An overwhelming majority of Airbnb hosts are rookies or first timers with no previous hospitality experience.
As a new host, it is easy to make mistakes at the early phase of your Airbnb host career. Those mistakes can be avoided if you just think about what you’re getting into first.
Becoming an Airbnb host is no easy task, but once you´ve decided to take the “big step” you will discover that hosting for Airbnb can be a pleasant experience, not to mention a very lucrative one.
Although most people may consider themselves ready for the journey, there are some things that you should keep in mind when hosting on Airbnb.
Here are a few tips for new hosts…follow these and you´ll be ready to rock as a host.
Take good pictures of your space
Dark and blurry pictures are not attractive for people searching for a place to crash even for one night.
Try to upload bright pictures that capture the essence of your bedroom/flat fairly. Airbnb also provides this service for hosts so if you are not sure about the quality of your pictures, contact them so they can help you take the most out of your Airbnb listing.
Respect the rules of hospitality
An organized and clean apartment is more likely to get positive reviews than a dirty and messy one. Also, you need to make sure you stock extra things for your guests like extra linens and towels. Be prepared…your guests are expecting it.
Over the past few years several new business and ventures have risen providing additional services for busy Airbnb hosts. Among these services you can find a towel rental service in London, specialized cleaning services, and even laundry pickup services.
Be and STAY organized
Do your best to keep your calendar as up-to-date as possible. As a guest, it is extremely frustrating to get a cancellation when you think you’ve found the perfect place to stay.
Make sure to keep open only the dates you are 100% sure your apartment won´t be taken by other guests or used by you. The more you mismanage your calendar, the more likely you are to have lower occupancy on Airbnb.
Communication is the key
Always be clear about what you are asking from guests and about what should they expect from you.
Take a minute to think on the possible things a guest can ask from you and prepare. Things like having the Wi-Fi code available before they arrive, needing to know about parking, or even a local recommendation. Take the time to make a list of all the need-to-know things guests will want. Also, try to be as clear as possible about your Airbnb house rules and leave detailed instructions for anything you might consider necessary like emergency numbers.
Don’t lie or embellish about your space…not even a little bit.
Even though a little marketing speak is needed to ‘sell’ your listing, do not lie about size, number of people it sleeps, or condition.
As a further point, make sure the photos truly and accurately represent your Airbnb space. If your guests’ expectations are not met, that can be a serious source of bad reviews.
Provide Wi-Fi and foreign adaptors
If you don´t have Wi-Fi yet you might consider getting a $20 router for your Airbnb rental space. All guests are expecting this…I mean they booked YOUR place via the internet…they want access. Unless your space is considered a ‘cut-me-off-from-the-world-retreat’ type of place, your guests want access to the Internet.
If you are a major destination for foreign travelers, go out and buy a pack or two of foreign adaptors for your guests. That can be a major selling point since many guests forget this or worry about if their stuff will work. Make sure you put the foreign adaptors as an amenity on your Airbnb listing. Guests will appreciate this gesture and it will help you score more positive reviews on Airbnb.
Add personality to your space
Take a moment to see what are the other hosts doing and try to keep your space similar, but original. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel…get inspired by what Airbnb Superhosts have in their space…acquire those essentials, but put your own spin on things.
People are coming to Airbnb for an experience…more specifically a local experience so take the time to bring a bit of your neighborhood into your space. Some local posters…a box of chocolates from a local candy shop…a bottle of wine from the area…just get something to welcome your guests to your neighborhood.
Fix any potential hazards
You would complain if you happen to find a loose step or a wire hanging from the ceiling at a hotel. The same is true for your Airbnb guests. If things are broken, they are NOT going to be happy. If there are unavoidable things or emergencies…those things happen. But if there is something preventable like a hole in the wall or leaky pipe…get it fixed immediately.
If your place is unsafe and you are not doing your best to remove hazards, you could put yourself at risk of liability claims when a guest is injured.
Keep your valuables locked up
If you happen to have anything priceless/irreplaceable/expensive then you might want to lock it up or place them in a safe. Yes, there is insurance that can cover things, but if you are leaving out your Macbook and a guests spills something on it…that totally could have been avoided.
Guests don’t come with the intent of breaking or stealing things, but sometimes accidents happen and your things grow legs to walk into your guests’ bag.
Engage with your guests
Try to show yourself off as a good host, but also respect your guest’s personal space. If you are receiving a person with 10 hour flight, then maybe opening that fine bottle of wine can be done some other day.
In your listing there is a spot that says Guest Interaction. Put in there exactly how a normal day would go…especially if it’s a shared space or just a room. If you’re going to be 100% out of the picture, then let guests know that as well.
Some guests do not want too much interaction from you, but some others might be looking for some company. It is important to understand what your guest wants from you and how can you provide it without crossing the limits of their privacy.
The only barrier I am running into is that there is a giant legal battle going on with AirBnB in every single city I think about setting up an AirBnB business in. Charleston SC (where I live currently), one of the greatest hidden gems in the south, an insane market for AirBnB… and I’ve been told it’s illegal. I’ve heard New York, San Francisco, and Miami are fighting uphill battles with legalizing AirBnB as well. It just seems risky. Have you run into any legal battles with your AirBnB’s and if so, how did you deal with them?