You’ve finished the paperwork, you’ve talked to the agents, and you’ve finally received the call with a request. Congratulations on your new booking! Not only do bookings bring a little extra income, they also give you the opportunity to connect with and meet interesting people from all over the world. That income is all yours by the way! Unlike some other vacation rental agencies, listing your apartment with New York Habitat is both free and non-exclusive. But where do you go from here? Many owners both new and veteran have questions about what is expected of them during the hosting process. We’ve come up with a cheat sheet on how to be a great host after listing an apartment or room with New York Habitat.

1. Communication

Scheduling arrival times in advance helps put everyone at ease
Introduce yourself and schedule arrival times

The best time to contact your guest is as soon as the booking has been arranged by New York Habitat. It’s best if you introduce yourself right away and discuss the points that are relevant to their stay. This is the time to give your guest as much information as possible about their new apartment and city, including any information they may find helpful for their arrival!

One of the most important subjects to discuss at this stage is the guest’s arrival and check-in time. If possible, try to be flexible when it comes to check-in and checkout times. Airline delays are particularly common, especially for international or connecting flights, and your guests will be hugely appreciative if you’re sensitive to travel mishaps.

It’s also incredibly important to communicate with New York Habitat agents in a timely manner. In today’s world, a few hours’ or days’ delay could mean the difference between a successful booking and a guest who decides to look elsewhere. We’ve noticed that owners with a quick response time often host more guests and receive better reviews.

2. Cleanliness

Leaving a few cleaning materials behind helps your guests clean up after themselves
Clean apartments are popular apartments!

You know the old phrase, “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression?” In the world of apartment and room rentals, this is especially applicable. The impression your guests form within the first few minutes of walking through the door is the impression that will stay with them for the duration of their trip. Hiring a reputable cleaning service is an easy way to make sure your apartment is up to par, but if you decide to clean yourself, make sure to pay particular attention to bathrooms, kitchens, toilets, and bedrooms. Opening a window brings fresh air into your apartment, and a deodorizer can keep things smelling clean.

One important thing to keep in mind is that cleaning standards vary internationally, so when in doubt, try to make things clean by hotel standards. It’s also helpful to leave a few cleaning supplies behind to help guests keep things tidy during their trip.

3. Bed linens and towels

Add a laundry softener for extra-cozy linens
Clean sheets and towels are a crucial way to make a good impression

Is there anything quite as heavenly as slipping between clean, crisp sheets after an exhausting day? Providing fresh linens and towels is one of the most important things you can do as a host, and it’s always appreciated. Go the extra mile and wash the sheets and towels with laundry softener as well, as it will leave linens perfumed and soft. It’s a good policy to have the beds ready by the time the guests arrive, and towels should be neatly folded in the bathroom. Some hosts think guests won’t notice if the sheets haven’t been washed before their arrival, but we can assure you that they will!

Don’t forget to offer at least as many towels and sheets/blankets as there are guests. For example, if there are four guests, each guest will need his or her own towel and blanket. Extra towels are always appreciated, and every guest is grateful for one or two extra blankets, especially during the winter.

4. Food and drink

Providing fresh fruit, chilled water, coffee, and tea is a gesture your guests will love.
A lightly stocked refrigerator helps guests feel right at home

While hosts are not expected to feed their guests for their entire stay, it’s always nice to leave little things like tea bags, coffee, and bottled water for their arrival. Guests have probably had a very long journey to your apartment, and finding a bowl of fresh fruit or small packaged snacks is a great way to welcome them to the neighborhood.

By the same standard, you’ll want to remove any leftovers or expired food from the fridge and pantry. No one wants to spend their vacation throwing food out or seeking space around endless Tupperware.

5. Guides

Neighborhood guides, restaurant menus, and links to the New York Habitat Blog are great ways to introduce guests to their new city.
Leave neighborhood guides on hand for new arrivals

Visiting your city is a first for many guests, so one way you can help them feel instantly at ease is to include copies of city guides. Besides leaving standard guidebooks, it’s also very considerate to leave flyers and menus from local restaurants and coffee shops. Many restaurants are happy to provide you with pamphlets, and it’s a great way to share your favorite places with guests. Most guests will have no idea where to start when it comes to exploring the neighborhood and would love to hear about your favorite local spots. Books and magazines are also welcome, so long as you do not mind sharing these with your guests. If you’re not sure where to start, we have many resources on our travel blog about neighborhoods in New York, Paris, London, and the South of France.

If you have the time, nothing beats a personal tour! Guests love it when their host shares favorite activities or local information. If nothing else, offer to be a resource on your city and neighborhood. It goes a long way towards helping your guests feel truly welcome.

6. Making space

It’s nice to leave a little extra space in case your guests want to go shopping
Clearing a closet or two allows your guests to move in.

This sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s incredibly important. While the apartment or bedroom you’re renting may be your primary home, make sure there’s space for your guests’ suitcases, clothes, toiletries, and food. The goal is to help your guests feel at home, something they can’t do if there’s no space for them to put their things! If you’re unsure about how much space you need to provide, consider the number of guests and their length of stay, then add about 50% more space than you think they’ll need.

7. Interaction

As a host, it’s essential to make yourself available to your guests by phone or email in case there’s an emergency and they need to contact you. The more flexible and accommodating you can be, the better your online reviews will be. Being easy to reach is one of the most vital items on this list, and can make the difference between a good guest experience and a bad one.

While you should always try to do everything you can to make your guests’ stay as pleasant as possible, you should never make promises you can’t keep. Overpromising and under-delivering is one of the fastest ways to strain an otherwise good guest-host relationship. Try to surprise and delight your guests wherever possible, as long as it’s within reason.

Last but not least, you should encourage your guests to find New York Habitat on social media. We’d love to share your guests’ pictures and to keep our followers up-to-date on local events and activities they might enjoy.

8. Online reviews

Don’t forget to remind your guests to review!
Happy guests leave great reviews!

A few days after their stay in your apartment, your guests will receive a link to an online review portal where they can publish their reviews on our website. Try to encourage them to leave reviews towards the end of their stay, as reviews are a great way to promote the quality of your accommodation to future guests. Reviews are also a very important feature of your apartment’s listing page, as prospective guests will use them as a reference when deciding to rent from you. Stand by your reviews and be proud of them–you’ve earned them! Check out some of the most recently added online apartment reviews.

You will be notified once we’ve received your guest’s review. You will have the opportunity to reply to the review as well, bearing in mind that your response, as well as the original review, will be visible to future guests.

9. Roommate shares

This section applies to hosts in roommate shares and bed and breakfasts, wherein both the host and the guest live in the same apartment.

  • Roommate misunderstandings happen, and can be complicated by language or culture barriers. Help prevent misunderstandings with your new roommate by setting clear rules from the beginning.
  • To make sure everyone gets along and is well-rested, try to keep noise to a minimum, particularly in the evening and at night. Your guests might still be jetlagged and will appreciate the peace and quiet.
  • Clean up after yourself. This is particularly important in the kitchen, where dishes can pile up quickly. Save yourself the hassle and drama of a confrontation and always clean the dishes after you’ve cooked. If you don’t want to deal with your roommate’s dirty dishes, make sure dishwashing duties are clearly established in the house rules.

By following these tips, you’ll be on your way to being not only a great host, but a fantastic friend your guests will cherish long after their trip has ended. Are you confused about something or want to ask us for advice? Feel free to contact us 7 days a week at +1 (212) 255-8018. Happy hosting!