With roughly seven million listings around the world, competition is stiff to make your Airbnb pop on the platform. In fact, the online rental marketplace just raised the stakes even more with the announcement of their OMG! Fund. Celebrating wildly unique homes and their new OMG! category—which includes a boot, UFO House, and a six-ton potato—Airbnb will award a total of $10 million to fund the 100 craziest ideas for new listings.
Now, a sizable spud is admittedly a showstopper. But we’ve gathered Airbnb tips from top hosts and know that you don’t need gargantuan produce or oversized footwear to still get an “OMG!” reaction from guests. A bold paint job, a thoughtful theme, or a single iconic piece of furniture can inspire squeals of delight as well. Here are 20 do’s and don’ts to make your Airbnb shine.
Research has shown that dreaming about a trip can be the happiest part of the travel journey, so feed vacation anticipation with light staging. Show potential guests how they can live their best life on your property. Place matching coffee mugs on a patio bistro table, a puzzle on a desk near a window with an exceptional view, or a pair of towels and wineglasses near a hot tub, like this Big Sky, Montana stay.
You want travelers to picture themselves in your Airbnb. Don’t shatter the illusion by showing you and your family living the dream. This is why it’s best to avoid listing photos with people in them. Similarly, don’t fill the property with personal photos. Whether it’s for a week or just a couple nights, guests want to feel like the home is truly theirs.
Just because you can’t hang family portraits doesn’t mean your walls have to be bare. Hang nature shots from the area, vintage postcards, or a poster from a nearby hotspot. Or, take a page from this Chicago Airbnb and create a gallery wall of local art.
Inside your home is a great place to feature local flavor, but your listing shouldn’t be filled with area photos. Yes, you may live right around the corner from the Prado, Magnolia Bakery, or the Trevi Fountain, but posting 40 outdoor shots to mask the fact that your place has an old futon and no welcome mat is a no-no. Travelers will be hip to your ruse.
One of the overlooked Airbnb tips for a rental is ignoring that minimalism is better than maximalism. Consider the two-thirds rule: Photograph the space with approximately two-thirds of the furnishings you would normally have in it. This is the time to pare back, even if you’re a sucker for piles of paperbacks and throw pillows IRL. Stash the excess in storage or with friends while you’re away.
There is too much of a good thing—yes, even when it comes to your international collection of salt and pepper shakers. You don’t want guests to suspect that your vacation home is actually a storage facility for garage sale finds. You also don’t want the visitors to maneuver through an obstacle course you just love furniture.
Refresh your Airbnb space instantly by adding live plants, especially if the lush surrounding echo the interiors. Ansel Troy, a host in Oakland, California, uses greenery as “transformative minimalist art” in small spaces. “Greens are visually appealing and mood shifting,” he says. For added impact, create a living wall for Instagram-loving guests.
Of course, if you fill your property with plants, you’ll need a plan to keep them hydrated. But asking guests to care for the plants is not gonna fly. Stick with succulents, which require less frequent watering, and build plant care into staff housekeeping duties.
If your property is by the beach, there’s a good chance that’s exactly why your guests are visiting. Give the people what they want with design nods to the area’s biggest draw. Wicker lamps, nautical wall hangings, and textiles and furniture in marine blues make guests feel firmly rooted to the sea in this Airbnb, located in Stuart, Florida. Likewise, the wooden skis, flannel pillows, and faux fur seat cushions in this property, located in Jackson, Wyoming, remind guests they’re in an alpine paradise.
Sometimes, the line between cool and kitschy and outright cuckoo is quite fine. Don’t cross it. Think about where your guests will enjoy a theme. Walking past thoughtfully framed antique fishing lures in your lakehouse hallway is lovely. Looking at a smallmouth bass toilet paper holder every morning might be a bit much.
Get a bar cart and stock it with a cocktail shaker and other bar tools. Or, turn an empty corner in the kitchen into a coffee bar, complete with a coffee maker, jars of beans and tea bags, and a decorative sugar bowl. You can also display vinyl on a credenza next to a record player—bonus points if you can feature musicians from the area. Creating moments like these and featuring them in your listing allows guests appreciate your thoughtfulness.
That being said, if your listing shows a record player but then all your vinyl is locked away when guests arrive, they’ll be disappointed. Only feature what you’re willing to share with visitors.