The greatest cost of living nowadays is putting a roof over your head. When the urge hits to travel, you don’t want to lose money on paying 2 sets of rent or mortgage. Airbnb gave me the opportunity to travel the world, whilst simultaneously paying off my mortgage. It was however, a steep learning curve and this article will be your guide to becoming a good Airbnb host. Including the top tips for preparing your airbnb space to maximise your income without too much hassle!
If you decide to host your home via Airbnb use our recommendation link and we both earn a little extra!
Note: I will earn a small commission from the link above if you decide to host, but you will earn extra after your first guest pays too!
Adjusting Your Airbnb Settings
Renting your home out is a big deal. If you don’t want to be caught off-guard you need to take some precautions about how you rent your property out. Luckily, Airbnb has a plethora of settings that allow you to adjust your preferences to exactly how you feel comfortable. Take note of these settings in your hosting dashboard before you publish your advertisement and ensure you are able to be a good Airbnb host, maybe even a Superhost.
1. Choose whether guests can instant book
One of our first mistakes on Airbnb was not selecting off the instant book, nor including a minimum reservation time before check-in.
In this scenario I was at home in England during that weird period between Christmas and New Year, when a guest booked to arrive the next morning. Not only was I without internet to reply to his messages, but I also had to pull a lot of strings to find someone that could do check-in with him … on New Year’s Eve.
It was a nightmare.
So first, select the Hosting Dashboard, then click on your advertisement and select reservation settings. Here you can choose “how guests can reserve.” If you would like to know the guest beforehand by reviewing their profile, you can select the option for them to send you a message first.
Another solution is to adjust the “availability.” I have input that the guest needs to give 3 days notice prior to check-in.
The most important advice here is that you adjust at least one of these settings. Nowadays, guests can book instantaneously with me as long as they fit certain profile verifications, but I need to have a 3-day preparation leeway.
2. Require profile verifications from guests
Airbnb itself carries out minimal checks on users, including on hosts themselves.
The standard requirements are: a telephone number, email address, confirmed payment type and agreeing to the house-rules.
As a host you are offered the chance to require more verifications.
An official ID uploaded and verified by Airbnb
A profile picture
Recommendations from previous hosts
Information about the guest’s travel plans
In our case we require a confirmed official identification to Airbnb and actually ask each guest to send a copy to us, since our building needs to a have a record of who is staying in the residence. I suggest you also ask this from your guests, after-all the hotels will always need an ID for check-in.
3. Write your house-rules
Everywhere has rules and guidelines from a school classroom to the office fridge. Ensure you fill in this part of your advertisement! In Airbnb there are common rules that you can select automatically from a list. There is also an option to include specific written rules.
Since we rent long-term we include a clause on a cap of the electricity bill. Rio de Janeiro has a hot and humid climate and sometimes guests can be a little trigger happy with the air conditioner. This rule ensures they use it more conscientiously.
Likewise, we include a clause reinforcing the fact that cleaning the apartment and bedsheets will be done after check-out. Some guests believe Airbnb is a hotel. It is not. Make sure they realize they are staying in your home and are expected to act as if they are renting, not staying in a pricey hotel.
Note of caution: once a guest smoked in the apartment and we eneded up reimbursing the next guest because of the smell. Buy no smoking signs and add an additional house rule stipulating a mandatory fine if there is any smell of smoke.
4. Ensure time to clean between guests
Bear in mind that some people will do a late check-out, so avoid stress and ensure space for timely cleaning before checking in your next guest. This means you must include at least a day between guests.
This setting is in the “availability” on your advertisement then choose “reservation preferences”.
5. Price your Airbnb fairly
Airbnb offers a smart pricing option for renting out your home. This is an algorithm that will adjust the price of the rent accordingly with those in the area. In general this is well intentioned, however since this is a machine not a person not all factors are considered.
