KonMari and Airbnb

Airbnb summer high season is here.  For hosts in touristy cities this is when you want to be fully booked at a great rate – making all of your hard work worth it.  But perhaps you’ve noticed, especially if you are in a major tourist centre, that competition is really heating up. There seem to be more and more hosts.   

So how do you make your space stand out? As an Airbnb host, this is something I’ve thought a lot about.   While you are limited by the size, age, layout of your home, there are many ways to maximize your guest’s comfort and experience. Below are just a few that I’ve focused on.

1)      Keep it simple

This is really important if you are renting out a spare bedroom in your own home.  Of course your home will feature your own personal charm. But their personal space - usually a bedroom - should be fairly neutral: no stuffed closets or jammed bedside drawers, and not too many personal items lying around. Basically, keep everything as clutter free as possible. Clean white sheets and a couple of throw pillows give the room a feel of luxury without feeling excessive. Keep artwork simple and tasteful. Make sure you have proper window treatments (be it blinds, drapes, whatever works) to give your guest privacy and keep the place cool or dark during the night. Your guest is here to relax, so make the space somewhere they’ll look forward to coming back to.

2)       Keep it clean and tidy

This one should go without saying. And yet, I’ve seen countless listings where reviewers talk about hair on the floor, the dirty bathroom, the tub that doesn’t drain, the stained sheets, and the dusty furniture. If you rely on cleaner, always take a final look around before a guest comes in, just to make sure nothing was missed. You should aim for 5 star hotel clean. If other hosts don’t keep that standard your listing will stand out with all those great reviews!

3)      Everything in its place and a place for everything

Whether you rent out a spare room or your entire place (in which case this is even more important), keep a clutter free environment that is easy to maintain and restore once the guest is gone. Keep in mind that every extra item in your home is just one more thing you'll have to locate and clean once a guest departs. Make sure the supplies needed by the guests are in the most obvious location (likely where they are going to be used). For example, fresh towels in the bathroom, linens in a bedroom closet, cleaning supplies all in one location easily accessible. You don’t want your guest calling you at random hours to ask where the extra bath tissue is any more than they want to call you.

4)      Don't stockpile

Yes, Costco had a sale, but now you are stuck with 80 rolls of paper towel that you will need to store somewhere in your overflowing pantry. Everyone wants to save a buck, but when that turns your space into a storage facility, you need to reconsider. Try to limit purchases to an amount that you can store easily in those designated locations. Make sure you leave your guest with enough supplies to last their stay. And then remember to check if anything needs to be replaced after every check out. Same applies to items like sheets, towels, dishes etc.  Provide just enough that your guest requires, and in the case of sheets and towels, keep one or two spare sets for those occasions when you have a same day turnaround. I even suggest you hide those extras so the current guest doesn’t use them frivolously.

5)       Don’t forget the joy

I wouldn’t be a future Konmari consultant if I forgot to mention the joy factor! Make sure that your space feels inviting and that your guests feel appreciated for being there. As a host, you must aim to create an environment that sparks joy in your guest.  Some fresh cut flowers, fruit, maybe some baked goods or a bottle of local wine are a nice way to make your guests feel important and thrilled to write you those 5 start reviews!  

Speaking of KonMari, Marie Kondo, gave a presentation at the latest Airbnb Open in Paris, France.   She provided some great tips for hosts and I encourage you to watch.