Airbnb has taken the travel world by storm. They now have over millions of listings worldwide; and chances are you’re one of the hosts. That’s great! Being an Airbnb host has many positive impacts for you. Notably, you get to meet people from all around the globe as well as earn supplemental income. There’s no doubt that Airbnb has disrupted the global hotel market and changed the way people travel. But the challenge with a booming industry is that there isn’t a manual on how to be a great Airbnb host or turn that supplemental income into a growing business. So to help you stand out from the crowd, Hostfully has developed an Airbnb hosting checklist to help you better manage your vacation rental business.
This Airbnb hosting checklist is for hosts like you conduct all the necessary steps to become a 5-star Super Host; from welcoming clients, to hosting them, and checking them out.
Let’s get started!
Things to consider before hosting
No Airbnb hosting checklist would be complete without a small disclaimer for those who aren’t yet Airbnb hosts. Becoming an Airbnb host can be a great way to meet new people and earn some extra cash.
Before signing up to host, however, consider these important elements of hosting. If you do choose to list your property, then this Airbnb hosting checklist will act as a guide to ensure your Airbnb listing is as successful as it can be.
- What kind of property space can you offer? A whole apartment or house, a single room, a shared room?
- Are you in an attractive location for travelers (check what’s already around you on Airbnb)?
- What amenities can you offer guests?
- How many hours in a day can you commit as a host (you’ll need to clean, welcome, check-out, and respond to queries during their stay)?
These are all essential elements of being a successful Airbnb host, and potential hosts need to consider their answers to these questions before they continue through this Airbnb hosting checklist.
We should also point out that Airbnb is a great place to dip your toe into the world of short-term rentals. But don’t forget that there’s a huge ecosystem of similar services. Sites like Vrbo, Booking.com, HomeToGo and others all have their own pool of loyal guests. Eventually, you should consider advertising your property on all these sites simultaneously. Luckily, the lessons you learn from hosting with Airbnb will also be applicable to the other listing sites.
Write a great listing
Writing an enticing listing is the single most important thing on this Airbnb hosting checklist. The listing description, along with the photos, is how an Airbnb host markets their property. An excellent listing has 3 elements: a catchy headline, a killer description, and information about who you are as a host.
When writing their listing, hosts need to consider their audience. There are two questions you need to ask yourself:
- What kind of travelers will be attracted to your property?
- What does the property offer to travelers?
The trick here is to actually write the answer to these questions yourself rather than just thinking about it. Trust us, going through the exercise will help you formulate an enticing listing. It’s one of those mental hacks. By doing this, you’ll also be more inclined to take an honest and fair perspective on your property and what it has to offer.
The next step is to take that information and write a brief and compelling description that sells the best parts of the property. The answers to the questions above will form the structure of your listing description. Don’t be afraid to sell how great your vacation rental property really is. There’s no shame in bragging. If you have the biggest and most well-stocked cottage on the lake, mention it!
While you’ll want to avoid writing a word-wall, you’ll also want to focus on hitting keywords you think your type of traveler will be interested in. Those keywords are important because they send a signal to Airbnb of what your property is all about. So when the site tries to match properties with a potential guest’s criteria, your property will have more chances of appearing first in Airbnb search results.
Remember, travelers look for experiences, so be descriptive about your location, the local culture, and what attractions are close by.
Take AMAZING photos
Another critical item on your Airbnb hosting checklist is the photographs you include on your listing. No one is going to rent your property if the photos are bad. Simple as that. For example, we don’t want this…
Ok, that might be on the extreme end of bad photos. But consider what doesn’t work here:
- The picture is dark: try bumping up the exposure.
- The room isn’t clean: put everything away, even if that’s not how the property always looks.
- The setting isn’t staged: cameras have a weird way of distorting perspectives. Move furniture closer or further from where you’re taking the photo. Adjust furniture based on how the picture looks and not what’s in front of you.
- The camera is pointing downwards: by angling toward the floor, the room looks smaller. Try as best as possible to take pictures perpendicular to the walls.
Taking great pictures are an extremely important step in the Airbnb host’s checklist. They are the first impression you make on guests. But there’s also the issue of bridging the unknown. With hotels, travelers generally know what they’re getting. On Airbnb, however, each property is unique – which is great! But it also comes with uncertainty for the guest. So hosts need to capture the uniqueness of their property in high-quality, descriptive photos so that travelers know what they’re getting. Your pictures need to inform and reassure.