The smart pricing tool frequently wants us to reduce the price of the apartment, given that it is a one bedroom. Even though our apartment is renovated, with new appliances, 24 hour security and well-decorated. Whereas guests can find similar apartments in the area, ours offers a homely experience with a lot of amenities.
Only you can evaluate how much you think your home is worth. Think about the effort you put into design, decoration and money spent. Carefully study similar advertisements and set your price. You can experiment with the pricing and see what gets you satisfactory results.
Note of caution: I agree with Airbnb’s general advice that the tourist tax should be included in your listing. This is the price the guest expects to pay. However, in many European countries they add the tax afterwards. Airbnb does not have an option to include a tourist tax.
6. Check high-season and holiday dates
People generally go on vacation at certain times of the year. Make sure you check through the main holiday dates and adjust the price accordingly. Usually, if I have a long-term guest I will give them the standard monthly rent. If there is a visitor that wants to exclusively rent during a week of peak holiday, they should be expecting to pay more.
In Brazil we charge more for Christmas, New Year and Carnival periods.
7. Update your own profile
Make sure guests see you as a person. The magic of Airbnb is people are able to travel, but stay in a real house/ apartment instead of being swept into the crowds of tourists. Renting a home gives access to day-to-day amenities, but the guest has to be reminded that they are entering your home.
Include a snazzy profile picture and a bio. If you are a couple have the 2 of you appear. A family even better. Later I will talk about creating your welcome book, another key area to remind guests you’re a person!
8. Connect a cell phone with internet access
Back to the first story of the surprise guest and when I was completely stranded with no internet. Airbnb will send you an email with information about reservations and also consultations. They also send an SMS message warning you about this activity.
I put my mum’s cellphone attached to my account. This means as I travel, frequently changing phones or even being out of signal range there is someone who knows they need to reply. In the end, my mum lets me know and I can log in to the internet and reply.
Note of caution: If you know you will be out of cell-phone range or internet connection designate someone else to reply to messages. A response within 24 hrs increases your chances of becoming a SuperHost.
9. Prepare some standard replies
Guests will ask you the same queries over and over again. Simply because this is the nature of the rental agency. Over time you will begin to make a folder with common questions. Here are some of the most common questions I get asked:
Do you rent for long-term?
Do you have a discount for long-term rental? (Airbnb gives you a chance to add a weekly or monthly discount, but it doesn’t mean people won’t ask for a better offer!)
Is there any possibility of reducing the price? (Again, think about the maximum discount you are willing to give and factor that into the original pricing. I try to avoid offering discounts on top of what is programmed into Airbnb).
Where is the apartment/ house? (The guest is shown an approximate location. Only say the road or a nearby restaurant/ landmark. Never give your full address before receiving a confirmed booking).
How fast is your internet?
Is there public transport nearby?
Also, people may ask in various languages. It is a bonus if you could answer them or have a friend help out.
10. Check the laws and regulations
In some countries or cities short-term rental platforms like Airbnb have been banned. This is a bid to both protect the tourism industry and protect the prices of local rents. Some places even give people renters’ rights after 30 days.
Therefore, it is important that you check you aren’t breaking any laws or local regulations that may exist in your apartment block or condo.
That being said, Airbnb offers fantastic solutions for foreigners that are not able to rent easily on a temporary residency. For example, in Brazil the contracts are long (3 years), but they also require you to have a guarantor that owns property in the state you are staying. A very tough requirement for a foreigner who probably has few connections in the country.
Take care to be informed as you don’t want to be paying Airbnb fees, taxes and a law suit. The positive side is Airbnb means you can rent for a short term and use your property yourself by blocking certain dates.
Preparing Your Airbnb Advertisement
11. Take many professional photos
Guests don’t have the benefit of hundreds of reviews or hotel standards ratings when renting your apartment. They aren’t expecting a standardized room, with an ensuite and a comfortable bed. They are taking a risk opting to rent a person’s home and so they want as much evidence as possible to know they are making the right decision.
