I am making the assumption that many hosts are also guests. I know this is true for us. We joined Airbnb as guests and continue to stay (when travel is allowed of course!)
Becoming a host has really opened my eyes to the vast range of amenities, niceties and items that hosts might offer. Before I hosted I probably wouldn't have paid attention to many of these little touches. But now I realize how much work and thought goes into many of these things. It has increased my appreciation for hosts who go the extra mile.
As far as what we look for in the space itself, the top considerations are often the following:
Entire space and we love unique stays
Nice bath with soaking tub or at least a bathtub
Reviews that mention a comfortable bed (though I know this is relative to the individual but I like so see a few reviews that assure me the bed is not hard as a rock)
Reviews that mention responsive, friendly hosts and clean spaces
Non-retaliatory responses to outlier guest reviews if there any
I do prefer a Superhost as I know I won't be driving from the airport only to get a cancellation mere miles away from check-in (that happened) but that is not a deal-breaker for me.
Pictures are important too. A nicely appointed space with a decent photo goes a long way. I also love it when hosts include a floor plan of the space or a map that shows where the space is relative to other attractions especially if I am booking in an urban location.
I don't mind at al if a host wants to meet me or not, if there is a security camera on the property, if a host wants to check my ID (though I can say I have never had one ask). I am fine with all of that and understand that it give hosts extra peace of mind.
So what do you look for when you travel, fellow hosts?
@Laura2592 I'm very location-oriented, so I tend to zoom in tightly on the map before I even begin leafing through the listings. It's nice when the listing mentions proximity to key features, but by the time I find the listing I'll have usually already done the research to know what's in the immediate area.
Pet-friendly is a given if I'm traveling with my dog - but I'm also checking that the host has actually put some thought into accommodating pets and mentioned it in their text.
One of the top things I look for in the property is a pleasant outdoor space - a private garden, balcony, or rooftop. When browsing photos, I pay much more attention to the kitchen features than to the bedrooms and bathrooms. I gravitate toward older buildings with design features that have a strong connection to the local history and culture, as that's a big part of the experience for me. Warm lighting, natural materials, and lots of color tend to catch my eye whereas I think I intuitively find too much white, shiny or synthetic surfaces off-putting.
Reviews that directly mention the host and their hospitality upfront are the most encouraging; after all, I'm really paying for the experience and not buying the real-estate. Anonymous hosts without profiles, or large-scale property managers I avoid altogether.
Host cancellations are a deal-breaker, and when there's negative feedback, the attitude the host takes when responding really does make a difference to me. I like to see some concise and reasonable House Rules, but I avoid hosts with a huge list of petty restrictions that sound paranoid. I prefer properties that are monitored by a nearby host over ones that rely on video surveillance.
@Andrew0 a nice outdoor space is definitely on my list depending on the season. I had a great balcony in an apartment in Warsaw in December...didn't use it much though that was one of the reasons that I chose that space. The crows would visit and yell at me through the door. Made for an interesting stay 🙂
@Laura2592 It's good to think about, and underscores the fact that each host's place is unique and meets different needs.
Location comes first, then dates, then I filter by price, setting the filter to be ABOVE a certain price so I can weed out the cheap and depressing places. After that it's looks and reviews. I've only used Airbnb 3 or 4 times and each trip had such a different purpose that I can't think of too many common factors beyond the above.
@Ann72 yes I just figured most people search by location first and its something hosts can't do much to control. But all things being equal on that front, its interesting to hear how people plan their own trips. We like hotels for certain adventures (room service! spas!) but other times want something that has more of the local flavor or is really unique. My husband says I am a "house collector" as it seems like we are always buying or selling something, so I suspect some of my list has to do with real estate tourism.
Henry and I also began as guest users before becoming hosts. When we look for a place to stay (and by *we* I mean Henry) it's always location first - getting to and from the airport, access to local public transportation while being an easy distance from key attractions we want to check out, places to eat/drink/shop (convenience stores) within walking distance. - Henry hates wasting time on the road when on a trip.
We also always want a private bathroom (Henry doesn't like to share, I'm less picky) - we don't mind a shared home private room as long as we have our own bathroom. And we always check the cleanliness reviews - we don't care much about other amenities. Then it comes down to budget and whichever listing *feels* like the best fit, and the *vibe* we get from the host during initial communication and the *tone* of host review of guests (or responses to guest reviews).
We don't necessarily screen for superhosts but we avoid places/hosts with more than 2 cancellations over the past 6 months.
@Laura2592 We look at location, but if it was a choice between a more beautiful, better appointed place that was further from the city centre, we would choose quality of listing over location. I like a nice bathtub, a place that isn't a sterile/hotel feeling vibe and yes, outdoor space if possible. I generally prefer historic buildings to modern high rise type of places.
I like to look up listings within my state with the hope of easily getting away for one night as a mini vacation. As I have written in my profile, I have to travel out of town to truly get a day off. I first filter for listings within my price range and then I look at The Bed. I have a saved wishlist of listings with "Beds I Would Sleep In." I know within seconds of looking at the bed picture whether or not that space is for me. 🙂
@Laura2592 I've not yet travelled as a guest but these would be my criteria:
A host who communicates in a clear, friendly, and timely manner.
A host who writes reviews that make it clear they put a modicum of care into the review.
A host who doesn't have a huge long list of house rules that make it feel like they are trying to micromanage everything and will be nit-picky.
An understanding and accommodation on the host's part that not everyone uses smart phones and apps or wants the house manual to be something they have to access by watching a video or doing something online.
Great cleanliness reviews.
A private bathroom.
Eclectic decor, rather than some Ikea-type or cookie-cutter look.
No upholstered furniture (which I find gross in places where various people stay)
No scents- dryer sheets, air fresheners, etc.
And of course it would have to be in a location that was convenient to what I wanted to do and see, although that could simply mean close to reliable public transport if it wasn't a place I was driving to or wanted to fight heavy traffic.
@Huma0 Oh, I'd stay with you in a heartbeat, dear. Which ones would you fail on? The outdoor space? That's not really a deal breaker, it would just be my preference. Mostly because I'm a smoker and would want somewhere to sit outside to indulge. Or if I had my dog with me to a place I could drive to, she'd need some yard to hang out in, if for no other reason than her bad shedding 🙂
No, I have outdoor space and you'd be welcome to smoke there. Unfortunately, you wouldn't be able to bring your dog as my cats would go mental.
I would fail because I have a long list of house rules and several pieces of upholstered furniture. I think here in our cold climate, it would be unusual to find a home without any. That would feel a bit sterile. I am also quite addicted to scented candles.
The bathrooms are all shared, but I do have one room that can be allocated a private bathroom. The set up doesn't really allow that for the other two, except for now, when I don't have so many guests. At the moment, we have a bathroom each and one to spare!
@Huma0 Well, if I ever made it across the Atlantic, I certainly wouldn't be bringing my 70 pound dog (who actually ignores cats). And all those things I listed would be what I'd look for when booking an Airbnb cold where I didn't know the host.
For instance, I wouldn't mind a shared bathroom at your place, because I'd know you keep it clean. As I'm sure you keep the upholstered furniture clean. And things like scented candles don't bother me unless they're sickly sweet. It's the chemical smells like dryer sheets and commercial air fresheners that gag me. I don't mind some cleaning product smells, or incense and stuff like that and use them myself.
And your long list of rules I'd know had been added to over the years every time you got a guest who did something you never dreamed you'd have to make a rule about 🙂
So you can't get rid of me that easily.
Location (of course) > price (somewhat) > is it comfortable (and even quaint) > reviews > is the host amiable & friendly.