Providing a bed and a clean place is the goal of a host, but if you want to really have fun with being a guest, it’s fun to go big!
Think about creating an experience for your guests. It feels so good to have our guests say how fun it was to have their own cool house for a weekend. That is the point of hosting for us. Create a cool fun place and then let them enjoy it like their own.
The little things that make your place special:
- Have newer towels that all match and are folded perfectly.
- Sheets and beds should be made tight and minimal wrinkles.
- Fresh soap and shampoo bottles or containers that are clean and full.
- Have art and mirrors on the walls
- Create a welcome letter or book
- Have local visitor information available
- Make sure the house is spotless! Not 1 hair in the bathroom, Not 1 crumb on the kitchen floor. You get it. It matters!
Want to do more? Do it!
- Provide quality coffee, tea and basic breakfast items
- Provide a bottle of wine
- Provide a gift certificate to your favorite hangout or coffee shop ($5-$10 isn’t much but it means alot to the guests and brings them to your local favorite business owners)
- Have fresh flowers available
- Grow a garden (small herbs or flowers) to add a personal touch
- Make sure the grill and outdoor furniture is clean and add a tiki torch or outdoor lighting.
We are adding a mural to the backyard this week and creating bike sculptures in front of one of our houses. It makes the neighborhood look nice and makes it easier for our guests to locate us. We will share them when all finished!
After helping many friends get their Airbnb/short term rental businesses going, there are some clear traits of the hosts that can relax and get into the vibe of hosting.
- Let go of your emotional attachment to your property. This is the biggest hurdle. If you can’t get past this one, then the rest of what I’m suggesting won’t even matter! Fix up your place and then be ready to give it up for someone else to enjoy. If you can’t stand the thought of someone leaving a towel on the floor or eating on the couch, hosting may be stressful for you. As long as they leave the house in good shape when they leave that is what matters. Worrying about the house when you have guests is no fun.
a. Have clear rules (not too many, but pick some important ones like no smoking, no pets, shoes off in the house etc)
b. Be selective about who you approve. It’s your house. This is the best way to keep the rest on track.
c. Charge a deposit that helps you feel comfortable so if a rule is broken you have some recourse (I’ve never had to charge a deposit)
- Trust your guests. Once you’ve selected your guests carefully, then trust them and let them have a nice time. Check on them after they have settled in and make sure they are OK and reassure them that you are available for any questions and then let them have a good time. Nagging hosts are the worst!
- Find the right platform for marketing your place. The main reason I like to use Airbnb for my places is the screening done by Airbnb. They verify each person’s identity while other sites like VRBO/Home Away you need to be super careful about scammers. Set up instant book with high security options or choose to manually approve each guest request. Also think about who your audience is that you want to market to. Our audience are Airbnb regulars and they have all been excellent!
- Have house cleaner or manager ready. I like to clean my places myself because I want them to be perfect but have also found some amazing people that have taken the places under their wings and have been life savers! We always let our cleaners and maintenance people know we appreciate them with bonuses and lots of compliments. Having a clean place for your guest is #1 in my book. Guests want super clean and they should have super clean!
- Get a professional to take photos. Lighting and clean rooms will attract bookings. Clean and organized in the photos and when they arrive!
- Keep the place maintained and perky. We are adding a mural and new artwork to one of our places. It is important not to let your place get dingy and worn down. Keep an eye open at garage sales and consignment places for cool furniture or artwork. I love staging the houses with cool furniture and fun artwork that creates a living space that is inviting and more than just a regular house.
Let me know if you have questions or comments about hosting. It is a full time job much of the time but very rewarding but you need to be the right kind of person for this to work out. Hope this helps!