So many of my real estate clients are interested in buying a property solely to make it an Airbnb investment property or have been attracted to a property because it offers additional space to set up an Airbnb with the hope of relatively easily creating an extra revenue stream. I completely understand and have been there myself. After being on all sides of the Airbnb experience including and mostly as a guest, I decided to share my experience along with the feedback I have given Airbnb hosts. My hope is that it will make YOUR experience better whether it be as a host or a guest or both.
BEEN THERE, DONE THAT
I have had a long and mostly happy relationship with Airbnb. There were a few years that Kurt and I stayed almost exclusively in Airbnb places wherever we traveled. In fact, during a trip to Spain and France a couple of years ago, we decided to let the coolest Airbnbs dictate our journey. A fantastic listing led us to the most magical village in Provence called Saignon.
Kurt and I have also had our own Airbnb behind our home in Elizabeth. We ran it for about a year, enjoying the hosting aspect and making people happy. We also took people’s feedback very seriously.
As a stager, I am very aware of not only how a room looks and feels but also how it functions. Having stayed at Airbnbs all over the world, I have come to really pay attention to the flow and functionality of the places where we stay. It’s nice to walk in and see a beautiful-looking space, but if it doesn’t function well or have the basic items that you need to utilize the space properly, then the nice wall hangings and colorful throw pillows just don’t matter.
AN AIRBNB OF YOUR OWN
If you are thinking of starting your own Airbnb, please consider these tips to make your future guests comfortable.
List all of the amenities.
First, when you are setting up a listing for an Airbnb property there are a lot of options for the amenities that you will provide. It can include everything from a washer and dryer to an ironing board. Don’t skip this and DO NOT underestimate how important small things are. Let me share just a few examples of what I mean.
- Hair Dryer
This is huge, people! For the traveler a hairdryer takes up a lot of space. If you are trying to travel light it just doesn’t make sense to pack one. I will purposely look to see if the Airbnb that we have booked has a hair dryer. Once, I got to an Airbnb that indicated they provided a hair dryer only to find there was none. Always just have a hair dryer. It’s a very small investment for you that can really make a huge positive or negative impact for your guests.
- Wine Opener
We just got back from a trip to Spain, where we booked an Airbnb. We had been traveling for a couple of days on planes, ferries, cars and trains. Seriously, we just wanted to get to the place and enjoy the beautiful view off of the terrace overlooking the gorge and castle in Ronda. After schlepping our backpacks, the wine and cheese we purchased and our tired bones up five flights of narrow stairs we discovered there was no wine opener. There were wine glasses, just no way to open our well-earned bottle of wine. Bummer. Super bummer.
Make sure to be fully stocked on toilet paper, shampoo, conditioner, laundry detergent (if you are providing a washer and dryer), coffee and tea. Also, provide a source for filtered water. We don’t use plastic, so we love it if our Airbnb hosts provide some kind of filtered water versus plastic water bottles.
Consider flow and function
Some Airbnb hosts really want to wow with decor. But, if the decor is inhibiting useful space it’s gotta go. What do I mean? Well, we were in London a few months ago staying at a very small but super stylish Notting Hill flat. Our host was an interior designer who really likes large pieces of furniture. Although her taste was fabulous, I don’t think she has ever stayed in her own Airbnb. In the center of the very small living room was the largest giant square glass and chrome coffee table I had ever seen. It looked very cool, but we kept hitting our shins and had nowhere to put our suitcases. That giant coffee table really impacted our ability to function in this small space.
- Bedside Tables
This is probably my biggest pet peeve. Please! please! please! have a table on either side of a bed. Everyone needs a space to put something next to them in bed. I need to have a glass of water, my reading glasses, and phone and/or reading material right next to me on the bedside table. It doesn’t matter how small it is, just provide one. Don’t make people put things on the floor next to the bed.
Provide lighting options that are not super bright overhead lighting. Often when two people travel together, one may want to go to bed and the other wants to stay up and catch up on work or a show. Lamps provide enough light for the guy who wants to read but not too much light so the person who’s tired can get some rest.
It’s really not hard or expensive to provide a comfortable, happy stay for your guests. Just use common sense and what you would want to have if you were staying at an Airbnb. Happy guests make for a successful Airbnb.
My advice to guests is easy. Your job is to enjoy your Airbnb space. If there is something that is lacking and it is affecting your stay, tell the host. Please do us all a favor and provide feedback. You can always do it privately. Your host should welcome and appreciate the information. It may sting a little at first but it only serves to make them better for all of us.
Other stories that might interest you:
Global Design: London Inspirations
Contrast: A Designer’s Secret Sauce
A Color Story: Finding the Perfect Palette