Airbnb claims 13+ photos is best. We have 30. Shoot everything: your bed, the clean towels, the sofa, your kitchen wear, the washing machine, the view from the window, the desk, the corridor.
Secondly, make sure you take the most professional photos you can. This includes in the bright morning daylight with no blurs and no miscellaneous objects lying around.
12. Use a compelling cover photo
The first thing browsers will see is this image and people judge books by their covers. It should be the brightest most attractive part of your ad. Ours is of the desk that overlooks the window, which is filled with a beautiful tree.
13. Include all amenities
In your ad you have the option of ticking off all the extras that are available in the rental.
You don’t need to play your home down, so ensure you tick everything that is applicable. One of the objects is hangers. Buy some hangers. The better equipped the higher your apartment will rank.
If you have an appliance that few people in the area offer you will get a special little highlighted badge. We have a tumble drier, which is included on the front cover of the advertisement.
14. Use realistic pictures
For some reason many hosts and even general rentals put pictures of “nearby” places. Namely, people near us put photos of Sugar Loaf mountain (in Rio de Janeiro), which yes is a 5 minute walk away for the view, but a 30 minute walk to actually reach the mountain.
I believe you should include a picture of the actual view from your rental, then add in the local guide section information on tourist spots nearby. The worst thing is if someone arrives and you have offered them a picture of something that is simply in the city and nothing to do with your apartment.
15. Price reasonably for the area
If your guests will have to spend money on taxi to get supermarket goods, price accordingly. Remember all the extra costs that visitors will incur staying at your home that may slip your mind if you have your own car, but they probably won’t have such a luxury.
Your guests will have a chance to rate the place after leaving and you want to have a good rating for both location and price relative to what you have offered.
16. Add personal touches
The charm of Airbnb is the stay in someone’s home mantra. Put up pictures, maybe paintings of the city or local area. Leave coffee and filters out for the guests. Buy some cute throws to add a little character. Then photograph it all and add to your advertisement. Make it as far from a hotel as you can, without losing the trust factor.
17. Ooze minimalism and declutter
If you hope to rent it out your property for more than 50 days a year, remove your belongings. We stayed in an apartment where the owner had split his house in two, meaning there was a lock to access his part of the house. If you are only renting a room, this is a great way to keep your personal belonging separate and maintain some privacy.
When you are photographing the space, make sure surfaces are clear, shoes are out of the shots, dishes put away, books are stacked and you opt for statement decor pieces.
This article gives some great tips on minimalist decor options.
18. Fill in the guide
As part of the advertisement Airbnb offers a place to write your local recommendations. You don’t need to go overboard as that will be included in your welcome book. However, I included 15 quick and easy options so potencial guests could get a feel for the neighborhood and decide if the apartment would be a good fit.
19. Rewrite house-rules in advertisement
I can’t stress enough that being a good Airbnb host involves communication to avoid conflict. Ensure that your guest is on the same page as you and the most effective way is to reaffirm your house-rules from the word go.
20. Require a deposit
In the price settings you can add additional charges including a deposit. You personally won’t receive the deposit as Airbnb holds on to it. Though, if something significant is damaged in the apartment you can request this money to back up to the cost of repairs.
As long as you have taken all the precautions set out in this article this definitely won’t be necessary, but accidents do happen and it is better you have a deposit that no guarantee. Only put the deposit as a reasonable price as the guest will need to have this value available on their card to book.
As a host I think it is also important to be aware that not all guests can be great. This article written in Forbes explains the common reasons Airbnb hosts turn down guests. It’s a goldmine of insight that you should internalize for also preparing yourself to attract the best guests.
Prepping Your Home for Rental
Your home may be just perfect for you, but you are about to let strangers nestle in, which changes things. Firstly, you would never leave your windows open when a storm was on the horizon. I’m not saying airbnb guests are storms, but sometimes they can be.
They can drop your favorite mug or not remove their shoes at the door.
