Ever since I was little, I’ve wanted to own a Bed & Breakfast, preferably in Ireland. Though I’m open to other places. And while that dream is on hold, the next best thing for me has been Airbnb. It’s what I was most excited about when we bought our first home - hosting friends and complete strangers.
Our love for hosting began as guests.
Matt and I have stayed in a cabin meets yurt in Asheville, a cozy studio apartment in France and a home with my family in New Zealand. We even used airbnb for our entire honeymoon in Germany because I wanted the real deal. I wanted to chat with locals and sip tea (or a large mug of beer) at their table.
For us, I always like to feel out our guests and gauge their level of social interaction. For some, it’s clear right when you greet them and offer a glass of water or tea, that they’d really love to hear more of your story and share some of theirs.
Like the gal who arrived all the way from California, on a four month road trip and somehow landed in our small town. The three of us sat on our porch sipping wine and swapping travel stories.
Another sweet memory involved a mom and daughter relocating to a new city, we chatted about the hardships of life and the goodness of God over oatmeal bake at my kitchen counter.
And for other guests, it’s simply a place to lay their head.
Both are wonderful!
When it comes to making the space welcoming and inviting, there is a little preparation that goes into it for me - just so I can rest easy knowing folks are comfortable and happy.
Here are the tips/suggestions for you:
(Disclaimer: we are no experts just learning as we go.)
Before the visit
Check in with guests the day before just to confirm when they might arrive. That way, you can either make sure to be home or leave a key. We’ve done both.
If we’re home, we normally give guests a quick tour - we invite them to use the kitchen and gathering spaces as if it was their own. We'll point out where pots and pans live, mugs for tea and so on. We check in and ask, "How was your trip? Is there anything you need? Water, tea, glass of wine?"
If we’re not home, I’ll write a short message to guests about all the above.
Things I make sure to include in the guest room:
Two fresh towels on the bed for each guest (one large and one small for the face). I like to put 2 mints on each towel.
A pitcher of water and glasses
Granola bars and napkins
Box of tissues
Basket of pamphlets and magazines of local activities
Welcome book (that includes)
Check out procedure - where should they leave their towels? Do you want the bed stripped?
WIFI password and network name.
Local attractions and activities - coffee shops, best spots for breakfast, hiking trails, vineyards etc.
Guest Book! (My friend shared this idea and I thought it was wonderful!)
We have one full bath...which means we share with our guests. I know, crazy? Matt and I are used to roommates so that part doesn’t really phase us though I make sure the space is super clean with a basket of extra toiletries in case our guests forget some.
If guests are staying for multiple nights, I’ll often pull some of my “getting ready trinkets” down to our half bath downstairs.
I designated a little corner of our kitchen for guests that offers:
Mug (sometimes I’ll put a treat inside)
Bowl of teabags (variety is good like decaf and herbal teas for folks who don't drink caffeine)
Honey and sugar easily accessible
Creamer in the fridge
Spoon for stirring
A homemade treat or a few chocolates
Essential oils in the room (I like lemon) before new guests
A few pastries or breads for breakfast -- we found most of our guests weren’t staying to eat breakfast so this is not something we typically offer. It really depends on your home and space and what you want to do!
At the end of the day, it's all about how you make people feel. Folks want a clean room but they also just want to feel welcome and cared for - something every single one of us can do, no matter the space!
Frequently Asked Questions:
Is it weird having a complete stranger sleep in your home?
Honestly, no. I feel like folks who use airbnb are all so kind and welcoming -- it’s a culture all on it’s own. Also, Airbnb does a really great job making you feel safe because you review one another - we read what other hosts have said about all our guests and guests can read reviews about us.
You only have one bathroom. How does that work?
Like I said, this doesn’t really phase us. Normally, guests will ask when we need to scoot out in the morning and we all make it work. Matt typically gets up and out much earlier than guests are even awake. And I work from home so showering and “getting ready” for the day isn’t normally necessary.
Why did you start hosting in the first place?
I recognize we are in an ideal time to do this - no babies. I’m sure it would become a little complicated in a home of our size with a few littles running around or a baby crying in the middle of the night. Although, not impossible.
And at that point, we might rent the space only when we go on a family vacation - leave the whole house to guests. That’s the great thing about this, you decide what works best for your family!
Honestly, my main reason for doing this was to welcome folks into our home and make them feel cozy. That brings me so much joy. I love being a small part of each others story. And the fact that we're able to make a small side income for things like house projects and date nights is an extra bonus.
Interested in being a host? Head on over here.
Have a question I didn't answer above? Comment below! Also, if you're an airbnb host what's the experience been like for you? I'd love to know.