With each Airbnb stay, our goal is to be the guests our host would happily invite back. As we eagerly await the roll out of the new Superguest designation, we’ve spent some time picking apart our own behavior, looking for the small actions guests can take to win over their hosts. Whether you’re a seasoned Airbnb traveler or brand new to the community, here are 10 tips to become the ideal Airbnb guest.
1) Actually Read the Description
Like most guests, the majority of our Airbnb surfing involves rather manic thumb swipes through an endless stream of photos. But when you come across an Airbnb you’d actually want to book, you owe it to the host to take a breath and slow down. Good hosts sink significant time into crafting transparent listings to help potential guests decide whether or not their Airbnb is the right fit. In turn, good guests actually read the description, amenities list, and house rules before they book. (If you want to really get into the weeds, read our full post about booking the perfect Airbnb for you.) There’s a reason more than a handful of hosts have begun to preface their listings with Please read the full description before booking. Thanks! Due diligence upfront is the easiest way for guests and hosts to avoid disappointment or frustration later.
Like most guests, the majority of our Airbnb surfing involves rather manic thumb swipes through an endless stream of photos. But when you come across an Airbnb you’d actually want to book, you owe it to the host to take a breath and slow down.
2) Start the Communication Off Right
In the Airbnb ecosystem, guests send the very first message and therefore often set the communication tone. Whether you’re sending a booking request or reserving an Airbnb with instant book, start the conversation off on the right foot with a kind and informative message. Let your host know a bit about who you (and your traveling companions) are, why you’ll be in their neck of the woods, and, most importantly, anything that might make you unique as guest. The best hosts will leverage this information during your stay. Plus, by offering this information upfront, the host has the opportunity to let you know if their place isn’t a great match for your needs. Here’s an example of what we send to hosts.
My husband, dog, and I are traveling to the northeast this summer and hoping to book a month long stay in Vermont. Your place looks just beautiful and perfect for remote workers like us! My husband is a programmer and I work in data analytics. Our dog Odin is a well-behaved, wiry black lab mix, under 50 pounds, who loves to play with other dogs. If there’s any other information we could provide about him, just let us know. Otherwise, we look forward to hearing from you!
3) Explore the Airbnb With an Open Mind
When you step into an Airbnb for the first time, use these first few moments to explore your new home with gratitude and an open mind. Walk through each room, open drawers, read the local guide, keep your eyes peeled for any Easter eggs your hosts might have left for you to discover. Remember that this space wasn’t manufactured by the hospitality giants (although there are plenty of tricks Airbnbs can steal from the hotel industry). Airbnbs are the product of personal creativity and generosity. We’ve always found that the more time we spend appreciating the detail and thought that went into the space, the more we end up enjoying it. And if you’re still struggling to settle in, check out these 10 steps to make the Airbnb feel like home.
4) Picture Your Host as a Friend of a Friend
The dynamic between a host and a guest is brand new for so many folks just beginning to explore Airbnb travel. A host feels completely different than a corporate hotel chain, and yet they’re still in the hospitality business. And it’s unlike staying with family or close friends where personal history loosens up behavior and easily excuses any mishaps on either side of the equation. Here’s the best analogy we’ve come up with: staying with an Airbnb host is like staying with a friend of a friend. Other folks have vouched for each of you and you’ll be welcomed into a stranger’s home. During your stay, you’ll double up on your efforts to be courteous, appreciative, and thoughtful, which, incidentally, are the very qualities Airbnb hosts hope to find in their guests.
Here’s the best analogy we’ve come up with: staying with an Airbnb host is like staying with a friend of a friend.
5) Be Low Maintenance
In the same way that guests don’t want overbearing or picky hosts, hosts want low maintenance guests. Be conscious of noise, light pollution, and neighbors. Be attentive to your kids or pets. Give your hosts the benefit of the doubt, and remember to communicate, especially if any of your behavior might look out of the ordinary. We once arrived at an Airbnb after camping and needed to air out our tent which we’d packed up that morning in the rain. Before pitching a tent on their lawn, we texted our hosts to ask if they were comfortable with it. Proactive communication can change the whole tenor of a stay.
6) Keep the Home Safe
Most hosts go out of their way to keep their guests safe, and we should return the favor as guests. Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind. Read the house manual (the house-specific headlines are all in here!) Always lock the doors and any windows when you leave. Tuck any expensive or flashy items out of sight, both in your car or in front of windows when you’re out exploring. And most importantly, ask questions! If you don’t understand how to use the fireplace or the grill is confusing, reach out to your host. Don’t take risks in someone else’s home just because it might be time-consuming or embarrassing to ask for a little help.
7) Leave the Airbnb Better Than You Found It
As you prepare to leave an Airbnb, keep this Girl Scout’s motto in mind: leave the space better than you found it. Follow the checkout instructions and tidy up: take the trash out, give the floors a quick sweep, indicate which linens have been used, make sure all the dishes are clean and put away. But then take just a few minutes and look for an opportunity or two to make the Airbnb just a touch better. Maybe you dust in a spot that’s been overlooked, throw out expired condiments in the fridge, or just straighten a picture frame and fluff the couch pillows. Welcome that good karma when it comes back around.
As you prepare to leave an Airbnb, keep this Girl Scout’s motto in mind: leave the space better than you found it.
8) Pass on Your Knowledge
Whether your stay is for a single night or several weeks, when you check-out of an Airbnb, you’re sitting on a wealth of knowledge. You know what makes the place special, but you’ve also stumbled across any pain points it might have. Good hosts want to know how to improve. Whether you use the private note section in the review process or just leave a sticky note for your host, pass on your knowledge: the bathroom could use a plunger, there’s a bit too much chlorine in the pool, or simply, we used up the rest of the dishwasher pods under the sink. Kindness is key here! We like the classic sandwich approach when it comes to this kind of constructive criticism: something we loved, something that could use a little attention, something we loved.
9) Say Thank You
At the end of your stay, take a moment to appreciate what Airbnb actually is. A complete stranger has prepared a space just for you and welcomed you into their home, no questions asked. Thank them for this trust! We’ve yet to find an Airbnb that didn’t deserve a handwritten thank you note. Whether it’s on a notecard or just a blank sheet of paper, take a few moments before you leave to let your hosts know what you appreciated most. Just a few lines can make a host’s day.
We’ve yet to find an Airbnb that didn’t deserve a handwritten thank you note.
10) Leave a Helpful Review
And last but not least, be a good Airbnb community member and follow through with a helpful review. We’ve written before about why Airbnb reviews are inflated. The lack of reviews is a key factor. Add your voice to the conversation, and leave future guests the information you wished you had had when you were considering this Airbnb. Focus on the details specific to your travel needs. We’ll often include information about working remotely from the space or traveling here with a dog since that’s what we find most helpful. Your travel doppelgänger is out there! Help them know why (or why not) this Airbnb is the right fit for them.
Thanks so much for checking out this post. We’d love to hear from you! If you’re an Airbnb guest, what are your surefire strategies to get invited back? And if you’re an Airbnb host, what makes an ideal guest to you? Share your thoughts in the comments below, and until next time, happy travels to all!