A growing number of travellers are embracing the sharing economy by using apps such as Airbnb, HomeAway, and VRBO – but for many tourists, this kind of travel is still relatively new and Airbnb guest etiquette is still a bit iffy.
If you’re someone who usually stays in hotels when you hop across the globe, the thought of arriving at a stranger’s house in a foreign city and staying in their spare room can be rather daunting.
Yes, there are house rules that you can follow but what about the unspoken rules? How much chit-chat with your host is too much when you first arrive? Is it rude to ask lots of questions about public transport, local shops and where to find the best coffee?
We have put together some tips regarding what it takes to be a great guest.
Communication with your host
The best way to get in the good books of your host is to make sure you communicate with them in a timely and responsive manner. If they send you a message about your expected arrival time…make sure you reply. And if your flight is delayed, always let the host know so they are not sitting around for hours waiting to let you in.
In terms of the amount of communication recommended between you and your host during your stay – this will depend on whether you are staying in a private room in their home or whether you have the entire place to yourself. If you are sharing a space, always remember to consider your host. For example, if you want to use the kitchen for an hour to prepare a meal – it’s nice to touch base with your host to make sure they don’t need to use the cooker during that time.
Some hosts will be more communicative and talkative than others and you run the risk of annoying a host if you contact them too much during your stay but most of the time you’ll be able to get a feel for what level of contact is best while you share their home.
You might enjoy long showers or taking a relaxing bath at home but when you’re a guest in someone’s Airbnb you need to consider their schedules. If you’re sharing a family home and the kids need to shower and brush their teeth before school – don’t decide to be in the bathroom for ages in the morning.
If you’re planning on having a late night and you arrive home feeling peckish – don’t bang your way around the kitchen while your host is in the next room trying to sleep. Noise, in particular, is a good way to gain yourself a bad review if you’re not mindful of others. Even something as simple as Skyping someone back home could keep people awake if you decide to talk loudly late at night.Noise, in particular, is a good way to gain yourself a bad review if you’re not mindful of others. Click To Tweet
The other main issue to always consider is cleaning up after yourself in a shared home. Dirty dishes should not be left in the sink. Wet towels should not be left on the bathroom floor.
Imagine you are an Airbnb host who also runs a business and has a family. You have limited hours in the day to achieve the things you need to achieve and some of that time is spent dealing with Airbnb guests. How would you feel if your guest tells you they are arriving at 4pm but doesn’t show up until 8pm and you’ve waited four hours in the house to hand over the keys to them? You’d be pretty annoyed, right?
If you say you’re going to arrive at a certain time – make sure you do. Hosts are busy people and your overnight fee does not compensate them for time lost waiting around for you to arrive. Similarly – be sure to have your things packed and the space cleaned before your official check-out time.
Making it personal
Some guests like to leave a small gift to thank their host if they’ve had a particularly lovely stay. This is always a welcome gesture – especially if they’ve gone above and beyond when it comes to taking care of you during your visit – but it’s not something you should feel obliged to do. We think a better approach is to make sure you view your host as a ‘person’.
This might sound strange but if you’re used to dealing with the anonymity of hotels you could fail to see the benefits of connecting with your host on a human level. We are not talking about forming lifelong friendships – but rather taking a small amount of time to get to know your host (if, of course, they are open to the exchange).
Often hosts will hint at their likes/dislikes in their Airbnb profile. Take the time to read it. If they talk about being a basketball fanatic and you happen to be a fan – don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation about the topic. If they’re passionate about the local produce in their neighbourhood – why not ask for some foodie tips? Hosts are much more likely to write glowing reviews if they feel they’ve connected with you during your stay (and you never know…you might learn a thing or two).
Follow the rules
Most hosts will outline a set of rules that they expect guests to follow during their stay. Always read the house rules before booking yourself accommodation through Airbnb because they could save you a bad review down the track.
For example, if you’re someone who likes to download movies and watch them during your holidays – you wouldn’t want to stay in a place that has limited WIFI or slow broadband. If you’re a person who parties during your vacations, you probably won’t be welcome in a house that has small children. Make sure the home you choose is compatible with your lifestyle and everyone will be a winner.Make sure the home you choose is compatible with your lifestyle and everyone will be a winner. Click To Tweet
The Don’t list:
- Don’t turn up without warning
- Don’t arrive with a pet (unless you agreed to this with your host on beforehand)
- Don’t bring along a friend who was not mentioned as part of your booking
- Don’t have sleepovers unless you check with your host
- Don’t leave your things in common areas unless you’ve been allocated specific space (i.e. a shelf in the fridge or rack in the bathroom)
- Don’t be noisy
- Don’t treat your accommodation like a hotel
- Don’t have overly-long showers
GuestReady offers a range of management services for Airbnb hosts to take the pressure off interacting with guests. Whether it’s assisting with bookings and pre-visit communication or helping with cleaning after a guest departs. (We are also available in Edinburgh!)