Do you keep up with the guest experience?

Online Community Manager in
London, United Kingdom
Online Community Manager
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Hey everyone!

 

As time goes by and society changes and evolves, so does the behaviour and the needs of guests. The experience you provided 10 years ago may not necessarily be as relevant today. Guests may be travelling for different reasons than they used to, or expect different amenities or service. On the platform guests may be looking at listings differently as well, for example which pictures and in which order, or the information that’s in your listing.

 

There is, however, also a case to be made for sticking with what you know. You can gather more insight into what guests think of the experience you provide, and use your time to tweak and perfect that which you already know how to do well.

 

Do you keep up with the guest experience? Do you update your listing frequently or not at all, and how do you make sure the experience for guests both during booking and during their stay is still relevant?

 

I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts in the comments!

Sybe


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28 Replies

Re: Do you keep up with the guest experience?

in
Gqeberha, South Africa
Level 1

I am not yet open , will be on the 1st .  Although listed can not show the last 2 rooms as still busy with renovations.  But i would like to think i provide the full experience.. to those who take a chance on my new adventure.   I am currently connecting with Tour Guides , and shuttle agents so I can offer more to make the experience easier to enjoy. 

But would love to hear from experienced hosts. 

Re: Do you keep up with the guest experience?

in
Nova Scotia, Canada
Level 2

I would certainly use the Guide book feature & suggest things to do or places to visit and eat around your area get it printed off and leave it in the room for your guests to look at and plan and digest, Also i have put how far things are from your listing as a point of reference. 

My guests said they found this really useful and actually use and visit some places off the guide which is pleasing to suggest a place and they visit.

 

 

Re: Do you keep up with the guest experience?

in
Wisconsin, United States
Level 2

I have also done that with my Guidebook and got good feedback on that.  Don't forget the emergency information for police and hospitals.  Had a guest that ended up having emergency surgery and they gave me a special heart felt thank you for having the information on the web site and in the book at the rental cottage.

Re: Do you keep up with the guest experience?

in
Huskisson, Australia
Level 10

@Daniel9637 what a good idea for printing off guide book to leave for guests.

Re: Do you keep up with the guest experience?

in
Dorking, United Kingdom
Level 2

I always check with guest on arrival and mid-stay to check is all OK. We also send to any guests with dogs some recommended walks from the cottage and email an up to date list of recommended places to eat.

 

Re: Do you keep up with the guest experience?

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Sybe 

 

For sure guests' needs can change and especially in recent times where COVID has really affected how a lot of people live their lives.

 

I am sure you would have noticed some discussion here on the CC about digital nomads and more guests working from home. It's up to the individual host to decide whether they want to adapt to these needs or if they would rather continue to market to the customer they set out to attract.

 

Hosts go into STR for different reasons. For some, it is a business. For others, it is financial and a way to help with bills, but not their sole income. For others it is about the experience and for some it is a combination of the two.

 

So, while it's good to adapt to the times, one also has to question how much and for what reason? Do I want to adapt to something I am not happy with or that is not economically viable? Do I want to adapt to attract the kind of guests I never wanted in the first place?

 

Then there is the question of 'expectations'. Does one need to change to meet new expectations? Maybe,  but are the guests willing to pay for those additional expectations or are they purely at the host's expense? Is it worth it?

 

What I, and a lot of other hosts have noticed in the past couple of years, is that there seems to be an increased sense of entitlement. This is no doubt due to numerous factors, but consider for example months and months and months of no questions asked full refunds due to COVID. Consider that Airbnb marketed those refunds in a way that sounded like they were coming solely out of Airbnb's coffers (and a lot of guests I have spoken to assumed this was the case and were surprised that the hosts were not paid anything for the bookings), and then consider how that can create a mentality amongst many guests that the cancellation policy they signed up to doesn't matter and that they should always get a full refund if their plans change...

 

Sorry to inject negativity here, but it's actually quite a complicated and sensitive subject, if you think about it...

Re: Do you keep up with the guest experience?

Online Community Manager in
London, United Kingdom
Online Community Manager

@Huma0 These are all really good questions and exactly why I wrote this post. Adaptation is not always necessary and, in my opinion, not always good either. For example, I prefer going to the butcher and the bakery than getting everything at a supermarket.

 


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Re: Do you keep up with the guest experience?

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Sybe 

 

Good for you! Does your neighbourhood have lots of smaller, more traditional businesses? Here I am afraid it's just chains and supermarkets, no butcher or bakery (unless you count Greg's!).