At the same time they are paying for a service so they have certain expectations. You need to anticipate both these expectations and potential areas for fall-out. Predicting these outcomes can save you a lot of grief.
21. Install blackout curtains
Most hotels have two layers of curtains. One is decorative and the other is black out, because if a guest doesn’t get a good night’s sleep, they’ve failed to deliver.
We didn’t originally have blackout curtains until a guest suggested it. Personally, the light pouring in in the morning is what gets me out of bed in the morning. However, Airbnb guests are on vacation and would rather sleep soundly until the sweet alarm rings.
22. Provide a fully-equipped kitchen
The great advantage of Airbnb is that you can save on dining out and cook yourself. Don’t disappoint guests when they have to go out and buy equipment or realize they can’t cook their go-to pasta meal because there isn’t a colander.
23. Offer bathroom storage
Make sure guests have a place to set down their toiletries.
24. Provide a washing machine
Especially if you rent our long-term, more than 2 weeks per stay, your guests will be ever grateful for not having to take trips to the launderette.
It may be expensive and if your building has a common area with washing machines you don’t need to bother, but if not this will definitely make your home stand out in Airbnb listings.
25. Get a smart TV
Nowadays, smart TVs are almost the same price as regular ones. Guests coming from abroad who might not speak the local language, aren’t going to want to watch open TV channels. Everyone has Netflix and everyone needs a little Netflix time to wind down.
This is another spot where you can shine against hotels. Giving your Airbnb guests a chance to hook the internet to the tv will definitely earn you brownie points.
Note of caution: make sure you put a pin on your account and logout before renting to prevent guests from buying films and TV series on your bill. You don’t want to be chasing your guests for running up these bills.
26. Air conditioner and fans (or central heating)
Once we stayed in an Airbnb in Italy where the owner had remote control of the heating system. He (accidentally) switched the heating off in the middle of winter and we could do nothing but huddle in bed, wearing all our clothes.
You need to make sure that people are comfortable in your rental and this means giving them autonomy and access to temperature control. Even if you don’t use AC when you sleep there may be someone who can’t sleep without it.
27. Buy a comfy mattress
The Premier Inn hotel chain prides itself on 2 things: a comfy mattress and a great night’s sleep. This is how they maintain a large customer base and sparkling reviews without offering the amenities of pricier hotels.
People spend a third of their lives asleep so make sure your mattress delivers.
Also, you should always buy a mattress protector for the benefit of your own investment and to accommodate changing guests.
28. Stock up on clean towels and bedding
Airbnb now requires you to offer towels and bedding for guests. The platform has been growing into a hotel alternative rather than a house share. With that in mind travelers won’t be packing towels and bedding.
Invest in several new sets that you can rotate when you have quick switches between guests.
29. Deal with pests
No-one wants pests in their house, but sometimes pests are persistent. If this presents a problem for you because you live in a hot country for instance, then you must splash out on professional services.
We pay a cockroach exterminator each year because we live in Brazil and not even the insects want to live in the hot, hot street. Other quick fixes can be keeping some ant poison in the cupboards, providing spray (for emergencies) and providing plugin mosquito repellents.
30. Pay for speedy Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi is a basic necessity nowadays and there is nothing more frustrating than a slow connection.
Travelers are going to need to access emails, contact home, pay bills, watch Netflix, research travel itineraries etc. In general, at their Airbnb is the only place guests can connect to the internet due to the high prices of data roaming abroad.
We offer a wifi with 60 mbps, but in reality it runs at about 20 Mbps (Brazil has dodgy internet service providers). Our guests have always been extremely happy with this connection, so we suggest you provide at least 15 Mbps.
31. Invest in sound proof windows
Again, your Airbnb must let your guests sleep and if you live in a noisy street many people will not cope. Our street housed several bars and it was a route for heavy trucks. It would be impossible to ask anyone to sleep through that combination, so we forked out to install triple glazed windows.
With the comfy mattress, black-out curtains and double glazing you may have to fight your guests to leave!
