Vacation Rental Experience Part 1 Of 2

Vacation Rental Experience Part 1 Of 2

Modern Innkeeper’s Airbnb Experience

This week, we have a special feature from Jake Cavanah, our copywriter at Modern Innkeeper, who documented his recent stay at an Airbnb property. Here’s Part One of the two-part feature.

Before my days as a Copywriter for Modern Innkeeper I stayed in several vacation rentals without knowing what classified one as quality versus, well, the opposite.

My only criteria was if there were enough bathrooms and bedrooms. Now, I have developed an understanding of what constitutes a high-caliber vacation rental experience, as opposed to an underwhelming one.

So now I cannot help but evaluate every property I vacation at based on what I have learned from my time writing blogs for The Art of Hosting. Maybe it is because they know I am coming, but most hosts go above and beyond to provide a memorable experience that makes my fellow travelers and me want to return to not only their destination, but their rental, too.

My most recent trip was to Tuscaloosa, Alabama where my mother, father, brother and I went to watch my younger sister graduate from the University of Alabama.

This is the Airbnb experience I am going to describe, and demonstrate how our gracious hosts exceeded expectations to enhance our down South-experience.


What Type of Home Was This Rental?

This vacation property was a house in Northport, AL, which is about fifteen minutes away from Tuscaloosa. It was in a suburban neighborhood consisting of homes you could tell a single builder built, but they all had particular nuances that made them unique.

Our rental was a two-story tucked in the back corner of the neighborhood. We had access to four bedrooms and four bathrooms, plus a large backyard, which we did not utilize (we will get to that later). Being approximately 3,000-square feet, it was plenty of house for a total of six people to be comfortable in.


What Went Well

This Airbnb did more than enough to make the graduating experience and trip as a whole more pleasant.



Before detailing how the hosts, husband and wife, readied their vacation rental for us, there was an initial sign we were going to have an enjoyable stay: the hosts were extremely communicative leading up to the trip.

Each time we had to inquire about either something specific to the property or Tuscaloosa as a whole, we received a timely and detailed response.

This provided us with a clearer picture as to what we could expect going into the trip, and it enabled us to map out our plan each day.

What was more beneficial than this was the detail they provided as it pertains to the check-in process. My mother, who headed planning duties, received a rundown of what to expect upon booking the trip and leading up to it, such as emails instructing us how to get in the house.

This lessened the inevitable stress that comes with traveling.


A Welcoming Vibe

We met one of the hosts, the husband, upon arrival because he went out of his way to come over to move the barbecue out of the garage and to the backyard (we did not tell him we did not end up using it).

As expected based on our prior communication with him and his wife, he was incredibly cordial and made it clear his wife and him were only a call away if we needed anything else.

After saying our goodbyes we entered the rental and found a pleasant site: food and drinks.

There were:

  • Breakfast bars

  • Chips

  • Apples

  • Beer

  • Milk

  • Juices

  • And more!

Clutch essentials to have throughout our stay, but despite all of those options, my primary focus was on the freshly baked cookies they left out for us. 

I averaged over two a day, but kept it in single digits. That is as specific as I am going to get.

Even though I have had plenty of satisfactory rental experiences, I have never been greeted with freshly baked cookies. This gave me insight as to how tasty treats can positively impact a guest’s impression of a vacation property.

Lastly as it pertains to the welcome experience, there was a letter and welcome book on the kitchen island. The message was thoughtful and wished us a happy trip, but it also reminded us of some details our hosts previously mentioned, such as:

  • House rules

  • Amenities

  • How to use the lock

  • Check-out instructions

Having this information handy got us through the trip worry-free.


As a morning person, coffee is essential, so seeing a fully-equipped coffee station was how I knew it was going to be a great trip.

Not only was there a Mr. Coffee, but all the other necessities, too:

  • Mugs

  • Sugar

  • Stirrer

  • Filters

  • Creamer

  • Ground coffee

Being able to go about my morning routine with no hiccups set a great precedent for each day.

What Could Have Been Better?

All these hosts could improve on was how they utilize their space. Being roughly 3,000 square feet, this property had more than enough room to sprawl out in, yet the lack of furniture did not allow us to do so:

  • The family room had one couch and chair.

  • The dining room had a small foldable table with four foldable chairs.

  • The living room and open room upstairs both had nothing in it but toys for children.

  • The spacious backyard I mentioned earlier was void of any patio furniture, which deterred us from spending time out there.

Space is a huge advantage hosts have over hotels, so make the most of it!

Departing Thoughts

Overall, these two hosts did a terrific job and enhanced our trip. We were never confused by the logistics, they were easy to get a hold of, and they supplied us with enough items around the house that we never had to go to the store again.

Oh yeah, and they know how to bake!

Follow this couple’s lead and your guests will leave your vacation rental happy!