A guidebook is, hands-down, the BEST and most efficient way to add value for your Airbnb guests. Airbnb guests want to feel like locals, they want that authentic, unique experience – and as a local, you can give that experience to them!
However, you need more than just a “meh” guidebook. You need a kickass guidebook, that will really wow your guests – impressing them so much that they give you 5 stars and write about it in their review!
In addition to impressing your guests, a well-written guidebook also makes your life easier. By including all of the necessary information in the guidebook, you significantly cut down the amount of time you spend answering questions. Everything from how does the dishwasher work, to where should I take my family to eat? Keep reading for a list of the exact information you should include, and the optimal order.
Not trying to brag, but we have a kickass Airbnb guidebook. The reviews speak for themselves…
We have hosted almost 1,000 guests, and have received over 500 reviews – and about 1 in 4 reviews specifically mention our guidebook. A few guests have loved the guidebook so much, they asked if they could buy it to take it home with them!
It wasn’t an immediate home run, though…in fact, I went through a number of rough drafts before I found the perfect guidebook formula. And I am excited to share that information with my readers, today!
Here is the basic formula:
There are 5 parts to a kickass Airbnb guidebook:
- title page
- house rules and manual
- neighborhood description
1. Title Page
The first page of your guidebook should include all of the essential, “at a glance” information. This includes: house address, host phone numbers, emergency phone numbers (a friend or family member of yours that they can call if they can’t reach you), wifi network and password, codes for all locks, check in/check out times, and any specific check in/out instructions. If you have a social media or website for your Airbnb listing, put it on the front page.
2. House Rules and Manual
The second page should list all of your house rules. This is also the space to include any quirks in your house, like the oven is actually 10 degrees hotter than it says, or pull the door extra tight behind you when you close it. Put instructions for electronic devices like TV or blue tooth speakers, and owner’s manuals for appliances if you have them.
3. Neighborhood Description
The third page is a description of your listing’s neighborhood, and everything within walking distance. Think of things you would want access to if you’re on vacation, not necessarily tourist destinations – convenience stores, groceries, gas stations, coffee house, etc. Put them on a map so guests have a visual of where to go, and mark public transportation routes. This section is important, because guests will rate your listing on location, so tell them all the awesome things about it!
Finally, the fun part! This is the most important part of the guidebook, and what takes the most time to research and write. We divided ours into the four main neighborhoods/entertainment districts in our city. We further broke up each neighborhood into shopping, eating, drinking, and doing.
The first paragraph is about the history of the neighborhood, what it is known for, where it is located, and insider tips. There are a few pictures of the neighborhood. In each of the sub sections (shopping, eating, drinking, and doing), we include our favorite establishments. The more local businesses the better – most Airbnb guests don’t want to go to chain restaurants, they want an authentic experience. When writing the descriptions, mention things that are not common knowledge. When is happy hour? What is your favorite thing there? Where can they park for free? Is there a dish that is “off the menu”? Is there a night of the week where they do trivia or have a magician? Kids night? Go around town and take pictures, or take some from their website.
After the four main tourist areas of town were explained in detail, we have additional recommendations that are grouped by interests. For example: family, cultural, seasonal, free, breweries/wineries, etc. You can add as many of these sections as you would like.
Here is a sample of our guidebook:
At the end of the guidebook, I include a couple extras:
Itineraries: I wrote some different 2 day/1 night itineraries based on potential guest interests. There is one for families that has an outline of kid friendly activities and restaurants, one for a girl’s night out, one for a weekend of romance, and one that is active featuring bike tours and hiking paths.
FAQ Section: There is an FAQ section with more detailed information about the house. It’s basically the same information as in the house manual, but in a more guest-friendly format.
Walking Tours: this is a map of our local neighborhood, with different walking/stopping points. Check out your neighborhood association, often they will already have a free walking tour available for download.
“About Us” Section: This helps people see their host as a real person – it is much harder to give bad reviews to a real person.
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