Coronavirus has made long-term Airbnb travel increasingly common and I think this demand will further increase as workers get a taste of the benefits of working on their own schedule.
As a perpetual long-term Airbnb traveler and someone who lives in Airbnbs, I might be the most qualified person in the world to write about this topic.
I want to remind everyone of something that is often lost. When a guest is inside your home, they don’t want to feel like they’re on vacation. They want that feeling as soon as they step outside to explore.
Airbnb defines a long-term reservation as 28 nights or more. This article even assumes a potential 6-month reservation.
When inside your Airbnb, the guest doesn't want to feel like they’re on vacation. They want that feeling when they step outside to explore. Click To Tweet
Long-Term Travelers Are Different
I just checked out of an Airbnb in Istanbul on the 6th floor without stairs and next to a mosque (ie calls to prayer 5x per day via loudspeaker). I justified these inconveniences for the epic view.
If I were looking to live somewhere for an extended period of time, I would not book this place. This example starts to reveal the differences between long-term and short-term Airbnb travel.
Things that were annoyances to short-term guests (a few nights) become problems for guests’ booking longer reservations.
Maybe the construction noise you didn’t tell the guest about is doable for a 3-night reservation, but it becomes a complaint for the month-long Airbnb reservation.
Things that were annoyances to short-term guests (a few nights) become problems for guests' booking longer reservations. Click To Tweet
Pros And Cons Of Long Term Airbnb Guests
The thing that might surprise you the most is the increase in wear and tear for shorter reservations. A long-term guest will be spending more time in your home so expect a few more calls to the handyman.
Because they’re in your home longer, your utility costs will increase. This is offset by the increase in occupancy long-term reservations bring.
Typically there will be less coordination involved with check-ins and cleaners unless you accept a bad Airbnb guest.
You will have to provide fewer consumables as I will discuss in each relevant point below.
ADD: Office Space
The longer the reservation the higher the likelihood the guest will be a remote worker.
Using the kitchen table is ok, but I’ve personally booked Airbnbs in the past which had a dedicated desk.
You know how they say you shouldn’t do anything besides sleep in your bed, especially if you have any kind of sleep condition? It’s because you want to condition your own psychology to associate lying in bed with sleep.
Same for productive time. The kitchen is for cooking and socializing, not working. If there’s any way to add a proper desk to your home, please do.
And don’t forget a comfortable chair!
ADD: Fully Stocked Kitchen
This one is obvious right. The longer the reservation, the increased probability your kitchen will be used.
I recommend you provide as many amenities as you can, and do not opt for the cheap options. Get the nice cookware and make the cooking experience pleasurable for your guest! Maybe they’ll even extend the reservation because of it.
From personal experience, a tiny garbage can is just annoying.
I’ve created an Airbnb amenities checklist for the entire home, including the kitchen, for purchase, but here are some of the less common items:
- Cheese grater
- Ice cube trays
- Measuring cups
- Baking items like aluminum foil or baking sheets
- Can opener
There are some things you are not required to provide for long-term Airbnb reservations. Consumables like salt and pepper, paper towels, and cooking oils.
If you don’t have a dishwasher, don’t forget a drying rack!
ADD: Optimal Sleep Experience
Here’s a photo of the blinds in a recent Airbnb I booked.
As a light-sensitive sleeper, I need a totally dark room or I’m waking up with the sun at 6am. Think about how you can increase the sleep experience as it will directly affect the guest’s mood, even after just one night.
A comfortable mattress, linens, and pillows are a must. Speaking of which, this adjustable pillow is perfect for back, side, and stomach sleepers. If you don’t get this one, make sure you’re providing some soft and firm pillows.
Think about adding a bedside table with lamp.
Closet space becomes more important for long-term travelers. Make sure you have enough hangers!
ADD: Pleasurable Bathing Experience
The easiest things you can do is install a nice, big shower head and invest in the softest towels you can find. Start your guests’ day off good!
Also, add shelving into the actual shower to store soaps, shavers, etc.
The lighting in your bathroom, especially for female travelers, is super important. Make sure the mirror is bright for precision manicuring.
You do not need to provide toilet paper for an entire month.
ADD: The Biggest Smart TV You Can Manage
A long-term Airbnb guest is more likely to eat a meal or relax at home, probably in the living room, probably in front of the TV.
If your TV doesn’t have internet, invest in an HDMI cable so your guest can connect directly to their computer.
ADD: Pet, Infant, Child, Family Friendliness
In addition to increasing your pool of FPGs, the chance they bring the whole show with them increases for longer reservations.
You should think through this. I met a family in Bali in the middle of Coronavirus who switched homes simply because the stones were slippery on the way to the front door. They felt the risk of their child slipping was enough to move, thus losing the host months of revenue during a desperate time.
Also, think of items that families will find incredibly useful. I know from personal experience that a pack ‘n’ play is high in demand. Other items might be a stroller, toys, bottle cleaner, etc.
A makeup desk for mom. Cleaning supplies for both. Always make it as easy as possible for the guest to clean your space.
ADD: Increase Your “Spaces”
A ‘Space’ is anywhere in the house that can be considered its own usable area. For example, a bedroom, the work desk in the bedroom, the ensuite bathroom, the balcony would be four ‘Spaces’.
Each additional space increases the usefulness and perceived size of your Airbnb listing.
A great added ‘Space’ is installing a hammock.
In Bali, most homes increase their ‘Spaces’ by installing a poolside cabana, as well as, lounge chairs.
REMOVE: Convenience Items For Purchase
Providing snack food, sodas, or alcohol for purchase is no longer a good idea. All it does is take up room in the fridge or kitchen counter space.
REMOVE: Low Water Pressure
This is more common than it should be and affects the kitchen and all the bathrooms. And, it’s a constant reminder of the subpar Airbnb listing every time either one of those are used (ie multiple times every day)
Conclusion: Long Term Airbnb Reservations
Has there been a time in the past where a guest complained about anything?
Sometimes it’s easier for us (hosts) to not fix something because only one every five guests complains about it. Maybe it’s the confusing TV remote? Or the mini irning board?
But for a long-term reservation, all of these have the potebntial to become big issues and lose you months of rebooking fees.
Speaking of which, mid-stay offer your guests the option to extend if the calendar is open.
I also recommend talking with your cleaners who will be severly impacted by long-term reseravtions. Instead of paying them per check-out, you could make a deal for X number of cleaning per month and include this free of charge on any reservation.
What’s the one thing I should be doing to attract and keep more long-term guests? Share you knowledge with me and the community. I’ll see you in the comments.