Ultimate Airbnb Host Checklist for Setting Up Your Rental

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So, you’ve decided to take the plunge and become an Airbnb host? Congratulations! With the right preparation, decorating, and organization, your Airbnb rental can become a successful side hustle… or even a full-time career! When setting up your Airbnb rental, it’s important to think about all the details, both small and big. From writing a detailed welcome guide to purchasing quality linens, I’ll cover everything you need in this ultimate Airbnb host checklist.

I can’t believe my husband and I have been Airbnb & Vrbo hosts for two years now! In August of 2021, we launched our first vacation rental: our Little Lake House at Spring Lake. This past Spring, we launched our second rental (Little Lake House at Seba Beach). After a couple of years in the business, I’ve learned a lot about hosting and what you & your rental home need to get 5-star ratings and provide a wonderful experience for our Airbnb guests. Let’s dive in!

Ultimate Airbnb Host Checklist for Setting Up Your Rental
In both our rentals, we opted for high quality sofas. They get a lot of use and are cleaned often, so I’d recommend this.

Furnishing

When furnishing your Airbnb, think about the comfort and relaxation of your guests. Consider investing in quality pieces such as sturdy bed frames, a comfortable sofa and side chairs, durable outdoor furniture, and a solid dining table. Between heavy use and lots of cleaning, short-term rental furniture will get a lot of wear and tear, so think of this when you’re purchasing your pieces. Opt for furniture that will hold up to use, but don’t buy anything that would make you upset if it got scratched, stained, or broken.

I love IKEA for sourcing affordable rental furniture, and I’ve also found beautiful pieces from The Brick (in Canada) and Wayfair. You can also look to places like thrift stores and Facebook Marketplace for more affordable second hand pieces; just make sure they’re spotless and damage-free before you put them in your Airbnb.

When choosing furniture, keep in mind the overall vibe of your space. A modern, minimalist approach can be great for a city apartment, while bohemian or coastal accents are perfect for lake houses.

You’ll also need to make sure to have enough lounging and dining seating for all your guests. For example, if your home sleeps 6 people, ensure that your dining table also seats 6, and so does your living room and outdoor space.

For a 2 bedroom 1 bathroom Airbnb, expect to spend at least $10,000 Canadian dollars on furnishing your rental. That doesn’t include the cost of appliances and the amenities essentials, which are below.

Amenities

To ensure your guests have a great experience, make sure your rental is stocked with plenty of amenities. We’ve found that supplying our guests with everything they need and more for a hotel-quality stay helps them have a relaxing experience and they’re more likely to give us a five star review.

For the bathroom, consider complimentary toiletries such as shampoo, soap, makeup cloths and towels. Keep a stocked kitchen with all the essential utensils, cookware, and dinnerware. In each bedroom, provide plenty of blankets, sheets, pillows, and chargers so guests have everything they need to feel comfortable. Our favourite kind of bed linen is a 100% cotton, but you might want to opt for a polyester blend if you want something that dries quicker between guests.

I also recommend having a welcome basket for each guest to delight and surprise them with a few little extras. It doesn’t have to be an extravagant gift – we find a basket with a few snacks, drinks and a handwritten note is always well received.

Smart features are also a handy addition to any rental. We love our smart locks so guests can enter with their very own door code, and our Smart TVs are also well used. We like Roku TVs for their Guest Mode where guests can use their own streaming services and are automatically logged out after their stay.

Because I get asked a lot, I’ve put together a list of all my best Airbnb property amenity essentials. In this list, you’ll find links to all of my favourite items like my must-have fluffy bath towels to safety features like a carbon monoxide detector to my favourite wireless chargers. You’ll also find an approximate price for each item, with a total cost estimate for setting up your vacation rental.

Click here for my Essential Airbnb Host Checklist with my favourite amenity essentials. This is a spreadsheet that you can copy, save, and use to track your own amenities.

You can also find my Amazon Vacation Rental favourites on my Amazon Canada Idea List or my Amazon USA Idea List.

