This article is a compilation of Airbnb tips and tricks from hosts on our Facebook group and articles we’ve written here at AirHost Academy, which have invariably been responses to requests from our fellow hosts.
In short, this is real advice from real Airbnb hosts and SuperHosts.
With that said, that doesn’t mean it will work for everyone. If there’s anything you disagree with or would like to add, let us know in the comments below
In order to save money on electricity, many hosts recommend buying a “Nest Learning Thermostat” or other, similar “smart” thermostats that turn off the A/C whenever the house is empty. It’s also a good idea to switch all of the lights to LED in case your guests leave the lights on.
“In our area we’re the only baby/kid-friendly and we are constantly booked with mainly families,” – Katie, from the AirHost Academy Facebook page. Look through the listings in your area and try to see what’s missing. Too hard to compete on price? See if you can angle yourself as the premium, luxury Airbnb in your area.
Darren says, “Be a guest at multiple Airbnbs and multiple areas before hosting.” It’s fantastic advice. Try to get a good idea of what it’s like to be a guest before you try to host.
Wise words from yet another one of our hosts, Victoria. When in doubt, apply the Golden Rule and treat others how you would like to be treated. Put yourself in your guests’ shoes and ask yourself, “What would my ideal Airbnb stay be like?” Then, be that Airbnb.
No one likes dirty towels. White towels can stain pretty easily. Think about wine, food, makeup. If someone gets a bloody nose and grabs one of your pristine white towels to absorb some of the blood, that’s a towel you’re probably going to have to throw away. The best Airbnb towels are gray because they’re the hardest to stain. Buy grey towels.
These Luxury Turkish Bath Towels are our personal favorites.
Dark makeup towels that don’t show makeup stains will save you money in the long run. Guests enjoy knowing they can freely wash their faces with a specific washcloth and not feel bad about ruining something in you Airbnb.
House rules outline how you want people to act in your Airbnb. If you have clear, well-written house rules, it’s going to be that much easier to win any dispute you might have with your renters. Also. according to one host on our Facebook group, rules help scare off extreme partiers who are going to end up being more trouble than they’re worth.
Try to keep a mentality that “the customer is always right.” Another one of our hosts, Kara, said, “It can be challenging, especially when guests have ridiculous requests and questions, but it has really served us in the long run. We respond with understanding and kindness, even when we don’t want to.” If you provide five-star service, you’ll have no trouble getting five-star reviews.
One piece of advice that pops up again and again is to be very hesitant about accepting locals. In fact, some hosts have a “no locals” policy. No doubt part of the reason it’s a bad idea to accept locals is that they could be searching for a party house to trash for a weekend. Travelers are often a safer bet but that’s not always the case.
Write clear check-in and check-out times and instructions. Your guest should have no doubts whatsoever about what times they can arrive and depart from your rental.
Failing that, if you’re unavailable for a good portion of the day because of work, friends, or other obligations, it’s probably easiest to just buy a lockbox so that your guests can use self check-in. According to our (admittedly informal) survey, over 84% of Reddit users prefer self check-in over more traditional styles of checking in, like having to meet with someone face-to-face. You’re going to end up giving your guest the key, anyway, so why not just put it in a lock-box (that you can change the code to, of course) instead of handing it to them? It’s just easier.
This Kidde AccessPoint Push-Button Lockbox is our top pick.
A lot of our hosts mention doing a little something extra. Even a bottle of water can go a long way. One host even said, “Provide coffee with real milk and creamers and you will get five stars.” As an avid coffee lover myself, I can’t help but agree.
There are some downsides to turning off instant booking: it hurts your rental’s search ranking, which might decrease earnings, but a lot of hosts say that they like the freedom of being able to evaluate potential guests before inviting them into their homes. It depends on the scenario, though, because a lot of other guests have found it to be beneficial.
Jayne says, “Be wary of large groups of young people.” She warns that five or six people can quickly turn into more, ending in a huge party (and possibly property damage).
Have a cleaning checklist for you or your cleaning service after every guest. If you’ve had trouble in the past with cleaning services, consider providing a checklist for what needs to get done so expectations can be met.
