As an Airbnb host for over two years now, I have learned so much! Besides how to set prices and provide great customer service, it’s important that you keep up with all the new changes and hosting requirements to either become a superhost or to keep your status. Airbnb requires all hosts to provide some pretty basic amenities, and I do mean basic. Toilet paper? Really? Ya’ll had people in your house with no toilet paper?? Anyway…check out my list of essential amenities, beside TP, that every great host should have!
Mirrors have so many uses, outside the obvious of practicing your dance moves before you show them off in public and making sure you don’t have lipstick on your teeth! If the room you are offering is relatively small, adding a mirror can help the room to feel bigger and more spacious. It can also help to reflect light around the room and even enhance the existing decor. Most people give themselves a final check before heading out the door, so you definitely want to provide this as an amenity. For some reason as humans, we get excited when we find a mirror! Right? It’s like a bonus or something lol, like they’re rare!
2. Scented Candles
I love scented candles! I might have a slight problem, but I’m ok with that! You can get great scented candles, inexpensively from just about ANYWHERE! I recently purchased this Pineapple Coconut candle from Target. It smells amazing! They have so many different scents to choose from. Some come in cute tins, like this Toasted Coconut scented candle, and others in fun decorative containers, like this Golden Pineapple candle! I always love to get candles that come in decorative containers because even ofer the candle is gone, you can still it for decoration. For those of you who aren’t candle obsessed, you can find some great scents and decorative flares in more commonly found scented candles, like this 2 in 1 candle by Glade. You get the fragrance of two candles for $2.99! You can even change the scents to match the season, fruity in the summer, linen in the spring, or just stock up on your favorite and use it year round!
3. Wifi & Workstation for Business Travelers
Almost everyone has wifi these days in their homes, so it’s definitely a good idea to share this amenity with your guests. I offer this amenity free of charge, but some hosts charge extra for wifi access. It’s up to you, but in my opinion, you don’t want to appear to be nickle and diming your guest! Just offer free wifi and bump the price of your nightly rate a couple dollars. This is especially a good idea if you are charged based on data usage. That way you aren’t spending your profits on your internet bill! If you are worried about security, you can offer your guests access to a different network than what you and your family use. Just remember, the more amenities you offer, the more competitive your space will be and has a better chance of being and/or staying booked. Airbnb has developed a way for business travelers to utilize the platform when traveling for work. One of the requirements is that as a host, you provide wifi and a workstation/desk. A simple way to increase bookings using something you already have anyway.
4. Toilet Paper
I mean…come on! You guys already know how I feel about this one! I’m guessing this requirement stems from people more or less running out of toilet paper although I’ve talked to people that said they’d stayed at an Airbnb and there was no toilet paper to begin with. If you decide to be a host, you can no longer buy the four roll pack of toilet paper that would normally be enough. Please! Go to Sam’s, Costco, Bj’s, Target…somewhere and get a LARGE pack of toilet paper! PLEASE!!!
We’ve all been there and we’ve all done it. You get to your destination and realize you forgot to pack the toothpaste or in my case, the lotion! It never fails! I am a black woman, I NEED lotion lol! Even though the hotel lotion isn’t ideal, it’s good enough until I can get to a store. This is why you should be providing toiletries for your guests. Since they know it’s not a hotel, they don’t expect it but find it to be a great gesture, even though they probably won’t use them. Airbnb has made it a requirement to provide soap for your guests. My husband and I usually just buy a value pack of body wash, one goes in our bathroom and the other in the guest bathroom. We also do this with toothpaste, shampoo/conditioner, and mouthwash. Full size items are better in my opinion versus the travel size for a couple of reasons. First, the travel size is seen as “personal” size. So if I use the travel sized toothpaste, I’d more than likely take it with me when I leave. That is, if I don’t use the entire thing during my stay. Also, it can get expensive to replace the smaller size items. Most people would just get these items from Target or Walmart at around $0.99 each. If you have 10 guests during the month and each of them takes the travel sized item with them, you’ve spent at least $10 on just toothpaste! That’s going to kill your profits! The full sized items last longer and you don’t need to replace them as frequently. Not to mention that most people aren’t going to take pack a full sized product in their bag because of air travel restrictions.
6. Information and Recommendation Guide
Using Airbnb when you travel allows you to feel less like a tourist and more like a local. My Dad always says, “When I travel, I like to eat at ‘off the beaten path’ places, where the locals go.” We’ve all had it happen while on vacation, pick a place by searching the nearby area for the best reviews, only to be super disappointed in the food, service, or lack of entertainment.
Consider compiling a list of your favorite restaurants and take out menus for delivery. Include recommendations for entertainment, grocery stores, pharmacies, train station, bus stops, and a list of events happening around town. Your guests will really appreciate it. I especially recommend this for hosts who do not live on site. Airbnb also allows you to add this information inside the app, but a cute binder will add a great touch, plus it can double as decor in your space!
7. Towels and Linens
Every now and then, I get guests who ask if towels are provided. This is because Airbnb didn’t have many requirements for the hosts in the early days, so things were left up to each host to decide it they wanted to provide certain amenities or now. Although Airbnb is a way for travelers to save money, they shouldn’t have to stuff bed sheets and towels into their suitcases. This is definitely a must have and probably a quick way to get a bad review if you leave these out!
8. Keyless Entry
I stayed at an Airbnb once in New York and the host handed my husband and I a key ring with three keys! No labels or markings to tell which key went to what door, just three keys on a ring! Not only was it very cumbersome to lock all the doors on our way out, did I mention there were three keys….coming in late at night to an unfamiliar area and having to fumble around with keys to get inside, was less than ideal. Don’t be like this host! Install a keyless door lock and make it easy on your guests. Also, you won’t have to worry about making copies or re-keying locks after the keys are misplaced. We have the Kwikset Smart Lock installed on our front door so we don’t have to be home when a guest checks in and provide a different code for each time. This is a must have if you are an off-site host. Trust me, avoid as many unnecessary phone calls as possible, especially a call in the middle of the nigh about lost keys!
9. Self Check-In
Guests rarely arrive at check-in time and almost never by the time they tell you they will be there. Save yourself from waiting around for your guest to arrive and instead get a few items done off your to do list. All self check in by either leaving a key in a lock box (which I don’t recommend) or installing a keyless lock. Not to mention, this is required for targeting business travelers.
10. A Welcome Gift
Traveling can be very stressful and exhausting! After check-in, I don’t know about you, but I’m usually looking for food! Provide a few bottles of water, some fruit or other quick snacks for your guests. This will hold me…I mean, them over until they can find a place to eat. Just like a mirror, you get happy when you see chocolates or a bottle of water! What better way to make your guests feel welcomed than with food!
You can learn more about my experience starting out as a host here! Thanks for reading!