Diane Becker, "Country Life"

Towels are important as are easy-to-use bottle openers and a good toaster.

We are hosting guests in a few weeks at our Airbnb and are making sure we have enough towels, cork screws and kitchen appliances to make and keep them happy.

It all began a few months ago when we decided to convert a rental house on our farm into an Airbnb.

For those who aren’t familiar with Airbnb, it’s an online travel site that matches people who have rental places available with people who are looking for a place to stay.

We have enjoyed staying in lots of other people’s Airbnbs and had wondered what it would be like to host our own.

After talking with people who are Airbnb hosts and enjoy it, we began the process of setting up our own and are finding out that preparing to host people in a rental rather than just leasing it out to them requires a bit more effort.

FIRST OF ALL, it has to be turnkey and ready to live in, which means not only filling it with furniture but also furnishing it with everything they would need while they stay in the home including bathroom towels, all of the kitchen appliances and dinnerware.

In order to make this affordable, we have stocked our Airbnb with many things from our home — something that most people do when stocking an Airbnb.

We did have to buy new sheets for the beds, but the other items set up in the Airbnb were literally just lying around the house, including a large rug we’ve had rolled up in the basement for 10 years.

An extra table we had is now in the Airbnb, as is a dresser we don’t use, some framed pictures that were headed for Salvation Army and end tables that were hauled in from the barn.

THE ROOMS have been cleaned, painted, stocked and decorated. Build it and they will come, right?

That is our hope.

One evening I jumped in headfirst, going onto the Airbnb website and posting pictures of our Airbnb space inside and out, crossing my fingers when I was done.

I’m happy and a little nervous to say we have three different groups that have since signed up to stay at our little Airbnb.

To make sure our guests have an enjoyable stay, I nervously Googled Airbnb hosting hints including one that advises providing granola bars for breakfast and putting a bottle of ketchup in the refrigerator. Done and done.

The people who have booked our Airbnb so far live in larger cities, so I’m curious if they think that they’ll have a chance to milk cows and pitch hay while at this decidedly rural stay.

Note: they won’t be able to milk cows, but we can let them pitch all the hay they want.

This is going to be interesting. I’ll let you know how it goes.


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