10 Insanely Useful Airbnb Tips That Will Make You A Better Host

Hey so, you know all those people who somehow manage to make tons of money on Airbnb, just by being awesome hosts? The type who casually slip in the fact that Airbnb “basically paid for” their vacation?



These people may just be Airbnb superhosts, a term the company gives to “experienced hosts who provide a shining example for other hosts, and extraordinary experiences for their guests.” (Check out the superhost requirements here.)

What Airbnb doesn’t explicitly say on their site is that by being an amazing host, you’re likely to make more money over time — because you’ll probably have a steady stream of users, who will choose your highly-rated place over other options. So basically: You score.

I asked Airbnb’s top superhosts for their best tips on being the greatest host you can possibly be. So here’s how to make more money on Airbnb, sourced directly from the people who’ve done it themselves. (And if you think there’s a tip they missed, sound off in the comments below!)



1. Be honest — people are happiest when you manage their expectations.



If your place has challenges or weird little eccentricities, put them out there up front so that people can know what they’re getting into. For example, my home has a number of stairs, so we are sure to feature pictures of them.”


2. Be flexible with check-in and check-out time.

“That means they can count on us to have a smooth vacation no matter what flight or car delay they might encounter.”


3. Give new folks a shot.

“I was at first reticent to rent to people who were new to the site and didn’t have any previous reviews. But I still do it; I just make sure to probe a bit on why people are coming to town, what they’re excited about in terms of your listing, and who they’re bringing with them. It leads to some fun relationships, and hopefully some happy new Airbnb users!”


4. Always do a bit more than you promised in the listing.



“Whether you offer fresh coffee every morning, share your gym membership with your guest, or have a glass of wine with them one evening, just make sure to go the extra mile in some way.

For example, a guest asked if I had an iron and ironing board. I only had a steamer, but I went out and bought one for her the next day. It’s a deductible business expense, something I and future guests will have use for, and she was delighted.”


5. Send guests an email a week prior to their arrival.

“We make sure ours is personalized and includes a line or two based on the information the guests have shared about themselves. The first part is just information about the house. In the second part of the email, though, we go through information about the neighborhood, places to eat, cafes, gyms, and activities. Since we often get international visitors who don’t always have access to data on their phones, they find this email very helpful. We’ve received appreciative messages and mentions of this email on our reviews.”


6. Ask them about their food preferences right when they book.

I always email my guests right after they book to ask them how they take their coffee, and if they have any dietary restrictions. This lets them know it’s going to be a special experience.

I leave fruit for my guests, so before they arrive, I ask them if they have any preferences, so I can leave them fruit they actually like. And then, I also suggest keeping this information in your files so that if they come back, you already know what their preferences are.”


7. Leave small explainer notes around all of the electronics.

This way, guests know exactly what they need to do. I also tell them which light switches to use, and ask them to leave one on if necessary.”


8. Leave your guests plenty of information on what to do in the area.

“We offer our guests a complete portable series of travel books, brochures, and menus of local attractions and restaurants. We also are always on the lookout for discount coupons that might save our guests some money during their stay. And we point them to places off the beaten path, too, that might be of interest based on our conversations about their likes and dislikes.”

I leave them a sheet of information about buses and transportation, museum information, and short local day trips to take. I also leave them all of the local restaurant menus.”


9. Whenever possible, greet guests at the door — and be sensitive to their needs when they first arrive.

“They are often stressed out, so be sensitive to that, and help put them at ease. Some have lots of questions; some just want to be left alone. If you can’t read their body language, ask them if there’s anything they need.


10. And offer to carry their belongings.

“Warm welcomes put people at ease. One time, a guest called from the subway exit and was looking for directions. I knew he had lots of luggage, so I went out and found him, took some of his bags, and escorted him to the apartment.”

Thinking of Becoming an Airbnb Host? Here’s How to Do It Right

Is it safe? Aren’t you worried about people touching your stuff? How will you manage running a rental all by yourself? These are just a few of the many questions I’ve gotten from curious friends when I decided that, after one too many eccentric roommates, I was going to rent out the second room in my swanky Brooklyn apartment on Airbnb. And after doing so for almost three years, I can honestly say it was worth all the time, money and energy — because it is an investment — and you’ll reap the rewards if you do it right. Here’s how to be not just a good Airbnb host, but a great one.


  1. Always Be Upfront With Guests

When you’re filling out your host profile, it might be tempting to add a little Photoshop magic to that hole in the wall or use poetic license to your advantage. While my Brooklyn Airbnb wasn’t the nicest apartment ever — it’s an old building that was never renovated, had banging pipes, showcased the world’s smallest bathroom and the shower didn’t drain properly — I priced it out accordingly and was always open about the condition it was in. Not surprisingly, I attracted a lot of budget travelers and backpackers who just wanted a cheap, clean room to retreat to — all of whom gave me stellar reviews in the process.



