Airbnb Host Guide and Essentials Checklist

Airbnb Host Guide and Essentials Checklist

With travel restrictions beginning to lift just in time for the warmer months, vacation bookings are set to climb. Whether you are hosting guests in your Airbnb property (or even just expecting overnight visitors in your own home), we’ve gathered some wisdom to help you to impress your guests!

Our guide has been broken down into three sections, covering:

  1. The importance of proactively setting up your listing
  2. The basic essentials you need to buy for your Airbnb
  3. How to choose (Instagram-worthy) decor for a memorable guest experience

We have also included a downloadable checklist to help you stay organized when getting your Airbnb or guest quarters ready for holiday action.

We hope the tips below will help you to ensure your guests have a comfortable, relaxing, and memorable stay… and leave a 5-star review!

Tip #1: Get proactive.

Host with the most, or not? Don’t wait for a negative review to find out!

For hosts of an Airbnb or any kind of short-term rental property, the peak season presents a gainful opportunity to capitalize on the upswing of holiday-makers.

For new hosts, it can come as a surprise just how many items are required to ensure their listing is fully set up for guests. Unfortunately, it can take a negative review to realize that certain details have been overlooked or completely missed.

Criticism can hurt your feelings if you’ve given a piece of your home, but most importantly, bad reviews can hurt your business. It’s not always possible to prevent, but it will certainly help you to be proactive and anticipate the expectations of guests.

Print out our checklist (it’s free to download!) and take it with you when shopping to make sure you grab all of the essential items to help your guest relax in hotel quality comfort.

Preview of QE Home Essentials Checklist on white background next to keyboard and pen

Tip #2: Gather the essentials

Don’t be tempted by shortcuts — it will cost you more in the long run!

Before we get to decorating, let’s cover the basics. In our downloadable pdf we have a complete list of items you will need, covering each of the following:

  • Bedroom
  • Kitchen
  • Bathroom
  • Living
  • Cleaning
  • Safety equipment

For the bedroom, there are a few must-haves to be aware of. Here are some of our essential bedding items:

Duvet or Comforter?

To address a common question - is it better to have a duvet or comforter for Airbnb? We tend to recommend using a duvet insert and duvet cover as the cover can be quickly and easily washed. Comforters need to be washed in between guests, and being a bulkier item, may require a commercial machine.

Opting for a duvet? Consider factors such as air conditioning, season, and climate when choosing duvets. An all-season option is generally the safest route.

Folded white duvet placed on white bed with white pillows with window in background

Valhalla Microgel Duvet - Starting at $99.99

Pillows

Pillows can be trickier to get right, with so many options available and vastly different preferences depending on who you ask. We recommend choosing a more versatile pillow, such as our Kamboo Kapok Filled Adjustable Pillow. Adjustable, hypoallergenic, mold-resistant, bed-bug resistant, waterproof and antibacterial, and filled with Organic Kapok sourced from sustainable rainforest crops. With a removable cover that is machine washable and dryable, this is a convenient and affordable choice with no sacrifice made to comfort or quality.

For a best-in-class sleep experience, delight your guests with premium pillow options they would expect to find in a 5-star hotel. Down pillows are synonymous with luxury, and our Firma Down Pillow is no exception. Crafted from high-quality down fill and a breathable cotton shell, this is a medium-firm pillow that provides supreme comfort all night long.

Two white down pillows on white sheet with dark background

Firma Down Pillow - Starting at $199.99

Provide guests with the luxury of choice by including pillow options for each bed. We recommend using two (different) sets, or four in total for a Queen or King size bed (at a minimum). Guests can then decide which pillow to use and will appreciate having options.

Protectors for Pillow and Mattresses

These are non-negotiable for hosts who want to ensure the longevity of more expensive items such as pillows and mattresses. We emphasize the importance of protectors to ALL of our customers, but this is probably more important in the case of Airbnb owners. You will thank yourself when you prevent any permanent staining or damage, and your guests will thank you too.

Dark blue mug lying horizontally on its side on a white mattress with mattress protector

SureRest Waterproof Mattress Protector - Starting at $29.99

White pillow protector with zip showing white pillow inside on a blank background

Elite Pillow Protector (Set of 2) $14.99

The best sheets for Airbnb - fitted or flat?

Choosing quality sheets for an Airbnb is worth the initial investment. You might choose to use a flat sheet for both the bottom and top, or you can choose the fitted sheet / top sheet combination. Sheet sets are a popular choice, as they include both a fitted and flat sheet, plus two pillowcases, for a cheaper price point than if bought separately.

Discerning guests may even look for details such as a high thread count and will like knowing if items are sustainably made. Be sure to include such details in your listing description, not only do they signal ‘quality’, they will help your property stand out to the more conscientious crowd.

Ideally, your goal should be to create a memorable, luxury sleep experience that’s even better than what guests are used to at home. At a minimum, however, they should expect to find a comfortable home away from home, with thoughtful inclusions to make their stay enjoyable.

