Insider Info about Airbnb Room Hosting
This post about Airbnb room hosting is written by Milena, who has been renting a private room in Skopje on Airbnb for a year now. I felt it was useful to have her knowledge and experience shared with all my readers. It’s always good to know how people who share their homes with travelers feel, and it’s good to know how to make your host happier about having you there.
She first set up her apartment in April 2017 and has hosted over 30 people so far. I’ve even had the chance to be in her apartment alongside some Airbnb guests and have made wonderful friendships with people from all around the world.
So, this is her insider info about Airbnb room hosting!
Preparing for Airbnb Room Hosting
I used to have a roommate, but after she left I ended up living alone in a two-bedroom apartment. Not that I don’t enjoy alone time, but the bills are pretty high and the extra income is always welcomed; so, I decided that trying my luck as an Airbnb host was a good idea.
I must admit that at first sharing my apartment with strangers felt weird. My family was worried and some of my friends tried to change my mind. Nevertheless, my cousin knew a girl who was already doing this and was very happy with the arrangement. So, I was determined to host guests at least once.
Knowing this now, I believe the first step in terms of preparing for Airbnb room hosting is getting into the right mindset. If you feel extra uncomfortable with the idea, it’s probably better not to do it at all. If you have no issues whatsoever, I think you should go for it. Finally, if you’re like me – semi-determined and semi-uncomfortable – I suggest making a plan to make yourself feel better.
I personally decided to accept guests that have at least these two requirements:
- a verified identity
- at least one positive review
Having a profile photo that shows your face on Airbnb is a must, but some people disrespect this rule; hence, I usually avoid hosting such guests too. Also, you can always Google future guests to feel more comfortable about who they are.
Once you’re in the right mindset, you’ll soon start feeling the excitement! It’s time to prepare the room and create the listing.
Designing an attractive space for future guests
Most of the guests that want to rent a private room are, this is my opinion based on my experience so far, either travelers on budget or travelers that want to meet locals. I’ve had some business travelers too, but they were also interested in getting to know local way of life etc. Hence, they belong in the second category.
Knowing your target group of guests is important for creating an attractive and useful space for them. My room at first had one double wardrobe, one single wardrobe with shelves only, a huge typing desk and a sofa bed. I decided to turn the typing desk into a cabinet on which I placed a night lamp and the user manual. Plus, it created extra storage space for blankets and pillows. I added another small cabinet with shelves where I placed some books, pamphlets, and maps of the city. I handcrafted some ornaments and spiced up the corner with complementary candies.
Additionally, I added a small IKEA table and a lounge chair in the extra space left by the removal of the useless desk. So, now they have a room that’s practical where they can store clothes on hangers and shelves and hide their luggage as well as shoes. Plus, they’re provided with useful information about the city and a relaxation area, where they can either sit and watch a show on their laptop or even work.
So, what to keep in mind when designing the room? Make sure guests have enough storage space, outlets to charge their phones, useful information about the city and moving around, and something to make them feel special and welcomed such as complementary candies.
I also ask my guests to sign on the wall, so now I have a wall full of names from numerous countries. Hence, I will never forget my guests and their experience shall always be written there. Guests love this, and I love it as well.
Lead with Unique Benefits
There’s a high probability that the competition is fierce in your area. So, the best way to get the attention of potential guests is to lead with unique offerings.
This can be anything, really. For example, if you offer a cool space for gamers, let them know you have an Xbox or a selection of board games they can play. If entertainment is slow in your area, let visitors know that you have Netflix. Also, everyone appreciates a good night’s sleep. Meaning, you can stand out by investing in a mattress that’s Tempur-pedic.
There aren’t any rules here. Get creative, analyse your target audience and give them something they won’t be able to overlook.
Guest-Proof the rest of the apartment
Naturally, renting a private room means that guests will enter your home, share your bathroom with you and your kitchen too. Depending on your policy, you may either allow this or not; however, if you want to have guests, then I advise you to let them use the bathroom at least.
I am flexible in this regard and let them use every other room, except my own bedroom. However, in order to make sure that my belongings are respected, I tend to place them in separate cabinets and/or drawers and add “Don’t touch belongings” signs. So far, I’ve never had any negative experiences with this. People, especially experienced Airbnb travelers, have proven very respectful of my personal space and belongings.
