14 Tips for Prepping for Houseguests from 5-Star Airbnb Hosts

The short-term vacation rental business has exploded on the internet in the last decade. It’s been a boon for travelers as well as for those who are interested in earning a little extra money from their spare space. But how do you stand out on a platform like Airbnb, where guests have SO many great options? Check out our best tips for becoming a 5-star host with satisfied customers who will book again and again.

  1. Make It Clean, Clean, Clean!

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    Airbnb Etiquette Cleaning

    Hands down, Airbnb veterans cite cleanliness as the No. 1 factor in making your property one that visitors will want to return to. Clean thoroughly! A dirty property will make an immediate—and indelible—bad impression from which you may never recover. With that in mind, it may be worth hiring a professional cleaning service to do the work. You can recoup the cost by passing a cleaning fee on to the renter. 

    Related: 9 Products You Will Love If You Hate Cleaning

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  2. Communication Is Key

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    Airbnb Guest Communications

    Communicate clearly and promptly throughout every aspect of the transaction, from inquiries about availability to instructions for disposing of trash when you leave. Also, make sure your guests know how to reach you if they have questions or problems during their stay. Your helpfulness will make prospective guests feel more comfortable booking with you, and those who stay with you may be more inclined to visit again—and review their experience positively.

    Related: The 20 Friendliest Cities in America

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  3. Be Thorough with the House Rules

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    Airbnb House Rules

    Airbnb gives hosts a wonderful opportunity to set expectations by including House Rules in their listing information. Be as thorough as you possibly can, letting prospective guests know what is (and isn't) included in the rental, what activities are available to them, and how they should comport themselves. Keep everything positive, but clear and specific. Laying out the law up front will let guests know the expectations before they book, and increase the likelihood that they'll be satisfied with their stay. 

    Related: 12 Things You Don't Realize Are Annoying Your Neighbors

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  4. Send a Welcome Letter

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    Airbnb Welcome Letter

    One successful New York City Airbnb host recommends sending a welcome letter about two weeks prior to the stay. The letter includes a copy of the House Rules, a rundown of transportation options from the airports, and other useful information. This considerate act will make your guests feel appreciated and help them arrive at your property safely and in a good frame of mind.

    Related: 14 Things Your Mail Carrier Wishes You Knew

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  5. Give a Personal Tour

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    Tour Of House

    Try to be there in person to check in your guests. This is especially crucial if the rental property is also your home. One 5-star host we spoke to maintains that a personal tour will make guests more likely to connect the property to you, and as a result will be more apt to defer to you and respect your space and belongings. An in-person check-in also gives you a chance to address any questions or quirks (like unusually designed faucets) at the beginning of the stay, cutting down on calls for assistance later on.

    Related: 11 Selfish Reasons to Make Friends with Your Neighbors

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  6. Be a Guide

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    Airbnb Host Guidebook

    You know your neighborhood. Give your guests the 411 with your best local tips and tricks. Where’s the closest grocery store? The 24-hour pharmacy? Best pizza delivery? Nearby playgrounds? The best place to grab a six-pack of beer? Put together a list of neighborhood resources, and keep it in a prominent, convenient place at your property.

    Related: The Best U.S. Cities for a Summer Staycation

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  7. Leave Lots of Linens

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    Airbnb Towels

    Provide plenty of linens—including more towels than you think your guests will need. Be attentive to quality, as well. The bigger and softer the towels, the better. And, of course, all linens should be impeccably clean.

    Related: 10 Ways to Buy Better Sleep

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  8. Don’t Skimp on Paper Products

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    Airbnb Essentials

    Be generous with toilet paper, tissues, and paper towels. While this small gesture may not earn you plaudits in a review, the scarcity or absence of paper products would probably generate negative comments—and would certainly inconvenience your guests. 

    Related: How To: Get Your Bathroom Guest-Ready in 20 Minutes or Less

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  9. Provide Some Little Extras

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    Airbnb Amenities

    After a long day of travel or sightseeing, it’s awfully nice to wake up in the morning knowing that you won’t have to go out for coffee. That's why it's so important to provide your guests with a coffeepot or Keurig, along with everything they'll need for making that first cup of joe. Your visitors will also appreciate a couple of bottles of water and a few granola bars for emergency snacks. 

    Related: 10 Useful Items You Should Keep on Your Nightstand

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  10. Guest Passes to the Gym

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    Gym Guest Passes

    Stop by a local gym and see if you can work out a short-term deal for your guests, where they can pay for day or week passes. It’s a great perk for guests who want to keep to their workout schedule during their trip, and it’s good for the gym too.

    Related: 8 Ways to Buy a Better Guest Room for Under $30

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  11. Gather Up Some Discounts

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    Airbnb Local Experiences

    Head out into your neighborhood to collect discount cards or codes from restaurants, museums, and other attractions, then place these in a basket for your guests. It’s a smart way to promote local businesses, and it’s a nice little benefit for those who are staying at your property.

    Related: 10 Mistakes You Make Every Time You Leave for Vacation

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  12. Leave Fresh Flowers

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    Fresh Flowers

    This is a simple act that can make a huge impact. A $10 bouquet of fresh flowers makes a delightful impression the minute guests walk in the door. Flowers are also a sign that you have been thoughtfully preparing for their arrival.

    Related: 9 Bright and Colorful Houseplants You Can't Kill

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  13. Something for the Kids

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    Airbnb Kid Friendly

    If you have a property big enough for families, make an effort to have a few amusements there to entertain the kids. Something as simple as a chalkboard on the wall and some chalk, or a few puzzles or board games, can make a family feel at home and give the kids a diversion everyone will appreciate.

    Related: Kits for Kids: 10 Gifts for Young Makers

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  14. Join a Group

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    Airbnb Host Groups

    If you’re in it for the long haul, get involved in the Airbnb host community by following bloggers, joining Facebook groups, or participating in other forums. These are great resources to lean on as your Airbnb business grows. With experience, your knowledge and your Airbnb savvy will increase, and before you know it, you’ll be the old pro handing out advice to the newbies. 

    Related: Hello, Homeowners: The 8 Most Useful Apps for Your Phone

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  15. Host With The Most

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    Host With The Most

    It's the little things a host can do that add up to a 5-star guest experience.

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  16. See the House of the Week

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    Discover and admire beautiful and innovative home architecture, from grand Victorians to quaint cabins and all the styles in between. Take a look at the latest images and inspiration!