How to efficiently run your property on Airbnb


It’s said to be the world’s biggest accommodation-sharing site currently listing a staggering 800,000 properties across 90 different countries around the world. The name Airbnb needs no introduction but, if you are new to being a host, here are a few tips on how to give your guests the best experience possible while having peace of mind that your property is in good hands.

From using the right keywords and taking the right photographs to pricing your rate correctly, the task of managing your own Airbnb property can be overwhelming. We asked Airbnb management business Happy Host owners Joshua and Philippa Reynolds to give us their top tips on how to efficiently run your property on Airbnb and get you those ‘five-star reviews’.

1. Photos and listing 

Your photos and words are all you have to market your property and make it stand out from the rest – so make sure that they are perfect! We highly recommend getting professional photos taken – it is well worth the investment with the earnings it will generate. Make sure to list all your property’s ‘unique selling points lift it above its competition.

2. Research your competition

Airbnb is highly competitive, so do your research and benchmark against properties similar to yours to see what other people are charging. Our tip is to start off lower than your competition to get the bookings in, build up a few five-star reviews, and then increase your price! And remember to adjust your pricing to seasonal demand and events in the area which call for a greater need for accommodation.

3. Cleanliness

This cannot be stressed enough! Try and replicate the standard that you would expect from a five-star hotel, and at the very least, make sure you provide the essentials: soap, toilet paper, clean sheets and towels. Coffee, tea, sugar and milk is a nice touch especially if people have been travelling and have not had time to make it to the supermarket. Personal, thoughtful touches such as a handwritten note, some chocolates, fresh flowers or a bottle of wine, are hugely appreciated.

4. What you see is what you get

One of the main things Airbnb guests expect is that the property looks exactly as it does in the photos and that it offers absolutely everything that was promised in the listing. If something isn’t provided or isn’t there that was on the listing, they will let you know about it, and this will in turn affect your reviews.

5. Have realistic expectations about time commitment

Gone are the days when one just lists a property on Airbnb and waits for the money to start rolling in. Potential guests often have scores of questions before making a booking, particularly with the market being so fiercely competitive. It takes time and effort to earn great reviews, check guests in and out, deal with laundry and cleaning etc, not to mention any maintenance issues that may arise while guests are there. An average host spends up to 10hrs a week managing their listing, and beginner hosts are often shocked by the amount of time and effort needed to consistently deliver a five-star experience for their guests.

6. Consider using a management company

If you are easily flustered, or not a ‘people’s person’, you may need the help of a pro. Things can and do go wrong, and it’s worth its weight in gold, particularly if you happen to be on away at the same time (there is nothing like a burst geyser to ruin your beach holiday!) Money spent on a management fee can be easily recouped as professionals know how to maximise bookings and use dynamic pricing, using search engine optimisation and other techniques. For peace of mind, a seamless experience for both host and guest, and for return on investment, it is well worth the fee. We would particularly recommend this if you have bought an investment property with the sole purpose of Airbnb’ing/short term renting. Your returns will be maximised and safer if in professional hands.


Philippa and Joshua Reynolds went into Airbnb management when their son was born prematurely three years ago and they were faced with a daunting list of medical bills. They Airbnb’d their own home in Morningside. “Every weekend we would pack up and move in with Joshua’s mother down the road from us, which was extremely disruptive and caused a few stress-related arguments (but turned out to be a godsend), and we covered the bills in no time,” says Philippa. The couple were soon approached by friends and family to manage their Airbnb’s for them and what started with a handful of properties in Durban at the end of 2017 has now flourished into their business Happy Host Airbnb & Property Management, which has a successful portfolio of over 35 properties in Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Details:, [email protected], 072 017 2799