  1. Familiarize Yourself With Local Laws

Most people  who are hosting their rooms and apartments are doing it without letting their landlords know or are actually going against their leases to do it (since it counts as subletting). While many manage to be hosts without having any issues, keep in mind that if your landlord or neighbors find out about it, there may be consequences so it’s worth looking up the local laws so you can have a plan, or even buying your own space if you don’t want to worry about it at all. You can also try finding a landlord who doesn’t mind, though this might prove to be a challenge.


  1. Adopt a Business Mindset

If you’re looking to really make money through Airbnb hosting, consider what you can offer to make your listing even more attractive. Maybe it’s providing breakfast and coffee, a free guided walk through your neighborhood or a discount for longer bookings. Within your hosting profile, you’ll be able to turn on the Smart Pricing feature, which lets you set your prices to automatically go up or down based on changes in demand for listings like yours, controlled by settings you can adjust at any time.


Offering breakfast is a great way to be a better AirBnB host.


  1. Remember: Most of Your Guests Will Be Amazing

The biggest benefit after going from having on-the-lease roommates to solely Airbnb guests was just that — the people who stayed with me acted like guests. They didn’t expect me to do their dishes, nor did they come home at 4:00am drunk and throw up on my couch. Many even brought gifts like chocolate or wine from their home countries, which added a fun, cultural component to the experience.


  1. Stick up for Yourself

This not to scare anyone from hosting, but just to be real: Over the years I’ve had a handful of guests (three, to be exact) I needed to ask to leave. One guy kept bringing random girls back to the apartment — keep in mind, I was also living there, in the other room — while another kept making very disrespectful passes at my girlfriends, and the other took my polite offer to grab a drink to mean he could make advances toward me for the rest of his stay. If someone does something that makes you feel uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to stand your ground or even get Airbnb involved. While the company can be tough to contact by phone, it’s very responsive on Twitter via @Airbnb so send a direct message if you have any issues. Additionally, make sure you fill out the House Rules section on your host profile so guests know what’s okay — and what’s not — while they’re staying there.


If you need help, AirBnB is very responsive on social media.


  1. Consider Making Minimum-Night Stay Requirements

This is just a personal preference, but it’s worth noting that if you’re letting people book one night only, you’ll be doing a lot of laundry and clean-up more than you need to. You also might miss out on a longer and more lucrative booking simply because a one-night stay overlaps with it, so listing your place with minimum-night stay requirements might work out better for you.


  1. Keep All Payments and Messaging Within Airbnb

Airbnb does take a cut of your profit, and while it may be tempting when you get an offer to be paid with cash or otherwise handle the booking one-on-one without the middleman, you’ll be leaving yourself vulnerable. Hosting your place through the service means you’re ensured by Airbnb for up to $1 million in case something happens. It also means there’s an added security benefit since the company vets and knows who is coming into your home. The few times where I experienced any issues with guests, it felt good having a competent customer support department to help me sort things out. If you want even more peace of mind, consider adding a homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy — I ended up getting an inexpensive renter’s policy through State Farm and was able to add on an extra floater policy to protect all my valuables — like my laptop and DSLR camera — when I’m traveling.


Having additional coverage can give you peace of mind that your valuables are safe.


  1. Use Referral Links to Grow Your Travel Fund

Every Airbnb member — whether a traveler or a host — gets a unique referral link that earns them Airbnb credit whenever they get someone to sign up, typically about $25-$35 if you refer a traveler (once they book a stay for $75 or more) and $75 if you refer someone who becomes a host (once they welcome their first guest). Last summer, my boyfriend and I were planning a trip to the South of France and he decided to rent out his room in Brooklyn while we were out of town. When he welcomed his first guest, I got a $75 credit — plus another $35 when he booked our stay in Cannes. He then told his three roommates his plan and soon enough, all of them wanted to make some extra cash and rent out their rooms as well. As a result, another $225 in Airbnb credit went into our travel pot, allowing us to spend three nights in a fairytale castle in Provence. That’s the magic of Airbnb; you can stay in all sorts of awesome accommodations, from a fabulous Cuban penthouse in Havana to an Argentinian vineyard, and everything in between.


  1. Think Twice About Turning on Automatic Booking

Yes, you’ll probably end up getting more bookings if you activate the auto-booking feature, but hear me out. There have been many times over the years when lifestyles just haven’t been a match and I’ve had to deny a booking. I’m a travel writer who likes quiet, so when I had a guest tell me he was a DJ coming to NYC and if I minded if he practiced in the room, I declined the reservation. When I had another guest ask me if I cared if he brought women back to the apartment, I also declined. It’s smart to understand who will be staying with you and the nature of their visit, especially if you’ll be home at the same time.


  1. Create a Fridge “Concierge Station”

Write up a document with fun things to see and do in your neighborhood, transportation tips, coupons or maps that might be helpful, and hang them on your fridge. It’ll alleviate any confusion for guests, who can use these things as reference, and save you from having to repeat yourself 1,000 times every time someone stays at your place.

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