Can You Be A Millionaires By Running An Airbnb?


Step 1: Take Some Property Porn

First of all, you’ve got to have some pretty kick-butt pictures to show off your unit. 80% of your marketing is in the pics! Now don’t do a lame-ass job with a 0.8 megapixel camera, and certainly don’t plaster your email address written in Comic Sans font on top of the pictures.

Hype-y headlines and copywriting sadly won’t make your unit stand out – pretty pictures do. Now with smartphones and apps like Instagram, it’s quite easy to take appealing pictures without expensive professional equipment. I used to do this by myself, but after I’ve made some cash (remember to treat this as a business – scared money don’t make money) I’ve pretty much outsourced it to professional photographers.

Pro tip: wedding photographers are a dime a dozen these days, and you can target those who are in-between wedding gigs. Since they are not dealing with picky brides they don’t usually charge an arm and a leg, but it’s good to haggle. I heard from a wedding planner friend that there is chronic oversupply of photographers (since any Tom, Dick and Harry can do this job given a little bit of talent and some cash to invest in equipment), and as Economics 101 would tell us, prices tend to go down with excessive supply. Budget for a couple hundred bucks for a good set of high resolution pictures.

Once you’ve gotten the pics, then it’s time to Photoshop them. I hate to make this somewhat sexist comparison, but Photoshop to pics is like makeup to women! Like it or not, you need to spruce up the pics digitally. The good news is that you can “Photoshop” pics now without the Photoshop software (which I heard can run into thousands of Ringgit). I use the following photo touch-up tools which are both free and easy to use:-

  • – possibly the best of the lot
  • – you can also use this for graphic design

Once you’ve finished applying the “make up” on your pics, depending on how high the resolution is, they may be too big to be uploaded into AirBnB. Use the following free tools to lower down the size without compromising too much on the quality:

  • – my favorite compression tool of choice for JPEGs. Also available as a paid desktop tool
  • – For PNG files mostly; it’s JPEG quality is quite meh
  • – you can choose how lossy you want your pictures to be (the lossier, the smaller the size)

Step 2: Get Kickbutt Five-Star Reviews

Remember that what you wanna do if you want your unit to be rented out consistently is to have awesomely great (not just good) reviews. Merely cleaning up your condo and giving out towels and fresh linen is no longer sufficient – it’s expected. In fact, expect your tenant to bitch about your cheapskate-ness if all you give them is a bottle of Tesco Everyday Value “3-in-1” shampoo, body wash and toothpaste.

What I’ve learned from renting my apartments to gwailos (I use this term endearingly, mind you) is that they are in Malaysia to experience local culture – that’s why they are avoiding the Sheratons and the Mandarin Orientals of KL. This is also the key to five star reviews: which greatly boost your listing’s profile on AirBnB. Here’s how I do it:


Those two things are what would typically give me five star ratings each time. Of course, there are also other important things like pricing, but I’ve found that I can even price above the average at about 10-15% more because of the plethora of 5-star ratings that I have on my listings. As any savvy businessperson will tell you, competing on price is a race to the bottom. Don’t cut your prices – instead, write better listings and provide a better service!

Short answer: you can’t. Sorry to burst your bubble. If you want to make lots of money quick, try running a scam instead. What I can show you here is how to make an extra couple of bucks on the side without having to hustle DVDs in the pasar malam or worse, peddle multi-level marketing scams . Given the increasing number of rich gwailos who continue to throng our country for cheap food, pirated DVDs and (ahem) friendly company, there’s lots of money to be made in the short-let niche. Let me show you how I do it.

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