How To Set Up An Airbnb: Investments That Drive Great Reviews

how to set up an airbnb

Learning to set up an Airbnb is an enlightening experience. Not all rentals WOW guests with design and location. The market has varied rental types. Luxurious or economical, each has a place. Setting up an Airbnb means finding its niche.

If the size and location of a property don’t justify high returns, it doesn’t make sense to provide luxury. The return on investment wouldn’t justify the cost to elevate every aspect of the guest experience. There also won’t be many in your target audience who would desire to pay for it.

However, there are a handful of investments that we have found always to be effective in generating great reviews. These are high-priority items from which both luxury and economy rentals alike can benefit.

Maximizing Guest Satisfaction with Essential Amenities

Not every property can or should have pools, hot tubs, ocean views, saunas, or Italian leather furniture. However, every property benefits from providing a few desired items. Guests note in their reviews when these investments are present and lament when they are not.

So, when figuring out how to set up an Airbnb effectively, what essential items should you consider, regardless of your property’s pricing tier?

How to Set Up an Airbnb Kitchen for Success

Short-term rentals are notorious for providing just the bare minimum in the kitchen. There’s a running joke that a fun cooking show would require contestants to make a gourmet meal with only the dishes and utensils provided at an Airbnb. It’s why some of the best-stocked kitchens are short-term rentals in which owners actually live part of the year. 

Understanding Your Airbnb Guest’s Kitchen Needs

But kitchen gadgets can be pricey. All those measuring spoons and variously sized frying pans add up! There’s a reason people register for all the kitchen gear when they get married.

There’s no need to go crazy here, and it’s important to know your ideal guest before stocking your kitchen. Are you attracting longer-term guests who stay for work and are more likely to cook frequently? Or, does your property cater to vacationers who will eat out nearly every meal?

In the journey of setting up an Airbnb, ensuring every kitchen is stocked with essentials is crucial. However, understanding your guest type is equally important when deciding what additional items to include. Clearly, a beach rental should include different items than a ski resort. For example, those beach properties may know their guests like to bring lobster and oysters from the market downtown, so crackers and seafood cutlery would be essential. In Aspen, however, such items would simply be a waste of money.

To set yourself apart in the kitchen, simply provide a handful of non-essentials. Everyone has utensils, cups, plates, bowls, glasses, and a few pots and pans. But what makes guests leave reviews like this?

“Best outfitted BNB I’ve been in, and I’ve been in a lot. I’m used to packing a small frying pan, cooking oil, salt, and pepper because so many are missing functioning versions of all these. You had it all and more.” -Joel

Tips on How to Set Up an Airbnb Kitchen for Maximum Reviews

So, how should you set up your Airbnb’s kitchen? We suggest:

  • Non-essential appliances: these include blenders, toasters, hand mixers, and a variety of ways to make coffee (think pour-over, Chemex, French press, and/or a coffee grinder in addition to your coffee maker).
  • Bar glasses: a handful of wine glasses and champagne flutes go a long way with guests looking to relax or celebrate.
  • Variety of sizes of pots and pans: these don’t have to be the most high-end, but giving guests the option of a small or large frying pan, three pot sizes, maybe even a wok, is going to ensure that guests have everything they need to cook like they might at home. *Bonus points if they are higher-end than the aluminum ones you cooked on in college.
  • Baking necessities: glass dishes, sheet pans, mixing bowls, colander, and measuring spoons and cups will ensure those birthday cakes and cookies get made during their stay.
  • Tupperware: storing leftovers makes for happy guests, even if they will inevitably leave them for housekeeping to dump at the end of their stay.
  • Cooking essentials: salt & pepper, oil, cooking spray, and a few spices will get mentioned in reviews over and over again.

How to Choose Mattresses When Setting Up an Airbnb

When thinking about how to set up an Airbnb for comfort, keep in mind that guests generally don’t like to downgrade on vacation. This means they will remark if the beds are at least as comfortable as what they have at home. The same is true for size. When appropriate, if you can spring for the king-size bed over the queen or double, guests will notice. So, what mattresses get us reviews like this?

