Do you own a property that would be a great Airbnb rental? Maybe it’s on the same property as your family’s house or maybe it’s the basement in your own home. But, of course, you have kids—so that makes the situation a little tricky. So what should you do? Should you try your hand at Airbnb hosting with kids? Should you risk the safety of your kids for some extra income? You may find that there is less risk involved if you follow these 5 tips that we use for Airbnb hosting with kids.
When we were under contract on our house, we knew we would try our hand at Airbnb hosting since the home came with a fully functional separate apartment above our detached garage. We weren’t sure how Airbnb hosting with kids would go, since at its launch we had four kids ages 2 to 8. Despite our rowdy kids and our Airbnb rental residing next to our house, I’d say we’ve had surprising success and are now Airbnb Superhosts!
When we launched our Airbnb rental, as a mom, I wondered:
Would people mind we had kids? What about four kids?
Do I need to disclose that we have kids?
Will my kids disrupt a guest’s stay, possibly earning us a negative review?
Will my kids be safe with Airbnb guests staying nearby?
Despite my initial reservations about Airbnb hosting with kids, we have had great experiences so far. Here are 5 simple guidelines we follow that have served to keep guests happy (and coming back) and our kids safe.
#1: Emphasize House Rules in Airbnb Listing
We make it clear in our Airbnb listing that we do not allow smoking (inside or outside—because trust me, people will ask if only smoking outside is ok). Not only are we non-smokers, but we also do not want our kids to be subject to people smoking on our property.
Though our rental is close to many local wineries and wedding venues, we make it clear that we do not allow parties at our Airbnb. Not only does this cut down on late-night noise, help to protect our property and reduce our liability, it also does not set the wrong example for our curious kids. (Note: We do not mind that guests drink alcohol in our rental—we even provide wine glasses and rocks glasses.)
We also emphasize in our Airbnb listing that we do not allow pets—even hypoallergic ones. Some of my kids are allergic to cats and dogs, and I personally do not want the added responsibility of cleaning up the rental after pets. We have stayed in an Airbnb cabin before that had pet hair everywhere (in crevices of the couch and the air filters and ventilation system) despite the hosts paying a cleaning company. Though many Airbnb renters do have pets at home, there are many guests who prefer to stay in a property that does not allow pets.
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#2: Do Your Homework on Guests
As a host hoping to book your property often, enabling Instant Book is in your best interest. This allows guests to immediately book a property instead of waiting for approval from the host. Instant Book guests must have completed their Airbnb account, which includes personal information as well as an agreement to house rules. I have enabled an additional option for Instant Book that requires guests to have a recommendation from another Airbnb host and have no negative reviews. This is an easy way for me to weed out any possible guests that I may have trouble with.
Once a guest completes an Instant Book, I always go to his or her profile to check out the reviews to get a better feel for the guest. At this point, I do have the option to cancel a guest’s reservation after Instant Book if a guest makes it clear he or she will break a house rule or if the guests profile lacks important information. A host can cancel guest reservations up to three times each year without penalty.
For guests that send a request for a reservation (instead of Instant Book), I go through the same process to vet the guest before accepting the reservation. The only times I have had to decline a reservation request was when a guest promised to smoke only outside instead of inside the rental.
#3: Let Guests Know We Have Kids Next Door
Though it is not required, I do mention that we have four young kids near the bottom our listing’s description. So far, our kids have not been an issue, as most of our guests are gone throughout the day. But I also make sure to address the fact that we have four kids when I send my initial welcome email to a guest. I assure guests that our kids will not be a disruption to their stay, but this also gives guests a chance to back out and cancel their reservation if they are not fond of kids. My kids have only interacted with a few of our guests, because those guests were outside chatting with us while my kids were nearby. And of course, any guest families with kids welcome new kids for their own to interact with.
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#4: Maintain Quiet Hours
In our Airbnb listing, we indicate that quiet hours are from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. These hours reference the noise level outside the rental property as well as our nearby home. Though we have been very fortunate to host quiet guests, we want this to be straightforward and clear from the time of booking. We do not mind that guests stay out late at a winery or wedding. We only mind that the party doesn’t follow them home and disturb our family late at night. Because we have young kids that go to bed early, ensuring a nightly quiet time is important for our family’s routine. At the same time, we respect our guests by keeping our kids quiet in the morning when many adult guests may still be sleeping.
#5: Do Not Let Your Kids Outside Alone When Guests are Present
Though our oldest child is 9 years and can clearly play outside on his own, we are very careful not to let our kids be outside alone while guests are in the rental. Most of our guests are gone all day long exploring our area, but when they are at the rental, we make sure that if our kids go outside to play, we are outside with them. This not only protects our kids, but it also ensures that we protect the property and privacy of our guests. We would hate for a baseball to accidentally break a guest’s car window!
What are your tips for Airbnb hosting with kids?