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The “H” in Hosting is HOSPITALITY.

 

There are a lot of people, investors, and big companies jumping into the Short-term Rental (STR)/Vacation Rental(VR) business. Facebook has groups with 55K worth of people who while away their hours griping an awful lot about guests who did this, and that and oh my, isn’t it awful what they did to my white towels?!

 

We are not in the renting rooms game, although plenty, including one particularly awful host who doesn’t even provide toilet paper, may disagree.

 

Hospitality starts with liking people. If that’s not you, then you should probably seriously reconsider this as a way to earn income.  I have met wonderful people from all over the world, Australia to Sweden, and in between.   Guests are often amazing, and wonderful. They also can be a complete nightmare, as the legions of horror stories from the guest gripers’ will attest.

 

How do you get more of the good ones, and few, if any of the bad ones?  How do you keep your stress levels low, personal satisfaction high, and returns on your investment excellent?

 

RIGHT ATTITUDE

 

The word “guest” implies someone who is welcome into your space. They’re not the enemy.  I was amazed, visiting Bali, how the Balinese treat strangers with such exceptional kindness.

Be Balinese.

If you start with the idea that offending, or inconveniencing your guests is a sin,  and provide them with an exceptional experience, you will be rewarded with standing out from the unfortunate number of “hosts” who treat their “renters” poorly. That leads to better reviews, room rates, and experience for you, and them.

BE GRACIOUS

 

During Booking

 

Transactions with guests should not be “transactional.”  I can tell you about the makings of a great stay, or a bad stay, as a guest, simply from the interactions that I have with the host during booking. I always ask questions, because I want to understand who is hosting me. 

 

If it starts with a nice tone:

“Hi, Brian! Thanks for the kind words about the place. Yes, we do have a heated pool, in the winter. In the summer here, the pool is over 90°F without doing a thing. Please let me know if there’s anything else that I can answer, prior to your stay. I’m sending you some information, from our guest book, so you’ll know more about the place. I hope to see you this Fall!”

What we often see is either a completely canned response, that’s poorly written, or, I’ve even had this:

“We tell you about that after you book. Thanks.”

Who do I want to stay with?

 

During the Stay

 

Greet your guests, when they arrive. Lockboxes should really be a backup, not the first line of welcome. If they come in late, or you have someplace to be, and can’t arrange to connect, then the box will have to do.

Have some small touches, when they walk in, from a welcome chalkboard, with a written welcome, with their names on it, to a couple of little “extras,” like some fresh-baked cookies, or a booklet of discounts to local eateries and/or attractions.  We’ve found memory foam bath mats, not expensive, and a bit plusher towel, also make the guest feel good about spending money with you. All of those “free” extras are, in fact, just baked into the cost of the place.  While there are value shoppers looking for Uncle Fred’s couch to crash on, more and more people are choosing Airbnb over hotel space because of the privacy, and enhanced experiences.

Some people can charm their way into a booking, but then become totally transactional. At one recent Bay Area booking, after reading the one page, poorly typed “instruction” sheet I texted: 

“Hey! We’re checking out tomorrow. Anything that we can do to help you out?”

Reply?

“No. Read the sheet.”

 

Better possible answers?

“Thanks! If you could drop the trash in the can at the driveway, on the way out, that would be really appreciated!”

“Thanks, but we’re good. We want you to have a relaxing stay. My cleaning crew will handle it. Just let me know when you’ll be leaving, so I can pop out and wish you safe travels!”

 

LISTING DESCRIPTIONS - BE CLEAR

 

The first impression of you, and your place, begins with your listing. 90% of the griping that I see, from hosts, could be stopped by being far clearer, and more transparent, about what is available, and what is requested/required from guests.

 

Photos 

 

If you’re not an ace at staging, and photography, of rooms, GET ONE.  Dark interior photos, or photos of the exterior taken at the wrong time of day do not sell your listing for top dollar. Beds look drab without throw pillows. They’re cheap, and they add a lot of pop to the bed. One host even thought it was okay to shoot a room with a stripped bed. Just the mattress.  

 

Be transparent. I know, as a guest, that I dump places where there are no photo of the bathrooms, or minimal ones. Something is not right. Even if the bathroom is tight, you can break down the photos in a way that it can be seen. If you have known problems, fix them, don’t hide them.  

 

Whatever you use in the room, for your shoot, that, or something equivalent, better be in there. No one likes to look at a beautiful photo, to find out that the room is a total let-down when they arrive.

 

Descriptions

 

Be transparent.

If you have a hyperactive kid, living on the floor over your guests, who sounds like a Dutch Clogging club, pounding the floor, putting “We have a very active eleven-year-old upstairs in the daytime, but he visits his dad on the weekends.”

