We’re looking for tips from hosts who list private-rooms. Many of you host guests in your home and hosting a shared space has its own set of challenges and things to think about, but there are also many rewards!
What are your top tips for hosting a private-room listing? Do provide certain items in your guest room? Perhaps you add extra information on what your guest can expect to your listing description?
We'd love to hear your input for an upcoming article. Thank you!
I have noticed all guest are very different ! I have just been doing this for a short time. Some guest want tons of interaction like dinners, coffee and conversation and others I Never even see. That is such an important piece of hosting ! I think it just comes down to reading people. Some of my guest have said when booking "they are low maintence and just want a place to sleep" So I have been lucky to get some advance notice of what they are looking for.
@Lizzie, great topic! Listing a private room in your home certainly can have both its challenges and rewards. Like @Paul1255, I think it's very important to clarify your house rules and boundaries so that there is mutual respect and understanding between guests and hosts.
Here are my top tips:
1) Trust: this is my number 1 tip. Some of my friends think I'm crazy to invite complete strangers into my home, especially being a single female. However, I find the best thing about doing Airbnb is the trust it engenders - I have to trust my guests and my guests have to trust me. Being an Airbnb host constantly reminds me that 99.99% of people in the world are good people, which is so essential when we are continually bombarded by media examples of people doing awful things.
2) Be clear on your listing that it is a shared space and a functioning home. I agree with Paul that you need to live your life as normally as you can. When I first started hosting, I felt like I had to tiptoe around and not have anyone drop in, but this is not sustainable. So I have now written on my listing that this is a functioning home and that friends may drop in from time to time, etc. so they know up front what to expect.
3) Greet your guests when they arrive and give them a personalised tour of the room and the house. I show them their room and its features, the bathroom and toilet and the kitchen, including the tea and coffee-making facilities. Like Paul, I offer them a cup of tea or coffee when they arrive to help break the ice and get to know them a little.
4) Explain clearly what areas of the house are accessible to guests - I tell them to feel free to use the kitchen, dining table and outdoor areas. After some time hosting, I realised I didn't really like guests using my living room as it is the only room in the house (apart from my bedroom) that I still have to myself. And I find there is literally nothing more awkward than watching TV with strangers! I have now stated in my listing that the living room is not available to guests 'unless specifically invited'. I still occasionally get guests (usually solo travellers or older couples) who ask if they can 'watch the 7 o'clock news', but then spend the rest of the evening watching TV. I am yet to find a polite way to let them know that this isn't included in the listing...
5) In the guest room, I provide a few things to minimise them having to access other areas of the house, including a bottle of filtered water and glasses, a bin, a box of tissues, extra towels and bedding, a first-aid kit, and a hairdryer. I also have put in a ceiling fan and heater so the temperature is comfortable for them and they won't feel the need to spend time in other areas of the house. The guest bedroom is right next to the front entrance to the house, so I have installed a privacy blind, one that lets in the light and they can see out of, but prevents other people from seeing in.
6) Written information: I also have a manual of information in the guest room with things to do and see in the area, maps, tours, takeaway menus, etc. On the first page is my Wifi password and basic house rules - I am hoping by putting the Wifi password there, they will then be prompted to read the rest of the page!
7) Bathroom use: I try to give my guests priority use of the bathroom in the mornings. Because I work from home, it doesn't really matter if I don't shower until later in the day. I think it's important that guests don't have to wait around to use the bathroom when they have limited time.
8) Bedroom door lock: @Susie5, I put a door lock on my bedroom door that I can lock from the inside as well as with a key from the outside. This gives me peace of mind if I ever have a male guest I feel uncomfortable about (which hasn't happened yet, thank goodness). It also means that if I am away for the night, I can put any valuables into my room and lock my bedroom door from the outside.
9) Be respectful of your guests: I am a bit of a night owl and so if I am up late watching a movie or listening to music, I make sure the doors are closed and the volume is turned down so they are not disturbed. I make sure to enter and leave the house quietly if my guests are still sleeping. I also make sure that the bathroom is always left clean after use.
10) Be open and neutral: your guests will come from all walks of life and have different world views and politics. This is a fantastic opportunity to learn as we don't often get exposure to people from different backgrounds. Never automatically assume that your guests have the same politics as you - for example, if I have a guest from the US, I won't just assume that, like me, they don't like Trump! Stay neutral to start with and let conversations evolve naturally.
Looking forward to hearing other people's ideas!
[@ mention updated]
Hi @Kath9. I love your place and the room is lovely. I would also like the sanctuary of my TV/ movie options as well.... :)
Without being able to see all walls, do you have the space to install a small TV with /without a DVD option inbuilt, on a bracket up on the wall? (It would take up very little room, and adding a high PowerPoint behind it, would keep it neat and trip hazard free.) If so, it might be worth the cost of setting up one, to offer “free to air TV”, along with having some DVDs on hand.
