My husband and I recently spent six months living in 11 consecutive Airbnb.com apartments — eight of them in NYC — and through our experiences we really nailed the dos and don’ts of 'guestiquette.'
Do, for example, offer to buy new mugs when the host’s “were pushed off the shelf by ghosts,” according to my husband; don’t forget your dignity when a there’s a mouse problem in the apartment.
We also came up with a few tips for New York City-based Airbnb hosts, who, quite frankly, can be a bit a bit out of step with the rest of the country...
- Respond to reservation requests speedily. Hosts in all other cities respond on time — and they do so politely. You, on the other hand, take about three weeks to message back with “mayb.ill think bout it an let u no.”
- Don't be mean when it comes to using your air conditioning in the summer. I’m talking to you, host #1 who emailed us daily to check on our a/c use, and you, host #2 who had post-its all over the walls reminding us to keep it off unless strictly necessary. It’s 100 fricking degrees outside; it’s necessary, okay?
- Warn us that if we turn on the TV while drying our hair, the fuse will go (and of course, there’s no access to the fuse box because it’s behind three locked doors in the basement).
- Be honest about just how many stairs we’ll have to climb to reach your apartment. When we’re lugging around two suitcases, a kettle and a microwave (yes, we really did that), six flights isn’t “just a short walk up.” Normal people might not have so much random luggage, but they might have a knee problem or a fear of heights... or something.
- Leave us a smidgen of storage space for our stuff — even if it’s just a collapsible clothes rail that you bring out when guests stay. When we’re staying in a shoebox and we have to store our clothes on the floor, arguments about “foot sweat marks” ensue.
- Provide us with basic instructions for the apartment, so that we don’t end up hassling you with phone calls. For example, tell us any strategies for opening the front door if it has a particularly cumbersome lock. Let us in on the wifi password. And inform us where our trash should go on the street (it’s not always obvious).
- Don't be afraid to e-mail/phone and make sure everything’s going well. Airbnb is different from hotels: it’s meant to create a sense of community and reciprocity. We won’t feel harassed if you check in with us — and we understand that you’ll be a bit worried about leaving your apartment with strangers.
- Don't leave embarrassing medication in your bathroom cabinet: we end up wasting a lot of time hypothesizing about what could have possibly led to your “condition.”
Michelle Slade is a freelance copywriter and editor. She’s the author of “Airbnb Pro” (www.airbnbpro.com) - a guidebook full of tips and techniques to help you find the best Airbnb accommodation at the best prices. She also blogs at makingitanywhere.com.
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