What using airbnb as a guest taught this superhost

Well we are back from our chasing Mathew roadtrip from Miami to NC and back.

We learned a lot from being guests and lessons we learned taught us what we are doing right and where we can improve.

  1. The importance of toilet paper quality. After a long road trip with countless rest stops and cheap toilet paper little things like an airbnb with thin cheap toilet paper does unconsciously weigh on a guest’s value marker. Jim now agrees with me on why I insist on certain standards.

  2. Treats go a long way, we offer chocolates (german from Aldi’s about total cost .50) and one and our favorite host left us a small bowl with hersey’s kisses and peppermint patties which we enjoyed at the end of a long day. We were delighted with these and the Loraine biscuits for coffee.

  3. Always try to greet a guest in person because most guests will not comment on negatives publically if they meet you and you are friendly. One host kept their AC at 78 at night which was way to hot for us but since they were really nice and it was a very reasonably priced private room we only suggested a fan in the private review box.

  4. I now take any and all private comments for improvement seriously because based on the reviews and lack of pointing out negatives because the hosts are so nice that most reviews are not accurate. Therefore there will be that one guest that doesn’t care and WILL be completely accurate in the reviews and will state publically what other guests won’t. Our favorite host had a major problem with lighting issues after dark regarding their entrance and we did offer suggestions of either led lights under the stair case or providing a flashlight for guests. They are new but we know that with a steep climb and no lighting they are asking for trouble with those guests that are 65 plus.

  5. Beware of any basement units, there will be noise in the morning when the family is getting ready for the day, for us it wasn’t a big deal because I am a early riser by nature and Jim sleeps through any noise.

Basically what we learned as guests is that most folks will be nice in the review process and little things go a long way to getting favorable star ratings.


Hi @Carmen,

Interesting thoughts. Re

who or what is Mathew?

Oh, and guests may not make negative comments publicly, but they can and will mark your ratings down.

Hurricane Mathew which visited almost all our destinations the eastern coast of Florida, GA and NC. Yes they can mark you down on the stars but based on how we rated the hosts we visited I suspect most won’t if the negative isn’t that much of a big deal.

Ah, hurricane Mathew. Stupid question, probably, but why were you chasing a hurricane? Isn’t one supposed to run away, not towards?

True, most won’t. But it doesn’t seem to take much to impact one’s visibility, especially in crowded locations. At least, that’s been my experience. But I’m repeating myself.

This is particularly interesting because just this morning I was wondering if our TP is acceptable to the average guest! We use Kirkland brand and for us it’s acceptable but what do most people this is ‘decent’?

I have a basement unit and it’s very challenging as I never want to wake or disturb them. We work very hard to NOT do so - we are very conscious of it.

Actually, we keep our A/C at 78 AND offer peppermint patties - are you sure you didn’t stay with us? :laughing:

Thanks for the tips!!


I’m not much of a sugar person, though I do like chocolate. Though I have to ration myself, because I lose all control around it. But do many of you offer sweet treats to guests? And is that a recommended thing to do?

78 in DC is way better then 78 in Florida. HA HA One day I just might stay with you when we visit DC area. Both airbnbs that we stayed at in NC were basement units, one host worked from 7 pm to 7 am as a nurse and she made little noise but we loved that one because of the wooded area. The other host woke up at 6 am and they made a lot of stomping in the morning and back and forth. I am a early riser since airbnb requests often come in at that time anyways.

We offer cottonelle clean care which is expensive but we use so we buy in bulk. I think as long as the TP is not the ultra thin and most public bathrooms use you are fine.

We just had our first Airbnb stay in a cabin in western Colorado… and you’re right, staying as guests definitely makes you rethink how you handle things as hosts.

The cabin we stayed in was just as described and the host had a lot of extra amenities to make the rustic cabin more modern. It was truly a great little place to stay… our only complaint was the constant marijuana smell in the courtyard outdoors (thankfully not inside!) At first we wondered … how can anyone smoke that much dope?! But it turned out the host was growing it just on the other side of the fence in the courtyard and the heat of the sun really intensified the odor!

Well… it is Colorado after all! I gave him a great review, but only privately mentioned the pot smell… I felt uncomfortable saying anything publicly… I know it’s legal here, and growing it can be handled legally… but I still felt uncomfortable.

No review from the host for us yet… I hope we get one, since we’re ‘newbies’… but we’ll see!


As a guest I noticed that many hosts don’t care that much. Many do not even update their calendar, or take almost 24 hours to answer an inquiry. No information booklet, not a single restaurant recommendation, not even a map of the city, nothing, niente, nada. And these were “professional” hosts who rent a property full-time.

