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When we stay at an AirBnb or Vacation Rental finding out how things work can be a point of frustration if the owner or property manager didn’t take the time to properly label commonly used items. Properly labeling items can often benefit the owner as well as it can prevent unnecessary phone calls or text, lower your electric bill and help keep renters reviews high. Take a look at a few of the examples we have come across at various AirBnb’s and vacation rentals. It may be time to buy that label maker!
Before you leave
Great reminder especially if your house is in the mountains or a cold environment and the heater could run all day with no on there. This simple reminder could save big money in the long haul. This see thorough label gives it a clean look.
One of the reasons your renter has chosen to stay in your rental rather than a hotel is likely because of the availability of a kitchen. We have curated the best kitchen products for your vacation rental
Adding the check-out list here or another place could be a good idea if you are finding your renters ignoring your check-out guide in your Welcome Book. Bullet points are good and the instructions not complicated will help improve compliance.
Great example of the TV Instructions. Every TV setup is different and spelling it out so anyone could do it will save on frustration from the renter and possibly prevent a phone call to you for help. Have a laminated copy on a coffee table as well as a copy in your Welcome Book.
Laminate your TV Channel guide and put them in each room that has a TV. Just like in this great rental.
If you have a fireplace fan or a electric fireplace put instructions as needed. Again with all of these having the instructions in the Welcome Book as well is a good idea.
Putting your WiFi information on the router is a good idea as well as having it in your Welcome Book. Notice this label isn’t the best as it could easily be ripped off or written over. Laminating it and securing it to the router with some clear tape will keep it looking good. Telling guest where the router is in a Welcome Book is also helpful in case the guest need to reset the router.
These signs have some useful information regarding the dumpster access and wildlife. Laminating these signs would make them look much more professional. Make sure any information you put out there is also the Welcome Book.
On recent trip to central California, we booked a vacation rental that had already received great reviews, so our expectations were quite high that this rental wouldn’t disappoint. Upon initial inspection, we were correct. This host did a great job in preparation and had everything you would expect in a rental: great location, extremely clean, plenty of kitchen supplies (e.g. pots and pans, silverware, etc.), and entertainment.
Throughout our stay, we found several other things that separate it from other rentals we have used in the past. Most of these items are inexpensive and could be implemented in your vacation rental or AirBnb to help insure you receive great reviews.
Bikes and helmets can be purchased inexpensively, whether you buy new from your local big box store or find a great second-hand deal at a yard sale or craigslist. For rentals close to a city center or key attractions, bikes are a wonderful amenity to offer so that your renters don’t need to drive. Our vacation rental had several bikes that we could choose from, as well as helmets available for our safety. They even provided bike locks, which used easy-to-remember word combinations. Not only were these used to easily secure the bikes on the property itself, but we could then take them along to lock the bikes up while out exploring. It is a good idea to make sure that the renters sign a waiver as well to help release you from any liability.
One of the reasons your renter has chosen to stay in your rental rather than a hotel is likely because of the availability of a kitchen.
Neftlix, Amazon Prime or Hulu
Amazon Prime is a great option to allow streaming of TV shows and movies for your renters. Netflix is also a good option and currently costs $9.99 per month for up to two screens at the same time. As a renter, I love having streaming movies available, especially on those days when the local weather may not cooperate with our sightseeing plans, and it is convenient for kids’ shows as well.
Find awesome products for your Vacation Rental in our Shop!
Even if your rental or AirBnb has air conditioning or is located in a cool environment, it is a good idea to have plenty of fans available. These can help keep the rental cool without the need for turning on the A/C, and in some cases this simple affordable addition will help save you money. Guests often like the white noise a fan provides while sleeping especially if the home is close to a busy road or intersection. Dulling the unfamiliar local noises can help to provide a better night’s sleep.
This property had several items you expect to see in a vacation rental bathroom. The basics were there including a hair dryer, soap, shampoo, and conditioner, but it also provided things we don’t normally see such as shaving cream, nail polish remover and suntan lotion. An affordable little addition that could help prevent your renters from needing to run out to the local convenience store.
The refrigerator had 6 bottles of water available to us when arrived. Doesn’t sound like a big deal but we were ready to see the sites right away and it was great just to grab a bottle of water and go. Also notice the condiments all ready to go with clean bottles. You can find the condiments we recommend to have here.
This has to be one of the cleanest grills I have ever come across at a rental property. It may not seem like a big deal, but as a renter, if the BBQ grill is that clean that tells me the owners care and go to great lengths to keep the rental clean -which indeed it was. Also, notice the spare propane tanks made available.
