Abu Dhabi recently signed a deal with Airbnb to promote the holiday home sector in the capital, following the tourism department's request for holiday homeowners to register on its new online licensing system to help regulate and enhance the market in Abu Dhabi.
But how can home owners register to rent out their property or rooms? And what will encourage renters to choose their property over others?
The National explains.
Rules to be mindful of when renting your home out in Abu Dhabi
It is important to first be aware of the rules around becoming an Airbnb host. A law passed in 2020 about the provision and use of holiday homes in Abu Dhabi requires hosts to register for a permit to rent their places out. Visit the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism page for more details.
Also, VAT is a consideration for anyone interested in renting out their home in the UAE. Hosts who receive more than Dh375,000 per year are required to register for, and charge VAT on their services. There is also a voluntary threshold of Dh187,500. Airbnb is legally required to provide information on transactions that take place on the platform on request.
Remember, you must legally own the property in order to rent it out.
How to list your home on Airbnb
Setting up a listing on the site is easy and quick. It should take no more than 30 minutes to complete. The same process applies whether you are listing your whole house or only a room.
To get started, visit Airbnb and select the “become a host option” in the top right hand corner of the page and follow all the steps, answering questions about the property and its amenities.
Next, upload photos, a minimum of five, and create a title for your place. Select any highlights, such as whether it is peaceful, stylish or family-friendly. After creating a description, you select a price, with the help of a suggestion. Airbnb offers you the option to extend a 20 per cent discount to your first three guests to help your listing get booked faster.
After that you are all set. All that remains is for you to review the listing and then publish it.
It will be visible to guests 24 hours after you publish and you can add more information or make changes at any time.
How much you can charge
According to the Airbnb website, hosting your entire home for four guests in Abu Dhabi could net you more than Dh3,400 a month.
Listing a private room counts as two guests, and for a shared room, one guest. To calculate your earnings potential, Airbnb takes the median nightly price, before expenses, fees and taxes, based on bookings in the area from the last 12 months. It then multiplies the number by the total number of occupied nights to get the monthly earnings estimate.
“To estimate the number of nights that you might host, we look at how often others in your area are hosting,” Airbnb says on its website.
According to the site, a three bedroom home for six guests can fetch between Dh450 and Dh757 per night.
When things get damaged or broken
AirCover, which is free for every host on the platform and applied every time someone stays, covers expenses if anything is damaged or broken.
It offers $1 million liability insurance, as well as $1 million damage protection; pet damage protection; deep cleaning protection; a 14-day filing window and income loss protection. Hosts receive reimbursements in nine days on average.
Tips from Airbnb hosts
Leave a note and a local treat for new guests. This is a nice touch which will make them feel welcome and encourage good reviews.
Choose your photos well. “Photos are super important, because that’s what guests see first,” says a host called Ely in an Airbnb video. He rents out Hunter Green House in the Catskills, US with Danielle. “Your first photo is what shows up in search results. So make sure to lead with your best.” The secret of a good shot is good lighting, and you should have a mix of wide shots and details to show how special your place is, she says.
Perfect your title, description and amenities. “Descriptions help not only sell your space, but tell the story of your space. Don’t feel pressure to come up with the perfect description,” says Ray, who rents out a cottage in Paupack, PA, US. Keep it brief and highlight what makes it unique.
Setting the right price to attract more bookings. “When you are just starting out and you don’t have the luxury of all those great reviews, the best thing to do is take a look at other properties in the area, similar listings, and see what they’re priced it. And then price yours a little lower,” says Marco, who rents out a house on Smith Lane in upstate New York on the platform with Lisa. You can raise the price later or add fees and change it depending on the season, she says.
Using your calendar and booking settings will help you attract more guests. “Being a host means hosting when you want and how you want, so plan your calendar accordingly,” says Danielle. Using the feature instant book allows people to book automatically without approval, via a set criteria. “For instance, only allowing guests to book with a government ID and positive reviews to book your home,” says Ely.
Six key elements that can help you boost your search ranking. “Activate instant book; maintain a high acceptance rate; get lots of positive reviews; price competitively; avoid cancellations wherever possible and respond ASAP to guest inquiries,” says Lisa.