32. Put up no smoking signs and Wi-Fi password signs
We had a guest that smoked in our apartment for a month, which caused negative knock-on effects with our next guest. Put up signs as they do in hotels. Do the same with the Wi-Fi passwords.
Extra Amenities Good Airbnb Hosts Offer
What is the highlight of a good hotel?
For me it’s the little extras. An Italian coffee machine, dressing gown, ice-machine and complimentary breakfast. In this section I include just a few suggestions that can easily be included in your Airbnb space.
33. A coffee machine
With a growing market a simple coffee machine can be an absolute bargain at as low as US $20. It is probably better to go with a filter type coffee machine where you put coffee granules in the top. This is easy for guests to get a regular coffee packet from the supermarket.
Otherwise, an Italian capsule machine is special, as long as you are available to restock the capsules between guests.
34. A popcorn machine or slow cooker
Since this guide is for renting your apartment while you travel the world, I’ve included a couple of appliances we had lying around.
A popcorn machine and slow cooker are convenient if a guest fancies a movie night or wants to host a mini dinner party. These are available from US $20 each.
35. Books on local hot spots
People travel to learn and see the world. They’ve chosen your Airbnb as their base, so leave some books on historical or natural wonders you love about your home town.
A kettle is a given in England and the USA, but sparse in many other places. If you have guests that are used to having 6 cups of tea a day, they’ll appreciate an electric kettle.
The best Airbnb hosts will anticipate cultural expectancies and win over their guests.
A cautionary note: one guest used the kettle and the dishwasher at the same time. The whole fuse burnt and we had to send an emergency electrician and replace everything. In countries where the voltage is lower, put up signs reminding guests not to use too many appliances simultaneously.
37. Shoe rack and bowl for keys
Two things you need in a rush when you are running late. Put them right by the door and it may even encourage people not to use shoes on your carpets.
38. Hooks for saucepans
As well as installing hooks, put vases for the large utensils, salt and pepper shakers and anything else someone will cook with everyday in easily accessible places.
39. A microwave
If space permits, you could consider buying a small microwave.
I think this is most important if you have just 1 or 2 guests because then they will probably heat up meal left overs.
Basic Supplies at the Ready
A good Airbnb host should take a moment to stock up cupboard basics. These are supplies that a guest will use minimally and may get annoyed if they have to cough up to buy.
On the plus side, usually every guest will leave behind something they’ve bought and you can add it to the cupboard supplies.
For numbers 40 – 45 I would buy in stock and fill a cupboard that you can lock. That way you will always have a supply for incoming guests and not have to worry that long-term guests might use up all your emergency supplies.
40. Soap bars
41. Shampoo and conditioner
42. Toilet rolls
43. Kitchen roll
44. Bin bags
45. Hand soap
46. Cleaning supplies
Include bleach, window cleaner, all-purpose-cleaner, white vinegar, sponges, rags and floor cleaner. Keeping this on hand gives guests a way to clean up spills. Then when you clean you’ll have everything available avoiding a trip to the shop.
47. Water filter
Install a water filter on your kitchen sink so guests can have access to safe water.
Some Airbnb hosts will offer complimentary bottled water on arrival. This is a great option, but it is even better if a guest can always drink from the tap, which is only possible in some countries with a filter.
48. Fire alarm and carbon monoxide alarm
In most countries it is the law to have both these in a public space. Your rental is no different. It also prevents people from smoking inside your home.
Cautionary note: One guest disarmed our smoke alarm and smoked there for a month. Put up no smoking signs!
Check-in and Cleaning
49. Pay a professional cleaner
You can add the cost of a cleaner to your Airbnb settings and it is definitely worth it.
What looks clean to you may be someone else’s dirty. You never know people’s standards and it is the number one thing people pick up on and write in reviews.
You also don’t have to free up your own timetable to clean every time a new guest books your Airbnb.
