The incredible hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop tucked hidden away in that narrow lane may be your local go-to lunch spot, but remains unknown to all but locals.
Many guests will not be from your city, and almost none will be from your local neighborhood. Guests will rarely know the local ‘go-to’ spots that you most likely know like the back of your hand. After all – it’s your local area and these are the places you likely frequent all the time.
Good Airbnb hosts adopt the role of the concierge at the front desk of a hotel – able to assist guests by providing answers to their most frequently asked questions.
And the good news is that more times than not, these questions are very commonly the same…
- I'm looking for a good bite to eat. Where should I go? Any standout dishes on the menu?
- This is such a big city! What sightseeing attractions should I check out?
- I'm sick and need cold and flu medicine. Is there a 24 hour pharmacy?
- I'm craving a good cappuccino. Does that exist around here?
- I need to keep the kids happy. Any ideas?
Guests often choose to stay with Airbnb hosts largely for their ability to provide these insider tips and use their local knowledge to answer questions like the ones above.
Airbnb provide hosts with the ability to proactively answer these questions by creating local guidebooks they’re able to make available for their guests. These guidebooks showcase the best that their neighborhood has to offer and helps their listing stand out from the competition.
Your guidebook is publicly displayed on your Airbnb listing page (even before guests book your place).
You’re also able to print your guidebooks and make them available to your guests in hard-copy format for their arrival at your place.
Airbnb guidebooks represent one of the easiest ways of impressing guests and providing them with a great experience when staying at your place.
Airbnb guidebooks enable you to show-off your knowledge of the local area, reinforce your credibility as an Airbnb host “in-the-know”, increase the likelihood of receiving reservation requests, as well as maximize the prices you’re able to command from guests looking to stay in great spots with reliable hosts.
The key to building a virtuous cycle of increased bookings is through receiving positive reviews. And there’s no quicker shortcut to receiving positive reviews than providing your guests with a guidebook of your local area since communication, location and value represent half of the review criteria that a host is assessed against: Guidebooks demonstrate a communicative host, living in a great location, providing valued guest experiences.
Finally, the beauty of an Airbnb guidebook is that you’ll get your mileage from this small investment by reusing it with all future guests, despite only needing to build it once – a big return from a small investment. As a low-cost, time-minimal investment, building an Airbnb Guidebook truly represents the ‘low-hanging-fruit’ of your Airbnb success.
Key Principles for Developing Your Guidebook
- Build for your target guests: Think about who your target guests are. An elderly retired couple will have different interests to a gap-year backpacker. Make sure you include places most likely to be of interest, relevance and within budget of your target guests.
- Cover a dispersed regional spread: Guidebooks should offer recommendations for places to be found in your local neighborhood, the city and its surroundings, and everything in-between. Recommend the local coffee shop located at the end of the street, but also suggest checking out the art gallery on the outskirts of the city too.
- Cater for seasonal variance: Some listings are located in cities that are highly susceptible to seasonal tourism and able to provide a range of seasonal attractions. Useful guidebooks include attractions that cover all seasonal interest and showcase the best of your location at all times of the year.
