Hosting a private room can have incredible advantages: attracting guests who value a local connection, making new friends from all over the world, and creating a sense of belonging right in your own home. It can also come with a few unique challenges, from sharing a kitchen to securing belongings. That’s why we asked experienced private-room hosts for their top tips. If you already host in a private room, their responses might help inspire some ideas. And if not, their suggestions may inspire you to start.
Make it obvious you have a private room
Sometimes guests scan listings quickly, so be as explicit as possible. Hosts have a few keywords they suggest using when you’re putting together your listing.
Be upfront about who’s at home
One of the big reasons guests choose private rooms over entire homes is to have a deeper connection with locals. So, it can be a surprise when there are other guests, family members, or pets in the home that they weren’t expecting. “Wait, who are you?” one guest commented about a private-room stay. “Everything was great...until the morning, when it was clear that my ‘shared bathroom’ was not shared with just the host, but also with three other rooms she rented out.” These hosts have found that setting expectations is key:
Greet your guests to get on the same page
Welcoming guests in person is especially helpful if you’re hosting a shared space. Many hosts told us that when guests arrive, they welcome them with a tour of the room and house, break the ice by sitting down for a tea or coffee, and chat about details like these:
Provide specific, detailed House Rules
Keep your own schedule and needs in mind when you create guidelines for how guests interact with your space.
Make the stays memorable
Personal touches such as homemade breakfast, decor by local artists, and even a piece of chocolate can make a guest’s stay special. Here are more ideas from hosts:
Ask about interaction
How do you know when to spend time with guests and when to give them their space? Hosts say it’s easy: just ask them ahead of time how much interaction they’d like to have. They also suggested some other details to keep in mind:
You’re sharing a part of your home, but also a part of yourself. Once you have a few housekeeping details squared away, the benefits really begin. Paul, a host from London, put it best: “I see every guest as a chance to learn something new and get to know a person I may not have otherwise met! Some have been really interesting, been from a walk of life I have never walked, and have views and opinions I don't share. But I love meeting these people and sharing my space with them. There really is not much more personal than opening your private home to an absolute stranger when you are living there too, but also there is nothing more rewarding!”
I have just one household thermostat also, so I list the ways the guest can control their own room temp when they check-in: (depending on season) the wall vent may be opened/closed, there is a heated mattress pad (popular in WI winters), extra blankets in the closet, you may open the window if you wish, there is a space heater, box fan and overhead fan.
I get guests from every climate, there is no way I could make everyone happy! All of the above are used year round. I also make the bed in layers—sheet, lightweight blanket, cotton quilt, and added duvet in winter.
I recently installed a Nest thermostat too.
It let's me control the heating when I am away and also let's me set the min and max that guests can set it to.
I put window air conditioners in the rooms. If you can't fit one in the window, us those floor models that have a hose that connects to the window to let the hot air out.
When winter comes, I use electrical space heaters. I just roll one into each room and plug them in before the guest arrives. After winter, I roll them back to the garage so the room has more space.
Works great. Every guest can control their own air and heat, just like a hotel.
I believe that as much as you can share from your home is the best for the guests as heaters, fans, magazines, some food, and as much as you can so they feel as Home!!
I also make up conversations to see what else they need and I do not know about it.
I am not an expert still--- but each person teaches me something.
Be OPEN AND AWARE of every situation no matter how simple it looks .
Such a great post! Thank you!
I host a separate-entrance bedroom in an old adobe and just finished an adjacent room as a kitchenette/bathroom with small amenities for eating and drinking. I can now offer that, and limited food preparation facilites. Depending on the guests (vegan, out-of-the-country, 3 or more) I have extended main kitchen use if it seems appropriate as we have some what limited restaurant choices in my rural area north of Santa Fe - am finding (in my limited experience as a host) it easiest to offer more use of the whole house if it seems needed. I have truly enjoyed the varied guests I have hosted as I love diversity AND conversation!! Thanks for the tips about where to send smokers and the oil heater!
Thank you for including my suggestions, alongside others in the Airbnb community in this monthly newsletter, I hope you all enjoy them in general terms.
re Air Conditioning you may or may not be aware that is discussed elsewhere also in the Community Centre - use the keywords "Air conditioning" in the search box and that info will pop up.
There's an alternative to using air conditioning, it's called going back to nature, if it's cold, pop on a natural wool jersey / sweater and socks, if it's to warm for one, open a window and breathe in the fresh air.
