After staying in several Airbnb homes, I decided to write an open letter to all of my past and future hosts. I love Airbnb, and my letter is meant to help hosts see things from a guest’s perspective.
I think I’m like most guests. I’ll give you a 5-star rating even when you don’t really deserve it. Why? Because I know you depend on your reviews – it’s your bread and butter. And you were so nice to me, and you seem like a really sweet person, so I want you to do well. But I want you to know, between you and me, a 5-star rating is often really just a 3-star, pumped up because you’re so nice.
If you really want a legitimate 5-star, let’s start with a basic item:
One-Ply Toilet Paper
We understand the need to economize, but please stock 2-ply. One-ply is well, just awful. I’ve given to actually packing my own TP, because the one-ply supply is sadly too common.
Hair Dryers and Coffee
Most Airbnbs provide a hair dryer. Thank you, it is much appreciated. I don’t bother packing a hair dryer any more because I expect to see one in your home. The same goes for coffee. Thank you.
I love the welcome book/note found as soon as I walk in. wifi account and password should be the first line after “Welcome to Our Home!”. Next, a list of good take out joints and coffee shops in the area. How to use the remote is great if you have Netflix etc.
You Can Never Have Too Many Pillows on the Bed
We’re all different, with different pillow preferences. If you stock the bed with a foam, a feather, and a memory foam pillow, I can take the one most comfortable and stack the others aside. Until you add more pillows, I’ll just take mine from home and keep it in the car just in case…sigh.
Stop Charging So Much
As Airbnb becomes more and more popular, I’ve seen prices skyrocket to the same level as a luxury hotel for the night. Thanks for the coffee and the frozen pancakes, but it isn’t enough to justify your price. Recently I was looking for a place in Pittsburgh for one night. I ended up staying at the Hyatt. I suggest you test your prices and amenities with the competition. And hotels are still your competition. PLUS, a hotel won’t give me a bad review if I leave a dirty cup on the table.
Oh, and if you’re adding $50 as a cleaning fee for my one-night stay, please don’t remind me to do my dishes and wipe up my crumbs. Really? How about “Dear Valued Guest, as you know, we’ve added a $50.00 cleaning fee, please leave your dishes in the sink and we’ll be happy to take care of it.” I’ve yet to see that!
I once stayed at an Airbnb that offered a white noise machine next to the bed. It was there in case I needed it to drown out possible street noise or noise from the neighbour. I didn’t need it at the time, but I’ve stayed in many homes since then, and I would have LOVED a white noise machine.
Hang a simple map of the neighbourhood up on the wall. If it’s framed and hanging on the wall, I promise I won’t mistake it for a souvenir.
Speaking of souvenirs, I once stayed at an Airbnb that provided her guests with a thoughtfully wrapped gift of a fancy soap, a mini sewing kit, and a piece of chocolate. “Please take this as my gift to you” was written on the note. Wow! I was so impressed by that. It might have cost her $5.00, which she likely built into her price, but I’ll never forget Elsie and her charming home, and that’s one of the reasons why.
Elsie also offered us a packed lunch for our journey onward. In her welcome book, she instructed us to email her with the request, and to leave $10.00 on the table. In return, we found a brown paper bag waiting at the door the next morning. Each bag held a couple of sandwiches, a piece of fruit, a juice box and a cake inside.
Now none of these things are ever expected by me. I’m just giving examples of how some of my hosts go the extra mile to make their home memorable.
Make an Effort in Your Review
As a guest, I depend on your kind reviews too. I stayed in one place, and got a review “good tenant”. That’s it? How about “my home was even cleaner after she left than it was before she got there”. That would have been an accurate review.
When You Have More Than One Apartment For Rent at The Same Property
This can be a slippery slope. You could end up getting a poor review for the behaviour of your other guests. I stayed in one home, and we found out there were 3 young women staying in the apartment below. They came in around 3:00 am after a night of drinking, and caused a huge ruckus. I told the owners about it privately, and gave them 5-stars despite my poor sleep. Other guests may not be so kind.
I’m Not A Sexist But…
If given a choice between 2 properties, all else being equal, I will rent from a female host over a male one every time. As a solo female traveller, I just feel more comfortable with a female or married couple as my host. Plus I think in general, female hosts are more in tuned to a female traveller’s needs. That’s not to say I wouldn’t rent from a single male host, I have. He’s the guy who gave me “good tenant” as my review. He also sent me a text during my stay. It read “Hi. I hope you’re enjoying your stay. Check out is at 11:00. Will you be leaving early?”.
I guess what I’m saying is that if you are a male host, please try a little harder to endear yourself. Maybe ask your sister to help you write that welcome manual.
Well, dear Airbnb Host, that’s it for now. I hope you enjoyed my tips. Please feel free to write a response. I would love to hear your point of view on what I’ve written, and please add some advice for me as well. Let’s keep this sharing economy beneficial for us both.
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