10 Airbnb tips for hosts

Vacation rental tips and lessons to be successful


There’s a lot to learn when managing your own vacation rental. In fact, we’ve built an entire library of free guides helping Airbnb hosts and vacation rental homeowners earn more and book more. But, there are some select tried-and-true tips that generally every successful vacation homeowner follows. These tips below can help you boost your bookings, delight your guests, and earn those coveted 5-star reviews.

Let’s dive in.

The dining area of a vacation rental in Dauphin island, AL.

1. Think beyond Airbnb and list on multiple channels

The equation is simple: The more websites your home is listed on = More exposure + more potential earnings. Don’t just stick with Airbnb. Post your home in several places online to get the most possible views and bookings.

After posting to Airbnb, turn to the other popular sites—Booking.com and Vrbo. Then, 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:

  • Sync all of your channels and calendars (goodbye, double bookings)
  • Optimize all your listings with keywords and eye-catching copy
  • Nurture tight-knit partnerships with Airbnb and Vrbo, which can result in extra visibility and Vacasa homes often being listed at the top of search results

How Vacasa handles channel marketing >

2. Carefully choose a professional housekeeping service

No guest can ignore a dirty Airbnb, no matter how short the stay. So, don’t skimp out on professional cleaning. And, notice we didn’t say ‘hire one housekeeper.’ That’s because it’s best not to rely on just one person to clean your vacation home. They can run late, get stuck in traffic, or get sick. And, a dirty home can be detrimental—resulting in bad reviews, which in turn will drive down your ratings and deter future bookings.

Ensure your housekeepers are cleaning to your (and your guests’) standards by asking them to follow a vacation rental cleaning checklist.

Our housekeepers’ favorite cleaning tips >

3. Streamline with smart home tech

Today, you can control many aspects of your vacation home from your phone—making it easy to keep guests comfortable and your home safe. Plus, smart home tech is a great time-saver, allowing you to manage even multiple Airbnb properties from a distance.

Some devices to consider:

  • Smart locks in lieu of exchanging keys (Vacasa offers a smart lock program to our homeowners)
  • Smart thermostats to control the temperature
  • Water leak detectors
  • Smart lights that switch off once guests leave
  • Programmable water heaters
  • A noise monitoring device to alert you to sustained high volumes (signs of a possible party)
  • Smart window shades

4. Put together a useful guest book

Don’t leave guests guessing. Answer the questions they’re bound to ask. What’s the WiFi password? Any good restaurants nearby? How on earth do I use this remote? A vacation rental guest book compiles all the pertinent information guests want to know—it’s the next best thing to having a concierge onsite. You can leave a printed book or upload it to your digital Airbnb or Vrbo house guides. Some information to include:

  • WiFi username and password (should only be made available once guest checks in)
  • Check-out times and instructions
  • Your house rules
  • Public transit information
  • Instructions for any TVs, game consoles, appliances, fireplaces, or hot tubs
  • Your contact information
  • An emergency contact
  • Suggestions for restaurants, groceries, and area attractions

Create a vacation rental welcome package to jumpstart a great stay >

Modern vacation rental management.

Your home is a success waiting to happen. We'll show you how.

5. Check out your competition (and do better)

Do some regular reconnaissance. Check out Airbnb properties and vacation rentals comparable to yours in size, bedrooms, and location. Peruse their listing descriptions and photos. And, pay close attention to their guest reviews. What are they doing right? What needs improvement? See what they’re offering, then go above and beyond.

6. Decorate to delight (and attract more bookings)

Design can massively impact how many bookings you get and how much you’ll make. After all, guests generally won’t pay top dollar for a home filled with mismatched furniture and bare bone walls.

If you want to intentionally use design to boost bookings at your Airbnb, follow these top tips to get started:

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

7. Stock your home with all the essentials

Start with the non-negotiables every modern traveler expects—like fresh sheets and towels, a coffee maker, plates and cups, lamps, and WiFi. Then, invest in extra amenities that will help you stand out from the competition.

For instance, to attract more families, offer items like break-resistant dinnerware, pack and plays, and high chairs. Or, purchase beach towels, beach umbrellas, and sand toys for guests to use while staying at your beach house.

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

The kitchen of a vacation rental in Dauphin Island, AL.

8. Take professional photos (and stage your home beforehand)

A picture can be worth a thousand bookings. Your home has to first catch someone’s attention before they decide to stay. Plus, you’ll use these photos in several places online—including vacation rental booking sites, emails, and social media posts—so make them too good to pass up.

Pro tip: Stage your vacation home ahead of time, because looks do matter. Some ways to do that:

  • Let in natural light
  • Remove clutter and personal items
  • Turn off TVs and computer screens
  • Hide messy cables, plugs, and wires
  • Make the bed beforehand, tuck sheets in, smooth out wrinkles, and fluff pillows

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.

9. Make check-in secure and seamless

Those first moments at check-in can mean everything. Make sure your guests can start their vacation without a hitch, instead of having to hunt down a lockbox or fumble with keys in the dark.

Keyless vacation rental locks are not only more appealing to travelers (goodbye in-person check-ins), but they’re also one of the smartest ways to secure access to your home. You can assign a unique code to each guest that is valid only during their booking. No more lost keys or making key copies.

In some markets, Vacasa will outfit your vacation home with keyless locks as part of our full-service management. We’ll generate unique door codes for each stay (or home care visit), ensuring no one else can enter your property outside the specified time.

10. Keep learning

The business of owning a vacation rental and an Airbnb property continues to evolve, whether with new tech, trends, or guest preferences. Stay ahead of the competition by committing to always learning and improving as you go along.

Browse our library of helpful vacation homeowner guides to always stay one step ahead. We cover a wide array of topics to help you make the most from your vacation rental, including:

  • Amenities
  • Reviews
  • Earning more
  • Booking more
  • Guest retention
  • Taxes
  • Technology
  • Maintenance
  • Marketing
  • Property management
  • Buying a vacation home

Explore our vacation rental homeowner guides >

Airbnb tips for hosts FAQ

The type of property that does best for you on Airbnb can depend on several factors, including:

  • Your financial goals. Do you want to earn extra income or just cover costs?
  • Your budget to cover things like taxes, insurance, furniture, maintenance, etc
  • Your location. It’s generally best to select a location that already attracts a lot of visitors.
  • The type of travelers who visit that destination.
  • The regulations in that city or state.

The amenities that guests want the most can depend on who they’re traveling with and where the vacation home is located. For instance, guests traveling with their pets will more likely book Airbnbs offering a dog bed, toys, bowls, waste bags, and wipes. While those traveling to lake or beach houses will look for beach towels, chairs, umbrellas, wagons, portable coolers, and boogie boards.

If your capitalization rate—essentially the rate of return on a real estate investment—is greater than your mortgage interest rate, you’ll generally come out ahead.

Overall, a “good” cap rate (or good ROI) really varies based on the vacation destination where you’re buying—based on factors like demand, home prices, and property types. In some areas, you’ll be looking at 5% to 8% cap rate, while others range from 3% to 5%.

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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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California licenses
Vacasa Seasonals Inc.
California DRE #02160171

Vacation Palm Springs Real Estate, Inc.
California DRE #01523013

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.