When you are new to hosting, it’s easy to be overwhelmed with the amount of preparation required to receive your guests and keep them happy throughout their stay. Even if you are a long-term letting landlady/landlord and have had experience dealing with tenants, becoming a vacation host can still present its own set of challenges. We hope you will find our top tips useful to address some of these challenges. At the end of the day, we should aim for those 5-star ratings to continue attracting future guests!
It is very important to tailor your hosting style accordingly as different guests have different expectations and needs. How you prepare for, manage and accommodate those needs to the last detail is key to successful hosting. Of course life is not perfect and unexpected things can always pop up, e.g. your cleaner does not turn up or the washing machine breaks down on the day. Therefore, a well thought out preparation plan will help minimise those ‘on-the-day’ hiccups.
We’ve drawn up a list of some simple things that you can do to provide top quality service and pamper your guests. Remember, always start with small steps and practice makes perfect!
1. Have a Cleaning Check-list and Prepare Early
A simple cleaning and stock-replenishing check-list for your cleaners or yourself is the easiest way to maintain cleaning consistency and completeness. We find that some tasks are regularly missed such as emptying bins, replacing bin liners, emptying and cleaning the fridge/oven/dishwasher or even vacuuming under beds/tables.
Make sure to replenish those amenities that you state on your property listing, e.g. fresh linens, pillows, blankets, towels, toilet paper, toiletries, tea/coffee for the number of expected guests. Failure to provide items such as ‘clean bedding and bathroom towels’ can entitle guests to a full refund according to Airbnb Guest Refund Policy.
Providing vital toiletries like toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, and soap will ensure your guests feel comfortable. This is the best time to use the hotel toiletry collection that you have been hoarding! In addition, providing a hair dryer, cotton buds/pads, and shower caps will certainly be appreciated especially by female guests!
Even with a checklist, always remember to note down any special requests that you have accepted and get these done early.
2. Fix Specific Times for Check In and Check Out
Setting standard check-in and check-out times (e.g. 10am and 3pm respectively) for all reservations will help you make cleaning plan in advance and allow sufficient time to prepare for same-day guest changeover with minimal surprises. As with hotels, never let guests see a messy space so always make sure that the place is 100% clean and tidy when they arrive. When the time and circumstances permit, you should certainly try to be flexible with the check-in/check-out times and organise your cleaning accordingly.
3. Send Out the House Manual Before Hand
Providing an e-copy of the house manual and a local guide in advance is very useful to prepare your guests for their stay. This allows them ample time to plan for their trip and to inquire for any information not already addressed by the manual. House facts and facilities, local recommendations for places to visit and dine, as well as emergency contact numbers are all invaluable information to your guests. Including contact details and addresses for nearby doctor clinics, hospitals, police stations, foreign embassies in your house manual will be extremely helpful when in need, and shows how caring and thoughtful you are! It is recommended to keep a paper copy of the manual in the property so that the guests can easily access the information during their stay.
4. Prepare a Local Area Guide and Tips
Another easy way to please and impress your guests is to have several list of recommendations customised for guests with diverse interests. For example, have one list for young families with interesting activities and places for children, and another with favourite restaurants and bars in town for young adult travellers.
5. Go the Extra Mile by Providing the Extras
As an Airbnb host, you can go above and beyond the basics and provide something more thoughtful to bring your hospitality and service to the next level. If you’re up for it, being a tour guide to your guests or picking them up from the airport will certainly earn you a lot of appreciation. Simple gestures such as a fresh bouquet of flowers or a box of chocolate set a welcoming tone to your property. Soft bedroom slippers, extra blankets and breakfast essentials (tea, coffee, bread, milk) will provide a personal touch and make your guests feel special. Who doesn’t like to be warmly welcomed and treated like VIP for a few days, right?
6. Meet and Greet Your Guests
Finally, meet your guests personally at the door with a big smile, as there is nothing more welcoming than a friendly persona and great hospitality to kick-start their stay. With a face-to-face check-in, you are able to find out more about your guests and subsequently tailor your hosting experience even more. This increases your chances of getting a great review and feedback from your guests following their stay!
In a nutshell
Being an excellent host and getting 5-star reviews are not that difficult when you are well prepared and stay ahead of expectation. We cannot stress this any further! You will also find yourself less stressful, more relaxed to enjoy meeting and chatting to people from all over the world. When you extend your welcome, you get back more than just a clean house, but also a warm fuzzy appreciation and multiple global connections! Many of our guests have even left us thank-you gifts and notes, which we are very grateful for. We hope that you find guest welcoming an interesting and rewarding experience, and we would love to hear more about any comments or interesting tales from your hosting adventures. Best of luck fellow hosts!