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We decorated the space for our family's needs and tastes because we use it part time. We call our place "mother-in-law" approved. A number of people wrote in our guest book that it felt like being in a home instead of a rental space. Here's some tips:

 

1. Decorate to please yourself. I have booked sterile (but attractive) Airbnb's and they don't feel comfortable. Just feels like a Residence Inn or an Embassy Suites.  I much prefer the ones that feel like you can sink into a couch and be "at home" temporarily.

 

2.Don't scrimp on high quality items. They hold up better to abuse and use than low budget stuff. If it's particle board or MDF - you'll eventually be sorry. They break easily and are susceptible to moisture. Go for high quality fabrics and hardwood furniture frames when possible.

 

3. My secret weapon? Estate Sales from upper income homes/neighborhoods. Shop the ads and look at the photos. If you see something that fits your needs and it's in your budget buy on first day. Designers will be competing to get the best things for their clients. If not, see what is left on the last day of the sale (half-price day). Be first in line (In the U.S. you can put a marker down then go sit in your car).  If the house is packed sometimes things are marked down 75% on the last day since the remains will be sold for pennies on the dollar to liquidators.  Do not forget to poke around in the garage or basement for odds and ends you didn't know you needed until you saw it. Many times you can find things with the tags still on them.

 

4. Decorate - Put pictures on the wall. Or mirrors. Or clocks. Those things make it feel like a home.

 

5. Use IKEA or other stores for things that are less important (plates and silverware, for example). Although we found bone china by Mikasa at Costco on clearance for less than IKEA was charging for plastic dishes. We found a full set of Corelle dishes and bowls at a thrift store for $5 total.

 

6. IKEA has reasonably priced curtains. Use white sheers beneath them - they'll cast brighter light into a room.

 

7. Keep tinkering. As you find better things, donate what you have been using and trade up.

 

8. Sheets and towels from Costco have lasted for a long time. When they go on sale we buy multiple back-up sets and put the extras away in case of accidents on existing inventory.  We keep an iron and an ironing board on site because iron the pillow cases to look more crisp after they come out of the dryer. (we hang them in the closet for the next time they are needed.)

 

9. Games, books, DVD's are helpful. We took over games we liked to play but were not attached to (in case pieces were lost) and supplemented with others we found when thrifting. A number of families left notes about being able to play board games at the dining room table.

 

10. Whiteboard you can use to greet guests. We write the names and a welcome on the board. Sometimes people erase it and leave us a note of thanks when they check out.

 

11. Put a patterned rug inside the door to catch muddy boots and shoes.

 

12. Put security cameras on your front and back door. You'll thank me later.

72 Replies

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

in
Gauteng, South Africa
Level 1

Fantastic tips, thank you.  I am so nervous about decor.  I really want to get it right.  
My question:  Do you find that 2 x single beds together to make a King size worth the investment?  I am just thinking that if we have 2 people staying that are not a couple they have the option to separate the beds.  

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

in
Bongaree, Australia
Level 10

@Ronel49 I find guests have no problem sleeping together, recently i had 3 girls sleep together in king size bed as no accommodation around plus the extra work involved in two lots of sheets etc. and also feel 2 beds may cheapen the experience for quests as nicer to sleep in quality bed. 

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

in
Albuquerque, NM
Level 1

@Christine615 Thanks for all the ideas! We are just starting out with our first Airbnb. We purchased the hotel pack of towels to start off from Sams Club and do not like them at all. When you recommend the Costco towels, are you referring to the hotel packs or the individual towels? We would like to return the Sams Club ones as we have not started hosting quite yet . . . we are still in the setup phase. Thanks for all your advice and tips!

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

in
KCMO, MO
Level 10

@Yvonne748We used the regular Costco towels (MiraBella and Charisma). We wait until the towels (normally $7.99 each) are on sale for $4.99 each and there's a corresponding markdown on the hand towel/wash cloth packs as well.