Here’s an overview of my Airbnb inventory checklist:

Kitchen

Living Room

Cleaning Supplies

  • Cleaning Caddy
  • Dyson Vacuum
  • Disinfectant
  • Febreeze
  • OxiClean White Revive
  • Windex
  • All Purpose Cleaner
  • Lint Rollers
  • Scrubbing Bubbles
  • Duster
  • Cleaning Brushes
  • Spin Mop
  • Cleaning Cloths

Bathroom

Bedroom

Safety

Consumables

  • Nespresso Pods
  • Tea Assortment
  • Hot Chocolate Assortment
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Dishwasher Tabs
  • Dish Soap
  • Kleenex
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Olive Oil
  • Toilet Paper
  • Paper Towel
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Shampoo, Conditioner, Body Wash
  • Snacks for a Welcome Gift Basket
  • Sugar Packets
  • Coffeemate Packs
  • Cling Wrap & Tin Foil

Expect to spend at least $5,000 Canadian dollars on adding essential amenities to your vacation rental.

Cleaning

Cleanliness is key for any great Airbnb rental. In my opinion, this is the number one thing you should be focusing on when starting a vacation rental. Guests expect spaces to be spotless and free of dust. Before and after your guests’ stay, go through the entire space to make sure it is clean. Hire a professional cleaning service or do it yourself using high-quality cleaning products. Make sure the bathroom is sparkling, the kitchen is spotless, and the linens are washed and sanitized.

It’s certainly a benefit to having a clothes washer and dryer on site, but some hosts opt to use a professional laundry service or wash their linens at a laundromat.

We use professional cleaners for our two vacation rentals, and do a lot of the laundry ourselves. Even though we hire this out, it’s still a lot of work to communicate with the cleaners and check for quality. However, all the time we spend on cleaning our rentals is worth it for our guest’s experience.

Communication

As an Airbnb host, always be open, friendly, and responsive with your guests. Make sure you respond to messages quickly and answer all their questions. I find that it’s essential to respond to any guest messages within an hour if you want to be a 5 star host. Before their arrival, make sure you have provided clear instructions on how to enter the property, including instructions on parking, check-in, and check-out.

Be sure to create a well-written and informative welcome guide detailing all the important details that guests should know about your property. This is also a good place to include your house rules and any instructions guests might need to use your amenities. You can find lots of fantastic Welcome Guide templates on Creative Market. I use Canva to edit and design our Welcome Guides. Provide a printed copy at your rental, and a digital copy a few days before arrival.

You can use property management software and apps to streamline and automate this process. We use Guesty for Hosts to help us manage our calendar and guest messages, and we love it!

The kitchen at our Little Lake House at Seba Beach

Decor

Finally, the decor is what makes your space feel special and unique. Choose decor that is both stylish and functional. Your decor should reflect the overall mood you want to create for your guests. Warm lighting is great for creating a relaxing atmosphere, as well as neutral color schemes, rugs, and artwork. Our guests love our reading lamps in the living room, and wall sconces for reading on either side of the main bed. Floral arrangements and plants are also a great way to add a touch of nature and elegance to your space. I like to use dried or faux florals so that they require no maintenance.

Keep the decor minimal and streamlined because it will need to be dusted and cleaned often. Consider having at least one area that’s “Instagram worthy”, so it might entice your guests to take photos of themselves in the space and post them on social. It’s free advertising for you, and a fun memory for your guests!

Modern coastal bedroom makeover with deep blue shiplap wall, vinyl plank flooring, IKEA furniture, and gold accents

Click here to see how we decorated our Little Lake House at Spring Lake in a Modern Coastal Style or click here to see how we decorated our Seba Beach property in a Vintage Cottage Style.

I hope you’ve found inspiration in today’s blog post! By following this ultimate Airbnb host checklist, you will be well on your way to creating a beautiful and welcoming space for travelers. Investing time and energy into setting up your rental with all the key details, from furnishing to communication, will help you create a memorable experience that guests will remember and recommend to others. Happy Hosting!

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