There’s many wonderful stories here on the CC about fantastic hosting experiences with great guests. With such developed rapport between the two parties, commonalities, interests and likes must inspire some great conversations.
Do you still speak to any of your old guests or hosts? Have you become friends or pen pals?
I’ve spoken to some of you about this before so I think some of your stories would be delightful to share with your fellow contributors.
@Stephanie what a great subject to discuss :) I believe that is one of the greater joys of hosting and we needed some place where we could read about the positive side of hosting. We have become very close friend with few of the families that stayed in our apartments. I have noticed that we mainly become friends with the guests in the beginning of the season, maybe because we have fewer reservation and we have the time to dedicate ourselves more to the guests. There is this family from Croatia that now come every year even if they are planing their vacation in another country just to see us for a couple of days and we actually look forward every year to their stay. There is this other elderly couple from Netherlands that we are visiting soon, they are some of the coolest people I've met. He is a chef in a very famous restaurant in Amsterdam and she owns an art gallery and they have some of the most amazing stories. My father has lived in Russia and he always welcomes the guests from there and they become friends so fast, he gets so excited when we get new booking from there it is adorable :) I love my guests and I am so excited when they want to get to know us. There are guests that don't even want to hear the house rules let alone get to know us but different people different characters, it is ok both ways. I've been really lucky to have pretty much amazing guests up until now, I hope it will stay that way.
I think one of the coolest thing about hosting is the people we meet that wouldn't normally be in our day to day lives. Over the years I have made a few connections that have blossomed into true friendships. One lady was here for two weeks helping her daughter find an apartment, we became friends on FB and we meet up for coffee when she visits her daughter. Connections like that are what I think the true spirit of Airbnb is about.
In March last year I had a booking request from a local girl, Katherine! She was totally upfront and wanted to book our cottage for 3 weeks for her parents who hailed from Norwich in England.
My initial reaction was to suggest that Airbnb do not permit 3rd party bookings and she should get onto her parents and get them to join Airbnb and set up their own account to book.
Now this sounds simple but I have come across quite a few people over the past couple of years who found joining and going through the verification process quite a challenge....particularly for the more elderly amongst us.
So I mulled this request over in my mind for a while. Eventually I thought, 'what the hell' I am bringing a family together who had not seen each other for a decade....grandparents who had never seen their grandson.....I was doing exactly what Airbnb are supposed to do, bring the world together.
I accepted Katherine's request.
Tinneke and John arrived and as soon as we met them we formed an instant liking for each other.
On the second night of their 3 week stay we were having a customary late afternoon cheese and drinks when the daughter arrived and abruptly ushered her mother into the cottage, a few minutes later to be joined by John the father. Heated words were exchanged and the daughter suddenly left saying she wished to have no further contact with her parents........far out!! what do we do now?
This is why we should never accept 3rd party bookings, you just don't know what is going to happen.
Well Tinneke and John had come all this way, John was not in the best of health with his poor sight and his Diabetes and the 4 of us had a common bond, Tinneke looked after John and I looked after Ade.
Tinneke spent her days helping me in the garden and John and Ade had a mountain of health issues they were only to keen to console each other with. The problem with a long term illness is, it becomes old news! People don't want to hear about it after a while, the pool of sympathy wanes! But each of them had a brand new enthusiastic audience....each other!
Every afternnon and evening would be spent talking, eating, drinking out under the market umbrella during those lovely still Autumn nights
Over that 3 weeks we became great friends and although the tyranny of distance and our respective partners health means we will probably never see each other again, Tinneke and I are like 'brothers in Arms' and John and Ade have an enourmous compassion for each other.
Just another of the lovely experiences that Airbnb creates!
NO NO NO NO NO
We are professionals. We are in this for the long haul.
While being professionally friendly, making friends is verbotem. Making friends opens the door to manipulation and heartache.
What if I become to annoying? What if I talk too much to them? What if I become too casual?
I'm a slob and I like to walk around naked. If you're my friend (not a guest) you will understand and accept this behaviour. I also have a black humor and a loud guffow.
While I like many of my guests, I wish to give them independence and free of them the constraints of "Friendliness"
We are FB friends with a lot of our guests but with a few we have become firm friends, we call and txt one another all the time. We host so that we can meet people, we love to travel and meet different and unusual people but hosting on Airbnb people come to us, and we get paid, win win!
Balance, respect, open-mindless and awareness all factor in to the equation. We strive to make our guest experience wonderful and ours too. Occasionally guests become friends but circumstances in our market rarely permit it to happen. When a guest has a wonderful stay they depart very happy with a strong friendly vibe which we enjoy. To us that is a goal worth while and a reward in itself.
We have some guests connected on Facebook or other social media, and greeting to each other now again. And we just got first guest from old guest referral. It is good thing that host and guests can be connected in different way after the booking completed. Regards to how strong the bond is, just follow the 'fate', if God give each of us a new friend, why not to welcome it.
I had one guest send me an nice, friendly Inquiry with a question or two. We messaged back and forth a couple times and she said she needed to book an airline ticket and would get back to me. I really liked her from our chat and so when I didn't hear back from her for over a week and my calendar for the high season was starting to fill up, I messaged her again to say, Hey, no pressure, but just wondering if you still were planning to come, as bookings are starting to roll in and if someone else wants those dates, I'll have to accept. She messaged back right away, saying she definitely still wanted to come, but that she has a fear of flying, so every time she has to book a ticket, she procrastinates it. But she thanked me for booting her butt and said she'd book a ticket right away and get back to me, which she did. We exchanged a couple more messages, joking about our irrational fears (hers is of flying, mine is heights). She felt like someone I'd known for yers and when she came to stay, that just continued- we found we had a lot in common, had a similar sense of humor, and had long conversations and laughing fits over bottles of wine. She has wanted to come back, but hasn't made it yet (sick mom, old dog, life stuff) but we do keep in touch.
