Tuesday Tip: Join a support group

We live in an era of unprecedented connectedness. Email, telephone, social media, the internet…there are so many ways to stay in touch with people. 

We are also living in a time when services like Airbnb are exploding in popularity.

People who wouldn’t have even dreamed of considering hosting on Airbnb 5 years ago are now eagerly signing up, or are at least interested in the idea and asking lots of questions!

These two things combined means that there is absolutely no scarcity of resources out there to help you navigate your short-term rental questions. If anything, the problem is that there might be too much information, not too little!

There is no need or reason for you to try to navigate these unknown waters alone.

Plug into some of the online groups and get your questions answered quickly, without having to reinvent the wheel! I’ve had so many complicated questions answered within minutes by simply posting to these groups – questions that would have taken hours or even days of research, or weeks of trial and error to answer.

It’s the best resource I could ever have hoped for, and best of all, it’s free!

I would recommend Facebook, as it is still the most robust social media site by far. Search for groups in your area – terms like “airbnb,” “short-term rental,” “host,” and “your city” are good places to start. If you’re still having trouble finding good suggestions, send me a message and I’ll give you some more ideas.

Tuesday Tip: washcloths

I just got back from an amazing few weeks in Italy. We hiked the picturesque towns of Cinque Terre, took a boat ride around Venice, had a wine tasting in the Tuscan valley, and more.

It was a wonderful, memorable trip. And of course, we stayed in Airbnbs the entire time.

Those were memorable too, although honestly some of them not for the best reasons. A consistent issue that kept popping up with our hosts was that they were not supplying washcloths.

They all gave us towels – that’s an Airbnb requirement – and most of them gave us face towels.

But not a single one gave us washcloths.

It seems so obvious to me. A guest may or may not use a face towel. But nearly everyone is going to need something to wash themselves in the shower with, right?

Apparently, it’s not as obvious as I thought.

So today’s Tuesday tip is one that I never thought I’d have to say. Provide your guests with washcloths. For goodness’ sake, you can get a pack of 12 for like $5. It’s neither expensive nor difficult to buy, and will really make a difference on the quality of your guests’ stay.

If you choose not to provide washcloths, you may very well have guests who mention their absence in their review and use face towels in their place (both of which I did!).

Tuesday Tip: Video doorbell

If you’re hosting a space where you don’t live, it’s crucial to have some sort of video surveillance on your property.

This is important even if you do live there, but it’s non-negotiable if you don’t.

You need to be able to look at a glance and see if the guests have brought in more people than they booked for, if they’re having a party, or any other number of shady behavior is going on.

The Ring video doorbells I have installed on my properties have provided easy evidence when I’ve had to file claims for additional guests. They’ve also enabled me to nip the beginnings of parties in the bud, and thus save myself a lot of time and potential damages in the aftermath of said party.

Check out Ring doorbells on Amazon here.

They’re super easy to install and very dependable. Would definitely recommend!

Tuesday Tip: Lockboxes

Smart locks are great for giving guests access to your space without having to bother with physical keys. But you absolutely must have a spare key somewhere guests can access it. 

For whatever the reason – the smart lock isn’t working, guests can’t figure out how to operate it, guests locked themselves out somehow (yes, all of those have happened to me!) – you need to have a backup way for guests to get inside. 

The easiest, simplest way to do this is simply have a lockbox with a spare key inside. 

This is also great because it’s much more secure than some other methods, such as hiding the key in the flowerpot on the front porch :). 

Check out one of my favorite combination lockboxes here

Tuesday Tip: Odor eaters

Recently I suggested switching everything you can to unscented products. That only works, however, if the smells are coming from the products. 

Sometimes there truly are strange smells in a space.

Maybe it’s a basement that can never quite shed those musty odors, or a home located just a little too close to the local paper mill. Whatever the reason, consider getting some odor eliminators to leave in your space.

Air fresheners are also a possibility, but remember that many people have sensitivity to smells. So if you go that route make sure to pick something neutral like citrus. 

Tuesday Tip: Airbnb Mag

Did you know that Airbnb has their very own magazine? It’s called, very creatively, airbnbmag. Super original, right? 🙂

Names aside, though, it’s a really fun read. I just got my first issue in the mail yesterday and I read it cover to cover before putting it down. It’s got fascinating special interest stories on food in Hong Kong, an insider’s guide to Copenhagen, local perspective on experiencing Montreal, all more. 

If you’re looking for some fun reading material or brochures to leave for your guests, I’d recommend getting a subscription to this magazine. If they’ve booked with you through Airbnb, it’s a pretty safe bet that they’d be interested in the magazine 🙂

Sign up for a subscription here

Tuesday Tip: Alexa

A few days ago I posted a link to an article about teaching useful skills to Amazon Alexa (also known as Echo) for your house guests. 

Of course, it’s a pointless article if you don’t actually have an Echo for your guests to use, isn’t it?

So, if you want to go that route, here’s a link to several different types of Echo models that Amazon sells. 

Happy hosting!

Tuesday Tip: Stick with scentless

I once had a property where guests were often complaining about the smell.

I couldn’t figure out what they were talking about. Every time I went over there to check it out, it always smelled perfectly fine to me. 

Eventually, I figured it out. 

It was the smell of the actual cleaning products used in the space that guests were complaining about. 

I asked my cleaners to switch to non-scented products, and immediately the complaints stopped. We’ve never gotten another one since. 

Some people have incredibly high sensitivities to smells. If you’re not one of those people, it may be hard for you to relate to that. But do your guests a favor and err on the safe side. Stick with unscented cleaning products, soap, laundry detergent, etc. Your guests will thank you! 

Tuesday Tip: Poo-pourri

Have you ever had a particularly smelly trip to the bathroom? One that no amount of fan-sucking or arm-flailing can fix? 

Let’s be honest – we’ve all been there. And no one wants to be the one to stink up the bathroom for everyone else. Especially when they’re on vacation together!

Enter: Poo-pourri. 

This amazing product doesn’t mask the odor. It actually traps the smells in the bowl, before they ever get out into the wild. You spray it on the surface of the water before you start, and it creates a film that keeps odors from escaping. It’s kind of a miracle worker. 

Find it on Amazon here


Tuesday Tip: Toilet bowl clips

Ah, toilet bowls.

That thing that everyone uses but no one wants to touch. 

Make things a little easier on your cleaners (and more pleasant for your guests) by putting a toilet bowl clip on the insides of your toilets.

You can buy ones that are just air fresheners, or ones that are actually supposed to clean the bowl as well. (Although frankly, I’m skeptical of a product that says it can clean something with no elbow grease at all.) 

Find a selection of different options here