How do I start an Airbnb business?

How to turn my unit into Airbnb?

How to start doing Airbnb?

What to do before I become a host?

Different words, same question.

So you might have just received the keys to your property, the one that you originally planned to purchase and rent it out as an investment, OR you wanted to flip it, but you couldn’t sell, OR you just feel like starting a new business of your own.

Here are a few things that you would NEED to look into.


Is your location an attractive place to do short stay? What are the likelihood of you as a traveler (business or leisure) stay at your place. If it’s a good place, what kind of traveler that you would attract? Business kind? Family kind? Couple kind? Big group of friends kind? Ang mo kind? Asian kind?

It is important to understand the POSITIONING and UNIQUENESS of your place (usually the developer/property agent will tell you when you buy them), because it will help you determine how are you going to Design, Promote and Run your short stay business.

Either you go into Airbnb and search for the area 1 by 1, or you could get a complete report from HostAStay.

Next, we’ll look into your unit’s readiness.

2. Bare, Dull or Sexy?

Is your unit currently unfurnished? Partly furnished? Or is it already SEXY enough to attract people to stay at your place. But of course, sexy means differently to different target audiences. But before that, please please please… always always have the minimum requirements done. Furniture, fitting, toiletries, linens, floor mat, bath towels…. the list goes, but the idea is, make sure the place is prepare enough even for you to stay there comfortably.

Not sure how much to spend on what ? Check out a renovation calculator here.

If you want to get amazing reviews, which also means better occupancy, learn what is sexy. For an example, if your target audience is for Family groups, things that you must have are:

  1. Proper living room enough and comfortable for the elderly to chill together with the family.
  2. Perhaps a baby cot?
  3. Expect to have kids, don’t put easily breakable items
  4. Perhaps even add on more safety features for the kids and the elderly (no need fancy stairs).
  5. Extra pillows and blankets, because highly likely the younger brother or the father will have to sleep on the sofa.
  6. Variance between queen size beds and 2 single beds

They’re pretty much common sense.

3. Study the different channels!

Now that your unit is ready, you would now want to start marketing your unit. For a beginner you could start with Airbnb. It is the easiest and most user friendly booking platform to start with. Learn how to properly make use of the booking platform, play by their rules, climb up their ladder, and you’ll definitely get great traction and occupancy rate, along with great guest., Agoda, Expedia, Ctrip and other booking platforms are more advance channels that you could go to. All with different rules and game strategies, perhaps we will write out some notes on how can you play around with them. Or, just come to any of our workshops.

So after reading all this..

4. Are you still serious about hosting?

If yes, great!

If no, you could also consider to pass your units to other Host to manage them. Search for an active host near you here.

Okay, let’s look a little bit into the long term planning.

5. How much should I charge for my unit ?

The general rule of thumb is RM50/pax you’re able to comfortably fit into your unit. Say you have a 3 bedroom unit, each room is able to fit 2 pax and 1 pax in the living room. So you could fit in total of 7 pax. You could charge RM350/night.

HOWEVER, you’ll need to also consider the average price in your area. It might varies from RM30/pax or maybe even lower.

When you achieve Superhost status with substantial number of 5 star reviews, you can then make your unit a premium unit with better room rental returns.

Oh and do remember to include the cleaning fees.

6. Are you planning to scale this into a business?

Yes? Okay, so here’s the thing, scaling into a business itself is a different ball game entirely. You’ll need to learn these few things.

  • How to handle owners
  • How to acquire more units
  • Sourcing for resources
  • Your market positioning
  • Best way to create a brand of your own
  • Operations SOP (and how to Automate them)
  • Booking Platforms
  • Channel Managers

Best if you can look for a mentor, or a community of host that can provide you with advice and suggestions.

That’s basically the few basic things that you’ll need to take note on how you can start hosting. You can also come consult us if you want to get more information.

Jayden Lee

Short Stay Performance Specialist