For guests, what are the most important things?

This question is open to guests and hosts who also are sometimes guests. What are the top things that you look for in an Airbnb listing when choosing a place, and what are the most important features that make or break your stay?

I choose based on location, decor (no grandma quilts or tacky prints), a professionally written listing, and basic amenities like wifi and tv.

The qualities that make or break a stay for me are a comfortable bed, clean house, good neighborhood, and reasonable noise levels (i.e. no construction going on downstairs all day long like the place I recently stayed in Brooklyn).

I know that when I’ve looked, I want to see a place that looks like a home/comfortable place. A few months ago we were looking at a midwest vacation destination and the only places I could find were just typical vacation condos that hadn’t been updated since the 90s at the latest. Sorry, why would I pay $120/night for your 1 bedroom condo with a sofa sleeper when I can get the same bedding at the strip motel for less?

It really made me mad last year when we rented a big family rental with friends and we paid $150/night each family for a 3 bedroom cabin that was dirty, gross, and the most uncomfortable bed I’d ever slept in. And what’s sad is they can get away with it because so many people travel there.

I’ll take kitchy, I’ll take dated if the price is right, but I need to be able to sleep, and if I’m renting a place with a kitchen in a family rental then I need to be able to feed the people. This place slept 12 and yet there was no counter space and seating for 4! Lots of fun.

And yes, the listing. I want complete sentences, I want good pictures, I want to feel welcomed and get a clear expectation of what to expect.


I don’t have TV and never have and never will. Not sure if that deters people or not. Most visitors bring their own entertainment or they can use the DVD player.

Was the construction noise you refer to IN the rental itself or was it neighbor noise? If neighbor noise, that is totally out of the host’s control and seems an unfair standard to hold a host to. When I remodeled my kitchen last year, I blocked off my rental, even though the contractor schedule changed on me constantly and sometimes to my chagrin I blocked it off for nothing. If a house is getting remodeled or built next door or down the street, why would I be held to account for that, especially if I took your booking months ago?

I’m not a high end place but I do have furnishings I care about. I used to furnish with second hand but not now. Everything is purchased for the room.

By TV I meant some type of TV setup, not cable TV. I don’t have cable at my house or in my Airbnbs, but I do offer a Roku with Netflix, Hulu and HBO. It’s not 100% essential but it is something I look for in case we just want to spend part of our vacation relaxing and vegging out. I can’t vacation at a breakneck pace every day for a week with a 5 year old. We have to plan in some chill out days :slight_smile:

No, it was not the neighbors. The hosts owned the whole building. They lived upstairs, the Airbnb was on the ground floor, and they were renovating the basement apartment. They said that they had just started and no other guests had mentioned it being a problem, but to let us know if it was. The next morning we woke up and it basically sounded like someone was drilling INSIDE our apartment, and they were smoking cigarettes below us and it smelled like it was right in our apartment. I think the basement and ground floor were connected by a door in our apartment and everything just came right through.

We weren’t there most of the first day, so it wasn’t a huge issue, but we stayed there 9 days and my husband had to work during the day and we had a 5 year old with us so we had to spend some of the time resting at the Airbnb. When we actually spent more time there during the day we realized that it was REALLY bad. It was just drilling and banging and yelling nonstop, all day long.

The hosts were really apologetic and they did refund us for the first 2 nights of our stay, but then they were like “well, we aren’t going to tell the construction guys to go home today because we have been asking them to come and they finally showed up. We will tell them not to come back tomorrow, but they are going to finish out the day.” So we just had to put up with the construction all day long while my husband tried to work and my 5 year old tried to rest.

Other than that the apartment was amazing, but they also did have a photo shoot upstairs in their house later in the week that went on for a couple days and there were tons of people up there, banging and talking, and the foyer was so full of shoes from all the people involved that we couldn’t get our front door open and had to push all these shoes out of the way. Not the worst thing to ever happen, but it just felt inconsiderate and frustrating after everything else.

Basically, I learned that when you have a ruined vacation, the hosts can give you your money back, but they can’t really ever repay you for the days of your vacation that you took off work and flew to NYC and can’t get back.

1 Like

oh wow… Completely unacceptable… Here, construction workers start at 7am sharp and finish at 3-4. I could not inflict that on a guest, even though most of the “loud” work had been completed in about three or four days. I just blocked it off because I couldn’t take the chance.

She should have blocked off the apartment while construction was scheduled. And yeah, I GET that sometimes those schedules get move around on you. Like I said, I sucked it up and lost thousands in bookings because the contractor moved the schedules.

That’s really bad and completely unacceptable. The host should offer to give you a free stay at another time.

Yeah. It was a couple - the woman was really nice and apologetic about it but the husband was kind of rude and like “sorry, but deal with it.” So we didn’t really know how to feel about it.

1 Like

Just curious, what your review was. I would be livid and I hear you… they can refund but they can’t give you back your vacation time. Had you known, you simply would have booked elsewhere!

Sigh… this is one reason I don’t like using Air as a Guest! Too many unknowns!