When people are told about wrinkles in the listing, they at least were informed, and rented after knowing it, which greatly reduces the “We had no idea…” complaints in reviews.

“It gets very sunny in the afternoon. The view is beautiful, but best to keep the curtains drawn, if you go out, from 3p-5p, to keep the room nice and cool.”

 

POLICIES

 

Another HUGE shortcoming of many, many listing descriptions/house rules, are failing to tell the potential guest about what you expect of them. Guests are not mentalists. They can’t read your mind. So many hosts get bent out of shape about the guests doing this, or that, but they never spelled out, at the rental point, what they want/need, and what guests should expect.

“In respect of our neighbors, with small children whose bedrooms are next to our walkway, we ask that you do not have loud conversations after 9p at night on the walkway, passing their house.”

“Air Conditioning should be set to 75°F/24°c when you leave the property.”

“We ask that you please strip the bed, and put the sheets, and all of the towels, into the tub to help our housekeepers, at checkout.”

“Pool/beach towels are stocked daily in the cabinet by the pool cabana. Please use those outdoors, and kindly return them to the marked hamper next to the cabinet.”

 

Parties

The single biggest beef with guests comes from listings being used for parties. Hosts will shorthand “No parties” in a description, and think that the guests understand your rules. Be clearer:

 

  1. State exactly what you want, and do not want. Be specific: “Please, we ask that you host no parties, or social gatherings, including friends, and family, under any circumstances, on the property.” if all that you mean to have on property are the actual occupants, and no more;

  2. If people can gather, where, and when?  Recall that Airbnb has a “no parties” policy for COVID-19. If, however, friends and family are welcome, specify where, and when.  (e.g.:  All friends and family must leave by 9p. No overnights. No exceptions.”  OR: “All guests are welcome to be outdoors, in the yard/pool area. Our outdoor hours are from 8:00a to 9:00p., seven days a week.”)

  3. Consequences: If our external security cameras, or ambient noise monitoring devices detect more people on property than we allow, we may, at the property manager’s discretion, cancel your reservation, and ask you to leave the property immediately. You agree, by renting to this, to leave the property without challenge to anyone, and to forfeit any remaining money from your reservation.

 

Noise


Let people know, up front, about noise rules that are clear:

 

  1. Identify how you monitor for excessive noise: “We use MINUT, a noise monitoring device that detects ambient noise, and logs when it happens.”
     
  2. Consequences: “On the first two incidences, we will contact you to ask you to lower the volume. On the third, we may, at the property manager’s discretion, cancel your reservation, and ask you to leave the property immediately. You agree, by renting to this, to leave the property without challenge to anyone, and to forfeit any remaining money from your reservation.”

Emergencies

 

Here, on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, hurricanes are an annual issue. Many people hesitate booking, during those months, because of the uncertainty. If you have a Hurricane Policy, that builds on Airbnb’s, it tells the guest what to expect:

“We operate in a wood building, in a hurricane evacuation zone. If we are in the incidence cone, as published by the U.S. National Weather Service (NWS), within seventy-two (72) hours prior to your arrival, for what is projected to be a Category 1, or greater, hurricane, we will close, and cancel your reservation with Airbnb.  If you are already on property, we will advise you to make plans to leave within the time window of the NWS. See Airbnb’s policy for partial refund of your stay.”

 


LEARN TO READ PEOPLE

 

Hosting is a very rewarding experience. You meet some AWESOME people! With that said, you need to “read” your guest well. One of the reasons that I like to do check-in is so that we can make some basic contact. They know that I’m not an absentee Airbnb owner, that I value their stay, etc. I also get to understand what they want out of their stay.

Some people are very open, chatty, and tell you that they want a lot of interaction. Others are just here to get away for a few days, quietly, and be left alone. I’ve seen guests start quiet, then, when they find out that you’re approachable, open up quite a bit. We’ve also had guests that were very friendly, but then they definitely needed their space. There’s a certain amount of theatre in hosting. Knowing how much to give each guest is an art form of hosting.

Difficult People

 

Everyone will have, at one point, or another, people who are difficult, unhappy, etc. Rather than become combative, along with them, kill them with kindness. If you don’t have someone coming for two days, does it really kill you to offer a late checkout?  If someone lands at the airport early, and wants to check in, if you can’t, you can always offer to hold their luggage, and move it in for them, when their space is ready. I’ve not only suggested cool places to eat, or be, while we’re turning the space, but, for those who don’t drive, I’ve even run them up to a nearby lunch spot, to save them an Uber.  Save the few of the few, the die-hard Karen, people tend to balance out the kindness to the thing that aggravated them. 

