Preparing your home for guests
In this toolkit, you will learn how to prep your space for accepting guests.
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(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.)
Getting your space ready
All of the hosts in this series had ideas about preparing their spaces for guests. They were happy to offer some advice on the subject.
Let’s make it comfortable.
We can help you prepare.
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Be your own guest
You’re familiar with your space, but your guests aren’t. Since you know it well, it can help to learn how it feels to be a guest in your own space. Approaching your environment with a sense of empathy for your guests can help you imagine how to make their experience more positive and comfortable.
Before welcoming guests, our best hosts tell us they like to do a walk through of their space from a guest’s perspective. Here are three things they tell us they consider:
Guests say they love simple amenities like a water glass and easily accessible outlets.
Guests enjoy touches like flowers or extra pillows
Hosts tell us that they like to think about which personal items they’re comfortable having out, and items they would secure, such as passports and tax documents
Comfort and cleanliness go hand in hand
Guests tell us that a clean space is a must – clean spaces make guests feel comfortable from the moment they arrive and can show your commitment to making your guests feel welcome. For guests, cleanliness is the most basic of requirements. Cleaning well can have a big impact on your guests’ experience. After a guest’s stay, they can rate the cleanliness of your listing and let future guests know what their experience was like.
Tips for cleaning
Cleaning for guests is different than cleaning for yourself. Guests are expecting to find your place looking like the photos on your listing. Guests like every room they access during their stay to be clean, especially the bathroom and kitchen. Sometimes guests feel uncomfortable mentioning cleanliness in their reviews, so if your space receives less-than-five-star ratings without explanation, you may consider re-visiting your cleaning routine. Here are some things guests expect or appreciate:
This could include cleaning all the surfaces and stocking with fresh toilet paper.
Folded, nicely presented, stainless linens can help guests know that their experience is clean.
If your guests will be sharing your kitchen, keep in mind that a clean fridge and counters can make it a more appealing place to prepare a meal.
A room shines when its surfaces, mirrors, and windows have been dusted and cleaned.
Guests appreciate room in a closet or dresser for their belongings. You can consider a rack for luggage to help them settle in.
Guests like to be able to clean up after themselves, and they'll appreciate supplies.
Guests sometimes complain about odors from pets, cigarettes, or mold. You can keep their comfort in mind by working to eliminate unpleasant odors.
Cleaning well takes time. It’s a chore – and it can cause fatigue over time. Many of our hosts hire a cleaning service and add a cleaning fee to help cover the costs. Even if you don’t hire a cleaning service, you may consider adding a cleaning fee to cover your own time. It’s easy to use Airbnb’s calendar features to help schedule time to clean. You can schedule a day off, or adjust check-in and check-out times to make sure there is ample time for cleaning.
Learning what your guests want
Different guests have different needs. What guest expectations can your space meet best? Would somebody looking for peace and quiet on a business trip be comfortable? What about young backpackers exploring your city? Or a family with small children? Getting to know what your guests need will help ensure that they will love staying at your space. Communication before their stay helps set the tone, and lets you personalize your hospitality with your own style.
Communication habits of successful hosts
The hardest part of traveling is often getting to your destination. When hosts provide clear pre-arrival communication and check-in processes, it helps their guests have a seamless arrival. Here are the communication habits of experienced hosts:
Asking for guests’ travel details to tailor convenient arrival times
Sharing detailed, personalized directions for arriving at a listing
Sending precise check-in instructions so that guests never have to guess
Double-checking that guests know how to stay in contact on their arrival day
Using the app, email, and texting to communicate ahead of time
What do you recommend?
Guests want to live like locals when travelling on Airbnb. Your unique knowledge of your neighborhood is part of what makes you valuable to guests. Guests appreciate learning about useful resources and delightful places to visit nearby. Experienced hosts consider both guest needs – like grocery stores and coffee shops that are good for working – and things guests wouldn’t expect, like a tip for the best pastries or yoga instructors. You can include a neighborhood guide in your listing, and print out a guide of your favorite places.
The importance of mutual respect
Guests understand that they are visiting a space that’s important to you. They want to treat it and you with respect. Helping them know how you expect them to use your space can set them free to be themselves. Creating a thoughtful House Rules section of your listing, and a House Manual can help communicate how you want your space used ahead of time.
Walking into a new place, what would you want?
Guests feel like the moment they walk through your door is a moment of truth. They wonder, “Will my expectations match reality?” The way you welcome guests can set the tone for their entire stay. Experienced hosts tell us that it’s important to get the basics of arrival right:
- Choose a check-in procedure that works for you
- Decide how guests will access the space, whether you’ll be there or not
- Create guidelines for key exchange or pickup/dropoff
A thoughtful, personal greeting ritual can help you connect with guests, build trust, and make them feel excited to have arrived in your space. Guests say they love special touches, like wine, a welcome basket, or a handwritten note. Guests appreciate if you’re available to answer questions when they arrive, even if you’re not there to meet them.
Anticipating what guests need
When you’re traveling, basic supplies are a necessity. Guests tell us they expect these essential amenities:
Other basic amenities guests appreciate:
Make sure these basics as well as other amenities that are in your listing are available and operational during your guest’s stay.
Surprises that make your space luxurious
The things you provide in your space are an opportunity to showcase your unique hosting style and bring your personality into your hospitality. Guests appreciate when you provide amenities beyond the basics. Coffee, tea, flowers, or sweets from your town can showcase what you love about your city and make guests feel special.
Guests like to know they can reach you
Every host and guest on Airbnb has different preferences for how they want to interact.
Whether you’re present in your space or not, all guests like to know that they can reach you if they need something. Experienced hosts swap contact info and stay in touch throughout the stay.
Guests appreciate a message at key points during their stay:
Making sure your guests feel settled in and comfortable lets them know you’re available for help if they need it
For longer stays, letting guests know that you’re still available and attentive can help them feel looked-after and special
Asking if there’s anything guests have questions about before they leave can help smooth their transition out of your space
Things may go wrong—it's how you respond that counts
When you’re hosting, things may go awry. Perhaps a guest can’t find the key you left for them, the Wifi stops working during their stay, or the plumbing gets backed up. If a problem arises, guests usually tell us that what matters to them is how their hosts respond. Our most seasoned hosts see an opportunity for communication, not a crisis. Here are a few tips for handling challenging moments:
Make sure you’re available to communicate as your guest’s needs arise
Many hosts have their plumber, handyperson, and internet and cable company’s numbers on hand
If you’re going to be away, it can be helpful to have a neighbor, friend, or housemate who can assist in person if the need arises
Here’s Tim on how he makes himself available for guests.
Abhay finds a great joy in simple gestures that help guests feel a little more comfortable.
A clear and simple check-out
Here are a few things hosts communicate in advance to ensure a quick and easy departure for their guests:
Gregg has a few unique ways he helps guests check out.