If you've ever Airbnb'ed your home, you'll know that it's not a difficult task. Greet the guests, show them a few of the best spots nearby, keep the sheets clean, and try to be super generous.
The goal is to get that good review, so they keep coming back... right?
But what about those people who absolutely excel at hosting people in their home for the weekend – those who have truly nailed it, and now have loads of extra money laying around and have acquired close friends from all over the world?
How do they do it?
These are your superhosts. And they have brilliant (and simple) tactics to provide that shining experience to their guests, while making more money over time.
Here are some easy tips to become an insanely better Airbnb host...
1. Be flexible
With check-in times, check-out times, and with your guests' preferences.
Being strict on these things can really turn people off – especially when it comes to flight times, etc.
If they need to leave luggage at your place until later on, what's the harm? If they've been flying for 14 hours and want to check in a little bit early, is that really the worst thing in the world?
It's your job to enhance their experience in your city, not to make it inconvenient.
2. Always be reachable
Give them your phone number, WhatsApp, Facebook – whatever it may be, so that you're always available for questions or concerns.
Make it known that you're not bothered being contacted, and always answer back with enthusiasm.
Treat them like a friend, and recognise that they're brand new to the place.
3. Read your guests well
You can nearly always sense if a guest is one who wants alone time, or is dying for human interaction. Don't be pushy if you can feel them pushing away, and don't ignore your guest if they're urging to talk.
Try to connect with them on their terms – it'll make the experience better for the both of you.
4. Write up a detailed email one week prior to arrival
People like details – especially in unfamiliar places and cities.
Be sure they know exactly how to get there, the transportation situation, parking restrictions, the vibe of the location, nice cafés, bars, activities and spots nearby, and generally what to expect upon arrival.
Especially for international visitors, this is extremely helpful and comforting to have before the trip ahead.
5. Always leave your kitchen open
It's always a game-changer to a guest when the kitchen is not left available – in fact, this is one of the beauties of Airbnb, as people like to be able to cook their own food.
Keep your kitchen clean, and be clear as to how things work. Often times, it will be different to that of their own home.
6. Give them the information they can't get anywhere else
Brochures, travel books, activity guides, menus of restaurants, good websites (ahem) – whatever you've got, give them a gander through it. And that's all fine and well.
But the REAL benefit here is when you point them to places that local people would go and things they can't find on TripAdvisor. Always make sure you're understanding their interests first, but they'll normally appreciate the insider information.
7. If possible, greet them in person
People generally like to have personal interaction with whoever's home they are staying in. Don't be a stranger.
Many times people will be stressed out, dead tired or exhausted after travelling, so be sensitive to this. Either way, it's comforting to initially see the face of a local who knows the place.
8. Leave them a treat upon arrival
Bottle of wine, roll of biscuits, fresh baguette... whatever your style is, they'll appreciate it.
It's the little things that go far.
9. Make your place memorable
Don't be afraid to decorate your place with interesting art, colours, and furniture. Make it your style, but keep it cosy.
People use Airbnb to get a feel for a local person's atmosphere and how they would live – not to experience yet another plain, boring hotel room.
So guests will remember your place much by how it looked, and how it made them feel.
10. Clean until it's spotless
The majority of people you'll have stay over will appreciate cleanliness – or, to put it another way, the worst reviews are those involving the hosts dirty habits.
Oily pans, trash overflowing, unpleasant odours, cobwebs on the ceilings... just no. Do we even need to tell you this?
11. Stock up on snacks
Spending that extra money may seem silly – but it will pay off in the reviews. Coffee, tea, cookies, nuts, crackers, juice, bread and jam... all easy to pick up but will go a long way.
Chances are they'll arrive starving anyway.
12. Do more than what's expected
It's always better to surprise them with a glam gift, offer a chat and a glass of wine, or a voucher for a nearby coffee shop.
Leave them feeling like you genuinely care, and you went the extra mile to host them in your home.
13. Always be honest
This is key. Don't make your place up to be something that it's not. Warn them about any malfunctions or negatives about your place, so that they don't arrive disappointed.
As mentioned before, it's better for them to leave feeling pleasantly surprised.
14. And finally, involve your guests in your community
One of my favorite Airbnb stays was one where the host wrote down numbers of a few of her friends, describing their personalities and when to ring them. I ended up going for pints with her friend group and immediately felt a part of the city and community.
Unless you feel the guests reallllly wouldn't fit in with your crowd, invite them in. They probably have something interesting to offer anyway.