Recommended Places to Include
There are many places you could include in your Airbnb guidebook. Recommended places to include in your guidebook fall into the following categories:
- Food Scene: Your favorite restaurants, cafes and coffee shops, bakeries, desert shops and street markets
- Drinks and Nightlife: Where you like to hang out at night. They include nightclubs, bars, music venues, breweries, wineries, karaoke and casinos
- Sightseeing: Some of the must-see iconic sights in your city. These can be places of interest, special neighborhoods or famous streets
- Arts and Culture: Places to go to be around nature. They include places like parks, state and national parks, hiking trails and beaches
- Parks and Nature: Where you would go to get a feel for the local history and culture. They include places like museums, the theatre, symphony halls, art galleries, schools, universities and libraries
- Shopping: Any unique or local shops around you. This typically includes shopping malls, clothing stores, bookstores, markets or any other shops of appeal or interest
- Essentials: Where you go for everyday errands or basic needs. These include places of public service, convenience stores, grocery stores, doctors or hospitals, gyms and fitness centres, dry cleaners and laundry, as well as beauty and spa places
- Entertainment and Activities: Where you go for fun. This typically includes places like movie theatres, amusement parks, aquariums and zoos, arcades and game parlous, tours, classes, sport stadiums or any other sport and recreation in the area
- Getting Around: This includes places like public transportation hubs, car rental and repair spots, places to rent bikes and parking lots
- Fast Food Restaurants: Sometimes a guest just wants something to eat that’s quick, simple and comes with no surprises. It won’t be their best meal, but it also won’t be their worst. It comes cheap and everyone knows what to expect. Fast food restaurants often help guests feel comfortable in new surroundings by providing them with something they’re already familiar with from back home.
- Your Local Favorite Restaurants: These are your favorite go-to places to get served up with a local dish or some personal comfort food. They’re the kind of place frequented by locals ‘in-the-know’ about where to grab a good bite to eat. You’re also likely to be familiar with the best dishes on the menu. Make sure to share these insider tips!
- Iconic Restaurants: These are restaurants that have developed a cult following over the years. They have woven themselves into the fabric of the local area and often reflect the flavor of the neighborhood or community too.
- Your Local Favorite Coffee Shop: For true coffee addicts, they need their coffee, and they need it NOW! They’ll want to know the best place to get their coffee fix that’s only a stones’ throw away from your place.
- Coffee Spots Near Public Transport: Guests are frequently on-the-go and tend to get around by public transport. Many guests will package-up their morning coffee routine with setting off on their daily adventures. It makes sense to include coffee spot recommendations close to public transport hubs like train stations or bus terminals.
Drinks and Nightlife
- The Bar-With-a-View: There’s nothing more awesome than visiting a bar that overlooks the skyline of the city you’re visiting. Rooftop bars with a view are great for this. Obviously, not every city has one, but try recommend a bar that commands the attention of the city you live in.
- The Local Bar: Think of these places as your local ‘Cheers Bar’… where everybody knows your name. Drinks are commonly cheaper, staff friendlier, and no dress shirts or leather shoes required for entry.
- The Swanky "It" Bar: These are commonly bars that have only recently opened and have greatest appeal to younger guests wanting to be ‘in-the-know’. Hosts have an opportunity to show-off their knowledge of the local area by offering insider tips unlikely to be found in guidebooks printed less recently than within the year.
- Historical Places: These are places that have become tourist attractions for having been around for many decades, if not centuries. Religious sites, ancient ruins, castles and the like are common examples. They are commonly listed in travel guidebooks, and appeal to cultural purist travelers that often spend a lifetime traveling the globe to cross these sort of places off their bucket-list.
- Novelty Attractions: These are one-of-a-kind places that are unique landmarks unlikely to be found anywhere else. They are often quirky, different or the kind of thing that doesn’t fit neatly into any travel guidebook category. They make for interesting stories, and typically even better pictures.
Arts and Culture
- Art Galleries and Museums: Some cities have world-renowned art that people travel the globe to see. Other cities have funky little museums that curate the world’s largest collection of baseball cards. Either way, guests are likely to be curious on ways they’re able to get their cultural fix with a visit to these galleries or museums in your city.
- Famous Schools, Universities and Libraries: Live nearby an ivy-league university or close to a school attended by a famous celebrity? Maybe there’s an impressive sandstone library building in relative proximity to your place built many centuries ago? Guests will appreciate the opportunity to simply take a walk past these institutions to feel like they’ve added a small boost of prestige to their trips.
Parks and Nature
- Parks: Live nearby an ivy-league university or close to a school attended by a famous celebrity? Maybe there’s an impressive sandstone library building in relative proximity to your place built many centuries ago? Guests will appreciate the opportunity to simply take a walk past these institutions to feel like they’ve added a small boost of prestige to their trips.
