Transforming your space from a private living area to a guest friendly unit can take some doing. There are a number of details to attend to; some are intuitive, others are not. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to prepare your apartment or house for all types of travelers.
Here’s what you’re shooting for: a home away from home. The central goal of a stellar host is to make the apartment feel familiar and comfortable. The best place I’ve ever rented on Airbnb was a duplex apartment on the island of Hvar in Croatia. A couple of my buddies and I rented out an awesome condo in the heart of the city. The location was incredible and the host was very kind, but the amenities are what made it a truly memorable stay. We had a fully stocked kitchen with amazing appliances, an in-house laundry machine, a loaded linen closet, two TVs with satellite, and a collection of blockbuster movies. It was pretty awesome to say the least.
But why did it feel so special? It was the amazing little extras that made us feel at ease. It was the intrinsic familiarity that seemed to transcend international borders. As soon as I walked into the apartment, a wave of calm washed over me. I instantly felt comfortable. As a host, my goal is to engender that same feeling of familiarity for each and every one of my guests. After hosting over 200 groups at my place and heeding their requests and suggestions, I’ve assembled a comprehensive list of all the basics that make a space truly welcoming:
– Extra blankets
– Extra pillows
– Baby crib
– Extra air mattress
– Alarm clock
– Paper towels
– Toilet paper
– Liquid soap and shampoo
– Bathroom hooks for hanging clothes and towels
– Hair dryer
– Disposable razors and shaving cream
– Toaster/toaster oven
– Tea pot
– Coffee maker
– Salad mixer
– A high quality knife and cutting board
– Two pans and two pots
– At least four sets of basic utensils
– Cleaning supplies
– Odor neutralizing spray (i.e. Febreze)
– All-surface spray cleaner
Even if you are only renting out a two-bedroom place, you might very well have four to five guests residing in your apartment at once. Accordingly, I suggest having sufficient linens and bedding material for multiple guests.
One of the most important components to providing a comfortable stay is making sure that your place is conducive to a good night’s rest. Lumpy mattresses, annoying sounds or noises, or uncomfortable linens can be a sure fire way to a negative review. Here are some really simple and inexpensive things that you can do to make sure your guests have a deep and relaxing slumber at your home:
– Install drapes and curtains that completely blot out all outside light
– Fit your bed with a soft foam top
– Provide different blankets for warm/cold nights
– Leave an eye-mask and ear plugs by the bed
– Place a small fan in the bedroom
Attention: your bathrooms must be immaculate! Remember, the standard you are competing against is a luxury hotel. When is the last time you checked into a five-star establishment and saw a single spec of dirt in the bathroom? Your toilet must be scrubbed to perfection, your sink must be free of all particulates, and your shower must not have an inkling of mildew. That is your baseline standard. For guests who are very clean themselves, having a moderately clean bathroom can ruin the entire stay. Bathrooms are very intimate spaces. People must feel secure and safe while using bathroom facilities.
Top-notch service is not just about what is available; it’s about how it is presented. You’ve seen the show Top Chef, right? While excellent ingredients and perfect seasonings are a must, what separates the wheat from the chaff is presentation. It’s all about the arrangement of the items, the colors, the symmetry, and the overall artistic flare. Just like competitive cooking, presentation is key in the short-stay rental game as well.
Here are a few quick tips on how to make your place look as prim and proper as a lavish resort:
– Perfectly folded towels with a bottle of shampoo and a soap packet on top
– A mint or chocolate on the bed accompanied by a brief welcome note
– A six pack of beer in the fridge
– An assortment of apples and oranges in a decorative bowl on the kitchen table
My favorite hotels in the world are the Shangri-La hotels. They have impeccable service, lush accommodations, and scrumptious food. But you know what I always remember? What always makes me feel at home as soon as I walk through those lovely revolving doors? It’s the pleasant and familiar Shangri-La smell. As soon as I enter the hotel lobby, I am warmly welcomed by a fresh and crisp floral aroma. It feels so good.
This is the atmosphere you want to create for your guests. You need to fill the air with an inviting aroma (without overpowering their nostrils). This will not only make your guests feel at ease, but it will reinforce the idea that your place is extraordinarily clean. I recommend using neutral smells from products with mass appeal.