Establishing house rules

Letting someone into your personal space requires a bit more prep than checking the local laws and marketing your home to Las Vegas tourists. You’re about to let a complete stranger into your home — make sure you do it right.

Door locks

Keep ‘em out or let them in — either way, be in control.

Airbnb partners with a few companies that offer the ultimate in personalization for door locks.

August Home offers a keypad controlled by your smartphone to allow entry to whom you want — when you want it. You can even set up individual codes for different visitors so you know who came in and when. (A great feature for service providers as well as guests). You can even set dates and times to allow access to certain people. It even offers a doorbell camera to check out who’s at your spot. These locks start at around $200.

Remote Lock integrates with your Airbnb booking information. The company touts that “instead of issuing keys or permanent codes, property owners provide guests with temporary access codes that start and end when owners want, so guests can’t enter the property one minute before or after the specified time.” These locks start at around $300.

And, if you’re nervous about the function of your keys, or are having a neighbor or other agent handle the swap, there are options.

Guesty is the new Airbnb concierge. Touted as “a cloud-based service and property management software that Airbnb hosts use to offload many of the repetitive and administrative tasks necessary for running their Airbnb” by Nathan Tobin, their head of growth. The company takes a percentage (1 percent to 3.5 percent, depending on the services) of your listing price to handle all things administrative — including a receptionist to handle any issues.

Whatever you do, don’t leave your guest out in the cold — or desert heat. That’s a sure-fire way to get a bad review (the economic kiss of death for an Airbnb host). Even if you plan to be there with a cool drink in hand to greet them, let them know that in advance.

Airbnb warns: “Your guests will be invited to rate their check-in experience at the end of their stay, so it’s an opportunity to devote extra care to making them comfortable. Keep in mind your guests may be tired from traveling, so it’s important to put them at ease with a clear and simple check-in process.”


It’s Vegas, the land where looks matter.

Ensuring a clean home, not just for hygiene and sanitary reasons, but also tidiness and order are key factors in sustained high ratings on Airbnb.

Cleaning is not an option, but how you do it is. Decide if you want to handle the cleanup after each guest, or invest the money in a service to do it for you. Either way, it’s a personal preference about money, time and effort.

“Cleanliness is an important aspect of providing guests with the best possible experience,” said Airbnb spokeswoman Christine Marron. “Though users do not have to hire cleaning services, if they choose to do so they can incorporate a cleaning fee into their listing price to cover the costs. The service they use is up to their own personal preference and research.”

Companies like allow a host to photograph the home as she’d like it presented. Then send those photos and a checklist to an outside housecleaner and require the cleaner to perform the checklist, stage the home (such as leaving on certain lights, setting up the bed pillows a specific way, setting out a bottle of wine) and then photograph it as proof to the host.

House Manual

Lay down the law, or at least spell it out.

Airbnb suggests every host create a House Manual outlining all the rules of the house for every guest.

You can’t be upset someone did something you did not want them to do if you haven’t told them.

So think about what you’re OK with and what you aren’t: pets, parties, smoking, drinking, sharing the pool, late nights, parking in the garage, sharing your living room, control of the TV. Anything you want to stipulate.

These rules appear on your listing under House Rules, but should also be available in printed form at check-in to make sure everyone is on the same page.

But don’t stop at the rules. Include things that guests need to know — how to use a finicky stove, how the remotes work on the TV, that sometimes you have to lift up on a door handle for it to properly latch, the Wi-Fi password. Anything you’d typically spot in a hotel welcome book.

In addition, consider offering recommendations on dining and favorite spots on and off the Strip (and downtown).

And, like everything else hooked to Airbnb, there are companies that can help. Coral Guidebook,, can help you create your book if you’re looking for a step-by-step method of lawmaking. The more complete your manual is, the less a guest will bother you.

Backing out

When all else fails, and you have to cancel, there are options.

Through your Airbnb you can cancel a guest’s stay under the Your Reservations tab on a desktop or under the Host Home section on the app.

“Being a community platform, Airbnb wants to ensure that all parties involved are treated fairly and have the best possible experience,” Marron said. “As canceling on a guest disrupts their plans, depending on the circumstances of the cancellation, certain fees may be involved toward the host.”

Remember, just as you’d be inconvenienced by a hotel canceling your room, your guest’s vacation spot just disappeared on them.

If you’re simply looking for more control of who stays at your place, change your listing to require your approval for any new bookings to limit cancellations. “There are a variety of ways in which hosts can enhance their guest’s experiences,” Marron advised. “From the basics such as a clean and welcoming listing to providing suggestions of local hangouts, hosts have the opportunity to allow their guests to truly live as a local in their new temporary surroundings.”

And that’s what the community share experience is about — living like a local in the comfort of someone else’s home.

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