The Airbnb Host’s New Secret Weapon

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After a short lull in demand, Airbnb guests are spending a whopping 75% more now than they did this time last year, making Airbnb possibly one of the largest unexpected winners from the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is an unprecedented boom, that is largely fuelled because vacationers likely prefer isolated homes over overcrowded hotels, and because remote work can just as easily be completed from somewhere beautiful, as somewhere that is not.

But the pandemic boom also brings the added complexity of managing the careful balance of keeping things running smoothly and safely when you host your rental; a responsibility you ultimately share with your guests. If guests know the rules and follow them, the experience can be incredibly rewarding and very safe for everyone. If a guest doesn’t follow your rules, or accidentally damages your property, it can be a nightmare.

That is why you need a digital house manual…in fact, it is one of the most important things you can do as a host.

Why a digital house manual is so powerful for Airbnb Hosts

A digital house manual is all about giving answers to your guests in an easy and convenient way. It saves you a ton of time and helps your guests seamlessly transition into their stay easily enjoying the best your home has to offer. Airbnb is an experience-driven platform, and a digital house manual goes the extra mile to help guests have peace of mind and a stay that is smooth, safe and enjoyable. It could be the difference between you getting a 5-star rating or not.

A digital house manual is also where you can ensure guests know your house rules and what to do if there is an emergency like a fire, fuel leak or electrical problem.

What should Airbnb hosts include in a digital house manual?

A great digital house manual should include everything from how to get onto the wifi, to your appliance quirks and everything in-between. How to get onto Netflix, where the spare keys are, how to turn on the hot water heater, what your address is and house rules are all necessities. Nowadays, local COVID rules, house cleaning supplies, extra soap, sanitizer supplies, and who to call if guests are displaying coronavirus symptoms are also a must. Finally, a full outline of all the key safety items in the house such as fire extinguishers, water and gas shutoffs, electrical panels, stove and bbq operating instructions, property hazards and first aid kit locations are all absolutely critical to protect both your guests and your property.

The most effective way to make a digital house manual

Traditionally house manuals have been printed and bound to welcome guests on arrival, included in your Airbnb profile, or sent via email possibly including some Youtube video walkthroughs.

While all of these are good options, they all have their drawbacks by either being inconvenient to use, time-consuming to create, or nearly impossible to keep up to date…or all three.

Fortunately, there is a new option that will be hitting the App Store in the next few weeks. House Manual, the free app (with in-app purchases) that allows iOS users to digitally create and update House Manuals in minutes is getting a big update that will be the secret weapon Airbnb hosts have been waiting for.

House Manual works very similarly to social media. Users can tag a photo, floor plan, or map and post any information they want to save about their house. House Manual “Posts” are 100% private, and up to this point have been an excellent resource for couples and families to have a central place to remember everything important to the household.

With the next release (V1.1), however, the popular House Manual app is about to get a LOT more powerful. The reason for this is the new sharing feature the development team is currently putting the finishing touches on. When released, the new private selective sharing function will allow any House Manual user to selectively share any posts that are relevant to Airbnb guests, and the recipients don’t even need an iPhone.

Those given access will only see the posts you want them to see. All posts are editable and privately shared in the cloud and the private links can be posted directly in your Airbnb listing details. If you make a change, the update automatically displays to all recipients. If you no longer want a guest to have access, simply delete their shared link and they instantly can’t see anything. Need to add a new item, tag it on your iPhone, and it will instantly be ready to be shared. It’s that easy.

Best of all, you don’t have to only use this amazing new tool for guests, you can also selectively share posts relevant to any cleaners, contractors, guests from other services like VRBO or booking.com and more.

If you want to be on the notification list for when this exciting version of House Manual is released, you can signup at https://www.housemanual.app/v1-1

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So as you carefully manage your Airbnb listing during this unexpected boom, reap the benefits of powerful new tools like House Manual and operate at your best. You deserve it.

Extra Reading

• 11 ways to write a killer Airbnb House Manual (template) (bnbduck.com) — Grab yourself a free Airbnb house manual template in PDF format, as well as 11 must have items for your manual to guarantee a 5 star rating.

