Airbnb 101: The top tricks and hacks to Airbnb hosting

As the football season is in full swing, the time when thousands of football fans will descend upon the city of Atlanta also draws nearer. And for those who have already been priced out of hotels and need a more convenient option for accommodation? Enter Airbnb. If you're considering using Airbnb for an extra room in your home, condo, townhome or apartment for the Super Bowl and beyond, here's your official rundown.

What is Airbnb?

Headquartered on the west coast in San Francisco, California, Airbnb started in 2008 as an option for travelers that wanted something different than typical hotel and hostel stays. The concept was homestays: Travelers could pay to stay in an extra room of a local host. Since then, the platform has expanded to include vacation rentals and tailored experiences in various cities around the world. Those who rent out their homes are referred to as hosts and those who pay as guests.

Perks to hosting

Other than the immediate material gain of being an Airbnb host, the homestay experience lends itself to meeting travelers while on the road. Intercultural exchange is one of the main perks of hosting. When opening up your home or vacation rental to those from all walks of life, it presents an opportunity to meet interesting people.

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Airbnb tricks, tips and hacks

Sold on being an Airbnb host and want your experience to go smoothly? Read on for some tips, tricks and hacks to enjoying your hosting duties and ensuring you get five-star ratings from guests at the same time.

Be as helpful as possible.

As a frequent Airbnb user who much prefers them to hotels while traveling, the hosts that have truly left a great impression on me are those that take hosting seriously. So seriously, in fact, that they go out of their way to be as useful and helpful to their guests as possible. One way to do this is to recommend nearby restaurants or things to do, unprompted. A foolproof method I've seen hosts use often is printing out an info sheet, laminating it and placing it in a convenient location where guests can see it.

Give guests the lay of the land when they check in.

This is pretty self-explanatory but when guests check in to stay at your home, give them a quick tour. Show them where the kitchen, bathroom and common living areas are. Inform them of how to use basic things like the stove, oven, microwave, washer and dryer. If you've cleared a designated space for them to store food, snacks or drinks in your pantry or refrigerator, point it out to them. Make it easy for your guests to settle in. 

Answer contact from guests swiftly.

When guests choose your home as their resting place while traveling, they're empowering you with a level of trust. Hold that trust heavily through respecting them enough to be responsive should they message, call or text before or during their stay. If they have questions or concerns, you, as their host, should be able to advise them promptly.

Anticipate possible conflict and have a plan.

What would you do in the worst case scenario with a potential guest? Say they're unsatisfied with some aspect of their stay or something happens to your home while they are staying there? I've had refrigerators in my Airbnb stop working, spoiling food I'd purchased. In another instance, it once rained so hard in my Airbnb that the living room flooded with water. In both scenarios, my hosts troubleshot quickly to come up with a solution. Be prepared to do the same with a positive attitude.

As an Airbnb host, it's important to make room for guests to feel comfortable in your home. (Courtesy of Airbnb for the AJC./For the AJC)

Make guests feel at home and at ease.

Comfort is key when staying in an Airbnb. Stock the bathrooms with towels and toiletries to make visits serene. Provide free tea and coffee and light snacks for those early mornings. Think of things that would make you feel welcome in a space away from home and incorporate those items.

Be direct with expectations.

There have been a few times where I've stayed in an Airbnb and conflict arose, causing me to end my stay early. In each of these situations, what began as simple miscommunication escalated to unspoken expectations that weren't met. If there are certain house rules that you'd like your guests to adhere to, be direct in discussing those once your guests check in. The sooner and clearer, the better.

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