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Data and feedback help product designers improve their customer's’ experience. The same goes for how you can shape your experience as a host and your guests’ with your home, and thereby avoid those dreaded Airbnb nightmares.

One helpful exercise is to observe how your guest interacts with your listing for the first time. Where do they look? What objects do they touch? What do they notice? What questions do they have? We’ve used these discovery principles to think carefully about how the guest experience can be as easy as apple pie.

How to avoid Airbnb nightmares

Next time you prepare to host guests, use this reminder – here are the 5 things that hosts commonly forget about.

1. Personalizing their place

Guests love getting a personalized perspective on their destination. After all, they’re choosing to stay in your home over a generic, standardized hotel room. Help them discover the unique personality of your home as soon as they enter. This can include unique art or objects that show off your neighborhood or family’s character, or even food that is special to your area.

For example, one Hostfully host we chatted with loves hummingbirds. He leaves hummingbird art and objects all around the home. It’s an easy way to share a bit about yourself and also be even more welcoming to guests. If you’re comfortable sharing a photograph of you and/or your family, displaying that can be a nice touch too.

airbnb nightmares

2. Providing the essentials

People’s attention span is dwindling. Unfortunately, this means that it will be even harder for you to share the important things that you need your guests to know when they stay in your home. However, we discovered that many hosts fail to include the most essential information at the beginning of their guidebook.

Make sure that the first page of your Airbnb house manual includes all the important things that you need guests to know – period. If it isn’t essential, don’t put it on the first page – you can include it later for those of your guests who are patient and like to read.

When you pay attention to how you share information, and you help prioritize that information for your guests, you’ll give your guests a much better stay. And even more, you’ll have to spend less time explaining the information you need your guests to know.

So it’s a win-win all around. Just a tip – every guest will need to know how to:

  •      Operate the lights
  •      Lock the doors
  •      Turn on heating/cooling
  •      Use water in the bathroom
  •      Use the remote control

Guests will also need to know the location of the nearest grocery store, pharmacy, and of course, the closest coffee shop. Make sure you include safety precautions if that is relevant for your listing. Keep this information short and sweet.


3. Offering a local experience

Most people don’t like to go to crowded places with overpriced prices when visiting a new place. Too bad most tourists don’t know where to go and this is where you as a host play a key role. Showing your city with the eyes of a local is an experience that guests look forward to. Andrew Ostrowski, an avid host in Nashville  has opened his house to dozens of guests across the country.

His favorite part? Helping guests live like a local and sharing with them the hidden gems that made him fall for his historic city.


Andrew’s Ostrowski Favorite Local Recommendations

4. Focusing on the first 24 hours

There’s nothing worse than a communication breakdown in the first 24 hours of your guests’ stay. We’ve seen hosts who rent out 2 different areas of their home – and when one group couldn’t contact him, they got confused entered the other guests’ bedroom at midnight!

While it made for a great laugh around the kitchen table the next day, you want to ensure that your guests can reach you and ask important questions – especially within the first 24 hours. Make sure your phone and email are turned on and encourage your guests to text you with questions (because it’s typically the most reliable and fastest way to communicate).

5. Sharing information about your neighborhood

About 50% of tourists do detailed planning about their trip before they arrive, but most hosts don’t do as much as they can to share their own local recommendations.

Help your guests discover what you love about your neighborhood by sharing your guidebook before they get there. That way, they can come with better questions and make more informed decisions about what they want to do during their stay.

Make sure your guidebook includes recommendations – and feel free to sprinkle in a few stories about you and your family enjoying your favorite local spots – then it’s more personal.

What tips can you share that will help other hosts avoid Airbnb nightmares and create better experiences for their guests? Please share this article and comment below.