5 tips for writing a 5* Airbnb house manual.

People know their home like the back of their hand. So when staying in a home away from home – your Airbnb-listed home – it’s not surprising that they expect the same level of ease, comfort and knowledge. It’s a tricky thing to achieve: after all, they’ve most likely never seen it before, and they’re probably not native to the country it’s listed in. It’s a harsh reality, but an important one – 5* ratings do not come easily, and having a comprehensive house manual is a key player in the review game.

Luckily for you, we’re know a lot about Airbnb property management, and have helped hoards of hosts achieve house manual glory. We’ve seen it all: the good, the bad, and the lengthy! And while there are some obvious pointers you’re probably aware of – cover the essentials during check-in, leave it in an obvious place – we’ve gathered together 5 lesser-known tips we think will take your house manual to 5* greatness.

1- Don’t scrimp on the home essentials

Obviously, unearthing the wifi code will be top of guests’ agendas. But what will they need next? Every home has its own quirks, so it’s important that anything which isn’t 100% intuitive or by-the-book (like the knack to the heating or that trick to getting the toaster to pop) should be included. You should also make your check-out procedure crystal clear: what time they should leave, how they can lock the door, and where they should leave the keys.

2- Keep it simple

House rules should be concise and clear. It’s that simple. But don’t feel the need to justify every little point: if you don’t want people to wear shoes in your home, say so. Airbnb guests are just like you – people with homes they love – and in our experience they’re happy to follow your lead.

3- Size matters

House manual length is more an art than a science – that is, there’s no hard-and-fast rule on how long to make it. However, we recommend around 2 pages of well-spaced A4 or A5. This should be ample enough room to cover the quirks of your home as well as your local recommendations – we’ve found this is the ‘Goldilocks’ length. Any shorter and your house manual won’t cover the key questions guests will have, leading to confusion, 2am in-stay messages and poor reviews. Any longer, and it’ll likely be so off-putting to guests that it will go unread. If you’re struggling to stick to 2 pages, try using bullet points and clear headings to help your guests find the info they need.

4- Local low-down

The main perk of choosing Airbnb over a hotel is the local colour guests get to experience, so be sure to add your 2 cents and include thorough local recommendations. Assume your guests have heard of the city’s main attractions – where you can help is by offering insight into everyday conveniences like supermarkets, petrol stations, post offices, cinemas etc. Local recommendations are also a great way to stamp your personality on your house manual: where do you like to hang out in your free time? Where are some off-the-beaten-track coffee shops or bars?

5-Take it online

This might seem obvious, but a lot of Airbnb hosts skip this step – don’t make the same mistake! Add your house manual to your Airbnb listing so guests will have access to the information ahead of their trip, or while they’re out and about during the day. We also recommend having more than one physical copy in your home, for ease of access. The laminator, or plastic wallets, are also your friend 🙂

So there you have it: 5 top tips for writing a 5* house manual!House manuals are our thing and this how we create it for each of the lovely homes we are looking after on our fully managed option. Follow these suggestions and you’re sure to be on the path to 5* reviews after the satisfied, clued-in guests leave.

If you’ve got any questions, get in touch in the comments. We’d love to hear your own tips, too!

Why meeting your Airbnb guest in person matters

Accepting your first guest – or any guest, for that matter – through Airbnb is exciting. You’ll be counting down the days until they arrive, keen to show them your pad and ‘hood, and even keener to ensure they have a good time while in both. So how can you ensure they enjoy their stay in your home? Having a characterful, clean place with comfy beds and fresh linen will definitely earn rave reviews, but often overlooked is the personal touch – meeting a guest at your door rather than leaving keys in a lockbox that says ‘I’m just in it for the money.’ A friendly face will help guests settle quicker, ensuring they can have a great time on their city break. But can also be beneficial for you too, helping put your mind at ease should you have any pre-arrival jitters. Meeting a guest in person to hand over the keys is a great way to put your mind at rest (as well as theirs), acting as the last ‘safety net’ once you’ve received the final booking confirmation. We’ve broken down the most important reasons to greet a guest in person below.

The warmest welcome

The Airbnb experience is about much more than the accommodation itself. After all, if a guest valued their immediate surroundings above everything else, they’d probably be staying at the Hilton! Airbnb is about experiencing the city like a local, and who better to fill them in on the neighbourhood’s secret spots than you? And as well as a warm, fuzzy feeling knowing you’ve improved someone’s trip, this perk of face-to-face meet and greets is sure to result in lots of 5-star reviews, too. What more could you ask for?

Fill in the blanks

If you’ve listed your property as available on Airbnb, chances are it’s because you’re jetting off to somewhere for a holiday of your own. And what could be more distracting (from the important things like tan topping-up and marathon reading sessions) than emails from confused guests about how to switch on the boiler, or how to log in to the WiFi? Because it’s also distressing for them, long periods of confusion are likely to result in lower review scores, too. But meeting them in person and explaining your home’s quirks in all their glory is an easy way to prevent such situations before they arise. Of course, you can always leave the ‘house rules’ in a prominent place in your home before you lock up for the last time. But words are much easier to understand when spoken aloud by a human than when read on paper after a 9-hour flight.

Face behind the place

Hotel rooms are faceless (and a little soulless, but we might be biased 😉 ), which makes it harder to have respect for the space itself. Having heard first-hand how much sentimental value is attached to your living room rug, and why you’d be really grateful if guests could take their shoes off while crossing it, is often a more effective way to ensure guests take care of things than the aforementioned words on paper. Who knows, maybe Keith Richards would have kept the TV on its stand had Airbnb been around back then!

So, there’s no two-ways about it: meeting your Airbnb guest in person is not only important, but extremely beneficial for both sides. And if turning on the charm isn’t your thing? You can always have an Airbnb management service take care of it for you…!