50. Cleaner can double as check-in
You may want to welcome your guests personally, but if like us you are off traveling the world that’s impossible. If the cleaner is already someone you trust and who is reliable, then why not pay her or him a little extra to stay for check-in?
We’ve had this scheme for 2 years and it is working like clockwork.
51. Download the Airbnb app
Delays happen and people get lost. Make sure you can contact your guests quickly and vice versa. Ask the guest to download the Airbnb app and aim to communicate through it. The app allows you to send pictures, great for questions and IDs.
Airbnb will have a record of the guest’s number if a problem arises. However, I strongly advice only communicating through the application as if there is dispute Airbnb can have access to all messages. This helped us win 3 disputes already. Initially I made the mistake of using Whatsapp and the messages couldn’t be used as evidence.
52. Warn doormen, neighbors or building management
In Brazil most apartment buildings have 24-hour security where rather than having a key to the gate the doormen will let you in. Therefore, for our guests we take a government ID copy and forward it to security so guests are never locked out in the street!
In this respect, you need to do your research and ensure your neighbors or building management know who will be staying in the apartment. It prevents alarm bells ringing.
53. Cut at least 3 keys
Hotels use door cards because imagine the amount of keys they’d have to cut each year when one accidentally slips into a guest’s suitcase?
One for the guest.
One for the cleaner.
One with a nearby friend or neighbor, for emergencies.
54. Collect the post
You can have your mail forwarded to another address. Or you can have your cleaner/ check-in person pick it up for you. Any way it is wise not to leave your bills with your Airbnb guests.
55. Arrive early for check-in and be flexible
Your guest may quote one time for arrival, but they have no idea about the traffic. Arrive about an hour beforehand and have someone ready to help them with directions.
Once we stayed in an apartment above Lake Como in Italy and we just couldn’t find the rental apartment. It took 2 hours to locate it. It would have been a life-saver if the host could have first offered better instructions, or been on hand/ peeking out the window to help us find the almost invisible, tiny alley.
56. Send a follow-up email
As a general rule of thumb, if a guest is staying more than a week, I’ll keep in contact. There may be something missing in the house that they didn’t want to mention or they would like a restaurant recommendation.
It adds a lovely touch if you show you care that they have a great stay.
57. Check in monthly with long-term Airbnb guests
In the case of those staying for months, I would always send a monthly message. We offer a complimentary cleaning service each month. The advantage is you can check everything is ok in the house, check in with the guest and keep on top of the cleaning, so there won’t be an epic clean after 6 months.
58. Make guests know it is your Home
Leave some personal touches, including a welcome book with a personal letter written and signed by you. It makes them know this is not a money making scheme, but a way to preserve your home that you love!
Check-out for your Airbnb
59. Provide self check-out
If possible, let the guest lock the property and post the keys through the letter box or mailbox. This allows them the flexibility to leave very early. Our guests leave the keys with the doormen.
60. Check for damage
As suggested in number 21 you should have secured a small deposit at the time of booking. As soon as the guest has left check nothing is damaged because you have 14 days to send a request to Airbnb to reimburse your deposit.
This is really just a safeguard. All our guests have been perfect and even if they broke a mug they replaced it for us. With the verification process; a deposit; house-rules; and adequate pricing, you’ll only attract the best guests anyway.
61. Clean the flat
Set up straight away for a new guest, because you never know when someone will book.
62. Top up supplies
Open your locked cupboard of emergency supplies and fill up the toilet roll, kitchen roll and soaps. If you’re running low, buy some more to keep in this cupboard.
63. Adjust pricing accordingly
When we have a period of no guests or are fast approaching the end of a rental we always reduce our price, as we prefer full capacity.
This helps for several reasons:
- More comments means more trust from potential Airbnb guests, therefore you get a steady flow customers
- To become a Superhost you need to rent at least 10 times or rent for 100 days per year
- Even slow money helps pay the bills (mortgage, condo costs, utilities base fee)
64. Write a comment for last guest
Once we got more comments we got a steady flow guests. You can also warn other hosts iif you have a particuarly bad guest. We’ve never written a bad comment though.