If possible if you have a personal Netflix account, organise a second outlet, got not much more cost. It would be an Airbnb expense, and it provides an option that allows guests to retreat and “veg out”, away from you.
Another option is a basic modern TV where you can have a Google Chromecast toggle attached. If you have unlimited internet, they can then use the wifi to access you tube etc, etc, and if they have their own Netflix account, they can mirror it from their personal devices to the TV.
@Cathie19, thanks for your input! It is a small room but I could possibly install a TV on the wall opposite the bed. It would be relatively expensive to do as I would have to have a power point and antenna connection installed as well. I do find that many younger travellers don't really care about TV - it is mostly older travellers that want to watch it. But, still it is definitely food for thought and might help attract bookings. I've had a couple of people leave comments in their review that there is no TV, which is super annoying as I don't list it as an amenity!
Hi @Kath9. Unfortunately in this day and age, people assume it is a basic amenity, especially if they walk past one in the living room. When I have a full house of family, I retreat to my bedroom for Netflix or smart tv binging. Such as SBS on demand or ABCIview. I often find my husband watching you tube...
If you didn’t want an aerial connection, you could just make use of wifi for internet, or a tv/in built DVD.... and buy up some Australian, WA tourist DVDs on EBay or enquire through your local Facebook markets or buy swap and sell sites. I have a number of contemporary classics available for guests etc in the space. Those who are not IT savvy, or if internet is down due to weather (rare - but happens) they can grab a DVD at the end of the day..... a no brainer.
I have been doing Airbnb for for years. I used to have a TV in the room but I have removed it. I want my guests out and about during the day not sitting in watching TV.
There are so many great points here @Kath9. I feel like I have seen a little glimpse into your world of hosting. :)
You briefly mention, when you are away you can lock away any valuables etc. I was wondering in terms of your personal belongings being around in your space, in communial areas and possibly even in your private room, how did you decide what to keep and what to put away?
@Lizzie, the only thing I put away in my room if I'm going to be away is my laptop. It is literally the only thing that I would be devastated to lose as all my work is on there. In general, I try not to be attached to material possessions and if someone takes something (e.g. my very cute whale shark oven mitt I bought after swimming with whale sharks on the Ningaloo Reef), then I reckon that's their karma!
Great advise Kath so glad I read tip #1 my friends feel the same about me!! #2 is is great I always feel like I have to be super quite. I try to remind myself they are booking a room in a house they have to realize people will there and be living there daily lives as well.
Thanks so much Kath for your insights! I haven't got a listing yet, still on the fence about renting my guest room out for travellers as I have a small house. Have you had any negative experiences? I know 99.9% of people are friendly and respectful of your space but I have heard some Airbnb horror stories about the occasional weirdo. I think this is my main concern being a single female myself. Also do you have pets at home?
Thanks for this @Lizzie. I need to hear this stuff.
I am an old host (since 2012) of a separate listing - a treehouse that is a km away from the house. Easy peasy. But I am a new host, just under a year, of a bedroom in our house. Got talked into it, and was reluctant. There are a few reasons it should not work: This is a remote rural area with no shops and no tourist activities. We have weak, capped, costly wifi. I have a wildly unpredicable job and a determinedly non-host husband, and so have to severely limit the calendar.
I am excruciatingly honest in the listing description, and in the messaging I repeat the big things - nothing to do, no wifi, no air-conditioning, one bathroom, one antenna-only TV, gravel road.
I'm surprised anyone shows up, but when they do, they literally expect nothing, poor things. Then I am nice to them and give them lots of privacy, a comfortable bed, and fluffy waffles for breakfast. Going hard at getting "much better than expected". :)
It's been really good reading everyone's tips. Looks like a theme is to do whatever it takes to be comfortable with it yourself, as a host. Avoiding resentment is huge, and if I do open the calendar a little more, I am going to keep that in mind. Thanks, everyone!
I like this topic a lot. Bedrooms that Share common areas are the "True Airbnb" experience.
We have very different issues from hosts that rent out private houses.
For me, it is most important to accept "It is what it is."
It is my house and my lifestyle, warts and all.
While I try to be gracious to my guests and meet their reasonable needs, I do not make my house something that it is not. When possible, I greet my guests. I have a greeting sheet with important information. Then, I try to give them their space.
I slept in the private room I've listed to get a feel of it to establish how warm/ cold it can get and experience it first hand how guests would experience it.
As it's a standard building code single room I've kept it simple and clutterfree for that very reason which most guests have expressed appreciation of.
I've added a natural timber tiered plant pot stand beside the bed where guests can place there phones, books, drinks etc which has become a talking point.
I scored them from someone who no longer wanted them and had left them on the side of the street a few years ago as I instantly saw the value in having them as bedside and chair-side furniture.
One of my quick witted guests who loves cats asked where my cat was as they are similar in style to cat stands!!