As an entrepreneurial, remote-working couple who loves to fuse work and travel, our Airbnb searches often include the “For Work” filter. We’re on the hunt for places that merge all the perks of a great Airbnb stay–a memorable space, generous hosts, a remarkable location–with an interior that encourages for productivity. (If you want to dive into the interior design weeds, check out our guest post about remote working for 1 Chic Retreat.) This emphasis on business travel isn’t just a personal pursuit. As a company, Airbnb has been steadily building its business traveler customer base with Airbnb for Work, which launched in 2014. Now 15% of all Airbnb reservations, companies and business travelers are increasingly opting for the personalized alternative to the big hotel chains that have courted predictable professional travel for years.
Now 15% of all Airbnb reservations, companies and business travelers are increasingly opting for the personalized alternative to the big hotel chains that have courted predictable professional travel for years.
If you’re an Airbnb host, now is the time to jump on this bandwagon! The checklist we’ve compiled here is designed to help your Airbnb join the Work Collection and become the five-star Airbnb for work in your neighborhood. Whether you’re in the epicenter of a bustling metropolitan city or nestled in a quiet country corner, traveling professionals want to work from your Airbnb. This checklist will knock out Airbnb’s basic requirements, boost your work-friendly amenities, and share the best kept hosting secrets that have delighted us as guests working hard on the road.
Let’s start with Airbnb’s list. Before your place qualifies as an Airbnb for Work, the company wants to make sure you’ve met some basic benchmarks. Once Airbnb has successfully convinced a company to book their travel through them, they want to make sure these guests have a good experience. As a great host, you’ve probably ticked off most of these boxes already. Once this list of basic requirements is met, your Airbnb will automatically get tagged as “Equipped for Work Trips” and your place will start showing up when potential guests flip on the “For Work” filter. Here are the basics.
4.8 Star Average
Like most guests, folks traveling for work want a five-star stay. Unlike most guests, Airbnb’s app will actually filter by star ratings for business travelers. Airbnbs for Work must maintain a 4.8 out of 5 star rating overall as well as in the check-in subcategory. Your average is calculated for the past 365 days and must be based on at least five reviews. (If you’re a brand new host, don’t worry. You’ll rack up those reviews and stars faster than you think!)
Flexible or Moderate Cancellations
Business trips get spun up and squashed more frequently than your average vacation, which means liberal cancellation policies matter more to companies than your average guest. Airbnb has a broad range of cancellation policies to choose from, ranging from granting full refunds if the guest cancels 24 hours before the local check-in time, to much more restrictive policies. If your current cancellation policy is more stringent, read up on the details here before making any changes.
90% Response Rate
The last quality threshold Airbnb for Work has set requires a 90% response rate within 24 hours to all reservation inquiries over the last year. The response rate serves as a decent proxy for how engaged a host tends to be. Even if you’re not chasing business travelers, we’d recommend keeping this number as close to 100% as possible. We reference it constantly as a way to sort committed hosts from indifferent ones.
The only significant hurdle some Airbnbs might have trouble clearing is the Home Type specifications. At the bare minimum, Airbnb wants to ensure that business travelers enjoy as much privacy as they would find in a hotel. This means that Shared Spaces won’t qualify and Private Rooms must have an ensuite bathroom. Airbnb specifically notes these Entire Place home types as suitable for work: house, apartment, bungalow, cabin, chalet, townhouse, villa, guesthouse, loft, condo, hotel, or bed and breakfast. (Yep, you read that right. Hotels are a home type on Airbnb.)
As guests, we always prefer self check-in. This post explains why and offers tricks to still create a personalized welcome. To compete for business travelers with rigid schedules, self check-in goes from preferable to imperative. Coordinating an in person check-in adds a layer of stress that hotels eliminate. In turn, Airbnb has leveled the playing field by requiring self check-in. A smartcode deadbolt lock like this can offer an streamlined self check-in solution and can be reprogrammed between guests for safety.