Finally, you need to consider what is easier to clean, for some this means getting white sheets, while others might prefer to opt for a wrinkle resistant fabric such as TENCEL™.

Bed with white sheet set and four pillows next to a bedside table and lamp

Living Quarters 300TC Organic Cotton Sheet Set - White - Starting at $69.99

Tip #3 It’s all in the (decorative) details

From duvet covers to decorative pillows, adding stylish decor can be an easy way to impress your guests.

As the saying goes “when you pay attention to the detail, the big picture will take care of itself”. Creating a crème de la crème guest experience involves a whole host of smaller - often overlooked - details. These details can impact how frequently your property is booked, and how much you can charge!

In a recent study of millennials (who also represent the biggest target market for Airbnb), 58% cited “social media worthiness” as a major factor when booking a listing. The big takeaway here is that having the wow factor is crucial, and isn’t necessarily all about location (which is generally a less controllable factor anyway).

Investing in tasteful decor and thoughtful details (that photograph well) can make all the difference. Whether or not your property has a theme, it will at least fall into a general category. You can use this to guide you when marketing your property, and when deciding which features to highlight. The goal is to capture its essence, stand out in search results, and subsequently attract more views (and bookings)!

For example, the textiles and furnishings chosen for a beach bungalow in a coastal town will be different from those selected for a luxury condo in a city. Consider the two bedding combinations below:

Blue bedding set on a styled bed with two lamps and two windows dressed with blinds showing an ocean in the distance

Sicily Starting at $139.99

Grey bedding set with metallic details on a bed against a dark wall and window with black curtains

Cosmopolitan Starting at $239.99

Vastly different in effect, each of these bedding sets looks stylish in the right space, and perhaps a little out of place if used in the wrong setting.

To help inspire your imagination, here are some of our favourite collections, sorted by theme.

Modern Classic

Our Anya collection is made from a tan coloured, cotton Jacquard to bring warmth and elegance into your listing. Your guests will appreciate this classy, timeless look, and you will love how easy it is to care for between guests.

Cream bedding set on a wood bed against a white wall next to a lamp and window

Waterfront

With luxurious matelassé jacquard forming raised ocean-inspired waves, Windward is an elevated spin on the classic blue bedding used for beach or lakeside homes. Made from a TENCEL™ Lyocell cotton blend, this option is the perfect mix of comfort and style.

Dark blue bedding set with light sheen on a bed with an artwork above and window in view

Hotel-Style Luxury

Perfect for those who want to create a minimalist, all-white look, Blanchard is made from a softly shimmering, lightly textured fabric that helps to highlight the bed. This will impress guests who want that premium, hotel feel with nothing missed in the details.

Contemporary white bedding set styled on a king size bed

Boho Chic

Our Maeve collection is certain to stand out in photos and catch the fancy of your guests. Tie this in with neutral surrounds for a relaxed, earthy setting. Alternatively, pair Maeve with fun accessories to create more of an eclectic environment and an Insta-worthy backdrop for holiday snaps.

Pale pink bedding set with golden orange detail

Contemporary Cottage

Whether your rental has a garden or the cottage style is in the decor only, we love using floral to add nostalgic charm to a room. We love our reversible quilt Judith for adding an extra layer, and for its versatile styling options.

Floral quilt set on a bed with white sheets in a room with grey furniture

We have a great selection of throwsquilts, and coverlets that provide an easy and affordable way to add decorative, functional pieces to your guest space. They come in handy for extra guest bedding and can be thrown in the washer for easy cleaning between guests.

Finally, adding decorative pillows is an easy way to add a sense of grandeur and sophistication to the bedroom. Decorative pillows come in different shapes and sizes (we’ll explain these in just a moment), we love using them to add a pop of colour and texture to a room.

They are especially useful as a low-commitment option for the colour-averse decorator, or for those who like to change up their decor often.

An assortment of coloured cushions and an orange velvet throw are placed on a grey sofa next to a small table and lamp

As for the sizes and shapes, here’s a quick explainer!

Euro Pillows are square-shaped and about the same width as a standard pillow, but have extra height to prop up against a headboard and still be seen behind regular bed pillows.

Boudoir Pillows are a smaller rectangular pillow that are typically used for aesthetic purposes only. As such, it’s common for boudoir pillow covers to be heavily textured or adorned with decorative elements.

Lumbar Pillows are narrow, long pillows and as the name suggests, these pillows offer functional benefits, often used to support the lower back. They come in a variety of sizes, and their distinctive shape adds visual interest to a space.

Square Cushions are typically smaller than the euro pillow and are often used to decorate sofas as well as beds.

Bolster Pillows are cylinder-shaped and typically used for decorative purposes, often more formal in aesthetic.

Read our blog post How To Dress The Perfect Bed to get more styling tips!


Now that you know what you need and why, get started on the planning process and download our 5-Star Essentials Checklist today. It’s free and printer-friendly!

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