65. Pay everyone
At the end of a rental, make sure you pay the cleaner, check-in person, house bills (avoids power cuts) and any maintenance fees. Those with doormen should also tip them at the end of the year or whenever it is custom to do so.
Decorating Your Airbnb
66. Paint bright walls
Our apartment has a green living room, white kitchen with a bird mural and a cool, grey bedroom.
Simplicity is key, but rather than paint everything white, add some splashes of color.
Here is a site with great tips for decorating your rental Airbnb.
67. Plain bedding
Keeping the sheets white emits the kind of hotel vibes you want: cleanliness.
67. No plants
Plants are my go-to decoration, but don’t expect guests to water them. Unless you cap your rental at 1 week maximum stays AND live nearby, plants are just not convenient.
68. Remove anything religious or political
Your Airbnb should be a neutral place. I used to have a Buddha canvas that covered a whole wall and I love it. However unlikely it may be that someone dislikes Buddha, I took it down and swapped for a framed Beetles poster instead.
You never know guests beliefs or opinions, therefore it’s best to avoid any awkward situations.
Choose a selection of happy and cheerful framed paintings to decorate your home.
Take out any paintings of value or sentimental value.
70. Include a pull-out mattress or sofa bed
Adding an extra sleeping space could seal the deal on your Airbnb rental.
Moreover, if you are renting long-term it would be great to offer a space for a visiting friend or family member to stay with your guest.
71. Add cushions
Get cushions that add to the city vibe. We have tropical cactus cushions and macaw print cushions to reflect Rio’s vibes.
72. Sockets and extension wires
I hate hotels where there aren’t enough places to plug-in all my devices. Make sure your guest is not frustrated.
Add a snazzy keyring to the keys to make sure they don’t lose them!
74. Add lamps
Lamps add ambience and convenience. Put them on the bedside table and in the living room.
Check lamps between renting because we had cases of guests swapping broken lamps with those in the bedside table lamps.
Welcome Book Instructions
In the past I would email instructions to my confirmed guests. Overtime, I realized that a physical book would be a much better reference if they needed instructions for using one of our appliances. I also believe that a welcome book with some restaurant recommendations is perfect for the guest to flick-through on arrival, rather than landing in their inbox months before setting foot in the country.
These are some ideas of what to include in your own welcome book.
75. Instructions for the oven
Every oven is different, so include a detailed guide to turning yours on. This is important for safety, as you don’t want the gas left on accidentally.
76. Shower instructions
It’s the worst when you are stood shivering in the shower attempting a trial and error method for finding the warm tap.
77. TV instructions
78. Washing machine instructions
You don’t need to go into great depth here, just explain the basic spin and rapid settings. Anything else and maybe just leave the original manual on the side for your guests.
79. Instructions for extra appliances
These appliances include coffee machine, slow cooker, popcorn machine or anything else that it is not absolutely evident how to use.
80. Restaurant and bar recommendations
In our welcome book I included places that guests could reach on foot. Less known and locally owned restaurants or bars, where the guests can get local cuisine.
In this day and age of TripAdviser and Yelp people can hop online for recommendations. However, the negative side of these large sites is that new or smaller establishments get passed over.
81. Rewrite your house rules
When something is in print it seems to make more of an impact. This is another place to establish your house-rules so there are no arguments later down the road.
82. Include a local map
I screenshot a Google Map of several roads around our apartment. This included the local supermarket, subway entrances and bus stops.
83. List of important shops
Include a list of some department stores or convenience stores so guests can fill up on anything they have forgotten. For instance our list shows: a homeware store; the closest mall; a convenience store and a pharmacy.
84. Extra cleaning services
For long-term guests provide an additional, optional cleaning service. Add the cost and contact number.
