Charlotte is expecting to welcome up to 50,000 visitors—including 15,000 national and international journalists—when it hosts next year’s 2020 Republican National Convention (RNC). The convention will be held August 24-27th at the Spectrum Center in uptown.

This is the second time in 8 years that the Queen City has hosted a political party’s national convention. The city hosted the Democratic National Convention back in 2012, which brought in $163.6 million in economic activity. It's predicted that the 2020 RNC could bring an economic boost of up to $200 million.

Significant national events like the RNC and the associated tourism heighten business opportunities for local hospitality and services industries. The demand will be particularly high for accommodations. The RNC host committee has already reserved 17,000 hotel rooms in close proximity to the Spectrum Center. Airbnb historically has performed well when large events like this come into town and hotels are reaching peak booking capacity. While Airbnb used to serve as the solution to hotel shortages, many travelers now go to Airbnb as their first when picking a place to stay. While the number of hotel rooms in Charlotte has increased by 69% since 2012, active Airbnb listings in Charlotte has grown by 272% in the last three years alone, according to data from AirDNA.

Map of Charlotte's active entire home, private room, and share room Airbnb listings

There are currently 3,011 active listings on Airbnb in Charlotte and that number will only grow once 2020 RNC season is upon us. With new hosts looking to capitalize on the hype surrounding the convention, it's worth doing a refresher on what it takes to host your property on Airbnb for the first time.

1. Do your homework

Before jumping into Airbnb, make sure you understand local laws, zoning orders, and regulations as they pertain to running a short term rental in Charlotte. Beyond municipal laws, check to see if your HOA has set any rules or restrictions on renting out your property to short term guests. As a common courtesy, let your neighbors know that you will be hosting your home out to guests. If you've never hosted on Airbnb before, it might be helpful to do a hosting test run before the convention comes to town.

2. Prepare the space

Cleanliness is probably the top factor that a guest will evaluate your property on. Take time to thoroughly inspect and deep clean your property before someone comes to stay. Make sure that all utilities such as hot water and air conditioning are properly functioning. You also want to make sure your home is stocked with ample amenities for your guest, such as linens, cleaning supplies, cooking supplies, and bathroom supplies. If you've never stayed in an Airbnb before, it might be useful to take a quick staycation to see what other hosts are stocking their properties with and what was missing that you wish you would have had as a guest.

3. Create the right listing

When creating your listing, use the convention name somewhere in your listing title. This will boost your listing in search results as guests look for properties specifically for their trip to the RNC. Be sure to also reference how close it is to the Spectrum Center and any other Charlotte attractions and amenities. You want your listing to be descriptive and detailed so that potential guests can envision what it will be like to stay at your home.

In terms of booking settings, don't allow one night stays during the duration of your event. If someone books just one night, this cannibalizes your chance to get a booking for the full-duration of the event.

4. Getting the best bookings

Due to the large nature of the event, people will be looking for their RNC accommodations far in advanced. If you are thinking about renting out your property during the convention, now is the time to get it listed before the Airbnb market in Charlotte is completely oversaturated. But don't expect to retire on the money you'll make in the 4-day span. While you may see properties listing for thousands a night, set realistic rate expectations and know your bottom price line. You can try a higher price, but accept that you need to be flexible in adjusting your prices if no guests bite. If you're completely unsure of what to price your listing at, block off the RNC dates on your calendar so they can't be booked. Once you are able to gage accurate market prices closer to the event, open up your bookings again. For reference, at the last RNC in Cleveland, Airbnb hosts were able to increase their nightly rates by around 200%.

5. Mitigate potential risks

We've found that it's rare to get a bad Airbnb guest, but you should still be proactive in protecting yourself and your property from any potential risks. Make sure you remove any valuables or sentimental items from your home. You can also lock them up in a designated "owner's closet" that the guests won't be able to access. When it comes to bookings, never accept any requests to handle them outside of Airbnb's platform. While it may sound tempting to avoid paying hosting fees, going under the table will strip you of Airbnb's offered protections and make you more susceptible to scams.

Airbnb is a great way to share your city with incoming visitors while making money off of your existing assets. Just make sure you know what you are getting into before you get swept up into the hosting wave.

Looking to gain some more of the best hosting knowledge before you set your listing live for the 2020 RNC? Join us for our Hosting with Airbnb class.

Rabbu does not offer our Airbnb management services for homeowners or property investors looking to “flip” their homes into Airbnbs for a few days. If you are interested in full-time property management services to make money off Airbnb all year long, please click here and schedule a meeting with one of our host advisors to learn more.