Photo: Farknot Architect/Shutterstock

How to Be a Successful, Highly Rated Airbnb Host

Epic Stays
by Erin Geyer Apr 30, 2014
Surprise your guests.

Little surprises, like sharing homemade treats or a welcome bottle of wine upon the guest’s arrival, can make an extra strong impression and turn a comfortable stay into a memorable one. Get creative and do something unique. One of my favorite stays was with a talented cook who gave us daily helpings of homemade dried fruit candies (which were amazing and addictive) that she made every day during our stay.

Keep it clean and tidy.

Give a lot of attention to cleaning every square inch of your space. Guests want to feel relaxed and at home. They don’t want to worry if where they’re sitting or what they’re handling is covered in nastiness. It’s easy to tell when it’s not. A clean space smells fresh, looks crisp, and just feels right:

  • Clean the floors. Finding other people’s hair lying around is a huge turnoff.
  • Dust the shelves and any flat surfaces (and the knickknacks on the shelves, the magazines on the coffee table, the items on the kitchen counters, etc.).
  • Clean the TV remote and any other items guests normally touch, including light switches and the fridge and freezer door handles.
  • If you have blankets out for cozying up on the sofa, make sure they’re the washable kind. Think about how gross sharing an unwashed blanket (or sofa pillow) with 50 strangers would be.
  • Use a slipcover on furniture, and wash it between every few guests. I stayed in one Airbnb property owned by a bachelor who’d obviously been sitting on his sofa naked and sweaty for years. It smelled so bad of manly body odor I couldn’t handle being anywhere near it.
  • The kitchen should be spotless. Nobody wants to cook in a pan caked in somebody’s old grease. For longer stays, provide the guests with a brand new sponge so they can happily wash their dishes.
  • Cleaning bed linens and bath towels and kitchen towels goes without saying, right?

Note: Airbnb is currently testing out a new cleaning service that could make this incredibly important factor much easier.

Be friendly.

When you treat your guests with warmth, positivity, calm, and in-control energy, like they are potential new friends instead of just a business transaction, everyone will be much happier. When unfortunate events occur, as they will, your genuine friendliness (along with immediately taking care of any problems) will help smooth things over.

Respect your guests’ privacy.

You want to be friendly, but not too friendly! Giving people their space and leaving them alone to do their own thing is most often the best idea. You can gauge whether your guests are interested in interacting with you by casually offering (sharing a meal together or giving them a tour of your city, for example) but leaving it very open for them to decline and do their own thing.

Offer bicycles to rent or borrow.

When you’re not close to easy public transportation, providing bicycles that are in good working condition can be a huge perk of a good Airbnb stay.

When I was in Cambodia exploring the temples of Angkor Wat, the old and worn back tire on my bike exploded and I was stranded miles away from help. Fortunately, after an hour of walking, I got a ride in a tuk-tuk willing to precariously pile me, my girlfriend, and our two bikes inside. When we reached our Airbnb property, our hosts immediately fixed the tire and I was able keep exploring for the rest of the stay.

Provide local information, maps, guides.

The most professional hosts create guidebooks that contain information about the local area, including genuine and personal recommendations for their favorite restaurants, activities, and sights.

Decorate with style, but not too much style.

Putting your personal style on display is a great way to create a memorable and unique space. But too many personal items strewn everywhere can make a guest feel awkward, like they’re intruding in your space. Get rid of clutter and give your guests places to put their own things.

Respond ASAP to communication from your guests.

Your guests will run into issues at some point. It’s your job to respond right away to fix any problems or answer any questions they have. It might be appropriate to give them access to your phone number. Some hosts in foreign countries will even provide a cell phone for guests to use that makes contacting them incredibly easy. If email or Airbnb messaging is your preferred way of communicating, make sure you set up your email to notify you immediately of messages they send. This article originally appeared on Medium and is republished here with permission.

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