1. Know the rules from Airbnb
Read the rules as well as your insurance coverage; they change from time to time and you want to be current. Don’t be caught breaking rules or not knowing rules.
For instance, did you know you are not covered between guests? If something should happen to make your place unrentable – such as construction closing the street- did you know Aircover won’t cover that? Will your own personal insurance? Maybe or maybe not – you probably need to know.
Did you know if the person you hire steals something you are not covered?
2. Have perfect Photos – don’t chintz
Unless you’re a trained photographer; do go the extra mile and get professional photos. The photos are your main calling card and will, by far, be your main reason for getting bookings.
In addition to having spectacular photos, also take plenty of them. If your spare bedrooms are futons and not beds, your guest needs to know that.
Oh, and, in addition to perfect and lots of photos, include detailed descriptions.
FYI, in some areas, Airbnb will pay for professional photos for a new host.
3. Leave Enough Towels
This is a double-edged sword. You want your guest to be comfortable but don’t want them to be using too many. To avoid this – have extra towels, but in a pantry or linen closet. That way the person stepping out of the shower won’t be tempted to use 4 towels when one is sufficient but will have enough if they should go swimming.
Be sure and let them know where you are storing the extra towels.
4. Use Dark Towels and White Sheets
Use Dark towels so they won’t easily stain. Makeup is terrible on white towels. Use White sheets that can be bleached if necessary; unless your theme specifically requires a different color sheet – such as a Disney theme- go with white and have extras.
5. Make sure your cleaning team knows what your expectations are
Have a complete guide for them. If you are in the same city show them what you expect and include a checklist. If you are working with a cleaning company; take your checklist and thoroughly discuss this with them. Include discussions about what needs to be cleaned once a month (like mildew spray in the shower).
6. Don’t forget to check supplies before each guest
This is particularly important if you are any distance from your guests. You will rue the day you get a call from Florida when you’re in California because there is no shampoo. You should have a checklist for your cleaning crew to check off that everything is in its place.
7. Stock with books (non-controversial), and board games
Books and magazines can be easily had from garage sales, friends, your own house, goodwill (remove tags), etc. But do be careful about what you choice. Do not have anything a parent might find objectionable – most guests will have families – just saying.
Also, magazines can look rather trashish if you have too many. Leave maybe one or two higher-end books or magazines on an end table and the rest in a nice bin. With games – don’t leave them out. Put in bookshelves.
While you’re at it – consider a used PlayStation and some games. You can get some off of eBay or Craigslist fairly cheap.
8. Don’t forget to clean ceilings and corners
The two things that are commonly missed are cobwebs and dust in ceilings and floor corners. And bonus, don’t forget to clean behind toilets.
Oh, and fans; lots of dust can collect on the top of these. Make sure your cleaning crew now to clean them.
9. Use an automatic security lock – Security Smart lock
A smart lock system will make it easier for the guest to get access and give you the chance to control who has access – you will know when the guest arrives. Get the Smart lock deadbolt type with a keyless entry that you can activate from your phone. This will save time and hassle. You could have a cheap security box with a code you give them to access the key – but you are then allowing them to have a key that can be copied. Use new technology as your friend.
10. Have cameras OUTSIDE
There are several different kinds. I found that most are a bit delayed. So far, I like Arlo, but technology changes and improves. Review the reviews before purchasing. Costco is a good place to get security cameras or Amazon (read reviews).
Cameras will give you a chance to watch over your property for arrivals and departures and missing furniture should someone carry your stuff off. It can also give you pictures of how well the unit looks on the outside. Important stuff to know.
Do not spy on your guests – and just an aside, if you do place ANY kind of recording/spying device inside the property you could get yourself banned. Inside cameras are especially a big no. Airbnb does allow sound monitors that measure volume (but don’t record). An example would be Minut.
11. Be timely in responding to guests
This probably should be top of your list.
Send a greeting message and a follow-up message to ensure that all is well with your guest. If they have any issues be sure and follow up with them. You want to plant the seeds of happiness so it will bloom into a 5-star review.
If your guest is standing out in the rain unable to figure out how to get in and you are not responding right away – can you see that they would be understandably perturbed – but when they get a quick response they are magically transformed.
Consider some automated messaging apps.
12. Make sure and keep your finger on the pulse of the economy and industry
You want to know what your competitors are charging- or if they are adding amenities that you aren’t. So periodically check their listings.
