Hey all, just wondering if you've made any changes or additions to your listing that you thought were going to be a great idea that ended up not working out the way you thought they would. Maybe you can stop other hosts from wasting their money on things that sound good in theory but don't get much play in reality.
To set the scene, I host a separate apartment that's part of my primary residence. No spaces are shared. I host about 300 nights a year; my average stay length is 2.6 days.
Earlier this season, I had a few enquiries from people who wanted a barbeque, but I didn't have one. Because I got multiple questions about it, I decided to add one. I picked up a very gently used good quality propane barbeque. It's been out all summer, and only one group has used it. One of the groups who asked for one stayed on the weekend: they weren't the ones to use it.
The other one was about two years ago. Some of my direct competition had laundry available for guest use. I thought that adding a washer dryer might encourage longer stays or business travelers to book. I was worried about overuse, and asked in here at the time about how to prevent that. In two years, it's probably been used by 5 groups of guests.
Has anyone else had a brainwave that ended up being a bit of a dud?
@Debra300 We were much more successful in giving people a 'treat' on their last night, either a small cake, cookies, muffins, etc. which we left with a hand written card/note thanking them for their stay. These almost always got 100% eaten and were often mentioned in the reviews.
Yep, I'd eat any of those goodies, and gladly mention it in my review. I think people may not have mentioned the flowers in their reviews, because they may have thought of them as a part of the overall decor of your lovely place, which has a lot of little nice touches.
@Debra300 Thanks! Funny story. For probably at least a year our treat of choice was a large container of "Italian" cookies ostensibly from a bakery in Brooklyn, though we got them at the supermarket. Very colorful selection of what looked like many different kinds of cookies+NYC bakery. What's not to like?
One set of guests failed to notice the cookies & note that we had left for them...so we opened and finally tasted them ourselves. They were terrible!! Not only were they staleish and tasteless, but despite all having different shapes/colors/toppings every single cookie had exactly the same bland no taste. We kind of hoped maybe we got a bad batch even though probably every single set of these cookies we had been giving to guests were bland and tasteless.
@Debra300 , that all looks delicious. We havent gone quite that far, sometimes fresh grapes, apples, pears or berries when they are in season but we encourage folks to just go out and pick their own. Our normal spiffs are variety of Kcup coffee's and tea bags, bottle water, and Andes candies beside each bed. The candies get the most notice by name in reviews, even people that didnt eat them have mentioned them. Cheap and easy,
Just a small case, but showing that not always giving more results in more appreciation. For a while we have been leaving at the checking a few croissants, some jam and a pack of juice. But usually our guests seemed to give it for granted. After a guest had even complained because he would have preferred milk, for his children, we started to leave just some inexpensive candies of various tastes, plus a bottle of water in the refrigerator, and since then all our guests have been more than happy!
I'm really surprised that no one uses the laundry facilities. I have the opposite problem. It's not that uncommon for guests to show up with a load of dirty laundry from elsewhere and expect to wash it at mine, or for people to want to put daily washes on for a couple of pairs of socks. It used to drive me insane.
Now that I host long-term guests, it's not too much of a problem and most are reasonable in their use. You do still occasionally get someone who puts on a 2.5 hour, 60 degree wash (excluding drying) for half a load of clothes.
I happen to have a small BBQ in the garden anyway (I'm a live in host), but I've never had a single guest use or ask to use it. I am guessing that would be more popular with groups staying outside of city locations.
My supposition about not using the bar-b-que during short stays is that it's another form of cooking, and my experience has been that people like the idea of having a kitchen in their Airbnb, but have no plans to cook. This is supported by the amount of takeout food containers that are left in the trash bin, the empty dishwasher, and the one-two cups/glasses left to dry in the dish rack.
I do think that more people plan to do laundry, but get lazy and time runs out before it's time to leave.
I have one more flop for St. Lucia. None of the guests have requested to use the beach umbrellas that we offer. They do use the beach towels though. This is incredible to me, because beach visitors have to pay rental fees for the lounge chairs and umbrellas. As a result, the limited shady area near the few trees at the beach is normally occupied.
I find it really varies with my guests (both short and long-term). Some don't cook at all, some prepare simple things in the kitchen and others cook up a storm! Actually, you wouldn't believe how much some of them cook. Sometimes it's to save money (restaurants are expensive here but supermarkets are cheap) but often it's because they just prefer it.
I find that Chinese and other East Asian guests are the most likely to cook most meals at home rather than eat out. They don't trust the Asian restaurants in London, even though there are plenty of excellent ones. They usually travel with all sorts of dried food supplies from home. I had a pair of Korean girls give me packets of instant noodles with handwritten instructions in English because they assumed it would be a novelty for me 🙂 I've even had guests travel with full sized electric rice cookers.
I had an Indian couple come to stay for a week and the lady cooked Indian food from scratch three times a day, every day. I don't mind the smell as much as some would as I'm from Pakistan and very accustomed to it, but it was a bit much to wake up every morning to a four storey house smelling of curry 😞
Typically, it's the returning St. Lucians that will cook full meals. Other visitors may make a breakfast before. In St. Lucia, many of the fruits and vegetables that visitors are used consuming are imported, and quite pricey. For example, imported broccoli, tomatoes or sweet bell peppers can cost £9/$12/10€ per kg. Some folks would rather just go to a local restaurant, food truck, or fast food joint (KFC is very popular).
When we go back down there, we are going to renovate the rooms by adding kitchenettes and compact washing machines. I will have to update this thread to say if the changes were a success with the guests or not. It probably will be a year from now, depending upon how quickly rapid virus testing can be produced to support international travel.
It's interesting, isn't it, about how prices vary from place to place. I guess it has a lot to do with stuff like labour and rental prices, but restaurants, cafes and bars are EXPENSIVE here, especially if you are drinking alcholol. Even soft drinks there are really quite pricey.
In contrast, the supermarkets are relatively cheap and some of them very cheap for pretty good quality produce. I often balk at the supermarket prices in many other European countries that are supposed to be much cheaper to live in than the UK, but you go to restaurants in the same countries and it's way less expensive than here...
@Huma0 , our favorite guest ever, Jin Mei is the only guest we ever shared our kitchen with, actually, she took it over and cooked us some of the most delicious authentic Chinese food for a month and a second trip for 2 weeks. We had to get a rice cooker, (uncle bens instant was not rice as she knows it). So good buttttttttt- warning, our systems may not be perfectly prepared for that diet if its not your norm, the oil didnt do great things for Melodies Gall Bladder, (or lack of one now).
I had a lovely young Korean couple stay once. They were out and about all day sightseeing, but would make a point of coming back to the house in the middle of it all to cook lunch, which I really couldn't understand, until I found out the husband used to be a chef and they offered to share lunch with me one day.
I have never seen or tasted anything like it. Six different dishes rustled up from scratch from raw ingredients within 10-15 minutes. All tasted amazing. I can see why his wife did not want to eat out.
@Laura2592 @Huma0 @Mark116 Maybe it's because I just host a private room in my home, but I have gotten a lot of positive comments on the flowers I leave, as guests realize I made an effort to put them there for them, rather it being part of the general decor.
However, I don't leave a "bouquet" of purchased flowers- it's a very small pewter vase that I arrange a few of whatever plants I have in my garden that may be flowering in, along with some greenery. If there's nothing currently in flower, I make up the vase with interesting foliage of different colors and shapes.
I'm lucky to live in the tropics where there is no shortage of plants and flowers.
It would be an interesting experiment to try leaving just a tiny vase with 3 flowers and some foliage on the bedside table and see if you start to get some appreciative comments.