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 to 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 becoming a great Canadian Airbnb host. 

Keep reading to learn about how to get your Airbnb business 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 company 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 over 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 hosts have earned CAD$7.1 billion since 2010. The most recent annual data from 2021 reveals that the average Airbnb host’s annual earnings were $9,600. 

How Airbnb Works for Hosts

To become a host on Airbnb, there are a few key steps you must follow. 

The first crucial step is setting up your Airbnb host account. To do so, you must visit the Airbnb Host 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 questions about creating a great Airbnb experience with insights from a pro host in your exact area or region.
  • Experienced First Guest: For your first reservation, you can opt to rent exclusively to an experienced guest that has at least three recorded stays on Airbnb and a great guest rating. Not only does this ensure your first experience renting out your Airbnb is good but it also gives you the chance to gain meaningful feedback from a guest who has experience with other rentals.
  • Specialized Support: Airbnb provides specialized support to its host 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 listing — which we will discuss in greater depth momentarily. 

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 being an Airbnb host 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 being an Airbnb host in Canada:

The Pros of Airbnb in Canada

  • Extra Income: Hosting can provide a lucrative income stream, especially during peak travel seasons. If you have a well-positioned property that is close to major attractions, in walking distance of a bustling city or downtown neighborhood, or nestled into the quiet countryside, all of these can serve as additional selling points to attract more guests. 
  • Flexibility: With Airbnb, you decide when to open up your home or property to guests. You can easily adjust the availability for a specific listing 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 hosting, this can be an excellent chance to learn about new cultures and meet people from all over the world. Just make sure to set clear expectations for your guests and be mindful of their preferences!
  • Personalization: You can infuse your unique style into your space, creating a memorable experience for guests that reflects your personality and aesthetic as a host. 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-blown business. Compared to other countries, many provinces in Canada have stricter Airbnb rules regarding owning and renting multiple properties, making it highly 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, and property maintenance. For many hosts, outsourcing these tasks to management companies or other third-party cleaning 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 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: 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 hosting reputation and overall experience. 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. 

7 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 specifics steps to follow to get your first Airbnb venture started:

  1. Complete Airbnb Market Research: Always take the time to research the Airbnb market in your area before posting your first 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 Airbnb Rules and Regulations: Familiarize yourself with the local laws and regulations that govern short-term rentals in your city or region, such as business permit requirements, taxes, and zoning restrictions. While you may be able to slide under the radar in areas with many Airbnbs, following your local regulations ensures you never end up in hot water with the legal authorities in your area. 
  3. Preparing Your House for Airbnb Guests: Prior to welcoming any guests into your property, make sure the rental is guest-ready and prepared to impress. Along with thoroughly cleaning, you should take the time to optimize the layout of your interior design. Additionally, make sure you 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.  
  4. 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 you are trustworthy.  
  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. Be honest about what guests can expect, and showcase what makes your space unique. Additionally, you should either take high-quality photos yourself or hire a professional photographer to capture great images of your property for your listing. 
  6. 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 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. 
  7. 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.  

Final Thoughts

Starting an Airbnb business in Canada can be an exciting and rewarding endeavor with proper planning. 

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

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 providing exceptional hospitality and a unique experience that keeps guests coming back and sharing their positive reviews with others.

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