An indoor/outdoor electric tabletop heater was available for our use on the deck as well. This is great for the chilly evenings your renter may want to spend outside enjoying the deck instead of feeling stuck inside the home.
TV Channel Guide
A super simple thing you can do is to laminate a channel guide and leave a copy in each room that has a television. It is quick to reference and durable.
Lights and grocery cards on the key chains
Little flashlights were on the house key chains as well as grocery rewards cards that the renter could use to get discounts at the local store. Again, nothing big or expensive but this really shows the owners put some thought into the renters’ needs and experience.
On a recent trip, we documented the welcome books of the hotels we stayed at. Listed below are these hotel welcome letter examples. While most of the welcome books provide essentially the same information, each one of them displays the information in their own way. Take a look and see if there is anything that you find here that you could add to your own Welcome Book to help your renters enjoy their stay in your AirBnb or Vacation Rental.
On a recent trip to the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado we spent a night in Denver at a suite hotel about a block away from 16th St. Mall in Denver. The total cost for the night was $253 which included $34 for valet parking, for one king bed and a fold out couch for the kids that was in a separate section away from the bedroom. This rate was for July midweek. The hotel was immaculate. The hotel served a small dinner that included salads, cheeses and other various snacks as well as a happy hour. Breakfast was also included which was your standard american fare (eggs, sausages, various cereals and pastries). The hotel also included an indoor pool and gym.
Being we were only going to be there for one night we opted for the hotel versus staying at an AirBnb or vacation rental close to town.
As a host take a look to see if there is anything that you could add in your vacation rental or AirBnb that would help you compete against a suite hotel such as this.offer for longer stays travelers.
No rickety fan’s here. This room decor was very modern.
A radio clock with mp3 jack by the bed.
This is a great lamp by the bed. Your guest will be able to plugin all their gadgets right next to them without needing to go behind the bed or furniture to find the outlet.
All white bedding! As we stated in our bedroom section all white is what your will find at most quality hotels and something you consider for your guest.
Plenty of bedding, hangars, iron and ironing board.
White towels and wash cloths in the bathroom. Similar to the bedding the towels and wash cloths should be white as well.
Don’t forget to have a quality shower head. Guest hate going to a rental and finding a cheap shower head!
This is the daily menu that was posted on the refrigerator.
Don’t forget the small things like this paper towel holder.
Even has a toaster with no crumbs!
All the cooking utensils you need for a short visit.
A very clean refrigerator and dishwasher.
A non-stained coffee post with coffee. Even some microwavable popcorn!
Welcome letters and other such correspondences renters receive upon entering a property can vary greatly from rental to rental. Good communication is necessary on your quest to become a Superhost. Listed below is an example of a great welcome letter done through AirBnb on a recent stay; however, it could be applied with any rental. A lot of these instructions should be included in the Welcome Book as well. There are many modifications you can make, but from a renter’s standpoint, we feel this example is one of the best we have come across.
One of the reasons your renter has chosen to stay in your rental rather than a hotel is likely because of the availability of a kitchen.
First correspondence received after the reservation was accepted.
I look forward to hosting you! Check in is at 4pm and check out is at 1pm. Let me know if you have any questions. Below is the full check in and check out procedure as well as a guide to the house.
KEYBOX CODE: XXXX
Our house is easy to find. It’s the green house on XXXXX street.
I will leave a key in the lockbox attached to the house at the end of the driveway near the garbage cans and garage. When you locate the lockbox at the end of the driveway attached to the house, simply enter the code and depress the lever on the left to open the box. After retrieving the key, you will have to enter the code again and to slide the door back into place and close the box. It’s that easy!
A couple of things to help you out if I can’t show you all the features of the house myself.
There is a central A/C unit AND a whole house fan. Controls for both are in the small hallway between the bedrooms. Please don’t use both at the same time. If you are unfamiliar with a whole house fan, it pumps massive amounts of air out of the house from a central location. Just turn off the A/C, open the windows and turn it on. You’ll have breeze coming in from every direction. It’s great to cool the place off in a flash at night.
There are some supplies to make coffee and tea in the kitchen. They are in the glass shelves under the coffee maker. There is a TV, but we only get over the air signals on it right now. There is a blueray/DVD player too. The WiFi router is on the desk and has the SSID: XXXXX and Password is: XXXXXX
Feel free to use the laundry and dryer, it’s between the kitchen and master bathroom. There are supplies stocked as well. Plus there is a drying rack if you have delicates. You’ll also find an iron and ironing board. Oh, and if you use the laundry, please leave the door ajar afterwards so it can air out.