While we’re not convinced that business travel necessitates a TV, we can see where Airbnb’s coming from. That toe-to-toe competition with the familiar hotel option means that a TV has made the must-have checklist for your business travel ready Airbnb. As guests, our favorite Airbnb TV setup includes easy access to our favorite streaming services. Add a Roku to your TV and your guests can pick up right where they left off on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc.
Just like every other Airbnb listing, Airbnbs for Work must have the essentials for guests. You know the drill: toilet paper, soap, shampoo, one towel per guest (although two would be nice!), with sheets and pillows on the bed.
Prep for your guest’s morning routine and leave the hair dryer in an obvious place in the bathroom. (If you’re wondering what else your guests might hope to find in the bathroom, we’ve got a complete Bathroom Checklist here!)
Iron and Hangers
This is one of the many things hotels do right. Guests open the closet to find it full of strudy hangers and equipped with an iron and board ready to rid nice clothes of all luggage-induced wrinkles. For folks in town for a big meeting, that sight is a wave of relief. If your Airbnb doesn’t have a closet, no worries. Just set up a standalone rack like this.
In our opinion, no amenity carries more weight to the business traveler than strong, stable wifi. While Airbnb doesn’t have wifi speed requirements, we definitely do. Before we will book an Airbnb for work, we check with the host to make sure they have at least 5 mbps download and 5 mbps upload speeds. That upload speed becomes especially important for video conferences, where a guest needs to be able to send their data up as quickly as they’re bringing their colleague’s data down. In this post, we tell you exactly how to test your internet speeds and, if you really want to set your Airbnb apart in the Work Collection, how to post your internet speeds as well.
Laptop Friendly Workspace
Once they’ve connected to your excellent wifi, your business traveling guests will need a place to set up their ad hoc office. Airbnb describes the Laptop Friendly Workspace as: “A table or desk with space for a laptop and a chair that’s comfortable to work in.” The key word here is comfortable. If you skimp on the necessities with rickety furniture or itty bitty work surfaces, this deficiency will show up in the reviews and deter future guests. Invest in a sturdy table and a chair with–please oh please–a back! Bar stools are cute for the first ten minutes and then they’re just a painful, chronic distraction.
Now let’s get to work on setting your Airbnb apart. While every Airbnb in the Work Collection will have the basics above, these great additions will help your Airbnb jump out to potential guests. Just be sure to document these bonus items in your photos and description online so folks know what you offer.
Coffee and Tea
Coffee and tea is the very first item on our full Kitchen Checklist. For guests first exhausted by travel and then expected to snap into work mode, setting out a caffeine jolt becomes all the more important. For solo travelers, a single serve coffee machine, like a Keurig or Nespresso makes re-caffeinating easy. Disposable to go cups and spill proof mugs will speed up mornings while protecting laptops, outfits, and rental cars from spills.
Full Length Mirror
Give your guests on their way to a big meeting the reassuring confidence boost only a full length mirror provides. We’d recommend hanging the mirror away from the bathroom to guarantee a second makeup-applying station that won’t get fogged up during a shower. The bedroom (yup! that’s another complete checklist) or the entryway are great locations. If you’re short on wall space, consider a standalone option like this.
Curling Iron and Straightener
Most hotels provide a hair dryer, but an inexpensive curling iron and hair straightener gives guests access to an appliance they reluctantly left at home (or just outright forgot). Just tuck these next to the hairdryer in the bathroom as a little extra treat to discover. We guarantee these added amenities will eventually be the highlight of someone’s day.
Pens, Pencils, Paper
No surprise here! Your business travelers are here to work and will often need to jot something down. Help your guests avoid the mid-phone call junk drawer scramble (which if you’ve got junk drawers in your Airbnb, it might be time to check out this spring cleaning post!) In a visible place, set out a few pens and pencils next to some paper. If you want to go the extra mile, pick up an inexpensive all-in-one kit like this with highlighters and sharpies too.
Text Instead of Knock
Between time zone shifts and video conferencing, business travelers could be on the job at any point, day or night. With these folks, always opt for text communications instead of the drop-in approach. It’s not that they don’t care about your five-star communication. They just need to be able to choose when and where that communication takes place. And as always, keep all texts in the app.
