The 5 C’s to Being a Successful Airbnb Host

What drives the success of your Airbnb?

Is it the time you put into it? The care you give to each guest? Maybe the rigorous cleaning you give each room after a stay.

You can probably guess that it’s all of that and then some. But that leads one to wonder: how do potential guests know that you offer the best experience because of the time and care put into it?

Two words: great reviews.

Great reviews lead to more bookings, more positive reviews, and, most importantly, more money.

On the other hand, negative reviews can just as easily break that momentary trance and send guests in the other direction.

Potential guests can be drawn in by the pictures, the location, and the long list of amenities you provide. But good reviews confirm their interest and lead to another booking on your calendar.

There’s a lot that goes into providing an excellent experience for your guests. I’ve been an Airbnb superhost for 7 years and these are the most important things I’ve learned. Excel at these 5 aspects of the hosting process and you’ll get the positive reviews you want.

Better yet, they’re the 5 C’s to providing the ultimate experience for your guests and becoming a successful host.

1. Cleanliness

Let’s start with the basics. A clean space is the cornerstone of an excellent stay. The last thing you want is for your guests to open the door to a room that hasn’t been properly wiped down, vacuumed, or mopped.

Many choose to stay in an Airbnb rental because they’re looking for a unique, local experience. More often than not, they’re also looking for a cheaper rate. But just because they eschew the hotel experience doesn’t mean that they forgo the hotel-level of cleanliness.

Cleaning on your own? You might be overwhelmed with where to start. To ease the process, create a list of cleaning needs. Go down the list and check off each task as it’s completed. Make multiple copies of this checklist so that you can use one after each checkout.

If you’d rather avoid the hassle of cleaning your property after each stay, hire one of the many Airbnb cleaning service providers to automate your cleaning. These providers are often very thorough. They’ll ensure your Airbnb property is up to hotel-level cleanliness standards without taking time out of your schedule.

Airbnb cleanliness can make or break a stay. You might not always hear from your guest if your unit is sparkling clean, but you’ll definitely know when it’s not. Worst of all, you might not even hear about it until your guest puts it in a review.

Set yourself up for success, the easy way, by providing a clean stay for your guests.

2. Communicate

First impressions are important. That’s why communication is key to a positive experience.

Just as you’d want to set yourself up for success with a clean property, you want to set your clients up for success with the knowledge they need to have a successful and pleasant stay.

Airbnb’s handy messaging system, accessed through both desktop and the Airbnb Mobile App, keeps your guest correspondence consolidated and accessible.

It’s essential to be available and honest when communicating with your guests. Guests want to be confident knowing they can reach you at any time if they have a question or encounter an issue. Likewise, as a host, you would want to know if something is wrong or something needs to be fixed.

Guests don’t know what to expect besides what they’ve seen and read online. Be honest and give them a heads up about what to expect, so you can manage those expectations before their arrival.

Airbnb lists five key communication moments with your guests:

  1. Booking inquiries: you can help a guest choose your property from the get-go by providing the information they need to make a final decision.
  1. Post-booking: sending a quick message of thanks after your guest books is a great way to introduce yourself and ask additional questions regarding their trip and their group size.
  1. 24 hours before check-in: Before your guest’s arrival, you’ll want to send them additional information on what to expect when they arrive, such as how to access the property or if you’ll be meeting them there.
  1. After check-in: if you’re unavailable to meet them in person, check on your guests and see if they’ve settled in or encountered any issues. As Airbnb says, it’s also important to “let them know you’re available for help if they need it.”
  1. 24 hours before checkout: Let your guests know if there’s anything they need to do before check-out or use this as an opportunity to remind them of the check-out instructions if they haven’t already seen them. Let them know what to do with the key, if they should strip the beds, or take the trash out. You can also help them with any additional inquires, such as transportation to the airport.

A bonus opportunity for communication would be a quick note of thanks to the guests for staying with you.

Communication may seem small or cumbersome, but in reality, good communication improves guest experience.


Who doesn’t love amenities? Convenient offerings can add that unexpected pop of happiness to a guest’s experience.

Most amenities are listed online, so your guest knows what to bring and what you’ll be providing, such as shampoo and conditioner, a hairdryer, paper towels, coffee, tea, extra toilet paper, and so on. You can also include a charging station in each room (closer to the bed, the better).

Is your guest coming in on business? Be sure to provide an iron and ironing board, or take it one step further and include a small hand steamer with directions. With a digitally present world, reliable wifi is also a difference-maker.

To give your guest all the information they need for a pleasant stay, provide a welcome binder or guidebook. The binder should include a copy of the property rules, wifi login, and emergency contact information.

From there, show a bit of personality with local recommendations for food, drinks, and must-see sites. If your guest is visiting for the first time, they’ll appreciate getting local insider knowledge.

Convenience also comes down to accessibility. If you’re able to install them, keypad lock systems are much easier to use over the traditional key or lockbox approach. Keypads allow your guests to travel throughout your city or area without worrying about losing the key to their Airbnb. You’ll also avoid the cost of making copies or getting your locks changed.

But, regardless of whether your guests are visiting for work or relaxation, there are many ways, big and small, you can provide an extra boost of comfort through convenience.

4. Charm

As mentioned earlier, people gravitate towards Airbnb for a unique experience. Charm separates your Airbnb property from others and gives your guest the incentive to leave a positive review.

How can you make your property charming? Start with your space. Include local art or amenities that boost the distinct wonder of your city or area. You can also put a small vase of fresh flowers in the entry or on the dining room table. It’s a little detail that can also make for a comfy stay.

Infuse charm into your guest’s experience by providing some unexpected yet generous amenities. Welcome your guests in with a basket of snacks and bottles of water. Provide small, locally made items your guest could use, eat (if edible) or take home.

Have you ever entered your hotel room and found chocolates on your pillow? It’s always fun to get a small yet generous gift of some kind, but the thought behind it gives your guest a positive impression.

The difference between a successful and unsuccessful Airbnb stay is the extra step hosts are willing to take to provide a unique experience for each guest.

5. Comfort

Your guests want comfort. However, comfort is personal, and each guest has their own version.

This isn’t Goldie Locks And The Three Bears, where you have to provide a bed for all kinds of sleeper support, but you can enhance a comfortable experience with additional provisions.

Be sure to provide extra pillows and blankets. Airbnb recommends taking it one step further with bedsheets. Instead of purchasing the cheapest set or using extra sheets of your own, invest in sheets with a higher thread count.

Airbnb also recommends investing in the basics. They advise hosts, “take care of the basics for living, working, and relaxing.”

Have a bookshelf in one of the rooms? Put some books on that shelf or a coffee table for your guest’s convenience. If you provide wifi and a TV that can use apps, download streaming services, such as Netflix, Hulu, or Prime Video, for guest use.

All guests are different in how they find comfort, but providing the basics, and even supplying the luxury brand of some necessary items, can provide the comfort your guests will enjoy.


Guests choose Airbnb because it provides an affordable home-away-from-home experience. It starts with the basics of a clean stay and accessible host, but it’s enhanced through convenience, charm, and comfort.

As you look to increase positive reviews for your Airbnb listing, use the 5 C’s to optimize your guest’s experience. If you’re considering listing your property on Airbnb, keep these C’s in mind and you’ll do well.

1 thought on “The 5 C’s to Being a Successful Airbnb Host”

  1. Jill says:

    Thanks so much for the tips. I am seriously considering joining airbnb to rent out my “cottage”, which is really a converted shed at the back of my property.

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