Staging Your Airbnb Rental

How many people here stage their Airbnb rental? Do you think staging means you can charge more? If so, what percentage would you say it increases the nightly rate? If there was a service that offered staging/decor, would you use it?

Hi Cyn, I’m a guest, so I talk from the guest perspective!

As a guest I want to be presented with something that competes with a hotel (if you’re renting a room) or a professional vacation rental (if you’re renting an entire house). With so much competition out there, a professionally presented room (at any price point) should be the norm rather than something you consider doing. And it shouldn’t be the basis of a price premium - done well it’s your competitive advantage.

So, in that context, I say YES to staging. But think of it less as staging, more as simply what has to be done to remain competitive.

Hope that perspective helps!


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By “staging,” do you mean decorating it well? I’m not a designer by training (or profession–I’m a scientist!), but I care about aesthetics. That said, I would rather stay in a place that has not been staged than one that feels poorly decorated, e.g., right out of Apartment Therapy or a Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, or CB2 catalogue. That’s probably just me. There’s no question design can be polarizing, and it’s impossible to appeal to everyone. I figure major “niche” hotels have probably figured out how to maximize revenues with the right level of trendy.

p.s. I once toured a house where someone bragged it looked right out of a Pottery Barn catalogue. To each his/her own.

What I mean by staged is nicely decorated with decor accents, nice furnishings, nicely made up bed etc. Basically like what you would see if you went to tour a brand new show home. I guess what I see a lot is rentals that the host clearly has put in zero to minimal effort. I’m curious to know whether it’s because they don’t have the right eye or skills to stage nicely or whether they don’t see it as being beneficial.

I think they just don’t get it. Any host worth their salt will try to make the space as appealing as possible.

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But airbnb homes are not (at least for the most part) brand new show homes. Many places are and can be comfortable, cozy, clean and warm without having to be a show house. As a traveler myself, I enjoy seeing and being in many type of environments. If all airbnb’s looked the same, it would lose its draw for me very quickly. And as a host, I know my place is not for everyone, but I do appreciate, that there are those who can enjoy it.

Staging is setting a tone for expectation. Also, along with professional photography, it is what draws people in. Today’s guest are very educated and have set expectations. STVR that are staged well, will book faster. More rentals, more reviews, more revenue. That’s the equation for charging more.

I take it that you’re not an Airbnb host? Neither of those statements are correct, actually. Would I be right in assuming that because of your user name you sell some sort of cookie-cutter decor or rental staging?

If so, please be aware that we do not permit advertising here.

If not, I heartily apologise. :speak_no_evil:


Those statements are accurate. I know exactly what I am saying. I’ve been doing this for 12 years and it is 100% factual that presentation is critical. Properties that look better and reflect well on host reviews, creates superhost and superhost almost always increase their prices.

I also NEVER do cookie-cutter anything. And I didn’t advertise. I accept your apology.

I don’t think staging in the correct term here. but yes, your property needs to show well. I think sometimes decorating isn’t gender neutral which can be a problem. Hosts also need to balance the cost and longevity of any decorations.

If by staging you mean “decorating” and “fitting up” a place permanently, then of course it helps. BUT using the term staging is misleading, if not incorrect. The current implication of ‘staging” is glamming up a place and photographing it, the way Real Estate Stagers (like you) do, and then returning the items after photography and open houses.

As a host, I try to convey in Photography what the guest can expect. The best comment I have received is that my place has exceeded expectations, that it is better than the pictures (Note: mine were professionally photographed but are subject to AirBNB Plus requirements, which doesn’t always convey a complete perspective)

I did catch that you did not answer @jaquo’s question of whether you are an AirBNB host or just commenting based on your experience providing such a service to Vacation Rental Hosts. The fact that you chose to reopen a 5 year old topic combined with your title, tends to give the impression that there’s promotion involved, so I don’t think anyone owes YOU an apology.