My best host was a woman who needed to rent her own flat to earn cash to pay for renovation work in the condo complex where she lives. Warm and personalised check-in, an apartment and neighborhood guide, all written by hand on a school notebook, but very useful.

Hosts like the ones who post on this forum, wondering what’s the best weave for sheets or how many different kinds of tea the should leave for guests are the top of the league and a fairly uncommon species.


We have a Peppermint Patty on the pillow and a bottle of water on the nightstand.


I stopped leaving chocolate because I don’t want chocolate stains on my duvet cover. I used to leave Vosges Haut Chocolat (they’re made in Chicago) in the winter as there were slightly fewer issues with melting but then I realized I was going WAY OVERBOARD, LOL. These bonbons cost me around 50 cents a piece which was ridiculous given my nightly rate.


Yes one host went out of their way to make us comfortable the other two meh.

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I’ve always thought that AirBnb should not allow anyone to become a host who has not stayed at least a dozen times as a guest in various places. That way you experience the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, and understand what it might take to make your listing a top notch place.


The problem with supplying lots of high quality amenities is that I would be losing money unless I increased my prices. I looked up Cottonelle toilet paper on amazon.com. It costs $29.95 for 24 rolls. We usually pay $0.50 per roll. As two guests typically use about a roll a day the difference would add up. We had a German guest who told us that Aldis sells only substandard goods and that she would never shop there. She was horrified that I was excited that they are coming to Los Angeles. Therefore, I would need to buy better quality chocolate for our many German guests. Again this would add up not to mention that we’ve had guests smear chocolate on the wall. As evidenced by the fact that today I was told by another poster that my prices (which I believe to be low) are high, guests are more interested in price than anything else.


This is a great thread.

One thing I learned as a guest (and agree with everything else already said, especially as @Barthelemy said, the lack of local info, lack of response, and lack of accurate calendar) is this…

Don’t be tempted to fill surfaces with things. Leave bookshelves, tables, etc, almost completely empty. They need space for their things. Do you have shelves with DVDs? Leave it half empty for their own collection, game controllers they brought, etc. Have a bedside table? Leave room for their books, etc. A number of places we’ve stayed had no space for anything. Sure, I think the host uses the space at times, but still - they could move half the stuff off.

One more item

When someone has chosen your place over all the other listings, thank them. Let them know you appreciate it. I just booked three places in Norway, and in response two of my bookings complete with detailed and friendly greeting said “you can check-in at anytime; we’ll leave the key in the door”. Not thank you, or, it will be nice to meet you, or I wish you a pleasant voyage, or 'how wonderful you’re coming to Norway or congrats on your daughter’s graduation. Nor did they answer my questions about traffic, road conditions, and how that could possibly impact our arrival time. “MEH” is right.

Oh! Here comes a guest checking-in, lol!


I think that the whole thanking and wishing people safe travels and this type of openness is distinctly American. Europeans are more inward and aren’t as quick to be effusive.

Ah, that’s helpful - thanks!!

But wait…shouldn’t they still say, at least, ‘thank-you for booking with us’?

Effusive is my ‘middle name’! I won’t fit in very well over there… omg they will probably roll their eyes behind my back ‘loud American’. I’ll try to tone it down. ; )


Oh and try not to use the word “wonderful” more than once in a conversation… :wink:

But…I’ll be in Norway…where everything seems to be…WONDERFUL!!! :grin:


I think this thread shows that different things are important to different guests, so it’s impossible to please them all. I do thank guests immediately when they book with us and tell them that we’re looking forward to meeting them. I also thank them when they leave for choosing to stay with us. However, I see this as my personality, not a requirement. In reality, guests are not doing us a favor in booking with us. It’s a business transaction which is mutually beneficial. I don’t expect them to gush over me accepting their booking. I would be kind of creeped out if they did.

We do leave restaurant recommendations in the guest room. However, we almost always end up discussing guests’ dinner plans when they arrive. There are many factors: what time it is, what cuisine they like, their dietary restrictions. When they arrive we also ask what their interests are and offer to make suggestions. Almost no guests take us up on this because they mostly all want to go to Universal Studios, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Santa Monica Beach, Venice Beach and the Griffith Observatory. I try to dissuade them from the Hollywood Walk of Fame to no avail. The always come home and tell me that I was correct, it’s yucky.

Regarding leaving clear surfaces. We do this as we hate clutter. However, I’ve seen many reviews for other listings complaining that the listing wasn’t personalized enough.