How I got to Airbnb website and then jointed it:
It was a friend who was not host that introduced me to Airbnb. It was in the end of 2013. I lingered for a while to list one property in Airbnb, but eventually I decided to do it.
Top points that makes me like Airbnb
At a first glance I loved the website, the attractive design and it was good in terms of usability. However, what I liked the most it was the fact that, the host was allowed to review the guest! It was a new thing. No other website of accommodation sector, as fas as I knew, would allow the host to review the guests. It was good for both, guests and hosts. It creates a good enviroment to do business. It is a relation based on trust.
My first guest
I do not remember precisely, but I think it took me about 1 month to get my first guest. It was a brazilian couple from the north of the country that needed accommodation for about 15 days in Rio.
In the first message the guest asked me - "I see you have no reviews. Why? (It would mean - Why should I trust in you?)".
My answer - "I am new in Airbnb and if you book my property you will be my first guest!" :) and I also have said - "I see you also have no comments in your profile as well. Certainly you are also new in Airbnb. If we have a deal, you will have to trust in me and I will have to trust in you! :) ". He booked, and that is the way I got my first guest via Airbnb!
By dealing with accommodation I have had many surprises regarding guests! I have notice that, some Germans are so talkative like Italian people!
Before joining Airbnb, I had never hosted Russian guests! To my surprise, the russian guests are very friendly, communicative, and easy to deal with. I have a russian guest that have booked one of my properties 4 times! :) There are guests from other parts of the world that has returned as well.
If the host do the right thing, accomplish with what it is offered in the listing, everything usually goes well.
I love travelling when I can and talk to people from different countries. To me it is an enriching experience! When I travel I love going where the average citizens goes. I am not very fond of traveling like a tourist (being guided all the time in tourist package). Hop on hop off only as a last resort! Sometimes it is inevitable when time to stay is short and the city is too big. I like taking bus, tram, underground, uber, taxis and having coffee and meal in cafes and restaurants where the locals go.
So I have empathy with the Airbnb guests that usually are more more similar to an independent traveler than tourist! Anyway if they are tipical tourists, they are equally welcomed :)
When I and my wife travel, we usually are welcomed.
With the guests we do the same. I put myself in the place of a guest when planning an accommodation and preparing it. I welcome the guests at the moment of checkin and explain the basic things as briefly as possible. I do not like to impose my presence. Usually the guests are tired after a long flight. If they need more information and want tips about the city, I gladly explain to them what they want to know. That is my way! I have had many guests that have booked with us again. Some of them even became my friends.
Targeting the right guest
I think it is also important not to create false expectations. I want to pass the message that my listings is suitable to informal and easy going people. Meaning, people who want to enjoy the city and stay in an comfortable place at reasonable price, with everything they need around without spending lots of money on a luxorious place to stay.
Nice post @J Renato.
I remember when I first listed. It was exciting and I was also full of positive anxiety.
I was impressed with the website, because it was easy to navigate. I do think though, some basics need to go full circle for hosts and guests again... but that’s another day!
The opportunity to master STR in our own homes is a wonderful concept. But you have also hit the nail on the head with the need for positivity and empathy, the ability to tailor a stay and alll whilst sharing trust.
That extra personal service is what defines what we offer.. and who we are.
@J Renato Nice to read how you got started and how it goes for you. I think we may have a similar hosting style. I'm quite casual with my guests and it seems to put them at ease and luckily, I've never had any nightmare guests like we read about here all too often.
When my first guest arrived, one of the first things she said when we got to my place after I picked her up at the bus stop (which is easier than trying to explain how to find my rural house) was "You didn't have any reviews!" I said "That's because I just joined a month ago and you're my lucky first guest". She was a great, lively guest and before she left she told me she was going to be sure to leave me a great review to get started, and she did.
