Test AirBnb market in small town

1 Reply

Hey BP,

I'm considering converting a unit in my quadplex to an AirBnb rental. It's a small town of 2500 people that had a gross motel in town. There's minimal to no other options for short term stay in town. I don't want to purchase the additional furniture before I have a good feeling there's some interest.

I'd like to post pictures with furniture to gauge interest. Is it acceptable to find pictures of what could be similar AirBnb properties, download them, and then post availability online?

The questionable things I see are using others photos and having to decline all applicants because the property won't exist. 


You also need to consider all the costs involved with this business model. You pay all the utilities; you need a full unit of furniture and decor; you need plates, utensils, pots and pans, glasses and cups, coffee maker, toaster and basic cooking supplies; you need linens and towels, soaps and shampoo and conditioner and blow dryers and basic bathroom supplies; you need laundry soap and supplies; and you have the cost of cleaning on the turn (usually charged to the guest but you still have to manage it). The biggest issue is your other tenants will probably not enjoy having strangers coming and going, it makes your other units less desirable. Make sure you check state and local laws. Some areas require the payment of a hotel tax for all short term stay nights, which is not just the money but the paperwork. You will need to be much more active and responsive in this business as well so its important you are looking at all the costs to see if the difference in income is worth the effort. Then, as you mention, you have to determine demand and estimate how many nights you can realistically fill the unit. If AirBNB realizes you have a bogus unit up for testing the market there may be consequences as well. If guests realize it and leave you a bad review that will hurt your earnings as well. Not trying to be a Debbie downer, I just see people jump into this business model without realizing how expensive it is to set up and maintain everything needed for short term rentals.