My Top 10 Tips for Being a Great Airbnb Host

Little did I know when I became an Airbnb host last year, that it would become one of my favorite things! I had no idea I would enjoy the guests as much as I have, and that I would get recognized for my nurturing ways. Nurturing is in my blood, being both a mother and a nurse. I live in a three bedroom house and I wasn’t using all of the space I have, so I put up a listing on July 1st, and by July 4th I had my first guests!

My first guests, July 4, 2014

My first guests, July 4, 2014

Here are my top 10 tips for being a great Airbnb host:

1. Communicate what you have to offer via your photos. Not everyone will read your whole listing, but you can use photos to share a lot. Showing them the spaces they will be in is key. Do not show them areas that are not included. If you have a pet, put in a picture of your pet. Do some close-ups of things that make your space unique and be sure to include a photo of the outside to help them know they are at the right place when they arrive.


I’ve got local Stumptown coffee and Plum Deluxe local tea for you! Feel free to help yourself anytime.

2. Caption your photos with descriptions such as “Your room with queen bed, robes and a desk” or “Shared living room with Hulu and Netflix (no cable)” to help them not miss some of the key things about your listing. Keep it real to avoid disappointment.

3. Write a listing that builds trust. Chip Conley says that “our currency is trust” so write a listing that creates trust via your photos, captions and words. List three things people love about your place, and two things some guests don’t like about your place, as one way to keep it real for others. You can look at my listing here to see how I did that.


Guest basket with lots of fun things to do in Portland and a guest book I made with wi-fi code, my favorite restaurants and such.

4. Respond quickly to inquires to book your space. This shows respect and starts building trust in your relationship with that person. They may put out requests to multiple places, so by being prompt, they also might be more likely to book with you. We also get rated on that first response, so it will impact your host score as well. I’ve loaded the Airbnb app on my phone and set up notifications, so that I hear a ding when I have a message from a guest or potential guest. Please know you also don’t have to accept every guest who has a request to book. Look over their profile and if you ever don’t feel comfortable, it’s OK to say “no” and then provide Airbnb with the reason you didn’t take that guest. 

5. Personalize your place. What is it that you have to offer that is unique? I originally thought I didn’t want to say anything about being vegan or my less trash project that I have, but then I realized being eco-conscious and vegan is so very Portland and it’s OK to flaunt it a bit. I’m now getting guests who share my values and we have some pretty neat conversations about these things I originally thought not to share.

  • Keep the spaces for guests simple yet expressive. Simple means less to clean and having some space versus a crowded room. Look through other listings to get inspiration. Which ones feel like a place you want to stay at?
  • Keep the area clean. Change out the shower curtain, towels and sheets, so that your place always looks it’s best. Look for cobwebs and dust bunnies. IMG_9073

6. Be clear with your rules. Each host gets to make their own rules, such as “shoes off in the house, no pets or smoking”. You don’t want to go overboard with rules, but you want to use them to attract the type of guests you want. I had a guest who hid their trash under my recycling and left meat in my fridge, which caused me to add “prefer eco-conscious guests” and “Veg-friendly kitchen, no cooking of meat, fish or fowl” to my rules.

7. Greet your guests, when possible, and do a short tour of the spaces they can use. It just sets the tone for a good stay and helps the guests know you care. Let them know to message you at anytime with questions or if they need anything…even small things. I also leave notes about my plans for the day, if I leave while guests are still asleep, just so they know when they’ll have the house to themselves or not. Know that many guests are new to Airbnb and might need some help knowing how things work. Airbnb is working on some education for new guests, but in the meantime, we can help them know how things work.

8. Personalize their stay! Remember this is part of someone’s vacation. Go that extra step to put a “Welcome Tia and John” sign on the bed. Give guests that stay longer a special treat, such as vegan truffles from a local store. I also have glasses with chalkboard paint and put my guests names on them. This helps them feel welcome and also is eco-friendly along with my theme. IMG_0017

9. Support guests with having a good time:

  • Make a guest book that has your wi-fi code and a list of restaurants and fun things to do nearby. Include instructions on how to use the washer, TV, etc. if those will be helpful to the guests. I also have a basket of brochures on fun things to do along with transit maps. I even took my article on being a great Airbnb guest and put it in my guest book.
  • Make small labels or signs to help guests. I have a small piece of paper in my cast iron skillet that tell them how to care for them. Instructions on the washer and dryer in the laundry room. Reminders about key rules and check-in, check-out times on the back of their door, along with a few other signs about if you use a robe, please put it in the laundry basket provided.
  • Even if you don’t provide breakfast, have some things for guests to drink and snack on such as local coffee, tea, granola bars or toast with peanut butter and jam. IMG_7425

10. Be sensitive to each guest needing their own unique way of being in your home. Some are shy, some will talk a lot, some will be gone all the time, others will be in more. Check in with them, ask if they have questions or need anything to be sure and let you know, but don’t hover. For hosts who live in a separate place from their listing, message the guest within 24 hours to say “Is everything the way you expected it to be? Do you have any questions?”

As hosts it’s important to know that the Airbnb search engine of fast response rate, high reviews, good price and good photos with captions will help you be seen sooner than those who don’t have these. Verified photos, checking your calendar daily, allowing instant book and being a Superhost also help you show up sooner than others who don’t have these in their favor.

I hope this post is helpful to those who are hosts or who are considering being hosts. If you liked this blog, please consider following me via my Homepage. If you have other tips for hosts or neat things that you do, please share them in the comments below. Thanks!


  1. Tia says:

    We loved our welcome sign, names on our glasses, and instructions how to use the French press.


  2. seem to be such a generous and kind host! I have stayed in an AirBnB only once which was a few months back and my experience was wonderful. It’s great to know how the hosts go out of the way to make the stay comfortable 🙂


  3. Geo says:

    Great advice! These are things guests would definitely like, some of which I will start doing too 🙂


%d bloggers like this: