lot of wear and tear.

Be extra prepared and stock up your supplies closet with tons of extras so that if you’re away and things need to be replaced, your cleaning and management team will have access to replacement items.

I typically visit my property every two months at minimum for a property check and deep cleaning. I also sneak in some time to relax there – one of the perks of owning your rental property!

15. Stay on Top of Bookkeeping and Taxes

There is a lot of bookkeeping and taxes to stay on top of when you start an Airbnb business! You’ll need to report your income on your tax return when you file annually, which entails a lot of work to stay organized with all expenses.

From property management, cleaning, snow removal, and all the supplies and capital expenditures to set your Airbnb business up, there are endless receipts to gather and invoices to pay.

In Quebec, where our property is located, we had to register for GST/QST and Tax on Lodging while keeping track of all our income and expenses.

Using accounting and bookkeeping software helped streamline our reporting process and helped us understand our revenue and net income regularly.

16. Stay at a Competitor’s Airbnb

As strange as this tip is, it might be one of the best tricks in the trade regarding how to start an Airbnb business.

Staying at a competitor’s Airbnb can help in so many different ways. For example, from their communication, amenities offered, the information provided in their guestbook, and the checkout process, there is no better way to gather information and conduct research!

The knowledge you’ll gain is invaluable, and you’ll likely be inspired or find better ways of doing things for your rental when you go live on your listing!

17. Consider Listing on Other Vacation Rental Platforms

While Airbnb is the most popular vacation rental website, we highly recommend listing on alternative sites such as VRBO to increase your property’s visibility and booking conversion.

Remember, the most sites you list, the better chance you will have to increase your occupancy rates, ultimately leading to higher profits and income!

Wrap Up / Conclusion

Setting up an Airbnb business is a lot of work, and many details must be addressed if you want to get 5-star reviews and generate a lot of revenue.

Remember to have fun with the process – while it can be overwhelming and stressful sometimes, setting up your dream property to share with others is an inspiring milestone!

By incorporating the steps I’ve mentioned above, you’ll be well on your way to setting up your first Airbnb business and generating serious revenues before you know it!

This guide on how to start an Airbnb was helpful. Be sure to contact me if there’s a tip you think I missed or if you’re looking for help creating your first Airbnb rental!

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