With modern technology sometimes there's consequences that we should perhaps look at in the wider arena and address for future generations including how buildings and homes are constructed for the betterment of ones health and the environment.
All the best
When my guests from India complained that the house was cold, I told them that I would turn up the heat if they would put on clothes! They were in shorts, sleeveless tees and barefeet!
At this point, 25% of what I get each night is paid out in utilities...sad.
I recently hosted guests who asked for the heat be turned up and even then they went out and bought a space heater, which they cranked way up. I discovered this when I went to check on one of them, who was ill. Disappointed to find that my oil AND electric bills went up by $140 that month...lost money on these folks.
I totally agree with you. Unfortunately, there are many guests that don't and even if you just slightly hint at them maybe considering the environment, they look at you like you are trying to rip them off! Many people feel like they should be able to walk around in their underwear in the middle of Winter and would never consider putting on more clothes. I had one Russian lady tell me that back home they put the heating on full on 1st September regardless of the temperature and then they don't wear slippers in the house because it's too hot!
I had one guest stay in the middle of the Summer when it wasn't cold at all, but he went running in the pouring rain and, rather than take a hot shower and put on dry clothes, demanded I put the heating on. He was very angry when I mentioned that we don't normally have it on at that time of year, and I mean angry! He said, "This is not warm where I come from (Miami), so if I were you, I would put it on NOW."
I have a centrally heated home with one thermostat and I was not about to melt myself and my other guests to keep him happy, nor watch my bills and carbon footprint skyrocket while the other guests opened all the windows to let out the excess heat. So, I gave him an electic heater for his room just to appease him. He spent his whole stay dressed in a vest top and shorts.
I put air conditioners and heaters in all my home's bedrooms. Now each guest controls their own temperature and heating or cooling one room is a lot cheaper than the whole house. Try that to solve your problem.
I offer 3 private rooms with 2 shared baths and am clear about who has access to the baths. I also offer use of my kitchen and dining room to those who want to prepare their own meals to eat on the premises. I also make it clear that this is my home. That works out pretty well for me. However, I am second-guessing my willingness to grant access to the entire house with guests, especially after getting a few less than stellar reviews (4-stars) for having dust and dust bunnies. Is there a line that should be drawn as to how clean the rest of the house should be? Or should I stop allowing guest use of the entire house....?
@Diane452 I hope you are well!
For me at least, I keep every area of my apartment that my guests have access to as clean and tidy as I keep their private bedroom.
If you don't want to allow access to certain parts of the house because you don't have the capacity to keep it up to a guest standard then don't allow access- just make it clear on your listing and when you welcome guests.
The first guests I ever hosted were from Norway and were hosts too. and both lived very very busy lives, and I remember in their listing it warned that they were very busy and often not at home so there may be unwashed dishes in the sink or the odd clothing item on the floor in the bathroom- I suppose it's all about managing expectations!
My guests don't have access to my large amenities and storage cupboard where I keep my freezer, microwave and linens, and other things I don't want on display- it has a lock on it as i'd be mortified if guests saw it- it's not unclean by any means but is messy and would shatter their illusions of my clean lines and minimal living style 🙂
Thanks for your input! Maybe I should warn guests that I do, indeed, live here and that the tidiness standards in the rest of the house may not be on the same par as the kithen, bedrooms and bathrooms. Most of my guests understand this, but a few don't seem to take that into consideration when walking through to get to the sleeping quarters.
I do have 2 shared bathrooms for 3 rooms, as I rent a room , the guests can use their room , the shared bathroom and the common areas. I did travel for over 40 years and leave in hotels for the same time as I have managed groups of hotels all my life. The most important thing for me is to find an extremy clean room and place where to staty. I don't let the people to use the entire house as I have people from 57 different cities every monts and almost 2000 guest every year in my house all very nice but for many of them the meaning of the world CLEAN or is not he same for me and my family. I can not let people cook like in a camp or a hostel as this is not a nice experience for the other guests in the house. Every thing is clearly state on the listings.
I believe that setting expectations is important for both the host and guests, so I have a saved message I send to each guest with the most important info, ranging from the critical house rules to where to find amenities like extra towels. As guests have new questions or I encounter behaviors I want to discourage, I update the message for all future bookings. I also have a photo of my cat prominently placed in the photos of my home to alert anybody who didn't read my listing carefully, just in case there are allergies.