Today we’re diving into some surprising things Airbnb guests either totally love or hate. We’re not talking about the discernible basics like having a strong WiFi or a functioning heating system. If you are hosting an Airbnb there should already be a standard of comfort that includes basics like heat, clean linens, and stable WiFi. Those things will definitely matter to guests. What we’re talking about here is the stuff guests give extra points for. Airbnb guests have a very wide range of preferences but there are some general things I noticed and this piece goes into the deeper aspects of hosting.
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Table of Contents
Airbnb Guests Love:
For reasons beyond me, guests LOVE separate entrances. What’s so good about a separate door to come in? A seasoned host is more than used to people coming in and out. We live on a separate floor and the only entrance is on the first floor which means we don’t and can’t track guests movements. Since we don’t track guests, we’re forced to build up trust over time. At the end of the day, Airbnb is really a trust game and so far trust is definitely winning.
TFG’s family lives in a townhouse which I think is the second to perfect option for an Airbnb. Those converted MIL suite/basements are probably the biggest money-maker though! If you have a sizable backyard and some funds, build a tiny house for Airbnb and watch the $ roll in.
Oooh, I think I just answered my own question! A lot of guests love separate entrances because of the privacy.
Local Menus and PAMPHLETS
Go hunting for take-out menus or go as far as dropping your guests a message to leave useful tourist information stuff behind.
My genius piggy brain told me to go menu hunting all over my neighborhood. I collected a bunch of take-out menus (for myself initially) from nearby and then I figured it would be a nice gesture for hungry, geographically confused guests to have them instead. That got the ball rolling. My guests saw the menus and contributed their own menus, activity pamphlets and tour maps from their own Seattle adventures. I now have 3 copies of “The History of Seattle” tour guide-book, in Chinese! My guests think I left all those useful things but it was mostly just the guests before them. Other people’s work for my credit, boo-yeah! ?
This is a big deal if you live in a large metropolitan city. A private parking spot is worth its weight in gold…OK, not really but it’s a neat amenity to have! Airbnb guests love driveway parking and they are willing to pay a higher price for it which means more green in the pocket.
We live car-free for the fringe benefit of essentially renting out our garage and driveway instead of housing a depreciating hunk of metal that runs on old dinosaurs bones. Roughly 15% of our guests leave rave reviews specifying having driveway parking out of all the other amenities (like ambiance, cleanliness, linen quality, mattress quality etc.) About 95% of those who raved about our driveway amenity leaves us a 5-star review.
Guests LOVE labels on things. It’s just a considerate gesture to tack on a dot sticker or a laminated label on things like light switches and dials. I held back for over a year because I didn’t want stickers on my own walls and light switches but the moment I put them up I got great responses immediately!
After a while, I became used to the labels I put up and I regretted not labeling sooner for the convenience of my guests. I didn’t even consider it until I was an Airbnb guest myself and I thought to myself “it would be nice if the host marked things. I don’t want to accidentally break anything.”
When I started Airbnb I did not include a full-length mirror in any of the rooms. It crossed my mind but I didn’t follow through. I thought it wasn’t that important because we had a giant mirror in the bathroom already. I opted-in for a light up vanity mirror instead. The feedback (all from female guests by the way) was to have a full-length mirror. I went on Craig’s List and purchased a second-hand full-length mirror for the room. I would recommend all hosts to buy at least one full-length mirror.
Baking homemade muffins, biscuits, cookies – pretty much anything homemade makes guests happy. I was surprised by the responses from guests. Chocolate is probably the most beloved flavor, if and when my husband decides to bake. Hubby’s a magnificent baker, unlike that wrenched wife who just eats! Just make sure you have a sanitized kitchen and a food prep license before doughing out the yum. You can also consider ordering baked goods from local bakeries in bulk – that’s what we do most of the time.
From 2016 to 2017, I saw a 15% price decline caused by local competition and an introduction of Airbnb’s Smart Pricing. I thought of experimenting with cost-cutting measures starting from the snack tray.
When I started I poured in $5-10 worth of treats (chips, cookies, candy bars, power bars) between every single new turnover. After awhile I notice some guest never touch it and some guests took the entire bowl. I left out 20 something packs of Larabars for a two-night stay with two ladies. The Larabars were all gone by the time they left. There were no wrappers so I’m assuming it was to-go. No offense to the Larabar makers but those gluten-free hipster bars taste miserable! I was more surprised anyone wanted to take them!
For a short while, I took away snacks completely just to experiment. What I learned: don’t take it away completely if you don’t have to. I’m not saying most guests even care but there is usually the “one” guest that will throw a tirade when there’s nothing to eat or drink upon their arrival. I end up feeling bad. And losing points over a few bucks of candy is silly so I brought it back (with a lesser degree of generosity.)
I think it’s pretty bad if another host does not offer snack or beverages. Most of the Airbnbs I and my husband stayed at had no snacks but none of them took it as seriously as I do or aimed for 100% occupancy like I do.
