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…
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 crowd.
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.
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 by providing your guests with a guidebook of your local area since communication, location and value represent 50% of the review criteria that hosts are assessed against: Guidebooks demonstrate a communicative host, living in a great location, and whom provides valued guest experiences.
Finally, the beauty of the 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.
Places you’re able to include in your guidebook fall into the following categories:
Your favorite restaurants, cafes and coffee shops, bakeries, desert shops and street markets
Where you like to hang out at night. They include nightclubs, bars, music venues, breweries, wineries, karaoke and casinos
Some of the must-see iconic sights in your city. These can be places of interest, special neighborhoods or famous streets
Places to go to be around nature. They include places like parks, state and national parks, hiking trails and beaches
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
Any unique or local shops around you. This typically includes shopping malls, clothing stores, bookstores, markets or any other shops of appeal or interest
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
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
This includes places like public transportation hubs, car rental and repair spots, places to rent bikes and parking lots
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 guest.
- 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 bottom of your apartment building, but also suggest checking out the art gallery on the outskirts of the city too.
- Cater to 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.
How to Add a Guidebook to Your Listing
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 then up to you to provide a short description of up to 200 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:
Recommended Places to Include
Fast Food Restaurants: Sometimes a guest just wants something to eat that’s quick, simple and without any surprises. It won’t be their best meal, but it also won’t be their worst. It’ll come 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.
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.
Brand Name Coffee Shops: Just like fast food restaurants, sometimes what guests are really looking for is simply something they’re already familiar with from back home. Make sure to include a brand-name coffee spot if one exists close by to your place.
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 no more than a couple of minutes’ walk 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.
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 any less recently than within the year.
Parks: Entertainment for the kids and the parents doesn’t need to be an “either/or” decision. Parks provide an excellent balance for parents looking for some personal down-time within a safe and relaxed environment for their kids to enjoy themselves too. Best of all, both parties get some fresh air and hands-on exposure to the local area.
Playgrounds: Turns out, the best things in life are sometimes free. Nothing epitomizes this more so than watching a kid enjoy their time at a playground. Local councils often invest small fortunes in building playground structures that represent “kiddie-heaven”. Playgrounds are also a great way for parents to get out of the house, entertain the kids, and do so entirely for free. List any playgrounds close by to your place – especially if you attract lots of families with your listing.
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 to friends and family.
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 the ways they’re able to get their cultural fix with a visit to your city.
Famous Schools, Universities and Libraries: Live near 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.
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 travelers or history buffs that often spend a lifetime traveling the globe to cross 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.
Convenience Stores: Sometimes a guest just needs a few basic items like bread, milk and cereal. They’ll probably be picking these up on their way home from daily adventures, and appreciate not needing to carry these items for anything more than a few blocks. Letting guests know about the local convenience store, 24-hour gas station or local “corner store” will prove to be a huge help.
Delicatessens: Typically serving up fine foods or gourmet produce, these establishments allow guests to purchase things like cured meats, sausages, pickled vegetables, dips, breads and olives. Many of these “luxury” items will not be available in standard supermarkets or convenience stores, so mentioning these places will help elevate the stature of your listing.
Grocery Stores: Guests that are staying for an extended duration will likely want to stock up on groceries that will carry them through for the duration of their stay. Point them in the direction of the closest place they’re able to do a big shop at good prices for all the things they’re likely going to want and need.
Pharmacies: The last thing you want to do when feeling under the weather and away from home is trekking out in search of a local pharmacy. Telling guests that they’re able to pick up that cold-and-flu medicine by walking no further than the end of the block will win you a lot of brownie points should they run into the dreaded sniffles during a stay at your place.
Phone and Electronics Repair Stores: You’d be amazed at how often phones and laptops die while guests are travelling and away from their homes. The only thing more frustrating than having a broken iPhone is not having the ability to do anything about it. Guests will be thankful to learn there’s a local repair shop able to fix their laptop, iPad or phone so they’re able to continue posting those holiday snaps on Instagram or Skyping with family back home.
Shopping Malls: These represent handy one-stop-shops for guests looking to “batch process” their shopping experience and eliminate the need to jump all over town to find what they’re looking for. Everything from department stores through to local and global brands can typically be found here.
Notable Stores: Sometimes there’s a store in the neighborhood that’s been around since before the neighborhood was even a neighborhood. Whether an old bookstore with local charm, or the antique store still run by its original owner; a casual visit may become an experience no less enjoyable than hopping into a time machine and exploring a bygone era. Other times, a popular TV show or movie may have put a particular store close by on the map. Be sure to let your guests know of any stores they’ll likely want to check out or take a picture in front of.
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.
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.
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.
Should you want a little help, the following service providers assist Airbnb hosts in creating guidebooks for their listings and local areas...