• My Finalized House Manual… (community.withairbnb.com) — So, in the next couple of days we are opening for business! YEAH! Throughout the last 2 months — getting ready for this day — we’ve asked all of you

• How do I add a house manual to my listing? — Airbnb Help Centre (airbnb.ca) -

• A House Manual Guests Will Read (thehostingjourney.com) — In “A House Manual Guests Will Read” learn the essentials to create that 5-Star House Manual that will have your guests raving about it.

• 19 Critical Airbnb House Manual Instructions for Hosts [2020] (rentalrecon.com) — Hosts! We have compiled an amazing list of Airbhb house manual instructions. Make sure you have these for your guests!…

• How to Nail your Aibnb House Manual — Welcome Pickups (welcomepickups.com) — The House Manual is all about giving answers to your guests prior to them making the questions. Make the best out of it with Welcome’s suggestions!

• The Airbnb House Manual (Everything You Need To Know) — Touch Stay (touchstay.com) — How do you make your Airbnb House Manual exciting? What should you include? How should you write it? What does it take to get guests to read it?

• How to Create a House Manual for Guests — THIRDHOME (thirdhome.com) — A house manual is a handy tool for every host. This guide will make sure you’ve covered all your bases when you’re anticipating guests!

• (temploola.com) -

• FREE Airbnb Welcome Guide Template — Hosts & Homes (hostsandhomes.com) — Imporve your guests experience by using our FREE Airbnb Welcome Guide Template. Complete with examples, ideas and icons for your guidebook.

• Improve Your Airbnb House Manuals, Guidebooks, & Rules (learnbnb.com) — Airbnb house rules and guidebooks help you get better reviews for your Airbnb rental unit. Learn how to improve your Airbnb house manual and go digital.

• The Senior Nomads’ Five Keys to a Great House Manual (blog.atairbnb.com) — 中文 Deutsch Español Français Italiano 日本語 한국어 Português ру́сский Nederlands Continuing their series on what makes an Airbnb stay amazing for guests, Debbie and Michael Campbell sha…

• 5 tips for writing a 5* Airbnb house manual. — Hostmaker Blog (hostmaker.com) — People know their home like the back of their hand. So when staying in a home away from home — your Airbnb-listed home — it’s not surprising that they expect the same level of ease, comfort and knowledge. It’s a tricky thing to achieve: after all, they’ve most likely never seen it before, and they’re … Continue reading 5 tips for writing a 5* Airbnb house manual. →

• Airhostsforum.com — The largest non-official forum just for Airbnb Hosts (airhostsforum.com) — Does anyone have a recommendation for a free word template for house manual?

• Create a perfect Airbnb House Manual (3 Choices) — Satisfied Sleepers (satisfiedsleepers.com) — House Manuals are there for you just as much as they are for your guests. If you havn’t got one, then your missing out. Read on for our easy template!

• House manual airbnb (etsy.com) — Check out our house manual airbnb selection for the very best in unique or custom, handmade pieces from our templates shops.

Topics

• house manual

• house rules

• phone number

• wifi password

• air conditioning

• little things

• local information

• Google

• Check Out Time

• YouTube

• important information

• hot water

• air conditioner

• Netflix

• washing machine

• common sense

• wall switch

• welcome note

• Welcome guide

• welcome message

• listing page

• Local attractions

• contact information

• little point

• fantastic tool

• happy guest

• written guide

• physical copy

• enjoyable stay

• Post Office

The 11 most important things you should include in your manual from bnbduck.com

#1 — LEAVE A NICE WELCOME NOTE

I find it is best to start with a welcome note. Something short and sweet, adding in an element of fun wouldn’t go astray either.

But best to keep it short. Start with something like “Welcome to Sovereign Cottage. We are so pleased you have decided to book with us and hope you have an enjoyable stay.”

Then go on to add a couple of paragraphs explaining the highlights of your property. You may want to mention you are only a short stroll from a local park, for example. Also write that your television has Netflix, or that a great restaurant is only two blocks away, etc.

Don’t go into too much detail, only 3–4 paragraphs will suffice.

#2 — INCLUDE YOUR CONTACT DETAILS

This is self explanatory and important. Your guests are more than likely going to want to contact you during their stay. I have it listed on the first page of my Airbnb house manual template.

