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New to hosting - The small things

I have been renting long-term locally in my apartment for a few years now and finally I wanna step up my game and go Airbnb. Like most hosts, I aim to provide 5-star service. I know the basics but would like to learn the details, small things, other hosts are utilizing.

So far we (edited from the responses below) have

  • mirror not only in bathroom but in the leased room too
  • basket of feminine protection + trash bin in the toilet
  • stack of towels (also some folks in different threads mentioned stain resistant towels)
  • bed sheet ironing + lint brush
  • basket of q-tips, cotton balls, travel-size tootbrushes etc. in bathroom + hairdryer
  • have a paper/folder/whatever with info about wifi, local attractions and places to eat etc. in the room
  • cheap disposable slippers are good for letting know the apt is shoe-free
  • small dish of wrapped hard candies
  • list your place at Google MyBusiness

Also if I have 2 rooms available to lease in 3-room apartment do I make 2 separate listings?

Second question is, is it common to provide slippers or overshoes? Basically what should I do if I require the guests to remove their shoes when entering the apartment.

Good Morning @Wintermute - welcome to the forum, and welcome to hosting.

The cool thing about airbnb is you have the opportunity to reflect your own style. It’s cool that you are aiming for 5-star service. I’ve stayed in a few airbnbs (some hosts here have much more experience) but I can tell you a few things that make an impact on me.

  1. A stack of towels. I hate being treated like a child and given one towel, as if I can’t be trusted with more. I offer my guests a generous stack of white towels. Only once has a guest used more than would be expected.

  2. Beds should have a mattress pad (cotton) over the mattress, and then the sheet. Cotton sheets are most comfortable, but wrinkle. I got into the habit (after reading what other hosts do) of ironing part of my sheets. They are so much more comfortable. I iron the top 4th of the top sheet, and the middle ‘big chunks’ of the fitted sheet. Of course, the pillow cases. Once I get the sheets on the bed I run the iron over the whole briefly. Also, a lint brush is your new friend. Run them over sheets and pillow cases briefly and be amazed at the hair and lint you did not know was there.

  3. I have q-tips, cotton balls, make-up remover wipes, lotion and sunscreen available to the guests, plus a small basket of travel-size toothbrushes, etc. No one has abused this. (fingers crossed…) I also have a basket of feminine protection products near the toilet.

  4. The argument of breakfast or no breakfast has been waged all year on a different thread. Hosts’ experiences vary widely. I serve a breakfast and my guests love it. Others have offered it and had it been ignored. See what fits your style - at least a few granola bars, coffee, maybe juice, is a nice idea to get people started.

  5. Clean!! I just stayed in an airbnb that had GOBS of cobwebs and dust. Disgusting. A few moments between bookings with a microfiber duster is all it takes. The shower curtain was stained with bacteria (the orange stuff) and mold - black. Have a few shower curtain liners on hand so you can switch them out between bookings, and pop it in the wash.

  6. PLEASE have information in the room about wifi, local places to eat, etc. I hate checking into a place that has advertised hiking trails, swimming holes, etc., then I have to contact the host about where these things are!!

  7. How to list two bedrooms - boy, that’s frustrating. You can’t list two bedrooms unless you have an ‘entire’ apartment. However, you can set yourself apart by taking larger groups - it’s easy for hosts to have two in a room. But you can make more money with larger groups as well. I listed my place as ‘private room’ because that’s what it is by definition, but said “two bedroom” every place I could in the description and title. I asked some guests to mention the two bedrooms in their reviews. It works. You can charge one price for two people, but then increase by a healthy amount for 3 and 4 because they are getting two bedrooms. This is a great benefit to families and groups because they can have a little privacy. If you can fit 3 in one room and will take kids you’ll have a lot of families. They are mostly lovely. Families will be more responsible and less risky, in general, than singles. However, I have just banned kids under 2 because we had a recent experience that was pretty terrible. DO charge for babies because they are loud and make a lot of trash!!

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I provide very cheap disposable slippers that are packaged and in a basket under a stool that’s next to the front door. Most guests don’t use them but it helps to signal that the apt is shoe-free.

