How to set up an Airbnb

8 steps to prepare your home as a short-term vacation rental

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You weighed the pros and cons of owning a vacation property, found the perfect property, determined that you can legally operate a vacation rental, secured your financing, and signed on the dotted line. Or, perhaps you’ve owned a vacation home for several years and now want to earn extra income by renting it out to paying guests.

The big question: How exactly do you turn your home into the ultimate vacation destination? Before you accept your first paid booking, you’ll need to make sure your vacation home is ready to rent and worth booking. We know it can seem overwhelming right at the beginning. So, we’ll break each step down so that you can get your Airbnb up and running.

Let’s get started.

Step 1: Fix anything that needs fixing

First step to getting your house ready for Airbnb—making sure it’s in top condition. A vacation rental inspection will help you spot major issues, plus help you save time and money on costly repairs. Maintenance problems could lead to negative Airbnb reviews—so find that broken chair before your guests do.

After that initial home inspection (and after taking care of any issues), use our annual vacation rental maintenance checklist to stay ahead of things. Regular vacation rental maintenance will make sure these things are in great shape:

  • Major appliances, like the washer and dryer
  • Big mechanical systems, like furnace, ventilation, and air conditioner
  • Attics and basements
  • Plumbing
  • Roof
  • Fireplace
  • Walls
  • Exterior landscaping and decks

Step 2: Furnish your home like an interior designer

Design can determine how many bookings you get and how much you’ll make. After all, today’s guests are often willing to pay more for an intentionally designed Airbnb over a home filled with bland colors and mismatched furniture.

Designing to boost bookings requires more than just choosing pretty colors and patterns. Some top tips from the Vacasa Interior Design team (who exclusively work with Vacasa homeowners):

  • Consider who you’re designing for
  • Anticipate how your guests will use and move about your space
  • Select durable materials that will withstand multiple uses
  • Stay away from outdated trends

Step 3: Stock your home with essentials and desirable amenities

Start with the non-negotiables every guest expects, including:

Then, think about your target audience and purchase the necessities they’d want during their stay. For instance, attract more families to your Airbnb with non-breakable dinnerware, pack n’ plays, and high chairs. Or, purchase outdoor towels, paddleboards, an outdoor firepit, and marshmallow roasting sticks to help boost bookings at your lake house.

When you work with Vacasa, our local teams will stock your home with a complimentary starter supply of guest necessities before every stay—including laundry detergent, hand soap, trash bags, and paper towels.

Want to go one step further to boost bookings? Invest in any of the most searched for vacation rental amenities.

Step 4: Invest in professional photography and a virtual tour

Professional vacation rental photos are a must—your home has to first catch someone’s attention among the competition. Plus, these photos will be used in several places—including vacation rental booking sites, emails, and social media posts—so make them too good to pass up.

Drive even more interest and more bookings by investing in a virtual tour of your property, which allows guests to easily picture themselves staying there.

If Vacasa manages your home, we provide a professional photo shoot and Matterport virtual tour of your entire home (at no extra cost) even before you get your first booking.

The bedroom of a modern condo in San Antonio, Texas

Step 5: Write an enticing vacation rental listing description

While attractive photos can grab a traveler’s attention, it’s a compelling description that will hold it. The best vacation rental listing descriptions (included with Vacasa’s full-service vacation rental management) sell the positives of your home with full transparency—gaining trust, building excitement, and closing the deal.

Some ways to do that:

  • Showcase your vacation home’s unique traits upfront
  • Make your headline count
  • Speak directly to what visitors to your destination want.

Step 6. List your vacation home in the right places

With professional photos, a virtual tour, and a well-written description, you now have the perfect vacation rental listing. Post it in several places online to get the most possible views and bookings. Start with the most popular sites—Airbnb, Booking.com, and Vrbo. Then, you can fill in the gaps with niche vacation rental sites like American Snowbird and Cottages.com.

That’s what Vacasa does for our homeowners—plus, we go several steps further by:

  • Syncing all of your channels and calendars (no more double bookings)
  • Optimizing all your listings with SEO keywords and catchy headlines
  • Nurturing tight-knit partnerships with top channels (like Airbnb and Vrbo), resulting in our homes often being listed at the top of search results and receiving guaranteed dedicated support
man performing pool maintenance.

Step 7: Hire a reliable housekeeping service

Notice we didn’t say ‘housekeeper.’ That’s because it’s best to not rely on just one person to clean your vacation home. They can run late, get stuck in traffic, or get sick. And, a dirty vacation rental can result in bad reviews and losing out on a repeat booking.

