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As seasoned travelers who’ve explored the world through the lens of Airbnb, our growing family has encountered some great hosts and remarkable stays that have left an indelible mark on our journeys. While we have had some fantastic experiences staying in Airbnb, we’ve also experienced some not-so-great spaces that ruined our trip.

Drawing from our experiences, this article offers valuable insights and tips to help hosts create an unforgettable Airbnb experience. Let’s delve into the Airbnb essentials and must haves that will delight guests.

grey kitchen cabinets
Image Credit: The Thrifty Apartment

Communication: Connecting with Your Guests

As a guest, effective communication is paramount. Engage with your guests promptly, addressing their inquiries and concerns. Provide clear and detailed check-in instructions, ensuring a smooth arrival. A friendly and approachable demeanor makes guests feel welcomed and valued throughout their stay.

Consider checking in with them during their stay, ensuring everyone’s needs are met, and offering recommendations or assistance when required.

Our family is young and growing- we’ve got two children under two years old.  The day of travel always seems like a logistical nightmare full of directions, rental coordination, frequent stops, etc.  Planning can be exhausting, from ensuring the kids have packed the proper shoes, toys, bathing suits, books, and snacks.  

When an Airbnb superhost drops a welcoming text reminding us of the smart lock code, it is a relief. This simple reminder is a great start as it saves me time digging through previous communications, leaving me with one less thing to worry about! 

Related post: The Ultimate Airbnb Inventory Checklist and Guide for Hosts

Creating a Cozy Nest

Curating a warm and inviting space is key to an exceptional Airbnb experience. Invest in a comfortable and quality mattress, as a good night’s sleep sets the tone for a delightful stay.

We recently returned from a hiking trip in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.  Long hikes during the day provided us with some lifelong memories and breathtaking mountain views, but after lugging gear around all day, it also made for a tired set of parents, which is why we were so glad to have our Airbnb mattress and quality bed linen.

My husband and I wanted to find out the brand to replace our mattress at home!  Long story short, if we make this trip again, we’ll 100% choose the same house because we know we can count on a wonderful night of rest. 

Attention to Detail

Beyond the bedroom, furnish your space with tasteful décor that reflects your unique style while ensuring functionality. Consider the mood you wish to create and have intent when creating a space —soft lighting, scented candles, blackout curtains, and a curated selection of books (including toddler books) can transform a room into a cozy haven.

Every guest is different, but for our family, a game room, smart TV, or outdoor space for activities is great for the kids.  We are also looking for an exceptional master bedroom and other baby friendly essentials such as a high chair and pack and play.  A unique flavor, a great view, or an interesting art piece (along with a good mattress), and we’re almost guaranteed to leave a positive review! 

high chair in kitchen
Image Credit: Deposit Photos

Little Luxuries: Thoughtful Amenities

It’s the thoughtful amenities that make a stay truly memorable. Provide high-quality toiletries, plush towels, a hair dryer, ample toilet paper, and an assortment of teas and coffees. A well-stocked kitchen with essential cookware, utensils, and a coffee maker lets guests easily prepare meals. Consider providing additional Airbnb amenities, such as a Bluetooth speaker, board games, or bicycles, tailored to your location and guest preferences.

Know your target customers.

Are they honeymooners looking for ambiance, business travelers, or a family of 5 with small children? When the host can provide a highchair for meals and a few utensils for kids, it goes a long way to making potential guests feel comfortable. Having a good grasp on the type of guests you are looking to attract will help you best cater to the guests’ needs. 

My husband and I enjoy wine, but drinking it means opening up a bottle of wine.  We now travel with a wine key, as it surprised us how many rental properties overlooked the corkscrew!  Sometimes, it’s these little things that end up being the biggest problem. 

coffee station
Image Credit: Deposit Photos

Clean and Well Maintained Home

Maintaining a spotless and sanitized space is essential. Prioritize thorough cleaning in your Airbnb rental before guests arrive, ensuring pristine surfaces, clean bathrooms, and fresh bed linens.

Regularly check common areas and address any maintenance or cleanliness issues promptly. A clean, well-maintained space instills confidence and promotes a sense of comfort and well-being.

Keep up on the maintenance.

The thoughtful amenities will go to waste if they are not functional.  We stayed at a vacation rental in Toronto that boasted a terrific backyard jungle gym for the children- only to discover upon our arrival that the kids could get seriously injured had they ventured down a broken slide.  

Working appliances.

Fully functional, working appliances cannot be overstated. Beyond just providing a place to stay, having appliances that actually work plays a pivotal role in enhancing guest satisfaction.  Working appliances like refrigerators, ovens, microwaves, washing machines, dishwashers, and air conditioning units made our stay more convenient and comfortable.  

For example, I can’t tell you how often we have encountered nonfunctioning remotes for smart TVs because of dead batteries. All we wanted to do was Netflix and chill; instead, we were left annoyed and frustrated. Such inconveniences can impact the guest experience, potentially leading to negative reviews.

Local Gems: Insider Tips and Recommendations

As a well-traveled family, we cherish the opportunity to experience the local culture. Provide your guests with a curated guide to your favorite spots, including restaurants, cafes, parks, and hidden gems off the beaten path. Personal recommendations add a touch of authenticity and enable your guests to experience your destination like a local.

Another recent trip provided discounts to a couple of local restaurants. I’m not certain how much effort the host put into obtaining the freebies, but any little perk to make your guest enjoy the surrounding area is good to keep in mind. 

Seamless Departure: Simplifying Checkout

To wrap up the Airbnb experience on a high note, ensure a seamless departure process. Communicate your checkout procedures, including expectations for tidying up the space, returning keys, and any additional requests. Express gratitude for their stay and invite them to provide feedback, as their insights can help enhance future guest experiences.

For us personally, the first day of the trip can be stressful, like the day of departure.  “Did we forget to pack anything!?” When a host sends me the house rules and laundry list of to-dos and reminds me of the hefty fine should we forget to take out the trash, it can be a bit off-putting. Available, polite, and accommodating is the right tone to take with your guests throughout their stay – especially at the end when it counts.  


We’ve been invited to arrive a day early when the previous guest’s stay was cut short, which we thought was a nice gesture.  It allowed us to outsmart some potential weather and traffic issues and start vacation on a high note.

Perhaps this is all part of good communication, but being flexible with your guests and their requests can make or break a trip.  Make your patrons feel heard and try to be flexible to their needs whenever possible. This is just a common courtesy.

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We have been fortunate to encounter remarkable Airbnb stays that have exceeded our expectations.

By focusing on effective communication, creating a cozy and thoughtfully furnished space, maintaining immaculate cleanliness, providing thoughtful amenities and basic toiletries, sharing insider tips, and ensuring a seamless departure, a successful host can create an unforgettable Airbnb experience.

Remember, the small details and little touches make a big impact, and by going the extra mile, you can leave a lasting impression on your guests, fostering positive 5-star reviews and cultivating a loyal community of travelers. So, venture on this journey of hosting with passion and dedication, and let the magic of Airbnb unfold!

Amy Johnson

Amy Johnson is a working mom with two babies. She holds an MBA and has a career in the finance field.  Amy was born in China, attended university in Canada, and now resides with her family in Cleveland, Ohio.  When she is not traveling and making memories with the family, she writes passionately about parenting on her

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