New hosts are joining the host community everyday; around 100,000 extra visitors flocked to Windsor over the Royal Wedding weekend, an influx that meant 34% of local residents who welcomed guests had chosen to rent out their homes on Airbnb for the first time.
There’s more to being a great host than location, location, location, however, so if you’re new to homesharing, what are the key tips for securing your very first five-star review?
Lucy Hume, Associate Director and Head of Content at Debrett’s, the UK’s leading authority on etiquette and lineage, shares her exclusive top five tips here for those hosting on Airbnb for the first time.
Keep it Clean
The most important step you can take as a host is to provide a spotless environment, so if you’re really not a fan of cleaning, get the professionals in. After all, the cleanliness – or lack thereof – of your home will be the first thing your guests notice.
It may also be worth investing in some new sheets and towels specifically for guests: if your first hosting experience is a success, it won’t be your last.
Make it Personal
Guests will enjoy staying in a home with character, so don’t feel you have to strip your space of all personality before embarking on your first hosting experience – books and CDs, treasured prints and travel finds are what make a home a home.
On the other hand, keep a lid on too much clutter – tidy away any toys lurking under the sofa or leftovers in the fridge – to ensure your guests have the best possible experience.
Don’t Neglect the Details
To make your guests’ stay extra-special, the devil’s in the detail: provide a few thoughtful touches such as arrival refreshments – milk, tea and coffee – as well as fresh soap or toiletries.
Don’t forget the practicalities – some spare loo roll, detergent and cooking essentials like oil and salt will save your guests from having to buy more than they need. And the most vital detail of all? The Wifi password!
Share your Knowledge
You might know your hometown inside out and back-to-front, but visitors less familiar with its attractions and transport system will be grateful for some insider tips.
Compile some information on local must-sees, plus maps and timetables for trains and buses. Gather menus and leaflets from local restaurants and pubs, and share any personal recommendations.
Give your Guests Space
Once you have armed your guests with everything they need to know, now is the time to leave them to it – to explore, relax or visit the supermarket for those first-night essentials. As long as they have your contact information, they can always get in touch if they need anything. Set your landline to go straight to voicemail, so that your guests aren’t disturbed by any calls.
If you’re homesharing, ensure your guests still have some privacy: ideally a lockable bedroom door and perhaps a safe for any valuables. Let your children know about any no-go areas too.
Lucy Hume is Debrett’s Associate Director and Head of Content, and has co-written and edited several etiquette guides including the Guide to British Style, the Wedding Handbook and a recent revised edition of the A to Z of Modern Manners.