Knowing the economy also means knowing the rules your city, county and state are shifting to in regards to short-term leases. It’s not inconceivable that rules can be passed that prohibit having an Airbnb. Wouldn’t you want to know?
13. Always have ground rules – but not too many
I created about 8 rules, you can have them free or do your own. See my attachment on the home page. Change them to your own need. They can be laminated and left on the counter or put in an acrylic stand.
14. Keep good photos of damages and file with Airbnb timely
When your property is damaged take pictures and respond to Airbnb immediately- they will expect you to have tried to work things out with your guest. Airbnb expects you to fill out damage forms BEFORE the next guest shows up. (you can wait until the 14-days have passed so you don’t get a retaliatory filing from your guest).
15. Don’t forget to keep the lawn in tip-top shape
When hiring a cleaning crew, consider what you are going to do regarding the yard. A weekly (or every other week) upkeep needs to be in place.
While we are talking about the outside; don’t forget to have the cleaning crew clean things like the steps outside, walkway, driveway, welcome mat, and door on the outside.
16. Use your maintenance person as a second check for the condition of rental
Have a good relationship with your lawn crew and maintenance crew. You should be able to ask them how the property is looking.
17. Write your listing in complete detail.
If they will be driving up a logging road…make sure they know… if the spare bedrooms are futons – make sure the pictures show it and you mention it. Anything that might hinder a person’s enjoyment should be mentioned. Close neighbors – busy street…etc. you can always write them up as positives. Like “our neighbors are fastidiously quite so you can have a peaceful relaxing time .”
18. Look for stinky stuff left behind
While there are many stinky things a guest can bring, do, and leave – a couple of common ones are: leaving old food in the oven, microwave, and frig. This, of course, should be on your cleaning crew’s checklist. Don’t forget stinky socks under the bed and icky stuff left on BBQ grills and gross stuff left in garbage bins.
19. Use simple but clean and modern furniture
I have written a whole article on how to furnish an Airbnb; simple is best.
20. Always have a backup plan if you have to have a guest move out unexpectedly
If your cleaning crew missed a deadline; you suddenly find bugs that need to be dealt with…what do you do? What do you do?
If it’s just a delay, offer to treat them to dinner – make arrangements ahead of time for this restaurant to bill you or allow you to pay over the phone.
If it requires a call to a repair person, have one handy on your list to call.
If you have to cancel, work with the guest and work with Airbnb. cancelations are frowned upon and enough of them can get you banned. Canceling can also affect your ranking and super host ranking.
21. Leave a list of amenities for them to enjoy
A simple list of what’s in the area with a map or directions is a good touch that your guests will appreciate. If you have a nice nature trail running in the back let them know; if it’s a good trail except when it rains – let them know. If there are three good restaurants within walking distance – include.
Your guests are probably new to the area or at least don’t know it as well as you – let them know its amenities so they will have a great time.
22. Always ask for a review.
Send a guest a thank you message when they check out. Include a quick blurb on how you appreciate their time and would they mind leaving a 5-star review as it’s so important to an Airbnb host. Most will be responsive.
23. If you are supplying appliances; make sure they work
Television, check it…dryer and washer, the cleaning crew should check. Dryer, microwave, coffee pot.
24. Don’t forget to empty out and clean any food/drink type appliances
The oven is an obvious one; but so are the crumbs in a toaster or an unclean coffee maker – empty and clean. The refrigerator, ditto, remove unfinished drinks and restaurant leftovers. Also, take that stuff out of the premises. The garbage cans should be wiped down with cleaner and stinky free with new liners.
25. You must have your own insurance as well as Aircover
I’ve written a whole article on this. But do know, Aircover might be good, but it’s not all-encompassing. You will need to speak with your own insurance agent and make sure your personal coverage is complete.
- Airbnb offers a template feature in which you can save your messages in their system. You can save these instruction messages etc. and repeat them without having to retype – this will save you time.
- Right up Front Ask a Guest who Books as 1 person if there will be others. Sometimes a newbie doesn’t realize that the question is being asked because the rate may be higher. This will create unexpected stress for the guest if they didn’t book properly ahead of time and are now being charged more.
- You will not have every day of the month booked – don’t sweat it. Use it to do the monthly type stuff that needs to be done.
- Keep supplies on Hand (away from the use of the guest)
- You can choose a closet in the laundry room, garage, or the least used place and have it lockable and label it as “Cleaning Crew Supplies”.
The above is offered as education information. We do not give legal, accounting, financial, or other professional advice since every person and location may be different with specifics that vary.