Most Airbnb hosts realise the advantages of greeting their guests in person and giving them a house tour. But what some don’t realise is that it’s equally important to be around when your guests check out.
To be honest, if I was given a choice – would I rather be present for a guest’s arrival or a guest’s departure? I’d go for departure every time. Why is that?
Well, assuming that I see the guests when they are leaving I can make sure that they leave with a good impression. You know that they say that first impressions count? Well, so do final ones – especially when you’re hoping for a great review. Just wishing your guests well in their future travels, thanking them for staying with you and hoping that they’ll stay with you again can go a long way.
But having someone on the spot at checkout time has many other benefits too. I live right by our rentals but if I was employing a manager, I’d make sure that they were at the property when guests check out. This is for the following reasons:
ENSURING THAT CHECK OUT RUNS SMOOTHLY
If you have back-to-back bookings, and hopefully you do, you want to be sure that guests check out on time. The only guaranteed way that you can do this is a) to send them a friendly message the night before check out reminding them and b) being on the spot and making absolutely sure that they leave.
In your message, offer to help them with their check out if there’s anything they need. Tell them that if they need trash bags or to borrow the vacuum then they should let you know. Put the idea of cleaning and tidying into their minds.
CHECKING FOR OVERLOOKED BELONGINGS
If someone (you or your manager) goes into the rental immediately, they can check the property – and the drawers and cupboards – to make sure that the guests haven’t left anything behind. If they have, then the guest can be called when they are just a mile or so away – before they have gone through security at the airport, for instance.
Many Airbnb hosts complain that valuable goods (phones, iPads, jewellery etc.) have been left behind and the poor host has had the inconvenience of mailing them on. Avoid this by checking when the guest is still nearby.
GETTING THE GARBAGE OUT
Many guests know that part of their check out procedure is to take out the garbage. Many do, some don’t. No big deal. Those who take out the kitchen garbage often forget to empty the bathroom rubbish bin. That’s okay. But making sure that all garbage is taken out promptly means nothing to create unpleasant smells.
TREATING THE LINENS & TOWELS
If someone goes into the rental just after the guests have left, they can arm themselves with a spray cleaner that will minimise stains on linens or towels. Quick action is needed. If a stained towel hangs around for a few hours, the stain gets harder to remove.
ADJUSTING THE AIR CONDITIONING / HEATING
Although I hate to generalise, I have to say that I find that the under 25s and the over 65s are the most considerate when it comes to saving energy. But another important reason to go into your rental as soon as the guests have left is to make sure that energy use isn’t being squandered.
We expect our guests to empty the garbage, clean out the bathtub, leave everything (to quote Airbnb) ‘as they found it’ but it’s hardly surprising that they didn’t have time to turn off the cooling or heating system. Sometimes lights or even the oven might have been left on accidentally.
Guests are mostly fantastic. But here in Florida, a crumb of bread or a tiny spillage of fruit juice can attract ants in no time. And we really can’t expect guests from Canada or the UK to know that. But if someone goes into your rental just after the guests have left, they can check for anything that could attract insects.
OTHER BITS AND PIECES
You, or your manager, can also open the windows to air the place. You can flush the loo (I know, gross, but still…). You can check that no lights have been left on.
You can decide whether the shower curtain urgently needs washing. (Probably). In the very unlikely event that there are any breakages or damage, then these should be photographed at once.
There are several other quick checks that hosts can make – each rental is different so it’s not possible to make a checklist that applies to everyone. But in most rentals, this check should take well under half an hour and could save a great deal of time in the long run.
Schedule the time for someone to be on hand when the guests check out.
THINKING OF BEING AN AIRBNB HOST?
JJ is originally from the UK and has lived in South Florida since 1994. She is the founder and editor of JAQUO Magazine. You can connect with her using the social media icons below.