Business travelers benefit from your local recommendations as much as the next guest, but they’re interested in slightly different places. Add an Airbnb for Work section to your local guide. Include the local FedEx or Kinkos shop for printing, packaging, shipping, etc. Point out the best places to work, such as relaxing coffee shops, the local library, or a nearby coworking space with day passes. And offer a few nice restaurant recommendations suited for dinner with a client along with a delivery joint they can lean on after a long day.
Best Kept Secrets
Drumroll please! Last but not least, here are the amenities that we’ve absolutely adored as remote working, business doing guests. These personal touches are the game-changers, the items that make us say: every time work brings us back to this town, this is the first Airbnb we’ll try to book. Here are the best kept secrets to a stellar Airbnb for Work.
The sticky notes in the Airbnb for Work promotional video, however cliché, are undeniably a staple in our business traveling kit. In our never-ending pursuit of lighter packing, sticky notes have always held their spot in the list of traveling essentials, right up their with the laptop and its charger. When we work from Airbnbs, we post them on refrigerators, windows, mirrors, or just on the table as we sort out our thoughts. Channel your superhost powers, pick up a pack of sticky notes in a variety of happy colors, and save the brainstorming session.
We first saw this hosting trick on our Airbnb honeymoon in London. If your Airbnb attracts a decent number of international travelers, this is one of the most impressive amenities to have on hand. Pick up an international outlet adapter and set it on an end table or nightstand. Even guests who remembered to pack their own will often have more confidence in your tried and true converter.
Since Airbnb requires that you have a TV to qualify for the Work Collection anyways, spend an extra eight bucks and set out a dual HDMI cable next to your TV. Techy guests like us will eat this up. When we launched bnbNomad, we were actually staying with a host who had thought of this. When the site went live, we had our little laptop screen hooked up to the TV, and we got to watch the very first bits of traffic visit the website on a massive flat screen.
One-Sided Accent Table
Now on to the workspaces. As guests, it’s a luxury to have multiple spots around an Airbnb that are comfy, yet productive. Adding a one-sided accent table like this is one of the best tricks we’ve seen to increase versatility in an Airbnb. With the absence of legs on all but one side, these little end tables can pull right up to someone sitting in a comfy chair, rocker, or on the couch, and transform the space into an impromptu (and very cozy) desk.
Here is one of the best parts of working on the road: knocking out the mundane tasks while surrounded by a view like this. Suddenly answering all those emails doesn’t seem quite so bad. If you’ve got any outdoor space to share, add a table, whether it’s a little sidewalk cafe set or a big picnic bench. A sturdy outdoor work surface can transform you business guests’ trip.
Perhaps the biggest productivity booster you can add to your Airbnb for Work is a designated desk. We’ve been fortunate enough to come across more of these than you might think. Clever hosts have tucked desks into second bedrooms, in living room corners, and in their best iterations, in front of beautiful windows. This designated workspace will help your guests sink into their work and avoid the constant rotation of meals and work at a kitchen table.
As you probably know, guests come in all sorts of heights! The ability to adjust the seat where they’re sitting for a full day of work (or in our travels, weeks) can make a world of difference when it comes to comfort, and by extension, focus. Believe us, when the seat is uncomfortable, the fidgets set in, and the probability of getting anything meaningful done tanks. An adjustable office chair like this can transform someone’s trip while still being downright adorable.
Now, in the name of full disclosure: this is the only item on this checklist we haven’t seen in person. But we thought we’d share this little dream with you: Someday we hope to stay in an Airbnb that, in addition to its adjustable chair and charming desk with a view, has added a big white board and markers to the space. And on the off chance you’ve already created our dream Airbnb office, let us know! Our collection of future working-vacation Airbnb destinations is ever expanding, and we’d love to add your Airbnb to the list.
Thank you so much for reading our Airbnb for Work checklist! Don’t forget to download your own copy of the checklist. Just click the image. We hope the ideas here help you attract and impress your business traveling guests. We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below! Hosts: what other amenities do you offer your business travelers? Guests: When you’re on the road for work, what makes you feel like home? As always, thanks for reading, and until next time, happy hosting!