Are you current or soon to be an Airbnb host?
Better question: Have you ever been an Airbnb guest?
Did you know that in a recent survey we conducted of over 1300 hosts, we found that nearly 1 in 3 have NEVER been an Airbnb guest themselves?
Sure, you could learn quite a bit about what it takes to be a great host by learning from others, but nothing will teach you more about how to be a better host than being an Airbnb guest first.
Why should you be an Airbnb guest regularly
More and more listings are coming onto the platform. Hosts are getting smarter and more competitive. And the tastes and preferences of Airbnb guests are changing and evolving.
If you’re not going out there to experience the ecosystem as a Airbnb guest, you’re going to be flying blind as a host.
So if you haven’t been an Airbnb guest in 6 months or more, go book your next trip on Airbnb!
If you’ve stayed in entire home rentals, then stay in a private room…those hosts may offer something that you can adapt to your own Airbnb property.
For those that have been guests, seeking a diverse set of guest experiences will allow you to experience the art of hosting from different hosts coming at it from different angles.
be Airbnb guest to host better
Walk in the shoes of an Airbnb guest to truly understand their experience
If you’ve never been one? You don’t know your customer. You don’t truly understand their needs.
You have no idea what it’s like to search for listings and reaching out to hosts with questions.
You don’t know what the search experience is like when you’re actually SPENDING REAL MONEY, trying to appease travel companions, feeling like you got a good deal, and wanting to make sure you’re actually getting what you think you’re getting.
What are you looking for in pictures? What titles catch your eye? Which listings do you click to see from the search results?
Which hosts did you reach out to? How and when they did respond to you?
How did you ultimately choose the winning listing to book with?
What was your communication with the host after booking? Did you have any unanswered questions?
There are stresses that Airbnb guests face that you will NEVER have perspective on if you don’t also as a Airbnb guest.
So go travel, book on Airbnb, and take tons of notes throughout the ENTIRE experience.
Find things you do like and do those.
Find things that annoy you and avoid doing that for your listing.
If you cannot afford a far-off trip, then be a traveler in your neighborhood. Best of all, you can stay at the local competition’s place!
If actual travel isn’t possible, then at least go through the experience of searching for a place to stay on Airbnb.
This exercise, it’s about doing REAL market research and getting into the trenches.
Hosting lessons learned by being Airbnb guests
We asked our readers: Have you been a Airbnb guest lately and if so, did it teach you anything about being a better host?
- Use of simple signs: Yes, being a guest teaches you A LOT about how to be a better host. On my last trip, I learned that simple signs could do wonders to encourage and remind guests about turning on lights, AC, checking the stove, etc…. ~host Silvia
- Small gestures make the difference: Our wonderful host did a bunch of small things that struck me; a little chalk board on the wall with a welcome and our names which I am going to implement; a wooden brochure older which I already implemented, and a guest book with a magnet and golden writing on it; I already have a guest book, but this felt so much more special. Those touches make all the difference; I now always leave a card and flowers if it’s an anniversary or celebration. ~host Suzanne
- Don’t for the human touch: I’ve been a guest a few times. I surprise myself in leaving 5 stars to places that might not be unmistakable 5s, simply because of the host’s hospitality, friendliness, and helpful demeanor. The lack of updated decor, or think and plush towels take a backstage to a small welcoming chat from a great host. I don’t get to meet all of my guests, however I do try to drop by and say hello whenever possible. I ensure I reply quickly to their inquiry while they are guests. ~host Maude
- Learning what NOT to do: Yes, I did…it was an invaluable lesson on what not to do! The apartment was nice, in a safe neighborhood, etc…loved the location. There was no welcome pack. I was staying for a week and the host left not one scrap of food or snack….I use Airbnb when I travel because I do want to feel like a local instead of a tourist-therefore I want to know where the best coffee is ( and how to get there) I want to know your favorite places to eat and yes I do want to be welcomed and not feel like a dollar sign. I have been a super host and are currently working on my next Airbnb project. These lessons I learnt from my last experience [as a guest] I will incorporate to my own listing to ensure people feel welcome, get the inside track, ensure that there are some supplies for them, and that they have access to a library and privacy! ~super host Annette
- Consistent learnings for super hosts: For the two years prior to opening our suite through Airbnb, we did just exactly what you are recommending here [by being Airbnb guests]. We now have 66 reviews with a 96% 5 star rating and qualified as Super Hosts in the minimum possible time. ~super hosts Don & Helen
- Directions and underselling: The most recent trip we took as a family to something very similar to what I host was WONDERFUL. It was the most expensive listing we were looking at and we took the chance because of some amenities and features. What I would have improved on his listing was more detailed instruction to find the place. And photos of what it looked like from the street. We didn’t see that view at all on the listing and had a hard time finding it. On another listing – we were the first to stay and they REALLY undersold their place. It was SOOO much nicer than we expected. I suggested that she added a lot more photos. Because it was breath taking and we didn’t know we were getting that. ~host Heather
Validation & helping new hosts: The host from the beautiful house told me in a message after my stay that he was a fairly new host and asked if I had any comments and/or suggestions for him. I told him that he should put away all the cleaning stuff in the bathroom as it clutters and I feel a guest should not have to see all that; he was thankful for the suggestion and told me he had put everything away. So, my being a guest did not make me learn anything that made me change the way I do things, in fact it reinforced a few things that I know are part of my success, but I got to help a fellow host. ~host Johanne
So, have you been an Airbnb guest lately? What did it teach you about what (not) to do to become a better host?
Very informative Symon! Thanks
thought you might find this of interest Symon!
We took an overnight Airbnb in a private room a few months ago and it was a true learning for me as super host and guest as well. It was picked for location, near a theater and we planned to just sleep a few hours and head back home after a concert. I knew it was an older home which I totally like. I didn’t really search a super “cheap” place as the host called it in defense of not being prepared when we arrived. I did read many of the reviews and they seemed fine – we just wanted clean, safe and comfortable – a key was left under a basket for us and when I started to open the door a very aggressive dog was doing what dogs do – his owner was not there -we were NOT going to enter that house. I called the host and he came in 15 mins. and when we got inside said he had to clean the bathroom and change linens and it would be ready in 5 mins – “he had had a guest for the last month that just left” – I said wow – takes me 1 1/2 hrs. – he knew exactly when we would arrive as communication was fine – he was nice and young. I wanted to like him, the place and unfortunately I didn’t feel safe, comfortable nor was it clean. The rug in the room ” should have been trashed” host said it upon entering room – or at least cleaned or vacuumed I thought. The toilet closet door didn’t lock and there were other male guest using the same floor and rooms next door – the bathroom door couldn’t close fully as it would lock you inside – so I could not shower – unless I left the door open! There was more but not important: I labored about how to review and what to say – I was honest and told him exactly what I believe where MUST do things – he countered my review with look at all the other reviews! And he said I had arrived early and he wasn’t expecting it – That was totally untrue and that move had more impact on me than anything because I believe we are as good as our word. But, privately he said he would fix the stuff – about 6 wks later – he sent a pic to me with the $1.50 latch he had put on the toilet door. So what I learned is really read the reviews – I found one review mentioning the dog but it took me long to find it. Also, most of his reviews were about him and girlfriend and NOT about the place – I want reviews that say my place is fabulous, clean and that I am indeed a super host – I am so grateful because all of my reviews Do!