I wanted to write a quick follow-up post about my experience prepping to be a first-time AirBnB host, now that my four guests have checked out of my house and I’m back in it. Overall, it was a success!
My approach to being a host was to treat it as a social experiment to see if 1) I’d be comfortable having people in my house while I was away; 2) I could get a good review; and 3) The experience would lead me to consider hosting guests again (especially since each subsequent hosting experience would be much easier to prep for and more profitable than the first time). The answer to all three of those questions is: yes.
When I returned home, the house was cleaner than I expected it to be. The kitchen and bathrooms were the dirtiest areas, which makes sense. Otherwise, I hardly noticed that four people had spent five days in it. It was definitely a little strange to walk in the front door and be reminded that strangers had been in my house while I was gone, but I quickly got over it.
As part of my check-out instructions, I asked the guests to strip the beds and throw the used towels on the bathroom floors. This made it easy for me to add all of my personal bedding from my owner’s closet back onto my bed and start the first of multiple loads of laundry. A quick note about asking guests to strip the beds: make sure your mattresses and pillows are in great shape. The last thing anyone wants to see on a bed they’ve been sleeping in are stains.
Since I returned home in the evening, I saved the major cleaning for the following day, but I did a quick wipe down of the master bathroom since I would be using it. I also realized that the more towels you provide for guests, the more will be used (duh!). I had planned to provide two bath towels, two hand towels and two wash cloths for each guest, but I wound up going a littler overboard and providing lots of extra hand towels and washcloths, which was unnecessary and created more laundry. That’s definitely something I’ll revise for my next hosting experience.
I also learned that it’s important to mentally and physically reclaim your space. Once I returned, I didn’t want to feel like I was suddenly a guest in my own house just because I’d hosted guests, so to shake that feeling I cooked dinner. There’s something about preparing a meal that makes me feel like I’m claiming a space as my own (even if I’m doing it somewhere else), so cooking dinner like I would most nights definitely helped remind me that I was home. I still silently toasted my guests with one of the beers they’d left behind to thank them for the great review, and I made sure to write my own positive review in return.
Overall, I’m really pleased with the experience. So much so, that I’ve accepted two more bookings for upcoming long weekends. I’ll be hosting four people again both times, for about five days each. I’ll be staying with my boyfriend over one weekend and heading up to the mountains for a trip that was already planned during the other. Since I’m not working, it’s easy to bounce around without worrying about where I can answer emails, get Wifi or take phone calls from. I also have the time to prep for guests and clean, which would be almost impossible if my schedule looked like it did when I was working. That’s something for me to keep in mind, because if I do wind up taking another job, it could be difficult to continue to be an AirBnB host, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.
My boyfriend (who’s a millennial) commended me for overcoming my anxiety about hosting and for recognizing the positive benefits it provides. He’s been hosting his house for a couple of years, and during a one-year period when he didn’t work, it was his sole income. He’s had mostly positive experiences and was a big advocate for me trying it out. His praise included calling me a “true millennial.” This was meant as a compliment, but let me reassure you that I’m not and, will never be, a millennial. The values of my fellow Gen X’ers are almost the complete opposite of those embraced by millennials. That being said, I might steal a thing or two when it comes to being less skeptical, more optimistic and willing to fully embrace the sharing economy for the opportunities it can provide.