85. An introduction to yourself
The first page of the welcome book should be a personal note that introduces you and gives a little context to your property. Ours mentions that I am British and my husband Brazilian and that this is our first apartment (we rent abroad).
I think a personal touch is what’s special about this rental platform and will make you stand out as a good Airbnb host.
Maintenance of Your Airbnb
86. Contract maintenance that you trust
Everyday wear and tear of your property means that you may need to repair something quickly. If you are miles away you need a reliable maintenance worker to deal with these unexpected repairs.
Our building contracts a maintenance man and we pay him directly for any work he does in our apartment. We have him on speed-dial.
87. Fix property between guests
If there is a problem that isn’t an emergency have the maintenance enter the apartment with the cleaner. I wouldn’t hand out a key to another individual.
88. Refill gas in air conditioner
Our air conditioner needs a refill of gas from time to time. In between guests ask your cleaner to take a look because if the AC is not efficient it will cost you more money in bills.
Take the same approach with other appliances and electronics in your Airbnb.
89. Have a Wi-Fi backup solution
Sometimes the internet fails. It may be the weather, it may be a late payment or it just might be a mistake by the company. Once our internet failed and the company did not have a number to call from abroad. In this case, it would have been ideal to have a friend in the city be able to call the company.
Remember that your guest might not speak the local language and would have difficulty dealing with this problem themselves.
90. Provide a toilet plunger
We made the mistake of not having a toilet plunger. It cost us a maintenance call. A plunger would have solved the problem immediately.
91. Factor in maintenance money in budget
Owning a property costs money. Renters aren’t liable for paying for normal repairs, so you need to do the same for Airbnb guests.
92. Replace broken items
Check through your kitchen supplies and bathroom and replace anything broken. This avoids an accumulation of missing supplies that can reduce positive reviews.
93. Consider seasonal decorations
Add some Christmas decorations or Easter cushions just to set the ambience during different festivities! Look out for local holidays and celebrations too.
94. Create a lost and found
Once or twice guests have forgotten something in the apartment. If they are still in the city or returning later they would probably appreciate a lost and found.
Extra Tips for becoming a Good Airbnb Host
95. Don’t give a discount
50% of my previous Airbnb guests have for a discount on long-term rentals. Be prepared for these requests and decide beforehand the lowest cost you would comfortably go. My advice would be to hold firm though, because the best guests are those that book the listed price.
A good response to those digging around for an unreasonable discount is “the listed price is the final price.“
You don’t have to give a discount. Our prewritten response offers a small discount and quotes the amount of the bills we have to cover in the rental amount. Some people are oblivious of condo costs or the high price of bills abroad (an electricity bill for a 1 bedroom apartment in Rio can be US $200/month).
96. Provide locks
Buy a professional safe or have a wardrobe or drawer that locks with a key. Either one gives guests peace of mind.
I always lock away my valuables when traveling after experiencing theft inside my hotel room.
97. Give extremely clear arrival directions
Go over-the-top with details so your guests don’t arrive stressed nor hours late.
98. Treat guests differently
Some guests will message you every week, others not once. Give space to those who want and reply as quickly as possible to more anxious guests. If you can and want, solo travelers may even like company. Offer to go out with them or invite them to a weekend get-together with your own friends.
99. Provide emergency numbers
If you will be far from your property while somebody is renting, it is wise to give a guest a number for emergencies. This should be someone near who you trust, that would help if something needs immediate action.
100. Trust your gut
If you are having a very bad feeling about a guest you don’t have to accept them to stay in your home. Some people are persistent in wanting a big discount, for me they are not worth the hassle.
You know your limits and should feel completely comfortable renting.
101. Become a good Airbnb host!
This list should steer you in the right direction with setting up your Airbnb rental. If you follow even half of these you will be well on your way to becoming a Superhost and have a booked out rental for the year.
The key to being a good Airbnb host is knowing the tricks and insight on what your guests want. Go in with an open mind, polite communication and listen to their suggestions.