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Don’t forget a hairdryer of the ladies. Some of us buy a case of those small hotel soaps, and other travel-sized things that can be forgotten like toothpaste and floss. We supply large (inexpensive) body wash and shampoo. Don’t forget Kleenex type tissues.

A small dish of wrapped hard candies is a nice touch. We also provide an inexpensive but tasty bottle of wine.

I’m one who can and does legally supply a variety of gourmet breakfasts for our guests. But everyone and everyplace is different-- some countries, states, cities allow this, others don’t. Check with you local health department. A few pre-packaged energy type bars or cookies will always be welcome…

As mentioned, a book or folder of local attractions, restaurants, wifi information, discount coupons, and newspaper clippings is a real necessity for making happy guests, IMHO.

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Thanks for the replies (especially to dcmooney, very thorough and helpful). Im making a list so I dont forget the tips.

A few follow ups:
Some people on these forums mentioned paid reviews, is that a thing here?

@dcmooney regarding your solutions to 2 bedroom listing: My initial plan is to offer the rooms as separate units cause l think I would lose plenty of business focusing only on big groups. Each room is spacey enough for two people, even three if the guests want to save (probably not so common in US but here in Europe there is large share of people who are very budget-sensitive. I mean, I never had single tenant in a room, always 2 students living in one bedroom to save rent money). I plan to charge for room and something extra if there is third person coming (obviously 4 and more per room would be too much unless its a big group which leased both rooms). It is quite common to host one apartment to several groups of guests (each group/individual has his own private room of course), isnt it? [quote=“dcmooney, post:2, topic:8123”]You can’t list two bedrooms unless you have an ‘entire’ apartment.
[/quote]So… no practical way to list what I just described?

Also, in every room I plan to have one big bed (for two people) and, if there is group of 3 people wanting to stay in one room, have folding bed (or was thinking few tatamis already placed + futon) ready there. Generally, is this a good setup?

Regarding keyless systems, little storage spaces for keys, or similiar solutions could anyone recommend some?

Oh, if you want to do the rooms separately, just have two different listings. I didn’t want to do that because I didn’t think I could handle two different groups coming and going, and my ‘mission’ is geared towards families and larger groups. But I’ve also found that, the higher a number of guests I enter in searches, the more the competition drops away!

Even in ‘off season’ my average groups size is 3.7. I have a family now from Australia with two kids. I’ve got more families coming this month. I just booked two couples traveling together. As I have a family of 5 my idea is to make space available for such. But that’s just me!

I think a futon is a great idea. Tatamis sound cool, too (I had to look that up!)

Where are you located?

Concerning snacks: I’ve been all over the place on what I offer guests. I’ve recently started getting some of those little treats from the bulk bins at the supermarket (think cashews, almonds, those toasted sesame things) and putting those in a canning jar with some water and a couple of apples or tangerines. Nice for an arrival treat and very reasonable. By the way, I got those toasted sesame things, for 39 cents to fill up the canning jar and my last 2 guests have thanked me for them. Seriously.

Wow~~!! My guests get one bath, one hand, several washcloths and one beach towel per person and that’s it! Oh and plenty of dishtowels. Only in five star plus hotels have I seen unlimited stacks of towels! I couldn’t do it personally, and have never had anyone complain my towel offerings were not adequate.

Also, to match my room, I have black and red towel sets. They last forever and don’t show any staining. If I retire them it’s only because they wore out. :smile:

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ha ha I’m already thinking “if I never fold another white towel for the rest of my life I will be content”. Wish I’d gone with color - I may switch it up as the white ones become thread bare!!

My first airbnb stay had a nice basket full of towels. It felt so luxurious! Just made me happy (the small things, right?) It inspired me, so I do something similar, but as I’ve said, only once in almost 100 groups have I felt they went overboard with towel usage. It’s not quite ‘unlimited’, because I don’t have lots of space, but it’s as many towels as I can fit in the little cubby; I don’t count them.

