I wasn't sure what I would have to share about hosting (that wasn't a rules suggestion or a dire warning), but the other day I was thinking about our most recent guest who came to us for quite possibly my favorite reason yet. And I wondered what I would find if I looked back upon why guests had come to us over our last 14 months of hosting. Here is what I found...
Summer Vacation x6
Working in Austin x5 (beauty consultant, movers, pastor, musicians)
Attend a Wedding x4
Music festival x4
Visit family for holidays x4
Get out of the city weekend x3
Bachelorette weekend x3
Cross-country friends meet up x3
Bachelor weekend x2
Avoiding home after a breakup
Escaping far north winter
Moto GP Races
RV traveling pitstop
Mother/Daughter Sorority weekend
University Parent’s Weekend
College Roommates Reunion
College Football game - their team beat the local team!
Week in Texas and a Wedding on the Barn Porch
**Meet a new grand baby
We built the barn for our family to enjoy together. And we've hosted some really fun celebrations of our own up there in the last 14 months, but it was also enjoyable to see that our out of the way, funky backyard space has also become a part of so many other families' memories as well. It makes me smile to know that when those grandparents think back on meeting their new grandbaby, our Big Red Texas Barn will be a part of that.
Best wishes for happy travels & hosting for you all, Kelly
Hi @Kelly, what a funky space or a holiday or other short stay!
And what a great idea to count the reasons for the stays. Such a statistic gives you a good overview, why your guests come and it would allow you also to decide, which kind of guests were favourites and to decide if you want to target those reasons especially to get those kind of stays. Unfortunately, even if the most favourite would be very eaasy to promote - a toy on a shelf here and there, a swimming duck in the bathtub ;-) , that is the least predictable event.
You get quite a lot of bachelor and bachelorettes events, if you add them up. Do they work very well in your space? Obviously the space is greatt, but so they treat it respectfully?
@Helga Yes, we've had quite a few bachelor/ette groups and even several of the other types have been young groups of friends. Gathering back up for a reunion after they'd spread out to various other locations or to celebrate one's birthday or a mutual friend's wedding or to come for some fun/sun/or other activity. I think we might be a 40/60 split on unrelated groups vs. family or a couple.
There are several reasons for this: it's a funky space and maybe youngers are more comfortable with trying something out of the ordinary, our 8 beds are all singles so a group can be cosy without sharing a bed, an 8 person rental is banned by the nearest municipality (I'm 4 houses outside the city line, so I'm close to activities but outside the stringent rules).
The groups love the barn for their friend gatherings! It's very nearly one huge room so they have lots of room to spread out, but they're still together rather than being split up, the bathroom is very spacious and I designed the whole thing to be festive and fun (it is where we throw most of our own parties).
I wouldn't say that the large groups are necessarily more problematic than the smaller ones. We have had large groups (male & female) that have left the space sparkling clean, communicated well and were so grateful for sharing the barn with us. And we have had small groups (with kids, without, younger, older) that have been dishonest, messy, difficult. So I don't know that you can peg it one way or another, but I have developed a very serious set of rules, a thorough rental contract, and my communication is very clear and direct. We have security cameras at the parking/entrance and I am right across the yard too. I get ID and contact info on all guests, I lay out all the expectations with the main guest and provide them a printed book so all the info is easily accessible to the whole group. I've also had the benefit of some truly awful guests making me know through and through that having the space empty is better than having the wrong guest so I'm not at all afraid to say "it sounds like you might be looking for something different from what we offer" and I haven't done it yet but I will if it is ever necessary to ask a guest to pack up and move on. Well, who are we kidding, my husband will do that for me ;).
And finally, the last thing that makes that space work for the large groups is that it was built to be VERY sturdy. The floor is concrete, the walls are wood, none of the furniture is precious. I LOVE the space but it is a guesthouse so definitely easier than having these folks in my actual house.
Helga, I wanted to show my husband your space but I kept getting "this listing is no longer available" messages. Are you snoozing or has abb gone mad again??
@Kelly, thank you for that reply, which is a full manual on hosting in condensed form. Hosting groups that may trow secret parties is one of the fears of people with large houses, but you show how to make if work.
Your space is special or as the French realtors call if “untypical “ . My first impression was “friendly” , an impression I hope to create myself with my own spaces. I believe friendly spaces attract friendly people , mostly. Of course nothing can ever deter those, who only see the price .
I paused my listings for a while. I’m doing some work now and will be away in January and February, maybe March, if I can stand the solitudeof my second, guest free home so long. It’s funny: I set up the listing for the shared room in 2015 and since then, I either had guests with me, was visiting family or worked on a project like renovations or business from morning to 11pm, as I always work in fits. This winter will be the first longer period with free evenings since then. I’ll probably miss guests terribly. Or decide to never see one in house again but sign up for a hermit’s cell on a mountain top ;-)
@Kelly, a whole friendly state? That's much better then Vienna, the capital of my country of origin, where they are proud to be always gruntling. (They are quite often).
