My husband, Jason, and I are huge fans of using Airbnb for our travels. In fact, it gets brought up in almost every episode of our lifestyle/travel podcast. We love it because we usually get twice the space and a kitchen, in a central location, for half the cost of a hotel. This is awesome since it’s makes our week-long stays much more comfortable. We’ve stayed at quite a few different Airbnbs and we want to share five ways that you can make your space more inviting.

Showcase your Airbnb listing using professional photography.

Guests put a lot of time in researching the perfect, yet affordable, place to rent. We typically only need a 1 bedroom or studio, but these can be hard to photograph given their small size. If a listing has poorly taken photographs I will move on to the next available option without even reading their reviews. Examples of bad photos include dark lighting, messy rooms, blurry or crooked composition, closed window blinds, or no exterior photographs.

High quality pictures of your apartment lets the guest know that the host cares how their apartment looks and that they took time to share how important their space is not only to them, but also for potential guests. And great news, Airbnb does provide free professional photography for hosts! Airbnb knows that better photos means more booking reservations.

Tidy up.

One of the first things I look for when choosing an Airbnb rental online is the listing’s cleanliness. This is also true when I walk into an apartment for our stay.  If you are renting out a private room in your home, consider making this a dedicated rental. Only furnish this room with rental items, not your personal belongings!

If you are renting out your entire place, consider restricting your personal items to certain areas of the home. We recently stayed in a 1 bedroom apartment in San Francisco and the host stored all of this belongings in the closet. This left the actual room open for guest use without having to navigate around his personal items.  Another example would be to have cabinets in the kitchen for your overflow of personal items and food, while leaving the rest of the open for guest use. You can even use labels to dictate what areas are personal or for guest use.

Don’t underestimate to power of lamps… or home decor in general!

Advising on home decor is hard to write about, or to standardize, since everyone has their own unique style; however, matching decor in well-lit room will stand out against competing Airbnb listings. Too many items in one room takes over a space and looks cluttered. Consider the phrase “less is more” and stick to it.

An apartment we stayed at in Washington D.C. was a great example. While their use of lemons as decorations and bright blue curtains may not of been my style, the minimal amount of items in the room along with the coordinating colors used flowed together nicely, creating a cozy and relaxing environment. The only thing they were missing was sufficient lighting.

We spend most of our time at the rental during the morning and evening hours, so lamps are essential! Having a lamp on the bedside table also helps create that “homey” feel. Does your space feel minimal and cozy? Consider rearranging your room and adding a few lamp!

Go the extra mile by creating a welcome booklet and/or goody basket.

While these items are not necessary, creating a welcome booklet or offering small goodies to your guest will definitely impress them! We have stayed in several Airbnb listings that went the extra mile by providing us with detailed welcome booklets and goodies. A host in Minneapolis offered us a basket of snacks and water as a kind gesture. Another host in Washington D.C. provided us with a little tray of coffee, tea, and cookies.

Detailed welcome booklets are a huge help to out-of-town travelers… especially if you live in a big city. Informing your guest on the locations of the nearest market, coffee shop, public transportation, and restaurants is key. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to put one of these together, and I have been extremely grateful to our hosts that provided us with a local guide!

Got a kitchen? Make sure to provide cooking supplies.

My husband and I always buy supplies to cook breakfast and lunch when we travel on Airbnb. If we are staying at an Airbnb for a longer duration, we will even cook a few nights out of the week. Even if you don’t personally cook, your guests might! Condiments like salt and pepper, along with cooking spray, are must have items in every kitchen. As a traveler, I always let our host know if they are missing pertinent items that other guests might want during their stay.

We stayed at a rental in Boston that had recently opened. The host, being new to short-term rentals, had not purchased many items for the kitchen. I made a short list of items that the host could buy so that they could be better prepared for their next guest! Once again, these items aren’t necessary but they do show you care as a host.

The difference between being a regular Airbnb host and Superhost is in the small details. We hope that this article will encourage you to review your current offerings and possibly add a little more to your rental. Going the extra mile can turn your guest’s 4-star rating into a perfect 5!

5 Comments

  1. Great article! I second the note about “less-is-more” comment… no one wants to see creepy old family memorabilia (except for you)! Keep that personal stuff in your area of the house! Keep it light and generic where your guests will stay.

  2. Great article!

    I do many of the things you mentioned as a host!

  3. Maria Trubshaw

    Thank you. I will now take your advice, and post a photograph of the exterior of my townhouse. This is one photo that is missing from my listing.
    I hope you have many more memorable travels and experiences. I appreciate your guidance.

  4. Tom McKiernan

    Nice to read as a host what guests would like when they stay in an Airbnb host.

    Each host can improve their host location and meet these requested tips.

    Thank you.

  5. Great! I am going to work on my Guest Book now! I will try to ask my favorite local spots to offer my guests a small discount or free item as well 🙂

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