West End View of Vancouver

How to be a Successful, Highly Rated Airbnb Host

Want to add your property to the more than 550,000 spaces listed on Airbnb? The growth and popularity of the business is exploding and for good reason. Travellers can spend less than they would in a hotel and have a far better experience. In less than five years over 10 million guests have used the service and it’s only going to increase. Why not join the Airbnb ranks as a host and turn your extra space into a source of income generation?

As a frequent world traveller, I’ve stayed in Airbnb properties spanning 3 continents. My experiences with hosts and their spaces have varied from not exactly great to supremely excellent. Those very special stays, the ones where I almost shed tears at having to leave, have taught me what makes a super successful Airbnb host. It’s all about creating positive memorable experiences, which turn into glowing reviews. Even if your location is off the beaten path people will book your property for the fantastic experience you provide.

Here are the top 8 things that will turn you into a highly rated and super successful host on AirBnB:

1) Surprises

Little surprises, like sharing homemade treats or a welcome bottle of wine upon the guest’s arrival, can make an extra strong impression and turn a comfortable stay into a memorable one. Get creative and do something unique. One of my favorite stays was with a talented cook who gave us daily helpings of homemade dried fruit candies (which were amazing and addictive) that she made every day during our stay.

2) Cleanliness

Give a lot of attention to cleaning every square inch of your space. Guests want to feel relaxed and at home. They don’t want to worry if where they’re sitting or what they’re handling is covered in nastiness. It’s easy to tell when it’s not. A clean space smells fresh, looks crisp and just feels right.

Clean the floors. Finding other people’s hair laying around is a huge turn off.

Dust the shelves and any flat surfaces (and the knickknacks on the shelves, the magazines on the coffee table, the items on the kitchen counters, etc.).

Clean the TV remote and any other items that guests normally touch, including light switches and the fridge and freezer door handles.

If you have blankets out for cozying up on the sofa, make sure they’re the washable kind. Think about how gross sharing an unwashed blanket (or sofa pillow) with 50 strangers would be!

Use a slip cover on furniture, and wash it between every few guests. I stayed in one Airbnb property owned by a bachelor who had obviously been sitting on his sofa naked and sweaty for years. It smelled so bad of manly body odor I couldn’t handle being anywhere near it!

The kitchen should be spotless. Nobody wants to cook in a pan caked in somebody’s old grease.

Clean bed linens and bath towels and kitchen towels goes without saying, right?

Airbnb is currently testing out a new cleaning service that could make this incredibly important factor much easier.

3) Friendliness

When you treat your guests with warmth, positivity, calm and in-control energy, like they are potential new friends instead of just a business transaction, everyone will be much happier. When unfortunate events occur, as they will, your genuine friendliness (along with immediately taking care of any problems) will help to smooth things over.

4) Privacy

You want to be friendly, but not too friendly! Giving people their space and leaving them alone to do their own thing is most often the best idea. You can gauge whether your guests are interested in interacting with you by casually offering (sharing a meal together or giving them a tour of your city, for example) but leaving it very open for them to decline and do their own thing.

5) Bicycles

When you’re not close to easy public transportation, providing bicycles that are in good working condition can be a huge perk of a good Airbnb stay. When I was in Cambodia exploring the temples of Angkor Wat the old and worn back tire on my bike exploded and I was stranded miles away from help. Fortunately after an hour of walking, I got a ride in a tuk-tuk who was willing to precariously pile me, my girlfriend and our two bikes inside. When we reached our Airbnb property our hosts immediately fixed the tire and I was able keep exploring for the rest of the stay.

6) Local information, maps, guides

The most professional hosts create guidebooks that contain information about the local area, including genuine and personal recommendations for their favorite restaurants, activities and sights.

7) Decorate with style, but not too much style

Putting your personal style on display is a great way to create a memorable and unique space. But too many personal items strewn everywhere can make a guest feel awkward, like they are intruding in your space. Get rid of clutter and give your guests places to put their own things.

8) Respond ASAP to communication from your guests

Your guests will run into issues at some point. It’s your job to respond right away to fix any problems or answer any questions they have. It might be appropriate to give them access to your phone number. Some hosts in foreign countries will even provide a cell phone for guests to use that makes contacting the them incredibly easy. If email or Airbnb messaging is your preferred way of communicating, make sure you setup your email to notify you immediately of messages they send.


If you haven’t actually used Airbnb while traveling I highly recommend doing so. You may never stay in a hotel again!

2 thoughts on “How to be a Successful, Highly Rated Airbnb Host”

  1. This was awesome! I really appreciate the feedback because I am in my first week of hosting guests. I am booked every week in February and hoping to make a little money to improve the house, bills and just gain the experience of running a BnB.

    Happy trails!

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