Ten years ago, few homeowners would even consider the notion of taking in borders or renting their home for the weekend. Then along came Airbnb, an online service that allows you to seamlessly rent a room, an apartment or an entire house to short-term guests. Virtually overnight, it became simple, safe, profitable—even fun—to share your digs with total strangers.
Launched in 2008, Airbnb now offers bookings in 191 countries, totaling 4 million listings—more than the top five hotel brands combined, according to Business Insider. Listings are free. Airbnb takes a 3 percent commission of every booking from the host, and 5-15 percent from guests. Each listing shows photos of the property and details of local amenities. Guests are encouraged to rate their stays; good ratings increase a location’s profile. Hosts, in turn, are encouraged to rate their guests.
A verified ID system confirms the hosts’ and the guests’ identities, assuring safety. The system helps hosts set pricing by indicating averages in their area. There is no exchange of money in person; the guest pays in full when booking.
Airbnb’s listings stretch around the globe. New Jersey alone has more than 300 Airbnbs. You can find anything from a private room in an urban condo to an 11-bedroom house at the Shore.
Naturally, it takes some preparation to list your home—and good practices to climb the ratings ladder. We asked two top-rated Garden State Airbnb hosts to share their success stories.