I've been an AirBnB traveler for nearly five years, and a host for two. From Mexico to Iceland to South Africa; the mountains of Virginia to the the big cities of London. In my time I've spent a lot of time reading AirBnb profiles, scouring for deals and perks, and figuring out what makes an AirBnB experience the best.
When we decided to start hosting ourselves and utilizing our guest bedroom we knew some things about what we wanted our AirBnB experience to be like for our guests. There was a lot of trial and error in the beginning and we've learned a few things along the way. Having been a consistent superhost for two years I feel that I can share these tips to create better AirBnB's all over!
- Be personable! People are staying at an AirBnB usually to steer clear of the sterile vibes of a hotel, so when you're creating your profile and listing be sure to be personable and friendly. Include what you like to do for fun, where you've traveled, and what you love about AirBnb. This will make you seem more like a person, less like a business.
We've personally always stayed with people in the hopes of getting the full-on local experience; there's something to be said about the insider intel. When we have guests who are friendly back to us we'll offer them to join us for a glass of wine or beer, sometimes even dinner out! We get to chatting and really making personal connections.
- Be transparent in your listing. One thing I've noticed is people don't like surprises. And some people will skim over your listing, so the more times you mention something important (ie: if you have pets, if you have a shared bathroom, etc). Some people will still miss things, but at least you tried!
- Customize their experience. When we read that our guests are coming for an anniversary or honeymoon we try to go a little above and beyond to give them something special. There's a lovely "love" themed bottle of champagne at our local grocer we'll pick up and put in a wine chiller and leave for them on their bed with some flutes. On Cinco de Mayo we left out tequila shots for our guests (we knew they were drinkers after chatting) A little something to remind them they're in a home and not a hostel or hotel goes a long way and ensures a memorable experience.
- Offer up directions. When people make their initial booking we'll offer advice on directions to our home from wherever they are getting into the city. A few days before they arrive we send another message, a saved template, of where to find the key, how to get into the house, and how the animals will greet them at the door. These directions give a verbal floorplan of our house, where to find coffee and fruit, their room and the bathroom. Once they find their room there's a binder full of local maps, directions to downtown and more. This helps guests feel a little less lost in the new city they're exploring!
- Keep things local. AirBnB travelers tend to be in love with what a city has to offer; they're generally looking for a more authentic experience. We keep our home stocked with local DC area beers and wines to offer to guests, as well as having DC themed artwork and sundries in the room. In our guide book we offer up area businesses as opposed to chains, including cool shops and off-the-beaten [tourist] path neighborhoods.
- Cleanliness is next to godliness. Seriously, a clean home and fresh smelling linens go a long way in getting and maintaining Superhost status. If your sheets are getting old/pilly/stained go out and grab some new ones and count it as a business expense. Sure, you're going to go through more sheet sets as a host (we've had people accidentally sleep with a pen and left ink stained sheets) but the good news is you can feel good by donating those old sets to your local animal shelter.
- Little Amenities. The best thing about hotels are the amenities; while some things are crazy costly, there's still a few things you can do on a budget. A case of 30 waters is under $3.00 at Wal Mart or Target. Add on some snack bars, some grabs from the "travel aisle" like soap, toothbrushes, and QTips and some decent quality towels and sheets from TJ Maxx. That way, if your guests ever forget anything they'll be eternally grateful.
So there you have it - my 7 best tips for how to be an AirBnB Superhost! Hve you ever used AirBnB? What's your favorite thing about it? My favorite thing is making new friends - we can visit any city in the world and have a friend we've made on AirBnB or someone knew to meet. If you've never tried AirBnB before click here for $25 towards your first stay, or $100 if you become a host!