Did you realise that when you become a guest at an Airbnb rental you join an elite group? Or at any rate, you can if you so wish. That group is made up of Airbnb members who have been given five star ratings by their hosts – ‘superguests’ if you like.
This is what hosts see:
This five-star rating says to potential hosts ‘This person is a great guest. Other hosts have recommended them. We suggest that you host his person as his/her stay will be an excellent experience’.
Isn’t that what you’d like potential hosts to know about you?
It means that you have the entire worldwide range of homes – private islands, treehouses, yurts, igloos, tiny houses, restored Airstreams, luxury villas … plus common-or-garden apartments, suites and rooms – at your disposal. You are an ‘honoured guest’.
So how do you attain this five-star rating? Just follow these ten commandments:
COMMANDMENT ONE: CHOOSE YOUR ACCOMMODATION WISELY
Make sure that you and the listing are a good fit. Book somewhere that’s right for you. Yes, this sounds obvious but you’d be surprised how often guests choose a place that’s not right for them. Read more here.
COMMANDMENT TWO: READ THE RULES CAREFULLY
Airbnb expects its guests to behave in a certain way – don’t worry, it’s nothing unusual. Guests are merely expected to behave like civilised human beings. Hosts have their own ‘house rules’ too. These vary from host to host and will depend on the location, the type of accommodation, the facilities offered and the preferences of each individual host.
Read the rules carefully before booking and be sure to abide them during your stay. Nothing will be too onerous, just basic common sense.
COMMANDMENT THREE: COMMUNICATE WELL
Be a good communicator with your host. When you book (or request to book if your chosen accommodation doesn’t allow instant bookings) let your potential host why you’ll be in their area and why you need the accommodation. Be sure that you keep your host fully informed about your arrival time and DON’T ARRIVE EARLY without their express permission. Plan your travel well so that the published check-in time is no problem for you.
Let your hosts know your flight number (if applicable) so that they can keep an eye open for delays. Whatever your mode of travel keep your host fully up to date if you experience any travel delays. Arrive at the agreed time if you possibly can.
COMMANDMENT FOUR: HAVE A GREAT ONLINE PROFILE AND PHOTOGRAPH
Some hosts will care about this; others will be more tolerant but it’s fair to say that as a general rule, hosts want to know who you are. It’s easy to let them know, too. Simply fill out your Airbnb profile page telling potential guests a little about yourself.
Upload a couple of photographs too. Don’t get all funky about internet security and whatnot – remember that you are asking hosts to trust you with their premises and their property. And if you’re staying in their home, even their family. You probably give away far more personal information on Facebook, after all.
COMMANDMENT FIVE: BE HONEST
There are some guests – a minority, fortunately – who seem to think it’s ‘clever’ to try to fool their hosts by being dishonest about their stay. This manifests itself mostly in a) taking along more guests than you’ve disclosed (thus avoiding the charges for extra people and b) taking along a pet to listings that clearly state that pets are not welcome.
Be aware that hosts are probably a little more intelligent than many guests realise and if they are not on site to keep an eye on their guests, then they likely have CCTVs that record your comings-and-goings. (They are required to disclose these in the listing). Chances are, that you won’t get away with it.
COMMANDMENT SIX: BE RESPECTFUL
Yes, they old saying goes that the customer is always right. But nevertheless, when you stay at an Airbnb rental, the chances are that your hosts is an individual and not a vast corporation. They have neighbours – their neighbourhood has its own rules and regulations to keep the residents’ lives pleasant.
So don’t go making a noise at night, don’t invite friends round for a party … do be respectful of the host’s property, do keep the place clean and tidy. It’s only common sense and good manners and I’m sure it’s second nature to you anyway.
COMMANDMENT SEVEN: LET YOUR HOST KNOW IF THERE’S A PROBLEM – EVEN A MINOR ONE
Something that’s guaranteed to annoy your host is if there’s a minor problem with your accommodation (a lightbulb has burnt out, you’d really like an extra towel etc.) but you don’t speak up. I’m speaking for 99.99% of hosts here when I say that we want you to have a great stay with us. And if there’s anything we can reasonably do to ensure that, we will.
For more serious issues, note that you have 24 hours from check-in to report any major problems to Airbnb but you must contact your host first giving him/her the chance to put things right. If the weather is warm and the AC isn’t working I can underastand that you’re going to be pretty mad but the host didn’t plan the breakdown – give him/her the chance to make things right for you.
COMMANDMENT EIGHT; REPORT STAINS OR PROBLEMS CREATE BY YOU!
Look, hosts are human. We know that accidents happen. If you accidentally stain the sheet then, believe me, it’s easier for your host to remove the stain promptly, than let it hang around. Broke a glass? Then let the host know at once and ask if you can borrow a vacuum cleaner (if one isn’t supplied) so that they can properly clean up the fragments.
COMMANDMENT NINE: LEAVE THE PLACE IN GREAT SHAPE
Airbnb instructs guests to leave the place ‘the way they found it’. Many hosts do not insist on this (for instance, I don’t expect you to make the bed, take out all your trash [unless it’s excessive], scrub the floors, clean the windows and so on, that would be crazy) but please leave the place in good shape.
You could ask your hosts on the night before departure whether there is anything special they’d like you to do before you leave. That’s thoughtful and appreciated. Leaving the bathroom in great shape will definitely get you bonus points from many hosts!
COMMANDMENT TEN: BE SURE TO LEAVE ON TIME
When you’re planning your trip be sure to plan your last day. If your plane home doesn’t leave until 9 pm that’s your concern and not your host’s. If check out time is 11 am, that’s what time you’ll be gone by. It’s likely that your host has another guest/guests coming in that afternoon so he/she needs to prepare.
If you know that you’ll have several hours to kill in the locality after check out then it’s your responsibility to plan for that time.
If you have a particularly helpful host, he/she might suggest activities or somewhere where you can store your luggage. Some hosts may offer to store your luggage for you while you enjoy your last vacation day. But don’t bank on it. And be sure to be properly grateful if your host extends these extras to you.