How a hospitality expert and former Creative Director with an eye for details transformed a 1970s beach bungalow into a space for guests to shine.
When guests enter the Beach Lodge, they immediately gain a sense of who Tiffany Caliva-Talledo is. Her thoughtfulness and love of design is felt through her choices in decor, the colors, the textures, and every personalized touch. As a former Creative Director, she’s always had an eye for details. Now, she’s started her own consulting business to help other hosts create memorable experiences. Her Hollywood Beach, California home has been featured in major design publications. Here, she shares with us her secrets to Airbnb success.
The Beach Lodge is Born
Before we fixed up The Beach Lodge, it was this ugly putrid green home. People called it the “Drug Den” and used to run by it when they passed! Neighbors thought we were crazy to buy it, but I saw something special in it—and I had this thought that if we could restore it, people would come. I saw the beauty in it and I wanted others to see it too. I’ve poured so much love into it—and I think guests come back for that very reason. Here are a few of my favorite hospitality tips to make your guest’s experience extra special.
Tiffany’s Tips to Go the Extra (S)mile
Creating unforgettable experiences always starts with setting the right tone. When designing a space, I tell my clients to start with a feeling rather than a theme. What do you want your guests to feel when they step into your home—comfort, joy, serenity? For the Beach Lodge, rather than go with a literal seaside theme, I thought holistically about the colors, textures, and details I wanted to bring in and how they could create a heightened sense of relaxation and belonging: patterns that pop against airy neutrals, textures that evoke the sand, and plenty of plants to bring the outdoors in.
Also, decorating doesn’t have to be expensive! Flea markets and thrift stores are filled with inexpensive treasures and one-of-a-kind pieces that feel like they have a story attached to them. You just have to do a little hunting. I’ve especially been drawn to objects that represent my Filipino and Asian heritage. And you can’t always get that authentic, lived-in feel from a big box retailer. The items you choose for your space should say something, and together they’ll help tell the larger story of your home.
Another piece of advice I share with my clients is to give yourself permission to play. Change up the decor. Try new things. Make refreshes each season. It’s the best way to discover what works for what you are trying to achieve and what doesn’t. Think of your space as a person with its own complexities and character. Like you, it should be shifting, changing, and evolving to be the best version of itself for the moment.
Additionally, I love to play with space and visual interest in unexpected ways. One tip that I recommend is to create mini-escapes around your home—little getaway areas where guests can get lost in a book. I might add some blankets, pillows, and a painting to a corner so that it invites people to just melt away. Think of how you can create these little nurturing nooks throughout.
Where possible, help personalize your guests’ stay with extra special touches. For example, if someone mentions that they’re celebrating a birthday when they book a stay at the Beach Lodge, I’ll leave desserts or cupcakes from my favorite local bakeries. If they’re vegan, I’ll create a restaurant list in the city and nearby areas. If it’s a family with kids, I’ll switch out the pillows and linens and replace them with more durable ones. These thoughtful touches really stand out to guests. You’ll see them reflected in your reviews and repeat bookings.
I recommend giving guests a momento or a keepsake when they arrive as a simple gesture that feels special and welcoming, like gift cards to businesses nearby or postcards from local artists. To take that idea even further, I also allow guests to shop the items I stock at The Beach Lodge directly, including the eco-conscious robes, linens, and vintage items I’ve collected. I also created an online store so anyone can shop it. I love the thought that guests can purchase an item they encounter and bring it home with them—to extend their experience and take back something special.f I’ve also been featuring women-owned and local brands, which are important to me. I don’t take any profits. It’s all about connecting people to these brands. It’s so much more than just a getaway to me. I want people to be inspired from within and to leave with a new way of living—however big or small.
We named our home The Beach Lodge because, to us, a lodge is a cozy space for people to gather, be with their friends and family, and feel like they belong. I really wanted to create a destination for my guests—to elevate it beyond just a place to sleep—so I stock it with board games, yoga mats, crafts, art materials, a BBQ grill, beach towels, bikes, books to get lost in, and a record player. Travel is about expanding your horizons and these activities can help people create memories and new ways of being. Consider the possibilities of your own space and what amenities can help enhance their overall experience.
