What Is Airbnb: Everything You Need to Know About Short-Term Rentals

August 23, 2023 Sini. M
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Airbnb is an online platform where property owners can list their accommodations for travellers to book for their stay away from home.

Since its launch in 2008, the San Francisco-based company has allowed owners to rent spare rooms, entire apartments, or even houses. Airbnb hosts have the luxury of being creative with unique offerings such as treehouses, tiny homes, and beautifully furnished caves.

Now that we know what Airbnb is, let’s explore Airbnb’s features, including Airbnb Plus and Superhost status.

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What is Airbnb Plus?

Airbnb Plus is a new tier of homes on Airbnb that have been verified for quality and comfort; it provides guests with a quality experience — beautiful homes appraised because of their top quality and exceptional hosts. Integrating your Airbnb with RoomRaccoon’s hotel management software can streamline and enhance your property’s operations, regardless of its tier.

What is an Airbnb Superhost?

As a traveler, booking an Airbnb with a Superhost label means the owner of your property has met a series of requirements set by Airbnb. These distinguish responsive hosts with high ratings, frequent reservations, and few cancellations. A Superhost goes above and beyond in their hosting duties and is a shining example of how a host should be. You can quickly identify one from the badge on their listing and profile.

Is Airbnb Plus and Superhost the same thing? No — Airbnb Plus is different from Superhost status; Airbnb Plus requirements are more rigorous than Superhost status. Hosts must be personally invited and their properties inspected for an Airbnb Plus badge.

What is an Airbnb Property?

Since Airbnb has become extremely popular among travelers and hosts worldwide, the term Airbnb is now used to refer to any accommodation that can be booked through the platform instead of calling it a room, apartment, or vacation rental. These days, an Airbnb can be anything from a hotel or a quaint B&B to a treehouse, a tent, an igloo, or even a church — the possibilities are endless. RoomRaccoon’s hotel booking software can integrate Airbnb property bookings for centralized reservation management, providing property owners with a clear overview of all reservations.

Guest satisfaction on Airbnb relies on more than just architecture. Providing personalized services can significantly enhance guest satisfaction.

Even though Airbnb is a popular short-term rental platform, other options exist. Connecting to multiple channels can increase your potential audience and bookings. Booking.com and Expedia are two significant OTAs that offer exposure for various accommodations.

The Impact of Airbnb on Small Hotels

Small hotels can benefit greatly from listing on Airbnb, as it’s a fast-growing channel that many travelers prefer due to their desire for unique and personalized experiences. After all, listing on Airbnb can increase bookings, revenue, and brand recognition.

Here are a few benefits you will experience when your property is listed on Airbnb:

  • You can access new market segments on Airbnb, particularly younger, tech-savvy travelers with money. They prioritize cultural experiences and authentic local properties.
  • You can increase your bookings by connecting with Airbnb because it’s a trusted and valuable hotel distribution partner. With RoomRaccoon’s small hotel management software, property owners have noticed a boost in bookings when they connect with Airbnb.

How Does Airbnb Work and What Is the Service Fee?

Airbnb is easy for guests, but becoming a host is more complex. Guests search and filter options, read about the host and property, and book in a few clicks. They can contact the host through the app or Airbnb for support.

Airbnb generates most of its revenue from the service fee charged to guests when they make a booking. The fee ranges from 14% to 16%. To list your property on Airbnb, it’s crucial to understand the requirements for hosts.

Once you list your property and start accepting bookings on Airbnb, they will charge you a commission fee similar to other online travel agencies. As a host, you control certain aspects of your property, such as amenities and unique features. For instance, you may offer airport pick-up and drop-off services. Additionally, you can set all your policies and terms and conditions that guests must comply with.

What Is the Difference Between Airbnb and Vrbo?

The difference between Airbnb and Vrbo is that Airbnb offers private rooms in shared spaces or unique spaces like campsites or igloos, as well as hotel rooms, while Vrbo only deals in stand-alone vacation homes. Vrbo has stricter listing restrictions compared to Airbnb, prohibiting shared spaces.