You are on a host forum, not a free advertising site, your posts are inane and you don’t seem to understand what Airbnbs are about. And hosts don’t have to have some fancy “staged” space to achieve Superhost. I’ve been a Superhost for over 2 years and I list a small private room/bathroom in my home. No pro photography, no “staging”. And smart Airbnb hosts don’t try to set guests up to have “expectations”- that’s the worst thing a host can do.
What you are calling “staging” is simply some fancy name for someone having good design sense.

So you are qualified to be insulting towards me because I don’t agree with you. I haven’t advertised ONCE, I was answering the question. I know exactly what it takes to host and co-host. I’ve been working with short term vacation rentals for 12 years. I’ve work with many clients as well, that rave about how staging has elevated their air bnb. Everything creates expectation or raises perception. It’s either good or bad. What? That makes zero sense.

The expectation is that their listing meets their needs, is clean, stocked…why would a host not want that expectation set. I have been host, I also am a professional that speaks at national conferences on the subject. I use airbnbs everywhere and only chose ones where it is obvious that the host puts effort into the listing, not one that looks like grandma’s guest room. Again, this shouldn’t be a debate.

I will be at the Inman Connect in NYC this month and we will be discussing short term rentals and I guarantee PRESENTATION is top on the list. Maybe you should attend events on the subject and gain a little more insight. However, a bedroom isn’t my market. I rent whole houses out and work with investors that do the same. Tiny spaces are not my niche.

I never suggested that staging is scamming. I used a well known staging company (Meredith Baer), when I sold my home in Los Angeles so I’m very familiar with the value of staging. If you read my comment, I stated that you used the wrong terminology. As a stager, yourself, I’d have assumed that you’d know the difference. As a host, I would never just stage a place; I’d fit it up / decorate the space for the guest with a permanent solution.

You are new to this forum, refused to answer if you’re host (so many of us concluded that you are not). Look at the title of this Forum! I believe you owe us all an apology.

If this is your way to promote your expertise, business, and promote your speaking engagment you’re off to a really bad start. It is YOU who is showing how uninformed you are.

If you’re looking to provide value to this forum, I’d suggest you spend some time reading more recent topics rather than rehashing and providing commentary to members from April 2015.


Omg, no one ever asked me if I was a host. It was assumed I was not. I did say I was one in my past post. And to eliminate any further confusion, I changed my user name to my name.

You should spend more time answering the forum question yourself.

And that’s what @anon30419683 doesn’t get. We aren’t selling houses. We’re trying to satisfy a goofy rating system so that our listings get displayed more frequently on a cluttered STR site. I don’t want to attract Martha Stewart fans, I want to attract folks who want a basic clean room with a good bed that’s uncluttered with a dozen pillows.

I don’t want over-expectation. So far it has worked. In 2 years I’ve only had one guest that expected full room service every day.

And if I see another Air listing with “Chic” in it I’ll barf.


Multiple listing professionals like you are the reason we have to deal with the bad publicity from party houses and the lack of rental housing in many communities. You and the corporate greedheads at AirBnB are part of the warping of a home sharing service into just another pseudo-hotel franchise. Sigh.


Hilarious, it’s like you think you know me. I am a small biz owner with 3 kids trying to make ends meet. You are barking up the wrong tree honey.

Thanks for turning this forum into anything but answering the questions. I guess y’all need someone to vent on, I can take it. It’s total BS but I can take it.

@anon30419683, I believe there is a misunderstanding here between what traditional “staging” of a home is in terms of real estate sales, and what hosts do in order to make their homes as appealing as possible to potential guests. I don’t believe any of us hosts would argue that professional photos and quality decorating/furnishing would have a positive impact on their STR listing.

What hosts ( and guests) do not wish to have is the appearance of a listing not matching the reality of it. You clarified (thank you) that wasn’t your intent. However, with your previous “user name” that seemed to indicate a potential sales-pitch ensuing, and the fact that this forum is spammed constantly with people attempting to advertise their good and services, the reactions of our members is not surprising.

Hopefully, with this explanation, we can feel this issue is resolved. I will close this topic now.