Staying at your own listing can be a great opportunity for seeing your property from guests’ perspective. By recreating their experience and spending some time enjoying your place, you might notice small details that you wouldn’t perhaps think of otherwise.
It could be for instance that you find out the bed is no longer as comfortable as you’d like, or that you wish you had an extra lamp next to the sofa. Maybe you realise the water pressure in the shower could be improved or that you don’t need that many pillows after all. 💡 ✨
Whatever the insights you get from the experience, many Hosts believe it can only help - whether you discover the need for improvements or you realise how amazing your listing is (and how much extra you could be charging for it)!
Do you stay at your own listing from time to time? What insights have you gained from those experiences? 👀
When our second home was a rental (until we retired) we would stay there at least 4 times a year. Our other properties we lend out to family and friends on a twice yearly basis for maintenance work and critiques. That has been very helpful because my friends see things that I miss.
Yes, we stay in our apartments and guest studios from time to time. When we do this it feels like we're on holiday even though the spaces are connected to or just on the upper floor of our main house.
We've noticed that our goal has been achieved in making those small spaces so fully functional, comfortable, well supplied and modernly equipped, that we don't need to return to our main house for anything other than seasonings.
Oh yes, we do.. And we learn a lot from it!
You simply can't know certain things unless you actually become your own guest. We've made a lot of small changes that have altogether made dramatic differences in the overall experience.
Highly recommended that all hosts do this from time to time (unless of course, you're another corporate Airbnb tycoon with hundreds of property listings... in which case, it probably won't matter to you).
Oh boy...I don't even know where to start.
But ok, let's start with beds.
You buy beds, thinking "well, it's a holiday rental, you don't need to spend a lot" (and you don't) . But unless you sleep in them, you don't know what it's like to sleep in them. And it's a very important amenity for guests. So, you need to sleep in the beds in your accommodation.
Most guests won't "complain" about less-than-ideal beds, but if the beds are really comfortable, the guest may not even consciously know why, but they just have a more satisfying experience, and will reflect that in their impression and ratings of your place. "Better than usual".
Also consider the duvets and blankets.. Pillows. . We have all of our bedding professionally cleaned. We have 4 sets of bedding for every bed, one set in use, one set at the cleaners, 2 clean sets as spares, in case the cleaners don't finish in time.
Again, you don't necessarily have to spend a lot in beds. In our case, we bought some basic IKEA beds. But they were much too firm. I think anyone would agree. And they were too low to the ground. We ended up buying extra low cost IKEA mattresses to put on top (yes, two mattresses, one on top of the other), plus a softer mattress pad and waterproof covers for them. That not only made the height more suitable, but the sleep experience was much much better. By the way, this is not a configuration that IKEA would expect anyone to want, or would recommend, but it's really comfy, and many guests have remarked about it, even checked the brand, and were surprised it's IKEA.
Naturally, it's important to have all the usual things, and that they work. Guests won't necessarily tell you if something isn't working right. You find that out when you stay there.
You'll organize things in the kitchen in a way you think is practical, until you have to use the kitchen. Try cooking a meal, and you'll quickly learn what's missing or difficult to find because it's not where you expect it to be.
Your place can accommodate 8 persons, so, you need 8 plates, 8 bowls, 8 forks, 8 knives, 8 spoons? Right?
[fail buzzer sounds].
Triple it. People use more than one plate per person. For bread, for salad, for lots of things... Plus lots of silverware.
Nobody wants to have to clean the dishes after every meal. And a dish washer is important. They're on holiday. They didn't come to slave over the sink.
And then there's cups, glasses, and platters to serve the food from. And a good set of knives... And sealable plasticware.. for those leftovers and opened packages. Have plenty on hand.
It's not expensive to buy these things. Well worth the investment. Guests will remark about the completeness of the kitchen in their reviews. It's important to them. Some have told us that Airbnb places rarely have enough dinnerware or cookware. That was our experience too. In our own place!
When you wake up in the morning, it's the first thing on your mind. In your not-quite-awakened state, you don't want to mess around finding coffee or tea bags, filling the coffee machine and what not. And there's usually more than one person in the queue.
