Welcome To Airbnb
In this toolkit, you will see what Airbnb is and how it works.
Your hosting style is up to you. This information isn’t intended as rules, policies or requirements that you must follow. You can use this resource as you see fit. Use the links at the right to jump to sections that interest you, or click Start to begin.
Unexpected benefits of hosting
Suzie, Beverlee, Abhay, Natasha and Gregg all expressed that their experiences with guests changed them in surprising ways. They discovered that there’s more to hosting than simply letting people into your space.
We’ve felt connected to guests.
You probably will too.
It’s up to you to decide how you move through these pages. You can use the button in the top left to toggle the navigation bar on and off.
Share your authentic self
Share your passions in your profile and you’re more likely to draw guests with similar tastes and interests.
Providing details about your home can help guests connect with the unique accommodations and experiences that interest them. Raise chickens in your backyard? Some people will love the chance to experience a taste of farm life. Letting people know that you use solar panels to power your space may appeal to supporters of alternative energy. If you teach music lessons in your space or have a guitar collection, musical guests may view that as a big bonus.
Natasha told us about how her space became a gallery for her photography.
“As a photographer… being appreciated is a very important part of it. When they stop in front of them and ask how it was created, who created it, and they really love it, it gives me something more than just people pay[ing] me for staying a few nights.”
In Abhay’s case, sharing openly about his space helped travelers find him. The very thing he worried would be a turn-off for some was attractive to many others. In fact, it turned out to be a feature that elevates their experience.
Showing that you pay attention makes guests feel special
Travelers love a personalized welcome.
Imagine all that can go wrong during a long day of travel—delayed flights, taxi lines, airport food, and lost luggage. Something as small as greeting your guest by name can transform a day of anonymous transactions into a moment of recognition and belonging.
Even hosts who can’t greet their guests in person can put details like these in their messages. A handwritten welcome note can have a big impact.
- Check out your guest’s profile before they arrive, and ask them why they’re traveling.
- Consider tailoring your amenities. For example, you could offer sunscreen and earplugs for people going to a music festival.
- Add your personal touch. Do you make amazing muffins or have a great CD collection?
Learning about your guests before they arrive can help turn strangers into new friends. Your goal is to make your guests feel safe, in control, and connected. Beverlee and Suzie showed us what they do to establish that connection.
The mutual benefit of setting strong boundaries
There’s an art to boundary-setting. In the first toolkits, hosts talked about setting basic boundaries like, “please don’t swing from the chandelier.” Here are two advanced strategies.
Your guests will express their own boundaries and let you know how much they want to interact. Reading guests’ behavior is a skill it takes time to develop, but it can go a long way towards making your guest feel more comfortable and cared for.
“I can tell it through body language… I’ll come out and just say, ‘Hey, how is it going? What did you do fun today?’ And, ‘Are you having a good time?’ If I get a one word, two word answer, it’s cool with me. I get what I need and move on. But if they want to engage me and tell me their stories, I love hearing that.”
Getting to know your space
Setting clear boundaries can help make guests feel more relaxed and welcome in your space—don’t leave them guessing about what is and isn’t allowed. You might invite guests to play your piano, but ask that they finish up by 10pm, or clarify that certain rooms are off-limits. A printed copy of your House Manual and House Rules can set expectations upfront, and be a reference point for a conversation at the beginning of their stay.
As a host, these boundaries can also help you feel safe and respected. You can relax, whether you’re there or not, knowing your guests understand what you need.
Abhay told us about a great host he met, who helped him feel comfortable by clarifying the rules of his space.
Reserving time for yourself
Hosting is rewarding and emotionally fulfilling, but it’s natural that you’ll need a break sometimes. If you’re a host, you’re likely a giver—a generous person concerned with other people’s needs. Tending to your own health and happiness is key. You can use the calendar’s “preparation time” feature to automatically reserve up to two days between bookings. You can also adjust check-in and check-out times to leave yourself more time, as well as think ahead and block longer periods of time when you need a break from hosting. Remember, you have complete control over when you host.
You might want to identify how you could make hosting easier for yourself. For example, setting limits on check-in and check-out times can help you maintain control over your schedule.
- Plan to take a few days off
- Have a friend help with check-in
- Use a cleaning service
There’s always a solution.
Learning from guests as well as other hosts
Empathy is the cornerstone of the host-guest relationship.
When you put yourself in your guest’s shoes, you can learn a lot about making them feel at home. What advice or assistance would you want if you were a guest?
You can also be direct: Asking a guest what they want to do can reveal core needs, which as a host you may be able to help with.
- Customizing recommendations based on their guest needs and tastes
- Helping guests access resources
- Offering transportation advice
Some people travel to learn, some travel to broaden their view of the world.
Abhay told us about what he learned when he stayed with a great host.
You never know what your guests are going through
Your guests may be traveling for complicated reasons. This may impact their needs while they stay with you. Whatever circumstances bring them to your area, your guests will love it if you can make their trip easier.
Gregg shared a story about a special guest from South America who arrived at his doorstep a few years ago.
Making an impact with your hosting
Hosting can deepen your engagement with the world and inspire action. Airbnb hosts are often quick to offer assistance in times of adversity. Our most experienced hosts are tuned-in to their guest’s needs and can be there for them in unexpected ways.
Here are a few larger programs our hosts have been involved in that are creating positive impact in the world:
During and directly following a disaster, temporary shelter and accommodations can be hard to find for relief workers and for those displaced. During disasters, we are able to activate our response tool to provide temporary accommodations to relief organizations or those displaced. When the tool is activated, Airbnb automatically contacts hosts in the surrounding area asking if they have extra space to share for free with relief workers or their displaced neighbors. Airbnb hosts who respond to list their space, choose to list their spaces free of charge and Airbnb waives all service charges. In addition, we provide best practices and training (in certain markets) through partnerships with agencies like the Red Cross.
Consider offering a discount rate for guests with special needs such as medical patients traveling for treatment or low-income students visiting universities. You might also be interested in donating a portion of your listing income to local causes that you care about. Many of our hosts use their listings to give back locally and their passion has inspired a pilot program called Airbnb Open Homes, in which we are finding ways to work with nonprofits and hosts to serve individuals from vulnerable communities on a broader scale.
Even if you don’t participate in these programs, you may have the opportunity to make a difference in your guests’ lives. The assistance you offer may not require much from you, but could help your guest considerably. Natasha showed her support in a way that didn’t take much time or effort, but made a difficult situation easier for her guests.
Continuing your journey as a host
As you gain experience as a host, you will develop expertise in a number of areas. We like to honor those hosts who exemplify the ideals of better hospitality, and recognize them for their skills.
You can become a Superhost if you meet the program requirements. There are perks:
- Priority support: Superhosts get priority call-support.
- Superhost badge: Your listing page gets dressed up with a special badge indicating to guests that you are a Superhost.
- Search filter: Guests can search only for recognized hosts like you.
Hosts want their guests to belong anywhere
The experiences of belonging, of having your guests feel at home in your space, do not happen immediately. These are skills you develop over time. Here are some tools to assist you.
Dashboard. The personal dashboard on your listing page can give you valuable feedback about how you’re doing, as well as tools and tips.
Help Center. Here you can search for answers to your queries.
Community Center. If you have other questions, you can ask your fellow hosts or read their stories and posts.
Airbnb Open .The community of Airbnb hosts also convenes each year at Airbnb Open to share their experiences, learn more, and enjoy each other’s company.