Hosting in 2020: Live and Learn
Hi everyone in CC, I hope you doing well and stay healthy. I’m a Thai host both home and experiences. I am in a country that relies the most on travel and international tourism. So, this post is my experience of what I do when the market turned upside down. Now, domestic tourism is the only focus for every country. In Thailand, more than 90% of guests who booked via Airbnb is an international guest especially more than 50% is from China.
In mid-January 2020, I started to notice a huge number of my Chinese guest messages for canceled their trip and all reservations from all country guests had been canceled in March as the country’s lockdown. Until now, many local-hosts that I know had already closed their listing and moved to do the other jobs. The tourism starts to recover in September and 98.7% of travelers who visit Chiang Mai is Thai people.
*Chiang Mai is the largest city in Northern Thailand. It is 700 km (435 mi) and takes around 9-10 hours to drive from Bangkok.
At first, my house is only listed on Airbnb and the reservation is still at 0 but luckily for the experiences in-person, I got a booking for a couple of time after re-open booking (All guests that I met was an ex-pat).
My goal is to transform my house to attract the domestic market but please remember that “Not everyone will be your customers, but we can satisfy our customers with the potential that we have." and even the market is totally changed, we should maximize our potential.
Language: Before COVID-19, you may only list in English but now you should reconsider using your local languages and it should not only a translation, but the description can be different depending on your target group. Ex. When I mention the garden, in English is for guest to relax to nature sound but for Thai is more about the space that they can take the picture.
Amenities: The need for the domestic market may be a bit different like they will need a car park but less use the laundry and kitchen. Make sure that you highlight it or if you need to improve, it may be good to do it.
Name your place: I think naming your place is one of the things you can do to benefit your space without any cost. My accommodation is called Hidden Space and because the accommodation is hidden in a deep alley but because the name helps turn disadvantage to be a strength. The guest can find your place via search engine and maps if you name your place.
Your own page: FB, IG or you own Website will become more important, it may not create direct result in terms of bookings but when guests interest to booking, some guests will search for more information to ensure more confidence. Social media will helps build the existence of the property on the internet. BLOG on your own website also helpful, believe it or not, I have a huge number of people visit my blog to see the article that helps them plan a trip. Not everyone who visits my website will book my place but just 1% of 37000 readers are worthy.
Get Found 100%: Reconsider to pin your place on Google map and use Google My business to manage reviews and post new photos, as it is free and help guest find the place.
OTA or Direct booking: Before this year, I only use Airbnb as it has a strong review system, and this is the thing I do not want to change but you must try what channel the local use. From my own experience this year, 50% of bookings come from direct booking via my FB page.
Legal your listing: This is a good time. During the lockdown, I work on my short term rental license that will make sure that my place legal. The government has launched the campaign package that offers discounted hotel accommodation, airfares, and attractions, subsidized by the Thai government to restore traveler confidence and entice guests back to the domestic tourism destinations. Luckily, I can join this campaign because I got the homestay license just in time. It helps me a lot to get a new booking.
Discover new idea: Someplace change from accommodation to be café, restaurants, or cocktail bar. Some hotels let the people rent a room in the daytime for 5-6 hrs. for a party or photoshoot in the swimming pool.
Wow, loads of tips here - thanks for taking the time to share your experience here @Nutth0 😊
I'm really impressed by the way you have changed the description in Thai to better market your place to local guests - it's fascinating the different ways that people like to enjoy your garden space! Is it very common for Thai guests to do photoshoots at the listing, or is your place particularly photogenic? 📸
It's also super interesting that fellow hosts have come to stay in order to pick up tips from you by experiencing your listing. Have you ever travelled and stayed in an Airbnb just to check how other hosts do things?
@Katie Thanks for you help move to hosting section.
For description in Airbnb I have 4 languages English, Thai, Chinese and Korea .... hahaha try my best.
It was a common for Thai guests to take a photoshoots ( some may do a mini casual Pre-wedding ). This year we see guests choose place if it was a photogenic and welling to pay more if it was famous.
I do travel to other Thai Airbnb places but most of the places I didn't meet owner. Only one place that read my profile before and we talk about hosting tips. In another hand, I do meet some host who come to learn how to host.
Haha wow, four languages is pretty impressive!
Interesting, seems like you're leading the way as a host teacher then 👨🏫
Cool .... If you have a change to host Thai guest and you feel connecting don't forget to ask them to write in Thai. It will cash they eye alot 🙂
@Nutth0 It's always a great idea to have an exercise book or journal that Guests can write some information in about themselves in one's own language and in the language of one's Host.
I've still got mine from Hosting International Students who came to learn English in New Zealand.
Include things like Recipes, colours, animal names, flowers etc.
Thai writing is slightly challenging like Japanese!!
Did you know "La Korn" in Thai has a completely different meaning to how it's pronounced in French?
(I hope I've spelt that right as I'm relying on my memory here!!)
hahah @Nutth0 My French Guests told me off for saying the Thai version of La Korn to their mother as we were saying Farewell for the evening!!
They laughed about it later though.
The love of Linguistics gets us all into a few rather challenging situations from time to time.
What year were you in New Zealand?
It's changed a lot.
Look at us regulars Profiles when you miss staying here...:)
I always stop and pause to reflect on events from Boxing Day Tsunami at this time of year @Nutth0 , hugs to all.
The resilience shown by those affected is incredible.
Did you know that prior to 1950's that tsunamis (a Japanese word) were called Sea Wave, Ocean Wave or Tidal Waves and general term of Floods?
It's why we see so little reference to them been a regular occurrence in some people's Research works.
My friends son went to Thailand in February to teach English.
I think she said he's in Chiang Mai and loving it.
I'll try remember to ask her when we catch up.
So lovely to hear your voice on in the CC forum again!
Ah, I do look forward to being able to travel again and maybe visiting some of my favourite places, such as Chiang Mai!
Your article shows us all, that if Covid19 gives us lemons, we can juggle them! Not only cut and eat them, but cook with them; but more importantly, we can change the recipe to suit our needs.
Take care @Nutth0, and thank you for your story. This year has certainly been an interesting one for you.