You’ve started listing your spare room or home on Airbnb, and now you want to keep your first guests happy. Whether it’s a simple side business or a sizeable part of your income, your reputation on Airbnb is likely important to you. Helping guests feel comfortable, safe and satisfied can boost your reviews and earn you more bookings. There are many things you can do to optimize your Airbnb listing.
That review depends on many different factors, and you can account for the vast majority of them. The experience your guests have outside your home is beyond your control, but their time spent within it is another story. There are ways to ensure they get the most out of your Airbnb.
Beyond basic techniques you might have read about elsewhere, Airbnb owners should take care to keep a modern home. Your visitors want value they can touch and feel, as well as updates that leave a lasting impression. You want them walking out the door saying, “Their place was absolutely lovely.”
We’ve compiled a list of these updates, the 16 home features every Airbnb owner should consider, starting with the basics. Most of these aren’t expensive investments, but small updates that can greatly impact a guest’s experience in your home.
1. Fresh Coat of Paint
First things first: make sure your guest room is looking clean, fresh and modern. If you haven’t already, spend a weekend updating the walls with a welcoming color like light blue or clean white. A few added design elements, like color-coordinated throw pillows or window plants, can go a long way in making a guest feel at home right when they walk in the door.
2. Universal Charging Station
You shouldn’t expect your guests to carry the same version of a smartphone that you do. As models change year by year, their ports do as well, and you should own a universal charging station to account for these different designs. Your guests might bring their own chargers, but it’s helpful to offer your own.
Multiport USB chargers are relatively inexpensive and are available for purchase online or at your local electronics store. Place one beside the bed for maximum convenience, letting your guests know their every need is taken care of. It’s a small update, but one you shouldn’t do without.
3. Smart Speaker
Far less expensive than their predecessors, new smart speaker models are an excellent addition to any Airbnb. Their explosion in popularity is warranted, and it makes sense why so many American households now have an Amazon Echo or Google Home virtual assistant somewhere in their home.
These smart speakers will help your guests when you aren’t available to answer their questions. After all, you can’t hover beside them every minute of their stay. From a basic query about the weather to the location of nearby restaurants, a virtual assistant will act as a secondary host in your absence.
Get your Smart Speaker with Alexa here.
Some guests prefer to keep their interaction with their host to a minimum. Many people are uncomfortable with the prospect of their host shuffling through the house, sweeping the floors as they avert eye contact and attempt small talk. To avoid awkward cleaning duty, invest in a Roomba.
With the ability to navigate unique floor plans, you can count on your Roomba to not bump into any trouble. This perpetual maintenance of your home will reduce the time you have to spend on time-consuming chores. Ultimately, a little extra cleaning assistance benefits both the Airbnb owner and their guests.
If you don’t live on your Airbnb property, a smart thermostat can help you regulate the temperature of your rental through a convenient app. No matter where you are, at your desk in the office or lifting weights at your local gym, all you need is a smartphone to control the climate of your home.
Many of today’s models have a streamlined interface, allowing guests to set their ideal temperature without confusion. Some will even detect the guest’s absence and make automatic adjustments to reduce your energy expenditure, saving you considerable money on your monthly utility bills.
Get your Smart Thermostat here.
6. Smart Lock
When a guest chooses to stay with you, they trust your home is safe. They don’t want to worry about the threat of a potential intruder, and a weak security system does nothing to put them at ease. Fortunately, a smart lock is a simple addition that can alleviate a guest’s anxiety.
If you operate your Airbnb business in a neighborhood with a high crime rate, you should invest in smart home security. A smart lock is the best place to start since any guest with a motive can duplicate physical keys. With a smart lock, you can give your guest an access code that expires after their stay.
7. Security Cameras
In much the same vein as a smart lock, installing cameras around your property helps improve its credibility as a safe, secure place to stay overnight. New technology has made purchase and setup of a security system simpler than ever, so the process is easy for DIY homeowners.
Beyond the benefit of protecting against intruders, a security camera system allows you to view your guests before answering the door. This initial screening can reduce the stress of meeting a guest for the first time and relieve any tension you might feel over inviting a stranger into your home.
Having quickly grown into a household staple, Keurig coffee makers are all but mandatory in every Airbnb. As a quicker, more convenient way to make their morning coffee, your guests will appreciate one of these devices in your home. You can pick them up almost anywhere for a reasonable price.
Traditional coffee machines require a filter and grounds, forcing a guest to search through your cabinets. This can make them feel uneasy, so a Keurig and an assortment of pods is a far more attractive alternative. As for eco-conscious individuals, compostable and reusable pods are available.
9. Electric Tea Kettle
For those who prefer tea over coffee, an electric tea kettle will simplify and expedite the process. Just plug it in, and the water will begin to boil in next to no time at all, doing away with bulky kettles that require a stovetop to use.
