How To Start An Airbnb In Canada

Airbnb has forever transformed the way people travel to new places.

Where once travelers had to choose between hotels or high-priced vacation rentals, Airbnb opened up a new middle ground where you can find the right place for your needs and within your budget.

Not only this, but Airbnb also gave home and property owners new opportunities to earn extra revenue. This revenue can be a great new stream of income and even help some homeowners keep up with their mortgage payments over time. 

In this article, we discuss everything you need to know about starting an Airbnb venture in Canada. From what you need to get started to key considerations regarding local regulations and policies, this article takes you step-by-step through starting a successful Airbnb business in Canada. 

Keep reading to learn about how to start an Airbnb business, get it off the ground, and begin welcoming guests from all over the world into your home. 

What is an Airbnb?

Based in San Francisco, California, Airbnb is a vacation rental business that allows homeowners to easily rent out their living spaces to eager travelers.

Airbnb is, at its core, an online platform that directly connects travelers to hosts to help people find their perfect place to stay. Rather than staying in traditional hotels or motels, Airbnb helps travelers find and choose from a wide range of different accommodations, including:

  • Entire homes
  • Condominiums
  • Private Rooms
  • Cottages
  • Tiny Homes

There are even more unique stays built around a specific experience, such as treehouses or glamping sites.

Overall, Airbnb has revolutionized the hospitality industry, allowing more people to take greater ownership of their properties while also creating a memorable experience for guests. 

What is an Airbnb Business?

An Airbnb business is an umbrella term describing the act of renting your property out to guests through the Airbnb platform. By offering unique spaces, local insights, and personalized hospitality, you can create an experience that wins excellent reviews and keeps guests coming back for more. 

This can be a part-time venture to supplement your income or a full-time business if you have multiple properties to rent out — though not all areas in Canada permit you to rent multiple properties.

According to Airbnb News, Canadian Airbnb hosts have earned CAD$7.1 billion since 2010. The most recent annual data from 2021 reveals that the average Airbnb business has annual earnings of $9,600. 

How Airbnb Works for Hosts

To start an Airbnb business, you must first become an Airbnb host. There are a few key steps you must follow. 

The first crucial step is setting up your Airbnb host account. To start hosting, you must visit the Airbnb Hosts Setup page after creating your free account. From this page, you can also get a free estimate of how much money you can earn per night in a given location.

Airbnb Setup also provides additional features, such as:

Superhost Guidance

Airbnb connects you with a fellow superhost in your area who will guide you through setting up your first Airbnb listing.

This is a great opportunity to ask other hosts questions about creating a great Airbnb experience, setting house rules, and gaining other insights about the vacation rental industry from a pro host in your area.

Experienced First Guest

For your first reservation, you can opt to rent exclusively to an experienced guest who has at least three recorded stays on Airbnb and a great guest rating. Not only does this ensure your first experience renting out your vacation property is good, but it also gives you the chance to gain meaningful feedback from a guest who has experience with other vacation rentals.

Specialized Support

Airbnb provides specialized support to its hosts from specially-trained Community Support agents. For new hosts using Airbnb Setup, you gain one-tap access to these support agents for everything from billing to account issues. 

Once you have your account set up and ready to go, your next major step is creating your first Airbnb listing.

10 Steps for Starting an Airbnb Business in Canada

Now that you know the basics of becoming an Airbnb host in Canada, let’s walk through the specific steps to follow to list and start a successful Airbnb business:

1. Complete Airbnb Market Research

Always take the time to research the Airbnb market in your area before posting your first Airbnb listing. Your goals during this research period should be to analyze your competition, identify unique selling points, and determine the overall demand for different types of accommodations in your area.

2. Learn Your Local Regulations and Rules

Familiarize yourself with the local laws and regulations that govern short-term rentals in your city or region, such as business license requirements, taxes, and zoning restrictions. Different areas within Canada have stricter rules than others, so it is extremely important to look into local laws and regulations that could potentially impact your vacation rental business.

