For those of you who missed it, a few weeks ago I shared 5 Tips for Staying with Airbnb, and now here are some tips for people looking to HOST on Airbnb. Disclaimer: This is only from the point of view from my experience as a guest. I have not hosted yet, but we have considered it for when we have a home!
Communication – This is probably the most important. I don’t mean just communication while you have guests staying there, but also how you list your place, instructions on check-in, and addressing any questions prior to check-in. I decided to write about this because we have seen both ends of communication.
- Be sure to let your guests know the best way to contact you. If Airbnb messenger is not the best way, offer your cell or e-mail.
- Communicate early with your guests – I always like to contact a host before we book, to get a feel for their personality, state our accommodation needs, and ask any other questions we might have.
- Detailed instructions are important to ease guest anxieties, because every place is different. Whether you have key less entry or a key box, be sure to share those details and whether or not you will be home for assistance. If you have a gate to get into the property, or other rules on parking etc, be sure to let the guest know in advance so they are not stuck guessing what to do.
- Availability – Make sure that you or someone who manages your place is available regularly in case of issues in the house, etc.
- Expectations for checkout – Be clear on how you would like guests to leave the place. At one place, we had to wash the sheets and re-make the bed, where other places just had us take the sheets off before we left. Also, if you are flexible on checkout time, let that be known either in listing, or to the guest directly.
Cleanliness – This goes without saying, but you would be surprised to know what we walked into in one of our places!
- Mattress pad please! Nuff said!
- Room and/or bathroom should be pretty spotless. Clean sheets, floors, and surfaces are really a must, and pretty easy to do.
- Common areas don’t need to be spotless, as guests will understand that the home is shared and lived in, but it should not be a pig sty. We had to actually pick up the living room in order to use it at once place.
- Places to put belongings – The bathroom and bedroom should have empty drawers and/or closets to put belongings in. If the closet has your personal belongings in it, simply keep your belongings to one side, and make another area accessible to guests. We stayed at one place where the closet was completely full and trashed, and the bathroom drawers had random stuff in each one. It is nice for guests to be able to be organized too!
- Clean Up After Checkout – If you are not able to clean your own place before a new guest arrives, be sure to have a cleaning service help. Your next guest will know that you did not take the time to properly clean up after the last guest, gross.
New to Hosting on Airbnb? – That’s ok! As a renter, I definitely prefer a place that has a few reviews, but we will not stop if there are no reviews. If you are new, make sure you post many pictures of your place including common areas, bedroom, bathroom, front of the place and any outdoor space or amenities you want to spotlight. Mention that you are new in your bio and description of the place, and possibly keep your price low for the first few guests to build up your ratings. Show a little personality in your bio and description, and make people want to check out your place!
Create a Guidebook – If you plan on having regular guests stay at your house, create a little guest book. It can be as simple as an info sheet for Wi-fi passwords, maps of the area, house rules, and any need to know items, or it can be more complex. We stayed at one place in Austin that had such a great guidebook. It included house rules, how to use appliances, what was off limits, what you could help yourself to, things to do in the area, the hosts’ favorite spots, ways to get around etc. It was very helpful for making everything clear, and helping us find fun things to do!
Be friendly, but respect your guests privacy if you are living in the unit with your guests. It tends to be a little awkward sharing a place with a stranger, but if everyone is friendly and respects everyone’s privacy, it makes it a much more enjoyable experience. For me, it took getting used to staying in someone’s home and trying to relax as if it were my own as well, but we are getting the hang of it!