Airbnb Host Checklist: Make Your Listing Stand Out

Mon Nov 9 2020

Do you own a home, townhouse, or condo that you rent through Airbnb? That’s a great way to put your extra space to use and generate more income, especially if your place is in a destination-worthy location.

The average Airbnb host makes $924 per month, but that can be much higher if your property is in a tourist-heavy area. Plus, if you’re a great host, your reputation and reviews can make your rental even more sought after.

So how do you become a top host on Airbnb? We talked to the experts to get their best pointers on how to make your rental stand out.

Airbnb Host Checklist

Before we get started, remember the most important thing is to make sure your Airbnb rental is clean. It doesn’t matter what views your condo offers if it’s cluttered and dusty.

“First and foremost, the property must sparkle, says Michael Shapot, a real estate broker for Compass. “I can’t emphasize enough how critical it is for the home to be beyond clean. Especially the bathroom, kitchen, and linens. Bonus points for any attention paid to the hard-to-reach corners and windows.”

Now let’s go through what accommodations each room in your Airbnb property should have.

Bedroom Basics

Guests get excited about bedrooms that look like a luxury hotel – think: high-quality bedding, a comfortable mattress, and simple yet functional furniture. Every bedroom should include:

  • A bed, ideally an 8” thick and firm mattress.
  • Wide dresser with at least six drawers.
  • Nightstand.
  • Lamp.
  • A mirror, either above the dresser or a free-standing floor mirror.
  • Bedding, including white pillowcases, sheets, duvet, and a comforter.
  • Art to add a touch of color and character to the walls.
  • Rug to accent the floor and the bedroom decor.

Pro Tip: “Airbnb hosts should clearly outline all amenities in their listings. What size are the beds, for example?,” asks Brain Davis, director at SparkRental. “My wife and I like queen beds or larger, but so many Airbnb listings don’t make it clear whether the bed is a double or a queen.”

Bathroom Basics

Clean bathrooms are key. Scrub tiles and grout to make sure there’s no mold, mildew, or dirt. Next, make sure your bathroom is fully stocked with all the toiletries a traveler needs and often forgets. That includes:

  • Two bath towels per guest
  • Two hand towels per guest
  • Hand soap
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Body wash
  • Lotion
  • Toothpaste and floss
  • Mouthwash with disposable cups
  • Air freshener
  • Disposable toothbrushes
  • Hairdryer
  • Extra toilet paper
  • Hooks on the door

Pro Tip: “Use bathroom towels as a way to personalize and upgrade your service,” suggests Connor Griffiths, CEO of Lifty Life. “Placing the bathroom towels on the bed and folding them into swans adds a high-class element.”

Kitchen Essentials

One of the reasons people love staying at an Airbnb is the ability to cook and eat in while away from home. Guests save money on eating out and get a chance to enjoy the property more. To fully take advantage of having a kitchen, guests need small appliances, utensils, and other kitchen goods to prepare a meal. Make sure your kitchen is ready with:

  • Plates and bowls.
  • Cups, glasses, and wine glasses.
  • Cutlery.
  • Cooking utensils.
  • Pots and pans.
  • Can opener.
  • Coffee maker (and coffee).
  • Toaster.
  • Kettle.

Pro Tip: “Some hosts tend to go very cheap with the kitchen,” warns John Candelario, co-founder of Vacation Home Help. “Adding a decent blender, coffee maker, and kitchenware makes a world of difference.”

Living Room Essentials

An Airbnb allows guests to feel at home while away from home, so make sure your living room is well-designed and inviting. This is where guests can gather and socialize, watch a movie, or play games. Get your living room ready with:

  • A sofa bed to maximize the number of guests the space can accommodate.
  • Coffee table.
  • Good lighting for both reading and relaxing.
  • Flat-screen TV with cable.
  • The WiFi password in an easy to access place.

Pro Tip: “A key thing a host can do is to provide local maps and brochures,” says Sandy Yong, author of The Money Master Book and an Airbnb owner. “You can visit your local travel information center and pick up free pamphlets featuring tourist attractions and restaurants that your guests can check out. This will help give your guests ideas and inspiration to help them plan out their itinerary.”

Household Extras

Remember that your guests may be visiting for business or pleasure, so anticipate their needs with some household extras that make a world of difference:

  • Ironing board and iron (or steamer).
  • Closet hangers, at least four to six hangers in each closet.
  • One trash can per room.
  • Board games (especially if you host a lot of families on vacation).
  • Access to streaming services like Netflix.

Pro Tip: “I use a Yale smart lock with a touchscreen keypad that allows me to give digital keys to my guests,” says Michael Hoyt, owner of LifeAI.com and Airbnb host. “I don’t need to wait at the door for the guests to hand them the keys anymore. All I need to do is give them a unique six-digit code that they punch into the keypad. When the guests check out, I cancel the key code. No more lost or copied keys, and no more ‘I’m running late’ scenarios where the other person is left waiting.”

Raising the Bar

Don’t underestimate the power of a gift to really wow your guests and exceed their expectations. When you go above and beyond, you’ll often get glowing reviews and repeat guests. Here are a few ideas on how to raise the bar:

  • Leave your guests a bottle of wine.
  • Create a snack basket.
  • Create a city guide complete with takeout menus, local attractions, and things to do.
  • Gather coupons to local shops and restaurants.
  • Gift a bag of locally roasted coffee beans.
  • Leave a guest book for visitors to sign.

Pro Tip: “Something that always stands out in the eyes of guests is when hosts provide gifts,” says Connor Griffiths. “Gifts can be as simple as purchasing a bottle of wine or as thoughtful as a gift basket full of local treats. A thoughtful gift really stands out and is sure to be reflected in positive guest reviews.”

Becoming a Superhost is really about anticipating your guests’ needs and making sure your space accommodates them. Pay attention to the details and treat your guests as if they were family members coming to stay with you for a visit. Help them feel at home.

And remember, as an Airbnb host, it’s important to have the right insurance in place in case there’s an accident. We can cover condos that are used as short-term rentals (like Airbnb), so that If a guest trips and hurts themselves in your place, you’re covered. If you rent out your home or townhouse on Airbnb, check out our landlord insurance. It can keep you covered and protect your rental income.

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