There are lots of different reasons why people travel. For some, it’s about staying in a nice hotel and lying by the pool. They don’t particularly care where they are… the goal is just to switch-off from their everyday lives and relax.
For others, travel is a very different experience. It’s about immersing themselves in new cultures. Feasting on local cuisine. Exploring quirky alleys in strange cities. And being inspired by the people they meet.
These kinds of travellers often choose Airbnb because they want a more authentic experience abroad rather than staying in a hotel chain. And do you want to know what makes them happy? Feeling like a local.
Styling your Airbnb
You don’t have to go overboard with country-specific interior decorating in order to make people feel like they are having a unique experience … many guests will appreciate little touches that add local charm to the space.
It could be as simple as a Big Ben tea towel in the kitchen or an old postcard framed on the wall. If you live in an area that’s renowned for a particular thing – whether it’s a type of wood grown locally or a group of artisans, you might like to feature an item in your home with a little note that explains its significance – like, ‘This bread board has been made by a local wood worker using beautiful cedar wood grown in the region’ or ‘This lamp was made by a talented designer who happens to live in our town.
You can see more of her stunning designs at her workshop which I’ve circled on your “welcome map”.
Always consider your surroundings when you style your home for Airbnb guests. If you have a cottage in the countryside, guests will most likely appreciate rustic features – like a horseshoe hanging above the door or fresh flowers from the garden placed in a vase.
If you have an inner city apartment then more urban/ minimalist interior design would probably work for your space. You can find more styling tips here.
A taste of local life
A great way to help your guests get a taste for local life is to include a few regional delicacies in their welcome basket. Food that might seem ‘everyday’ to you – like a cheap savoury street snack – could become a talking point for your guests if they’ve never eaten such a snack before.
Other items you could put in your welcome basket, depending on where you are based in the world, could include: a jar of locally made jam or chutney, some homemade baked goods like muffins or cookies, fragrant tea that is grown in the area, or tropical fruits. Be sure to read our post about creating an inspiring welcome basketfor more ideas.
Guiding your guests
There’s something special about arriving in a foreign city and having a local give you ‘insider tips’ about cool places to eat, interesting things to see, and the best ways to get around.
Airbnb hosts can offer their guests a unique perspective…much more useful than anything in the Lonely Planet guide books.
We are constantly getting feedback from happy Airbnb guests about how their hosts went ‘above and beyond’to help them navigate their way around the neighbourhood.
Do you have a favourite restaurant nearby that you can tell guests about? Is there a wine bar that serves unique cocktails? Or a bakery in your neighbourhood that sells sweet treats on certain days of the week that might be of interest to your guests?
All this information is worth sharing with travellers who come to stay in your home – whether it’s in your welcome letter…or during your initial conversation with them when they arrive.
If you happen to be someone who has some time up your sleeves, you might consider walking your guests around the neighbourhood and pointing out a few places of interest.
They’re bound to be grateful for the quick tour and it will definitely help them feel like a local. You may also create your own blog to give city advice to your Guests as Virevolte, a blog created by our CTO, has done.
For hosts who live in the UK, we have done some of the work for you in our recent article 10 tips to help your Airbnb guests go off the beaten track in London.
Not sure what to do?
If you are unsure about the best ways to make your guests feel at home or if you don’t have time to put together an inspiring city guide full of local tips – the good news is that we have GuestReady experts all over the world who can assist hosts with managing guests. Contact us for more information.