How to Set Up Your Airbnb Listing for Success [Video!]

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Okay, so you may still be inching your way toward your first listing, or you may be a seasoned vet looking for ways to boost your listing’s cred. Either way, my hope is that this post will help you think about the best way to list your property for maximum value.

(And, if you’re still an Airbnb virgin, on the cusp of your first time, please refer to some of the links I’ve listed at the end of this article to make sure your bases are covered.)

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Your Place’s Location

This one is simple enough, but, if you live in a building where they monitor Airbnb (or may start to), putting in an address nearby, but not the exact address, is an option. Your out-of-town guests won’t know the difference if the listing is half a block to the west. At the same time, your building will have more trouble finding you out. (This is because the tools that scrape the Internet to find listings are automated and rely heavily on address information. Putting your pin half a block off may keep your HOA or landlord at bay for a little bit longer.)

Related: The Top 10 Dos and Don’ts for Airbnb Short-Stay Landlords

How Many Guests Can Your Place Accommodate?

I list that my place can accommodate for as many people as the space can sleep. So, we have one queen-size bed (2), plus two couches (2), which means we can sleep four people total. That said, it’s important to be explicit in my description that two of the guests will have to share a bed and two of them will be on separate couches. Airbnb allows you to also specify number of beds and public spaces, but set proper expectations for your guests and everyone will be happy.

Essentials & Amenities

This is a fantastic place to list why your place is a great find. Plus, think about what additions would improve your place for guests. A hairdryer? iPhone cords? an iron? A highchair? All of these extras may not pay off upfront, but your guests will appreciate them and you’ll feel it in your reviews.



You’ve got 500 characters to talk up your place. For some people, this is a dream. For others, it’s intimidating and feels conceited. We got ya.

One place to start is: why do you like living here? And, if you were going to host your friends or family for a weekend, what would you be most excited to share with them? Making a list about why you like living where you do, and thinking about who might be inclined to come visit, can help you prioritize what should be mentioned.

Something else to think about (and add to your first line if it’s a plus), is what makes you different? Do you allow for pets? Since we live in Denver, being 420 friendly also helps our place book. And, hey guys, cigarette smokers need love too—so if you smoke in your place and are okay with people smoking there, list it because there’s a market. (I know I’m going to get blowback on that one because a whole lot of people won’t want to stay at your place if it’s a smoking place… but you should be upfront with those people before they book so you don’t get negative reviews—and instead cater to the niche that wants a smoking residence.)

Related: Landlord’s Beware: The Potential Problem with Airbnb No One Talks About

Listing Title (50 characters)

Keep it concise! One way to do this is to remove superfluous language—that is language that ends in “ly” and doesn’t add that much information, but does detract from your character count.

And, finally, consider updating your title to include seasonality. If it’s summertime and you live somewhere hot, mention your pool and AC in the title. In the wintertime if you have cross-country skis and a hot tub, mention that.

If you are new to Airbnb and still setting up your listing, consider checking out our 6 Steps to Getting Successfully Started with Airbnb (with video). Hope that helps and good luck!

Do you have any tips for setting up a killer listing? Share them below!

About Author

Erin Spradlin

Erin Spradlin co-owns James Carlson Real Estate. She loves working with first-time homebuyers for their enthusiasm and excitement, and loves working with investors because she's a fellow spreadsheet nerd. She and her husband own three properties in metro Denver and are currently in the process of acquiring a duplex in Colorado Springs. You can find Erin's blogs here: and her airbnb video series here:


  1. Sam White

    Awesome video! I am currently an AirBnB virgin. All of my rentals are year leases. And I like that. But I am addicted to trying knew things. I have started remodeling my DETACHED 550 sqft garage (at my house) into a stand alone apartment with a cabin themed feel.

    1. It frustrates me that I do not cash flow my homestead. This should help.
    2. If I am a massive AirBnB failure, at least I have a cool at home office?!