The small couch in the second bedroom folds into a twin size bed. Just lift up the arms and pull out and down. Bedding can be found in the closet in that room.
Don’t worry about taking trash out or anything. I’ll have the cleaning service handle that after your stay.
Odds and ends you might miss: There is a hairdryer in the closet of the master bathroom. If you do want to lock a deadbolt, the one on the front door works, you just have to lift the door up a bit while you lock it. Please feel free to sign the guestbook on the desk.
If you need any recommendations like restaurants, bars, bike trails, running spots, supermarkets or gyms I can definitely help out.
I don’t anticipate any hiccups, but if there are any, please contact me immediately. Best to message me through airbnb as I employ a full time concierge service to help out when I can’t. They message back within an hour 24/7. Thanks again for staying at our “smart” little house. It’s really an awesome spot. I know you’ll love it.
Checking out is easy.
Simply lock the handle of the security door, then use the code to open the key lockbox attached to the house. Deposit the key back inside the lockbox. Close it and scramble the code. Then please text or email me when you leave.
Again, thank you for staying with me and I hope you like your time in here!
Pre-exit Letter – This was received the day before checking out.
Hi XXXX, It looks like you’ll be checking out tomorrow. We hope you have enjoyed your stay and that you have felt at home. Just a reminder that your check-out time is no later than 1:00pm tomorrow. To check-out, simply lock the front door, then use the code to open the key lockbox attached to the front door. Deposit the key back inside the lockbox. Close it and scramble the code. Please be sure to text or email me when you leave.
Thank you so much for staying with us and we wish you safe travels home! Best,
This is a great reminder for guests that the exit day is coming up, and it provides a quick reminder for what needs to be done before leaving the property.
After the checkout to help insure a good review is written.
I truly hope you had a wonderful time in XXXXX and felt at home in my house! If you enjoyed your stay, I’d like to kindly ask that you please leave me a review at your earliest convenience. I hope to have the pleasure of hosting you again in the future.
Asking for a review as soon as possible is important so that the renter doesn’t forget.
Hopefully you found this example useful. What I like about this correspondence is that the owner was friendly, informative and wanting to insure that the time there would be problem-free. The communication did’t come across as overbearing; it was just the right amount. I came away thinking that if a problem arose, the owner would do whatever was possible to have it resolved. If you have other examples you would like to share please let us know!
Window screens are a must for vacation rentals. Not only does it help keep bugs out, but it also helps regulate the temperature in the rental. This reduces the need for your renters to use air conditioning, which will then equate to lower electrical and maintenance bills for you. Dirt and dust will build up on your screens over time, and they will need to be cleaned. Clean screens are easier to see through – it provides your renters with improved views and also lets them know that you take good care of your property. Seeing screens free of dirt and dust is aesthetically pleasing and gives the property an overall cleaner look. All of these things help to enhance your renters’ stay at your Airbnb or vacation rental.
This is the best way I have found on how to clean window screens.
If outside, use your garden hose. If inside, you can also do this in your bath tub.
Step 2 – Remove the screen from the window.
Cleaning the screen while still on the window might seem like a faster method, but it is simply not efficient. Doing so will only result in water, mud and dirt on your windows, requiring you to then remove the screens to clean up that new mess.
Simple Green and a brush.
Step 3 – Spray the screens with water
To get them wet. Then spray the screen with Simple Green.
Scrub the screens to get the dirt out.
Step 4 – Scrub the screens with the bristle brush.
I prefer to use a stiffer bristle brush to make the job easier – just remember not to push so hard that you damage the screens (This is especially important for older screens).
Step 5 – Spray the screens down
and then give them a quick shake before letting them air dry and re-installing them.
Clean window screens!
This is the fastest and most efficient way I have discovered to clean window screens. If you have any other tips or suggestion for cleaning screens, please let us know below!
In our analysis of reviews, we found that the one thing that will almost certainly give you a low rating on your vacation rental review is bugs, bed bugs, rodents and/or evidence of them. If the renter mentioned bugs or rodents in the reviews we analyzed, the average rating given was 2 stars!
Our analysis showed that ants, flies, cockroaches, mice and rats were the most commonly mentioned pests.
Following is our list of the top 10 things you should consider to help prevent bugs and rodents:
1. Screens – Make sure your AirBnb or vacation rental has screens on most if not all windows or doors that can be opened. Not only will screens help prevent flies or other bugs from coming in, but outdoor airflow can also help regulate the temperature for the renters which may help you save on your overall utility costs.