Snacks are not mandatory but I feel like it’s almost rude not to. Guests are very weary travelers, it’s inhumane if you don’t give them something to eat or drink!
Don’t get me wrong, I AM a jerk sometimes. 😉 I have a Santa shaped cookie jar. The cookie jar is seamless. To unknowing guests, it just looks like a charming ceramic Kriss Kringle. If guests read my listing before they booked (or after when I sent over the information with the door code), they would know the Santa head comes off and Santa’s belly is filled with really great snacks.
Everything inside is up for grabs, as is all the soda, juice and beer in the mini fridge…which I hide in the closet. ?
Cheers for headless Santa, cheers for delicious body cavity of Santa!
Airbnb Guests Hate:
Most of my guests are on some sort of a vacation and it’s hard to read when you’re on vacation since there are a million things going on. New place, new plans, travel fatigue, all kinds of stuff. Although I do really wish some guests would spend 2 minutes to read, it’s a miracle if more than 80% of them actually do.
I embed the door entry code of all three properties into the really important notes so my guests are forced to find it to learn the important things like how to lock the front door and how to find the fire extinguishers before gaining entry into our house. It’s for their safety & protection as well as my own.
A print out of the house manual on the bed of the Airbnb guest room works great too. I had another host do that for us when we were traveling. That’s a really smart idea since the first place guests usually go after arrival is the bed. Just make sure to laminate the pages. We used loose sheets of plain paper and they were crumbled and/or stained pretty fast.
I always wondered why guests kept unplugged the mini fridge in the rooms. My husband and I got into a fight one time (this was a while ago over something I can’t remember) but he was in the dog house. I made him sleep in the guest room that was empty at the time. He then told me he knew why people unplugged it: at night when all else was quiet it was like a motor jack hammer in the room! Ooooups!
Don’t cheap out on the mini fridge like we did! Get a high-quality fridge and pay attention to the reviews about motor noise. This is so overlooked. We ended up putting a towel on the table that the mini fridge sits on to cancel out the noise. It does OK that way.
We never showered in the downstairs bathroom before. We were unaware of the clog in the downstairs bathtub from years of build up. There were complaints about slow drainage from our guests. We purchased an auger from Home Depot and took out the gunk ourselves. We also brought the zip-it (also from Home Depot) to maintain the drains in-between.
Remember – if there’s any trace left from earlier guests, your current guests will not appreciate it. Any strands of hair left in the tub is a valid complaint in the eyes of guests. Guests are iffy about bathrooms (I would be too) so if you are low on time focus on the bedroom and bathroom. You can get away with the living room, the outdoor deck space and even the kitchen depending on the guest but not the bathroom.
Old Porcelain Throne
Continuing from my last point, the bathroom is super important. Having a clean toilet matters – that is not surprising. However, a lot of guests want the PERFECT toilet. It can’t just be polished and clean but there should be some sort of scented item nearby like scented reeds or air fresheners. It’s definitely better if the loo is modern in design. No one wants a toilet that looks like it has been the resting place of a thousand butts for 20 years.
After hosting for a few months and seeing not exactly complaints but more like “meh” reactions about our 17-year-old porcelain throne, we decided to splurge on fancy low-flow toilets. The feedback for the bathroom improved almost immediately even though there weren’t any issues with the toilet itself besides the age and design.
To a lot of foreign travelers and seasoned apartment dwellers, the common house spider is a big no-no. For homeowners like us, we know it’s best to not bother them if we see them. House spiders are beneficial, they can kill other insects.
We live in the evergreen state. There are a breathtaking amount of 100 ft evergreens surrounding everything. It’s just a part of living with nature. We’re submersed into a forest like neighborhood and you can bank that there’s a lot, a lot, a lot of spiders and insects around us. The annoyingly delightful birds that wake me up in the mornings have to eat right?
That’s exactly what Hubby thinks spiders could do to him ^
Everyone has a difference tolerance to insects. As a host…well, there’s not much I can do. I also don’t believe in killing spiders. I let them on their way because (and this sounds corny) but spiders are living things. For the most part, they’re completely harmless. If they don’t have a problem with me – I don’t have a problem with them. That’s the same philosophy I used to survive high school.
Spiders are not a big deal. We did have a mud dauber invasion last summer, that was terrible. I have hosted guests from France, Sweden, Hawaii, Japan, Korea, China, Latin America, Australia…pretty much every continent on Earth…any way, it doesn’t matter where you’re from, mud daubers are DEADLY looking and that’s universal.
Mud daubers are a type of wasp – less angry but just as ugly. They’re totally harmless if undisturbed but it scared the living daylights out of my guests (and me too) because they are gigantic and ugly as anything. We sought out a pest inspector who was useless and charged us $200 an hour for an inconclusive inspection totaling 20 minutes of work…great. The mud daubers eventually went away after 1 week or so on their own, great!
Have you been an Airbnb guest? Do you have anything to add? Have you been a host? What would you add to the list?
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