How to turn your property into profit with the help of these 5 Superhost tips.
Nick and Sarah Roussos-Karakaian are a husband and wife Superhost team (@nestrs) who have turned hosting into a full-time business in Columbus, Ohio. After listing their New York City basement on Airbnb in 2012, they became hooked. Since then, they’ve made it their dream job. Sarah also co-hosts the podcast "Thanks for Visiting,” a resource for experienced hosts and newcomers alike. Here, they share their knowledge and tips on how to launch an Airbnb business.
Nick and Sarah’s Tips to Launch an Airbnb Business
How it all began
Sarah: “For us, it started in Queens, New York. I was an actor. I was also bartending a lot.”
Nick: “And I was an intern with a master’s degree in architecture who was barely able to feed myself…”
Sarah: “And we both really wanted to own property but didn’t know how. One day, I saw this tiny house—it was the smallest one on the block and was expensive for us—but I was determined to find a way to get it.”
Nick: “With the right financial education, savings, and support from family, we were able to get a loan.”
Sarah: “And as all of this was all happening, I learned that my friend was listing a room in his apartment on Airbnb, which was helping him pay his rent in New York City—it was so wild to me. Not many people knew about Airbnb at the time. I told Nick about the potential for us to list our property, and he was hesitant—but I was intrigued. We jumped in and that was the beginning of it all.”
Nick: “I remember scrubbing toilets and being so happy to do so. It was paying for our mortgage so I thought: ‘Yes, this is amazing! How can we do more of this?’”
Sarah: “I was able to bring a lot of my hospitality experience working at luxury hotels—and I loved it. After four years of hosting and homeownership in NYC, we were fortunate enough to get a knock on the door from a developer who wanted to buy the place from us, furnishings and all.”
Nick: “After some soul searching, a long spreadsheet of places we could go next, and road trips around the country talking to locals, we found ourselves in Columbus, Ohio.”
Sarah: “To be able to blend design, hospitality, and real estate—and have the freedom to make our own creative choices—has been a dream come true. It’s why we’re so passionate about helping others learn how to host.”
01. Start with a mission statement
Sarah: “Before you get started, we recommend creating a mission statement for yourself. This will be your ethos and your north star, which is especially helpful during those moments when you might be uncertain about a direction or a decision. Your mission statement can help steer you in the right place. It’ll also inform how you create and craft your space.”
Nick: “When creating a mission statement, take the time to ask yourself a few questions:
Sarah: “For us, our mission is to transform spaces that transform lives. And we try to remember that in all that we do.”
02. Survey the market
Nick: “Before you jump in, it’s important to do your research and look at the competitive landscape in your area. This initial research will inform how you design, brand, and market your own space.
03. Price it for profit
Sarah: “Creating a budget, while it may not be very sexy, is super important. We recommend using a spreadsheet and categorizing your costs into three buckets:
1. Upfront costs: These are the initial investments you pour into your space before anyone experiences it, such as renovations, decor, furniture, and photography.
2. Ongoing costs: Core items consumed by the guest that will need to be replenished, including toiletries, toilet paper, paper towels, batteries, and lightbulbs.
3. Maintenance and management costs: This covers everything needed to keep your space safe, warm, and livable, including lawn, outdoor, and exterior spaces. Will you be hiring a cleaning person to help you with turnarounds or a co-host?
Add these numbers up and make sure you’re comfortable with your investment numbers and your realistic goals. If they don’t, then maybe you need to do a bit more saving upfront so you can create a space you’re proud of.”
04. Think like a guest
Sarah: “This is one of my favorite tips to share with hosts, and that’s to enlist an honest, blunt friend to stay at your space. You’re so close to it day in and day out that you might forget the things that a traveler might need—such as a toothbrush or toothpaste—or a design flaw that you’ve overlooked. A friend can help provide feedback on those pesky but important details. You don’t want a paying guest to be the one to point them out.”
Nick: “We like to include a ‘Forget something?’ basket of toiletries and items that guests may need last minute. Having a hospitality mindset has to be at the core of your business in order to succeed. It’s the reason people go to the different brand hotels they love—because they know what to expect: a space that feels like they’re the first people to ever arrive in it, the towels have been folded with care, and they know they can count on all the details such as having a phone charger next to the bedside table. You want to bring that same level of service to your guests so they want to come back again and again.”
05. Automate it
Nick: “Hosting is challenging, but it’s also a different game now than it was when Airbnb first arrived. There’s a lot more technology, tools, resources, and support to help you organize the process and make your life a little easier as a host.”
