I wrote this post elsewhere earlier in the year but thought I would share it here today. Last weekend I stayed in an Airbnb in my home city with friends and whilst the place was great, there were a few of these tips our hosts could note! I am a great fan of using Airbnb whether I am travelling with my family or alone. We have Airbnb’d in cosy summer houses, city centre apartments and neighbourhood places. For me they are a hundred times better than staying in a soulless hotels and in expensive cities such as Copenhagen, they work out much more economical even when I am travelling solo.
Through our experiences I have come up with eleven ways Airbnb hosts can make your experience fabulous. They are based on great things hosts have done for us, little things I wished they had and a handful of things I wished they hadn’t.
Good communications before stay – in all but one stay, we had great communication beforehand. It makes you look forward to your trip if you know you can contact the host, put arrangements into places in advance and know what you need for your stay. To specify that arrangements can only be made the day before and ignore mails until that time is not acceptable.
Punctuality – surely this is a given on both parties but maybe not. We all know that new cities can be confusing but a little research beforehand can alieviate the chances of getting lost but it is great to read on feedback when hosts have been happy to wait in exceptional circumstances. But on the other hand renters should not be kept waiting by their hosts or be told the property is not available at the agreed time.
Explanation about how things work in the place – a small binder or folder with an explanation of how things work in the property and the expectations of the host is a must, especially if you don’t meet the host on arrival. Would you like renters to strip the bed when they leave, where to leave the key and anything else specific to your place, then this is the thing to do. Also the wifi code taped somewhere obvious.
Local guides and information – at the same time a little box or folder with local information is super helpful. Leaflets from the tourist board are an easy way to do this. I recently I stayed in the centre of Berlin, I knew the area but I thought it would have been useful to people new to the area to have a sheet of paper with the location of the nearest ATM, 24 hr supermarket, and a few local restaurants and takeaways – there were all these things in a two block radius but it’s nice to know where they are.
A little welcome gift – this doesn’t have to be extravagant but a little welcome gift in the apartment always puts a smile on your face. One place we stayed left a little welcome note with some homebaked cakes and a bottle of wine. It was a personal touch and much appreciated.
Soft towels – we have always had clean towels and plenty of them in our rentals but in the main they have been pretty rough and thin. They did the job but the investment of a couple of sets of inexpensive but soft towels for renters to use is worth the money. Little things like this make all the difference.
Cosy bedding and options of pillows – this is another home comfort thing. We stayed in one apartment that truly had the world’s most comfortable bed – we googled it and found it cost the same as a small car. Coupled with cosy duvets and pillows it was hard to get me out of it! So lots of cosy bedding especially in colder countries and in the winter is a must. Also from a personal point of view, it would be nice to have the choice of hard or soft pillows. Again, like the towels, Ikea is your budget friendly go-to for this.
Basics stocked in the kitchen – we love doing Airbnb as it means we have many options when it comes to food but it is wonderful to come to a rental and find they have all the basics for cooking available – cooking oil, basic condiments and seasonings, plus washing up liquid.
Books, games and toys – when we have travelled as a family we have chosen properties that are aimed towards that type of renter. We have been delighted that in most instances that my son had access to toys, books and games. I personally wouldn’t expect him to have access to all the hosts’ toys but a tub of Lego/Duplo, some jigsaws and books re perfect. I also loved one of our stays where the host had a display rack of interiors magazines, which I spent the evenings flicking through.
Wardrobe space – we know, in general, we are staying in someone’s home but it’s nice to have a section of the wardrobe cleared for our clothes or a couple of drawers – a little sticker on the allocated places avoids renters rifling through your stuff or living out of their suitcases.
Make it seem like a home not a business – in recent years there have been more professional hosts listing their places on Airbnb. This is fine but as renters we still want to feel its a home , even if it set up as a rental. I rented from two different hosts in Berlin, both of whom have multiple properties but the experiences couldn’t have been more different. Host 1 met me on time, was friendly and helpful, his place was a delight and he had taken the time to make it homely and he left me a review. Host 2 had poor communication beforehand, was not ready at the prearranged time, was surly, clearly wasn’t sure which of her tenants I was that day and to date has not bothered to leave me a review. She clearly treats her AirBNB portfolio as a business but showed a huge lack of understanding of how to operate with AirBNB renters.
What do you think?