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How to turn your home into an Airbnb

So you want to know how to become an Airbnb host? Well, before you jump into it, you need to make sure your home is well-suited for guests to enjoy. After all, it’s much harder to fix a bad reputation due to ill-preparedness than to take some time to make sure you are set up for success. 

The advantages of listing your property through Airbnb are many, including increased exposure, more confidence and trust, and less risk to name a few, but the downside is that there’s a lot of competition. The key to a successful Airbnb listing lies within your efforts to manage and optimize both your property and your listing in order to create happy guests and attract more bookings. 

Right now, we’ll focus on how to transform your property into top-notch guest accommodation, but when you’re ready to create a listing on Airbnb, check out our step-by-step guide for Airbnb hosts.

If you want your short-term rental to stand out and draw bookings, you have to think about the guest experience. The more guests enjoy your stay, the more positive reviews and better ratings you will get, and the more bookings you will bring in. Every detail that you put effort into helps to create an experience that is comfortable and memorable for your guests.  

After all, your guests’ recommendations are one of the most important ways to achieve a steady, successful relationship with Airbnb. 

NOTE: Before you list your home on Airbnb, make sure you know about any local regulations or laws that might impact your listing. These could include:

  • Zoning regulations
  • Business licensing laws
  • Safety regulations
  • Homeowners’ Association (HOA) rules
  • Noise and nuisance regulations

Here are 7 tips on how to Airbnb your place and create distinct moments that leave your guests impressed and your reviews raving.

1. Make your guests feel at home

A big turnoff for guests is entering a property and feeling like they’re intruding on someone else’s space. Guests want to feel free to make themselves at home in their surroundings. To accomplish this, remove your personal items such as family photos, clothing, and other belongings, from the areas your guests will be using (keep them in a locked room or move them to a storage unit). You also want to remove any valuables or family heirlooms for their safety.  

Clear out closets, dressers, and drawers for guests to unpack and store their clothing and belongings. Make sure you have enough space and hangers for the number of guests you’re able to host, even if it means bringing in an extra clothing rack. Feel free to leave out items of interest that guests can enjoy such as books, artwork, games etc. While you want guests to feel at home, you do want to gently remind them that they are staying in someone else’s house so they’ll behave accordingly. 

2. Keep it clean

Cleanliness is an absolute necessity for an Airbnb rental, and this doesn’t just mean the obvious sweeping and bathroom scrub. Before each booking, you need to do a deep clean of every room, surface, light fixture, window fixture, light switch, and doorknob. You need to dust, clean fingerprints and streaks, remove mold and mildew, and clean windows inside and out. Make sure all linens are freshly laundered and garbage cans emptied. 

Remember, your guests are comparing this experience with hotels that have a whole staff dedicated to thorough cleaning. Cleaning can be a big undertaking so one of the first investments you might want to consider is hiring a cleaning company to manage the job.  The cleaning management process can be made much easier with task management platforms such as Turno, a cleaning management integration that works with Guesty. 

The same goes for maintenance. These sometimes little details can make a big difference in a guest’s stay. Before each booking make sure everything is in proper working order, checking light bulbs, fixing leaks, drains, or door handles. It’s important to also stay on top of routine maintenance such as replacing filters on air conditioning units or water purifying systems. When it comes to maintenance, be proactive – don’t wait until your guests complain and their experience is dampened!

3. Let your personality shine through

Much of the draw for guests to choose an Airbnb rental as opposed to a hotel is the unique personality that each property offers. This personal touch is what makes this type of travel special for both guests and hosts. So, when you’re decorating and marketing your space, let your personality shine through!

Charm your guests with little touches that turn a “satisfactory” experience into an “exceptional” one by spiking it with unique, memorable moments. This doesn’t require that much effort: just think of small ways you can add a little personality or humor to give your guests a fresh and original experience. A dose of your personality can be portrayed in even the most trivial aspects of the stay and gives you the advantage of distinguishing your home from other listings in the area.

This can be anything from the theme of your decor, your selection of artwork, or even some creativity with your Wifii code. Being clever and using humor can bring on a lot of lasting smiles that will result in great connections and great reviews. 

4. Provide convenience

Convenience is a major (if not the most relevant) factor in a guest experience. As a host, it’s your responsibility to improve their level of satisfaction by making their experience as seamless as possible.

The moment of check-in is a golden opportunity to greet guests with convenience by providing an enhanced solution for key exchange. There are many options out there for you to avoid meeting your guests in person, allowing them to come and go on their own schedule. To eliminate this process altogether, you can opt to abandon keys and invest in a smart or electronic lock that your guests can easily and conveniently open with an access code that can be personalized for each guest.

