Wondering why on earth people cannot clean after themselves? Wishing you could attract better customers that don’t leave your home in a total mess? Want to know what you can do to charge more and spend less time cleaning after terrible guests? Or perhaps you wish to improve your reviews on AirBnB or VRBO? If so, this is for you.
Today, let’s talk about how being a better host for short-term rentals might help you attract better clients and ultimately make your work as a host more enjoyable! This post is inspired by some of the best AirBnBs that left us and our hosts very happy. You’re welcome to read host reviews on our profiles: Sherry & George.
If you’re a new host or simply would like to take your hosting to a whole new level, this is for you.
Make Me Want to Stay Forever
I guarantee you, if your home makes a guest want to live there, it is highly likely the guest will take better care of it. Partly because they truly want to come back. Partly just because they’re grateful for your thoughtfulness and want to be gracious to their host.
We recently had an amazing AirBnB experience. It was a small townhouse in a quiet neighborhood. Everything worked, the kitchen was well-stocked. Cleaning supplies, toiletries, towels & linens were plentiful. Everything was stored in a logical place. Parking was right next to the entrance, and it was easy to move our stuff into the house. Coffee was provided in various forms. We wished we could stay longer. We could picture ourselves living there. We always clean up after ourselves but having the place be so inviting made it much more enjoyable to do so.Make your AirBnB a dream home for your guest.
Comforts of Home vs Instagrammable Decor
You might be wondering “How do I do that if my house doesn’t look like it was taken from a decor magazine?”
I hear you, but relax. The guest is in your town on vacation (or business). They want or need to be here. All you gotta do is make “being here” easy and comfortable.
It’s true that interior decor plays a big part in making a home inviting, but it is not the only factor. We’ve stayed at wonderful AirBnBs that were older houses, with their quirks, but we still gave them 5-star reviews. Why? Service, service, service.
PRO TIP 1: You can easily make up for a lot simply by providing everything a guest might need during their stay. At an AirBnB in Honolulu, our host greeted us with a basket of fresh fruit and a bottle of wine. In the closet, we had snorkeling gear, beach chairs, umbrellas, sunscreen, anything you might possibly need when on a tropical vacation. The unit was not new or immaculate. But it was clean, uncluttered, appliances worked correctly, and it was well stocked to make our stay comfortable. You can do the same. Anticipate your guests’ needs and delight them with your thoughtful touches.
PRO TIP 2: Especially if you’re renting out a former residence, it would serve you well to remove all clutter. All your trip souvenirs and little knick knacks make it more your home, not theirs. By removing those and opting for more minimal decor, you give guests space to put their belongings and help them feel at home. Remember, if they feel at home, they will take care of the place like it’s theirs!
PRO TIP 3: Similarly, get rid of stained and/or mismatched cups, glasses, plates, bowls, etc. Hodge-podge quirky mugs remind guests that they are in a stranger’s home, not their own. They wouldn’t have your Disneyland plates or your company coffee mug in their home collection, and likely wouldn’t want to. They have their own company swag!
PRO TIP 4: Stained carpets, stained mattresses, scratched pans all make guests feel like they want to get out of there ASAP and are a no-no if you want to get consistently good reviews and attract conscientious tenants. Give them a workable home and they will treat it like one.
PRO TIP 5: If your place is a little old, a fresh coat of paint and some art would help give your AirBnB some character. House plants add a human element also.
Check out AirBnB’s home decor tricks. If you’re really having trouble with decor, you could probably hire someone on fiverr.com or similar sites for a few bucks to help you with a fresh look.
Make Your Home Easy to Maintain
- Provide ample cleaning supplies so that your guests can easily keep your house clean.
- Place the cleaning supplies in a logical place that can easily be found. Under the sink for example.
- Make sure the unit is uncluttered so it’s easier to tidy up without forgetting items behind.
Don’t Skimp on Coffee and the basics
Treat people the way you want them to treat you. If you treat them like cheapos, you give them an incentive to act like it. If instead you treat them as family guests, they’re more likely to go above and beyond with gratitude.
- A sure way to make a guest grumpy first thing in the morning is not providing enough coffee. Provide at least the equivalent of 2 cups of coffee per guest… Bonus points for ample coffee and coffee choices.
- Tissue paper, paper towels, laundry detergent. It’s pretty easy for a host to supply these as part of the cleaning fee. Guests shouldn’t have to go and buy these because the host only supplied a single roll or detergent for only one load of laundry. The goodwill that a well-stocked house will bring you will far outweigh the savings of skimping on the basics.
- Sometimes, things happen. For example if a face towel or pillow falls on the floor, guests would not want that pillow back on the bed without a clean pillowcase. Or sometimes if the bathroom does not have proper ventilation, the towels don’t dry fast enough and the guest is left with a damp towel at the next shower. Eeek. Providing extra towels and linens can help make guests more comfortable.
I’m a bit of a germophobe. The first thing I look at in AirBnB photos is the bathroom and whether the shower grouts have a lot of gunk in them. If the gunk is visible from the photos, then it’s a no-go. Keep in mind that, while it might seem like a lot of work to host germophobes, you also stand a better chance of getting your unit back in sparkling clean condition 🙂 Just sayin… You might not want to cater to people like me, but of you do, these are things I’d happily pay extra for. TAKE MY MONEY.
- Spotless grouts
- Spotless kitchen
- Scratch-free cooking utensils
- Clean glasses, cups, plates and other kitchenware. You’ll be surprised how many places have had dirty glasses in the cabinets
- Immaculate towels & linens
- Washable (and clearly washed) bath mats
- Washable (and clearly washed) blankets/duvet covers
- NO bed spreads
- NO decorative pillows on the bed
- Clean window sills, baseboards
- Cleaned rugs
- No carpet
- No velvet anything
- FREQUENT deep-cleaning: wash all the dishes/utensils, linens, blankets that haven’t been used in a while. It’s really gross when you take a bowl out to use it and it has a nice thick layer of sticky dust on it.
- EXTRA BONUS: sanitized surfaces after each guest. Suggestions: kitchen table, counter, bedside tables, remotes, bathroom door knobs/ taps etc.
- Declutter & make space for your guest and the life they will imagine living when they are in your home.
- Make sure everything is in serviceable condition so guest can use everything as if they were home.
- Make sure everything is clean, even if not sparkling brand new.
- Stock your kitchen well with coffee, tea, cooking utensils, oil, salt, pepper, spices. Some hosts also stock their fridge with some basics, which is always super welcoming!
- Stock your bathroom/bedroom with clean towels, linens, toiletries so guests can be comfortable & clean.
- Make sure to provide cleaning products, rags/sponges, etc so that guests can easily clean up after themselves
- Treat your guest with respect, come from a place of service, and make them feel home and welcome. The goodwill returns tenfold.
If you follow this link, I would get $100 in AirBnB credit if you make your first paid reservation of over $100 within 150 days.
If you follow this link to book a trip, I will get up to $20 in AirBnB credit.
Since we’ve started traveling together, George and I have used 28 hotels , 14 AirBnBs, and 2 VRBOs worldwide. Our experience with accommodations has ranged from mind-blowingly amazing to get-me-out-of-here abysmal. Along the way, we’ve compiled all the details that make for great hospitality. We’re sharing them today in hopes of helping well-intended hosts to better execute their vision. In other words, we’d love to see more outstanding AirBnBs!