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6 Ways To Be A Great London Airbnb or London Vacation Rental Guest

You might think that this is a little like a restaurant owner writing a guide entitled “How to be a great diner”, that is, it’s not really the service provider’s place to tell their customers how they should or shouldn’t be. Well, you’re right, and it isn’t my place to tell my guests how they should or shouldn’t be. I don’t want this article to be read that way at all, because that is not my motivation for writing it. I’m writing it because: (i) if you're an Airbnb guest and you want to have a successful future being accepted by future Airbnb hosts, you should care deeply about your reviews by hosts, (ii) if you are staying with Ivy Lettings or another professionally managed vacation rental service, this guide will help you enjoy your experience all the more, and (iii) because my SEO team advised that I regularly produce blog content in order to improve our organic Google rankings. So here goes:

1. Be a Great Communicator

Try to be as responsive as you can, especially when it comes to sharing your travel plans and arrival details. On the day of your arrival, make sure you can be reached if needed and keep your host posted if you’re running early or late. At Ivy Lettings, we ask our guests to let us know their flight details as soon as possible once they’ve booked - during peak summer, coordinating 15 check ins per day all across the city is a logistical challenge that needs to be tackled well in advance, and it really helps when guests warn us that they are running late for whatever reason. Occasionally we feel that guests think that it’s like staying in a hotel, where you can turn up anytime after the check in time and there’ll be someone waiting for you. Sadly we can’t be in several places at the same time! Equally if you’re staying in an Airbnb, unless your host is on site all day anyway, it’ll get your stay off to a great start by agreeing to an approximate arrival time and sticking to it, or communicating with them in advance if you can’t make it.

2. Read The Guide 

Any self-respecting vacation rental or Airbnb will have a comprehensive guide to how to “use” the home. At Ivy Lettings we produce a written information folder (and, at press time, we’re trialling tablets by YourWelcome which will live in our rental properties and contain video guides, local information and the ability to purchase tickets to attractions across the city etc!) It’s a great idea to take 10 minutes to read the guide. It’ll save you time calling your host asking how the washing machine works, and it’d be a shame if you only discovered on the last day of your stay that the apartment had a rooftop hot tub (disclaimer: no Ivy Lettings homes have rooftop hot tubs).

3. Be a Good Neighbour

This is essential, all the more so if you’re staying in a town or city with neighbours close by. Your host / agency will likely have pretty strict house rules concerning noise after a certain hour and hosting gatherings, since nothing gets a host’s rental sideline shut down quicker than repeated complaints from neighbours about disrespectful short term tenants in their block. 

4. Do Your Research

If it’s a deal breaker that you have an orange juicer / trouser press / daily maid service / stable for your horse (no, we don’t have those either) in your Airbnb or London vacation home, check with your host before you make your booking to avoid disappointment and anxious conversations about what you rightly expect from a rental for the amount of money you paid. We detail our homes’ amenities on our website and all our homes as standard must provide wifi internet, coffee makers (of some description), hair dryers and other items that over the past 7 years we’ve learned that most of clients expect, but if something’s particularly important to you, just ask our enquiries team / your Airbnb host before your make your reservation.

5. Turn the Lights Off and Take Out the Trash

No, you’re not paying extra for electricity, but out of respect to your hosts and the environment, when you’re heading out for a long day sightseeing, don’t leave every single light on in the apartment (on that note, wouldn’t it be great if homes had a master power switch which turns off all the lights, like in a hotel room when you remove your keycard?) And if you’re staying longer than a few days, your host will appreciate you adhering to their garbage guidelines by taking out the trash. It grinds our housekeepers’ gears when they're confronted by six bags of rubbish and mountains of shopping boxes etc when they arrive for the check out clean - getting rid of it all can be really difficult.

6. Don’t Suffer In Silence

Finally, if you need anything, can’t figure something out or an appliance doesn’t seem to be working as it should, contact your host / agency. We offer a fully managed service and you’re paying for it, so don’t be shy about getting in touch. This isn’t a guarantee that we can always address whatever request you throw at us, but it is a promise to listen carefully and do our best. Sometimes clients will report in their feedback emails that it was a shame that they couldn’t master the cable TV or figure out how to get the BBQ lit, and I wished they’d just been in touch. We’d have been right over.

Guy van der Westhuizen is Managing Director of Ivy Lettings, a professional manager of London vacation rentals and short stay homes. For more information, please visit www.ivylettings.com