Many of you welcome guests from all over the world. Every day you greet them in your home, spend time with them and even share helpful and good tips about your region or area. Several of you mentioned, in a recent discussion we had on hosting a private room, about keeping your privacy and so based on this, I thought it would be great to discuss this a little more.
How do you keep the balance between the host and your private life? Do you perhaps remove some of your personal belongings from certain areas or do you inform your guests when you have friends over? Or do you perhaps block certain days in your calendar to rest from hosting?
It would be great to hear what you do.
We are all different and will respond in various ways to gain that 'balance' as far as guests are concerned.
It is a decided advantage hosting adjacant to your personal space, but not actually in it. There is no way I would want to jostle with a stranger in the hallway in the middle of the night, so the notion that I need time away from guests doesn't really become an issue for me. There is a few locked doors and a bit of open territory between them and me!
For that reason I don't give myself much of a break from guests. As you can see from my calendar I do host a lot of same day turn-arounds ....some of them give me little more than an hours notice....
Bring them on I say, it's all money!
But having said that when you host you do lose a lot of personal freedom when you have guests. You surreptitiously avoid walking near the cottage, You avoid looking at the windows lest they feel you may be spying on them, a hosting experience taught me that one! Try to make sure the dog doesn't have a hissy fit over something when they might be trying to sleep. I can't just walk out into the garden and drop a phart when I feel like it. You just don't know who will be there observing you. I did get caught personally watering a garden bed one night a few weeks ago! Mr and Mrs guest watched all the action from about 8 metres away, gave me a devil of a fright when I saw them. At times like that you wonder if it is really worth it living your life in a goldfish bowl!
Hosting is a strenuous gig but the balance is, you get to meet some really nice people along the way!
As long as they keep booking, I will have them here!
Yeah, I think your points here @Robin4 would resonate with quite a few hosts, but as you say and have said elsewhere in the CC that you get a lot of enjoyment from the great guests you host. So it really is a balancing act.
Do you provide much guidance to your guests before they arrive of the set up at your home or upon arrival?
I do provide a considerable amount of guidance...but not before they arrive.
Almost all hosts will tell you guests are not great at reading and remembering information!
Most will struggle to get through the listing description and house rules when they have ample time and opportunity. The chance of them paying any attention to a great long winded welcoming screed when they have so many other travel items to concern themselves with is pretty much, zero!!
I just tell them to let me know when they would like to arrive, look for the Airbnb sign at the front gate and how great it is going to be to have them here with us. I figure that is about all the info they can cope with.
Then when they arrive I walk them through the listing in detail, show them how everything works, make sure they know the key box code in case they lock themselves out...we exchange phone numbers in case they want to get me immediately for something or other and tell them I am always available.
At that point I leave them too it!
This won't work for everyone Lizzie, most hosts are either remote from the listing or work and are not available when required so knowledge beforehand is the only way to go.
But for me, this works well, I don't fill them with information until they are here.
I host a private bedroom/bathroom in my home with full kitchen use. The guest room has its own more or less private entrance-up the outside staircase to the balcony, where the guest room/bath lockable door opens onto. My bedroom door is on this balcony as well, but I seldom go up there during the day, whether I have a guest or not, so it's not like I'm bumping into them in the hallway or sharing a bathroom.
The majority of my guests tend to spend the better part of their days in town and at the beach, and if they're home, they are often relaxing and reading in their room- none have "taken over" any common space. That said, I do often have a lot of interaction with my guests- sitting and chatting over coffee or a bottle of wine, which we both enjoy.
I also give myself one day prep time and require 2 days advance notice, so that helps. And so far I've never been fully booked- the reservations seem to roll in in such a way that I have several days or a week between bookings, which suits me just fine. I do enjoy having the place to myself for a few days.
And where I am, the summer is a pretty dead time for bookings, so I may not have any guests at all for 3 months running, or just one or two for a few days, and one of the summer months, I block off the whole calendar for my own holiday in Canada.
It sounds like you have a great set up @Sarah977, one that really suit both you as the host and your guests. I bet you have had some great chats over those coffees / bottles of wine. :)
Even with full kitchen use, do you find your guests cook much when they stay?
