Whether you’re expecting relatives for a visit or have listed your spare room on Airbnb, here’s how to get your home ready for guests, so it’s worthy of 5-star reviews.
Summer is coming, and for many, that means traveling or entertaining those who do. If you’re expecting loved ones to visit, take some steps to create a comfortable, relaxing place for them to stay. (If the in-laws are coming, you might want to do just the opposite.)
How clean should it be?
Let’s face it: some guests could not care less whether your furniture is covered in pet hair or their bed is bumpier than a gravel road. That includes your best friend from college who’s coming for margaritas with you at the karaoke bar while your spouse and kids are at Grandma’s.
For those renting out their spare rooms through places like Airbnb, it’s an entirely different matter. These people are paying good money they could be spending elsewhere and which you need to make an effort to earn. If you want recommendations and the 5-star reviews that lead to steady, meaningful income you need to remember these visitors expect and deserve your best efforts.
Most houseguests fall somewhere in between and are the type for whom you do a bit of cleaning but don’t necessarily pull out all the stops. Your husband’s old Army buddy who’s in town for a convention over the weekend, for instance. Or, your wealthy but frugal Aunt Edna who’s just passing through overnight on her way to relatives she likes more than you. The more thought and effort you put into making them welcome, the fonder their memories will be of their stay.
How To Get Your Home Ready For Guests
Having a welcoming home for guests is about more than just setting out fresh towels or letting them choose what shows you will all watch on TV. It’s about creating an environment which eases their concerns rather than contributes to them. That means eliminating disgusting messes along with annoyances. Here’s how.
Bathrooms: No one wants to see your pubic hair or urine splatters in the bathroom. Clean it until every surface sparkles. If you aren’t a confident housekeeper, use a thorough bathroom cleaning checklist so you know it’s done properly.
Airbnb tip: Be sure to leave guests a place for their toiletries. Empty your medicine cabinet of prescriptions. Also, while you should set out fresh towels for guests’ use, keep your personal towels in your bedroom throughout their stay to avoid confusion.
Kitchen: Even if your guests plan to eat out every meal, chances are they’ll want a glass of water at some point or may bring home leftovers to stick in your fridge. A spotless kitchen helps guests feel confident that the rest of your home is clean, too. Don’t know what else you should do beyond wiping the counters and sweeping the floor? Follow this kitchen cleaning checklist to get yours truly clean.
Airbnb tip: A clearly labeled shelf or box containing snacks for your guest is a thoughtful touch many have raved about in their reviews. It doesn’t have to be expensive: a bottle or two of water and a few packages of cookies, nuts or chips from the Dollar Store is all it takes.
Guest Bedroom: You already know to clean the room thoroughly and provide fresh linens plus an extra blanket. Other thoughtful touches include a power strip so guests can charge various electronic devices, spare hangers in the closet, and empty drawers in the dresser. If you’ve got the space in your guest room, a small table fan along with a carafe of water are also nice.
Airbnb tip: Don’t even think of listing your guest room if it doubles as your junk room. The same goes for renting out your house: it doesn’t need to look like a hotel, but it should certainly look appealing. These guests check things thoroughly, so be sure to clean your mattress so it’s stain and odor free.
A “Welcome Basket”: This touch is always appreciated. Include things like trial sizes of toiletries they might have forgotten, information on accessing your home’s wifi, a map of the area with directions to the nearest public transportation, and even pamphlets about local attractions they might want to visit.
Airbnb tip: Make a template with the above information along with “house rules” about things like quiet hours, where used towels go, smoking policy, etc. Send this to guests as soon as they’ve booked and leave a copy in the welcome basket, too.
Mind your manners, too: We all want houseguests to behave themselves during their stay and hosts should do so as well. Make it clear to guests in advance if you have other social activities planned, so they know to arrange their own entertainment. If you’ll be preparing meals, it’s a good idea to run the menu by them to learn if they have any dietary restrictions.
Airbnb tip: Make it clear on your listing if you’ll be home during guests’ stay, but don’t expect them to socialize with you. Respect their space and privacy — along with their sleep schedules — and they’re more likely to do the same for you.
Track what works and what doesn’t.
After guests have left, take a few moments to jot down what you did well in hosting them and what didn’t work out. No one is saying you need to remember that Aunt Edna likes the air conditioning set at 66°F when she’s sleeping, but she’ll be thrilled if next visit you’ve stocked the sparkling water that she enjoys.
As for Airbnb hosts, such notes are the key to continually improving, so you attract a regular stream of visitors. Remember to ask guests for reviews, too!