Following your local regulations ensures you never end up in hot water with the legal authorities in your area. 

3. Setting Up an Airbnb Account

If you haven’t already, now is the time to set up your Airbnb account as a host through Airbnb Setup. You will be asked to include a profile picture and biography about yourself, so make sure to include a professional headshot that clearly shows your face and a welcoming bio that ensures guests that you are trustworthy.  

4. Preparing Your House for Airbnb Guests

Like any other vacation rental property, it is important to make sure your rental is guest-ready prior to welcoming anyone.

Along with thoroughly cleaning, you should take the time to optimize the layout of your interior design. Additionally, make sure your property is stocked with the essentials a guest could expect at a standard hotel, such as toilet paper, clean towels, clean linens, extra pillows and blankets, and toiletries.  

5. Listing Your Airbnb 

Once your account is set up, it’s time to craft an appealing listing that highlights the features of your property and local attractions. Make sure to list all of the amenities offered at your property, such as a pool, fireplace, whether you allow pets or not, etc.

Be honest about what guests can expect, highlight any house rules, and showcase what makes your space unique.

6. High-Quality Photos

You should either take high-quality photos yourself or hire a professional photographer to capture great images of your Airbnb property for your listing. 

When users are browsing Airbnb, the first thing they will often see are your photos. If you have great photos they will be more inclined to click on your listing, learn more about your property, and ultimately, you will get more bookings.

7. Creating a Simple Airbnb Check-In Process

The simpler your check-in process is, the more likely your guest is to arrive without any unforeseen problems. Always provide clear instructions for accessing your Airbnb property, whether through keyless entry, lockboxes, or in-person check-in.

Ideally, you should try to be available during the time window when a guest is expected to check in to answer any questions they have or problems they encounter. 

8. Cancellation Policy

With Airbnb, you get to choose your cancellation policy. In the beginning, while you are building up reviews and your account, you may want to be more flexible. As time goes on and your listing becomes more popular, you can choose to be more strict with your cancellation policy.

9. Reviews

Building up good reviews for your Airbnb business will help draw in more customers and will also allow you to eventually charge more per night. When you have five-star reviews, it shows users that they can trust your listing and that what you have listed is an accurate representation of your property.

Be sure to read all of your reviews to see if there are any guest complaints. You can use these to make changes to your Airbnb property to create a better stay for guests.

10. Managing Your Airbnb Long-Term

Managing your Airbnb long-term comes down to consistent communication with guests and thorough maintenance between stays.

As your business grows, you may even consider investing in an Airbnb management service to help you keep up with your guests’ needs and ensure your property is well-maintained throughout the year. Hiring a property manager will also allow you to spend more time on other business ventures.

Pros and Cons of Being an Airbnb Host

Becoming an Airbnb host in Canada comes with both pros and cons that are worthwhile to consider.

While an Airbnb business can be an excellent source of additional revenue, there are always going to be extra costs and expenses involved. Keeping this in mind, let’s dive into the advantages and challenges of running an Airbnb business in Canada:

The Pros of Airbnb in Canada

Extra Income

Rental income through hosting can be lucrative, especially during peak travel seasons. If you have a well-positioned property that is unique, make sure to highlight all the benefits and activities in the surrounding area of your property’s location.

All of these can serve as additional selling points to attract more guests to your vacation rental.

Flexibility

With an Airbnb rental, you decide when to open up your home or property to guests. You can easily adjust the availability of your Airbnb listings according to your schedule.

For instance, if you live somewhere else for part of the year, you could set your availability to be open during the months when you are away from your primary residence. 

Cultural Exchange

Hosting travelers from different backgrounds offers an opportunity for many cross-cultural interactions. If you are interested in the social aspect of being an Airbnb host, this can be an excellent chance to learn about new cultures and meet people from all over the world.

Make sure to set clear expectations for your guests and be mindful of their preferences!

Personalization

As the property owner, you can infuse your unique style into your space to attract guests, creating a memorable experience for guests that reflects your personality and aesthetic.

