Intro to AirBnB Hosting in Austin

So you’re thinking about Airbnb-ing your place huh?

I know, that apartment you have is so nice and amazing right? (Of course it is! I helped you get it)

It’s so amazing, you’re thinking about renting it out to others.

It’s time for you to get some of that juicy guacamole-on-your-tacos money.

I’m here to be your entrepreneurial spirit guru person. .

What you may not know about me is that I double as a vacation rental consultant.

I know, fancy,

You can check out more about my consulting here on my website. Spirevrc.com

But anyways, let’s talk about you. I’ve made a quick guide for you to decide whether AirBnB hosting is right for you, and how to do it correctly.

Is AirBnB for you?

AirBnB is not for everyone.

Hosting means taking people’s money and valuable travel time. If you’re not willing to put in serious effort into high quality accommodations, this business isn’t for you.

I will have no Airbnb slumlords on my watch!

Being a host can mean making life long connections with people from all over the world. It could mean having a few extra thousand dollars a month to save for buying a house, or help pay for the house you have, or buying fancy art from Etsy, or pay for that trip to Thailand where you’ll do mushrooms on the beach and find enlightenment or whatever.

It could also mean being creeped out by some stranger peeing in your bathtub.

It’s up to you.

Regulations Shmegulations

The next obvious question is finding out weather you’re even allowed to do AirBnB where you live.

The rules depend on what your accommodations are.

If you live in an apartment complex, they will probably frown upon you turning your room into a mini hotel.

If you own a home, check out regulations through the City of Austin. Click here for more info. The rules depend whether you live in your house full time or not.

For those living in apartments, you may have to be a little bit of a rebel and “fly under the radar”. This will ential removing any obvious indicators your listing belongs to you.

No room number, no outside building pictures, using a different location tag, different host name& profile picture, etc. It’s possible to pull off, and many of my friends have, but you are running the risk of getting caught.

Getting busted can mean fines, stern warning letters, or, worst case, eviction. Tread carefully.

Apartments don’t want to evict you. That causes problems for everyone. Besides, investors don’t like losing out on cash flow. Many will turn a blind eye just as long as you’re paying rent on time and not disturbing the peace. Basically, don’t be stupid.

Pro Tip: You run a higher risk of being caught in a building where guests have to go through a lobby, (like high-rises) compared to a mid-rise where guests can check in from various entrances

Renting out a spare room in your house can be an awesome strategy to make home ownership profitable.

More on that another time.

How Much Money Can You Make?

Research your zip code on analytics websites like AirDNA, Elliot and Me, and Everbooked. You can check out local revenue estimates, occupancy rates, and spy on the competition.

Getting Started

So you’ve decided to take the plunge!

To get started, I’ll outline the basic principles you’ll need to operating a successful AirBnB.

Why Would Anybody Want to Stay At Your Home?

Your home needs to be a place people actually want to stay in.

This may sound obvious, but you’ll find plenty of AirBnB hosts who shouldn’t be AirBnB hosts.

Bribe your interior designer friend, call mom, steal inspiration from pinterest while you sip on fancy wines. Whatever. Make sure your place looks good.

Hint: This is not appealing.

Hint: This is appealing

When to Host?

Maybe you don’t want to be a full time host. Maybe you want to capitalize on major events when you can make the most money. Here are all of Austin’s hottest tourist weekends to host.

Info Courtesy of Elliot & Me

Price surge events.

Note: Numbers Indicate % above normal pricing

Dec 28 – Jan 3

New Years Eve 80%

Mar 4 – Mar 8


Mar 8 – Mar 19

SXSW 326%

May 17 – May 21

UT Graduation 91%

May 24 – May 29

Memorial Day 65.5%

Aug 31 – Sep 4

Labor Day 89.5%

Oct 4 – Oct 15

ACL Music Festival 247%

Oct 18 – Oct 22

Formula 1 199%

Nov 21 – Nov 26

Thanksgiving 70.5%

Dec 22 – Dec 30

Christmas 84.5%

Take Great Photos

Casual hosts can get away with taking mediocre iPhone pictures and calling it a day. Yet, your listing won’t pop out amongst the crowd of other listings.

If you’re a serious host, professional pictures are mandatory.

Few things will have a higher return-on-investment in this business than professional photography. Your cell phone pictures aren’t good enough. Hire a pro.

This will immediately catapult your listing to the top 10%

My friends at Twist Tours are a great team to contact. They do lots of AirBnB properties. (I used to work for them)

Which one would you book?


Good Writing Sells

If you want people to pay you high prices, you need to sell the f*&# out of your home.

Think about the exact kind of person that would love to stay with you, and write to them. This is basic copywriting.

Your copywriting should be a healthy blend of factual information, and heartfelt personality.

Don’t be afraid to have fun in your description. Part of the charm of AirBnB is that people like to stay with people, not corporate robots.

Respond Quickly!

Enabling Instant Book helps you rank better on AirBnB. If you don’t have it enabled, make sure to respond to inquiries as soon as possible.

Screen Guests

You don’t want to host a guest who is coming to throw a huge rager.

Ask why your guest is looking to stay with you. You have full control over who gets to book or not book your property. Decline to host anybody that makes you feel unsafe or uncomfortable.

Don’t become the next AirBnB horror story.

Create An Awesome Guest Experience

Your guests are looking for more than just a bed to sleep in. They’re looking to live like a local (aka, you). The experience you create for your guests is ultimately what they’ll remember. (And what their 5 star reviews will be made of). Put your Anthony Bourdain hat on and show your guests how to live like a local.

Pro Tip: Use a tool like Hostfully to create and share awesome digital guestbooks. You may recognize this if you’ve ever read my food guide.

Speaking of Reviews….

After a guest stays, make sure you get them to review your home. A solid track record of reviews will increase your bookability, reputation, profit.

Use Technology

There are a ton of tools that make running your AirBnB easier, profitable, and more enjoyable. Dynamic pricing software, smart locks, communication automation & digital guestbooks are a few examples.

Diving into all the technology would take way too much time. Luckily, I built a website to show off all the stuff out there to help hosts like you. Vacation Toolbox

Have Fun!

One of the best parts of hosting is making friends with interesting people from all over the world. The more fun you have, the more fun guests have, the more money you make, the more breakfast tacos you eat. Win-Win-Win

Pro Tip. Work With a Pro (me!)

If you’re overwhelmed with starting off in this business, reach out to me! I’ve collected lot’s of valuable insight and wisdom from the world’s best vacation rental professionals that I’d love to share with you.

For you (my lovely friends & clients), I’ll give you some 1×1 pointers for free.

Becoming an AirBnB host can be one of the funnest ways to make extra money. Hopefully the information I’ve shared should help you decide if hosting is right for you, and how to start off on the right foot.


Contact Us!

You + Us = Sweet Apartments