What you need to know before opening an Airbnb business in Kenya

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Firstly, Airbnb is the same as any other business venture although it involves renting spaces in the form of an apartment or house to those who are out, traveling, or just wanting to have a party and have fun. It’s a growing business in Kenya, and it’s a great opportunity to wait for people to grab them as soon as possible, not yet reaching their full potential. Nairobi leads with 1,000 of the 1,800 listings in Kenya, and the forecast highlights potential business growth.

How to start an Airbnb business in Kenya

Starting an Airbnb business in Kenya can be majorly rewarding to your business as the country is currently thriving in the Airbnb business. 2018 was the year Nairobi was ranked third among the cities with the highest number of Airbnb establishments in Africa, showing the country’s trend towards technology to solve regional solutions. 

Although the effects of Covid-19 continue to squeeze resources from households, Airbnb continues to become a popular side hustle, especially in major cities like Nairobi.

Important documents to have when operating an Airbnb business in Kenya 

  • Evidence of insurance cover for the premises.
  • Copy of the current health clearance certificate of less than three months old.
  • Medical Certificate of food handlers.
  • Letter of ‘no objection’ from NEMA.
  • EIA for brand-new facilities / environmental audit for existing facilities.
  • Compliance to tourism or space development plans.
  • Copy of lease agreement/ deed of conveyance of premises.
  • Work/ entry allows for non – Kenyans concerned within the business and copies of testimony for non- resident directors.
  • Certificate of registration of company (new applicants).
  • Memorandum and articles of Association (new applicants).

Cost of starting an Airbnb business in Kenya 

As with any business across Kenya, you must issue a single business license to conduct peaceful activities without county government interference. 

The average merchant category cost for one business license is approximately Ksh 10,000. 

Other Airbnb hosting costs include a National Environmental Protection Agency (NEMA) license fee, home insurance, and a 1% digital services tax applicable to all other services offered in the digital marketplace.  As a registered company, you also  pay 16% VAT.

The average salary for an Airbnb business owner is about Ksh 107,000 per month, and the median salary is Ksh 50,996. Some people make more than Ksh 1,159,000 ($10,000) a month, and others can earn less than Ksh 23,180 ($200). If you have an empty house or empty room in your home, it is advisable that you should start an Airbnb business in Kenya.

Requirements of starting an Airbnb business in Kenya 

1. Find a house 

This is the most important factor to get started as an Airbnb host. If you don’t have a home, you can find one and  decide  whether to welcome guests in one room in the home, to welcome guests throughout the home, or what kind of hospitality to offer. You can also provide an experience on Airbnb. Here we take  guests on a walking tour of the city. 

 2. Sign in on Airbnb 

 If you don’t have an Airbnb account, go to airbnb.com to sign in, or if you have one, sign in and  select the List Your Space home page. You will then be asked to enter general details about  the property, such as, Number of rooms available, facilities, type of house, etc.

3. Pricing of rooms 

Airbnb will usually suggest a price you should charge based on the information you provide during the signup process. For beginners, we recommend starting with a lower offer rate because your profile is new and has  few or no reviews. The more reviews you get, the more guests and other credentials you earn. 

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4. Headlines and Summary 

Headlines are usually the first impression people make on their readers. Captions on Airbnb are limited to 35 characters, so hosts need to come up with a unique, eye-catching title that grabs their guests’ attention. Hosts can further describe what makes their place unique or better, and summarize the main features offered.

5. Calendar 

This site gives you the option to specify the availability of your home or how long  your listing will be listed on Airbnb for guests to book with you. We recommend that you mark your home/room as “always,” “sometimes,” or “once” according to the app so that guests booking your listing will know if it is available or not.

6. Available amenities

In order to attract the attention of other users/buyers, you should choose the most attractive amenity for your advertisement. Some of the common things that may be listed in the Amenities section are home security measures, security guards, extra rooms, etc.

7. Pictures of the room

When customers buy some items online, they require a picture of the item they intend to buy to know if it’s really what they are wanting/looking for. Hosts may post photos to showcase the unique features of their listing. High-quality photos are highly recommended and should be as eye-catching as possible, as the first three photos are used to build up the list box before buyers decide whether to click on the post or not.

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