Sarah: “When hosts are starting out, we recommend doing the end-to-end process of each stay: from the initial booking message, to greeting your guests, to doing the cleaning and turnaround. Once you’ve understood the ins and outs, then you can automate it in a number of different ways, for example:
Nick: “Creating an Airbnb business takes hard work. But we really hope to show people that owning a home and doing it full-time is possible—and that there’s more than one way to do it.”
Sarah: “You know I went through a career change, and I was terrified that I would never find anything as much as I loved performing. But Airbnb has been life-changing for us. We can make our own creative choices, be our own boss—and that just makes it so much more special.”
Nick: “It allows us to remain flexible and enjoy our lives a little bit more. We hope that you can find a way to launch an Airbnb business and make it yours. If you need any more advice, you can find us.”
Nick + Sarah, Nestrs
Check out the full #howtohost series here.
Happy information! I liked your checklist inside the wardrobe, welcome basket, also smart lock (which will take me awhile)! Very helpful, including doing a room clean yourself so you know what to keep an eye out for. Thank you. Come and stay at Devine Gallery King room with seaviews, Duawatta Batiegama, Dickwella Sri Lanka. Still a novice but learning quickly.
You two are sweet! You place looks beautiful and your biz tips are sound, and a good refresher. I host in Ireland, country cottages, quite a different ball game but still, the objective is to make guests happy and also to make a profit! Thank you.
Contribute here. This is what we're all here for, and you can help many hosts.
I hate when people come here to charge for their services, but contributing like you do is fabulous!
How do you know people's settings?
How do you manipulate the algorithms?
How do you optimise a listing?
How do you increase bookings?
Are you really in London?
Hello @Ian-And-Anne-Marie0 thanks for your reply. Yes we see a big need for assisting hosts right now during the lull in travel by addressing what works best for the Airbnb algorithm. Anything from quick changes to listing settings, until complicated SEO changes in the backend. Seeing a hosts settings on their listing is very simple because we look at the entire listing from an algorithm perspective. We view the listing as anyone else would but we can also pull data that allows us to compare their performance to their competitors and show their search visibility and ranking across 365 days of the year. All the information is listed on our website of how we do this and what is offered. Yes we have offices in London, Hong Kong and Bali. Hope this helps!
Thanks, but No, I was more thinking of more practical advice, like, first, how do you have the Airbnb algorithm's in order to satisfy them?
So you've analysed many listings.. What are your top ten tips for ranking higher and obtaining more bookings as historically all listings would suffer from the same issues until such time those algorithm's change, and there will be a generic change for improvement?
How would you, for instance, know the performance of my competitors?
The most important factors for ranking on Airbnb and affecting the algorithm are by achieving great results and addressing these areas. E.g. guest satisfaction is the no1 most important and we have a range of tips for how to achieve 5 stars more regularly. Then comes absolute price and the only way to change this accurately is with pricing software or by using our rank tracker that tells you where your pricing sits against your competitors. Next is listing word count (no set number but more is better in general) and how your keywords can drastically improve search visibility and rank.
Regarding the performance of your competitors, our software analyzes up to 300 of your competitors for any given date of the year and presents it in a ranking list.
Here is the top 10 list of most important ranking factors for the Airbnb algorithm.
Listing Word Count
Minimum Stay Length
@Ian-And-Anne-Marie0 We highly recommend using automated messaging functions that can be sent to all guests from beginning of booking to end of their stay and even to request a review a few days later. This ensures review rates are far higher (70% and above) and guest satisfaction is maintained at a high level from initial inquiry right thru to review after their stay. A mix of personalized automated messages and manually written responses for specific questions has a huge impact.
We have partnered with several leading Airbnb companies that can provide this service at low rates. This will also help to lift the response rate and will have a major impact on the algorithm.
Eventually all hosts develop their own automated messages which can be used in the 'saved messages' message function, and communication evaluation only appears as one in six of the Airbnb ratings system. (Five if you discount Location which doesn't get taken into account) of Accuracy, Check-In, Cleanliness, Communication, Location and Value.
How does a category such as Communication, and allocated only a 20% influence, impact the algorithm so much as to appear at the top of the rankings? 80% of those categories don't even appear as part of your top ten and have 80% more impact.
It would be understandable that an external autoresponder scheduled to send emails to guests would be an easy thing to set up, but a little more difficult now that Airbnb have reduced their allowance for this method of communication, so how does an external company obtain access to a members account and their messaging system - where such autoresponders cannot work? That part doesn't make sense.
What is the correlation you have found between the Price/Bed and Absolute Price? Your table would indicate that cheap price and many beds is optimal, Optimal. Is that correct?