Self-proclaimed as “The #1 Airbnb training program”, The Airbnb Course by Nathan Rice is a 10-module step-by-step program that teaches you how to set up your first Airbnb listing anywhere in the United States in as early as 2 days using rental arbitrage or Airbnb arbitrage.
The ultimate goal is for you to eventually create an Airbnb automated business so that you can fully enjoy a passive income without worrying about the traditional disadvantages of this e-commerce model, such as guest communication and daily checking of price points.
Nevertheless, even with automation software, becoming a successful Airbnb business owner requires you to spend at least a few hours each day checking your listings. This can become longer during peak vacation seasons, such as Thanksgiving or Christmas. Further, let’s not forget that Airbnb, inherently, requires you to establish some sort of relationship with your guests.
This makes Airbnb an active business model; that is, the amount of money you earn each month is directly related to how hard (or long) you work. But there are other business options, such as local lead generation, that can earn you thousands of dollars each month without you having to check your website every day. This business model is one of the best examples of passive business opportunities in the market today: After setting up your website, you can then leave it alone and it will continue to earn money for you.
I should also mention that The Airbnb Course hasn’t been updated since 2019, so there are several new updates that this course doesn’t cover - impacting its relevance for today’s owners, especially when it comes to automation.
So, is Nathan Rice’s plan for Airbnb automation still viable today? Let's discuss this in this The Airbnb Course review.
Self-paced program to create an Airbnb automated business
Experienced and successful mentor
Pretty decent price
One-on-one coaching is an added expense
Glosses over the more intricate details on setting up a listing per state
14-day money-back guarantee
How does Airbnb automation work & what should you automate?
Airbnb belongs in the hospitality industry and is therefore reliant on customer relationships. As an online marketplace for vacation rentals and short or long-term stays, the platform encourages owners (such as yourself) to constantly communicate with their guests.
This can become a problem if you have multiple listings. Ideally, you should be responding to all inquiries in around 3 hours and accommodate all requests within 24. It is also basic etiquette to prevent double bookings and manage the cleaning schedules for all properties in a week.
It can become overwhelming, so there are various Airbnb automated software that you can download to help lighten the load. Still, you would need to know how to use them and input the templates for greeting your guests or managing your cleaners.
This is where The Airbnb Course comes in. Nathan Rice teaches you how to automate as much as you can so that you can just focus on setting up more properties to rent out. But, Nathan fails to mention that even when you “automate”, you’d still need to check your real estate listings every few weeks (at least).
Let’s look at the five things that Nathan recommends you automate:
Nathan says that your number one priority is to ensure a positive Airbnb experience. This fast-tracks your business to become a “Superhost” and increases the likelihood of getting consistent 5-star reviews.
One way to enhance the guest experience is to consistently message them before, during, and after their stay. You should automate this process and have software send various messages at different times, including a booking confirmation message and responding to a booking inquiry using standard response templates.
There are many available Airbnb automation software that manage all your real estate listings in a single dashboard to prevent double bookings. An Airbnb management software can also sync your calendars and keep them updated.
Vacation rentals are seasonal and tend to fluctuate, especially during peak seasons. It is important that you can price your properties competitively and this includes doing real estate market research and determining how much you can charge per night. An automation software can do all this for you.
It is so important for you to regularly clean your properties, especially if one of your listings is popular and has back-to-back bookings. An automation software can help you better manage your housekeeping by alerting your cleaners after each guest check-out.
An automation software can also help your cleaners get in touch with you about any property damage or missing items.
Smart home management
This is great if you have listings in different cities or states. Before, you would have to physically meet with your guest when they arrive to hand over the keys and any other important documents. Today, however, you can automate this process and leave keys in a smart locker or install a smart lock that guests can open on their own.
You can take this a step further and install other smart technologies from smart thermostats to smart lighting to improve your guest experience and make them feel more comfortable. It is also a selling point as having a smart home allows you to charge more.
KEEP IN MIND:
Nathan mentions the need for automation, but it’s unclear whether he’ll recommend a specific software for you to use. Regardless, subscribing to an app or software costs money. Some charge a flat-rate monthly fee, while others charge a percentage based on how many sales you make. You should remember this when listing your expenses.
Does Airbnb automation kill authenticity?
As mentioned earlier, Nathan says that the guest experience is the most important thing you should consider. While he says that you should automate your business as much as you can, he also stresses that you need to always be on standby for emergencies and unusual guest requests.
This creates a dilemma that you will need to figure out on your own. How much automation, especially for guest communication, should you have?
Nathan doesn’t directly answer this, but there seems to be a contradiction to some of his modules, particularly in striking that balance between hospitality and technology - leaving you to wonder, is this really as passive a business model as Nathan suggests?
Other factors you need to know in setting up an Airbnb business
Becoming an Airbnb host is not a plug-and-play system. To master Airbnb, especially in the US, you must be aware of the different property hosting laws in each state. You also need to know how much you can charge per night by city and state, how much competition is out there, and what factors determine 5-star guest reviews.
For example, according to Airbnb itself, cleanliness, check-in, and communication are the three most important factors in getting a great Airbnb review. The company values Superhosts who have 100% 5-star ratings for all three categories, with a minimum of 100 reviews.
This is why, even with automation, Airbnb requires you to always be online. If you want to become a Superhost and be able to charge more, you need to get great reviews. However, for you to GET great reviews, you need to offer a great customer experience - and this includes answering their questions, if any, as soon as possible.
Take note as well that Airbnb charges 3% of your total earnings each month.
Why you should aim to become a Superhost
It’s important to become an Airbnb Super host, because your listings are usually listed first and can charge more. Superhosts likewise earn a $100 coupon every year that they keep their status. They can use this coupon in any Airbnb booking in the world.