My guest who just left said he had TWO Air host cancellations during his trip to Hawaii this month during the peak busy time. One on Oahu and one on Kauai. Both have strict regulations against STR. I bet they were illegal and shut down. Luckily he had a great stay here and left five stars for everything. And I am LEGAL. :smiley:

I gave them 4 stars and left a mostly positive review (mentioning that we had some issues, which they helped us resolve). Then I left them a private note saying basically what you just said - that I appreciated the refund, but had I known about the construction and photoshoot beforehand I would have booked elsewhere.

I felt that since they had issued a partial refund they had at least made some effort to remedy it. And seriously everything else about the apartment was beautiful, at a good price. So I felt really torn about how to leave my review since I had no criticism of the actual apartment, and most people staying there would probably not have the same experience that we did.

Still not sure I did the right thing though!

I felt torn on what kind of a review to leave for the budget place with the crappy bed that we dreaded returning to each night that we just stayed in also. As a host, I take very seriously giving someone less than 4-5 stars as I know it will affect their business. But I also take seriously leaving accurate reviews, and as a host who puts in a LOT of effort to give a 5 star experience, I judge other places pretty harshly if they aren’t up to my standards.

1 Like

I choose based on price, location, detailed listing and pictures and wifi. Decor may be a tie breaker but would never be a priority. TV, microwave and mini fridge makes a listing better but I can do without it. I don’t need TV in a foreign nation at all.

I want a private bathroom. Doesn’t have to be ensuite but I don’t want to share with anyone else that I don’t know already. I am always surprised when listings have either no pictures of the bathroom or one poor picture. If there is no pic of the bathroom I keep looking. After reading some recent posts I’ve been planning to take more pics in my bathroom but I’ve got a 3.5 day guest in there now.

Wi-fi is a non-negotiable.

A listing that seems welcoming to gay people is a plus. I really like when that is explicit.

In terms of my own guests the things they like the best are the private ensuite bathroom, private entrance and the wifi. I’m getting more bookings since I add the fridge/micro too.

Just as a maybe relevant aside…I noticed a long time host here in El Paso had his price lowered to $30 (for 2) for tomorrow night. He’s been listed longer that I have and I’ve never seen his place priced so low. It’s a private room and private bath but bath is down the hall. No private entrance. I got a booking for tomorrow at $47 for two; his place and others like it are still available for tomorrow. If I remember I’m going to ask this couple tomorrow why they chose my place.

1 Like

I am definitely welcoming to gay people and all people (minorities, international visitors, etc). How and where would you recommend advertising this in a listing?

I always look for an entire house also. I’ve never stayed in a private room Airbnb. I might have done that when I was younger (I used to do couch surfing) but now I want private space.

I chose to put this picture in my listing. Others just say “LGBT” friendly or like the host I stayed with in Ohio, they put this in “other things to note,” “We are proud to share that we will not discriminate against potential guests based on sexual or gender identity, sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, age, or disability status. If we feel we can provide you with a great experience, we will happily host you!” I’m the type that reads every inch of a listing before I book but I’m not doing it last minute on the road from my car either.


Awesome, I added that to my “Other Notes” on all of my listings. Thanks!

1 Like

So I remembered. First thing out of their mouth was “close to 1-10.” So I’m just lucky that I chose this house and that 25 years later I started doing Airbnb. Next, the private, en-suite bathroom. Then private entrance. So adding those things will probably lead to enough increased business that the addition will be paid for over time. The thing they did not mention was price.

Me too, I’ve never stayed in any other sort of listing although I have a great place in the UK wishlisted in case I need it.

I think that location is my first priority, then wifi. Decor means a lot to me too and is a deciding factor. Price is also a deciding consideration too but there are other factors involved with that too. For example can I use cheap public transport? Is there Uber locally? Can I cook and save on eating out? A more expensive rental might be better if I can save in other ways.


I put it in Other Things To Note. My listing used to say “same sex couples welcome.”. We decided that wasn’t explicit enough so we changed it to “LGBT guests welcome.”. After the election and all the attending bigotry we changed it to, “This should go without saying as it’s common decency, but in light of recent political developments we’re saying it: we welcome guests of all abilities (as long as we are able to provide necessary accommodations), ethnicities, nationalities, religious beliefs or non-beliefs, sexual orientations, gender identities and ages.”.


But at the strip motel are you going to have a separate bedroom, a kitchen, plus (most likely) the typical amenities a condo would offer?

I should add that the woman said she likes a queen or better, a king size bed though my room just has a full. We talked about it and I said I considered upgrading to a queen but I don’t think the room is big enough. Looking at the room she said “well you don’t need much room on each side.” This room is 10x11 ft. They banged around against the walls more than any guests I’ve ever had. Sorry, ma’am but yes, you need more room. Off topic but I also wondered why one bath towel was soaking wet. As I emptied the trash I found a box of hair dye so my guess is that she got dye on my towel but rinsed it all out.

1 Like

Same thing for me. When I bought my houses 6 years ago I just liked the neighborhood. Now it is an “up and coming” neighborhood with a lot more cool stuff to walk to, and right off I-25 and I-40. So I definitely think that contributes to helping me stay booked much of the time.

I’ve seen many nice places here that are a good 15 or 20 minutes off the route of most people. When I’m driving 100s of miles a day I don’t want to add 40 minutes to my drive. [quote=“barefootNM, post:19, topic:11947”]
right off I-25 and I-40.
I’ve always liked those neighborhoods between downtown and UNM.

1 Like