Airbnb Host Tips: Making A Good Airbnb Listing Amazing

Have an Airbnb listing but need some tips for how to be a consistently great host? We all know that Airbnb is one of the most popular platforms for booking and renting out property. So many people are doing it that, as a host, it can be hard to stand out. After 3 months of full-time travel (read our story here), we’ve noted that a few touches make a big difference. Here are 8 tips for taking your Airbnb from good to amazing.

8 Easy To Implement Tips For Airbnb Hosts

Now, just in case any of our previous hosts are reading, we’re lucky we haven’t had a bad Airbnb experience. We’re also hugely lucky that some of our experiences have been absolutely outstanding. These are the ones I want to focus on. Because it really is the little things that make a big difference.

Tip 1 – Check-In Options

You’d think that to give the best service, meeting your guests in person and giving them a tour is essential. This CAN be true, but let me digress to tell you the story of my first ever job interview.

Who is your customer?

Picture the scene. It’s 1998. I’m 16 years old and I’ve been invited to a job interview at a well-known music and video store.

The only “job” I had ever had previously was a paper round. I was still at school, had never been asked questions under pressure in my life and I was bricking it. I REALLY wanted this job – it had the potential to be the first “cool” thing I’d ever done.

Anyway, I was sitting at a small picnic table in the staff room, opposite my interviewer. I am not one for preparation (I work quite well under pressure), so I’d hastily scribbled some notes on the bus on the way there. Otherwise I was entirely winging it.

Passengers sitting on a bus. Perhaps on their way to their Airbnb rental.
The scene of many a minute of interview and exam prep

The questions that were asked were what I would later learn are interview question classics. Gems such as “Please describe a time you’ve had to deal with a difficult person”, “Are you a team player or do you prefer working alone?” and THIS ONE: “What is good customer service?”.

Now, I don’t know where it came from, but I thought for a second and said “It’s whatever the customer wants it to be. You have to adapt your service to suit each individual.”

Which takes me nicely back to my Airbnb host tips….after telling you that I got the job – woohoo! 21 years ago and still the best job I ever had.

Sometimes people just want to be left alone.

I realise that was quite a self-indulgent story. However, the principle can be applied to every situation in which you are providing a service to someone else. Airbnb hosting is no exception.

Whilst some guests absolutely REQUIRE you to be there to meet them and show them around, this can be the opposite for others.

Smiling Airbnb host holding out a key with a rainbow heart keyring close to the camera
This guy is wearing a name badge. A step too far for Airbnb hosting. Also, don’t hold the key this close to your guest’s face.

For me personally, after 12 hours of travel with two children under 4, the last thing I want is to talk to a human being I don’t know, however friendly they are. Give me an electronic keypad or a lockbox to retrieve the key, and a comprehensive folder or pre-arrival email and I’m happy.

On the other hand, if we’ve only travelled for a couple of hours and we’ve just spent the last 7 days JUST talking to our kids and each other, another human is exactly what we need. This was perfectly picked up on by the lovely Ana from our Airbnb in Niagara Falls. She met us, made friends with our children and TOOK US FOOD SHOPPING, all before her advertised check-in time. She comes highly recommended and if you ever go to Niagara Falls, check out her place, it’s ace. And notice she also has the option of keypad entry – yay!

Living and dining area in Airbnb host's rental property
Ana’s lovely place in Niagara Falls

So number 1 in my list of Airbnb host tips is: if you can, be flexible with check-in options. Ask your guests what they’d prefer and then make it happen. Within reason, of course.

Tip 2 – Things that don’t go squeak in the night

This is a huge one for us because we have young children. I can count on one hand how many of the 25-odd places we’ve stayed so far tick this box.

We have mostly stayed in places where we’re all in pretty close proximity to one another, or at least have to pass the children’s room to get to other areas of our accommodation like the bathroom or kitchen. Even kissing my children’s sleeping heads goodnight just before I go to bed becomes easier if NOTHING CREAKS.

Portable toilet made of rustic wood sitting in woodland.
Tiny houses are getting ridiculous these days. Seriously though, oil your hinges, people.

It’s not so bad if you actually live somewhere with creaky floorboards, or a door that sticks, because you get to know the quirks of your own house and you can avoid them or hope your children become used to them. However, in an Airbnb, a squeaky door in an unfamiliar room can be enough to wake an overtired toddler. And if there’s one thing I don’t want, it’s an overtired, awake toddler.

So please, Airbnb hosts, if the bedroom door handle squeaks as you open it, or the bathroom hinges sound like an angry cat, get the WD40 out and de-squeakify them. It makes a huge difference, I promise.

Airbnb Host Tip 3 – Ask about food preferences and allergies

A lot of hosts like to leave a little welcome pack for their guests. We’ve had everything from a full hamper of essentials (wine, coffee, washing up liquid, you know, REAL essentials), to baskets of fruit, to crayons, cookies and colouring books for the children. All of this stuff is SO thoughtful and massively appreciated. But, a lot of the time we’ve been left stuff that we won’t eat because it’s not vegan-friendly. This isn’t a huge problem most of the time because the stuff can be rolled over to the next guests. But it would still be nice to take advantage of these little extras.

