Here are ten tips to ensure you and your host both have a fabulous experience.
BEFORE YOU BOOK
Read the listing thoroughly.
Rather than messaging the host to ask about amenities like public transit and internet access, you can probably find the answers you’re looking for by reading through the listing. Reviews are also an invaluable resource for finding out more about the property, location and host. You’d be amazed at how many hosts have told me people have written to them just to ask what the nightly rate is for the room. It’s right at the top of every listing in big, bold font!
Fill out your profile.
The #1 complaint I hear from hosts is that they get tons of requests from people with no profile picture and no verifications. You’re renting all or part of someone’s home, so it’s only right that they should have a vague idea of who you are. Upload a photo and verify your phone number and email address. Bonus points if you actually put a sentence or two about yourself!
Send an introductory message.
Even if the host doesn’t require you to message them before you book, it’s just good manners to send a short note along with your booking request. Introduce yourself, say who you’re traveling with and explain why you’re coming to visit their area. This isn’t a faceless hotel, it’s a friend you haven’t met yet!
Let them know when you’re coming.
Tell the host what time you plan to arrive so someone can be there to greet you. If you’re delayed along the way, try to let them know as soon as possible.
DURING THE STAY
Keep it clean.
Yes, you probably paid a cleaning fee and are totally within your rights to leave the place looking like a mess, but do you really want to be that person? I try to leave rentals looking approximately how they were when I found them, which is apparently so unusual that hosts rave about how clean I am! But I don’t even clean. I just wash my dirty dishes, make the dirty bed and place trash in the trash can. It’s the very definition of “the least you can do.”
If there’s a problem, let them know!
Instead of leaving a bad review after the fact, give the host a chance to fix any problems during your stay. Your host wants you to have a good time as much as you do! A nice review (and maybe even a repeat client) is good for business. Whether it’s a leaky faucet or you’d just like some new sheets, a host would rather fix any issues now than only find out about it in your review.
Follow house rules.
Most Airbnb listings have some basic house rules: no smoking, keep it reasonably quiet late at night, etc. Be kind to them (and the neighbors!) by following them.
Chat up your host.
This is of course totally optional, but if the host lives in the same property as your rental, I highly recommend chatting them up a little bit! We’ve become really good friends with a lot of our Airbnb hosts. They may offer to take you to brunch at their favorite local cafe, give you a ride to a cool market or recommend off-the-beaten track tourist attractions for you to visit. They’re full of ideas that are guaranteed to be better than the tips you get off the internet, and you’ll enjoy the satisfying feeling of superiority that comes with having a local’s knowledge.
Leave a thank you note.
We’ve had hosts cook dinner every night, give us wine, take us for rides around town, and even leave gift cards to the local bakery in our room. If it’s something the host doesn’t usually do for other guests, be flattered because it means they like you! Also, be polite and leave them a little thank you note when you leave. If you can afford it, a small gesture like a cheap bottle of wine in return for their over-the-top kindness will make them remember you long after you’ve gone!
AFTER YOU LEAVE
Leave a review.
It will take approximately 90 seconds of your time to click those little star ratings and write a few sentences about your stay. It helps the host and, even more importantly, helps the next guests make their choice. (Do it for me! I love reviews!) If you include details like walking time to major attractions, proximity to public transit, etc, you’ll be doing future Airbnb users a huge favor!
Did I miss any tips? Put your recommendations in the comments!
(written by Kit Whelan)