How to Set up an Airbnb

How to Set up an Airbnb

So… if you’re anything like me, you learn through DOING. Buuut… how are you supposed to set up a short term rental if you have never done it before?!

Learn from my mistakes… and trust me, I have made PLENTY. I have finally mastered the process of setting up, listing, and sustaining my short term rentals.

We hope this takes the guesswork out of starting up your own short term rental. Why reinvent the wheel when we already have a process that works…? and works really well.

Here is everything you need to do to open your own short term rental. 

Some of you might be asking, can we hire this out? Seems like a lot of work… and it is! We love setting up spaces for our clients! Here is what you should expect someone to do if they are setting up your space.


Setting Up Your Space

inside airbnb

There are three aspects to setting up your space: designing, styling, and time commitment.

Designing Your Space

Come up with a design that is cohesive throughout your space. If you struggle with interior design, hire someone to help you! We suggest creating a mood board for each room so that you can visualize what it will look like in the end. You should create a mood board for your kitchen, dining room, living room, bathroom, and all bedrooms. And any other room your space has! Write down the items that each space needs and then get to shopping!

Styling Your Space

Once you have designed and have ordered everything, it is time to unbox everything and make your space come to life! Organize each item and move it to the room it is supposed to go in! Styling is not only setting everything up… but also making your space beautiful! Look around and see if anything is missing… Do you need to buy more decor or artwork? This is the time when you make the beds and fold the towels perfectly. Put everything in its place to the point where it is ready for your guest. 

Considering Time Commitment

We are not going to lie… it is a huge time commitment to set up your space. If any maintenance is going on, like painting, we are not able to do much until that is done! Then it takes at least a day’s commitment to wash all of the laundry. And did you know it takes forever to open millions of boxes if you order from Amazon?! A Costco haul will take a significant amount of time and then you have to set up and organize your supply closet. And of course… you’ll probably forget to buy something and have to go to the store several times to grab items you forget! 

Don’t be overwhelmed…we have a start-up essentials checklist to help you out! Click here.

Listing Your Space

Your short term rental is how you communicate with your guests. Yeah, that’s right, you get to have a conversation with your guests when they interact with your listing. That is why your listing is critical to setting up your short term rental. 

The four aspects to communicating through your listing are city, home type, number of guests, and pricing.



Paint a picture to your guest to illustrate how AMAZING your city is! Create a guidebook that tells your guest all of the fun things they can do and the best restaurants they must check out! Think about what would be bringing your guest to your city… emphasize that in your listing!

Home Type

Make sure you are specific about your spaces home type. You wouldn’t want your guest to think they have an entire house, when in fact it is only a room in the house. Or arrive and realize it is a duplex with loud neighbors! Tell your guests exactly what they should expect upon arrival. Be honest!

Number of Guests

If you are not specific about the number of guests allowed in your space, you might end up having a house full of people. We only allow registered paying guests to enter our short term rental. If there is only one queen bed, then only two people can stay in that space! Be strict about this. This is also a great way to avoid having parties occur in your space. 


Pricing might be the hardest part about listing your space. We use Price Labs to get an accurate nightly rate. We suggest looking at listings in your city to see what their nightly rate is. Look at homes that are similar to yours. If there are no other homes similar to yours, you can likely price higher. If your space is thoughtfully designed compared to others, you are offering more value to a guest and can likely price higher! Don’t be afraid to play around with your pricing. Make sure to document when big events and holidays are happening in your town, don’t miss out on higher nightly rates!

Sustaining Your Space

Once your space is up and running, you can’t just forget about it! You have done the hard work of setting up and listing your space… so what do you do to make it stay in that state of when you first opened?!

Sustainability is something we face every day in our lives. For things to keep going, it has to be sustained. 

The two aspects to sustaining your space are preparing for guests and keeping it clean. 


Preparing for guests

Your turnover team will likely be the ones who are preparing for guests. Make sure they know exactly what the space should look like when prepping the space. Cleaning an Airbnb is different than someone’s personal home. They need to restock amenities, make the bed perfectly and place the throw pillows nicely, and make the place look brand new!

Keeping it clean

Keeping it clean should not be hard if you have systems in place with your turnover team and you perform monthly audits. If your turnover team does an awesome detailed job during every clean, your space will stay looking great! You can also schedule detailed cleans for specific times… like dusting the trim or polishing the wood floor. 

We make sure to go into our spaces multiple times a month and audit. We look in every corner to see if we need to do anything to maintain our space. If we need to touch up on paint, we will. If there is a stain on the wall or a rug, we get it out. If the refrigerator needs a deep clean, we schedule it. Don’t just start up your short term rental and forget about it. In order to keep it clean, you have to set expectations for your cleaning crew and see the space with your own eyes every single month.


You may be feeling overwhelmed right now… take a deep breath. You’ve got this! You aren’t in this alone! Use us as a resource and if you are having a ton of trouble, we would love to hop on a consult call with you help you get started! 

Hosting with heart is KEY! Put your guests first and list your space with your guest in mind. Set up your space thinking about how and why your guest will be using your space. Create a design that will blow their mind. Set aside a realistic amount of time to get your space ready so that you are not rushing to get it done. Communicate with your guest through your listing… spend time thoughtfully crafting the message you want your guest to see when they check out your listing. Don’t just forget about your space when you open, be involved in it. Listen to your guests feedback and make changes. Keep a high standard of cleanliness. Do the hard work of creating systems to make sure your space will be sustained. 


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