Airbnb has changed the way we travel allowing us to wave goodbye to “samey” dull hotels and really live like (and with) the locals when we travel. It’s also a great way to help pay the rent so chances are, you might have thought about becoming an Airbnb host yourself.
Just last week, friends and I were in Tel Aviv for a wedding and we had the great fortune to share an Airbnb in a centrally located apartment in a trendy part of the city. Yeah, we felt really lucky!! Fresh off that experience, I can share with you what I think makes an outstanding guest experience. So if you’re considering Airbnb’ing, here’s how to host like an Airbnb pro.
Like any business (and it is a business), there are a lot of ins-and-outs to learn and think about. What type of guests do you want in your home? Should you get Renter’s insurance? You definitely should consider the drawbacks of sharing your place with strangers (if you can stay with friends while you have guests…even better). You will need to be responsive to inquiries, maintain a pretty profile and follow other best practices in order to be successful in the Airbnb business.
Instead of the business side of things though, what I want to focus on here is how to make your apartment (even if it’s a humble one) feel comfortable for your guests and get you those great reviews so critical to Airbnb success.
A chachky-free flat in Paris near the Arc De Triomphe
Minimising clutter is essential to keeping things neutral and leaving visual and actual space for your guests to turn your place into THEIR temporary home. Try these decluttering tips:
- Digitise your books, CDs and DVDs
- Add extra storage – especially in the bedroom
- Clear counters and surfaces
- Limit the number of artwork and items on the walls
- Remove furniture and pieces that serve no purpose
- Nix the chachkies and other dust collectors
Add some style
This Islington (London) apartment has the “artsy” thing down
It can be tricky balancing ‘people pleasing’ with your own style. The Tel Aviv apartment we stayed in found a solution for this; the wallpaper was neutral and modest, however, there were enough quirky and bright items around to keep things stylish. The Islington apartment above uses artwork, that wicked table and chair arrangement, and grey accent walls to pull off an artsy London vibe.
Provide a good bed
The bedroom in this Los Angeles loft
A good night’s sleep is one of the most important (and basic) things you can provide your guests. No matter how modest the room, you can offer a comfortable mattress for a good night’s rest. Adorn the bed a little too: Ikea carries nice affordable bed linens as does many of the online discount stores like Wayfair. Of course, if you want to go upmarket, John Lewis and other retailers can help you turn your bedroom into a sweet hotel room.
Conveniences get you high marks
Having a washer /dryer is a great convenience
Most travelers have some type of electronic device, will want to have a meal at your place, and would like to watch TV at the end of the day. Providing some of the conveniences of home will help to lower their travel expense and make their stay more comfortable, which will translate into some good reviews:
- Have a good desk/dining area for renters to eat and work
- Upgrade to higher Wi-Fi speed
- Have cable TV
Go the extra mile
As you and I know, it’s the little things that make an experience memorable. Think about your guests’ needs. They’ll want to eat at some point, right? It’s so simple to put together a list of neighborhood eateries…maybe rate a few for them. Why not leave a welcome pack; you may include practical getting around tips, a subway map, a snack, a bottle of wine and don’t forget the login to your Wi-Fi.
My friend recently started running an Airbnb. At first, she was really nervous as her space was in her Grandmother’s old home outside of London. The interior is drab and dated and redecorating wasn’t an option. She and her boyfriend worked long hours to spruce things up but we were all thinking, “Who the hell would pay to stay here?!”
As it turned out — quite a few people did and left her positive reviews! She told me why despite the hurdles she thinks her space works. The most important part of being an Airbnb boss is managing expectations!
She was 100 percent honest in what she wrote about her rental. She wrote that she is busy, and while she will always be available on the phone she makes it clear that is all she can provide. She also prices the rental super low and with this, she attracts the right people — low maintenance backpackers who are looking for somewhere to rest their heads on the cheap.
No Disappoint = Happy Customers!