Before I get into the topic about what (in my experience) are the steps to follow for a reservation that spreads smooth as butter, I’ll introduce myself.
My name is Vittoria, I am 19 years old, and I am a freelance photographer (specialising in portraits & wedding). In October I will be starting law school in Milan and I am mainly a host but mostly co-host an apartment in Noli where the owner is my dad. Additionally, I help my mum with another apartment in Finale Ligure. You could say that we are an Airbnb Family.
For some time now I have been an active part of the Airbnb community, in fact I really like to help new hosts (I would also love to work for Airbnb).
Now we can get started!
After you're set up (especially making sure you’re in line with the regulations) and published your listing, you'll be anxiously waiting for your first guests especially if, like me, you host not only to make money (nobody here works for free) but also to meet new people.
My advice is to respond as quickly as possible (activate all notifications: messages, notification app and mail). From experience, guests love a host with whom communication is fast and you’ll improve the odds that the reservation will be confirmed, and the guest doesn't request elsewhere.
Another piece of advice: as soon as the reservation is confirmed send a thank you message e.g. “Good morning xx, thank you for your reservation. See you soon!” Then also include special information about the house like if your apartment/treehouse/etc. requires it.
I honestly find the thank you message, a sign of welcome and it annoys me when I book somewhere and the host does not respond to the confirmation.
Third piece of advice: now it's time to prepare the listing and everyone does this in a way that suits them; just try to make the guests feel welcome, and maybe leave a bottle of water in the fridge (always very appreciated especially in Summer). A little thought: see if you are able to pick-up from a conversation the tastes of your future guests. My last Guest had told me that they loved coffee and so at the check-in I made him showed him a local artisan coffee convention.
Another day, another piece of advice: A couple of days before the check-in date, write to your guests.
Send directions to your accommodation, your house rules (yes, it's true, they are in the agreement that the guest had to accept, but chances are they have not even read them or perhaps have forgotten them), a message asking for the check-in time, repeat the time slot and, if you do not live nearby, specify hours that are check-in by appointment. In doing so I have noticed a lot of improvement - I have at around 80% fewer guests who decide to arrive at any time.
Now, it's finally time to check in! Explain everything in detail to your guests: what to do, what not to do, especially remember to throw away the trash (yes, I know you write it in the house rules, but there are times I forgot to say it and it was not thrown away), and agree on the time of check-out, if possible.
During your guests stay: try to be as available as possible or rely on someone who can be. Maybe everything will be smooth sailing but it’s not hard to assume that guests may need something, even if it’s just simple information. Even if everything goes well, I suggest you still write a message (even just once during your stay) to check if everything is going fine. This will make them feel pampered without you being intrusive.
After check-out: it's time to write the fateful review! Please, for the sake of all hosts, write the truth and report everything worth noting. Don't be afraid of possible retaliation or being too strict.
Little tip: avoid asking for reviews! I know they are important but Airbnb already prompts them with several notifications. To me, sincerely, when asked this has always bothered me, especially when I was asked to rate 5 stars specifically.
I hope that this little guide will be useful to you, see you next time.
Thank @Vittoria25 for your lovely post. Yes indeed, you are an Airbnb family!
What is great about Airbnb, is you can often work it around other life commitments. I wish you well with your venture to Law school, for that is no mean feat to undertake! Having your photography is a nice balance...... all the best for your future endeavours Vittoria.
Thank you @Lizzie for sharing @Vittoria25 from Italy contribution to The Festival of Hospitality, it has very helpful information to those who may be thinking about and becoming a Host or providing an experience.
@Vittoria25 I notice your family home is called The Home of the Station Master, is that because a Station Master once lived there? Or a family member is a Station Master?
All the best for Law degree studies, it's an ever evolving practice now with the internet and cross border legislation
Central To All Home & Location
@Helen427 Thank you for you message, my bis grand father was a train master and lived there, now in Noli there isn't the train station but we decided to keep this name 🙂 I'm so excited to start next month
I admire your enthusiasm.
I follow the steps you outlined but I find that some of the best guests do not pay attention to the app after they make the reservation and in like fashion forget to give a review after they leave. I sometimes text them directly to ask that they check communications in the app. The same is true once they arrive. So flexibility in communication is important to be successful with guests in my mind.
Hi Vittoria! Thanks a lot for sharing your insights. I agree with all you have to say, especially reiterating some of the stuff on your house rules since the guests mainly glance through them and often do something against the house rules.
The only point that I wouldn't completely agree with would be asking for reviews. While asking for a 5* review may not be the best approach, I believe a follow-up message certainly helps. In my experience as a host, most guests temporarily don't use Airbnb until they need it for their next stay so they are unlikely to visit the app unless they get a notification.
Most guests are even very willing to leave the review, but they often forget and a small reminder has gotten me a lot of positive reviews. Just a thought 🙂
Hi.. completely agree ..
not fair to tell a guest to leave a review.. especially a 5 star one..
but I don't think is wrong to remind them to leave a review if they have some spare time..
I quite important for a host to get an honest review.. an honest one is good enough.. some times I just pretend I'm playing a game, when I put in the cheat code the game start to end fast and get boring really quick.. but by earning honestly, through failure and achievement.. the experience become some thing else that could become a possible similar feeling like a drug addiction..
I always threat the weight of sending guest off are as equal as greeting them.. some times it does not always completed this way.. but when it does.. I just remind my guest, if it not to much, please spare some time to leave us an honest review..
frankly is better than a tip for home owner.. well at least for me..
when is honest.. it whistles.. not like it does in the movie.. when you cheat, it would not last long..
See you next year .. happy almost new year.. and happy hosting