- Playgrounds: Local councils often invest small fortunes in building playground structures that represent ‘kiddie-heaven’. Playgrounds are a great way for parents to get out of the house, entertain the kids, and do so all for free. List any playgrounds close to your place – especially if your home attracts a lot of families.
- Natural Beauty Spots: These include places like popular beaches, hiking trails or national parks. They are often drawcards for visiting the city and the kind of places guests love boasting about having visited.
- Shopping Malls: These represent handy one-stop-shops for guests looking to ‘batch process’ their shopping and eliminate the need to jump all over town to find what they need. Everything from department stores through to local and global brands can typically be found here.
- Notable Stores: Sometimes there’s a store that’s been around since before the neighborhood was even a neighborhood, like an old bookstore or antique shop still run by its original owner. Other times, a popular TV show or movie may have put a particular store on the map.
- Convenience Stores: Sometimes guests just needs a few basic items like bread, milk and cereal. They’ll often pick these up on their way home from daily activities, and appreciate not needing to carry these items more than a few blocks. Tell guests about the local convenience store, 24-hour gas station or local ‘corner store’.
- Delicatessens: Typically serving up fine foods or gourmet produce, these establishments allow guests to purchase things like cured meats, pickled vegetables, dips, breads and olives. Many of these ‘luxury’ items are not available in standard supermarkets, so mentioning them in your guidebook will elevate the stature of your listing.
- Grocery Stores: Guests staying for an extended duration may want to stock up on groceries to last them the duration of their stay. Point them in the direction of the closest grocery store to enable doing a big shop at good prices for everything they’re going to want and need.
- Pharmacies: The last thing guests want to do when feeling under the weather and away from home is trek out in search of a local pharmacy. Telling guests where they’re able to pick up cold and flu medicine by walking only to the end of the block will win you brownie points should they run into the dreaded sniffles.
- Phone and Electronics Repair Stores: You’d be amazed at how often electrical devices die while on the road. The only thing more frustrating than having a broken device is not being able to do anything about it. Guests will appreciate being able to fix their laptop, tablet or phone if necessary.
Entertainment and Activities
- Movie Theaters: As a popular and reliable form of entertainment, listing your local cinema will ensure that guests have a near fail-proof option of something to do if and when they’re looking to get out of the house. Movies appeal to guests of all types and ages, making them a must for any guidebook looking to provide attractions of broad appeal.
- Comedy Clubs: Always a crowd-pleaser for guests looking for something to do, comedy clubs typically provide a fun night out at a reasonable price. They tend to be a form of entertainment that guests don’t typically do in their own home cities, but are excited to do when visiting somewhere else.
- Bowling Alleys: Maybe not something guests want to do every day, but knowing where the local bowling alley is can be a great piece of information for parents to keep up their sleeves for entertaining the kids on a rainy day. Mentioning the local bowling alley is a reliable, kid-friendly attraction guaranteed to eliminate a parent’s headache when forced to find ways to keep the kids happy and entertained.
How to Add a Guidebook to Your Listing
To create your Airbnb guidebook:
- Login to Airbnb
- In Hosting mode, select Listings from the top menu
- Click on your listing
- Click on Listing details from your listing’s menu
- Click the Edit button for the Guidebook section
Once here, hosts can add to their guidebook by typing the name of the place they wish to include within the relevant guidebook category.
Airbnb will automatically retrieve the official name of the place you wish to add, which you then select.
Airbnb will also use Google Maps to automatically pull the address and a map of the spot you want to list…
You then select a sub-category for the place. It’s up to you to provide a short description of up to 700 characters for the place you want to list.
Use this space to let guests know why you recommend it, why it might be of interest to them, or an ‘insider tip’ they’ll appreciate for when they go there.
You also have the option of specifying things the place is good for.