Heard the buzz about Airbnb? Here’s our guide to the service that is now making dream accommodation a reality – and your own abode a money making machine!
Bed and Breakfasts and high-faluting hotels, you have been warned. Airbnb is revolutionising accommodation – both locally and internationally!
Here are 10 top tips to being a great guest and helpful host with Airbnb:
AirBnb began in 2008 as two mates trying to make some money out of an unused sofa. Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia could not afford their rent, so they fashioned their living room into a bed and breakfast, successfully accommodating three guests within their San Francisco pad on air mattresses and home-cooked breakfasts – whilst boosting their own coffers.
Today, it has solidified itself as one of the worlds best travel guides. Not only does it open the doors to an entirely new level of accommodation for travellers, but also it broadens the ability to find those hard-to-find accommodation options and unique, off the map adventures. For prospective hosts it enables trusted listings and lodgers within their own much loved abodes.
With 17,000,000 guest to date (and counting), across 190 countries and 34,000 cities Airbnb has quickly become the option of choice for generations to monetize their own home, or live the dream of their own destination of choice.
Traveling with Airbnb is based on a decent amount of word-of-mouth and a whole lot of trust. Hosts need to feel comfortable about travellers staying in their home, and conversely, travellers feeling comfortable ‘at home’ anywhere. This is nurtured through a fairly non-intensive listing process – a form, some details, a valid email address – and a long list of happy – regularly reviewing – customers on the site. Prices are determined by the user, and can be changed nightly, through to monthly. House rules are welcome – and prolific – on the site and users can publish up to 24 photographs of the space when placing their pad.
Communication between the guests and the user is direct, and users have entire control and discretion over who resides in their digs in their absence.
Bookings and listings can be made online or via mobile also. Here’s how to be the best guest – and host – you can be, on Airbnb.
How to be a Highly Successful Host
1. Feed Their Needs:
A long haul flight, a sleepless night and uninspired aeroplane food can see guests arrive hungry. Leave a list of local dining options or local supermarkets – and their opening hours – so that guests can quickly assume the dining position on arrival. Another lovely gesture is to pay forward a coffee or two (maybe the local fare or national favourite) at your local café. Then, when your guest goes in for the first time, they get a complimentary cuppa and your local gets a new customer!
2. Bathe Them In Spoils:
When you think great hotel, you think of a fantastic, fully stocked bathroom. To ensure you have this hotelier touch, simply invest in mini bottles and containers – from any $2 shop – and fill with a travel size amount of shampoo, conditioner, body lotion and other amenities for your guest. These tiny touches make a massive impact at bath time. Also, allow room for their own possessions in the bathroom so that things don’t come akimbo and clutter and spillage is avoided! To do this a little Ikea tub is a cheap investment for them to place their toiletries in.
3. Spell Out The Passwords:
If you are offering Wi-Fi, do it right. Have a list on the hallstand of all the passwords so that your guest doesn’t have to have any interaction with your service provider and you don’t risk any password getting changed in the process. Pin another copy on the fridge for good measure!
4. Clear Your Spare Closet:
Having a closet for guests that includes fresh linen, spare umbrella’s, extra table-wear, a local phone book, a phone recharger and even a first aid kit is key to ensuring that what is theirs, is theirs and what is yours, remains that way! Keep a lock on the other cupboards that contain your personal out-of-bounds belongings.
5. Don’t Overlook Details:
An extra bin here, or vase of – fake - flowers there all add to the energy and aesthetic of a place. Ensure your clock is set on local time and that there are extra toilet rolls in the bathroom. A once over of these ‘smaller’ things before you split is vital.
How to Be a Great Guest
6. Give A Clear Picture:
If someone is going to share or rent out their home to you, they want as clear a picture of whom you are and what you’re about as possible. No, Airbnb is not based on aesthetics, but by providing a photograph of yourself, and a very concise and well-written profile, you are jumping the queue in the eyes of a prospective host and making their job easier. So show you are a professional from the get-go.
7. Show Respect from The Get-Go:
When you book your Airbnb accommodation, shoot off a small message to your host. This initial interaction will be the firm building block for ongoing respect throughout your stay. If you show first up that you are intending to make it a success for both parties, they will too.
8. Know Your Place:
When you arrive, unpack as soon as possible so that you have claimed your territory within the bedroom, bathroom and kitchen. Then stick to it. Although you have no doubt paid a cleaning fee already for when you leave, keeping the space tidy and ‘mentally and physically sectioned’ during your stay will reduce the risk of you misplacing anything by the end of the stay, and allow for the place to retain its interior style (that no doubt attracted you to it in the first place!)
9. Speak Up:
If anything is not as you were guaranteed, contact the host immediately. Word of mouth and rave reviews are their bread and butter, so they want you to be happy. Be sure to contact them by the means available, and be nice about it. And at the tail end of your trip, leave a thank you note. Not essential, but greatly appreciated.
10. Pack a little piece of home:
A host may not have thought of things like tissues, and tea bags. So if you have the time, pack these homespun necessities before you head off so that you don’t go without on arrival. Also, a little keepsake from your country – teaspoon or even postcard – is a lovely memento to leave for them and increase the love a little!
Have you used AirBnB? How did you find it?
Find out more and get involved at www.airbnb.com.au