I remember an ibook series of satirical police novels, situated in Texas, where people are generally friendly, but for the murderers of course. Maybe part of the novels was just describing people correctly and I took it for satire? When I read Texas in the news next time, I'll think of that first to gain another perspective. ;-)
@Helga Yes, I'm happy to tell you that Texas is big on friendly. and on being Big, but that's another thing.
Here are a couple of Texas facts:
|Entered the Union: December 29, 1845 (28)||Capital: Austin|
|State Nicknames: Lone Star State||State Motto: Friendship|
|State Mammal: Texas Longhorn||State Tree: Pecan|
|State Small Mammal: Armadillo||State Bird: Mockingbird|
|State Song: “Texas, Our Texas”||State Flower: Bluebonnet|
|Origin of Name: from a Hasinai Indian word, "Tejas," which means friends or allies.|
Your murderous author could have meant the friendliness as satire, but it could have been meant as real. In reality, yes, even our murderers would be expected to be friendly.
Our highways are dotted with signs that remind people to "Drive Friendly", that's a little challenging in a place like Austin where we add 150 new residents per day, but there hasn't been a new road built since I got here 20+ years ago. ;)
More Texas facts if anyone is curious:
Fabulous ideas and experience Kelly. I certainly enjoyed those chats. As a new comer, I am
just soaking up all the facinating iedas and experience sharing. I have not yet had any of my
own, as my frst guest will arrive for the Christmas holidays. But I am super excited and optimistic
about this new experience. I am just loving it.
Best wishes to all Airbnb hosts and guests.
I love what you have built @Kelly, it clearly shows you have an eye for design, plus it looks very functional at the same time which is good for larger groups. Thanks so much for sharing this with us all.
I think it is really interesting to see the breakdown of who you have hosted and what a year it has been. I think in a way it is easy to forget all and the memories you have created.
Has your design of your barn evolved much over the time since you first started hosting?
Just to let you know I am away from the Community Center from Friday Dec 14th to 18th. I look forward to speaking with you when I return. Enjoy!
Share some positivity by being part of our Community Center Project. It would be great to have you involved. :)
Looking to contact the Support Team, for details...take a look at the Community Help Guides.
@Lizzie thank you, yes, things have changed over time. The listing seems like it's always getting tweaks, the furniture changes, things go in and out, new rules, new amenities, the occasional deletion. I'm right now debating changing out a couple of the twin beds for a queen and maybe swapping a couple air mattresses for another twin with trundle. But I'm always redesigning spaces in my head so at least I have "business" reasons for those changes. My friends joke that I'm forever getting a new baby or a new house, so if I can channel some of that into my ABB space then that's a good way to scratch the project itch.
I love your space And your enthusiasm :) I'd consider the same If I had the space to build. I'm considering adding a locking door to separate my living space from the two guest bedrooms. I would add a counter, a sink, an apt size refrigerator, a microwave,and a small table to accompany the existing futon sofa (guests could sleep there as well). The other bedroom would remain as is- a comfortable sleeping space. Thereby i can offer a mini kitchen, private bath (existing) and a spare bedroom to my home. It is possible to replace a window with a locking french door that leads to my side yard, and a gate out to the driveway.
I'd have to ask more for the space though, and wonder if I'd get as many listings?
@Bobbie Yes, I’ve considered the same for future projects. Hard to say what the potential is but I think there are probably more people interested in an “entire place” listing.
The opposite of what you’re proposing is to put yourself in the smaller space & rent the master/kitchen/living. That would command more rent but you would still have the space when you didn’t have guests.
@Bobbie, I thought similar to @Kelly, when I looked up your listing. It’s a place that calls to me with its artistic charm. Do you have water in your studio? If not, it may be a practical thing to have a sink there, if it’s feasable. I can’t imagine the whole layout from your photos, but I suppose the studio would be in your part of the house?
I have a tiny space, the guest part is over kitchen and bathroom, which made sharing sometimes a logistic problem, between guests, who wish to be asleep at 9:30 pm and others, who would love to sleep in till noon, even if checkout is 10 am.
I added a lock , when I had an accidental double booking, a girl in one room, a guy in the other (and me squatting somewhere else). In the meantime, I got a water kettle for my living room, then an espresso machine and now a sink. That adds quite a lot of comfort for me and refuces stress. If the guest blocks the bathroom an eternity, if it’s a person I do not really want to cross before my first coffee, I leave them be and enjoy a leisurely breakfast on my side. Or I may head out by my door, in proper shape.
On the same time, even if it’s still a shared room listing, it’s more like a private suite, if the guest prefers privacy and that is visible in the price too.
You coulf install things like Kelly suggests, create a way to seperate your space and have it functional and raise prices slowly. (I get a crazy price for your room, more like for a tent)
you can also create a second listing, the room with pricate amenities, especially for short stays. I supose you could take a shower at your kids’ place, if you rent a bigger part of the house for two days and only have a sink in your part. That lets you test the demand before you make investments.
What a great list @Kelly
1 author with a week away to finish her book
lots of guests of weddings in the area
but mostly "need to get away from the madness of New York City"
We're a small cabin surrounded by mountains