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15 Tips to Help You Become a Great Airbnb Host in Portsmouth, NH

Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is a popular New England tourist destination almost year-round. And while there are plenty of hotels and lodging available in the area, nothing beats the comfort and affordability of staying in an Airbnb.

Since the demand for Airbnbs in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is strong, the opportunities for hosts are plentiful. To help you get the most out of your listing, below are 15 tips to help you become a great Airbnb host.

1. Get Permission

Before you officially get going, you’ll need to check the short-term rental policy that has been set in place by your:

– Landlord

– Homeowner’s Association

– Co-op board

If you have home insurance, check the fine print to see if short-term rentals are covered. If you rent your home, your lease might have specific stipulations. Review your contract or call your landlord to get a definitive answer.

Also consider bringing this up with your neighbors, since they will likely see strangers coming and going through your home.

2. Check Local Laws

Depending on where you live, there could be legal restrictions set by your city or county. The rules will depend on:

– Where your home is located

– The type of home you have

– How long you’re planning to rent it out

It’s absolutely necessary to check your local laws! If you violate the rules, you could face some serious fines. For New Hampshire laws specifically, check out this website.

3. Be Honest 

When you’re creating your Airbnb listing, don’t try to make your home look better than it really is. Photoshopping images or covering up little problem areas might entice people to book with you, but once they see that it’s not what you made it out to be, their impression (and review) of you will be tarnished.

Always be upfront about the interior, exterior and location of your home. And remember: You’re trying to get bookings, not the cover page of an interior design magazine.

Want to support the arts in Portsmouth? You can donate your listing to the New Hampshire Film Festival! Learn more here. >>

4. Be Flexible

Flights can be delayed or canceled, traffic could be backed up and any number of other travel inconveniences can occur. When things like these happen, your guests will likely be stressed enough without having the additional worry of their Airbnb check-in status.

If you’re not willing to be flexible with check-in and check-out times, it’s likely that someone else will be.

5. Make the Check-In Process Simple

Speaking of checking in, this process is one that will influence your guests’ first impressions the most.

You don’t want your guests to arrive at an empty, locked home. So if you or someone you trust can’t be there to greet them, be sure to set up an automatic, password-protected lock to allow for instant, easy access. Also, don’t forget to provide guests with very detailed instructions on how to get to your home from wherever they are coming from, whether it’s the airport, bus station or highway.

Before your guests arrive, confirm their contact information and provide yours so that you can both be in touch quickly if a delay occurs.

6. Make House Rules & Information Crystal Clear

You don’t want your guests to be overwhelmed with questions about your home or neighborhood during their stay, since this can affect their entire experience.

If your air conditioner is finicky or there’s a cat who likes to hang out on your porch, let your guests know! Leave notes in necessary areas so your guests know if a certain light switch doesn’t work.

This can also work for your benefit. It’s your home, so you call the shots. If you want a certain door to stay shut or for guests not to use certain towels, make this clear by creating a House Rules document.

7. Think About the Experience from Their Perspective

Any extra little convenience you can provide will make your guests’ visit all the more memorable and pleasant. Think about what you’d hope to have as a guest — the WiFi password, knowledge of where to park their car, your contact information if they needed something, etc.

Also, guests coming from out of town won’t have the first-hand knowledge that you do about the best place to grab a coffee or the restaurants that offer the best happy hour deals. This might even be their first time in Portsmouth, NH, so offer some recommendations on the different sights they should check out or any seasonal events that may be happening during their stay.

8. Decide What Kind of Host You Want to Be

Are you going to rent out your entire home, or just one room? And will you be managing your listing on your own or with some help? These questions will determine the kind of host you’ll be, since the level of your involvement and type of property you’re offering will require different things.

If you’re diving head first into the world of Airbnb, you might want to consider having a co-host to help you manage your listings, your guests, and the check-in and check-out process. This can be especially helpful if you’re continuously renting out your space, since a co-host can help you with organizing, cleaning, and rebooking.

9. Optimize Your Listing

The Airbnb market is getting competitive, with more and more listings popping up each day. To stand out, you need to have the most attractive listing of the bunch.

In your photos, make sure to highlight the most appealing things about your place. Do you have a waterfront view? Are you nestled in the heart of the city? Also make sure to highlight your unique offering in your listing headline. Saying “2 Bedroom Home on the Seacoast” isn’t as appealing as “Luxury Oasis with Waterfront Views.”

10. Have Your Guests Sign a Contract

When your guests check in, you can ask them to sign a contract that includes their rental dates, the rate they paid, and any house rules you have. This is a way to protect yourself in the event that a discrepancy comes up at check-out time.

11. Decide on a Cancellation Policy

Airbnb lets hosts choose from three different cancellation policies:

– Flexible: Guests can receive a full refund if they cancel a full 24 hours before check in.

– Moderate: Guests can receive a full refund if they cancel 5 days before check in.

– Strict: Guests can receive a full refund if they cancel 14 days before check in.

The cancellation policy you choose will be clearly stated on your listing, so your guests will know what to expect. One of the best things about Airbnb is that hosts can see how many cancellations a guest has made over the past 12 months before approving their request.

12. Stand Your Ground

Your property is just that: your property.

If you don’t feel comfortable with a certain guest, you have every right to ask them to leave. You’re even encouraged to get Airbnb involved, either by phone or through their active social media accounts.

To be prepared, make sure you fill out the House Rules section of your listing. It will also help to have the rules displayed throughout your home while guests are there.

13. Use Referral Links

Once you join Airbnb as a host or a guest, you’ll receive your very own unique referral link. You can use this to earn Airbnb credit when you get a friend or family member to sign up for an account.

With the link, your friends can get up to $55 off of their first trip, and you’ll receive $20 for everyone you refer that completes a qualifying stay.

14. Understand Your Potential Income

Renting your home through Airbnb is a great way to gain supplemental income. The best part is that you’ll get what you put into it.

If you only want guests once a month, you could earn an extra few hundred dollars a month. But if you continually book your listing, you could make a hefty salary. This will also depend on whether you’re renting out an entire house or just a shared room, and how many guests you can accommodate.

Check out the Airbnb income calculator to see how much money you can earn on a monthly basis.

15. Expect Airbnb Taxes & Fees

Whenever you book your listing, Airbnb will take a fee that’s usually about 3% of the income you’ll make. Some cities also have a Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) that will vary depending on your location.

While these fees may seem like a hassle, you can offset the expenses by including them in your listing price.

Donate Your Listing to the New Hampshire Film Festival
Help support the arts in your community by donating your listing to house filmmakers and staff during the festival, October 17–20, 2019.
Learn How >>