With their popularity abroad, no Airbnb owner in the U.S. should do without one, but you don’t have to shell out to give potential guests the chance to brew their tea. Search through your options, determine which model is the best choice for your budget and make the purchase.
10. Hair Dryer
Many male Airbnb owners don’t consider the necessity of a hair dryer, but for female guests who forget their own, having one on hand is a lifesaver. This is especially true on humid mornings when the sticky air is unkind to those with naturally curly locks, causing unwanted frizz that’s impossible to manage.
Toiletries are among the top items a guest might forget to pack, and the most sorely needed if this is the case. To win some instant appreciation, you should stock the essentials. Beyond a dryer, think about adding feminine hygiene products and extra toothpaste to the bathroom cabinet.
11. Streaming Stick
Some guests are simply passing through, uninterested in what your area has to offer. If you’re not in a vacation area or you’re dealing with a rainy day, guests may just want to hang out at home. This is where your Airbnb can jump in to offer rest and relaxation if that’s the experience they’d prefer.
In preparation for these guests, you should make improvements to your home entertainment system. Basic cable channels aren’t enough to keep anyone’s interest, so spend a little money on a streaming stick from Amazon, Roku or Google. Your guest will enjoy a greater variety of high-quality content, and you’ll cut those wasteful cable bills.
Get your streaming stick here.
12. Fast Router
Many travelers can attest that hotel Wi-Fi is terrible. It’s almost a universal experience, checking into a hotel, cozying up in bed and finding that the internet is virtually inoperable. You run an Airbnb, not a hotel, and you can offer your guests superior internet speeds they’ll appreciate.
If you’re expecting to accommodate multiple devices, you should invest in a fast, high-quality router. This is not an area where you can compromise. Many guests depend on your internet connection to research the area and determine their itinerary, so it’s essential you meet their expectations.
Get a fast router here.
It’s important to discuss whether your guest is sensitive to certain materials before they enter your home. An essential preliminary measure involves outfitting your guests’ bed with hypoallergenic comforters, sheets and pillows to avoid any negative physical reactions. This precaution is a must for every Airbnb owner.
While reasonable guests should take responsibility for their own allergies, a thoughtful measure can go a long way in earning positive reviews and scoring more bookings. All it takes is a little foresight to combat the issue of allergens, and hypoallergenic alternatives to conventional bedding are available at almost any store that sells similar products.
Get your hypoallergenic bedding here with Amazon Prime.
While your living space is distinct from a hotel, you want to provide the same conveniences a guest would find there. A mini-fridge is one convenience in particular that fits nicely within almost any space, taking up very little room while offering an alternative to back-and-forth kitchen trips.
Placing a mini-fridge in the corner of your guest’s bedroom can save them a lot of trouble and reflect well in reviews. If you stock your mini-fridge with food and beverages, you’re providing additional value, going above and beyond to offer the best service possible. Guests will remember that.
15. Smart Lighting
An Airbnb owner who invests in smart home technology has a leg up on their competition. A potential guest browsing through their options might find your home and read through its description, attracted to the idea of staying the night in a modern space with sophisticated devices and features.
One appealing home feature is smart lighting. A distant relative of the first clap-activated lamps, these smart lighting setups are controlled through an app or virtual assistant. Guests can dim or turn off the lights from the comfort of their bed, a small relief at the end of a long day of sightseeing.
Get your smart lighting products here.
When your guest returns from their time out on the town, they’ll likely feel exhausted, ready to take a long, relaxing shower. You can improve their bathing experience with the simple installation of a smart shower head, another smart home device with multiple features and applications.
Most come with water-saving functionality, allowing you to view your expenditure from a smartphone app. Others allow the user to play music and take calls while they’re washing their hair, and many change colors. In terms of saving money and offering a unique Airbnb setup, a smart shower head is a wise choice.
Leave a Lasting Impression
How much you update your home for Airbnb can depend on your market, the competition, and how much you can afford to invest in it. One thing is certain, however; it isn’t enough to open the door for your guests and offer a polite greeting.
Proper etiquette aside, it’s the quality of your home that will determine the final review. With all the available hospitality options out there, the bare minimum won’t cut it anymore, so updating your living space is necessary to ensure your guests enjoy their stay.
Making at least a few of these home updates will help you have no trouble attracting people to your property. Research the benefits of smart home technology, look into purchasing some new appliances and make sure your internet connection is fast and reliable. Even a single addition can make a big difference.
Remember: Every item you add is another item you can boast in your description. As you equip your home with the latest technology and devices, you’ll appeal to potential guests who value a contemporary space. Ultimately, it depends on the flexibility of your budget and what you’re willing to make room for.
To get the most out of your Airbnb, make the proper home updates. Your guests will thank you.
If you are thinking about becoming an Airbnb host you can get started here.
Holly Welles is a real estate and finance writer who firmly believes anyone can figure out how to make the most of their space. Catch more of her work on homeownership, Airbnb and renting on The Estate Update.
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