Assortment of food items including 8 jars of Marmite on a table
Best to check your guests like Marmite before leaving this offering.

So, if you want to show your guests that you’re thinking of them as individuals, here’s my 3rd tip: send them a message a few days before they arrive to ask about any preferences or allergies. That way, your lovely thoughtful touch becomes a really useful one too.

Airbnb Host Tip 4 – Communicate!

It should go without saying, but good communication from our hosts has been absolutely essential on this trip. We are staying in so many places, and have so much onward travel to plan, I just don’t have time to chase people for information.

I’d recommend sending an email about 2 days before your guests are due to arrive. This should give details of check-in times and procedures, any codes or specific entry instructions and anything else you think they might need before they arrive.

Airbnb host typing on keyboard of silver laptop
Classic stock image depicting someone communicative

We’ve also had a couple of lovely hosts who have sent us an “everything OK?/anything you need?” message the day after we arrived. One absolute legend in Orlando (check the house out here) sent a pre-departure email to remind us of check-out procedures. I know this stuff is usually included on your Airbnb listing, so may seem like overkill. But not having to go looking for it was brilliant, especially as we had to leave early the next morning. Thanks Colin!

Tip 5 – USB charging points

When you’re only travelling with one power adapter, and you have an iPad, two Kindles, two phones, a toothbrush, two pairs of headpones and a laptop to charge, any extra charging help is HUGELY welcome. Ana in Niagara Falls (she really was amazing), has a couple of these awesome USB chargers and they were so handy.

6 port USB charger - really useful for inclusion if you're a host
Plug it in, baby (click photo to see details)

We’ve also stayed in a couple of places that have them built into the sockets or along the kitchen worktops (hello Dana from the Rabbit Hutch in Golden!). Yay for technology!

Tip 6 – Toys and Books

This is one is for those who want to make their properties truly kid-friendly. A couple of people have asked us for ideas on how to make their listings more family friendly and this is first of our Airbnb host tips we’d always suggest.

It goes without saying that a cot (crib for my American readers), high chair and kids’ tableware are all useful additions. But we’ve found having some interesting toys and books has been more valuable than anything.

Our children are travelling with one small carry-on backpack each. This holds their bedtime cuddly toys, an iPad or tablet, their amazing Puro Sound Labs bluetooth headphones and a tiny bag of toys. Needless to say, after about 3 weeks of travelling, these toys had lost all novelty. I don’t really know why we still have them. So, when we arrive somewhere and find they have NEW STORIES for bedtime or a cupboard with a few toys and games, we are delighted, and less insane.

Collection of colourful toys lined up and laid out on the floor in an Airbnb property
Don’t expect my children to leave your toys laid out like this when we leave.

This doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Maybe ask friends or family if they have anything they no longer need or buy second hand from a charity shop. Anything that keeps our kids playing independently so we can have a bit of reset time is beyond useful.

Tip 7 – Nightlights

Continuing our Airbnb host tips to make your listing more family-friendly, we’d suggest nightlights! At the very least, if you have shaver sockets in your bathroom and it’s safe to do so, plug in a nightlight. It makes middle of the night bathroom trips with the little ones so much easier.

An unfamiliar bathroom at 2am can be a scary place for a toddler. And for a parent, depending on what the toddler is brewing.

If you can stretch to it, a couple of additional nightlights elsewhere also help. We’ve found that, as we’re settling in to a new place, the kids can lose their bearings if they wake at night and want to find our room. A few well-placed nightlights can help them navigate and avoid night time screeching!

Tip 8 – Sharpen Your Knives

We book Airbnbs so we have more space, home comforts and a kitchen so we don’t have to go out for food. It might seem trivial, but cutting an onion with a huge, but blunt knife is awful. Please, get a knife sharpener and keep your knives nice and sharp. It really makes a huge difference for those of us who want or have to cook.

Man chopping an onion accompanied by smiling woman
As if she’s just standing there smiling and not helping break up the fight that’s inevitably broken out between their offspring. Oh wait, she’s smiling because they don’t HAVE any offspring.

And while you’re at it, get a decent, large non-stick frying pan. I have not experienced rage as burning as when I had to cook pancakes in a tiny pan that LOOKED non-stick but was anything but. Oh, and there was no spatula.

Anything else?

I hope this list of Airbnb host tips has been useful. However, I’d really like to gather more!

Are you an Airbnb host? If your guests have commented on anything they absolutely love about your property, drop me a comment below to add to this list. Or if you reguarly stay in Airbnb properties, what little touches/easy wins would you suggest to hosts?

2 thoughts on “Airbnb Host Tips: Making A Good Airbnb Listing Amazing”

  1. Great stuff Katie, and agree with all of the above. For me, it’s also a stock of some cooking essentials: oil, S&P, a selection of common spices and sauces like soy, ketchup, oregano, chilli, generic seasoning spice mix, flour, sugar. Nothing worse than spending $25 on a bunch of stuff you then need to leave behind or worse still, throw out!

    1. Yes! Totally forgot about that. Toilet roll too! We find that in America in particular it’s been impossible to buy anything smaller than a 12 pack which means we have loads left over when we leave. Also see laundry detergent, dishwasher tablets, washing up liquid

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