One of the things I love most about being an Airbnb Superhost is helping others feel loved, welcome, and comfortable when traveling away from home. If you have no idea what Airbnb is, check out my previous blog post called ‘Why I Became an Airbnb Host.’
There are a few touches that I feel really make a special impact on a listing and the reviews from guests prove it! Some items that cost a chunk of change up front are super important to me because they save a lot of time, energy, and hassle in the future. The link to those are below. I do recommend that you find local places to shop for items to support small or local businesses if you can. However, since I know what I need and have it saved in a list on Amazon I normally order the electronics from there.
The first thing I do when I walk into a new space that is to potentially become an Airbnb short term rental is feel the space. I know that may sound funky but I believe in feeling a space and taking it from just furniture and decor to a warm, welcoming, and personalized atmosphere. Sort of similar to principles of feng shui but with a Southern touch. These items are standard for me for each listing that I have or manage.
A Welcome Station that includes a Guidebook created on the Airbnb platform, cute notepad, pens, container of candy, and a customized welcome letter board. The letter board has the name of the property and the season on it and then the names of guests are placed on it before each stay. Many guests are happily surprised by this personal touch and it creates a personalized feel so that they know they matter. It is just not another hotel, in and out stay, or as I have heard folks say “heads in beds”. Ugh! I would not feel special or welcomed like that and want better for our guests. The idea of a Welcome Sign came from a beach visit my family took to Tybee Island. During our conversation with the host I wondered why they kept asking for each of our individual names. Well, when we arrived, I realized why. There was a sign that had Tybee Island and our names on it. We felt it was so special that we took a picture with the sign. I knew that this was a great touch and have incorporated it for our guests ever since.
An equipped kitchen that includes pots, pans, cooking utensils, kitchen helper utensils (can opener, wine opener, and apple slicer/corer), flatware, dishware, children’s eating set (cups, plates, bowls, utensils), salt, pepper, basic spices, dish cloths, hand towels, scrub brush, sponge, dish soap, and hand soap. I also ensure that there is a Coffee Station which includes a coffee container, sugar canister, creamer, tea bags, and spoon rest. Having ice available in the freezer and basic condiments in the refrigerator is also helpful. Starter items in the kitchen include 2 extra trash bags, 2 dishwasher tabs, and 2 total rolls of paper towels. If these are used by guests, they are responsible to provide their own. Under the sink, I also ensure there is a fire extinguisher, dish drainer/drying mat, and a few basic cleaning supplies. In one of the drawers, I also include a small toolbox with basic tools and screws, and another drawer that has flashlights, chip clips, a small sewing kit, and a catch all spot for little things guests leave behind to contribute.
Stocked bathrooms that include a bottle of Trader Joe’s 3-in-1 Soap in the shower or tub, hand soap, air freshener spray, potty spray (poo-pourri), scale, bathtub no-slip mat, bathmat, toilet paper and 2 extra rolls. 1 bath towel, hand towel, and wash cloth per guest is my standard. I also love to leave a guest convenience basket or container in the vanity drawers or in an obvious location that includes a few razors, toothpaste, toothbrushes, floss, tampons, pads/liners, cotton balls, q-tips,makeup wipes, and a manicure set. A few of each item is provided initially and then if used, the cleaners will replenish after a guest stay with my supply stock from the owner’s closet. This amenity has been mentioned in several reviews because guests do not want to go shopping once they arrive because they realize they forgot a basic need.
All of my listings have access to a washer and dryer. Therefore, I include basic laundry amenities such as a small bottle of detergent, box of dryer sheets, fabric refresher, wrinkle release, an iron and ironing board, and a laundry basket. I do not leave huge portions of supplies out but enough that a guest has what they need to get a few loads of laundry done and then if they need to do more they can go get what they need from the store. My cleaners refill the small bottle of detergent before each stay.
Clearly written and obvious House Rules and Check Out Instructions as well as little notes with tidbits of information on them are essential. I never know if guests truly read all of the instructions I send them through the Airbnb app and so to cover myself and prevent issues in the homes, I ensure the House Rules and Check Out Instructions are laminated and posted on the walls where they cannot be missed. By the hot tubs, I also place a Hot Tub Rules and Instructions Sheet. Guests have commented that they like to know what is expected, how to use things, and where to find what they need when they stay at Airbnb’s. These signs really help guide guests as does the little notes I leave them. I use table setting cards from Hobby Lobby and a Sharpie to write notes that stay in various areas of each home. These include ones for makeup removal, hot tub towels, not rearranging the letters of the welcome sign, fireplace usage, Firestick remote details, and please sign the guestbook. Guest reviews have mentioned that they love the personal touches and cute notes. This shows me that they feel loved, prepared for, and guided when they are staying in one of our listings.
As mentioned above, the last thing I want to do when I arrive somewhere on vacation or for a work trip is to have nothing there prepared for me. It makes traveling and life so much easier when the above items are offered and a stop to the grocery store is not needed right away. The amounts of items provided size wise are small or medium to prevent guests from wiping them completely out. Most times, guests are respectful and use what they need but once in a while you will get folks that just use everything. Therefore, the smaller amounts of items and starter sets are important for cost savings.
Safety and security items are very important. I ensure the following items are utilized at each listing:
Blink cameras: I use at least 1 camera to monitor each entrance to every listing. If the listing has 2 entrances, I put a camera at each entrance. I ensure that this is disclosed clearly in my listing descriptions as well as in the check in details that a guest receives. I find this is necessary because it allows me to see when guests check in and out. I also had a big ole bear footstool taken one time before I had the camera. Since then, nothing has been removed from my listings. Praise God! Blink Cameras Amazon Link
Keyless Entry Door Lock: These have been very helpful because I can change the code for each guest if I choose and have a personalized code for my cleaners or anyone else that enters the cabin frequently. This keeps guests and the cabin safe. Keyless Entry Door Lock Amazon Link
Lock Box for Emergency Entry: I have a lockbox hidden near the entry to each listing with a physical key in it just in case something goes wrong with the keyless door system. Lock Box Amazon Link
Smart TV’s: These are necessary for me as I do not choose to purchase cable TV services. I purchase internet service and then use these Smart TV’s so I can Amazon Fire Sticks. Overall, this saves money on a monthly basis. Smart TV Amazon Link
4K Firestick: For the Smart TVs I use Amazon Fire Sticks so guests can login and stream their own programs. When setting these up I use our personal Amazon Prime account and guests get access to Prime Video. I change the security setting so that purchases cannot be made. Before doing that I download several apps such as YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, and others so they can login to their own accounts and watch, I have signs reminding guests to log out of their accounts before they leave. 4K Firestick Amazon Link
I hope this blog has helped you see all of the startup suggestions I have for ‘Getting a Space Ready’ for Airbnb. Be sure to browse all of the listings I own or manage for pictures and details of those spaces or better yet book a stay and come see for yourself in person! Also, keep an eye out for my future article and video on ‘How to Become and Stay Airbnb Superhost’. Thanks for reading, be sure to check out my Facebook page and like and subscribe to my Youtube Channel. Thanks a bunch!