Airbnb Hosting: Getting Started

Deciding to become a host is the first step in a wonderful journey of meeting new people and introducing them to our beautiful city of Cape Town.

As the majority of hosts rent out a spare room in their house, they already have most of the basics required and it does not have to be an elaborate exercise to set-up your space and ready it for your first guests.

There are a few extras that you could add to make your space extra special and homely for your guests. We discuss that more in our post: Airbnb Hosting: Special Touches.

As an Airbnb host, your service lies somewhere between a hotel option and guesthouse. Most visitors choose this option as they want something more sophisticated than a couch, not as formal as guesthouse, and not as clinical as hotel. Most travellers choose this option as it’s affordable, but also you get insider tips from locals. It allows guests to the city to truly live like a local. To gain this kind of experience is well worth it in my book of travels.

These are some of our ideas to assist with the set-up of your Airbnb space.

Kitting out the basics and readying your space:

  1. Good bed & linens – Make it homely by ensuring you have a comfortable bed for your guests to sleep on. Clean fresh linens go a long way to making your guests’ stay enjoyable. There is nothing better than climbing into freshly washed, crisp sheets on a newly made up bed to ensure a good night’s rest. Some of your guests may be from regions warmer than ours. Having a blanket, comforter or throw in the room for warmth will add a nice touch.
  2. Décor – For many this is seen as a special touch, but the décor you choose to appoint your room with, and especially take photos of for your listing, will make or break the interest in your space as well as your bookings. You don’t have to go all out, but a matching colour scheme, a couple of comfortable pillows, a chair or closet space will assist with positive interest.
  3. Towels – Towels add extra weight to your luggage when you travel, so most people don’t travel with their own towels. Fresh towels are a nice touch on arrival, as some may have travelled far and would like to have a refreshing shower on arrival. Having these at hand, puts you a step ahead, and shows your guests you’re thoughtful.
  4. Declutter – Whilst your guests are staying with you, their room will be their sanctuary. A place to rest, refuel and recharge after their days doing touristy things. If they feel that they are stuffed into one of your closet spaces, or your storage room, they will not be happy and may even check-out shortly after arrival. (This means you don’t get paid!)
  5. Clean – Although this would seem an obvious one, the cleanliness of your space could make or break a visit. A quick once over of your space, and especially the guestroom will go a long way to ensure happy guests, and good reviews. With the wind in Cape Town, dust comes through all the cracks and settles everywhere very quickly. Even if you’ve cleaned your guest room prior to arrival, do one last once over just before their arrival. If you own any pets, a quick hair inspection is wise too. Finding a hair of any kind on your linens as a guest would make anyone cringe.

A good rule of thumb for me with hosting is to think what you would expect as a traveler yourself.

How did you setup your guest room? What other tips could you give to first time Airbnb hosts? Please share it with us; we’d love to hear about it.

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