3 Etiquette Tips for Airbnb Renters

Before you bunker down in a coastal dream home for the weekend, or even a studio in the city, check out my top three quick and dirty for proper renters' etiquette on Airbnb.

Richie Frieman
6-minute read
Episode #393

With summer in full swing, vacation is on the top of everyone’s mind. Whether you’re taking the family to the beach, or skipping out for a road trip across the country, making the most of your time this summer is something you shouldn’t take lightly. So, while scrounging around for the best deal in town, a lot of people are going mobile with their vacation plans and skipping a standard hotel for an Airbnb room.

In case you’re unfamiliar with Airbnb, normal people can rent their own home (of any size) while not using it, or even an extra room while they are there, to complete strangers. On one side, owners can make some spare change when out of town, and on the other side people can live in a fully functional home, outside of the constraints of a hotel. Yet, whichever side of the table you’re on, the etiquette of Airbnb is something we must all agree on.  So, before you bunker down on a coastal dream home for the weekend, or studio in the city, check out my top three quick and dirty for Proper Airbnb Etiquette:

Tip #1: It’s NOT Your Normal Hotel

When you stay at a hotel, you can technically be as sloppy as you like, without getting in trouble. Not the most mannerly thing, of course, but you can get away with it.  From leaving towels on the floor to not making the bed, hotels are like a teenager’s paradise. In fact, I have friends who work at hotels and tell guests, “No, don’t clean that up—we’ll get it for you!” as if every guest is the Duke and Duchess of York. Now, as much as I appreciate the concept of being a good host, as hotels are judged on, an Airbnb room is NOT a hotel. In fact, Airbnb fancies themselves as the alternative to a hotel and, with that, do not have to abide by the same rules and guidelines. One of those major guidelines is the fact that you’re dealing with personal property, not a corporation’s property. And regardless of where you sit on the whole “corporations as people” debate, in this situation, Airbnb is a corporation, and the places you stay are very much personal. That bed you sleep in, the couch you watch TV on, and the carpet you run around, are all the property of a willing party that has to use that same property once you leave... and call home. With that, you can’t approach an Airbnb stay the same way you would a hotel room.

Take Joann from DC, who Airbnb’d her condo to four young guys in town for Memorial Day weekend. Turns out, despite their buttoned up LinkedIn profiles, the boys were anything but class acts. The laundry list of things they did wrong is too much for this episode, but from Joann’s email, trust me, they weren’t winning Airbnb's Guests of the Year Awards. Put it this way: Joann learned that it takes three rounds of professional cleaning to get her place back in shape. Sure, she had to file a complaint with Airbnb, but that didn’t fix her situation of having to clean up after improper Airbnb guests. Maybe in a Hilton, the guys could have gotten away with being incredibly sloppy and ungrateful, suffering maybe a ping on your credit card, but not with an Airbnb. If you prefer to be an unmannerly Airbnb guest, it could come back to you in many more ways than a charge on your card. See, Airbnb owners, don’t have to suck up to you like a hotel does. If they get mad at you, they can ruin your life! In fact, one Airbnb owner (not Joann) took to a guest’s Facebook page to vent about their lack of respect for the Airbnb owner’s property. In the end, if you plan to stay at an Airbnb, make sure you remember there is a real person who owns that lounge chair you are sitting on while you eat pizza.

Tip #2: Nothing Illegal

Needless to say, no one in Mannerly Nation would dare use an Airbnb room for illegal purposes, but apparently other people feel that an Airbnb room is your own personal escape. In an article about bad Airbnb stories, I uncovered a plethora of even worse Airbnb guests than I could imagine. From a pop-up meth lab to fraud and even a brothel of sorts, Airbnb rooms are being used for much more than your normal ho-hum weekend getaway. So unless you want to become the topic of a crime scene investigation, or secure a prime slot on the local news, I highly recommend not improperly using an Airbnb room for anything other than rest and relaxation. Despite the Law & Order SVU style mishaps of some Airbnb’ers, when you’re a guest at an Airbnb, it’s improper to even slightly test the limits of what is considered “against the rules.” Be it rules of the house or rules of Airbnb, when you’re a guest in an Airbnb room (as I said in Tip #1), the rules of what you can get away with, are not the same as a hotel.