How to Start an Airbnb Business in the UAE


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After the UAE Government greenlit an initiative in 2018 that paved the way for citizens and residents to rent their properties on Airbnb, this niche sector has seen some impressive growth. A 2022 estimate ranked Dubai in 10th place with close to 16,000 active rentals on the platform comprising more than 7 million rentals across the world. 

The fact that Dubai is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world has a lot to do with the growth of the Airbnb market. This presents an exciting opportunity for entrepreneurs who seek to capitalize on this opportunity. If you’re looking to venture out into this space, this blog is a great place to start. As your trusted business setup consultant, we will cover everything you need to know to get up and running.

In a Nutshell:

To lease homes on the Airbnb platform as a business in Dubai, it is essential to stay compliant with Dubai Tourism’s Holiday Homes Operators’ guidelines. Even if you are a tenant in your home with no ownership of the property, it is possible to list it on the platform. An individual can rent up to eight properties listed on Airbnb, provided that you have registered a business with the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED).

The UAE’s hospitality industry is globally recognized for its high standards and conduct regarding elements such as amenities, safety, health, insurance, and other services. Once the property you wish to lease is registered with the Dubai Tourism Holiday Homes Operator system, your property will have to go through regular inspections by Dubai Tourism to ensure that you meet the demanding standards of the industry.

A Walkthrough on how to Start an Airbnb Business in Dubai

Step 1: Name your company

The name of your company must be unique while standing as a reflection of the services you offer and the business you wish to carry out. Regulations on company names do exist, so it is best to familiarize yourself with the same to create a compliant company name. The Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED) may provide assistance on how to name your company.

Step 2: Select your Business Activities and Jurisdiction

Many trading licenses are available for entrepreneurs in the UAE. You must ensure that the business activities you wish to conduct are in line with your trade license. You may also consider looking for office spaces for rent in Dubai for your business during this stage.

Step 3: Submit your Trade License Application

After coming up with a company name and defining your business activities, you may apply for the DED to secure your license.

Step 4: Apply for Visas and Open a Corporate Bank Account

A trade license in the hands means that you are now eligible to apply for a residency visa, granting you the freedom to live and work in Dubai. Depending on your trade license, it may be possible to sponsor your family or staff and bring them along with you. The next step would be to open a bank account in the UAE. If you’ve come this far, getting a bank account will not be a challenge.

Step 5: Register your Property with Dubai Tourism

After you’ve created an account on Dubai Tourism’s Holiday Homes Operator website, you will have to register yourself as a property manager. You may also assign someone else as a manager, provided that you upload their passport copy or Emirates ID. Other required documents include the property’s deed and Ejari registration. After your application is processed, you will receive a payment link to finalize your registration. The support of business setup consultants like SetHub will prove to be useful throughout the entirety of this process.

How Profitable can an Airbnb Venture be?

According to a survey conducted by UK-based landlord insurance company CIA Landlords, Dubai is the most profitable and expensive location in the world for Airbnb landlords, especially for owners of properties near Burj Khalifa.

It is reported that landlords who rent properties near the world’s tallest building earn an average of $1,150 per day, meaning that all it takes is four months for them to break even on their investment.

While this example is limited to the area near Burj Khalifa, it does paint a fruitful picture of the immense untapped potential present within this niche.

Streamlining the Process with SetHub

If you’re an entrepreneur who is entering the Dubai market for the first time, the application and business setup process may seem daunting and unfamiliar. Little errors in filling out forms and missing documents may end up delaying your application. To avoid all of this, SetHub is here to help. Our expert business setup consultants will ensure that all your documents are in order, expediting the application process. Additionally, we remain committed to sticking by you throughout your entrepreneurial journey, serving as your advisor and unwavering partner as you grow in this dynamic and vibrant city.