So we have TWO capsule machines ready to roll, with lots of capsules lined up in a rack. Tea and biscuits sitting there too. Pick, insert, and press the button. Most guests are really happy about that.
Our space accommodates 8 persons. You need a big dining table for that, or else they'll be eating (and spilling) on the couch or elsewhere that they ought not to be eating. We've had a, few dinner parties at our place, with friends & family... About the same as having 8 guests. You quickly discover what's left to be desired.
Not until you need to plug in your phone or some other things do you discover that it's hard to find a socket to plug into. You don't need have to have a zillion of them, but they need to be easy to find and readily accessible in the living areas and bedrooms.
It's hard to have enough of them in the bathrooms though. You need enough to plug in your electric toothbrushes, the hair dryers, electric shavers, and god knows what else. Multiply that by 8 guests, and well, you know...
LIGHTING AND SWITCHES
I've mentioned this on another thread, but it's always good to have light switches right where you need them. And they should turn the whole room on or off (or dim, where appropriate). Too many switches for different lights is confusing, and lends itself to not bothering to turn them off.
Originally, I found it hard to find the switches for all of the lights. So we changed that. Each switch turns the room lights on or off. Simples!
Also having a switch on both sides of the bed is a great convenience. Of course a small lamp on the side table which can be independently turned on is important too, you know, for the 3:00am bathroom journey. To not have to turn on the room lights...
Also, if you arrange the lighting well, you can literally transform the impression of the space. Avoid bright lights that shine in your eyes. Or something too dim. Use colder, whiter lighting in the kitchen and bathrooms because it looks cleaner and crisper, perhaps more "clinical" and leaves a greater impression of cleanliness. "Warm" lighting in the bedrooms and living areas makes it feel cozier.
Recessed, indirect lighting is very easy on the eyes and allows you to highlight some of the better features of the house, such as any artwork on the walls, or light up countertops, etc. Well lit spaces that aren't glaring in your eyes leave a great impression.
As your own guest, you quickly discover the limits of wardrobes and storage. Do you have enough hangers? Where can people put their suitcases? We found that out too.
TOWELS AND BATHROOM THINGS
One towel per person isn't quite enough. Keeping a few extra clean bath and hand towels and washcloths accessible to guests is another convenience you quickly miss if you stay in your own place. So, we now provide a few extras.
Toilet paper - one roll isn't enough, and it' rather big burden to be forced to run off and buy it. So, we now put an entire package of 6 or 12 rolls in each bathroom.
You think that guests will bring their own bathware... But they often forget to pack it.. Like we did.. It's always a good idea to leave a few unopened bottles shampoo, rinse, toothpaste, tampons etc. in conspicuous place in the bathrooms.
We seem to have a lot of problems with them. They get gunked up and spray in odd directions, etc. Guests rarely mention it, but it does affect their impression of the place. When you are your own guest, you quickly notice it. We now check all shower heads extensively on every cleaning, and keep spares handy...
The same goes for the aerator things on the faucets. They can become wonky and slow the flow of water, or spray in odd directions... As your own guest, you see it right away... Guests won't mention it, but again, it leaves an impression of "poorly maintained". We now have spares on hand and check all of them with every cleaning. Replace if needed. They're pretty inexpensive.
Ok, well, sorry for the length of this post, but you asked. There's always something you'll find when you become your own guest. Small things, yes, but combined, it makes a big difference, and will set you apart from other places guests stay.
They won't necessarily be conscious of any one thing, but will leave with the view that they "really liked it" (it just "felt good"). And that's really what you want.. They just know it "intuitively". And they'll write that in their review.
How do the photos for these topics get chosen? I just can't imagine why a host coming to stay at her own place would be looking at the bed with such a delighted and almost surprised expression on her face, as if it's totally amazing to find a bed there made up with that bedding 🙂
I do! This is the way I can afford a vacation home in the mountains of NC. It gives me a chance to fix or fine tune things so it is a win win