    Would you have any tips or advice to an AirBnB virgin who is doing what I am doing? I am early in the remodeling stage, so I can make the layout and feel go any direction. I am excited to learn about AirBnB this way tho.

    • Erin Spradlin

      Hey Sam- clearly, I’m biased on Airbnb, but that’s because it was so good to me for so long. Based off your comments, I’m guessing you are remodeling with the intention of doing Airbnb. Have you done research on to see what you could charge per night or how the competition looks? Airbnb will tell you what you can expect to make weekly. Also, using their smart pricing at the beginning will help move you to the top of the algorithm and get you going with bookings.

  2. Tom Fisher

    Wow. Lots of good tips.

    We are having a great run with our dedicated Air BnB (no permanent residents). That said, we went “upscale” which means lots of attention to detail before each guest arrives and we put a lot of investment into furniture, beds, linen, Grohe fixtures, etc. ($20k =/-). I have a separate co-host (my daughter, actually) who gets 10% of each stay for coordination, communication and providing feedback, plus it costs $90 to have the washing, cleaning, making beds and re-staging after each stay. Its a lot of work, but 6 nights a month has us breaking even. We live in a destination location, though, so the formula won’t work everywhere. It is also a “house hack” for me, and I’m living in a lower level apartment for free while working on my current and looking for my next property. By going “amenity rich” for the guests, then backing off a bit in price you get people who will respect the place and leave happy feedback. Also, we didn’t skimp on photos, and think that has paid off, too. I also think James is also right-on that you need to be accurate in the description.

    • Erin Spradlin

      6 nights and you’re covered. That’s pretty impressive, and great to hear as we just had clients with a very similar situation buy a place. They are doing airbnb in Denver, and their daughter is going to be the property manager (which she already does as a side business.)
      I bet guests are loving the extra touches at a discounted price. Do you have any plan to move the price up at all or are you planning on keeping it lower and banking off the reviews?

  3. Any recommendations for insurance? I am going to be renting out an apt. above my detached garage. Would I need to change from regular homeowner’s to a commercial policy to cover the entire residence, including my quarters? Or would I keep my homeowner’s policy and then have to purchase a commerical one just for the apt.?

    • Erin Spradlin

      Yes, I’d recommend Proper Insurance or Slice. They both cover short-term rentals, but have slightly different models. Proper is a home insurance policy that also allows for having short-term rentals. They charge more, but you are covered. Slice does a daily rate (supposedly you just text them), but I’d check on whether or not they cover your home insurance policy and if that will impact it. Proper will definitely cover your situation though. Good luck!

  4. Jerry W.

    Thank you for the article. I just started a vacation rental about 8 weeks ago. I have gotten 3 renters so far, but no bites for the last 4 weeks since the weather turned cold. All of the earlier renters were fishermen fishing our local river. I know it is MUCH harder to rent my monthly rentals during the winter, I worry I may not have any renters during the December to February months, and I am paying all of the utilities. While I have only gotten 2 reviews both were 5 star. My rates are the second lowest in my entire town. I am also only on VRBO, should I add AirB&B to increase my chance of getting tenants even though there is a chance of double booking requests?

    • Jason Remington

      Definitely get on Airbnb. Most of my renters come from VRBO, followed by Airbnb. We are also listed on Trip Advisor/FlipKey, but haven’t really had many bookings through them. Also, all three will sync up with each other as bookings are scheduled. They provide instructions on how to import/export/sync calendars between the sites. So when I look at my VRBO calendar, I can Airbnb and TripAdvisor bookings in a different color.

    • Erin Spradlin

      Yes- definitely add it to Airbnb. It’ll require minimal work and probably have significant gains. A few tips on that though- make sure to use their smart pricing for your first month or so (moves you up in the algorithm) and also utilize their free photography if you can. You may also just have to drop the prices during the winter months (the smart pricing will handle this for you) and then see higher prices during the summer. Sounds like you are doing good with reviews, but keep that up as it will also help. Cheers- Erin

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