Make sure your Airbnb never gets bed bugs. There are lots of strategies you can use to avoid and get rid of these pests. One of our best Airbnb tips: don’t get bed bugs in the first place. Prevention is the best medicine, so to speak.
Save all of the following numbers on a note on your iPhone. Hosts often need to contact Airbnb for help with some sort of issue, but you’ll probably need to log in to Airbnb if you want to contact anyone there. That’s not always useful in a pinch. According to Tiffany, “these are all the Airbnb numbers one could need,” with the exception of the international numbers.
Standard US: +1-415-800-5959
Toll-free US: +1-855-424-7262
Urgent Reservation Assistance: 855-424-7262
If your issue is about payments, and you need to escalate to their payment team, try here: +1-855-424-7262 (Airbnb USA)
Photographs are one of the most important factors that can sway a person’s decision to rent your place or to pass on it. It’s the first thing that your prospective guests see when they’re looking through the search results. Hiring an Airbnb photographer often pays for itself pretty quickly.
Write a great guest welcome letter, and send it at the right time. First impressions frame your guests’ opinion of your rental, so make sure to start off on the right foot. Consider using Airbnb’s or another automated messaging service to streamline your process.
If your guest is bringing a pet along with them and you aren’t usually pet-friendly, don’t hesitate to add an extra cleaning fee or a pet fee. Be cautious about laws pertaining to Service Animals, extra charges cannot be assessed for them, as it’s a violation of the American Disabilities Act as it pertains to Service Animals and businesses, and may run afoul of your own state laws.
Know how to add a cleaning fee on Airbnb. Always charge at least as much as your cleaning service is charging you. It’s only reasonable. As noted above, additional cleaning fees specific to Service Animals are not aloud.
I know that we just mentioned turning off instant booking, but on the other hand, a lot of hosts say that it’s one of the most important factors for making sure your Airbnb ranks near the top. Other important factors include updating your calendar regularly, responding to messages quickly, and targeting the right keywords.
When it comes to writing negative reviews, be honest. Honesty is always the best policy, but to help you out, we even have examples of well-written and poorly-written positive and negative reviews.
When one host asked about other hosts’ weekly and monthly discount rates during the busy season, almost every one of them said zero. “Why should someone get a discount for staying a week? Besides, the discount-hunters are always trouble.” What do you think? Discount or no discount?
Invest in a high-quality Wi-Fi router that’s the right size for your home. Not all Wi-Fi routers are one-size-fits-all, and the technology is changing quicker than most hardware companies can keep up with. If your router is five years old, that’s most likely why your Wi-Fi is slow.
The TP-Link AC4000 is our best overall pick in terms of reach, affordability, and responsiveness.
Learn how to make a bed for Airbnb. There’s something so professional, so appealing, about a neatly-made bed. It’s often the little things that really impress your guests, and learning how to do “hospital corners” can be one of those little things that actually takes no extra effort.
Smart pricing is often more beneficial for Airbnb than it is for you. Again, though, keep in mind that this is one of those factors that might negatively affect your listing’s ranking in the search results. This could come at a cost, but you can always try out one month with smart pricing and one month without. Find what works for you.
According to Alanna, it’s “smart to protect yourself,” when it comes to buying extra insurance for your Airbnb. Airbnb’s policies don’t cover everything, by any means. If this is an extra expense that you can afford, it probably makes sense.
We recommend Proper Insurance as they offer good rates and are designed for Airbnb hosts.
When offering breakfast for a house with multiple guests, if at all possible, put it in a bag and label the bag “one bag per person!” One host was having lots of trouble with her guests filling up on her free breakfast so that they could skip lunch. In order to avoid this problem, offer a continental breakfast that’s a bit lighter (even a cinnamon roll is more than many Airbnbs would offer).
In the event that your guest brings an extra guest to your Airbnb, gently remind them to register that guest. And, if you charge per person, it’s entirely reasonable to expect them to pay that little bit extra.
Make sure your kitchen is stocked with the essentials. Airbnb guests don’t expect the same treatment as hotel guests, but there are certain things that they’re going to need in the kitchen. You can’t expect them to carry around their own spatulas. If you’re offering an entire apartment for rent, this is especially important.