If you have ever gone on vacation and found yourself thinking about how you could improve upon your rental experience, hosting is the best opportunity to make those thoughts a reality. 

Business Growth

With careful planning and optimization, you can turn your Airbnb venture from a side hustle into a full-time job.

It is important to note that compared to other countries, many provinces in Canada have stricter Airbnb rules regarding owning and renting multiple properties. It is super important to know where you are allowed to do so to grow your Airbnb business.

The Cons of Airbnb in Canada

Time and Effort

Hosting demands time for cleaning, communication with guests, property maintenance, and often high startup costs.

For many Airbnb hosts, outsourcing these tasks to management companies or other third-party cleaning services and maintenance companies is an effective choice — however, this can accrue additional expenses that take away from your final profit value. 

Regulatory Hurdles

Navigating local laws and regulations can be complex and time-consuming, especially within Canada. Depending on what province or city your property is in, you may be required to live in the property as a primary residence in order to rent it out as an Airbnb.

Most short-term rental regulations are determined by the Department of Tourism or similar departments (Ministry of Tourism, Department of Consumer Protection, etc.). 

Privacy Concerns

Sharing your home means sacrificing some level of privacy, especially if you plan on renting your primary residence. This can also present privacy concerns for guests as well, requiring Airbnb hosts to follow strict policies that respect the privacy of both themselves and their guests.

Check out Airbnb’s official Help Center for more information on privacy protections. 

Variable Income

Rental income from operating an Airbnb can be inconsistent due to fluctuations in bookings and seasonal travel patterns. This makes it incredibly important to complete thorough research beforehand so that you know what times of year to expect the most reservations, allowing you to plan accordingly with your finances. 

Risk of Negative Experiences

Unhappy guests or negative incidents can impact your Airbnb listing’s reputation. While bad reviews alone may not be enough to get you booted from the platform, they can impact your overall rating score and the number of rental inquiries you get from potential guests.

To overcome the challenge of negative reviews, read up on how to handle a bad review on the Airbnb Resource Center. 

Final Thoughts

If you are looking to start an Airbnb business in Canada, it can be an exciting and rewarding endeavor with proper planning. 

With enough effort and ingenuity, you can create an exceptional guest experience that creates lasting memories and keeps them coming back for more — and even referring other potential guests your way. 

In Canada, one of the most important aspects is to look into your local laws and regulations before you get started. This will help you determine if starting an Airbnb business is going to work for you or not.

What matters most is taking the time to plan effectively and go into this new business venture with a solid understanding of what to expect. Growing any business takes time, so don’t feel discouraged if you start out slow. Additionally, you should always strive to continuously improve your Airbnb rental according to the feedback you receive from guests. 

Remember, the key to a thriving Airbnb business is being an exceptional Airbnb host. This means providing a unique experience that keeps guests coming back and sharing their positive reviews with others to attract initial bookings.

If you are looking to start an Airbnb business, our team at S&T Properties can help you start your hosting journey. Reach out to us for advice and help with managing your property and maximizing your ROI.

Table of Contents

Looking for a Property Manager for your Vacation Rental property?

We have years of experience ensuring investors get the most out of their vacation property. Contact us to find out more.

Related Posts

Harvest Cafe Outdoor Sign
Harvest Cafe Canmore, Review

With a variety of cozy eats and dishes suitable for all dietary concerns, Harvest Cafe is the perfect place for a stop off enroute to

Market Bistro's Salmon Tartare with avocado dish
Review of Market Bistro, Canmore

We visited Market Bistro in Three Sister’s Village on a Saturday around noon. Located just under 10 minutes from Canmore, the restaurant is easily accessible

Graze Food & Drink outdoor seating area with menu board and background view of the mountains
Graze Food & Drink, Canmore Review

Located at 102-717 8 Street, Canmore, Graze Food & Drink had a bustling atmosphere, with almost every table occupied on our Saturday morning visit.  Interior