We have been Airbnb + VRBO hosts for nearly seven years and have been through it all. Trial and error is a pain to work through, but it's the best way to learn and develop your rhythm as a host.
So let me take you through some things that might help you on your journey to becoming superhost.
Be honest in your description.......When we first started with our mobile homes in the mobile home park, we were not looking forward to putting that in the description, nor that we were near a train. We knew it would be a downfall, but it's part of hosting. When you're up front about your properties downfalls, it helps weed out the guests that would D E F I N I T E L Y be upset with whatever the downfall may be.Trust me, even when you are upfront and honest in your descriptions, guests can and will still give you a negative review because "they didn't realize"..... even though it was in the description!
Have good pictures....... You wouldn't believe how big of a difference good pictures can make on a listing. They can easily be taken and edited on your phone, but if you're not good with technology, shell out the cash for some professional pictures. It's almost a guarantee you'll make back your money in just a few bookings.
Provide easy check-in information......... In one of our homes we bought a rustic framed window picture frame, printed off check-in info and put it in the frame.
We also use Boards, a website and application where you can put in text/information/links that you use repeatedly so you don't have to constantly retype or copy and paste the information. This has been a lifesaver!
Cleanliness is key....... No one and I mean no one wants to stay in a place that is dirty or just simply wiped down. Go the extra mile. Take the toilet seat off and clean it. Scrub the shower/tub. Dust those fans. Degrease around stove. Put some elbow grease into it. You don't want your reviews to say, "the location was great, but the house was so dirty!". It's hard to recover from that.
Pillow and mattress protectors...... This. This right here will save your life. Not only do they protect against bed wetting, spills in the bed, but bed bugs as well! Save yourself the cost of a new mattress or hiring an exterminator and get the protectors.
Provide extras........ Provide extra linens, towels, blankets, pillows, etc. And make them easy to get to for the guests. If your guests have kids, it's almost a guarantee they'll need to change the kid's bedding before their stay is over. Make it easy by putting them in small totes in the rooms they go with. For example, if you have a king bed in one room and a twin in the next, put the extra king sheets in the closet with the king bed and the twin in the closet with the twin bed.
Have a locked closet...... We put all of the extra cleaning supplies, toiletries, bedding, towels, etc. in the locked closet. When COVID first came out, we left our extra supplies unlocked and had several guests take all of the extra supplies. Don't be us. Lock those extras up!
Key-less entry......You can easily save costs and time by putting a doorknob with a keypad on the front door. This prevents guests from losing keys or even trying to fiddle with a key when it's dark. The code is super easy to change between guests. We like to make the code the last four digits of the guests phone number. It makes it easy to remember for them and is overall more convenient.
Fully stocked kitchen....... Crock-pots, cookie sheets, roasters, kids utensils, salt + pepper, etc. Nothing is more frustrating for the guest or host than a lacking kitchen.
Cleaning supplies for your guests....... Provide adequate cleaning supplies for your guests. Paper towels, disinfectant spray, laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, toilet brush and plunger, etc.
Stay in your home.... Stay in your home from time to time. This is the best way to find out what needs fixing, what you should do differently, how comfortable the beds really are, how the washer and dryer work, etc.
White bed sheets and towels...... I know it may seem odd to suggest using white, but hotels do it for a reason! (1) plain white is usually cheaper than sheets with prints (2) BLEACH! Bleach is your friend. Don't be scared of it!
Coffee station...... This has been a M A J O R draw for some of our clients. Most people run off of coffee anymore, so having a good coffee and tea station helps tremendously! We supply powdered creamers, teas, water flavoring, coffee, stir sticks, hot chocolate. The great thing about this is you can keep it simple, while also making it a focal point in the kitchen without utilizing a lot of space.
Little extras.... We like to provide our guests with a "gift basket" when they first arrive. This can look different and personalized for each guests or you can do a one size fits all with goodies and snacks. For us, we like to do a little of both. For instance if we know the guests are celebrating something in particular or have children, we add things to the gift basket to suit each occasion. Providing snacks, toys, etc. make life easier for guests, especially when they check in late. No one, and I mean no one, likes taking midnight runs to Walmart because there are no snacks. It's the little things that matter.
Get creative..... From how you fold your towels to the decorations you display, get creative. Guests love to see something new, unique and interesting about a home. NOT creepy or unsettling kind of interesting and unique. But different and interest peaking kind of interesting and unique. For instance, we fold our towels into cute little shells and flowers. It takes an extra minute, but it's well worth it. It adds that extra little special touch.
Guidebook...... Take the time to explore your area and create a guidebook for your guests either digital or physical, or both! This not only saves you and your guests time, but it adds an extra something. It says you took the time to gather the restaurants, activities, parks, etc. in the area to ensure your guests have a great time. It shows you care.
Organization is life....... Sometimes minimalism is the way to go. Minimize the clutter. Simplify the decor, check-in info, organize your cabinets. Place things where they belong and in places that make sense to not only you but others as well. Not only will bring organized safe you time, but it simplifies things for guests and makes their stay enjoyable. Nothing is more frustrating than looking all over the kitchen for utensils or pans.
Get opinions...... Bring your friends or family over and see what they think. Run ideas by them. Let them stay in the home so they can tell you what works and doesn't work for that home or space. Be open to constructive criticism.
Let us know if you use any of these or if you do something you think we should add to the list!