Friday, April 3, 2015

How to be a great AirBnb Host (from a serial AirBnb guest's perspective)

If you have reached this post without knowing our blog, you can read about our individual AirBnb stays from the previous posts.

Considering my wife and I have been using AirBnb monthly for the past 15 or so months - I believe we have earned the status of experienced guests.  We have stayed in an array of places from tiny a NYC apartment to multi-room beach houses.  Our only real limits during our searches are price and the pet policy (our dog is also along for the journey).

I don't think we would call ourselves picky, but we have definitely learned what makes life a little easier while on the road for so long.  The list isn't extensive. I'll break everything into three categories. The first of course are the "Must-haves".

This category is simple, if they don't exist it makes life potentially miserable either upon arrival or at some point during the stay.  Remember we are roadies, we don't have a home base so some of these may not matter as much to a short term-er.

  • Toilet Paper - have some on the roll and some close by for backup. Sometimes we have some left over from the previous stay and pack it with us, but not always. When you come off a long haul road trip it's nice to know I don't have to completely unpack to use the restroom.
  • One medium sized non-stick frying pan- There were a few places where we didn't even attempt to turn on the oven, but usually scrabbled eggs are a morning ritual and if you don't provide at least one good pan, it really puts a damper home cooking. (we actually purchased our own and pack it to every new location)
  • Ok we need more than just a frying pan - provide enough kitchen stuff to let us cook most basic meals. We don't need a gourmet supply of pots, pans and utensils, but try to cook a decent breakfast and dinner in your provided kitchen before you rent it out as a test.  
  • Coffee Pot - enough said. (I assume I don't have to list microwave.)
  • Towels - not just one in the bathroom or hidden away in a closet, have a few and put some in the kitchen too.
  • Pest control - no one wants to see bugs of any kind. We were pretty lucky to avoid any major issues thank God! (Bonnie hates to kill spiders for me)
  • Wifi - I don't care if you have cable, we cut the cord long ago. I do need to work and occasionally watch Netflix or Hulu so please have at least a 3mb connection with a single throughout the house.

The next category I would call "Over the top". These are the things a host can do that are really above and beyond and sometimes - if you have been in the car for 10 hours with a dog that has occasional panic attacks can really make our day.

  • A welcome package - This has been provided on many occasions, it's amazing how much it makes the guest feel comfortable in the rental.  If you want to go way over the top provide some treats or booze, enjoying some wine while I unpack the car is always a pleasure. If you aren't weird, greet the guests. We have only met a couple of hosts, but they were great experiences.
  • Coded door locks - keeping track of keys is a nightmare! It is so much easier to remember a code and know you will always be able to get back in without the need to contact someone if you don't have the keys. I know it's not always possible because of property rules, but it's an awesome feature.
  • An iron and board - We have a tiny travel iron which is a pain, whenever a house had these items it was a wonderful surprise. Remember on the road, everything gets wrinkled.
  • Washer and dryer - when these are in the rental, it really saves the day. Everyone probably understands how fast laundry builds up, and without knowing an area it can be difficult to locate a worthy laundromat. We already have to yelp dry cleaners every month for dress clothes.
  • Stuff to do - you know, tell us where the best restaurants are located, what are the must dos only the locals know about, give us some history on the property, whatever, make it an experience.

Luckily we haven't had poor hosts, it's what makes AirBnb so cool, but if there were anything we wouldn't want to happen, they would fall into this final category - "Avoid these".

  • Require us to do something for you - We are nice, we will comply. Sometimes it's unavoidable, but do your best to not give us chores (see 'over the top' for ways to keep us happy if you do ask)
  • Miss anything on the"Must have" list - Duh.
  • Angry neighbors - Are you renting your place on AirBnb and your neighbors hate the idea? Resolve it! 
  • Illegally renting your place - Are you breaking building rules, HOA rules, or local laws? Guess what, your guests don't want to be caught in the middle of some battle. Do it right or don't do it at all.
So there you have it. See we aren't high maintenance, but we do know what we like.  Feel free to ask us questions. AirBnb has been great to us and I would suggest you give it a try over a hotel next time you travel. 

1 comment:

  1. Tom, this is excellent information. I can certainly see why these would all be important to a traveler even a couple who have traveled the world like you and Bonnie (and Ethel). You both should put all your pictures and experiences into book format so that other travelers or those who have been considering such trips, could benefit from your trips and stays in these places.