Airbnb is a convenient tool for travelers who want to experience a city at the hyper-local level. It’s also a potentially lucrative sideline for renters who want to make a little extra cash — especially if their apartment is centrally located, well-appointed, and attractive to potential short-term visitors.

You can’t change your apartment’s location. But you do have some control over how a potential short-term renter responds to your Airbnb listing… and to your apartment, once they’ve settled in. Here are four things you can do to make your apartment attractive to Airbnb users.

1.   Pay for Professional Photos… Or at Least Use Some Nice Filters

If you have ever tried to find an apartment on Craigslist, you know the agony of the pixelated image, the poorly-scanned polaroid, and the — gasp — no-photo listing. Aside from price, photos are the most important part of an Airbnb listing. So make them look good. If you can’t hire a pro, borrow a camera — or at least make sure your iPhone’s lens isn’t pointed directly into a dark corner or a glare. Three-point lighting is your friend. And it goes without saying that you should highlight your apartment’s most attractive features — if your kitchen looks like an abattoir but your bedroom is straight out of a Hilton, focus on the plush pillows and hospital corners.

2.   Write a Short Guide to Your Neighborhood, and Leave It On the Coffee Table

Airbnb users often arrive at their destination city with an itinerary: restaurants to try, sights to see. But they usually have way less knowledge of neighborhood specific details. Where’s the best bar within stumbling distance of your apartment? Where should they go the next morning for a quick coffee and a scone? Which park is best for kids? Writing a brief, neighborhood-specific guide for your guests is a thoughtful way to integrate your guests into your neighborhood… which is one of the reasons they’re using Airbnb in the first place.

3.  Buy Things for Your Guests That You Wouldn’t Buy for Yourself

So maybe you still sleep on the cheap sheets from Target that are marketed to broke college students. Maybe you wash your face with Lava soap, and use a balled-up winter coat as a pillow. All of those things are fine — do whatever floats your boat. But just because Airbnb guests have given up the high price and anonymity of a hotel doesn’t mean they want to live EXACTLY like you do. And providing slightly more luxurious, small items — 600-threadcount sheets, some nice plush towels, travel-sized soaps and shampoos from local purveyors — will make your guests feel taken care of.

4.  …And Things That You Would

Small treats keep short-term renters happy while they’re in your home, and also allow you to advertise your apartment as more luxurious. Plus, it’s amazing what an inexpensive bottle of wine, a six-pack of local beer, and complimentary tea and coffee can do for your reviews. Don’t think of it as a bribe; think of it as being a gracious host. You can always drink the leftovers.


Sam Radbil is a contributing member of the marketing and communications team at ABODO, an online apartment marketplace. ABODO was founded in 2013 in Madison, Wisconsin. And in just three years, the company has grown to more than 30 employees, raised over $8M in outside funding and helps more than half a million renters find a new home each month.