Airbnb Etiquette: Tips for Guests from a SuperHost

According to iPropertyManagement, there are over 6 million Airbnb listings worldwide with 650,000 hosts operating those properties. Now more than ever, the pressure is on to be a flawless host. Every host wants to have the most unique space, the best local tips, the most glowing reviews, and of course, the title of SuperHost.

But, what if you’re a guest?

One of the most successful safety features implemented by Airbnb is that guests can review hosts and hosts can review guests, both publicly and privately. If you’re an Airbnb host and you get a booking request from someone with poor reviews, you can reject their request. It’s a way for hosts to control their properties and feel safe, especially if that property is their own home.

So, how can you stand out among 150 million users as a great guest? Observe outstanding Airbnb etiquette! As an Airbnb Superhost, I have some tips for you to make that happen.

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© Daniel Salcius / Unsplash

The Best Airbnb Etiquette Tips for Guests

1. Study the Cleaning and Check-Out Guidelines

Every Airbnb comes with a set of guidelines – consider them Airbnb rules for guests – that explains everything from check-in and check-out times to where to take your trash before you leave. Following these guidelines is the best way to show a host that you respect them and their property.

Some common things to look for to make transitioning from your stay to the next easier for the host include where to take the trash, where to leave any bedding and/or towels, whether or not you can leave dishes in the dishwasher, etc.

Remember, it’s also CRUCIAL to respect the property’s check out time! When hosts have guests checking in right after you, your late check-out can put them behind in their cleaning schedule.

2. Note How Many People are Staying

When searching for a property, it’s easy to filter by how many beds you need rather than how many people are actually planning to stay. When booking an Airbnb though, it’s proper etiquette to note how many guests are actually staying. Don’t just leave it at “1!” This will help your host tailor the experience and know what to expect. For example, they can be sure to leave you plenty of snacks, drinks, and clean towels if they know you have six guests rather than two.

airbnb tips for guests
Airbnb has great filters for finding the right place to stay, but it’s important to give your Host all the information, too!

With some Airbnbs, there is an extra guest fee. This is to offset the additional cleaning and laundering tasks that extra guests bring. It’s important to be honest about the number of guests staying because a host can always tell if there were more guests than the number booked! Not following this etiquette could lead to negative reviews!

Related: How to Stick to Your Budget When Traveling with Friends

3. Communication is Key

Feel free to treat your host as a new friend! Tell them why you’re visiting the area and maybe even why you chose their property. For example, one gentleman wrote to tell us he booked our apartment for the weekend because he was proposing to his girlfriend at a nearby apple orchard. We were so excited! Since we were in on the secret, we made sure their stay was extra memorable. We left champagne in the fridge and fresh flowers around the apartment. Letting your host in your plans allows them to personalize your experience even more.

Related: How to Meet People As a Solo Traveler

4. Treat it Like Your Friend’s House

Speaking of treating your host as a new friend, it’s a good idea to leave the property like you would leave a friend’s house. Would you leave trash on the counters and half-eaten food in the fridge if you were staying with a friend? Probably not — otherwise, you might not be invited back!

You don’t have to leave a place immaculate, but it is courteous to leave it as you found it. Some things to think about maybe to put the sleeper sofa back in place and put clean dishes back where you found them.

Fun Fact: Since the company started in 2008, Airbnb has booked over half a billion stays. That’s a lot of bucket list items checked off and memories made!

proper airbnb etiquette
Kitchen spaces in Airbnbs are usually neat, tidy, and ready for you to use, so it’s polite to leave them as you found them! © Mike Marquez / Unsplash

5. Leave an Airbnb Review

If you’ve ever booked an Airbnb, you know how many times they remind you to leave a review! You only have a set window of time to leave a review, so be sure to do it as soon as you can. Reviews help hosts move up to SuperHost, which means they get ranked higher in searches. Leave some love for your host! 

How to Write an Airbnb Review

According to Airbnb, “The best reviews include information that will help future hosts and guests. For example, you can share about your interactions with your guest, host, or their affiliates, and guests can highlight qualities that made the stay special (like cleanliness, personal touches, or convenience).” Here are a few tips for writing an Airbnb review that will help your host and future guests as they search for the perfect place to stay.

