Once you’re ready to open up your space, you may feel a few jitters anticipating the arrival of your first Airbnb guests. Don’t worry. This 5-step guide will show you how to welcome them and create a great first stay, one that will set the stage for a five-star experience, great reviews, and more bookings to come.
Step 1: Create a positive first impression with great communication
Welcoming guests begins even before they walk through the door. By replying quickly to guest messages, you’re letting them know you care about their needs. The moment they send you a message, you’ll get notifications via email, text, and the Airbnb mobile app (if this is more notifications than you want to receive, you can adjust your settings at any time). You can use email or the Airbnb app to reply—making it easy for you to respond at home or on the go.
During these early conversations, take the opportunity to set expectations for guests. Honesty is important here, as they may have missed details in your listing. So be sure to mention if there’ll be pets, other guests or family members in shared spaces, or anything else that could impact their stay. (If you expect to send similar information to multiple guests such as directions and wifi codes, save time by using Airbnb’s pre-saved messages tool)
Plus, it’s a chance to get to know your guests a little before they arrive. Airbnb host Abhay shares his tips for communicating with guests.
Step 2: Make arrival and check-in easy
Guests may arrive tired and a little disoriented, especially after long flights. Provide a soft landing by writing clear, precise directions about how to get to your listing and get inside, and by double checking that guests know how to contact you on arrival day. By writing out check-in instructions, you’ll save time when welcoming future guests and prevent miscommunication.
You can even publish a check-in guide —complete with step-by-step instructions and photos so guests can find landmarks or hard-to-find lockboxes— through the Airbnb app. That way, you won’t need to rewrite or copy and paste instructions from another email when you message future guests. The check-in guide tool also sends your instructions to confirmed guests three days before they arrive so they can pull up the information easily via the app, even without a local data plan. Just remind them to download the app before their trip to access your check-in guide on the go.
Learn more about how Airbnb host Gregg communicates with his guests before they arrive:
Step 3: Keep things clean and tidy
A clean space is an inviting space. If guests walk into a space that isn’t tidy, they may not be able to appreciate everything else you’ve done to welcome them. “We would want it to be clean if we walked into a place, so it’s important for us to every time give the same amount of effort, make it look exactly as good as it did the last time,” said hosts Beverlee and Suzi, who suggest making sure you have plenty of clean sheets and towels on hand.
Learn more cleaning tricks and tips from them and other hosts:
Step 4: Anticipate guest needs and be a hero if things go wrong
There are certain things guests always seem to want to know right after they check-in, according to host Abhay:
Think about ways to help your guests feel welcome even if you’re not going to be there to greet them, as it helps build trust and makes them feel excited to be there. Some hosts put together personalized welcome kits that include refreshments and snacks. Many hosts also use Airbnb’s guidebooks feature to create lists of their favorite restaurants, grocery stores, coffee shops, and more, to share with guests.
And if anything goes wrong, remember that it’s how you respond that really counts. The easiest thing to do is make yourself available via text, phone, or any other way guests can quickly get ahold of you. Also, have the phone number of a plumber, handyperson, and internet and cable company on hand. And give guests a number for your neighbor, friend, or housemate if you’re going to be away.
Host Natasha sends a message to her guests after the first night to make sure everything is going smoothly, and encourages guests to contact her even if it’s not an emergency. She shares more tips in this video:
Step 5: Give and get reviews
After you’ve welcomed your first guests and they’ve had a great first stay, it’s time for reviews. Your first few reviews are crucial to your success on Airbnb, and your average star rating will only appear on your listing after you receive three reviews.
“People who are thinking of renting my place are going to read the reviews of other people,” host Tim said. “The guests have something they want to share, so I’ve got quite long reviews.”
Also, you have the opportunity to review your guests. When doing this, keep in mind that trust goes both ways. Writing honest and respectful reviews is critical, as it helps future guests get a sense of who you are as a host, as well as help other hosts decide whether they want to host that guest.
Hosts Tim talks about the importance of good reviews:
Recap & next steps
We hope these tips and resources gave you the answers you need to feel confident hosting your first guests. To recap:
In case you missed them, be sure to check out the first two articles in our “How to be a successful Airbnb host” series:
Great checklist to make a great checkin experience. Nevertheless basic thumb rule is to try to think as guest way and fulfill whatever you need if you will be in other side. (as guest)