HOW THIS RELATES TO WHAT YOU EARN & HOW YOU ENJOY HOSTING

 

Some new hosts make the mistake of trying to price competitively by features. We have a pool, and a tree. They have a pool, and a tree. We’re in Neighborhood X. So are they. They get $X. That’s what we charge. When you step up, become a true “host,” and not just a short-term landlord,  providing a place with both personality, and magic, and all of the little touches that make a stay truly experiential, you will be rewarded by increased booking rates that it all commands.

 

Increased rates, and clarifications of the experiences, and expectations, also tend to bring more of the kind of “good” guest that will make your experience with an Airbnb STR far far more rewarding, to both you, and your guests.

 

The other “H” in hosting is HAPPY.  Be happy, and hosting will go well!  

Welcome to the Airbnb family!

28 Replies

Re: What’s the H in Hosting? For New Airbnb Hosts

in
Frederick, MD
Level 10

@Anthony608 yes I agree with you. Pardon me for saying this community members,  but there is some definite virtue signaling going on in this thread. There is no one way to be a good host.  And sometimes the guests are dishonest or very problematic. Perhaps some of our colleagues have not encountered this. They are fortunate indeed.

 

It strikes me that a "hospitable" host protects their property and time so as to be able to offer both to future guests 🙂 And some of the expectations laid out in this thread would not allow me to do that. I think every host needs to find a mental space and style that works for them. It would be great if instead of lecturing one another on how to be a better host we were supportive of all of the diversity of approaches from hosts who have been doing this successfully for some time. One size does not fit all. 

Re: What’s the H in Hosting? For New Airbnb Hosts

in
West Palm Beach, FL
Level 10

There are services, like Turo, that allow you to rent your car to a guest, where it is covered under Turo’s policy, for that purpose.  There are services that you can join, that allow you to ride-share, in more urban environments. Some allow you to book your own rides. Those work well for the guest shuttle, as you are operating it under the service, and its insurance.

Guest expectations are largely dictated by what they see in your listing. If they seek out more experiential listings, they will find what they read, of one, appealing. If all that they want is a place to stay, they will book accordingly.

The things that you have to do to up your game are often very minimal.  I will also note that you get paid much better, for A-list hospitality, per night, and it helps differentiate you from hotels.  The days of people avoiding hotels, because of COVID, are waning. What separates you from them? They offer points, room-upgrades, etc.  Listings that have been enjoying outsized returns are going to have to come under their rack rates to offer any value-add, if they don’t offer something different, or better.

Marriott, even at its Autograph Collection hotels, can never be as welcoming as a host whose experience is an extension of their hospitality.  IMHO, providing excellence to your guests that keeps you out of the big pile of listings with bed-bath-roof over your head, is not a bad idea. 🙂

Brian Ross

Re: What’s the H in Hosting? For New Airbnb Hosts

in
West Palm Beach, FL
Level 10

Your concerns are interesting, but seem a bit less worrisome than you seem to think that they are.

I’m really more in the traditional Airbnb community experience, so I use lockboxes as a last resort. There is nothing that beats looking your guest in the eye, so both parties can size each other up. I live on property. I just don’t have a lot of trouble with guests whom we meet. The ones who we don’t generally are the more problematic group.  

 

Baggage - Hotels hold bags. Most just provide you a claim tag. We provide a claim tag. It says - STORE AT YOUR OWN RISK. Never had a problem. Just lots of “thank you.”

 

Driving - Turo is a great way to car-share that adds value to many Airbnb offerings. Several friends doing that, and finding great success.

 

Airport Transfer - Personal car insurance doesn’t cover this, true. Uber/Lyft does. We schedule rides through them. Some hosts make deals to offer service from local licensed and bonded car services. 

Car issues: Keeping a front/rear dashcam operating keeps everyone a bit more honest.

It’s about value-add.  Why shouldn’t someone go to Marriott or Hilton hotel brands, and get their points?  Multi-unit empires are nice. They join every other person jumping into the market that way. 

We stand out when we create a stay that resonates with people like us. If all that one can do is worry about what the guests are going to do to you, I can appreciate that, but, respectfully they’re in the wrong business.

Hosting is about people. Connections are often what people seek, when they drop out of the hotel set.

 

 

Brian Ross

Re: What’s the H in Hosting? For New Airbnb Hosts

in
Frederick, MD
Level 10

@Brian1613  frankly if I wanted all of those services I would book a hotel. 

 

Airbnb, for me, is about experiencing a unique home in a location in which I want to spend time. I love architectural history and the house itself is the main draw.  Its not about being shuttled around or meeting hosts. (In fact, I prefer not to meet hosts in these times of contagion 🙂 ) Am I wrong as a guest because I don't subscribe to what you offer as desirable? Do you need to "size me up" or else I am a "problem'?

