Like hotels, not all Airbnbs are created equal. There are the gorgeous, Instagram-friendly abodes meant to make visitors feel as if they’re in the lap of luxury, and the more serviceable spots geared toward travelers just stopping for a good night’s sleep. But whether you’re operating a rental that’s fancy, basic, or somewhere in between, owners tell us there are certain amenities all hosts should procure to make stays go smoothly for all parties.

These experienced proprietors also let us in on extras that can mean the difference between a so-so stay and one that ends with a glowing review.

The basics

Let’s start with the bathroom. It should be squeaky clean (as should everywhere else). Include extra toilet paper, tissues, a cleaning wand, and plunger. Personal care items should include shower staples — shampoo, conditioner, and soap — and everything needed for hand-washing. Nothing has to be be high-end; recognizable drugstore products are totally fine.

Invest in matching towel sets that meet the maximum number of people your space can host. There’s nothing wrong with white Ikea towels that you can bleach between uses, but watch the fabric for stains so you can swap them out.

In the bedroom, sufficient linens are a must — as with the towels, they don’t need to be fancy but invest in a few sets specifically for visitors and retire them as needed.

If your guests have kitchen access, they need cleaning supplies: dish soap, a sponge or scrubber, light cleaning supplies such as paper towels and multi-surface spray, a drying rack in the absence of a dishwasher, and laundry soap if there’s a washer/dryer.

Other must-haves include safety equipment: a fire alarm/carbon-monoxide detector with working batteries, a fire extinguisher, and a first-aid kit should all be accessible.

Matt Marcus, an Airbnb host in Brooklyn, said the three messages he receives most often are, “Where is the hair dryer?” “Where is the iron?” and “Where are the extra blankets?” Don’t forget a pad of paper and a pen, a flashlight, and a set of instructions that include the WiFi password and any other useful information for guests.

Upping the game

Then there are the things you might not think of but are definitely appreciated. “When you’re putting together your bnb, you’re really creating an environment,” explained Anthony D’Argenzio, a creative consultant and stylist who runs This Old Hudson in Hudson, N.Y. When people come to stay at his two-unit property, he said, they’re looking for a getaway, and D’Argenzio provides thoughtful touches.

All guests are greeted with a bottle of wine and other goodies from local shops, along with a map, curated by D’Argenzio and his wife, of fun places to shop, eat, and drink. They also put out coffee along with a grinder and a French press, nice glassware, and sometimes chocolate or a cheese plate.

Sara and Rich Combs have added similar touches to their property in Joshua Tree, Calif., including a Chemex coffee maker and a record player — plus an outdoor hot tub.

Thoughtful but practical touches, such as lamps by the beds and places to unwind, are a good idea. The Combses invested in nicer personal-care products for guests and Casper mattresses for every room.

If you’re hosting guests in a city where they might be wondering what to do, provide a curated list of recommendations in the booking letter or leave it on the counter for when they arrive. Supplying physical subway maps and guides can often be more convenient.

If you’re wondering what else you should provide, Jenn Lindberg, whose rental is in Lockhart, Texas, received some good suggestions from guests. "We’ve added umbrellas, a pizza cutter, Kleenex, mixing bowls, and noise machines — that feedback has been invaluable” Lindberg said.


Whether you’re renting out an extra room or an entire home, decor can make all the difference — and owners agree that taking the “personal” out of the space is essential. “Between the plants, the records, and what we leave out for guests, we want there to be signs of life. Just not signs of our life,” Rich Combs said.

That doesn’t mean removing every family photo in the house if you’re renting out an entire place. But it does mean personal pictures should come off the nightstands, and intimate artwork — such as boudoir photos — belong out of sight.

As for the decor itself, think simple and tasteful: a consistent color scheme, well-appointed bedding, uncluttered surfaces, subdued artwork or mirrors on the wall.

For Airbnb operators such as D’Argenzio, the Combses, Lindberg, and Marcus, incorporating the spirit of the cities where they are has been a good design directive. Each of the spaces nods toward local heritage of the towns or cities — and all of them have excellent, honest photography that allow a renter to understand what they are signing up for when they rent the space. Getting everyone on the same page beforehand is crucial and can save hosts and guests a lot of headaches.