This year was my first time trying out AirBnB. For those of you unfamiliar with Airbnb, it’s a service where individuals may rent out their homes, apartments, and spare bedrooms. Airbnb is available in the U.S as well as many countries around the world. For some, Airbnb is more appealing than hotels because sometimes it’s more affordable and it provides you with an experience which sometimes hotels are unable to offer. For years, I solely stayed in hostels. However, after I kept hearing people talk about Airbnb, I knew I had to give it a try to see what all the hype was about. Ever since my first AirBnB escapade in Tokyo, it has become my go-to resource for accommodations abroad. Overall, I’ve had more positive experiences than negative so here are my 10 simple tips to becoming a great AirBnB host:
1. Personal touch
My most recent AirBnB experience was in South Africa. My host in Capetown left a typed letter with all of the necessary information like the WiFi login as well as local restaurant recommendations. The icing on the cake was the bottle of wine. First impressions are lasting so leaving a personal note along with a snack or beverage is sure to be remembered.Something to keep in mind because many people choose their accommodations based on the guest reviews.
2. Stocked Toiletries
My host in Tokyo did an awesome job of making sure all of my needs were taken care of. The apartment was fully stocked with everything imaginable from body wash, shampoo, hand soap, laundry detergent, and toilet paper. We didn’t have to go to the store to replenish anything. I don’t expect hosts to keep body wash handy (I normally bring my own) but I definitely expect toilet paper to be the bare minimum. On a trip to Miami, the host left a half used roll of toilet paper, one bar of soap, and that was it. It was obvious he did the bare minimum in preparation of my stay. These are things I remember when I complete my review so it’s important to stay on top of making sure all necessary toiletries are stocked.
3. Accurate Photos
By and large most pictures of places I stayed in were accurate. However, the apartment I stayed in Miami definitely looked better online than in real life. Whether you invest in a professional photographer or ensure you capture high quality pictures, it goes a long way to making sure you accurately represent your place.
Not being able to get in touch with your host can be somewhat annoying. While in Tokyo for the first two days I was unable to figure out how to turn on the hot water. The instructions were in Japanese and the diagram didn’t help either. Eventually I messaged my host and he responded quickly which I appreciated.
Traveling by yourself this may not be much of an issue but if you’re in a group, the more plugs the merrier. No one likes to have to fight to charge their electronics.
6. Clean Linens/Towels
I think we can all agree most people don’t travel with their own sheets and towels. Having at least two sets of towels come in very handy. You would think it would be a given to change sheets after each guest but that unfortunately is not the case. A friend of mine had a less than stellar experience with her Airbnb host when she found lipstick stains on the sheets, which obviously left a very bad taste in her mouth.
7. Clean, Clean, Clean
It’s common for AirBnB hosts to hire a cleaning service to prepare their apartments for each guest’s arrival. I’m sure prices vary depending on location and size of the house/apartment. However, investing in a cleaning service is a great way to make sure your apartment or home is ready especially if you don’t want to be bothered doing the dirty work.
WiFi is pretty much equivalent to water especially when I’m abroad. Due to the fact I normally don’t buy a local sim card, I can’t really use my phone unless I have WiFi. When I get to my place at the end of a long day of sightseeing, the first thing I want to do is get online and upload some pictures. My host in Tokyo had a pocket WiFi which could be used everywhere. This was extremely helpful in navigating the subway system.
9. Guide to local restaurants, grocery stores, neighborhood
As a foreigner in a new city, I want to know what the locals do. I want to know where are the local hangouts not just the areas which are popular with tourists. Here’s the host’s chance to give their guests the inside scoop on what areas, restaurants, and bars are not to be missed.
10. Have basic amenities available
Sometimes when I travel, I’ll cook breakfast to save money. So it’s helpful when there is salt, pepper, pots, pans, silverware readily available.
Have you tried Airbnb? What have been some of your experiences?
Go to www.airbnb.com/c/bl89?s=8 to get $20 off your first stay.