When Kent He decided to try out Airbnb investing, he started by looking at data.
He used tools like AirDNA and PriceLabs to analyze rental demand across various cities and understand what types of guests were visiting certain areas.
After about six months of research, He settled on his market — Scottsdale, Arizona — and his niche: bachelorette parties.
He and his wife bought their first investment property in August 2021 and spent three months converting it into a bachelorette-themed Airbnb.
“Within a month of it going live, we had almost $100,000 in bookings,” he said. “It was pretty wild. I had done all my research, but there are no guarantees. It was really, really cool to see these bookings come in and see that people resonated with what we put out.”
Less than a year later, in February 2022, they purchased a similar property in Scottsdale that they also designed specifically for bachelorette trips. Insider verified He’s property ownership by looking at his closing statements and quit-claim deeds.
By June 2022, the cash flow from He’s two Airbnb units was enough to cover his family’s expenses and he quit his day job to go all-in on real estate.
2023 is shaping out to be a strong year earnings-wise. As of May 2023, the 34-year-old investor already had $243,000 worth of booked earnings between his two properties, which Insider verified by looking at his screenshots of his Airbnb dashboard.
He believes in niching down and understanding your guests so you can cater to them. Thanks to PriceLabs, he was able to pull a dataset of the top 200 Airbnb listings in Scottsdale. He then went to the reviews of the top listings and searched for keywords like “family” and “bachelorette.”
“About 40% of the reviews for the top 200 listings mentioned the words ‘bachelorette’ or ‘girls trip,'” he said. “That’s how we found an outsized opportunity in the market.”
From there, He designed a bachelorette-themed space.
It’s outfitted with a “beauty bar” with individual vanity mirrors.
One of the common spaces features a shuffleboard and a Peloton bike. He installed toe cages on the bike so that guests don’t have to bring their own spin shoes.
He said he spent $126,000 renovating the first Airbnb, he said, which included a lot of backyard upgrades, like installing turf.
The backyard also has a pool, lounge chairs, bar cart, and champagne pool floats.
When Airbnb users have so many options to choose from, you want your property to stand out. Color selection can help with that, explained He: “One of the podcasts I listened to talked about using contrasting colors on a color wheel to help ‘stop the scroll’ and get people to pay attention. We tried to pick colors that aren’t on the same side of the color wheel.”
“We wanted to make sure we had murals so that our guests could have an ‘Instagrammable moment’ and a place to take a group photo,” he said.
His wife designed the wall mural in the common space.
On another wall, he installed neon logo lights that say, ‘She said yes! We said Scottsdale!’
While the project took a lot of upfront work — He spent three months designing his first Airbnb — today, “most of the business is automated,” he said. “I spend about two to three hours a week working on my Airbnbs.”
His second Airbnb has similar features, including wall art, vanity mirrors, a foosball table, and a Peloton bike.
His second Airbnb also comes with a backyard space outfitted with a pool, fire pit, mural, and string lights.
He credits much of his success on Airbnb to understanding his guests and their needs. This is something that any host can do to stand out from their competition, he said. You just have to be willing to analyze data and reviews of existing rentals to figure out what type of person is typically visiting your market and then design a product that caters to that guest.
Besides designing a space that his guest will enjoy, He provides specific recommendations for his guests. Since he’s catering to bachelorette parties, he recommends restaurants that take reservations for large groups. He also provides referrals to excursions or activities in the area that this type of guest might like, such as group yoga or places to charter a boat.
“If you can help them plan their trip out a little bit better, it takes a lot of stress off the coordinator — and usually that coordinator is the person that’s going to be leaving your review,” said He. “So any way that you can understand the stresses in their life and reduce that stress, I think it comes out as a win.”
Axel Springer, Insider Inc.’s parent company, is an investor in Airbnb.