If you allow guests to use the washing machine or kitchen appliances, make sure to provide them with appropriate instructions. I have step-by-step instructions on using pretty much everything in the apartment featured in the extensive user manual. Plus, as you may know, we’ve even prepared a post on making three different types of coffee in my kitchen. This way, guests will feel truly welcome to use these appliances, while you’ll have peace of mind that they won’t start a fire in your kitchen.
If something is off-limits, make sure to mention this both in the listing and in the user manual. For example, I have game consoles and I don’t allow guests to use them; at least not without asking me first. Also, I don’t let guests, or anyone else for that matter, smoke in the apartment. However, I offer them the option to smoke on the balcony.
Tips and Tricks
As an Airbnb host for almost a year now, I’ve learned how to make my experience better for both myself and my guests. Happy guests are crucial for maintaining a strong reputation and getting booked, while a happy host is necessary for surviving this adventure without having a nervous breakdown.
Bellow, I listed some things I believe are extremely important for a smooth stay when it comes to guests. Some of them are also time-saving since most of the guests are interested in the same things; thus, finding a way to write them once instead of repeating them hundreds of times will surely make a difference.
- Good photos – Needless to say, good photos are crucial for attracting guests. Make sure to have proper light while taking the photos and that everything is set appropriately. If you offer the room with linens and towels, make sure to feature these in the photo. Same goes for the shared space. Don’t just take poor-quality photos with your smartphone. Photos sell your space, especially if you don’t have any positive reviews yet.
- Reasonable price – We all value our space but don’t overprice it or you won’t have guests ever. I’ve researched prices of similar spots and offered a very low price for the first guests, so I could build up my reputation. No one will rent a private room in Skopje for 25 EUR if they can get an entire apartment for the same price.
- User manual – having a good and extensive user manual is crucial. Mine has a welcome page as well as a rules page; here the main rules are bulleted. Nothing extensive to read. I also have the wi-fi info here, so guests don’t need to ask me for it. Additionally, I have extensive information regarding every room of the apartment, using appliances, water heater and so on. So far, I’ve had a very positive feedback for the user manual.
- Photo check-in – AirBnB now lets you create a step-by-step check-in instruction using photos. Make the most out of it and guests will easily find you. Previously, many guests were getting lost, because my street is a small one and Google Maps somehow misses it. However, after I added the photo instructions everyone is getting to my apartment door without issues.
- Detailed getting here instructions – Same goes for the “getting here” instructions. Use this feature smartly, provide guests with everything they need to know to get to your home seamlessly and you won’t have to go and look for them around the city every single time. It’s saving you time and saving them from being annoyed even before checking in.
- Useful details on a key chain – On the keys, I give to guests I have a key chain on which they can find my name, surname, and phone number. Also, I’ve featured here police, fire department, and ambulance numbers as well as reliable taxi company numbers. This is always useful, so if you can make it don’t hesitate to do so.
- Notes on private stuff – I mention this once again because it is crucial to have your belongings respected. Most guests don’t need these signs to be respectful, however, why risk it and be annoyed afterward when you can prevent them taking off-limit towels or using your hairbrush etc.
- City maps, pamphlets etc. – In Skopje, the authorities provide free maps, pamphlets and even books of Skopje’s history. I make the most out of this and place them in the room. So far, guests have been very happy with this because they don’t need to actually go to the tourist info center and waste time on that. I’ve also shared Iva Says with guests, so they can find additional info regarding free landmarks, insider info etc.
- Complementary stuff – Everyone loves free stuff. Especially travelers who have just arrived in a foreign country and checked in with a stranger. So, I always let guests use any drinks in the fridge as well as let them know that Skopje water is safe for drinking. Also, in the room, I place complimentary candies and snacks too. Sometimes, I even surprise them with pastries or even share with them my lunch. This is not a proper host etiquette, but a proper nice person etiquette.
All in all, after a year spent in welcome and then saying goodbye to guest from all around the world, I can say that I love being an Airbnb host. Sometimes it gets tough, especially when I have guest leaving and then other guests arriving the very same day. Nonetheless, it’s been a real pleasure and honor to meet people and hear all about their adventures.
Get started now!
If you want to try the exciting life of an Airbnb host, you can get started right now. By using my affiliate you will get a €20/$25 travel bonus via this link.
I am very happy to answer any questions you may have as a future Airbnb host. So, don’t hesitate to either post your question in the comments area or get in touch via Airbnb.