7 things that make an Airbnb better than a hotel

If you're a host or owner of a vacation rental, make sure you have these items guests expect to find upon check-in.

Molly Price Former Editor
4 min read
Josh Miller/CNET

Opening your home to guests is an exciting and rewarding experience, but making sure everything is just right? That can be stressful. Every guest is different and needs may vary, but there are a few things most people expect in an overnight accommodation. 

Whether you're hosting in a large victorian or swanky studio, these thoughtful amenities will score you a stellar review from your guests and probably make your role as a host easier, too. 

Watch this: 7 devices an Airbnb host should put in their house

Simple check-in

No one wants to chase down a host to get the keys to their weekend escape. If you can't be there in person to greet each guest at check-in, install a lock with a keypad, a lock box with spare keys or a smart lock your guests can access via their phone. Typical check-in times in the hospitality industry range from noon to 3 p.m. with checkouts spanning 10 a.m. to noon. Of course, do what works for your individual schedule, but be aware that odd hours might seem inconvenient to guests who expect a more hotel-like experience. Don't forget to build in turnover time for cleaning the rental after each stay. 


With Airbnb for business, it's ok if you forget your shampoo.

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Some guests bring their own toiletries and some don't. Since you won't know exactly how prepared each guest is, it's thoughtful to provide simple toiletries like travel-size shampoo, conditioner, soap or body wash. Emergency toiletries like an unopened toothbrush and small toothpaste can be a life-saver for a forgetful traveler. 

Well-stocked kitchen 

A well-stocked kitchen is a must-have in any vacation rental. Whether it's a kitchenette or chef's kitchen, be sure your rental includes enough plates, mugs, glasses, bowls, forks, spoons, knives and even chopsticks for as many guests as it can accommodate. Toasters, coffeemakers and microwaves are the basic small appliances most people expect to find in even the tiniest of spaces.


Amazon's Echo Show sits on the kitchen counter, adding visual elements to every question. Plus, we can check on our August Doorbell Cam by asking, "Alexa, show me the front door doorbell camera."

Josh Miller/CNET

If you're expecting guests to wash, dry and put away dishes, provide them everything they need to do so. Dish soap, a drying rack or dishwasher and drying towels give guests no excuse to skip cleanup. 

Clear guidelines

As a host, you'll have requirements for guests staying in your home. A list of the things you ask guests to do should be clearly stated and easy to find during their stay. Consider hanging a chalkboard, poster or sign with ground rules like kitchen and linen cleanup, check-out procedures and your contact information. 

City or neighborhood guides are also helpful. Have a favorite coffee shop, pub or restaurant down the street? Let your guests know where the best bets are. Including transit information and directions to amenities like groceries or gas stations helps your guests feel informed and appreciative of their host-turned-concierge.  

Privacy and security 

Every guest wants to feel safe and secure, especially in a new place. If your rental space has a private exterior entrance, be sure the area is well-lit. Security cameras outside the rental can help all parties feel safer, but you shouldn't install them inside your rental. 

In addition to a keyed door lock, an interior deadbolt or chain gives guests one more layer of security. Inside your rental, make privacy easily available with window coverings or blinds on private areas like bedrooms and bathrooms.

James Martin/CNET

Luxurious bedding 

At the end of the day, your guests chose your rental because it looked like a convenient, clean and comfortable place to rest after a long day of work or sightseeing. Don't skimp on the bedding. A nice set of sheets, a good quality comforter as well as extra pillows and blankets make a guest feel at home and give them options for bedtime. If your rental includes a pull-out couch, futon or trundle bed, don't forget to include linens for those as well.

Wi-Fi and entertainment

While not every guest will be settling in for a night of movies and popcorn, most travelers do expect internet and some form of in-home entertainment. With cheap options like Roku Express for TVs , it's easy to provide your guests access to the apps and shows they're likely to use at home. 

Wi-Fi is one of those amenities that was once a delightful bonus but is now expected pretty much everywhere. Provide a network and Wi-Fi password for your guests to use during their stay. If you live in or adjacent to your vacation rental, create a guest network and keep your password private. 

If you're aiming to go the extra mile, additional perks like water bottles, coffee or tea can really make a big impression. Either way, keep these basics of hosting in mind, and you'll create a cozy escape for every type of traveler. 

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