By Angie Weakland
The circumstances and reasons which lead people to travel are infinitely varied. Why those travelers pick Airbnb over a hotel, however, tends to be a bit more concentrated. Price and location can certainly weigh that decision. Certainly, the draw to the comfort and homeliness of an actual… well, home, while traveling can’t be matched by a hotel. With that in mind, a great way to increase the value that you as an Airbnb host bring to your guests lies in the little touches you leave around your listing. Some amenities are basic and nearly universal: comfortable beds, a television, a coffee maker, and decorations go without saying. But the very best for your guest lies in the details. Here are a few ideas I have found to really add a little more light to your guest’s stay (and some more 5-star reviews to your record):
Yoga Mat - Yoga mats are inexpensive and small. While a very small number of individuals actually practice yoga, those who do will appreciate your thought and enjoy being able to practice their craft. Even for those who don’t, you have communicated your desire to provide for needs which are hard to fill while on travel and shown your space’s focus: relaxation, wellness, and self-care. This small and inconspicuous item will add great value for some and communicate your good intentions for all.
Games - Some of the most fun you can have is staying in an Airbnb while traveling with a group. One distinct advantage over hotels for traveling groups is the common space provided in a home. No matter what, guests will tend to collect in common areas and socialize. A great way to facilitate this is by placing board games and card games for their enjoyment. Regardless of how familiar or distant your group is, the ability to get lost in laughter over a game of Uno or Life makes for great travel memories. The boredom and isolation of travel does not have to extend to your Airbnb. Let guests roll the dice!
Books - Not all travelers love engaging in the hard-fought round of Monopoly with the family. Others travelling alone don’t really have the option. Additionally, some of us just find the best self-care to look like an armchair, a blanket, and a good book. I am a huge proponent of providing a library for your guests to enjoy. Being a fervent bibliophile myself (look it up! I promise it isn’t dirty), I love picking out books to put inside of an Airbnb. It’s not expensive, as a trip to a local used book store can provide a bumper crop of great titles for only a few dollars. Additionally, this is a great opportunity to show some of your personality and taste to your guests through the books you stock for them. It never fails to put a smile on my face when I see a copy of The Invisible Man on the nightstand in a bedroom or The Great Gatsby left out on the couch. Someone was able to enjoy a book and escape into their imagination while traveling far from home.
Outdoor spaces and activities - A great way for guests to relax and unwind is to get outside a bit. A good creative eye toward adapting your outdoor space to your guests’ enjoyment can really add a lot of value to your listing. Patio furniture, a bocce set or even suggestions on great walking routes are all ways to extend your Airbnb beyond the four walls of the structure.
Puzzles! - Ok, this is my absolute favorite. I discovered this one on accident. Once, after a guest with small children departed our main property (Nick’s house), we failed to take note that they had left out the pieces to a puzzle on the coffee table. The children had spread out the pieces and assembled a handful of them. What we DID notice was that after the next guests left a few days later, a bit more of the puzzle had been finished! So we left it out. This went on for several stays until the puzzle was complete…..AND REPLACED BY A DIFFERENT PUZZLE FROM THE SHELF! Each guest who checked in saw the partially completed puzzle and added a bit more to it. We even got mentions in our reviews and guest book. An oversight led us to a gem of a way to draw guests together and make them feel like they were a part of a community of guests passing through a common space.
This is by no means a complete list of the little touches that can be added to a property. Just as every Airbnb host is a unique individual, so is every listing. Remember that your space is an extension of yourself and a great canvas on which to express your own personality and creativity. Your guests will appreciate the personal touches and the invitation to come together and feel at home.