I recommend providing several forms of contact details. A phone number and email address are the obvious ones. Another common way of chatting is via a chat program such as WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger.

The built in chat program on Airbnb can also be useful. But keep in mind that not all guests have a smart phone, let alone have the Airbnb app installed.

I recommend not relying on the Airbnb app. You should give guests a few options of contacting you. This will provide them with a peace of mind should something go wrong during their stay.

#3 — BE CLEAR ON CHECK IN & CHECK OUT

Let me stress the importance of being very clear on your check in and check out times. Write it in bold text on the front page of your Airbnb house manual template so guests will not miss it.

When I first started hosting, I lost count of the amount of times guests were late checking out. I would arrive to clean at 10am, only for the guest to still be there chilling out, sometimes well after 11am.

My belief was the check in and check out times were clear in the listing. I was wrong, in fact guests would often not even see it, so I came up with a new idea.

On the front page of my Airbnb house manual, I write the check out time in bold and underline it. I write it in a reasonable size font, so the guest will definitely see it.

And hey presto! It worked! Now it is rare for guests to overstay their check out time and writing it in the manual is the key reason why.

I recommend you be clear on what to do at check out too. Below are some ideas:

• Please switch off all lights and heating/cooling

• Place key back in lockbox

• Please lock all windows and doors

• Place used towels on bathroom floor

#4 — RESTAURANT RECOMMENDATIONS

It’s important to write a list of restaurant recommendations. More often than not your guest will be visiting your city for the first time.

Guests choose Airbnb because it provides the experience of living like a local. So why not help them improve their experience by providing a list of nearby restaurants.

You will see in my Airbnb house manual template I list about ten restaurants that I like nearby the house. I try to cover as many different cuisines as possible. Mexican, Spanish tapas, Thai, Indian, nice streak restaurants, sports bars, you name it.

I’ll write a short blurb, no longer than a sentence or two on each restaurant. I like to write why I like the restaurant, and also list how many miles/ km away.

One thing I recommend including is vegetarian or vegan restaurants. Being a vegetarian myself, I find it hard locating food options to suit my needs when travelling. So this is a valuable addition and your guests will be thankful for.

You should also consider creating saved responses just in case a guest doesn’t read your manual. These are saved Airbnb message templates that can be used when communicating with guests.

#5 — WHAT ARE THE BEST ATTRACTIONS?

If a guest is coming to stay in your city, then odds are they will want to know some of the attractions nearby. I know I want to when I travel.

The free Airbnb house manual template I’ll provide you with has a handy guide on how to list the attractions.

Most likely a guest will hit up Google to search for attractions in the area. But, what I find helpful is listing some of the lesser-known attractions. Things that the search engines may not show you.

You live in the city, so you should know some of the must sees. There may be a nice park or some walking tracks nearby? You could inform them about a cheap bike rental place or if there is a lake with canoe rentals available. The list is endless.

I like to list things like movie cinemas, museums, popular streets, swimming pools, and so on. There is even a ghost tour in my city which I list in the house manual, which has proven popular.

The more things you can list, the better. Your guest will appreciate it and a happy guest equals a happy review.

#6 — LIST THE BEST SHOPPING OPTIONS

It should come as no surprise that shopping appears on this list. Be sure to you include it in your guide.

What I include is a list of 3 or 4 spots in town that are good areas to shop. People will want to know where the nearest shopping malls and shopping strips may be in your city. You should also list grocery or nearby convenience stores.

Listing when and were your local farmers markets are is another great idea. Your Airbnb guests have booked your place so they can cook, so why not give them access to the best produce.

Write how far away these locations are and let your guests know if they’re within walking distance or not.

I devote a big chunk of my Airbnb house manual template towards shopping, as it is such handy information.

#7 — WHAT TRANSPORT IS NEARBY?

A list of transport options is a crucial addition to your guide. Especially so if your house is some distance from the centre of town.

If your Airbnb house is in the CBD of a large capital city, it is of more importance to list transport options. Odds are there will be a subway station, so be sure to list the closest station and show a screenshot of the station map.