“We really enjoyed our stay here!  Everything was so clean and ready for us upon arrival. The beds were SO comfy that we struggled to get up each morning.” -Jessika

Tuft & Needle, Nectar, and Allswell for a more budget-minded host are all mattresses that garner rave reviews from our guests.

How to Set Up an Airbnb with Thoughtful Consumables

When setting up an Airbnb, one frequent query is the cost of providing guests with essential consumables like shampoo, conditioner, soap, detergent, and paper products. You need to know the answer to this question and build it into your nightly rate.

For the average stay, it’s less than $10 and well-worth leaving guests feeling like you went the extra mile and not like you just provided a roof and bed. Providing such amenities will produce reviews like:

“Along with basic amenities, such as a washer and dryer, our host went the extra mile and provided additional amenities such as laundry detergent, shampoo/conditioner, and coffee for all types of coffee lovers. It’s the little things that make the difference!” -Stacy

Practical Approaches to Stocking Essentials in Your Airbnb

A cost-effective way to include shampoo, conditioner, and body wash is to use a refillable dispenser like this one. This cuts down on waste and prevents guests from taking home complimentary items that may have gone unused during their actual stay.

In the words of Elaine, “Can you spare a square?” should never be your policy on toilet paper. If you’ve ever stayed at a short-term rental with a “starter pack” of toilet paper, you know how inconvenient it can be to run out of toilet paper on the first day of a stay. Make sure each bathroom has at least two extra rolls and one on the roll. Lock up the rest for housekeeping to replenish.

And for goodness sake, leave the one-ply gas station toilet paper to public restrooms. Your guests are staying in a home. Give them a little cushion for their tushy.

Lessons from Hotels: Going the Extra Mile in Setting Up Your Airbnb

We know there’s a movement to make money off every little amenity in the short-term rental game, but you should not do away with complimentary items. Hotels provide coffee, tea, and creamers. Never be outperformed by hotels! 

So, lay out the coffee. Single-use coffees are easy for hosts to provide, yet many guests bring their own. So providing a way for them to make brewed coffee on top of the single-cup coffee you might provide is important. And if you are feeling generous, samples of a locally brewed coffee are always appreciated!

how to set up an Airbnb

Smart Locks: A Must-Have in Setting Up Your Airbnb

In the era of digital convenience and security, ensuring that your Airbnb guests have a seamless and safe entry into their temporary home is paramount. As the first interaction guests often have with the property, the entry process can set the tone for the entire stay.

The Perfect Entry: How to Set Up Your Airbnb for Hassle-Free Access

There’s nothing worse for a guest than arriving at their destination, maybe after hours or days of travel, and having trouble getting into their rental. A good smart lock is a non-negotiable, regardless of whether yours is a luxury property or an economical one. Any advice on how to set up an Airbnb must include this tip. Guests will remark on the ease, or lack thereof, of accessing the property.

As you contemplate the best way to ensure this ease for your guests, the type of smart lock you choose is pivotal.

Choosing the Right Smart Lock for Your Airbnb

There are several smart locks out there. Our preference is for those that sync with Airbnb and VRBO to send door codes to guests automatically. This not only removes one more thing for us to do as hosts, but it also provides greater security, as guests have a unique code that is only good for the duration of their specific stay.

Also, look for one with strong battery life, backup systems if the Wi-Fi goes out, and accessibility for you to lock and unlock doors remotely from your phone. No host or guest wants a host to have to go out in the middle of the night to unlock a door. (Side note: it’s always a good policy to have a physical key hidden somewhere on-site, as well, as a backup if all technology hits the fan).

We’ve tried a few different remote locks, and by far, this one has been our favorite. We absolutely credit it to our consistent 5-star reviews for check-in every time.

Going Beyond Aesthetics: How to Set Up an Airbnb for Success

In conclusion, understanding how to set up an Airbnb goes beyond having an HGTV-worthy space or a lakefront view. It’s about ensuring guests feel cared for and welcomed. Just include a few items no short-term rental should skimp on to make a big impression, increase guest satisfaction, and produce steady positive reviews that will keep guests coming back.

How to Set Up an Airbnb: Reach Out for Expert Assistance

If you’re interested in learning more about how Weekender Management can help you get started in real estate, schedule a call with us today!