 

In terms of how I have adapted, I think the biggest thing is switching from a combination of (mostly) short term and long term guests to hosting pretty much only long term (unless it's returning guests). I was not responding to the recent increased demand for long term stays, but rather my own needs and schedule. It does mean less money, but more time and less stress.

 

That being said, there are some different things to consider when hosting long term, as the guests will have slightly different needs. They will probably need more storage space, not just in the bedroom but also in the kitchen, and more hangers for clothes. They might have additional storage needs, such as somewhere to keep a bike. They will need more towels so there are extra sets of those as well as at least one extra set of bed linens in the room, as they have the option of me washing these or doing it themselves.

 

Cleaning schedules need to be considered, such as are you going to clean the guest's room regularly, or are they expected to do it themselves? How do you communicate this? Are you going to let the guests receive mail? Are you going to let them have visitors? What about overnight visitors? How much time are you willing to spend socialising with your long term guests and how do you set boundaries around this if you want to limit that time?

 

 

 

 

Re: Do you keep up with the guest experience?

Online Community Manager in
London, United Kingdom
Online Community Manager

@Huma0 Unfortunately not, there are mainly supermarkets around here and in all honesty I'm not entirely sure if we have a butcher in this area. 


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Re: Do you keep up with the guest experience?

in
Charlottesville, VA
Level 2

I check in with guests the night after... I don't update my listing unless there is something i have changed or added (a new mattress for example). I have not had the experience of people getting full refunds no questions asked. .. but it does not sound right. I rely on Airbnb to help pay my bills. 

It does not seem right to allow poor reviews from guests where the complaint is clearly shown or listed in the description. (Eg, i I got a review saying my apartment was not "separate" when it clearly was, with photos).

Re: Do you keep up with the guest experience?

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Elizabeth2461 

 

The full refunds no questions asked that I referred to was due to the COVID Extenuating Circumstances Policy, which was in place for a long time, but has been changed now. However, judging from some of the threads I see posted here, there are still some guests who are being automatically refunded for some 'complaint' without the host being consulted at all. 

 

My own personal experience of this was Airbnb refunding guests who had already stayed. Erm, why? They did not cancel those nights due to COVID. They stayed at my listing and used my hospitality and my utilities, so why are they being refunded exactly? These guests never complained, let alone asked to be refunded the nights they already stayed, yet Airbnb CS told me it was 'within the policy' to refund them! I got my money back, but it was an almighty battle.

 

As for reviews, well, Airbnb clearly states in its review and content policy that it does not mediate in terms of the accuracy of someone's review. That means that people are free to post all sorts of lies, including downrating a listing for cleanliness or check in when they never even showed up but cancelled a day before. The review system is very, very flawed. Airbnb is well aware of this, as plenty of hosts have been telling them this for years.

 

My own personal experience of this is that Airbnb will no longer remove a review (or it is highly unlikely), even if the guest claims that something was not stated in the listing, when it clearly was. CS has told me that it doesn't matter because the review "does not violate the content policy" and "is the guest's experience".

 

 

Re: Do you keep up with the guest experience?

in
Bristol, VA
Level 1

I do keep up with the guest experience. I check to make sure they arrived okay (if they happen to not contact me upon arrival). Then I try to check in the next morning to make sure they have what they need & that they had a comfortable stay. Then I contact them on the day of checkout to make sure everything went well. I try not to message them too much but just enough to let them know I am here if they need anything or have questions. 

I also do make updates depending on the suggestions & different circumstances. We haven't had too many make suggestions. But the ones that have, some of them were really helpful & were good ideas which I implemented. Also, the things they really love, I make sure to continue (such as the snacks we provide).  The suggestions from guests so far have only been on a private note. Like the addition of room darkening curtains when we first started hosting, which we added shortly after. 

Re: Do you keep up with the guest experience?

Online Community Manager in
London, United Kingdom
Online Community Manager

@Deana36 Direct feedback from guests can be really useful to see what you'd need to change. Do you actively ask for feedback?


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Re: Do you keep up with the guest experience?

in
Sund, Åland Islands
Level 1

So do I as well, on the arrival I use to meet my guests and give them information about the house, where to go visiting,eating etc 

As an surprise I leave special pancakes we do have here I Åland Islands in the fridge. 

the day after their arrival I always send a messenger and asking how everything are, and I have already told them that they can reach me anytime. I happy Bering a Superhost ❤️

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