How to Set Up an Airbnb Experience (Quick Guide)

AirHost Academy is a participant in affiliate marketing programs, such as the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. AirHost Academy is not affiliated with Airbnb or any of its underlying companies in any way.

Setting up an Airbnb experience is easier than you think.

All you have to do is go to the official Airbnb Experience page and apply. They’ll take you through it step-by-step.

In this article, we’ll give you tips and tricks to make sure that your activity idea is approved by Airbnb. Whether it’s a guided tour of local street art, a beginner’s surfing lesson, or a back woods hiking trip, you can start making money doing things you would’ve normally done in your free time.

How To Set Up an Airbnb Experience

The first thing you have to do, of course, is figure out exactly what Airbnb expects out of your Airbnb Experience.

The gist of it is this: Airbnb wants to be 100% sure that, whatever experience you’re trying to host, you can deliver a satisfying service to your (Airbnb’s) customers so that they don’t issue a complaint or refund, because that’s a headache they don’t want to have to deal with.

That means, according to Airbnb, you have to…

  • Be passionate and knowledgeable about what you’re doing.
  • Give your guests something to do. The activity should be hands-on, even if that just means walking. If it’s more of a sit-down experience, they should still be immersed in the activity in some way. It needs to be engaging.
  • Give guests an inside look at your community.
  • Tell a unique story from the host’s perspective.

Overall, it needs to be interesting, hands-on, and personal.

On the flip side, Airbnb doesn’t want:

  • crowded tours with too many people
  • a simple transportation service (car ride from the airport)
  • an event without a clear host

Airbnb Experience makes it clear that they want you to sell you. That means turning your passions into profit, or talking about a landmark in a way that’s more interesting than every other guide.

So don’t be afraid to stand out in a unique way.

The Three Categories of Airbnb Experiences

But, if you don’t know what to do, to help you narrow down what you should set up for your Airbnb experience, here are the three main categories:

  1. Culture and History
    • Show tourists around your city on a guided tour, usually with some sort of unique commentary about captivating landscapes.
  2. Food
    • Similar to guided walking tours, you can also host guided food tours, in which you show tourists the best places to eat in your city. Alternatively, you could host a cooking class for locals and tourists alike.
  3. Nature and Outdoor
    • Skiing/snowboarding lessons, surfing lessons, guided mountain hikes, and so on. If you’re doing anything outside, without any food or landmarks, it’s probably categorized under this option.

Once you have an idea of what you’d like to do:

  1. Take pictures of the experience. This is important. It’s one of the biggest things that determines your ranking in the search results, not just for your rental but also for your experience.
  2. Submit it for review.

In conclusion, as long as you’re trying to do something that you’re qualified to do, and it’s engaging and hands-on, you’ll likely be approved. Use common sense. Don’t try to host a horseback riding beach lesson if you’re not an experienced horseback rider.

5 Ideas for Airbnb Experiences

If you’re still having trouble coming up with an idea that you could use to set up an Airbnb Experience, ask yourself: What do I like to do with my friends? Or, better yet, what do my friends ask me to do with them?

This will give you a range of ideas to work with. You might say to yourself, “I don’t know what my friends like to do with me. All we do is go to the bars on the weekends.”


Previously, you might not have considered that drinking alcohol can make you money; now, you know that you can probably make some extra cash hosting pub crawls.

1. Show Tourists How to Cook Like a Local

Looking for ideas to help you set up an Airbnb Experience? Show guests how to cook with local ingredients.
Cheap ingredients; great food

This first one is inspired by a cooking class in Tokyo, Japan, titled “From Market to Meal.”

Two of the most popular reasons that people use Airbnb are: 1) because it’s less expensive, and 2) because it gives them a more authentic cultural experience.

This type of Airbnb experience, where you show travelers how to cook inexpensive, genuine meals — the type of meal that you eat every day — lines up perfectly with those values. This way, instead of eating out every day, your Airbnb guests can save money by cooking.

It’s a win/win.

2. Hands-On Activity Photoshoots

Tip #2: Always take photos for your guests.

Let’s be real for a second: people love to show off great travel photos. Sometimes I think it’s the only reason people visit certain places. But here’s the thing: very few people like to take photos of themselves because it feels so self-centered.

So, with that said, differentiate your Airbnb Experience by appealing to the traveler’s desire for great photos.

Instead of hosting a simple surfing lesson, host a surfing lesson and video shoot. Grab a Go-Pro and one of your friends and have them record the whole thing.

Guests might not admit it openly, but this is what sways them to pick you over the other activity.

Bonus Tip: For simpler activities (that don’t involve water or snow), use a polaroid camera. That way you can just hand the photo to your guest when you’re done.

3. Drinking and Drawing (or Painting)

Tip #3: Mix in alcohol

This one is always a blast. Instead of hosting a simple art lesson, combine it with alcohol.

When it comes to creating any type of art, people (especially beginners) are self-conscious and hesitant, even if you’re just showing them some simple brush-stroke techniques. No one wants to feel stupid, and trying new things can sometimes make people feel a little bit stupid.

Throw some alcohol into the mix and suddenly everyone has an excuse if they’re not doing so well.

The result: less anxiety and more fun.

4. Guided Hike

Tip #4: Keep it simple. Show your guests some great local hikes.

This is tried and true. If you enjoy the outdoors, you probably know of some great hiking spots in your area. The lesser known, the better. Remember: Airbnb doesn’t want you to host something that guests could easily do themselves.

So, find some way to differentiate your guided hike. Tell them an interesting story about the landscape or the history, or show them a unique, lesser-known trek.

5. Yoga

Tip #5: Exercise. No one likes to feel fat on vacation. Yoga is a cheap workout.

This one is perfect for vacationers and travelers. It’s often difficult to find a gym when you’re traveling from city to city, but no one likes to feel fat while they’re on vacation.

If you know yoga, it’s a cheap and easy activity to teach to others. All you’ll need for the start-up costs are a few extra yoga mats.


You can turn your passion into profit by setting up an Airbnb Experience.

Ask yourself, “What do I like to do with my friends?” and “What do my friends come to me for advice for?” Those two questions can help you narrow down exactly what you want to host for your Airbnb Experience.

If you’re still having trouble, let our examples guide you.

Then, all you have to do is take some pictures and wait for your experience to be approved.

Good luck!

About the Author Phil Sykora

Phil Sykora is a freelance writer from Cleveland, OH. His work is focused on the real estate industry covering short term rentals. Phil is currently living in Costa Rica taking advantage of "geoarbitrage." Phil combines his passion for travel with his short term rental experiences to offer hosts advice on how to make guests feel right at home.