We are just retiring one set after five years (light blue) and switched to dark blue. We have multiple sets of 6 (our max is 5 people but sometimes we can stretch that). So the towels are constantly rotated. But so far they've stayed in good condition. I didn't think to try the white hotel towels that Costco sells at a lower price, but it couldn't hurt to experiment.

 

We've also been buying sheet sets when they go on sale because they're soft and hold up to a lot of use. I have been doing colors but may switch to white because I've discovered Chlorox cleaner with bleach (which I use in the bathrooms) has been a great way to eliminate stains without destroying the fabric. And I can't do that with colored sheets (oh - the grease stains from hair products on pillow cases are a pain! 🙂

Trial and error, but Costco has been my ride or die for sheets, towels, and stocking the Airbnb with consumables like TP, paper towels, etc. 

Good luck!

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

in
Lusby, MD
Level 10

Hi @Yvonne748 

I purchase the individual towels from Costco. Not only are they nice and plush, they’re very long.

 

When my last guest checked in for a one-night stay, she asked for an extra towel. Before I could bring it to her, she text to say never mind, that the one in the apt was more than adequate. She noted it was large enough. 

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

in
Manly, Australia
Host Advisory Board Member

Love it.. mother in law approved!!   

 

Great words great advice and well written.  Love hearing about others with similar views.. 

 

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

Level 2

Thank you guys, this is a lovely forum lotsa helpful ideas. I am new to hosting, and have sort of been figuring things out as I go.

I wish I had found this board earlier!

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

Level 2

I have a query that I haven't managed to figure out to date. I did ask the Airbnb Support Team but they just blanked me? You know when guests make a booking for 2 people, then turn up 4 instead? How do you handle that? I have been just letting it go, since I haven't figured out how to make the price adjustment for bookings RE: extra guests. Can someone please explain what to do in such a scenario please? Thanks. 

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

in
Lusby, MD
Level 10

@Beatrice-Nyatome0 I don’t see a listing. 

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

Level 2

@Gwen386 Good morning, thanks for responding and i do hope this finds you well. Yes,  there are 2 listings under my profile. I am pretty sure they're live,  coz I got a booking this week.  But TBH,  I don't really understand this Airbnb "smart pricing" thing.  I have set a "lowest price" limit that should be applied, and yet bookings still keep going below it??? In the payout breakdown, there's something in there about a price adjustment? What is that about, does anybody know please?

And also, should I request more money if more guests check-in, than the initial number stated when the booking was completed? 

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

Level 2

I have shared the links to my listings herebelow;

airbnb.com/h/skyhorsecondonbi

airbnb.com/h/skyhorsea2-01

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

in
Lusby, MD
Level 10

Hi @Beatrice-Nyatome0 

I don’t use smart pricing and here is the reason why. Airbnb says it will fluctuate up or down depending on demand. But I don’t want them making a decision on the price I feel my rental is worth no matter what the demand is. 

I have my daily rate set at $135, which is already lower than my competitors. So, if I had Smart Pricing” activated, the rate would be $59. No way, Jose! I will never, ever set my daily rate lower than $125, I don’t care if there’s no demand in my area. It cost more than that if I hired a cleaner, which I clean myself because I feel I do a much better job and my reviews prove that. And, I don’t charge a cleaning fee. 

 

So my recommendation is to turn smart pricing off. 

Also, I have maximum guest setting at 2. I don’t allow more than that. I see you have 4 guests. If you want, you can charge a fee for any guest over 1 and up to your maximum number. It’s up to you. Just make sure it is listed in your house rules. 

 

Have a great day. 

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

Level 2

@Gwen386 Thank you, that was really helpful.

I have been struggling with that "smart pricing " but just perservered inorder to get some reviews since am new and all.  But yeah it's definitely not worth the bother. I will turn it off and set the guest limits to 2 only, coz any extra  guests don't get billed for anyway - not with the current billing set up. 

Do have a lovely day too, 😊 

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