The Superhost status cannot be bought and needs to be earned (It can also be removed by Airbnb at any time). For you to become a Superhost, you need to have:
The recent updates in Airbnb hosting
Remember that The Airbnb Course was last updated in 2019. Not only was this a few years ago, but the pandemic hit the world in 2020, causing massive changes in how many businesses, including Airbnb, manage their properties.
In May 2022, Airbnb launched its Airbnb setup which is a free coaching program for the new Airbnb entrepreneur to speak with a Superhost. You can argue that this program may not be as in-depth as The Airbnb Course, but it’s something you can consider to save money.
The platform also added six new categories of homes, which determines the way your property is displayed to interested guests.
What’s inside The Airbnb Course - Pro?
The main program of The Airbnb Course is the Pro version.
Nathan focuses on sub-letting a vacation or short term rental from a landlord or property owner. This is so that you can have multiple listings quickly and potentially earn easy residual income. This is a little similar to the Beyond BnB Secrets program by Dr. Chau.
It’s important that you keep this in mind, as this means that you won’t be investing in your own property, nor will you be hosting a property for anything longer than a week.
- Module 1: Focus on the guest experience - You need to set yourself apart from other hosts by providing a different or simply memorable guest experience. Your goal is to receive a positive review after each stay. This is something that the Live the Off Grid Dream Course recommends as well - you need to make your property different and have a "wow" factor.
- Module 2: Research on city laws and restrictions - Nathan teaches you how to forecast profit based on the state you’re interested in setting up an Airbnb rental.
- Module 3: Know how to open a business account - This shows you how to set up a business entity so that you pay the proper taxes.
- Module 4: Get the right property - Nathan shows you how to talk to landlords. (As a bonus, he’ll also teach you the most profitable areas in your city to invest in to create the best listing).
- Module 5: Prepare your property for guests - The Airbnb Course goes over the entire inventory process, including everything you need to set up a new property from q-tips to linens.
- Module 6: Set up your listing - Nathan offers templates you can use to create an attractive listing. He will also teach you how to write great Airbnb property descriptions that sell.
- Module 7: Communicate with your guests - As part of his automation plan, Nathan shows you the correct messaging sequences you should follow when talking to your potential guest before, during, and after their stay.
- Module 8: Manage your property - Nathan shares his daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly processes so that you can keep your vacation rental clean and ready to accommodate guests at any time.
- Module 9: Automate your processes - You’re taught how to eventually automate five processes in your Airbnb account.
- Module 10: Learn other opportunities & best practices - You’ll learn Airbnb secrets on upselling. Nathan will also discuss other ways to become a better host and property manager.
You'll also receive these bonuses:
BONUS 1: Complete messaging system - Exact wording that you can use to talk to your guests.
BONUS 2: Editable templates - These create professional materials that you can place inside your property, for your guests’ reference.
BONUS 3: Technology guide for hosts - Includes a cheat sheet of everything Nathan uses for his own Airbnb businesses.
BONUS 4: The Airbnb Course Pro in audiobook format - This allows future hosts to listen to the course as a podcast.
KEEP IN MIND:
The modules vary in length from 22 minutes to 112 minutes. All the videos (or audio files) are available for life and can be studied at your own pace.
Nathan Rice’s supplemental course
If you’re a more experienced Airbnb host, you can choose the supplemental program of The Airbnb Course, The Airbnb Course Home Sharing. This is a 9-module program spread over 36 lessons.
Nathan is unclear about what he offers in this program, but it supposedly includes additional Airbnb rental arbitrage content beyond what is taught in the Pro version. If you're looking for a more in-depth course on rental arbitrage, you can read my review for BnB Formula.
This program also costs $997 and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee instead of the 14-day guarantee in The Airbnb Course - Pro.
Airbnb coaching call with Nathan Rice
If you want to talk with Nathan personally about your rental property, you can schedule a 30-minute coaching call with Nathan for $89. Take note that this is $89 per call.
Who is Nathan Rice?
Nathan is an experienced Airbnb host who first started in 2015. After feeling unfulfilled in his corporate job, he decided to become an Airbnb entrepreneur. He has a YouTube channel and Facebook page, but these are not updated as well.
His mission is to teach other future hosts how to build a successful Airbnb hosting business.
Does The Airbnb Course offer free training?
Nathan offers a 3-part free video series training and a free guidebook on how to fill your Airbnb calendar. The training is actually quite educational and gives a great introduction to what you’ll learn on the Pro course.
Still, these courses haven’t been updated since 2019.
Are the reviews for The Airbnb Course good?
There are many positive reviews on the official website. Strangely, there are no reviews about the course on other sites. Take note that most of the reviews were also posted in 2019.
CONCLUSION: Is The Airbnb Course worth it?
Is this the best Airbnb course out there? Probably not. There are many other programs that teach you how to set up an Airbnb business and are constantly updated to be relevant in these times. These programs are also pretty transparent on how different states govern Airbnb hosting.
Still, Nathan is one of the few teachers who focuses on Airbnb automation, though he seems to struggle with finding the balance between automation and authenticity - emphasizing the need for great communication with an Airbnb guest, but also saying that these customer service processes can be done with a machine.
Airbnb hosting is a fulfilling career, but it’s not suitable for everyone. In particular, to be a great Airbnb host, you need to take the time each day to check the Airbnb platform and adjust to the ever-changing vacation rental market. No matter how much you automate certain processes, Airbnb hosting will never be a passive business model, and anyone who says otherwise is lying.
If you want a more passive business opportunity, consider local lead generation. This e-commerce is automated, and after a few months of actively setting up various websites, you can easily earn income without doing anything afterward.