@Lizzie Most of my guests don't cook much. There are so many restaurants here, for every budget, that they want to try them out- it's part of the experience that they come here for. Some do cook, and I've been lucky to have the type of guests who wash their dishes immediately after use, wipe down the counters, and are savvy about the compost bucket and the recycling. Most tend to use the kitchen to store some fruit and drinks in the fridge, fill their water bottles from the drinking water container, or make a cup of tea or coffee. Because I only host one guest at a time, there aren't any elaborate, hours-long, take-over-the-kitchen meal preps.
@Lizzie, I am an on-site host like @Robin4, but block my calendar etc more like @Sarah977. This way, I get to travel, I get some income from Airbnb and I can have interstate family and friends stay as well, without creating an overcrowded environment.
Guests on site: behaviour modifications:
1. Being an elevated dwelling with jarrah floor boards, we are always conscious of sounds when walking around. We have carpeted our hallway and the bedroom directly above one of the Airbnb bedrooms, to reduce/muffle sounds.
2. We manage our shower/bathroom use upstairs to not be too late/ or too early, if guests are early to bed or night “check in” people.Same for kitchen/cooking use and clean up.
3. We rarely use our back balcony if guests are on site using their outside tiled entertainment space alongside the pool. (I sneak out to activate incense or turn on festive garden lights, but that’s it. We use the front entry stairs and balcony if needed.
4. We use a separate gate for entry into the pool area.
5. We dress more appropriately. LOL. Garry throws a T-shirt on if moving around the garden or cleaning the pool. Same issue @Robin4. He doesn’t want to be considered loitering... or creepy. (never!) I brush the hair and throw more than a sarong on if putting washing on my clothesline (we have 2: one for us, one for guests.)
6. The downstairs laundry is kept very tidy and minimalist when we have guests. But since we have had prying guests in the past, we now have a combination lock on the sliding door from the laundry into the general storage space. This fridge (food and alcohol), tools and appliances and clothesline’s are strictly our space; unless invited) Family all know the combination for the lock so no issues. We occasionally allow camping travellers to hook up their car fridges etc etc to stay charged, or store bikes etc.
7. Talking of locks, our personal living space is keyed completely separate from the Airbnb space.
8. For added privacy and protection, we also have separated the WiFi system, passwords etc for Airbnb homestay and our family/friends.
9. We have two separated driveways for vehicles.
10. We have in situ, some wheeled mobile fencing to close areas to contain our dog when guests are on site, if needed. Not everyone loves dogs! It keeps her safe as well. She can’t get onto the homestay driveway or escape if a gate is left open, by accident. We also monitor when guests have contact with her.
But for me, I manage this balance for privacy by having a blocked calendar by default. Then I open dates about three months ahead at a time, once I’m more aware of “what’s happening in my life!”
I add “information” into Calendar NOTES, without fail.
Besides my electronic personal calendar, I add public holidays, local events and festivals, family information well in advance, including school holidays, so I can never open up dates in a whim, when I have family coming, or babysitting grandchildren for the weekend, “above” the homestay space. This also allows me the opportunity to plan and factor in maintenance and renovations.
This has meant, luckily, I have never had to cancel a booking.... touch wood!
As my space is quite large, I no longer allow same day or back to back turnaround bookings. It’s just too hard for me to clean appropriately. Not to mention, it can change my guest demographic. I factor in busy times in my employment and I will further block/skip dates for the sanity balance.
When no guests on site:
WE can be as loud as we want, wear what we want, and move as freely around the property through any door, driveway, gate or stairway and this plus the calendar settings reduce stress during busy months. We also use both driveways....
This is really interesting @Cathie19. I have to say there are some comical points here, but actually when you think about it, I'm sure they are actually very important and mean a lot to your guests to be aware of these things.
Do you find you see or spend much time with your guests? Or is this really dependent upon how much your guest want to interact with you?
My response may seem long winded, but shows we cater for a variety of guests. They are from varied demographics and all ages. The fact that we live above the Airbnb space is much more “aloof” than if we were alongside at ground level.bith automatically have greater privacy.
