A few months ago our fellow community member Theresa (Florian and Theresa), who hosts in Germany, created a fantastic guide in the German Community Center sharing her 10 top tips for making long-term hosting successful.
Her tips range from platform settings to house rules and include advice around cleaning, plus her best scenario for long-term bookings. To quote Teresa’s words ‘You will get on so well with your guests, there won't be any closed doors in your accommodation’. :)
A blog article including all of Theresa's tips can be read here: Long-term stays
In the meantime, what about you? Do you offer long-term hosting? Do you prepare yourself any differently to when you host short-term guests and have you any other tips?
I can't wait to hear your tips and experiences.
can you link the original post?
I don't accept much long term, 6 weeks always was my maximum stay, and it ment I had to stay six weeks elsewhere, like in the sunny South during winter. I found it too boring over time - getting bored now on a long family holiday, whilst my place is rented for four weeks (5 days plus 22 days)
My tips would be:
1. Check your local laws, so you do not accidentially grant tenant rights. In France that would be 90 days, so a 45 day limit seemed a good idea to us. A contract is required here and we always established one. (It could be done without, but then the listing would have to be so detailed and full of terms, that nobody would book it. A contract explicitely for STR is easier).
2. Make your place fool proof. You will overestimate how safe you made it and underestimate how foolish people can be, but give it a good try. The price must be high enough, to forgive one or two totally foolish mishaps with a smile.
3. Check the guest. I do not indulge in detective work on google and facebook, but I request a bit of communication. So far, I never had anyone, where I was sure that they are good people turn out to be chaotic, but I accepted a few with mixed feelings for the money and the doubts were justified. I would not accept them on long term bookings however.
My only exception were 3 chain smoking kids (students), nice kids, but you can't trust a young smoker to stick to a non smoking rule. They stayed for over six weeks though (extension) and I consider the extra cleaning paid by the long rent.
4. Don't grant extra prices for extended stays. Especially not for people, who add a week and thereby miss out on a monthly discount. If you get the place back in such a great shape, that you are eternelly grateful for their stay, you can always send them a gift afterwards, but so far, I was always glad that they paid full price and that was worth the cleaning. It seems disorganised people, who do not plan long stays in advance, have disorderly habits.
5. Make everything extra clear, what there is, what there is not, how big it is, if there are any drawbacks in your place. Mine is small and not for people who are not agile. I give them very clear details, if they ask for a long stay (clear details even for a week) and have them confirm, that they really checked the pictures again and are conscient of the limits. Evidently, I add the positive aspects in the same way, as I want to get the booking.
6. Keep in contact, recommend them to local people, neighbours, guardian, bistro personnel, friends who might check on them in case of need. Most people who have to stay for longer feel more included into a community, if they feel they can fall back on the host's network of contacts. It may keep them more honest too.
7. Leave good instructions on the apartment and the town, basic equipment (basic food, printer ink etc) and a personal welcome gift.
If they don't stress everytime they need a new thing, from the washing machine to public transport, they take real problems in stride too. Especially if they know that a call will get help not a sermon.
8. A personal check-in is helpful. If I rent in my absence, I make a point that they call me once they are in.
No more ideas.
Wow @Helga0, what a fantastic reply. I'm sure it is easy to overlook many of the points you have shared here, but in practice they seem very logical and I am sure they make a huge difference to hosting a long-term guest. Thank you so much for sharing.
In terms of the link, I have made it clearer in my post above, so you should be able to read it now. :) OOo it is nice to hear you are on holiday, I hope you are somewhere nice at least you have some light reading to pass the time!
Hi this is Mike,
I have accepted long term stays, longest has been 6 months for a student from Germany. I prepared my family and I for the long stay, but as much as you prepare there are always unexpected things. Overall I learned a lot from the guest. The guest was messy and hit my car by accident. It was handled like adults. One tip I would give is to be upfront if the guest goes out of the rules. An example is if a room is too messy and smells, i will gently let the guest know.
Lovely to meet you @Mike291, thanks for sharing your tips and experience here.
6 months is quite a long time, in general do you tend to have long-term guests rather than short-term?
@Lizzie 6 months is the longest, I have 2-3 months regularly and have not had issues. I prefer 2-3 months stays since it's stable but not long term, as one of the host mentioned long - term guest tend to forget house rules.
I did not think of long term shared living, it's admirable that you do, like original German post also describes.
We had some longterm guests in the studio opposite to our apartment in the South, which was part of our apartment, when not rented. In such cases, we did not enter and tried not to look either, when leaving or arriving at the same time. Sometimes, that's hurtful, like watching your flowers die on the balcony and whatever advice you give makes it worse. (No middle between dry and drowned). With some guests we socialised and shared meals or drinks.
Living together requests more consideration about privacy for both parties and how to request it. With some needy short term guests, I developed a routine: a long chat the first evening, but after a while I just go to do something in my room, one long breakfast (usually the second morning, the first I'll sneek out by my door) and after that only short chats whilst I cook or for precise questions. Otherwise you get drowned in needy chatter.
I'd say the guest needs the same consideration, not to be waylaid by a needy host every time the door opens.
In a longterm relation, I would discuss that in advance, so both sides know how to invite a chat or signal "leave me in peace" without offence.
Mike, did you fix a rule concerning visitors with your student?
@Helga0 yes I requested to be told of visitors ahead of time, at least a week and usually they tell me how long they plan on staying. On some occassions I will let the guest have visitors overnight if it's family and specially during the holidays.
Thank you, what is your take I long stays in regards to utility ?? What is the person has. Plus one coming in on and off (girlfriend) do I charge extra per day ??