Below are additional distinctions in the main features they provide:

Property Types

  • Airbnb allows people to rent spare rooms, apartments, or houses.
  • Vrbo typically specializes in longer-duration vacation rental properties, including beach houses, cabins, condos, and villas, often suitable for families.

Hosts and Owners

  • Airbnb offers various properties, including boutique hotels, with multiple accommodations and styles.
  • Vrbo is primarily for property owners and rental managers who want to offer an independent vacation experience to travelers.

Booking Process

  • Airbnb enables guests to communicate with hosts, inquire about properties, ask questions, and negotiate terms before booking.
  • Vrbo offers instant bookings and a simple process for guests to view property details, availability, and rates.


  • Airbnb charges guests and hosts fees based on booking cost and length of stay.
  • Vrbo charges hosts an annual fee to list their properties, while guests may face booking fees.

Platform Focus

  • Airbnb encourages hosts to offer unique experiences, like guided tours, cooking classes, workshops, and accommodations.
  • Vrbo offers spacious vacation rentals for families and groups, emphasizing comfort, convenience, and privacy.

How to Start an Airbnb

Here are the steps to setting up your own Airbnb:

Step 1: The legal nitty-gritty

Starting your own Airbnb or listing your property on the platform can be a fantastic opportunity. To ensure a smooth process, check the legal requirements in your area. You may need to apply for a license or permit, depending on your location.

Step 2: Take those pictures

Craft an exciting listing with vivid photos and detailed descriptions to entice potential guests.

Step 3: Highlight your unique selling points

You’ll help your Airbnb guests feel at home by showcasing your amenities and nearby services. And remember, your friendly and welcoming personality is precisely what they’re searching for.

Step 4: Research your competition

Do competitor research to set appropriate rates based on the value you offer for your unique Airbnb property. RoomRaccoon’s CompSet dashboard is the perfect competitor analysis tool and will help you track your competition’s rates.

Step 5: Let’s go live!

Create your Airbnb profile to make your listing live. To make this process fun and seamless, you need a channel manager to expand your reach, manage your reservations, eliminate double bookings, and save significant time on manual work.

What Is a Reasonable Occupancy Rate for Airbnb?


Airbnb occupancy rates depend on various factors such as location, property type, time of year, demand, and listing quality. Hosts typically aim for an average rate of 60-65%, with anything above 65% considered high.

While there are rare instances where rates reach around 75%, these are typically outliers. The nationwide average Airbnb occupancy rate in the US stands at 48%.

Remember, as an Airbnb host, it’s crucial to balance your occupancy rate, weekend rate, and guest satisfaction to maximize income. Hosts may prefer lower occupancy but higher rates to attract longer stays or specific guests. Uncertain about the occupancy rate or how to calculate it? Utilize our complimentary occupancy rate calculator to stay proactive, informed and ahead of the game.

Thrive in Airbnb Hotel Management Using RoomRaccoon

RoomRaccoon’s software seamlessly integrates with Airbnb to automate tedious manual processes and expertly manage short-term rentals. Like Vive La Vie Guesthouse, you can achieve a 331% increase in RevPAR with our all-in-one solution.

With RoomRaccoon, you’ll get:

Booking engine – This will help you handle direct reservations from your website and other sources like Metasearch.

Channel manager – reservations are always up-to-date on all platforms, avoiding scheduling conflicts and increasing efficiency.

Front desk software– Our seamless integration with your channel manager and other systems ensures reliable data and guest information.

Website builder – Create a stunning website to increase profits and receive direct bookings so that your Airbnb guests can visit your site.


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Sini. M

Sini is an accomplished Content Manager at RoomRaccoon. As an agency-hailed talent, her work brings a fresh creative flair to the world of SaaS. And she brings her very own brand of sass to the SaaS world. While not on the clock, Sini enjoys a glass of fine wine, and well, her privacy.

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