Also list the station names nearby to shopping centres, stadiums and attractions. Remember, your guests have no idea where anything is.

My Airbnb is in a smaller city and a good 30 minute walk from town. There is a bus stop across the road, so I have included in my Airbnb house manual a printed copy of the bus timetable. I’ll also highlight the key spots to get on/off at.

So many of my guests have written to me thanking me for including this, as it is valuable information.

List if Uber is available in your city, as well as providing a phone number for the taxi service. Also, note how many minutes you are by car from the nearest airport.

#8 — ROOM BY ROOM GUIDES

Providing guests with information is crucial part on my Airbnb house manual template.

This will be their first time visiting your house (assuming they’re not a repeat customer!) so it’s important they know where everything is and how everything works.

Start with the kitchen. Let them know the location of the bins, where the dish washing tablets and cleaning products are. Write guides on how the oven and other appliances work.

It’s a good idea to let your guests know they must clean up their own dishes. Cleaning dishes adds time to your day. For a way to reduce your time in this area, here are 11 hacks to save time on your Airbnb cleaning.

These things all sound self explanatory, but trust me, things can (and do) go wrong. Best to make it easy!

Let your guests know if you have things like Netflix

Provide instructions on how to use the television or DVD player. Let them know where the air conditioning and heating controls are. If your television has Netflix or Hulu, inform your guests and let them know the password.

In the bedrooms, inform them where spare pillows, blankets and fresh linen are.

Like I said, all this stuff sounds self explanatory. But it has been my experience that the easier I make it, the more comfortable the guest will be.

#9 — MAKE WIFI DETAILS PROMINENT

Please, please, please show your WiFi details in an easy to see spot! I have a special section in my Airbnb house manual template especially for this.

I like to write it on the opening page in my manual. Over the years I have had more people texting me for the WiFi login details than I’ve had hot meals.

Make sure you write it in a large enough font in a clear manner. People WILL miss it, trust me.

In fact, a good idea is to put a sticker on the front of your manual with the username and password so they can’t miss it. (Some still do though…)

• Username: Sovereign Cottage

• Password: password1234

See above? It’s as simple as that. Although, try and use a password with a bit more imagination than password 1234!

#10 — DO YOU OFFER PARKING?

If there is parking on your property, then you should definitely write this in your manual.

It’s likely you will have parking listed on your Airbnb listing profile. So it’s important reaffirm this in your manual as well, so it’s clear.

Guests will want to know if they can park their car on your premises, or if there is a fee for off-street parking. There is nothing worse than coming home to a parking ticket.

If you’re in a capital city with limited parking, you need to be clear. Include maps and details of any nearby parking garages and be sure to list costs for 24hrs.

#11 — INCLUDE EMERGENCY DETAILS

Emergency details is a common item that people often overlook in their manuals.

Always list contact details of the nearest hospital, doctor, pharmacy and medical centres. Having this information will provide your guests with plenty of comfort.

I have a little fridge magnet in my houses with details of local emergency contacts. The fridge is something guests will use often, so they cannot help but see the magnet. Be sure to visit your local pharmacy or medical centre, as they should be able to provide you with one for your house.

Something else I encourage hosts to do is list local tradespeople. That includes people such as plumbers, electricians, handymen and so on. This is more to provide myself with comfort in the event a guest is unable to reach me.

Including little things like this is a smart idea. It may even help you get better Airbnb reviews.

AIRBNB HOUSE MANUAL TEMPLATE DOWNLOAD

Ok, now for the reason you are here — to download your free Airbnb house manual template PDF!

This should provide you with a good example of what to include in yours. I have intended for it to be a sample document for you. Look out for the green text, these comments will guide you through how to use the manual.

INCLUDED IN THE AIRBNB HOUSE MANUAL TEMPLATE

• Welcome note

• House rules sample

• Restaurant recommendations

• How to use house amenities

• Local attractions & must sees

• List of nearby shopping locations

• Closest hospital & medical centres

• How to use local transport

It is a free download and is available in PDF form. This is the Airbnb house manual template that I use for my own properties, so I know it works.

Written by

House Manual is the app for organizing your house, taking care of your things, & making sure everyone in your household knows what to do if there is a problem.

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