One million. That’s the remarkable number of stays Airbnb expects to hit at its peak this summer. Not bad for a company that's less than eight-years-old and builds its clientele on trust and the honor system. So if you’re already part of the hosting community, or gearing up to join, how do you outshine your competition, of which there are over 1.25 million?
Chip Conley, founder of the boutique hotel group Joie de Vivre and head of global hospitality and strategy at Airbnb, applies this strategy to all his flourishing properties: Stimulate the five senses. Specifically, each should be triggered as soon as your guest walks in the door. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to add special touches by leaving a carafe of water by the bed, or by displaying mini toiletries in the bathroom in case one forgets their toothpaste. But if you’re really trying to make a good first impression, follow Conley's tips below and watch the positive reviews (and future bookings) flood in.
The space should of course be clean, and accurate to your online posting, if not better. Remove any unnecessary clutter, add fresh flowers or a decor piece for a pop of color, and fluff the pillows.
Make sure there are a lot of textures around. Your guests are sure to unconsciously reach out to touch them when they walk by. Consider a plush blanket or sheepskin throw over the back of a couch, or pillows in various materials. (Clockwise from top left: Alicia Adams throw, $395; aliciaadams.com. DWR sheepskin throw, $105; dwr.com. Ugg pillow, $125; uggaustralia.com. Abcdna throw, $315; abc.com. Kevin O Brien pillow, $188; anthropologie.com.)
Make a fragrant impression by burning a luxe candle, or by baking fresh cookies just before your guests arrive—just don't do both (the scents typically don't compliment each other). Pick one and roll with it. (From left: Lafco Citrus Berry candle, $60; lafco.com. Le Labo Santal 26 candle, $70; theline.com. Diptyque Geranium and Rose candle, $60; diptyqueparis.com.)
Have music playing at a low volume in the background, and be careful of your selection. If you’re stumped on what to play, try these crowd-pleasing Pandora stations: Chillwave, Beach Bar Lounge, or Hotel Costes. “They’re focused on chilling out, and what can be more welcoming than that?” says Ron Nenni, director of programming at Pandora. Bonus, you’ll learn about some cool new artists, too.
Offer your guests something refreshing right away. It can be as simple as a glass of water with a citrus wedge, or lemonade with a mint garnish. Bonus points if you go to your local bakery and pick up one of their popular treats. (Dominique Ansel Brown Sugar DKA caramelized croissant, $5.25; Dominique Ansel Kitchen in N.Y.C.)