And I also try not to overload guests with too much information when they first arrive. Most have been travelling for hours, are tired and want to wash the "travelling" off themselves (I know I always feel like I need an immediate shower after getting off a plane and being packed in with other people's germs), maybe have a quick lay-down, get their clothes unpacked. I host in my home, so no need for a house manual. I just tell them the basics of their room and private bathroom when they arrive, then orient them to the rest of the stuff, like the kitchen they share with me, how to lock and unlock the front door, etc. as needed. I might not show them the front door lock for a day if I'm just going to be home all day, since the door is always wide open if I'm home and they have a private outside entrance with lockable door to their room.
@J Renato Hello, yes some great observations, ringing lots of bells. My first guest, yes that was quite a memorable event. - I meant to be ready before the 2012 Olympics but never made it. Then some musicians whose accomodation had fallen down just before booked at last minute. They were playing in a bar only 5 minutes away. Then I just stopped but Airbnb Berlin then phoned me persuading me to continue. My most memorable guest was in December that year, Donica from Australia, relocating to the UK who stayed a couple of weeks. She became a friend and also helped build our e-shop hiddenartshop -
And yes the empathy is so important. But you can't always control that..
Thank you for sharing that with us.
@J Renato Yes I was running with the torch in Brazil in the lead-up to the Olympics. Airbnb as accomodation provider for the Olympics was given the opportunity to nominate torch bearers. They selected hosts from past, present and future Olympics cities. So it was London, Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo. In addition there was Joe Gebbia, one of the founders of Airbnb.
We were all running at different times and different locations, heard very much at the last minute. I was running in the South in Paso Fundo. On the way out I went via Sao Paolo and on the way back via Rio. I ran the 2 July so there was already a build-up of Olympics activity in Rio. I stayed with some great Airbnb hosts. The host in Rio actually had also hosted the Airbnb torchbearer from Japan but on his way out so he had not seen the torch as yet. So he was very excited to see it in the end.
The torch relay is an huge experience of a life time. But aside from that I loved Brasil, the people, the culture and the amazing food... it was a very humbling experience; In Paso Fundo I was the only not brazilian running . after having run, you still have your 'uniform' on and the people from Paso Fundo were so proud that someone from abroad was running..
What was really fun, was that in the Facebook group set up for the 12,000 torchbearers, the brazilians commented that they were going to just walk their 300 metres, instead of running so that their moment of fame would last longer..
Nice post! I like the way you communicated with your first guest and put their mind at ease.
I like to think of myself as well travelled, but there have been many surprises about cultural differences (and also similarities) during my hosting journey. Yes, Germans can be very chatty. Yes, Russians are actually very friendly, but also sometimes quite frank compared to the British! I remember showing one Russian lady around and in the middle of it all, she said, deadpan, "Sorry, I wasn't listening to a word you were saying." Oh well. She must have been tired. She turned out to be great fun.
I have had a lot of nodding guests only to later discover that they didn't understand a word I said (rather than they weren't listening). In many Asian cultures, it seems to be considered more polite to say, yes, yes, and agree even if you are not 100 percent sure what you are agreeing to. Luckily, I'm not asking my guests to do anything outrageous.
Language was definitely not the problem with my Russian lady though. She worked as a Russian-English translator!
@Huma Funny the story with the Russian lady! :)
I like hosting british guest as well, very punctual and very polite! The british tends to be very reserved. However, some of them are very, very curious about others countries and cultures! I also love the british humour, full of euphemism and some irony. I remember once, when someone said - I do not know why the english still buy some type of product ( refering to a product that the person who said it disliked!). An english friend replied at once - "I think it is because the police in England have very bad humour against people that take something from some shop whitout paying..."
Ha, ha! Yes the British do have what we call a very 'dry' sense of humour. Ages ago I read an article about advertising that said the Germans use science and technology to sell something, the French use sex, and the British use humour.
@J Renato Great post! I also had to explain to my first guest why I had no reviews and we both agreed that we would give each other reviews to help us get started. Fortunately, my first guest was a great guest and I happily left him a great review and he left me a great review, too.