Another guest was from very close to where I used to live in Canada. She was a cheery guest, who was childlike in her appreciation and wonder at all the new things she was experiencing. She got really sick one day and I tended to her, checking to make sure she was still breathing, went out and bought her energy drinks, and crackers and light foods she could keep down. When I went back to Canada in the summer, I called her, she picked me up at the ferry, and took me to her house and fed me lunch and we had a nice visit. Her husband is Moroccan and she said they are going to buy a house there and that I ever want to come to Morrocco, I'd be welcome to stay.
I'd say about half my guests I end up sitting around with chatting over coffee or wine, one guy came back from town on his last day with a kilo of shrimp which we peeled together and cooked up and sat and had a shrimp feast, and some have told me about what's going on in their personal lives that caused them to need to take a break. Child custody battles, divorces, deaths.
It's one reason I like hosting solo travelers- they seem to be quite independent, know how to enjoy a home-share and are friendly and respectful. Some guests keep to themselves, and I totally respect that, but I've had a lot of fun with the ones who want to hang out.
Interesting as I recently connected to past guests who popped up on social media purely for the purpose of letting them know about our special offers or staying top of mind. Isn’t that the point of growing a business? But I did feel uncomfortable and I even asked my daughter, “isn’t this a bit stalker-ish?!”. So I hope I’m not stepping on their toes. I guess they have the choice of accepting the request or ignoring.
In terms of friendship, I don’t get to greet my guests except on rare occasions due to distance. But my approach is to personalise every stay, leave notes and so on. I’ve had some guests who’ve rebooked saying they feel like they’re coming back to a friend’s house.
I have made wonderful friends. I share my garden with my guests and got this surprise last week. I gave them some clippings and they created a memory in their own garden - this is so special! Theu planted the clippings in a beautiful pot and send me a photo - reminding them of the good times in Cape Time.
In my second month with Airbnb I had the pleasure of hosting a young woman from Michigan who was here bc apparently we have a nationally known fertility clinic in town. Something I didn’t know existed till I started hosting guests from all over who come to use this clinic. Anyway, she was here for 17 days, the first week on her own with just her dog and husband arrived a few days later. I sort of expected she would need a substitute mom and was happy to step in. We really bonded that first week before her equally delightful husband arrived. I adored her dog and we all quickly bonded. We rode the emotional roller coaster together and I learned the ups and downs of the desired goal.
Unfortunately I’ve seen her again, as I have a few of my fertility challenged guests. We are Facebook friends and text or chat regularly. It was a very unexpected perk of my early experiences with Airbnb. I believe the universe provides and we were meant to become part of each other’s lives.
I think it was the summer of 2012. I always have trouble remembering the dates, even some important ones like my school exams, college graduation, birthday, engagements ... That summer Fabio, my then-boyfriend, and I flew up to Berlin and ended up at the house of a boy named Stefan, an AIRBNB host, and his girlfriend Sandra.
Large bright apartment at Kollwitzplatz. A whole month spent together. A quiet place of joy and laughter. Pleasant evening conversations and long silences that meant all and nothing. Italy-Germany, little clashes of civilizations. A chance encounter became a long and deep friendship.
A few years later we’ve talked about this so many times, like an unforgettable experience, a period of unconditional happiness poured upon us. "Unsere Berliner Freunde" they repeated: our Berlin friends.
We were jealous of Stefan and Sandra, but deep down we were jealous of Berlin and the Wim Wenders’ two angels over the city. We were jealous of our exclusive relationship with that city that we felt like an unknown land that we discovered together with them, day after day.
The Judischer Friedhof, the Jewish cemetery with its ivy-covered tombs, the sidewalks littered with stolpersteines, thousands of brass stumbling blocks with the names of the victims of Nazism, the Berlin Wall Memorial, Bernauer Strasse, a street that epitomizes the ideological division between East and West. A portion of the wall still intact, the watchtower, a border between two worlds, two civilizations.
One evening we got into the legendary Berghain, the most closed underground club in the world and at the same time the most famous. No selfies, no videos, no photos. And all of it strictly forbidden. We stood in line for two hours together with hundreds of people before we step into its interior: a dirty tower which once housed a power station: steel stairs, concrete walls, dark hallways, the ceiling so high that you never see the end of it.
On the day of departure, our friends were crouched down in front of their door. With big colored chalk pencils, they wrote on the tarmacked path: "Friendship Is Powerful, More Powerful Than Death”, simply making us smile.
But the funny thing, the crazy thing is, that on the way home I felt a strange, irrational emotion which had nothing to do with nostalgia, but rather with jealousy, the suspicion that other guests would take a place in the heart of our friends. Other people Stefan and Sandra would eventually write to a few more ironic or romantic sentences on that tarmacked path.
At Christmas time Fabio was surprised to get a vocal message from Berlin saying that Stefan and Sandra would come to see us in Milan: "Fabio, mein lieber, wie geht’s dir? Emily?”, “Fabio, my dear, how are you? And Emily?” Stefan exclaimed without hesitation, his voice brought back so many memories. It was like the Gotye's concert at the Tresor club, the last concert we saw together, had been the night before.
The time for a kiss, a hug on a cold winter evening in Milan. I closed my eyes, there was no disappointment, vanished with jealousy. The morning after, I felt light of heart. Friendship is powerful, more powerful than death.