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I get the sense of luxury… but to me it wouldn’t be small! I have to line dry everything… and even though I have several sets of towels in case of back to backs like today, I still wouldn’t put out more than allotment that per guest.

Today it is raining and my one set of sheets for the new King bed have not dried yet! Still a few more hours to go before check in so I hope things dry quickly!

I typically have to use a machine to dry my towels. Have to limit my use of bleach due to having a septic system. I do not set out a specific number of towels at all. I literally have a huge pile of towels in the bathroom. I forced myself to buy some nice white washcloths, I personally do not use a washcloth ( I use one of those cheapo mesh fuzzy things, and I travel with it). Figured if the white wash cloths get stained, I can wash them and use as cleaning cloths. My bath towels are OLD. Yet not one guest or set of guests has overused my towels or complained about them either personally, in a review, or in private feedback. One guest did mention in a review that it was nice to have so many towels available, but I don’t remember them as having used too many. It’s funny, most of my guests, even on stays of 3 days, tend to use only towel per person, even though there is a whole pile available.

I actually keep almost all of the towels for the AirBNB space on open shelves. I do hold back just enough for the next group of guests just in case. I had one guest who used 10 washcloths in 2 days and I didn’t have any ready for the next checkin.

Learning lessons every single day.

EDITED TO ADD: only guest who has taken extra towels. Again, I think the sense of luxury, “oh look we could use 6 bath sheets” makes people feel good, but they don’t actually need them or use them.

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2 different listings, noted. Good point on cutting out the competition by offering space for big groups.

I’m located in Brno, Czech republic.

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Lol! I must say I love a good face washer (as we call in Oz) but that’s a little extreme. I provide a basket each of face washers and white bath sheet towels & have found guests only use 1. I have been soooo disappointed in the towels at ABNB I’ve stayed in, thread bare & the size of the face washer but I like many other guests too embarrassed to complain to the host. I think this small outlay in high quality linens make a big difference overtime & these are the differences between a 4* and 5* listing IMO.

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There is a linen closet in my guest’s bathroom and I store my nicest towels and an extra set of sheets in there. I also have two new pillows still in the bags, with two white pillow cases in the closet. No one has ever used any of them, but I think (hope) it makes a difference in the way they view my place.

Once they have arrived and I’ve given them the run down, I tell them that if they need anything, to feel free to look for it or ask me. I also ask the second day how they slept and if there is anything they need. (mine is a room in my home and I work mostly from home, so am around a lot), When they are leaving, I ask what I can do to improve the room. One guy suggested a second trash can. He was my return guest and when he came back, there was a second trash can. It cost $1.00 at Goodwill. One guy said that some might want expanded cable. I only have cable in the guest room, as I don’t watch TV, but might increase the channels if I get someone staying for more than a week if they would like. I get business travelers, so TV could be a biggie to them and I want repeats.

One guy said he would give me $50 if the a/c could be lowered. I said sure and he cranked it down from 76 to 70 and I froze my arse off while he was here, but it was only for a week, so not a big deal.

Key access- Simple solution is to get a key safe that opens with mechanical code. Risk is guest keeping key or making copies of it. Expensive solution is what I have, A Yale keyless lock with Z-Wave modual that links thru wifi with Vera Light Hub. This hub allows you to program the lock with up to 60 codes and restrict the hours/days the codes work. Each guest gets the last 4 of their phone number as a door code and I get an email every time the lock is opened. Lock also relocks automatically after 1 minute.
I also use a Ring Stick-Up Camera that is motion activated to allow me to see any one walking up to front door. If guest has a problem working the lock then I can talk to them thru the camera and coach them. If that fails, I can remotely open the lock from my computer or phone.

Towels; I have $40 Bed Bath And Beyond Microfiber white towels, 2 per room, plus 2 larger regular towels per room along with 2 washcloths in a basket per room.

Linen; 750 Thread Count Wamsutter sheets and pillow cases, 4 pillows per bed, 2 firm 2 soft plus 2 or 3 throw pillows per room.

Also each room has a closet organizer that holds an iron and a mini-frig with 4 bottles of water.

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