In fact, consider quality housekeeping essential to your success—especially if you plan to manage your vacation home remotely. Ensure your housekeepers are cleaning to your (and your guests’) standards by asking them to follow a vacation rental cleaning checklist.

Vacasa’s housekeepers across North America consistently clean our homes following our Vacasa Premium Clean procedures.

Step 8: Build a team of trusted local vendors

Don’t wait until guests frantically call about a broken air conditioner during a heat wave. Make a list now of local maintenance and repair professionals who can jump in and save the day. Some people you should have on speed dial:

  • Electricians
  • Plumbers
  • Pool cleaners
  • Hot tub technicians
  • Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) technicians
  • Arborists
  • Pest control
  • Roof repair



Homeowners who work with Vacasa enjoy the built-in benefit of our team of maintenance techs—and, for bigger jobs, vendors in the area who we’ve vetted. We also handle scheduling and coordination of any maintenance and repairs on homeowners’ behalf.

Airbnb set-up FAQ

Consider charging an Airbnb cleaning fee that is both comparable to what your competitors are charging and enough to cover your cleaning expenses, including paying for housekeepers and cleaning products. When choosing a vacation rental cleaning service, look for:

  • A licensed cleaning company
  • The skills to address your home’s unique features, such as a hot tub or fireplace
  • Trustworthiness
  • Punctuality (if check-in is at 3pm, your home should be ready and clean by then)

There are several steps to setting up your Airbnb account and publishing your listing (pssst—Vacasa will do this all for you). Steps include:

  • Selecting your type of accommodation
  • Designating what space your guests will have (Airbnb allows you to rent out your whole home to guests or even just one room)
  • Adding your location
  • Selecting your amenities and safety items
  • Adding photos
  • Creating a creative listing title
  • Writing a persuasive description
  • Setting your Airbnb rates
  • Reviewing your listing

Let's get started

Talk to us

You've got questions. We've got answers.

Call 844-518-0967 to speak with a Homeowner Consultant, who can answer preliminary questions and see if we’d be a good fit for you.

If you'd like to move forward, we’ll put you in touch with our market expert in your neighborhood to explore the financial potential of your home, outline our management fee, and introduce your local team.

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Vacasa offers property management and other real estate services directly through Vacasa LLC and through Vacasa LLC's licensed subsidiaries. Click here for more information about Vacasa's licensed real estate brokerage/property manager in your state. Vacasa’s licensed real estate brokerages/property managers include: Vacasa Alabama LLC; Vacasa Arizona LLC; Vacasa of Arkansas LLC; Vacasa Colorado LLC (Micah Victory); Vacasa Delaware LLC, 302-541-8999; Vacasa Florida LLC; Vacasa Illinois LLC 481.014072, Micah Victory Managing Broker Lic# 471.021837; Vacasa Louisiana LLC, Dana MacCord, Principal Broker, ph 504.252.0155 (Licensed in LA); Vacasa Michigan LLC, 602-330-9934; Vacasa Missouri LLC, Vicki Lyn Brown, Designated Broker; Vacasa Nevada LLC; Vacasa New Hampshire LLC,45 NH-25, Meredith, NH 03253, Susan Scanlon, Broker of Record; Vacasa Minnesota, Broker: Micah Victory, license #40877637; Vacasa New Mexico LLC, 503-345-9399; Vacasa New York LLC, 888-433-0068, Susan Scanlon, Real Estate Broker; Vacasa North Carolina LLC; Vacasa Oregon LLC; Vacasa Pennsylvania LLC; Vacation Palm Springs Real Estate, Inc., California DRE #01523013, Mark Graham, California DRE #00700720; Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Texas, Debra Brock, Designated Broker); Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Washington, Robert Brush, Designated Broker); Vacasa Seasonals Inc., California DRE #02160171, Lisa Renee Stevens, California DRE #01485234; Vacasa South Carolina LLC; Vacasa South Dakota LLC; Vacasa Tennessee LLC; Vacasa Vacation Rentals of Hawaii LLC, 69-201 Waikoloa Beach Dr. Ste. #2F17, Waikoloa, HI 96738; Vacasa Vacation Rentals of Montana LLC, Terah M. Young, Licensed Property Manager; Vacasa Virginia LLC; Vacasa Wisconsin LLC; Vacasa Wyoming LLC. In Canada, this advertisement is provided by Vacasa Canada ULC, CPBC lic. number 75826, 172 Asher Rd. V1X 3H6 Kelowna, BC.