For the less artistic hosts
Some of you might not have the artistic or creative touch required to take great Airbnb photos. And that’s ok! You have options. Either hire someone or tap a friend who is a good photographer to come by your place and take professional photos. If that’s not an option, consider getting help from the pros at Overlooked 2 Overbooked. They offer a great service for hosts who struggle with pictures. Essentially, in a live video call, they show you how to photograph your property by going through the process with you.
Preparing your Airbnb property
It goes without saying that your Airbnb hosting checklist should include things like making beds, folder towels neatly, and making sure you have enough toilet paper, but what about some of the lesser-known tasks that new Airbnb hosts may miss? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!
Here are some items and tasks to consider when preparing your Airbnb property before a guest arrives.
- Does the guest have access to cleaning products? Many guests insist on cleaning before they depart, and its how many ensure they get their own stellar rating.
- Do you have basic toiletries in case your traveler forgot something or has delayed luggage? These include toothpaste, toothbrush, and soap.
- Are you providing tissue boxes in strategic locations throughout your home?
- Are the garbage and recycling bins empty and easily accessible?
- Do you have a safe storage location for valuables like passports and money?
- In your fridge, are you leaving some of the basics like milk, eggs, condiments, butter, etc.?
- Are there enough trash bags and dishwasher fluid for the guests’ stay?
- Do you have books, magazines, playing cards, and a pen and paper strategically placed throughout your home?
- Do you have a fire extinguisher and first aid kit that is easily accessible?
It is almost always best practice to have someone personally welcome your guests when they arrive to show them the basics of the property, and provide a familiar face should there be any questions that arise.
This will also give you a chance to share the house rules, local tips and attractions, and to ultimately make the guest feel like they’re visiting local friends. Don’t overcomplicate the personal welcome; after extensive travel, many people aren’t in the mood for a long visit that is heavy on information. Make it light and personable, reassuring guests that you are accessible via phone, text, or email throughout their stay.
To keep it light on details, you need to have that information accessible somewhere else whether in a welcome email, a guidebook, or printout. Have something that guests can fall back on for commonly asked questions.
And, this is good for hosts as well, as you don’t want to get the same question every time a guest checks in about how to work the TV.
Communicating with guests
Always be accessible. There is nothing more frustrating for your guests than to not be able to reach you. If you are unable to answer the phone, be sure to text or return the call promptly.
You can set reminders at predetermined times during a guests’ stay to communicate with them via text to make sure they don’t have any questions or require any local recommendations. A text is a lighter touch than a call, as many travelers don’t like being bothered by a host during their vacation.
No Airbnb host checklist would be complete without some tips on how to send off your travelers in a classy and thoughtful manner.
It is always helpful to send a text or email to your guests the day of their checkout so ask them if they need any assistance or have questions. This includes informing them of where to leave keys and transportation instructions to wherever the guests are heading.
Most importantly, thank your guests for being wonderful during their stay, and provide immediate positive feedback, where appropriate, through the Airbnb rating system. This will prompt the guests to give you with your well-earned rating as well.
Airbnb hosting checklist: Final tips
Just in case we missed any valuable information that you need to include in your Airbnb hosting checklist, we’ve canvassed some of our top hosts on Hostfully to get their advice on things every Airbnb host should consider. Here we go!
- Be upfront – let guests know what drawbacks the property has, such as proximity to a train station, so they’re not surprised when they arrive.
- Check local laws – ensure you’re in compliance with local regulations regarding short-term rental housing
- Adopt a business mindset – Airbnb is a business, so ensure that you’re thinking realistically about expenses and profitability.
- Keep payments within Airbnb – Airbnb provides insurance in case something goes wrong, so don’t take any payments under the table.
- Keep it clean – no one wants to rent a dirty apartment!
- Live like a local – provide tips for non-touristy local attractions, restaurants, and activities.
- Manage expectations – make it clear where guests can park, what time they need to check out, how they can reach you.
- Personalize the room – add posters, decorations, and other elements to make the area stand out.
- Be flexible – adapt to delays travelers might have with flights or other travel experiences.
- Stock the fridge – ask for food preferences, and add some of the guests’ favorite foods to the house so they have something to eat after traveling.
- Explain the electronics – this is a simple fix that will help guests feel right at home.
- Greet guests – be there to greet guests and answer any questions upon arrival.
Final thoughts on Airbnb hosting
With this Airbnb hosting checklist as a guide, you’re sure to do an excellent job providing a 5-star hospitality experience to travelers. From setting up your property, to welcoming guests, to providing a smooth checkout process, it’s incumbent on you the host to ensure every aspect of your supply chain is refined. Because let’s face it, you’re a small business owner and your bottom line depends on it.