5 Tips to Awesome Your Air BnB
As we write this post, our last Air BnB renter is packing up their suitcase and getting ready to head to the airport. It’s been exactly one year since we decided to rent out our space via Air BnB as opposed to a traditional roommate and we wanted to reflect on our experience and fully understand why we were so successful.
So much so that we lived mortgage free.
In case you haven’t heard, that market is expensive. We needed all the help we could get.
We’ve all heard about Air BnB and other short-term rental platforms that allow homeowners to leverage their property and make extra cash by renting out space to travelers. But what sets apart high yield home share rentals from ones that get poor feedback or attract the wrong kind of guest? You must awesome your Air BnB if you want awesome results. If you want to take your Air BnB to the next level – or if you’re just starting out – we have some tips that worked wonders for us. The proof is in the honest online reviews and the caliber of guests we attracted.
1.) Anticipate Guests Needs
I spent years working in restaurants while I was an actor in NYC. It’s just what you did at night so you could audition during the day. The one thing every manager harped on was the importance of anticipating the needs of your guest. They wanted us to notice their cocktail was 1/2 of the way gone so we could offer them one before they even had to ask – that sort of thing. The less our guests asked for the better – it meant they could do that they came to do: enjoy a meal, have a great business meeting, or enjoy time with friends. So, when setting up our Air BnB, we asked ourselves – “What do people need and want when staying at a hotel?”. We read hotel reviews, asked our friends and family, and wrote down everything a traveler might need to feel right at home.
We made a checklist and created a welcome basket. This welcome basket was filled with any and all toiletries any guest could want or need. Every time we reset the room we made sure everything was replenished.
Beyond toiletries, we also made sure to include:
- Phone chargers for both Android and iPhone
- International plug adapter and electric converters
- Paper towels
- Cleaning wipes
- Plastic cutlery
- Luggage weigher
- Coffee and tea
- Disposable to-go cups
- Brochures of local things to do in the area
- A Welcome Packet with any and all house and local information
- Alarm clock
- Notepad and pen
- Iron and ironing board
- Extra trash bags
Some of these items were added after our first few renters. We asked them if there was anything we could add that would have made their stay perfect—like the luggage weigher. We recommend having these items available whether you share a room in your home or if the space is completely private. The objective is to get your guests what they need before they ask. Have all of these items easily accessible in their room.
2.) Crazy Clean
You don’t have to be a crazy clean person yourself to appreciate an immaculate hotel room. Your Air BnB space should be cleaner than your own home if you expect to be rated a 5-star space. If you don’t have it in you, hire out someone who is detail oriented to reset the room. Here are our top 3 cleaning tips:
- Thoroughly vacuum UNDER the bed. If your vacuum can’t reach and the bed is over a rug, invest in a Roomba.
- Dust ALL the baseboards—yes, even behind furniture and in closets. The Swiffer Duster extender kit is a great tool!
- If you’ve got windows in your space, do not neglect any blinds or drapes. Keep them clean and dust free.
3.) Win Best Dressed!
Not you, but your Air BnB!
It’s not enough to just have a bed, clean sheets, and towels anymore. When potential guests are browsing housing options, you want yours to stand out! If you don’t have an eye for decor, collect fabulous pictures from the internet and get a friend to help you mirror your space off of your inspirational pictures. Hire an interior decorator. It just needs to be decorated and put together once so you can recreate the look with each new guest. Buy a few sets of the bedding and towels so resetting is quick and easy.
4.) Show It Off
Finally, don’t settle for mediocre photography of your space. Hire a local photographer or someone who is trying to build their portfolio. Sometimes Air BnB can even hook you up with free photography! Regardless, gorgeous photos will always grab the eye of travelers surfing for fantastic stays on the website. Don’t let yours blend in!
5.) Communicate, communicate, communicate!
We love being hosts but the more we anticipate the needs of our guests the more we can stay focused on our day to day lives and let the income from Air BnB be as passive as possible.
- Whenever someone requests to stay at our place, we first make sure we’re a good match. We briefly ask what’s bringing them to town and what they need out of our space. When everything is finalized via Air BnB we send our guests an email. The body of the email is a canned response to their reservation. It gives immediate and basic information on how to find our home and any information they’ll need on how to access the space. We then attach a .pdf that goes into great detail about our home and our area. You can have this information available on your Air BnB host profile, but our guests have responded well to the downloadable .pdf. They can then save it as a picture on their phone and have all the information they’ll need when they arrive. We also leave a copy of this Welcome Packet in the room, so the guest doesn’t have to bring a printed copy with them.
- Download the Air BnB app and stay on top of responding to your guests, should they have any questions. It was rare for us to receive messages from our guests because we were so prepared for their stay, but it put them at ease when they had a question or had any concerns and we were able to respond right away.
- Leave reviews! Guests need your reviews as much as you need theirs! Be quick to review their stay and be as thorough as possible with letting them know your experience with them.
If you’re new to hosting, the best way to build trust and great reviews is to offer a great deal at the beginning. Before we listed our space, we gained an understanding of what other places were successfully renting for and made sure to make our price very competitive so we could quickly gain positive reviews and fix any tweaks before we raised our rates. Now, we’re able to ask top dollar for our space and it’s rarely vacant. The pictures and reviews are invaluable. We created a well-oiled machine that ended up taking very little of our time, spent well under $1,000 to furnish and decorate the space and stock up on supplies and had zero problems in our one year of hosting. Win!