A Beginners Guide To Starting an Airbnb

Kenya is one of the leading tourist destinations in Africa and the world. Its strategic position provides countless opportunities for people to exploit. With the increasing number of visitors who come for business or pleasure and the diverse culture throughout the country, these people require a home away from home experience and unique accommodation options.

AirBNBs and short-term rentals have revolutionized what it means to travel over the years. You might have been late at times and needed a place to spend the night. Or you might be looking for a place to spend the weekend away from your normal day-to-day activities. What do you do? Look for elegant, affordable accommodation areas for a day or several days. If you are an investor, you might wonder whether short-time rentals are profitable and how much revenue they can generate. Before we answer that, it’s essential to understand what they are, how much they cost, and what to expect.

How Much Does It Cost To Start an Airbnb?

The starting capital may vary depending on the location you choose, the equipment you may need, and the size of the house you rent. Also, additional costs may arise if you list your rental on platforms such as Jiji, Booking.com, and Tripadvisor. Also, you may require professional photos of your listing for the property to stand out.

If you want to charge a higher amount, you can upgrade or replace the furnishings and equipment to suit your client’s expectations.

Understand Your Upfront Costs

Renting and furnishing a house to fit your client’s needs may not be easy unless you plan to operate only as a lodging. You need high-quality equipment and furniture, redecorating, and purchase superior bedding, kitchenware, and mats. Even renting a single room, you will still need to invest well.

On average, setting up a superhost one-bedroom AirBNB may require a starting capital of about Ksh 150,000 to Ksh 250,000 or more. For a two-bedroom, you may need Ksh 200,000+. We can provide you with a simple breakdown of what the cost will incur:

  • Rent

  • WiFi (price may vary depending on the provider and size of the house)

  • High-quality bed, comfortable high-density mattress, and classic bedding (bed sheets, pillows, duvets, and decoration).

  • Furniture such as coffee tables, sofas, dining chairs and tables, an office desk and chair (for people who might prefer to work in the house), cabinets, wall units, and other furniture that a classy place should have

  • A smart/digital TV (Can be wall-mounted)

  • Music system

  • A flower vase

  • Kitchenware such as plates, glasses, knives, and bowls.

  • Laundry equipment and extra towels

  • Enough toiletries such as shampoo, soaps, shower gels

  • Pantry staples such as condiments, pepper, and salt.

  • Curtains

Keep the house fully furnished. You can provide additional amenities such as wine openers, ironing boards, a unique gallery, wall art, and entertainment equipment such as XBOX and PS gaming.

If you want to start small, you can begin with a classy and comfortable bed, mattress, bedding, classy sofas, coffee and dining tables, proper house décor, kitchenware, and cost-effective amenities such as a 32-inch TV digital TV.

Managing Expectations

AirBNBs perform well in towns and areas with large populations. However, with a proper marketing plan, your business will also thrive in a classy, serene place where people can escape their daily lives. For instance, you can set up one in areas such as:

  • Nanyuki town and its environs, such as Muthaiga, Thingithu, Baraka, and Like.

  • Throughout Nairobi. You can set up a low-cost rental in areas such as Kasarani, Mwiki, Ngara, Buruburu, Roysambu, Donholm, or even the CBD. You can also set up in places like Westlands, Lavington, Kilimani, Kileleshwa, and Karen.

  • Kiambu in areas like Kiambu town, Limuru, Thika, and Juja

  • Nyeri town

  • Around Karatina town

  • Embu

  • Meru

  • Nakuru

  • Coastal areas near the beach, such as Mtwapa, Mombasa, Shanzu, Malindi, Lamu, Sori, Kilifi

Select the location near:

  • The coast or beach such as Kilifi, Malindi, and Mombasa

  • In the CBD, such as in Nairobi or Nakuru

  • Near major tech hubs such as along Ngong Road, Thika Road, and Waiyaki Way in Nairobi.

  • Near shopping malls and eateries, such as along Thika Rd, Roysambu, Kasarani, Kilimani, and Lang’ata.

  • Near tourist attractions like Ol Pajeta, Mount Kenya, Namanga, Naivasha, Tsavo, Masai Mara, Karen, and Lang’ata Rd.

  • In areas such as Nyahururu, Kisumu, and Nyamira.

How Much Can You Make

To make the most out of the Airbnb business in Kenya, you need an in-depth understanding of the accommodation landscape and the current trends in the market. If you rent a strategically positioned place, such as near shopping malls, tourist attraction sites such as Masai Mara, near the beach, or entertainment joints, your house will be fully booked throughout the year. This means more profit for you.

Initially, you can rent your house for Ksh 1500 to Ksh 4000 per day for a one-bedroom, although the price may vary depending on the location and amenities available. This equates to between Ksh 51,000 to Ksh 135,000 per month. The price may be higher in high-end areas such as Lavington, Kilimani, Karen, Runda, and Kitisuru.

Keep the following questions in mind when deciding on your pricing:

  • What are the other AirBNBs in the area charging? Is the price range per night low or high?

  • Is your house fully furnished and well-equipped?

  • How much is the rent?

  • Which amenities are around?

  • Are there many similar properties in the area?

Calculate the Risks and Propose a Mitigation Plan

Like other businesses, AirBNBs also have risks. Be aware of potential risks you may expect and devise a mitigation plan. Some risks that may arise include:

  • High prices that sites like Booking.com and TripAdvisor may charge.

  • Sketchy guests that may cause damage to walls and your equipment.

  • Annoying neighbors and landlords.

AirBNBs can be highly profitable if you do everything right. With proper marketing, you will have the house overbooked, with visitors for even 27 days per month.

2 thoughts on “A Beginners Guide To Starting an Airbnb

    1. We appreciate your comment Dan. We have another a more detailed guide coming up soon. Keep checking out our website for great content.

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