How to start an Airbnb business in South Africa

How to start an Airbnb business in South Africa

This is a guide on how to start an Airbnb business in South Africa.

What is Airbnb

Airbnb is a website where people can rent out their spare bedrooms or properties to guests. The Airbnb site manages all the booking and payment processing, all a user has to do is List their rental space and Airbnb takes care of the rest. It’s often best to rent out a room on Airbnb at least once in order to understand how this process works before starting an Airbnb business.

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Room design

The room doesn’t have to be super pimped out, it just has to be decent. Make sure that the bed is very comfortable, try buying a memory foam if you can. The room should be properly painted, also pay attention to the ceiling, try to fix anything that might make the stay of your guest unpleasant.

Leave the closet (wardrobe) open if your guests have the right to use it. Some guests might be uncomfortable with using your closet if you didn’t signal to them that they can use it. Try to put towels and other things they might need in plain sight.

Try to have a phone charging station next to the bed, make sure you have a bed side lamp and it’s dimmable. These are some of the things that will improve the overall guest experience.

Bathroom design

Ideally, your guests should use a separate bathroom, this gives them much more privacy and makes it easier to clean the bathroom. Imagine guests having to wait for your 8-year-old child to finish using the bathroom, only to find that he/she just took a dump. That’s just no ideal.

The bathroom should be separate and should be clean at all times, you should really invest into making your bathroom feel like it’s new. Try to change the paint and fix all the broken things, change old taps and put modern taps. Things like towels should be always be clean and folded. Make sure that you have conditioners, soaps, shampoos and everything the guest might need.

You should clean your bathroom each time you have a guest, this is where most people cut corners. You might have a guest that barely uses the bathroom and think you don’t need to clean it because it’s almost perfect. Don’t cut corners, you have to check the bathroom after your guest leaves and make sure you clean it. Try to disinfect it and do some minor cleaning. Always look for hair, even hair found in the shower by the next guest will make your bathroom seem unhygienic.

Create a listing

Creating a listing is pretty simple and straightforward, just go to the Airbnb website and create a listing. You can read listings of your competition to get an idea of what should be included in your listing. Mention things that your guests might have a problem with, thing like pets, your dogs, cats, bad smell if there is one. You might mention that you have a lot of kids in the house (noise). Also mention things your guests don’t have access to, like your fridge, kitchen sink, oven.

The most important part of your listing is your photos, try to have good high-quality photos. Jackson, an Airbnb host said “I have found that professional photos have drastically increased my income”. You will need about ten good quality photos and one perfect photo; this is because guests see your photos before deciding to rent out your bedroom. Good photos will get you a lot of guests.


Try to check out your competitors and how much they charge, try to start out on the lower end. This will make it easier to get guests as you will have very little reviews, you can change your price depending on factors like time of the month/year. Airbnb will add more money to your original price, this is their cut, if for example you charge R500 per night, Airbnb might add R40 and your listing will appear as R540. This might filter it out when users search for listings under R500.

Safety concerns

Homeowners might have concerns about letting strangers into their homes, fearing that these strangers might commit crimes. This is similar to thinking Uber riders might hijack the driver, this is very uncommon, your guests won’t try to do any harm to you or your property, they just want a place to sleep.

Understanding the business

It’s important to understand that this is not a real estate business but a hospitality business. You should do everything in your power to make sure that your guests are happy, and they will leave good reviews, this will get your more guests.

Try to have a backup power supply, this is important, especially here in South Africa, there might be load shedding at any time. South African guests might understand but European guests might not understand why there is no electricity and will blame you for this, try to have a back-up power source or things you can use in case of load shedding.


Airbnb can be a seasonal business, especially if you are not situated in areas with tourist attractions. It’s easy to setup and doesn’t demand a lot of money. You can even rent out your couch or mattress on Airbnb. Do you have any thoughts or questions? Comment below.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. I have a granny flat that I would like to rent out as an Airbnb what is required

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