Regarding utilities we have that factored into the rental rate. If we an abusive user of utilities we simply buck it up as the cost of doing business. Fortunately we have been lucky that all our long term (snowbird) guests have been considerate. We do have a small posting next to the thermostat that there appreciation in keeping the utilities at a minimum helps us keep our rates affordable and we thank in advance for that. It seems to work fine for us.
Now I do know of another vacation rental operation that like us has it factored into the rental cost, but on longer staying guest staying up to 3 or 4 months they add on an additional flat $50 paid directly to the owner as part of there terms.
Our reservations are specific. Depending on the source of the reservation on how it was made such as Airbnb or a direct booking the rates are based on the number of guest(s) staying during that period of time. Any additional overnight guest(s) we charge an additional $18 per person, per night and again, that is payable directly to us during your stay. Often we get a senior couple staying and perhaps the daughter might swing down for a short visit with them a couple nights. We are informed by the guests and they know to pay us the additional guest fee. It hasn't been a problem and everyone understands this up front as it is also included in our Guest Reservation Check-In Agreement we have each guest read and sign on there arrival. This additional guest fee offsets the added laundry services and use of utilities consumed by them.
Having been in the lodging business for over 40 years I cannot stress how important it is to have a clear and understanding Reservation Check-In Agreement along with the guest signature on file.
Here is an example of what we use in part.
RESERVATION CHECK-IN AGREEMENT
Guest Name: __________________ UNIT: Harvest Moon Fiesta Moon
Please take the time to read: I understand Blue Moon Bungalows (BMB) and/or any of its acting booking agents will or has authorized my credit card for the full stay plus an additional $100.00 at check-in/on-line booking to cover any cost incurred during my stay including any items damage, purchased or removed from the bungalow. The signature below is accepted as an agreement that you permit “signature on file” without dispute for any incidentals occurred during my stay. Blue Moon Bungalows (BMB) assumes no responsibility for loss of money, jewelry, or other valuables. We are not responsible for contents left in the bungalow or automobile and there is a minimum $100.00 fee for smoking inside any of our bungalows and open doorways of any bungalow. Any use of illegal drug usage constitutes for immediate eviction with no refunds on remaining rates and a forfeit of security deposit. This also includes eCigs and Vapor products. Cleaning Rates are set at $39 or $44 depending on which bungalow unit you are staying in. However, we reserve the right to have this readjusted (uncontested) under certain circumstances if the guest leaves without attempts in the putting effort towards maintaining the condition of our facility, i.e. leaving dishes piled in the sink, un-disposed food which we have to remove, over-spills/splatters on or in any appliances, excessive garbage strewn about the place and large amounts of trash we have to remove. This also includes stoppage of drains without us never being informed to resolve. We reserve the right to charge additional monies from your security deposit in order to collect for this. I have read the policies & terms presented here and agree to accept these policies and terms as the understanding of this Reservation Check-In Agreement. We are a DRUG FREE ZERO TOLERANCE business.
Guest also understand that any additional overnight guest(s) staying are subject to an additional daily rate of $18 due at that time an additional guest(s) stays and is to be paid directly to us in advance.
By signing this agreement I have accepted all the above terms.. Guest Signature X:________________________
I will not do long term hosts again. It always ends badly! We host for our local high school which borders our property through the International Education Service.
There is no 'middle ground' where long term hosting is concerned! You will get that student who won't obey the rules, gives you nothing but trouble and you can't wait to get them out of your lives or, you will get those who become so much a part of your family that it is so hard to let them go.
Last year we hosted Auri, (Aurora) an 18 year old student from northern Italy for 10 weeks. I think she was from a strict cultural Italian family and when she arrived here she was like a butterly who had discovered her wings. She became such vibrant part of not just Ade and I but our daughter, partner and grandchildren. When we put her on the plane back to Italy there were many tears all round. She really did not want to have to make that trip.
We all had heavy hearts as we drove home into the hills and we said there and then, that's it, we will never do a long stay again. We will host from 2 to 5 weeks but nothing longer than that. They become too much a part of your life!
We have named the cottage for her.....'Auri's House'
Ok so my long term guest have a private bedroom and private bathroom. The rest of the home is shared (kitchen, fridge, washer/dryer, sitting area/driveway). They are keeping the shared spaces clean, but as I ocassionally peak my head into their private spaces, it is a hoorid mess. How can I address that?
It can be worthwhile letting guests know at check-in that you may occasionally require access when they are absent to do cleaning or maintenance. After that conversation you can decide if you want to clean, or just leave things until the guest departs.
You have now two choices;
On a related point of discussion in this thread:
A couple of writers have mentioned wanting extra cleaning payments for long stay, but if this is an issue for Hosts then long stays don't have to be discounted. It's a price setting which Hosts control.
You can leave the monthly tariff without any % discounting and devote funds to paying a cleaner if you feel its warranted.
I would not agree either with extra offline payments by guests for cleaners as this is contrary to our contracts isn't it?
Why give a long term discount and then complain about being underpaid? The online tools which currently exist provide for Hosts to put a tariff that can total whatever Hosts think they deserve. Then people will choose according to their budget and needs.
Most of the time I do my own cleaning, it's part of what I contribute to make my accommodation more affordable for my guests and my Airbnb enterprise more financially rewarding to me as a Host.
Best regards to all.
Best regards, Christine
The majority of my turnarounds are same day out/in, and I do all the cleaning myself. It can be taxing, esp. on my back, but it's pretty much been working out for a couple of years now.
With all the vagueries of guest's and my schedules, I can't think how an outside cleaner could work. So I do it myself. It does weigh on my self esteem that I simply cannot make the sheet turn over the bedspread crisp, though! Hahahaha.