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10 tips on how to be a good Airbnb host

  • Apr 21, 2018 | Jennifer Sokolowsky

Last updated 4.25.2019

Short-term vacation rentals offer an opportunity for people to make money by welcoming guests into their homes. Since it was founded in 2008, the popularity of Airbnb rentals has continued to grow, reaching more than 6 million listings in more than 191 countries with more than 500 million guest arrivals to date.

In this competitive landscape — where good reviews and references are crucial to a successful vacation rental business — you need to provide your guests with a top-notch experience. Airbnb hosting is a business, but it depends on being a good host, which — if done right — is an art.

Here are 10 tips on how to be a great Airbnb host and create a five-star experience for your guests.

1. Make it personal

Your personal interaction with guests can make the difference between a so-so stay and a memorable experience. Try to get to know a little about your guests before their stay and make it clear that you’re available to answer any questions they might have about the Airbnb or the area. Greeting them upon arrival to make sure they’re settling in well can help establish a personal relationship and provide an opportunity to make sure they have everything they need for a wonderful stay. Even leaving a note to welcome them can work to create a much more personal experience.

2. Keep it clean

Your Airbnb should be absolutely clean for guests, every time. This means the bathroom should be spotless, wastebaskets should be empty, there should be no dust anywhere, and there should be no sign of previous guests. If you have a cleaning service, it can be a good practice to have a checklist of things that need to be done during each cleaning to make sure nothing gets neglected.

3. Keep it simple

Keep clutter to a minimum. You want your Airbnb to feel like a home, but not make it so personal that guests feel like they’re intruding. Steer away from displaying family photos and keep closets and drawers clear of personal belongings. The idea is to give offer guests a space where they can spread out, relax, and truly feel at home.

4. Keep guests informed

Offering your guests as much information as possible before and during their stay can help create a smoother experience. Provide very clear instructions upon check-in and house rules before they arrive so they can know what to expect. Once they arrive, it should be very easy for guests to find instructions for equipment such as stereo systems or fireplaces, contact information if they should have a question or need help, checkout procedures, and anything else that might need explanation.

5. Help guests explore

Acting as a personal concierge for your guests is a valuable service. You may offer to recommend restaurants or point them to attractions and activities in the area. It can be helpful to write these kinds of recommendations down so your guests can peruse at their leisure. Another nice touch is to stock the property with books or guides on the area. Airbnb guests are often looking to get to know the area in a way they would not be able to do if they were staying in a hotel. Help them live like a local.

6. Anticipate needs

When furnishing your Airbnb, think about what your guests will need for a smooth stay. In the kitchen, this can mean making sure you have enough dishes to accommodate your Airbnb’s maximum group size; supplying enough different kinds of pots, pans, and utensils to allow guests to prepare a variety of meals; and stocking basic pantry items like paper towels, oil, salt, sugar, and spices. In bathrooms, it could mean making sure there are enough towels for the maximum group size, a good stock of toilet paper, and hair dryers in each bathroom. Have a pool or Jacuzzi or a beach nearby? Stock beach towels. Think about how your guests will use your Airbnb and what you can do to make sure everything is waiting for them.

7. Go beyond basics

What distinguishes a great host, however, is going beyond basic needs. Is your Airbnb in wine country? Make sure you supply good-quality wine glasses. Offering thick, fluffy towels in the bathroom adds a little touch of luxury — especially if you offer high-end toiletries as well. Have a gourmet kitchen? Make sure the knives are sharp and that pots and pans are of high quality. And nothing brings raves like good-quality beds with soft, comfortable sheets.

8. Little things matter

Small gestures can have a big impact for your guests. When you welcome your guests with a complimentary bottle of wine or deliver scones to their door for breakfast, for example, the small cost is far outweighed by how this gesture makes your guests feel about your Airbnb. It’s the unexpected, thoughtful touches that can really set your Airbnb apart from the competition.

9. Be responsive

Part of offering personal service is simply being available whenever your guests might need something — from the moment they inquire about the property until it’s time for them to check out. It’s crucial to respond quickly to potential guests who are interested in your Airbnb; if you don’t get back to them right away, another property owner might. That responsiveness should continue throughout their stay. If you aren’t locally available, designate a local contact who guests can call with any questions or in case of an emergency, and make sure that number is posted prominently on the property.

10. If something goes wrong, make it right

If something goes wrong during a guest’s stay — and things will go wrong, from plumbing issues to miscommunication — make it right. That could mean an abject apology or a partial refund, but the way you handle a problem can create a good review out of a bad situation.

Be the host with the most

As an Airbnb operator, you’re in the hospitality business, and that means putting your guests first. Guests recognize when you make an effort to provide them with an exceptional experience — and they’ll want to share that experience with others.


Lodging tax rates, rules, and regulations change frequently. Although we hope you'll find this information helpful, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or tax advice.
Avalara Author
Jennifer Sokolowsky
Avalara Author Jennifer Sokolowsky
Jennifer Sokolowsky writes about tax, legal, and tech topics. She has an extensive international background in journalism and marketing, including work with The Seattle Times, The Prague Post, Avvo, and Marriott.
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