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How to Up Your Airbnb Host Game

  • 2016-10-12

Becoming an Airbnb host is simple enough, in theory. If you have your space listed on Airbnb, you are essentially a host. But, while anyone can be a host, it takes a bit more effort to become a super host. Providing a place for holidaymakers, couples and corporate travellers to stay is a good start. Creating a space that is welcoming, fully equipped and prepared for international travellers is an even better start. Providing an experience that leaves your guests impressed beyond expectation however should be the goal of any ‘rentrepreneur’.

Today, we’re taking a look at some of the ways that you can improve your Airbnb hosting game to increase bookings, grow your reputation and ensure repeat business.

Improving Your Airbnb Host Reputation

The short term rentals market shows no sign of slowing down. In Cape Town and further afield, the demand for convenient, easy to book accommodation has reached a critical point. The rise of platforms such as Airbnb meanwhile has made it easier than ever for first time property investors to rent out their space to guests.

Your role as an Airbnb host may seem straight-forward initially. Ultimately, you are acting as a short term landlord – welcoming guests and hosting them for the duration of their stay. The overall experience and impression that your guests have is deeply rooted in how they interact with you during their initial enquiry, booking process, check-in, stay and check-out. Sure, there are some guests who are not bothered by customer service or quality accommodation. You may find that students, backpackers and budget travellers are more than happy to put up with less than luxurious lodgings for a night or two. On the flipside, those travellers are seldom able to bring in a decent profit. If you are aiming for a more affluent travel market, you need to up your proverbial game.

How to Up Your Airbnb Host Game

How can you become a better Airbnb host? Let’s take a look at some of the factors that influence your standing as a host.

  • Be honest right from the very start. Manage expectations from the beginning, and it will be easier to avoid disappointment. If your apartment is small, make that clear. If you do not have a swimming pool, say so. You can play up your benefits without being dishonest or vague about what your place does not have. Trying to lure guests with false promises, over-inflated listings or blatant lies will more often than not result in unhappy guests. And unhappy guests usually result in poor reviews, which is something you really don’t want.
  • Under promise and over deliver. Wherever possible, aim to do more than you originally promised or offered. How can you wow your guests? Small touches such as a welcome gift, food hamper, stocked fridge, tailored area guide or even fresh flowers can go a long way in making a good impression. Providing concierge services and helping guests find things to do during their stay will further help to impress.
  • Hire an experienced short term property rental manager. One of the best ways to create a professional, welcoming experience for guests is to work with a dedicated holiday rental property manager. This will give you a major competitive advantage and help you ensure that your property is guest-ready at all times.
  • Email guests before they arrive. Sending out a personalised email before your guests arrive can be extremely effective. Include last-minute details, some tips on where to eat and drink, a map of the area and any other information that may help. Even if it is just a short and simple message saying  that you’re looking forward to seeing them soon, it will help them feel welcome.
  • Check food preferences well in advance. Find out whether your guests have any special dietary requirements so that you can prepare a special welcome food pack customised according to their preferences. This is an unexpected gesture that can leave a very favourable impression.
  • Put yourself in your guests’ shoes. Look around your property. What details would you like to find if you were renting for a weekend? Extra blankets? Travel magazines? Heated towel rails? Does your property need any renovations or improvements? Are bathrooms en-suite or shared? What can you do to make your space more inviting?
  • Create a master list with helpful information. This could be instructions on how to work appliances, important contact information, emergency contacts, food delivery services and any other information that may be useful to guests during their stay.
  • Make sure guests are personally greeted at the door. If you are unable to meet them, make sure someone can do this for you – your property manager or a trusted friend or relative. A personal welcome makes people feel at ease right away. If you can be there at the end of their stay, too, your chances of a good review will increase even further.
  • Invest in a professional housekeeping service. If you are using a holiday rental manager, this will be included. If not, be sure to hire a professional housekeeper who can clean a few days each week. Laundry services should be included as well.


These are just a few ways that you can go over and beyond your call of duty as an Airbnb host. Much like any other guest related service, it’s important to remember that holiday rentals are about people rather than real estate. Hospitality is therefore something that should always be at the forefront of your strategies and goals. When you make your guests feel welcome, everything else will soon fall into place. And, the very best thing about being a good Airbnb rental host is that you are rewarded with consistent bookings, glowing reviews and happy guests who want to return again and again.