  1. Be sure to include how many people stayed and if the accommodations were comfortable for that number. It’s helpful to say things like, “We had plenty of seats for everyone to hang out in the living room together” or “There was plenty of room in the kitchen for a few chefs!” That way, people can see if the space is large enough if they plan to dine in and spend a lot of time inside.
  2. Share the reason for your stay. Is the Airbnb just right for a solo traveler? Is it perfect for a romantic weekend for two or a family getaway? Someone is likely looking for just that, so share the things about that particular home that made your trip comfortable.
  3. Don’t be afraid to go into detail. One of the number one things I look for in reviews when choosing my own stays is how close the Airbnb is to fun attractions, restaurants, train stations, etc.
  4. Mention the overall feel of the area. Did you feel safe? Is there a lot of street noise at night? Were you able to park easily? All of these are great ways to help fellow travelers narrow down their search.
  5. Finally, if you have any feedback or suggestions, you can always note them in the private note section of the review. As a host, I always appreciate private constructive criticism so that I have a chance to address any concerns without potentially missing out on bookings.

6. Share Your Airbnb Experience on Social Media

If you want to do something nice for your host, share their space! More and more these days, Airbnb hosts create unique little Instagrammable nooks to build buzz around their property.

When my group of friends stayed at a gorgeous little place in Savannah, Georgia, I must have shared every single one of her framed Wes Anderson prints on Instastories. Now if any of my followers are headed to Savannah themselves, they may want to know where we stayed. Sharing is always caring!

Sharing a great Airbnb experience with your friends is one of the best things you can do to repay your host! © Sonnie Hiles / Unsplash

7. Keep it in the Airbnb App

Did you know that you can even call your host through the Airbnb app? It’s so important to place any calls or messages directly through the app so that they are recorded. That way, if any scam situations or other negative issues arise, Airbnb can do their best to help you.

So, next time you stay at Airbnb, remember that you’re staying in someone’s home. Treat it like your own or treat it like a friend’s home you’ve been invited to stay in. Hosts are battling it out to make your stay perfect, so return the favor with excellent Airbnb etiquette. You’ll have a slew of 5-star guest ratings in no time!

Click here to save $55 on your first Airbnb stay.

FAQ About Airbnb Stays

Like anything, staying at Airbnbs gets easier and more natural with time. If you’re getting ready for your first Airbnb booking or if you want to improve your overall guest rating, we have the answers to your burning questions!

Do I tip an Airbnb host?

Generally, no. There is no option to leave a tip within the app, and the stance of Airbnb seems to be that tipping your host means leaving a great review to encourage more stays. Plus, hosts set their own prices, so they are charging what they want to be paid. If you think a host went above and beyond though, there is always the option to give them a tip in person or through another cash exchange service, especially if it feels culturally appropriate where you are.

A little note: If you leave cash as a tip at the Airbnb before you leave, there’s a chance it would be picked up by the cleaning crew, not the hosts.

Will my Airbnb have towels?

This can vary from place to place. Usually, you can find a list of all the amenities provided on the actual listing (see below). You may also read reviews from other guests to see if they comment on the amenities provided, and of course, you can message the host to confirm with them directly. For example, if it’s important to you to have a toaster rather than a toaster oven or an iron rather than a steamer, it’s a good idea to ask the host!

Every Airbnb listing should have detailed lists of everything they provide so you know exactly what to pack!

Why does Airbnb have a cleaning fee?

Airbnb is dedicated to ensuring that cleaners are paid fair wages. When you set your cleaning fee as a host, you actually pledge to the company that you pay your cleaners a living wage.

You might still be wondering, “Why do I have to pay a cleaning fee if I also have to follow the cleaning guidelines?” While a lot of Airbnbs ask that you take out trash and leave all the dishes clean and put away, most of them don’t ask that you stay until all of the toilets, showers and sinks are clean, the beds are all laundered and made, and the floors are vacuumed and mopped! You probably also won’t clean the microwave, stove, or fridge. Most guests don’t dust or reline all of the trash cans with new bags. Very detailed cleaning happens between every stay to ensure the place is spotless for the next guest!

Does Airbnb charge right away for my stay?

This varies between Airbnbs. If the host allows Instant Bookings, Airbnb charges the full amount as soon as you book. If the host does NOT allow Instant Bookings, they will have to review your request, and Airbnb will charge as soon as the host accepts.

Every host can choose their own requirements for Instant Bookings. Airbnb requires that ALL guests have confirmed phone number, email address, payment information, and agreement to House Rules. From there, hosts can choose whether or not to require a government-issued ID and/or good reviews from other hosts.

At first, our Airbnb required that a guest have good reviews to book. It made us feel safer! Now after two years of hosting, we’ve turned that feature off to allow new users to book instantly. According to Airbnb, 98% of first-time users receive glowing reviews. We hope you feel equipped to keep that good statistic going now!

Click here to save $55 on your first Airbnb stay.

By Shalese Kocher