If you have ever been a guest on Airbnb, you should have an idea what it’s all about, taking a leap of faith into the “abyss”. But transitioning from guest to host is a whole other story that can be terrifying, and as a first-timer you may have 21 questions about those strangers in your home.
Renting out someone else's apartment is one thing but opening up your doors is another experience in itself.
The concept of Airbnb is a crowd-sourced accommodation platform, where ordinary people can list their places, spaces and extra rooms for others to rent. The choice is yours whether you want to put up your entire place or just a room, and all in all it’s a great way to nab some extra dough on the side.
Your biggest concern may be that this is YOUR first time, but what may be worse is if your guests are Airbnb virgins. They are inexperienced and often their profiles are ‘unfurnished’. This is where you should rely on your 6th sense to make the right judgment call. You can get a feeling by messaging your potential guest or lightly stalking their social media platforms if this makes you feel more at ease. At the end of the day, honesty really is the best policy, at least from your side.
Those are just the basics. Here’s how to host like a pro:
Capture the essence
A picture tells a thousand words, so take the right photos and plenty of them. If you’re an eager photographer, this is time to think outside the box and get creative. The end goal is to make your home look as attractive as possible to potential guests. Photographs are pleasing to the eye when bright, light and capture the charm of the place. There’s no shame in showing off in this case, highlight the surrounding views, extra amenities like a coffee machine or towel warmer and last but not least take shots from a few angles. For some interior shot tips, check out this article. If all else fails, Airbnb offers a photographer to come to your place and take professional photos for free.
Where the Golds’ at
It’s all about location, location, location. There are other factors that play into account such as, season and checking out your competitors. As a newcomer, you will find yourself up against experienced hosts with top reviews. All it takes is time to build up your reputation, think about starting off low and work your price up the ladder once you’ve gained more popularity or decide on your price against what the market can bear. It’s good to note that, a cheap price may attract a cheap guest and vice verse, price carefully.
Communication is key
Communicating and setting up boundaries go hand in hand when hosting. Communicating your boundaries to the host is also extremely important. Unfortunately, in the past there have been some horror stories of guests pushing the limits or not following your house rules. If you feel they may be a ‘bad egg’, don’t be taken advantage of and cut the cord before it’s too late.
Spruce up your space
Steal, beg and borrow if you're desperate! But, make your apartment the best it can be, emphasize the hot points of your space. Let your potential guests know about the bed or room size, the kitchen, bathroom and especially WIFI access.
What may seem obvious, but most hosts do forget is cleanliness. Think in the shoes of your guests and how you would feel to arrive to dirty apartment. Before you hand over the keys clean the place to a standard that is close to one of a hotel room. A clean place equals great reviews.
Hostess with the Mostess
Adding a few touches to your place makes it more personal. At the end of the day, this is a house or a room and not a hotel experience. Leaving a map of the city in the apartment, or even a few things to nosh can go a long way. A Brooklyn super host, Sei Shiroma, advises to “Always have coffee/tea/water available. Always have a beer that you’re excited to share.” All the little things add so much to the overall experience.
What are your best Airbnb tips as a host or a guest? Let us know!
Amiad Soto is the CEO and co-founder of Guesty. He loves traveling and extreme sports and working on cool ideas.