2. Check around the doors of the rental to make sure there aren’t any gaps where bugs could crawl in. If you do find a gap, consider installing a Door Sweep for a quick, economical and effective fix.
3. Look at the landscaping around your property and make sure tree limbs and shrubs aren’t in contact with the rental. This way, any pests will not have a ‘bridge’ to gain access to your property.
4. Check for water leaks around your plumbing fixtures as water can attract a variety of household pests.
5. Make sure the condiments and any food items you leave for your renters are sealed up tight.
6. Ensure your kitchen trashcan has a lid and clean the trashcan regularly to remove food particles and residue that may be inviting to household pests.
7. Consider having a recycling bin with a closing lid as well. Ideally, renters will wash out any recycled material first before putting it in the bin, but chances are they won’t so having a lid may help prevent bugs.
8. Keep your rental clean and clear of clutter. Not only will this help improve the overall look of the rental, it won’t give the bugs a hiding place.
This is the second part of our Hotel vs Airbnb experience. In Part 1, we documented our stay in a major chain hotel on a recent trip to Monterey, and we wanted to compare the hotel versus an Airbnb rental that we would later be staying at in Sacramento, since they were at a comparable price point.
First, here are our “Pros” of the Airbnb rental:
Constant communication – The owner and their Guesty team made communications very easy – from reminders about our trip, to tips and instructions during our stay, it was a very smooth and convenient process.
Very well stocked home – This is by far one of the best stocked rentals that we have stayed at. They covered almost everything in every room; see more on this below.
Great location – The property was conveniently close to the freeway, but not so close that we heard any road/traffic noise. It was also close to shopping and restaurants that the owner highlighted in his Airbnb guest book.
Entertainment – The rental came with Netflix and a Blueray DVD player for on-screen entertainment, and there was also a nice assortment of puzzles and board games to choose from.
Now for the “Cons“:
We didn’t really find much in the way of “cons” at this property, unlike other vacation rentals we have stayed at in the past. This was a very smooth experience from start to finish. This owner really took his time to make sure the rental was fully stocked and ead everything a renter might need. This house is a great example of what an Airbnb or vacation rental should provide.
The kitchen was perfectly stocked with all the utensils and appliances needed.
Ice trays and an ice bowl ready for use. This is a must if you don’t have an ice maker:
The bedrooms were in great condition – nothing too fancy but just what was needed. The blinds did a good job of blocking out the light, and the exterior fencing provided plenty of privacy. The only thing missing would have been a small fan to help moderate temperature and/or provide white noise for bedtime.
It would have been even better if this night light was completely intact and not missing its cover, but just the fact that one was made available was a plus in our books:
Doorstops – this is a small item but definitely saves a lot of wear and tear on your walls:
The shower was clean with an excellent shower head providing plenty of pressure and hot water.
Plenty of white towels – read more about the preference for white linens on this page:
Various accessories including a hair dryer, cotton balls, extra toilet paper, and toothbrush holder & cup were conveniently located in the bathroom as well:
Pump dispensers are the way to go! These shampoo and conditioner bottles were filled and ready for our use – it’s a bonus for the owners that these can be used for several guest in a row without needing to worry about replacing small soaps after every guest.
A step stool was also in the bathroom – this can be very important, especially for families who travel with small kids. It can make life so much easier for these families just by making this available!
There was a hand grip mounted next to the toilet to help people stand up. This is another great idea, especially if you have elderly renters or anyone that might need a little extra help.
We noticed some potpourri bark in the bathroom fan vent – this is a great idea to keep things smelling more pleasant.
A vented soap dish holder in the shower. This affordable addition gives the renter a specific place to put their bar soap, likely preventing a bigger mess for you to clean up later.
The house had great modern furnishings through out and all appeared to be clean and were in good working condition:
The house contained important safety items such as smoke and carbon dioxide detectors:
A music system was made available:
A washer and dryer set-up was also available for our use, along with the various detergents, stain removers and bleach should we need them:
Wine rack ready for us to fill:
Hooks – we love hooks! They are such an easy add-on that your guests will sure find quite useful:
Great desk and sturdy chair for those who work while traveling. There were many outlets available and the Wi-Fi was strong throughout the house:
Our boys loved this cute little touch – a painted on mouse & mouse hole. It reminded them of Tom & Jerry!
