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How to Make $183,000 Profit With AirBnB

How to Make $183,000 Profit With AirBnB

• Melissa Forrest and her husband run 10 Airbnbs in Southern California.

• She says one way to rank well in Airbnb search results is to provide high-quality photos.

• You should also fill out your profile in full and aim to get as many five-star reviews as possible.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Melissa Forrest, a 33-year-old Airbnb superhost

based in El Segundo, California, and the cofounder of HostLife. IInsider has verified her business's 2021

profit and 2022 sales revenue to date with documentation. The following has been edited for length and


My husband, Zev, and I run an AirBnB business together and have taught hundreds of others how to do

the same. We used savings to launch our first two Airbnbs in 2018 in Riverside, California, and we now

run 10 Airbnbs in Southern California.

Our total earnings for 2021 were $407,216, and our total profit was $183,828. We now make about

$35,000 in gross average revenue per month.

One step that's helped us achieve this is leveraging SEO, or the process of increasing the visibility of a

listing within Airbnb's search-results pages. The only SEO we do for general search engines is titling our

listing with words that tell the guest if we're located near a specific landmark and offer certain

amenities. So if a guest is Googling, "Airbnb homes near LA beach," ours will pop up.

Wolfe told Insider she spent practically "all her income" on her first-ever Airbnb property, a 230-square-

foot tree house in Hawaii's Fern Forest. She built the one-bedroom home on a half-acre plot of land she

purchased on Craigslist for $8,000 sight-unseen. Once the treehouse had a roof, Wolfe said she slept on

its floor for the remainder of the construction.

1. The Tropical Treehouse in Fern Forest, Hawaii.

Wolfe told Insider she spent practically "all her income" on her first-ever Airbnb property, a 230-square-

foot tree house in Hawaii's Fern Forest.

She built the one-bedroom home on a half-acre plot of land she purchased on Craigslist for $8,000 sight-

unseen. Once the treehouse had a roof, Wolfe said she slept on its floor for the remainder of the


As Airbnb superhosts over the past four years, we mastered four strategies for ranking high on the

platform that help us keep our calendars booked while charging above our market competitors.

1. Fill in your Airbnb profile in full and update it regularly

Airbnb rewards hosts who keep their profile updated with pictures, amenities, and listing descriptions.

Throughout the years, we've put a lot of thought into developing a photo and copywriting strategy for

our listings that will capture the attention of guests. Here are four strategies we use and recommend:

Have property photos taken and edited by a professional. Photos are the first thing a potential

customer sees and gets hooked on. Not only will they attract more clicks and views, but Airbnb’s

algorithm will rank you higher if your photos are high quality.

1. Write custom photo captions for each photo. Just as getting professional pictures taken for

your property is crucial for highlighting your listing, what you write about them and how you

write it is just as important. Custom photo captions help you describe the place to a potential

customer, and guests will spend more time reading informative, easy-to-read descriptions.

2. Write a compelling title for your listing. After the photo or caption part of your listing, your

listing's title is the next most crucial aspect. The title is meant to highlight your listing's best

aspects and show value to a potential guest.

3. Prioritize your summary description. The space in this section is limited to 500 characters

maximum, and you should aim to use all of them. This is precious marketing space, as the

summary description is displayed as soon as a potential guest clicks on your listing. Write it to

build interest and encourage the guest to read through the rest of the listing's sections. The

description's content should reinforce all key ideas from the title while using extra space to

create an image of a perfect vacation property for a potential guest.

Take the ultimate wealth challenge by clicking here.

Here's a profile for one of our ocean-view listings in Los Angeles as an example of how to apply these

tips. We sometimes revisit our profiles to make sure they're up to date with the amenities we include.

It's really about filling out every section that Airbnb has available and making sure that you select every

amenity you'll be providing.

Airbnb is always changing and adding more filters to the website — but for the most part, it doesn't

inform the host that they've added more filters or amenities. But sometimes when you click on your

listing on your hosting profile, it will say, "Next Steps for You," with suggestions on amenities that you

should answer like, "Tell us more about your TV," "Does your home have a gym?," or "Does your home

have a pool?" Sometimes we'll see that Airbnb has added the option to search for a specific amenity

that wasn't available to search before, and we'll add it to our listing if it applies.

If we get a new piece of furniture or add something to the design, we'll take a picture and upload it to

the profile. Maybe we just added a pack and play for children, so we'll add a photo of that to the listing,

and we'll make sure to update that in the listing description as well.

2. Solicit 5-star reviews with the 4 C's

Airbnb rewards hosts that focus on providing a five-star experience for their guests. We're reviewed

quarterly by Airbnb for our performance over the past year for all listings on our account. Hosts that

meet specific criteria are rewarded with the highest search results and Superhost medal.

We've attained the Superhost level for all 17 quarters since we started listing. To help achieve this, we

ask guests if they can leave us a review upon checkout.

We've created "The 4 C's to Superhost," which we've followed to achieve and keep this status:

• Comfort: Make sure the guest is comfortable. This usually applies to a comfortable bed or

bedding and couch.

• Communication: Make sure to be clear in your communication on your listing and also

communicate with your guests quickly and kindly.

• Consistency: The reviews that a future guests read should be accurate. If you've delivered a

good experience to past guests and a future guest reads that, they expect it. And should they

return, you want to make sure they have the same great experience.

• Cleanliness: Nobody likes a dirty home. Make sure your cleaning team is on point and doesn't

miss a spot.



3. Respond quickly to messages from guests

This will ensure you keep your Superhost status and subsequent search ranking. Our rule of thumb is to

respond to requests or messages from guests within three hours during the hours of 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.,

and if a request comes in while we're sleeping, it's OK to respond in the morning.

A tip here is to automate some of your communication with guests. Airbnb has an option where you can

schedule your messages, which we've found can help. Our intention is to get better and better and

create systems that will do a lot of the leg work for us.

4. Avoid cancellations by being upfront

Airbnb punishes hosts who cancel reservations, including imposing fees of up to $1,000. We've never

canceled a reservation, but if a guest breaks our rules and attempts to throw a party, we send the

evidence to Airbnb and Airbnb will cancel the guest's reservation.

When Airbnb cancels a reservation, it doesn't count against us as hosts. But if we canceled on a guest

reservation ourselves, it will hurt us in obtaining Superhost status — which would ding our ranking.

While there isn't a foolproof way to pick guests who won't require a cancellation, we do have a strict

cancellation policy, which we recommend hosts have for protection.

We also try to vet guests carefully using our "red-flags framework." Some red flags we look for include

guests who don't have a verified identity, booking requests full of spelling and grammar issues, and one

person booking a larger home, which may indicate that they're looking to sneak people in or throw a




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