The level of interaction with guests, depends totally on the guest dynamics, and how much they want to interact. Some want all the guidance and information they can get. Some just want a local feel and some stories. Some have events or business to attend. Others just want to do touristy things, or spend their week around the pool. You pick up pretty quickly if they are self contained, or looking for a greater interaction. If self contained, like @Robin4, you move further from the space and avoid too much eye contact. You’re not trying to be nosy, just going about the daily business maintenance such as picking up palm fronds etc, but you need to do it “in the background”.....
One deliberate way I provide opportunity for guests to interact is when guests are on site, I nightly go into the pool area and light up tealight candles in the pagoda & at the Buddha garden statues. I stay on the far side of the pool, but if guests want to ask questions, they usually come out. Others may be happily dining next to the pool, or sometimes swimming.. We may share a drink together, but rarely share a meal. Guests often eat their night meals out as there are so many restaurants in the city (15 minutes away by car) or markets /festivals happening at night.
Others have been on yoga conferences. Others have also travelled “up the track” (3,000kms) on the famous luxury train, The Ghan. We have international tourists travelling in campers around Australia. Some ending in Darwin, some starting here.....(that info makes a BIG difference to interaction)
Some of the variety of cohorts we have had are: family groups of four adults (various relations) with an infant in the space; parents and adult children. Family couples; friend cohorts of two couples travelling; father and son/s; mother with her mother and son; four individual backpackers from different countries all looking for some luxury after camping across the Kimberley; groups of women travelling, working, or here for a wedding and occasionally just couples wanting the bigger space. Have returning visitors who come back for sporting events, or they are originally from Darwin and have family living nearby. We’ve even squeezed in five male professional squash players here for a tournament, because we were close to the venue and had the pool.
So to answer your question Lizzie, it’s all about the guest!
So here's one for you guys that I'd bet is pretty unique to my situation. And since we talk about all manner of bodily fluid issues here, I know most of you have had to overcome some squeamishness about such things, so here goes-
My upstairs is built so my bedroom, the guest bedroom and the bathroom I give exclusively to my guests when they are here, are on the second floor, which is accessed by an outside staircase. The bathroom is between the two bedrooms with a door on each side of the bathroom opening into each bedroom. When I don't have guests, I use that upstairs bathroom minimally- if I have to pee in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning, and I might occasionally have a shower up there, but mostly I use the downstairs bathroom and all of my personal bathroom gear is downstairs.
When I do have a guest, I lock the bathroom door from the guest side and of course don't use that bathroom at all. But..... that first desperate pee in the morning means I really don't feel like getting hurriedly dressed and going downstairs to the bathroom. So I bring a pee pail upstairs with me. Then I have to wait until my guest is out for the day, or in their room with the door closed to bring it downstairs and empty it because I have to walk across the balcony right past the guest room door to the staircase.
But I actually use that pee on my veggie garden- someone who had a stunning veggie garden in Canada told me years ago that's how they got such enormous plants- they peed in a pail and used it on the garden. It's super high in nitrogen and other minerals. You water it down 10-1, so it really doesn't even smell. Of course, I don't put it directly on the veggies, and wouldn't use it on leafy salad crops, but pour it carefully onto the soil at the base of the plants. And I have to say, my plants have been loving it.
Interesting system @Sarah977. I can understand too, in the same situation some people might not make it down the stairs. I had no idea about the gardening benefits though; that's amazing. I was curious about reading more on this so I Googled up an article: 8 Reasons Why You Should Pee in Your Garden - I think you might be on to something!
I am new to hosting and have a cabin home in the mountains. I do block off certain dates to enjoy our home without having to host any guests. So far it has worked out. I like the platform as it makes it easy to manage.
So far all is well! Thank you Airbnb for allowing us to share our lovely cabin with others.
Thanks @Ronnie48 for sharing your experience here.
It's great to hear that things are going well, I wish you the very best with all future hosting. You will find lots of useful tips here in the Community Center, so if you have any questions feel free to explore further or ask away. :)