To summarize, it was an overall great experience. The full nightly price for this rental was $133, compared to $129 at the hotel. This rental was head and shoulders above the hotel and beats it at almost every level (outside of an indoor heated pool!). You could tell that this owner really thought about all of the little items that are needed in a vacation rental. Most of these items are affordable and could really help other rentals that are currently receiving low or no reviews to improve.
We stayed in a major chain hotel on a recent trip, and we wanted to compare the hotel versus an Airbnb rental that we were going to stay at later on our trip.
This trip was to the Bay Area, so we stopped in Monterey, California to spend the night and take in some of the sights. Since we were only staying for one night in Monterey, we decided to stay at a major chain hotel. Our selection was nothing extravagant – just a hotel that had a pool so that the kids could unwind after a long road trip. The price of the hotel was $129 for a Sunday night.
First, here are our “Pros” of the hotel:
No reservation needed – The town wasn’t busy so there were several hotels to choose from that fit our criteria of having a pool and had last-minute availability.
Heated indoor pool – While I’m sure there are a few homes on Airbnb with a heated indoor pool, they would surely be in the minority in this general area at this price point.
Free breakfast – A typical continental breakfast of waffles, cereal, fruit etc. was included with our stay.
Close to attractions – The downtown area was less than a mile away.
Well stocked – For a hotel room at this price point, there were many amenities included: microwave, small refrigerator, iron & ironing board, coffee maker, hairdryer.
Now for the “Cons“:
Dated – We were not expecting a 5-star luxury stay, but even considering the price point we were at, the hotel room was definitely showing its age.
Noisy – The hotel’s proximity to a main road provided convenience, but it also meant road noise and a lot of people coming and going.
Privacy – This is a given when you are using “community” facilities – we did not expect a lot of privacy when using the pool and hot tub, and there were indeed a lot of random strangers sharing these with our family.
Below are some of the details on the hotel room:
Here is an overall view of the hotel room. It could have used more powerful lighting; the whole room especially over the bed seemed very dark.
It is hard to see in this picture, but the TV is wall-mounted on the far right. It was not movable at all, so the only way to watch it would be while sitting in bed. A swinging TV Wall Mount would have made a big difference especially in a room like this that had a larger “living area”.
A pet peeve of mine is a dirty fan in the bathroom. It doesn’t take but a few minutes to clean, but when it is dirty I often wonder what else don’t they check…
This microwave was a nice surprise and was in working order, it was just a little dated with its turning nobs…
Matching the colors of the paint or keeping all outlet covers consistent throughout can make a big difference in the look of the room. These are small changes but add to the overall impression of the room and the stay.
Yes, many people may not even use a land line these days, but if you provide one, make sure it is in working order. Most of the buttons on our phone didn’t work and made calling the front office almost impossible.
A dated table with some pretty good wear and tear and splinters – so watch out!
A noticeably torn blanket on the Murphy bed. It’s time to get a new blanket…
It was also easy to notice some questionable carpentry and painting. It just looked like whoever was working on the room didn’t care very much…
It really was not a bad experience overall, and the things I pointed out are probably minor, with many travelers not noticing these items during their stay. However, many of these items could be fixed relatively cheaply and quickly, turning an “OK” experience into an “Wow what a great value” experience. See Part 2 here of “Hotel vs Airbnb” when we evaluated the Airbnb rental from this same trip.
We analyzed the first 500 reviews and discovered what the number one complaint or comment was about. When looking at all 500 reviews, these are the top three items mentioned, and further detailed on our home page:
Malfunction – 12% of the reviews mention broken or non-working items.
Customer Service – The second most mentioned item is customer service. 10% of the reviews that were analyzed contained comments concerning either the owner, property manager, poor communication, and/or poor instructions.
Cleanliness – Came in at 9%
However, if you look only at the reviews that provided a star rating of only 1 to 3, then we noticed an interesting change. The top three things that are commented on in this case are:
Customer Service – 14%
Cleanliness – 12%
Malfunction/Broken – 10%
Looking at this data, you can see the importance of customer service. If you have a customer service problem you are increasing your chances at getting a lower review and these are the very comments that are likely to show up in your reviews. Also, when you have poor customer service, this can be akin to raising a red flag to your renters. As a renter myself, starting off with bad customer service makes me more inclined to notice and even look for what else could be wrong in the rental. Thus, you begin to see the increase in the other complaints (e.g. cleanliness) as well. If however you have great customer service, you decrease your chances of receiving a negative review. A lot of this may be common sense, but it is interesting nonetheless to see the statistics and realize the kind of impact something as simple as customer service will have.