If you prefer the traditional lock-and-key system, accommodate your guests’ time by meeting them at the airport to hand off your keys or arrange for a third party to store or deliver the key at whatever time your visitor needs. If you opt for the latter, consider keeping your key at a familiar nearby coffee shop, where you can arrange for the barista to welcome your guest with a complimentary coffee or snack, a simple touch to brighten their day.

Whether it’s providing additional amenities or arranging airport pickup and drop off, providing additional conveniences to make their stay easier can really make your guests feel like VIPs. 

5. Offer amenities

The amenities you provide in your rental can make or break a booking and the overall guest experience. While some amenities are mandatory, like air conditioning in the summer desert, others are more of a bonus. Here are some things to consider:

  • Stock the kitchen – Many people choose to stay in an Airbnb because of the convenience of a kitchen and the ability to prepare food. Ensure you have basic cooking essentials, such as pots, pans, utensils, cutting boards, oven mitts, dish towels, condiments, and spices, as well as an eating area with enough seating for the number of guests your rental can hold. Depending on the space, make sure to include standard appliances (that are working properly, of course) such as a fridge/freezer, microwave, stove, oven/toaster, kettle, coffee maker, and dishwasher.
  • Provide high-speed Wifi and streaming services – Wifi is one of the most popularly requested amenities and expands your pool of renters to include business travelers. In this day and age, most people expect to have access to Wifi wherever they go. In addition, providing Cable, smart TV or streaming services such as Netflix or Hulu gives guests a way to relax after a day of sightseeing or to occupy kids before dinner time. 
  • Be generous with essentials – Stock up on clean linens, extra blankets, bathroom towels, toiletries, toilet paper, tissues, and soap, so guests know they won’t run out. Leave some toothbrushes, toothpaste, razors, and hand lotion for an extra touch. If you have a laundry machine make sure there’s plenty of detergent (or be sure to provide info about where guests can launder clothing in case of need). 
  • Be prepared for emergencies – While we hope they won’t need to use it, it’s important for your guests to have what they need in case of an emergency.  This includes an easily accessible fire extinguisher, smoke detectors, first aid kits, flashlights, weather radios, batteries, water, non-perishables, blankets, important local numbers or instructions, and in relevant cases, shovels and ice melts. 

Enhancing your space with amenities can be an ongoing process, so you don’t need to have everything in place before you start listing, but you do want to include enough to get started on the right foot with your first guests so they’ll leave positive reviews and get the ball rolling. 

6. Be gracious

One way to stand out among hosts is to go above and beyond your guests’ expectations. Catching them off guard with your thoughtfulness and willingness to accommodate is the easiest way to make a quick and positive connection.

Nothing will charm a guest like a complimentary welcome package waiting upon arrival. Consider a package made up of a healthy ratio of creativity, thoughtfulness, and generosity. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy: it can be as simple as a map of the surrounding area, a couple of bottles of water, some postcards, and a local delicacy. Or you can add an extra touch by gifting a bottle of wine or a Metrocard with money for a few trips already loaded.

If you welcome your guests with giving, you’ll not only exceed their expectations but also invoke their desire to repay the favor (as in, a very warm recommendation on Airbnb). 

7. Be clear and informative

To avoid misunderstandings, it’s best to be very clear about your house rules. Before you bring guests into your house, decide what your policies will be, and make sure you present them clearly to guests either before or upon their arrival. This should include details such as your smoking and pet policies, the maximum number of guests, any specific quiet hours, or guidelines regarding neighbors. While you’re at it, include instructions for TV remotes, AC, heating, security, Wifi passwords, and parking info, as well as local resources and attractions such as gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, attractions, and transportation information. 

In conclusion…

Each and every interaction with your guests counts toward their overall impression, which you want to be positive. To succeed in the competition, you need to think outside the box (and inside your guests’ heads) in order to distinguish your property. 

Get creative with how you accomplish this and always consider how you can stand out on both an individual level and a big-picture level. If you’re unique and kind, and pay attention to the little details, you’ll optimize your visitors’ experience while you maximize your reputation as a host.
Once your Airbnb is up and running, you can continue to impress your guests by taking advantage of technology to streamline your experiences, making you a more attentive and responsible host with better communication. This is where Guesty comes in. Check out Guesty to see how you can make short-term rental hosting less time-consuming and more profitable.

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