I can say it loud, I love Airbnb and I’ve enjoyed numerous stays using the service. Sometimes in small rooms, sometimes in enormous apartments, sometimes with outgoing hosts and other times with hosts that I’ve never met. My greatest experience was in Paris, where I found a large room, clean, very bright, free WiFi and just a short walk to metro station.
For those who don’t know, Airbnb is an internet phenomenon indeed. It was founded in 2008 by three smart guys, who put airbeds in their San Francisco apartment and rented them out to delegates attending a nearby conference. Today, you can find accommodations on the Airbnb platform in over 34,000 cities around the globe, with guests staying everywhere from houseboats in Hong Kong to Scottish castles. The number of properties available has soared and demand is rising, creating a perfect opportunity for savvy empty-nesters with spare rooms to boost their income. However, there are literally thousands of different Airbnb experiences available, but what makes a good host is pretty different.
For aspiring Viennese Airbnb Great Hosts, providing your guests with an excellent stay starts and ends with the little things… which I’m about to list for you:
- Describe your home honestly!
Be honest when describing your home! People want different experiences – not everyone requires elegant, some people want a cosy or budget room. Whatever your style of hosting and hospitality is, try to be as transparent as possible.
- Think carefully about price.
Take a look at other properties near you: what do the hosts charge? Do you want to include a cleaning fee, or a security deposit?
- Take the right photos and take plenty.
The right photos are bright, showing the room, the bathroom and any other details of the room or space you want to rent. What is unique, bring it forward and take a photo. More specifically, the room they will be staying in, take photos from a few different vantage points, put fresh towels on the bed make your room homy and welcoming.
- Think about what you’d want!
Many guests will have stepped straight off a long flight or train journey and will want to jump straight in the shower. Make sure there are toiletries and fresh towels instantly available, so they don’t have to ask for them. Small but useful items that people don’t always bring or forget when travelling – such as an umbrella, or a hairdryer – are always appreciated.
- Give guests all the info they need upon arrival (or even before)!
All guests need two simple things when arriving at your place: keys and the WiFi password. Leave them and any other info you think they might appreciate (like the location of the nearest supermarket or a list of your favorite restaurants) on a table in the room. Even better: give them the info before they arrive by including it in your “Host Directions” or via email. A detailed description of how to get to your place from the airport is always appreciated!
- Keep it clean!
Yes, a clean place is the most important thing to host an Airbnb guest. Make sure the floors in the bedrooms, bathrooms and common areas are vacuumed and mopped. The bathroom should be sanitized with special attention paid to removal of hair from the sink, toilet, shower and floor. Any opened food or beverages from prior guests should be removed from the fridge. Wash your dirty dishes, wash your bedclothes, pillowcases, make the bed and place trash in the trash can. Prepare everything as if your mother in law is paying you a visit!
Pro Tip: Using white sheets and towels makes guests feel confident that they are sleeping in and using fresh, clean linens.
- Give your guests a comfortable room.
A practical and good deco, is very important. Arrange a room simply to give your guests enough space to put down the wallets, keys and earrings. If it takes away the only useable surface it’s just annoying.
- Trash cans are useful!
I don’t want to have to walk to the bathroom everytime I need to throw out a piece of paper. On the flip side, not having a trash can in the bathroom is downright insanity. Do your female guests a favor and leave a bin near the toilet?
- Leave room in the shower for guest items.
Whether the guests have their own bathroom or not, thinking about where things go in the shower is important. Where will they put their soap? Shampoo? Loofas? If you don’t have much space, invest in a shower hanger!
- Plugs. We need them!
Even a relatively unconnected traveler needs to charge a mobile phone once in a while. When I travel, I have my laptop, two iPhones, a camera etc. I’ve bought USB chargers for all of these devices, but most travelers will need at least few plugs, preferably near a table or desk. If you live in an old house, invest in some surge protectors with long cords. Even better: get a plug extender that includes USB slots!
- Face towels are your friend.
One of life’s little luxuries, a small towel saves your guest from having to take an enormous bath towel to the bathroom when all they’re doing is washing their face.
No one wants to run to the bathroom in the middle of the night to blow their nose. Put a box of Kleenex in the room!
- Make guests’ space in the kitchen obvious.
If the guest will share the kitchen with you or other guests, make sure they have their own space. Label one shelf in the refrigerator and one shelf in the cupboard as the “Airbnb shelf”. If you rent more than one room, label them “Room 1″ and “Room 2″. They’re paying for access to the kitchen, so make it obvious which area is for their use.
- A place to hang a towel.
This is one of the most frequently forgotten Airbnb amenities. I get out of the shower, dry off, and reach to hang up my towel… but there’s no hook. I shouldn’t have to hang it on the back of a chair! A simple hook on the back of a door is all it takes to keep a wet towel out of the way.
Sure, there’s a mirror in the bathroom, but it’s short and I can’t see my outfit in it! Your guests could be visiting for a business conference or going out for a nice dinner. Having a full-length mirror to check their look before leaving is a godsend! Even if you can’t fit a big one (not even on the back of the door?) you should at least have one mirror in the room, so guests can do makeup and fix their hair without having to hog the bathroom
“It can be really stressful as a guest if you can’t find the place and can’t get hold of the host,” says Hannah. Touch base with visitors before they arrive, and make sure they have several contact numbers in case of emergency. If you won’t be at home during the visit, check in once or twice via text message (it’s less intrusive than calling) to make sure their stay is going well.
Register on Airbnb now or if you are looking for a great stay in Vienna, check out the locations here & enjoy some images from one my favorite spots in Vienna!
All photos by © Disi Couture