Sure, you can do great as an Airbnb host with great interior design, a clean home and a few amenities. However, I’ve seen (or heard rather) some of our guests go nuts for some of the games we keep in our listings.
It may not happen often, but when one of my games connects with a guest it’s a pretty exciting ordeal for me, and for them of course.
Games I Keep In My Airbnbs
To be honest, I’ve never put much thought into the games we put in our Airbnbs. For the most part, we’ve just put in games that we already owned.
I’m clearly not an Airbnb games expert, but one of our Airbnbs is in our basement, so we hear some of what goes on down there. And there have been several times that it was apparent that our guests were playing our games.
One thing I’ve found interesting is that our guests have gotten most excited about my old video games.
Nintendo 64 (the Mario Kart story)
My first video game console was the Super Nintendo, but I really grew up playing the Nintendo 64. I keep all my old games in the Airbnb (Ocarina of Time, Mario 64, Super Smash Bros., Blitz 2000).
I think lots of guests born in the 80’s and 90’s have memories of playing the N64 in their childhoods.
My most memorable story about guests playing games downstairs is when we first started doing Airbnb. I had a bunch of old games and I thought guests might enjoy the opportunity to play them.
We had a group of four guys that worked together stay over a weekend (we didn’t have much sound proofing back then) and I distinctly remember one of them shouting “Oh man they have Mario Kart!”
So like any normal person would, I put my ear to the floor to listen to them play. And they loved it! They were laughing and joking for a couple hours that night while playing Mario Kart. I like to think that they were transported back to their youth and remembered the joy of playing that game.
Rereading what I just wrote, I realize it’s pretty cheesy, but honest to God I got a lot of joy from those guys playing my old game. And I think they did too.
Other video games
There have been a handful of other stories of guests playing our games, and the truth is it’s usually been video games that get the best reactions.
Super Mario World
We had a guest just a few months ago that was in town for an operation at the hospital and they were planning to stay for several weeks. Kate and I always go visit guests that stay for two weeks or more because we want to make sure they know how to use the washer/dryer and when to put the trash out and all that.
The guest was in high school so I offered to bring over my Xbox One so he could play some games during the down time. He wasn’t interested.
Because he wanted to play my Super Nintendo games that were already there! He had already logged hundreds of hours on his Xbox One and wanted to experience Super Mario World and some of the other retro games.
I used to love Guitar Hero and have several of the games that came out on the PS2. These are the games that I think get played the most.
I’ve heard at least 6 groups downstairs playing Guitar Hero. If I were going to buy a game to add to an Airbnb it would be Guitar Hero, or maybe Rock Band.
Super Smash Bros.
Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo 64 is another game I’ve heard guests playing. This one is a great video game for groups.
Our board games
We keep board games in our Airbnbs as well. I can’t say we’ve had quite the same excited reactions around the board games. I “think” I might have heard one group playing Cards Against Humanity one night, but sometimes it’s hard to say.
We try to keep at least a few games for groups. Here are a few we have:
- The Office Board Game
And it’s great to have a game or two that couples can play as well, like:
- Codenames: Duet
- Wit’s End
I think if you put some thought into it, and possibly even left a game out with a note for your guests, you could really leave a great impression. Something like that would qualify as one of those thoughtful touches.
Our yard games
One of our listings has a pretty big yard. Thus far we’ve mostly taken advantage of the yard by keeping a grill (lots of guests ask about a grill) and a picnic table outside, but we also have a game of Yard Dice outside.
To be honest, I don’t think Yard Dice is a very good game for an Airbnb, but it’s probably better than nothing. I’d like to do more for our outdoor games.
Thoughts on Airbnb Games
The truth is that our guests don’t come to our Airbnbs to play games. They come to be comfortable and spend their time away from home in some luxury.
Most of your guests won’t even look at your games, especially if they just sit in the corner.
Games are one way to create a special experience for your guests. Here are a few ideas that have either already worked for me, or I would like to try.
We already talked about my success with the Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64 and Guitar Hero games. They’ve given several of our guests an experience they weren’t expecting.
Virtual Reality games
If you wanted to make your Airbnb a destination for games, I think VR might be a way to accomplish that. It would be tough though.
Airbnb only lists “game console” as an amenity. There’s no way to differentiate between a Super Nintendo and an Oculus Rift.
At the very least, a VR setup could be a huge surprise and an awesome experience for lots of guests that have never tried it. You would almost certainly need detailed instructions for setting up and using everything.
Like I mentioned earlier, I’ve never really noticed our guests playing our board games. But what if we knew the guests were married and we wanted to leave them with a suggested evening activity?
We could set out a game like Codenames and leave a handwritten note:
“Kate and I played this over the weekend and we loved it! Not sure if you all will have any down time in the evenings, but if you do, we recommend Codenames.”-Kate and Michael
Guests may or may not actually play, but it’s hard to leave a bad impression doing something like this. Your guests appreciate that you were thinking about them and you did something thoughtful to make their stay better.
Even if they don’t play or (worst case) they do play and they hate it, it’s very unlikely to negatively affect your review.
One of those basketball games
One day, just before the start of March Madness, my employer got one of those basketball arcade games in our break room. That thing was super busy for weeks afterwards.
You can get one of these for $300 on Amazon. I don’t know much, but I know kids and adults alike would get a pretty big kick out of this game. Right now I’m trying to figure out if we can fit one in one of our listings.
If you can find the space, I bet it would be a hit.
Games are far from the most important thing you’ll do in your Airbnb. You’ll maximize profit focusing on other things.
However, I’ve seen on several occasions how the right game can give your guests a great experience that they never saw coming.