Steve and I are currently in our twenty-eighth Airbnb since beginning our worldwide travels in April 2018. As of December 31, 2020, we have spent 800 nights in Airbnb apartments. Overall, our experiences have been good. Even so, we have identified twelve things Airbnb hosts can do to take their guests’ experiences from good to great.
Much More Good Than Bad
Airbnb is the most valuable service we use as full-time travelers. It allows us to find roomy apartments at affordable prices. Without it and similar services, we would have to pay more for less (in hotels) or live very simply (in hostels). Neither of these appeal to us.
After some less-than-ideal experiences during our first year of travel (which you can read about in Lessons From Airbnb), we have learned to quickly identify apartments that meet our needs. Since we typically rent for four weeks, we look for a full kitchen with a range, a full-size refrigerator, a separate bedroom, a clothes washer (a dryer is a plus but not common in many cities), and of course wifi. And after staying in one place with a cheap sofa that sat low on the floor, we make sure the living room looks comfortable. We like to use Superhosts, but that is not a deal-breaker.
Most of our hosts have done a great job of providing a clean and pleasant environment. Many have provided welcome food. One host left the flowers (above) along with chocolate and wine.
Wine is appreciated, but we really appreciate a few bottles of drinking water, especially in places where the tap water isn’t safe to drink. We have found the linens to be clean and in good repair, and there is usually at least one flat-screen TV.
I could go on and on about the pleasure of staying with hosts who care about the quality of their guests’ experience. But this article is about the things hosts can do better. We humbly suggest that Airbnb hosts consider these twelve suggestions to give their guests the best Airbnb experience possible (and ensure their own success).
Things We Wish Every Host Would Provide
1. More Hangers
Our rentals have always had clothes hangers. They have almost always had too few. Six seems to be the number of hangers many hosts feel their guests will need. I can tell you right now; we need more hangers! At least six per person. Preferably more. We carry our own hangers but would prefer not to.
2. And More Than One Mirror
We usually have only one bathroom. Not always fun if you are traveling with another person (if you get my drift). We carry a bottle of Poo~Pourri for this very reason. Even so, we don’t always want to enter that room immediately after the other person has used it.
This can be a problem when we are getting ready to go out and need a mirror. That leads to our second request. A mirror outside of the bathroom. Extra points if it is a full-length mirror.
3. Bathroom Shelves
Because we tend to stay in one place for several weeks, we are sensitive to storage space. Many bathrooms have an under-sink cabinet where we can store toiletries. Most of them also have wall space above the toilet that is usually filled with a cheap picture. How about some shelves there instead, so guests can have their toiletries visible and easily accessible?
4. Extra Bath Towels
Hosts are expected to provide one bath towel for each guest. A few will go the extra mile and provide more. This is usually not a problem. However, if the rental is in a building with a swimming pool or hot tub, it would be nice if the hosts would provide two towels per guest. It isn’t fun to dry off at the pool and then have to dry off from your shower with a damp, chlorine-scented towel.
5. And a Bath Mat
Another thing that is often lacking is a mat to use in front of the shower or tub. Guests don’t want to be drying off with the same towel that was just on the floor.
6. Better Sofas
We usually find the beds in our rentals to be roomy and comfortable. Unfortunately, we can’t say the same about the sofas. We rarely have one that is really comfortable for stretching out after a busy day of sightseeing. Too often, the sofas are just one step up from a futon.
We realize furniture isn’t cheap, and people host Airbnb’s to make money, not get into Architectural Digest. Even so, you can’t put a price tag on a comfy sofa. One that guests can stretch out on. Like this:
7. A Clean Vacuum
Many units have a vacuum for the guests to use. Steve is the vacuum handler in our house, and I can’t remember the last time he used a vacuum without having to empty or unclog it first.
Since most units have hard floors rather than carpet, a broom and a dustpan are preferable to a clogged vacuum.
8. Sharp Knives
Overall, hosts do a very good job of outfitting the kitchen. One thing that seems to be universally ignored is keeping the knives sharp. It’s a little thing that means a lot.
9. Street Maps
Yes, we have Google Maps, but it isn’t foolproof. We appreciate it when a host provides a few up-to-date street maps of the area. We recently stayed in one apartment where they had several copies (like about 20), so we didn’t feel bad about taking one and writing on it.
I know we can buy a paper map, but it is getting harder and harder to find them, and who wants to spend their travel time map shopping?
Things We Wish Every Host Would Do
10. Keep On Top of Minor Maintenance Issues
Most of the places we have stayed have been in good repair. But occasionally, a host will let a little maintenance issue slide.
We have had a very loose kitchen faucet (literally hanging in the sink), a large number of burned-out light bulbs, and a freezer that was one giant block of ice, to name a few. As guests, we don’t want to be put in the position of reminding the host about what needs to be fixed, and we don’t want to have to stay home while it is being repaired. Please take care of these issues before your guests arrive. And if you fail to do so, or something breaks after the guests arrive, please do not make them ask you to fix it more than once.
11. An Annual Deep Clean
It is a pleasure to stay in a new listing. Everything is freshly painted and color-coordinated. Appliances are out of the box shiny and have the latest bells and whistles. But nothing stays new forever. One thing that seems to be lacking is deep cleaning. Yes, the kitchen and bathroom get wiped down after each guest. The floors get washed, and the bedding and towels laundered.
But what about the dust on the woodwork, the calcium deposits on the showerhead, or dirty air conditioning filters? An annual deep cleaning would go a long way towards keeping the unit like new for each guest.
12. Pay Attention to What’s in the Cabinets and Drawers
This is where hosts and their cleaning people drop the ball big time. I can’t tell you how many times we have had to scrub pots and pans or kitchen utensils because a previous guest did not clean them well, and the person who cleaned up after the guest never thought to check on the items in the kitchen cabinets and drawers.
Occasionally an item has been so rusty, moldy, or crusty that we chose to buy our own instead of using it.
Heads up to all hosts and cleaning people. Please keep an eye on the kitchen tools and appliances!
A Quick List
Here are the nine things we would like to see more hosts provide:
More clothes hangers
A mirror outside of the bathroom
Shelves in the bathroom
Extra towels if there is a pool or jacuzzi
A bath mat
A comfy sofa
A clean vacuum
A few current paper street maps
And here are three things we would like to see every host do:
Take care of small maintenance issues before guests arrive
Do an annual deep clean
Checking the condition of kitchen appliances and tools
Thank You, Airbnb Hosts
Airbnb is a godsend for travelers. We appreciate and commend every host who is providing a safe and comfortable place for his guests.
If you are an Airbnb host and are already doing these things, kudos to you.
For all other hosts, we hope you will give some consideration to these suggestions.
Featured image by Pineapple Supply Co. on Unsplash.com
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