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If you are setting up an Airbnb, here are the basics, the extras and no-nos

Just like hotels, not all Airbnbs are created equal. There are the gorgeous, Instagram-friendly abodes meant to make visitors feel like they’re in the lap of luxury, and the more serviceable spots geared toward travellers just stopping off for a good night’s sleep.

But whether you’re operating a rental that’s fancy, basic or somewhere in between, owners tell us there are certain amenities all hosts should procure to make stays go smoothly for all parties.

These experienced proprietors also let us in on extras that can mean the difference between a so-so stay and one that ends with a glowing review, and decor guidelines that will ensure your property is remembered for the right reasons. 

Brass tacks


It should go without saying this area should be squeaky clean (as should everywhere else). Include extra toilet paper, tissues, a cleaning wand and plunger.

Personal care items should include shower staples – shampoo, conditioner and soap – and everything needed for hand-washing. None of this stuff need be high-end. 

Recognisable retail products are fine. Invest in matching sets of towels that meet the maximum number of guests your space can host. There’s nothing wrong with white towels that you can bleach between uses, but watch the fabric for stains so you can swop them.

Safety equipment

Other must-haves include safety equipment. A fire alarm, a fire extinguisher and a first-aid kit should all be accessible, plus a list of all emergency numbers.


In the bedroom, sufficient linen is a must. As with the towels, the linen does not have to be fancy, but invest in a few sets specifically for visitors, and keep an eye out for when it’s time to retire them.

Keep things simple and tasteful with well-appointed bedding. Picture: Jennifer Lindberg Studio


If your guests have kitchen access, they need all the same stuff you would to keep the place clean and functional. That includes dish soap, a sponge or scrubber, light cleaning supplies such as paper towels and multi-surface spray, a drying rack in the absence of a dishwasher and laundry soap if there’s a washer/dryer.

Other basics

Airbnb hosts say the three messages they receive most often are: “Where is the hair dryer”, “Where is the iron?” and “Where are the extra blankets?”

Don’t forget a notepad and pen, a torch, and a set of instructions that include the Wi-fi password and any other useful information guests might require.

Upping the game

Then there are the things you might not think of but they are definitely appreciated:

◆ A bottle of local wine and other goodies found in town, along with a map detailing fun places to shop, eat and drink.

◆ Put coffee on the counter along with a coffee machine, nice glassware, and sometimes chocolate or a cheese plate.

◆ Thoughtful but practical touches, such as lamps by the beds and places to unwind, are a good idea for any host.

◆ Add umbrellas, a pizza cutter and mixing bowls.

Accessorise your lounge to make it more inviting and comfortable for guests. Picture: Jennifer Lindberg Studio

Decor Notes

Whether you’re renting out an extra room or an entire home, decor can make all the difference – and owners in this story agree that taking the “personal” out of the space is essential.

“Between the plants, the records and what we leave out for guests, we want there to be signs of life. Just not signs of our life,” says Airbnb host Rich Combs.

That doesn’t mean removing every family photograph in the house if you are renting out an entire place. But it does mean personal pictures should come off the night stands, and intimate artwork – such as boudoir photos – belong out of sight.

As for the decor itself, you do not have to approximate the Ritz. Think simple and tasteful: a consistent ­colour scheme, well-appointed ­bedding, uncluttered surfaces, subdued ­artwork or mirrors on the wall.

For Airbnb operators, ­incorporating the spirit of the cities in which they are located is a good design ­directive.

Photographs of the local heritage of the towns or cities allow a renter to understand what they are signing up for when they rent the space.

Getting everyone on the same page beforehand is crucial, and can save hosts and their guests a lot of headaches.


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