Remember that it’s all about the details, details, details! Through these thoughtful touches, guests will truly feel the care that you’ve poured into your space—and they’ll continue coming back.
Check out the full #howtohost series here.
Yes the little take home treat is nice to do.
I give my Guests some Swan Plants or seeds to plant in their garden for the Monarch Butterflies which is always appreciated.
Nothing beats a smile on a person's face when they receive them.
Love the Blue tones in your Home, blue is one of my favourite colors, is it yours to?
All the best and long live our Happy Guests!
That’s such a thoughtful gift! Plus it becomes a constant reminder of the wonderful stay they had at your rental, which I’m sure will prompt your guests to come back.
Blue is such a great “neutral” for me — bluetral! It goes with everything and it’s a great tie to our beachside surroundings. I just used it in non-traditional coastal patterns to reflect more of my taste.
Thank you for reaching out. Hope the tips help in some way. Sounds like you’re already doing a great job as a host!
I love your ideas. I try too, but once in a while guests are complete idiots. Rude, loud, abuse my home. :(
I am trying to forget those bad people but it's hard. Once bitten twice shy.
However, my next guests were wonderful. Thanks for your ideas.
I've been hosting for a little over a year and felt much like you. Then one day I sat down and made a list and found: out of nearly 200 stays only 8 were actually horrible. That gave me the perspective I needed. One mustn't allow the ghost of horrible room to grow. I hope this helps. have a lovely day :) Regards, Denise from Pretoria South Africa.
It’s always a great idea to put it in perspective the way you did, Denise. It sets the right mentality when it comes to hosting. :)
Bang on Victoria! I have a very low tolerant level for guests who feel they're doing you a favor. Some experiences make me want to pack it in and some are encouraging. It's an emotional roller-coaster.
Thats sad for you Victoria, I have been hosting for almost 7 years, hundreds of guests and in all that time - only one guest who was a real problem (had a drug party), I have had a swingers couple who wanted me to join them, and a bloke who kicked the door when his wife wouldnt let him in, but for those years thats a good run. Generally guests are appreciative, write great reviews and comments in the guest book etc. I think one reason is that I warn them of anything they might potentially complain about - eg if they book for several people I write and advise its open plan / studio style so they will hear anyone who snores etc....so if they continue to book they cannot complain later....I ask if they mind my dog being around and offer to close the gate between my church building and the Sunday School - perhaps pre-empt what they might do - best of luck... Judy (The Sunday School)
It might be time to raise your rate. I have found that asking for more changes the quality of the guest most times. Those that value their dollar tend to respect your place more. It has worked for us. Also, if you have a request... check out their reviews and trust the instinct that you are feeling. Most times you will be right and save yourself and your other guests the headache and drama.
Thank you for refreshing my memory. I am going to find some things locally made for gifts.
Hand made soaps and some other item. I think I will add a hand-written tag.
Bless you in everything you set your hand to do.
Airbnb is the best! I love it!
Thank you Barbara! A local gift is a great idea! But remember, it doesn’t have to be costly. Thoughtful is worth so much more!
A few months ago I was brainstorming on ways to take my Airbnb to the next level. Above and beyond superhost status. I found your listing online. It's an honor to finally see the houst behind the famous Beach Lodge.
You mention you were recently thinking on how to take your Airbnb to the next level, do you do any of the things Tiffany mentions here or have you been inspired to try anything new?
I am away from the Community Center until Jan 10th, looking forward to speaking with you when I return. :)
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I'm equally honored to be thought of in such high esteem. I hope you've been able to get some inspiration from my IG posts. I'm continuing to provide more hints, now that I've taken it to the next level as well with my consulting services for hosting and design. Remind me of your IG handle. Would love to check out how you've taken it to the next level.