There’s already a lot of lists and tips on the Internet telling AirBnB hosts what to do to get more bookings and receive better reviews. These lists often include a checklist of things you should have inside your property, how to behave towards guests and how to present your house or unit on the AirBnB websie.
Sure, these best practices are all worth reading and emulating, but what these lists fail to mention are the things that hosts should avoid. Beyond knowing the things you should do as a host, it is also equally important to know the things you should not do. In short, if you are aware of the do’s, you also have to be aware of the don’ts.
Here are 10 things you absolutely must not do as an AirBnB host to make your life easier and also to give a positive impression towards your guests:
- Don’t build wrong expectations for your guests.
When people go on vacation, they want their trip to be as ideal as possible. Guests draw up images of what they will see in a particular place whenever they go on vacation, including the place where they will stay. Yes, your guests have expectations about the AirBnB they booked, and the best you can do is to manage these expectations.
It’s an absolute no-no as an AirBnB host to build wrong expectations for your guests. Bear in mind that your property does not have to be perfect; you just have to be honest about the quirks of your unit or house. For example, never ever say that your place is just a few minutes away from a particular attraction or a metro station, when it will take half an hour to go there. Or say that your unit is brand new, when there are already clear signs of wear and tear. You have nothing to gain from posting false information about your AirBnB property. You will just disappoint your guest, get bad reviews, and have fewer bookings if you do this.
The next question on your mind is definitely: how can I be upfront about my property’s imperfections without turning off potential guests? That’s easy, you just have to turn the negative into positive. For instance, if your unit is close to bars and restaurants that tend to be noisy at night, you can tell your guests that your property is perfect for those who want to experience your locality’s night life. Of course, don’t forget to mention the noise, but don’t stop with that. Advise your guest to bring earplug in case so that they can have a good night’s sleep.
Another example: what if your house has poor wi-fi or mobile connection? You don’t have to lie about it. Just say that your place is perfect for those who want to unplug or those who want to be off social media during their stay. It’s really all about honesty and presenting your AirBnB in the most truthful way.
- Don’t assume that your guests will know how things work.
If you have personally lived in your AirBnB property for a considerable period of time, you might think that all the equipment are easy to operate, and all the locks are quite easy to figure out. The truth of the matter is that even the simplest piece of appliance can seem difficult to turn on, especially when you are in a different place or when you’re tired from a long flight. One of the things you should avoid as an AirBnB host, therefore, is assuming that your guests have basic knowledge on how electronics and appliances in your property work.
AirBnB guests appreciate having as much details as possible on how to operate things inside a unit or a house. That is why it’s recommended to give your guest clear instructions on how to check in, unlock things and turn on appliances like lights and the TV. Giving step-by-step instructions is also even more important with electronics that might be hazardous if handled incorrectly, such as stoves, fireplaces, heaters and microwave ovens. It is highly advisable to leave guidelines on how to operate these appliances to your guest. You can even make and leave a simple handbook of instructions on how to operate electrical appliances and other equipment in your AirBnB unit, so that you won’t have to repeat these details to different guests.
- Don’t make guests wait for your responses.
One of the things that AirBnB guests hate the most is waiting long for a host’s responses. They will most likely go find another property if their inquiries are ignored even for a few hours, so unresponsiveness is an absolute no-no. It is very important that you provide clear replies to questions from guests as soon as possible.
It is also necessary to have an open line of communication with your guests while they are checked in to your property. It helps if you provide them with at least two ways to contact you, usually through the AirBnB platform and through mobile phones. This is crucial so that your guest can easily reach you in case there is an emergency, or if they have questions regarding their stay. Remember that after they check out, they rate you based on your responsiveness and the way you communicated with them.
- Don’t scrimp on the toilet paper.
This might sound like a very basic tip, but the quantity of the supplies you provide mean a lot to your guests. One thing you should never do as an AirBnB host is be overly thrifty with the household goods inside your property. If your guest is staying for a week, do not leave toilet paper that will only last for a few days. What you should do is stock up the bathroom and kitchen cabinets with basic items that will be more than enough for your guests’ stay.
Also provide basic household items that will ensure the smooth stay of your guests. If you have a kitchen in a property that can accommodate big families, have enough plates and utensils that your guests can use. Providing basic spices like salt and sugar will also be well appreciated. These are small details that will go a long way and will ensure great reviews as an AirBnB host.
- Don’t overcrowd the property.
AirBnB guests like having great amenities in a property, but there is a limit to this. Another thing that you should definitely not do as an AirBnB host is overcrowding your unit or house. The more clutter you have in your property, the lower rating you will definitely get.
Keep your unit or house clean and simple. Remove extra items that your guests will not need. If your guests are coming during summer months, it will not help to have bulky, thick blankets in the bedroom cabinets. Whenever you are deciding on what pieces of furniture you are going to place in your property, always ask yourself if these will contribute to the ease and comfort of your guests.
- Don’t leave your valuables unattended.
Here’s one important thing you should remember and mentally prepare for as an AirBnB host: your space will no longer be exclusively yours and you will be sharing it with strangers. This means that you will have to sacrifice a little of your privacy when you start accepting guests, so it goes without saying that you should not leave valuables unattended inside your property.
There’s no need to fret, however. You just have to prepare yourself in making your unit or house open to the public. It is recommended to have an inventory of all items in your property—how many pots, pans, towels, cabinets you have—so that you will know what to look for as guests come and go. Of course, take extra steps to screen your guests. Asking for identification cards will also help.
- Don’t overdo the hospitality.
Sure, the goal of every good AirBnB host is to be as hospitable and accommodating as possible to all guests. However, you should absolute not overdo this. While it is great to always respond to the needs of your guest, you also have to set boundaries. Unless they request for it, there is no need to accompany guests during their sightseeing or visit them personally every day. Always remember to give your AirBnB guests their own personal space and let them explore the locality at their own time and pace.
- Don’t turn on automatic booking.
Perhaps due to your busy schedule or the temptation of more bookings, you might have been tempted at some point as an AirBnB host to activate the auto-booking feature. However, this is one convenience you should avoid as much as possible. Why? As the owner of the property, it is incumbent upon you to also know who will be staying at your place. You should be able to determine if your potential guest will fit your place. If the person who made an inquiry is an academic who will spend a study week in your locality, maybe it’s not too advisable to accept the booking especially if your place is near noisy bars and restaurants. It will pay off more if you choose your guests wisely.
- Do not fool your landlord.
It always pays to be honest with your landlord. Never ever embark on being an AirBnB host without informing your landlord, because this will surely bring complications in the future.
The best thing to do is to call or sit down with your landlord to discuss arrangements for the property you will be renting out through AirBnB. Tell him or her what to expect: if you are doing this just occasionally or full-time, if you are renting out just a room or the entire apartment, and other relevant details. You may also want to maximize the resources provided by AirBnB on how to have a harmonious relationship between a tenant and a landlord.
- Do not accept payment outside AirBnB
AirBnB’s share in your profit as a host may appear a bit of a bummer to you, and you might have been tempted to do direct transactions and payments to get more bucks, but you should absolutely not do this. Think of AirBnB as a partner in your business which you can rely on for safe and secure transactions. Also bear in mind that AirBnB insure you for up to $1 million dollars in case something unexpected happens throughout your hosting gig. That’s more than enough reason to stick to the service and not do one-on-one bookings.
These are just some of the pitfalls you should avoid as an AirBnB host. Most of these are just basic reminders meant to ensure that being an AirBnB host will be as convenient, safe and efficient for you.