When you’re unavailable for a certain period of time (or you just need a short break from Airbnb), make sure to snooze your Airbnb listing. Temporarily snoozing your listing every once in a while isn’t going to negatively affect your listing’s SEO. It’ll be fine. What will hurt your search ranking, though, is canceling on a guest for any reason. Avoid that by planning ahead.
If you have a TV, get some sort of streaming service. It doesn’t have to be cable or HBO, but most guests at this point expect some sort of entertainment options if you have an entertainment unit.
One easy way of adding another bed to an available room is to buy a sofa bed. There are some cheap and comfortable sofa beds available on Amazon, so you could feasibly add another guest to your Airbnb rental for as little as $100.
Sometimes you do everything that’s expected of you and you go the extra mile. But that doesn’t stop your guest from giving you a negative review. Here’s a secret weapon: remove negative reviews.
When an Airbnb guest tries to negotiate the price, don’t negotiate with them. At all. Many hosts on our Facebook page say it’s a red flag; that you wouldn’t want that type of person in your Airbnb anyway. There’s a reason you set the nightly rate at that specific price point, and often it can’t be talked down without cutting into your profits. In case prices are negotiable, however, define your bare minimum in order to avoid being too generous.
Learn the ins and outs of managing Airbnb remotely. One tip: Stay away from Airbnb management services unless you absolutely need one. They’re often more hassle than they’re worth.
Be flexible with your check-in and check-out times. When guests visit your place, they’re often on vacation, and they’re often coming from very far away. In the airline industry, delays are expected. People can’t always work around your schedule, so if you want a good review, do your best to work around theirs (within reason, of course).
Make a note of any allergies that your guests might have. If your guests have a deadly peanut allergy, it might be a good idea to get rid of the trail mix.
Buy all of your essential Airbnb products on Amazon so you can set up recurring purchases (at a discount) for the purchases you make every couple weeks or so. That way, you’ll never forget a thing.
Print out a guidebook including everything that your guest needs to know: house rules, wi-fi, places to go, and more, and place it somewhere in the Airbnb where they can easily find it when they check in.
Respond to every message you get on the Airbnb app, even if it’s a rejection of a prospective guest. This ties back in with making sure your listing is SEO friendly. Airbnb doesn’t want to see that you’re ignoring anyone, or else they’re going to do their best to make sure no one is messaging you.
Download smartbnb so that you can automate many of the messages that you would normally have to send manually. It saves a ton of time. It’s our favorite app for a reason.
Make sure you’re treating your windows well. Airbnb guests aren’t very patient when it comes to blinds, so look into buying either drapes or shades. Blackout curtains are a hit and can help your guests sleep in when they’re on vacation.
In the event that you have a guest who won’t leave, know the tenant’s rights in your locality. Also, don’t hesitate to contact Airbnb. They don’t have a comprehensive way of dealing with this issue (yet), but they’ll help you for sure.
If you have any sort of special skill, talent, or tour that you could guide, set up your own Airbnb experience to make even more cash. Here’s how to set up an Airbnb experience.
Not all guests want to talk all the time, so make sure you give them plenty of space, but let them know that you are just a call away if they need help.
Join a community full of like-minded hosts and SuperHosts so you can learn and vent. Being an Airbnb host is hard work, and sometimes people outside of the industry don’t even consider it to be a real job. Not so here at AirHost Academy. We know how hard it is to manage a rental, and we want to do our best to make sure you can do your best.
Airbnb’s standard agreement doesn’t cover everything that could possibly occur during a person’s stay. In fact, Airbnb has explicitly stated that they’ve made incorrect decisions regarding their own rules. When thousands of claims are made per day, it’s easy to make mistakes (and nearly impossible to avoid them). In order to avoid any problems with your renters, have them sign a short-term rental agreement. This is just a short document outlining fair conduct in your Airbnb.
Opening up your space to others can be one of the most rewarding experiences in your life. Make sure you’re having some fun along the way.
We hope you enjoyed this list of top tips for Airbnb hosts. If you have any other tips to add, please comment below!
Phil Sykora is a freelance writer from Cleveland, OH. His work is focused on the real estate industry covering short term rentals. Phil is currently living in Costa Rica taking advantage of "geoarbitrage." Phil combines his passion for travel with his short term rental experiences to offer hosts advice on how to make guests feel right at home.
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