Starting an Airbnb business in Kenya is like starting any other business except that it involves renting spaces in an apartment or a house to those traveling, taking a vacation, on a staycation, or just partying and having fun.
Airbnb is a growing business in Kenya. Nairobi city is leading when it comes to all Airbnb businesses in the country. This is the perfect time to start your Airbnb business since the country is currently thriving in the Airbnb business.
In 2018, Nairobi was ranked third among the cities with the highest number of Airbnb establishments in Africa. Despite Covid-19 affecting so many sectors, the Airbnb business is still growing especially in big cities and tourist hotspots like Nairobi, Nakuru, Kisumu, and around the coastal regions in Kenya.
Statistics show that Airbnb can be a very profitable business, so if you have been looking for a way to make good money you might need to stick around and learn more about Airbnb in this article.
What is AirBnB?
Airbnb is a short form of ‘Air Bed and Breakfast’. It is an online platform that connects homeowners with travelers. People who own houses or have a room they are willing to rent out can do the Airbnb business.
These individuals can list their properties on this platform for travelers who are looking for a temporary place to stay. The travelers specify the period they will be staying before doing the payments on the platform.
How do you join and operate an AirBnB business in Kenya
You do not have to pay anything to join the Airbnb platform where you are a host or a guest. The company however deducts a 3% commission on every penny that you earn through the platform.
You will also have to pay business license fees.
Important documents you will need when operating an Airbnb business in Kenya
- Insurance cover for the premises being used for your Airbnb business.
- A recent copy of the current health clearance certificate (should be less than 3 months old)
- Medical Certificate of food handlers (in case you provide food)
- National Environmental Protection Agency license from NEMA
- EIA for brand-new facilities / environmental audit for existing facilities.
- Register with the Kenya Tourism Regulatory (TRA) by filling in the application form available from the website and paying a one-time application fee of Ksh 1000
- Copy of lease agreement / or title deed.
- Certificate of company registration (if you are a new applicant)
- Memorandum and Article of Association (if you are a new applicant)
- Pay 16% VAT.
Cost of Starting an Airbnb business in Kenya.
Just like any other business across Kenya, you must issue a single business license for you to have your business operate in Kenya. The average cost of a business license is Ksh 10,000.
You can make up to Ksh 107,000 per month or earn a median salary of Ksh 50,996. You can earn a lot with Airbnb, so if you have an extra room in your house you can start an Airbnb business in Kenya.
7 Simple Steps to Get started with your AirBnB business in Kenya.
#1. Own a House or a Room
Since Airbnb involves renting out space, you must have a house or a room to get started. This is the property you will list on the Airbnb platform for guests to choose and pay for. As long as you own the house/room or pay its mortgage then you are good to go.
You will also have to decide on what services to offer either just accommodation or include breakfast and maybe supper in the package.
You do not have to own a house to join Airbnb. You can talk to your landlord about Airbnb rentals and agree on the profits made from that.
Alternatively, you can start by buying land, building a house, and furnishing it. If you choose a busy place in terms of tourists then your business will definitely pay off.
#2. Register an AirBnB account
To list your property for rent, go to airbnb.com on your browser and sign up. You can register using your email address or use either your Facebook or Google accounts.
After you get a verification email from them, click on it to validate the account. Once you sign in, select the List Your Space home page and fill out all the correct details on your profile.
These include name, gender, and occupation. You will also enter details about your property. This includes the number of rooms available, all that is provided in the house e.g. fridge, hot shower, microwave, wifi connection, etc, and type of house.
#3. Register with one or more online payment processors
You do not have to worry about collecting money since Airbnb does it for you. Therefore, you must have an account with one of the various online payment platforms that Airbnb supports. This is how you are going to be receiving your payments.
Some of these payment options are Mastercards, credit cards and debit cards, PayPal, Payoneer, Apple Pay, and Google Pay. Make sure you choose one or two of the above options.
It is advisable to have multiple online payment options to avoid losing potential customers just because you don’t accept a certain payment option that they prefer to use.
Read also: How to register a business in Kenya.
#4. Provide verification information
Verification information is required to assure your potential guest that they will be in safe hands staying on your property.
To do this go to the “verification information” section on your Airbnb account. You can verify yourself using a phone number, email, social media accounts, and scanned copy of your driver’s license among others.
#5. Set your price
Airbnb allows you to set the rental price but you must be considerate. However, Airbnb usually suggests a price for you depending on the information you provide during the signup process.
The price you set should be guided by the condition of the property like the number of rooms, free wifi, a fridge, a cooker, hot shower.
A house with free wifi, a fridge, a cooker, and other extra features cannot be priced the same as a house without such. Its price will be higher and in the same way, a house with few features should not be charged a lot.
If you overprice your house you might end up missing out on a lot of potential guests. If you are a beginner, start with a lower price since your profile has few or no reviews.
The more reviews you get the better it will get for you. After you start seeing the growth you can increase your price depending on the demand for your property.
#6. Upload photos of your property
Your explanation of the space is not enough, you will have to convince your potential guest that the space is as explained. There is no better way to do that rather than uploading quality photos of your space.
We all need to see a picture of an item when buying it online. Almost 50% of our decisions on an item depend on the image displayed. If it is appealing and it’s what we want, there are high chances we will end up buying it.
Take quality photos of both the interior and exterior of your property. Make them as eye-catching as possible and remember to capture amenities like swimming pools if available.
#7. Advertise your property
If you don’t let the public know about your business, you might find it hard to get even a single client. Advertising can really help your business grow faster. The good thing is Airbnb platform provides that option on your account. To advertise, find the button at the top right corner labeled ‘publish your ad’ and click on it.
You can also advertise your property on social media and use a link that will direct interested parties to the Airbnb site for bookings.
Why Join AirBnB in Kenya
Airbnb has so many benefits as compared to the traditional way of renting out a space. Below are some of the advantages of joining Airbnb that can help you unlock your financial potential.
1). As a host you get to set the prices for your property. The company does not set the prices for you and so you can earn as much as you want.
2). Airbnb takes only a small percentage of your earnings. In every successful accommodation, the company only takes 3% paying you 97%.
3). Airbnb has registered users from different parts of the world, which means you not only stand a chance to get local clients but international clients too. With this, you can adjust your rental costs to match international standards earning yourself more money.
4). Airbnb is cheaper as compared to hotels. Due to that a bigger number of guests prefer it and it has even made more people consider traveling.
5). Just like in hotels, your guest gets to pay for accommodation per night. That way you get some cash even when the guest spends one night.
6). Airbnb also provides insurance coverage to protect you as a host in case your guests cause damage to your property.
Final Thoughts on Airbnb Business in Kenya
If you have any free space then it would be wise to get started with Airbnb in Kenya. Make use of that property lying idle and make money out of it.
However, you do not need to own a property to make money from Airbnb. You can make as much as possible depending on your capability to handle multiple Airbnb services and businesses.
Give it your best and go for it. It will definitely pay back. We hope this article has helped gain more understanding of the Airbnb business. Help us reach more people by sharing the article.