A rental from Airbnb gives you more than a hotel room for less money. What’s not to love?
Steve and I are currently in our twenty-fifth Airbnb rental since beginning our worldwide travels in April 2018. Overall our experiences have been very good. Even so, we have identified ten things Airbnb hosts can do better.
For even more information you can read about our Airbnb experiences during our first year of travel in Lessons From Airbnb.
Much More Good Than Bad
Now that we have our groove on we can 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. We also look for a living room that looks comfortable to relax in after having stayed in one place with a very cheap sofa that sat low on the floor in front of a TV that was only a foot below the ceiling. Seriously, you haven’t seen anything until you see the weird ways people chose to decorate.
Most of our hosts have done a great job of providing a clean and pleasant environment. Many have provided welcome food. Wine is definitely appreciated but we really appreciate having a few bottles of drinking water available, 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 have repeatedly found hosts coming up short in these ten areas:
Little Things Mean a Lot
1. More Hangers Please
Our rentals have always had clothes hangers. They have almost always had too few hangers. Six seems to be the number of hangers hosts feel their guests will need. I can tell them right now, we need more hangers! At least six per person. Preferably more. We have begun carrying 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, you don’t always want to enter that room immediately after someone else has used it.
This can be a problem if you are getting ready to go out and need a mirror. Or maybe someone else is trying to get ready at the same time. That leads to our second request. A mirror outside of the bathroom. Extra points if it is a full-length mirror.
3. Speaking of Bathrooms
Maybe because we are staying in one place for so long we are sensitive to storage space. Many bathrooms have an under sink cabinet where you 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. Damp Towels Are No Fun
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 a hot tub it would be nice for the hosts to 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 the damp, chlorine scented towel.
5. One More Bathroom Suggestion
Another thing that is often lacking is a mat to use in front of the shower or tub. Guests really don’t want to be drying off with the same towel that was just on the floor.
6. Decent Beds, So-So Sofas
We usually find the beds in our rentals to be roomy and comfortable. Unfortunately, we can’t say the same about the sofas. It is rare that we have one that is really comfortable for stretching out after a busy day of sightseeing. Too often the sofas are little more than cheap futons. Not a plus.
We realize furniture isn’t cheap and you are hosting an Airbnb 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. Vacuum Maintenance Sucks
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 it, or even unclog it, first.
Since most units have hard floors rather than carpet, a broom and a dustpan are preferable to a clogged vacuum.
8. Help Us Find Our Way
Yes, we have Google Maps but it isn’t foolproof. We really appreciate it when a host provides an up-to-date street map 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?
The Two Biggies
9. We Have Spring Cleaning For a Reason
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.
10. This is the Big One
This is where hosts or 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 it well and the person who cleaned up after the guest left never thought to check on the items in the kitchen cabinets and drawers.
Occasionally an item has been so rusty 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 is a list of the 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, cozy sofa
A clean vacuum
A current local street map
And two things we wish they would do a better job of:
Checking the condition of kitchen appliances and tools
Thank You Hosts
Overall Airbnb is a godsend for travelers. Every host who is making a sincere effort to provide a safe and comfortable place for his guests is to be commended.
Hopefully, this can be a wake-up call to those hosts who are coming up short on the last two items and maybe, just maybe, some wonderful hosts will step up on the first eight.
Featured image by Pineapple Supply Co. on Unsplash