 

My point is that there are as many ways to approach hosting as there are types of properties listed here. And none of the suggestions offered anywhere on this forum will fit every host. 

 

As a host myself my top priority is creating a safe and comfortable space for my guests. Sadly not all guests are a great fit for every listing. My approach which has worked well for over 150 stays, has been to be polite and accommodating but reinforce boundaries. Perhaps some hosts are comfortable driving guests, collecting luggage and approaching each stay as a potential friend, but that is not anything I would be interested in offering. I would argue that no one here has the right to tell anyone else what sort of business they should be in. Experience is the best teacher and all of us will adjust our approach as things happen in our spaces. Some of us who have had difficult experiences (but survived and learned from them) will make changes accordingly. And the day to day of a retired host living on the property will be worlds different than the remote host working several jobs 🙂 Perhaps more like a traditional B and B?

 

There is room for many different approaches to hospitality. Each host needs to figure out where they feel most comfortable, what they can reasonably offer, and what sort of market they want to attract. Those factors will drive host success  and provide guests with the type of stay they are looking for. I am glad you found what is working for you and wish the same for all my fellow hosts. 

Re: What’s the H in Hosting? For New Airbnb Hosts

in
West Palm Beach, FL
Level 10

Laura:

 

First, I’m not retired. Make me an offer that I can’t refuse… 😉

 

Actually, what you espouse is really more like the experience that one finds in the average hotel: Roof over the head. Comfortable, clean,  and “managed.”

 

We meet our guests in the great outdoors, with masks, in compliance with the CDC. COVID is really not a reason not to connect with people. As a matter of fact, I find that, when we do connect, guests are far less inclined to take liberties with the property, because they know that it really is our space, that we’re welcoming them into.

Some people want no more than that. Some want a lot more. We’re here to serve them in the way that best suits them. We remain available to them, and their needs, which is something that more conventional stays do not do. For our guests, we’ve found that they appreciate that value add of metered interaction that’s appropriate.

I know that there are a lot of remote owners. I really hope, for their sake, that they find themselves someone good to manage locally. I’ve stayed at places that the poor owner had destroyed by cleaning services that do a half-assed job, accountable only to an owner 1300 miles, or more, away, who can’t do much to fix it, at a distance.  Beyond that, even for them, it’s good for guests to have the knowledge taht someone is there for them.

When COVID clears, a lot of people with hotel-like accommodations are going to be competing with the point-laden Marriott, Hyatt, and Hilton empires. Many of them are toying with the STR/VR end of the market. 

What separates us, from them, is our joy of hosting, our sense of community. Airbnb is, itself, more distinct from other services, because of that. Maybe why the big V has been trying, in its marketing, of late, to play up that their places aren’t all offered up by more distanced hosts.

I appreciate that we all operate on the platform in our own way. I am sorry that you seem to feel that this kind of community-rich hosting seems to offend/threaten your path.

Hope that you have all of the prosperity in your enterprises, in your way, and reach an audience that appreciates your particular style.

Brian Ross

Re: What’s the H in Hosting? For New Airbnb Hosts

in
Frederick, MD
Level 10

@Brian1613 wow, I hesitate to use the term "mansplain" but it does truly seem to apply here! I would take a moment to consider that perhaps others do indeed know what they are doing and have the experience and reviews (perhaps several  times as many as your own) that bear that out 🙂 There is no threat here- I am so curious why such a self-described gracious host would be openly hostile and suggest such to a fellow host who is only presenting an alternate (and equally valid) point of view. Your characterization of remote hosts based on your "half assed" experience is also absurd. In our case we are a half hour's drive with no need of strangers to care for our space. "Remote" simply means "not directly onsite". You might do well to again consider that there are as many hosting situations as there are hosts.  Your blanket responses are frankly insulting to those who don't choose to walk the same "path" that you have chosen and could be very discouraging to new hosts on this forum. Your "hospitality" TED talk seems to extend only to those who agree with your ideas of The Right Way To Do Business and not the rich and diverse worldwide community of your fellow hosts that actually exists here. 

 

There is no need to continue to condescend to me in this thread and I am bowing out leaving you to your point of view. I wish you the best in finding guests who appreciate the virtues of your space, your personality and your own inimitable  philosophy. 🙂

Re: What’s the H in Hosting? For New Airbnb Hosts

in
West Palm Beach, FL
Level 10

Laura:

 

As we’re having a discussion, for the benefit of new hosts,  allow me to clarify what “half-assed” cleaning means. Unfortunately, it frequently happens with cleaning services for locations where the host is too far away to manage hands-on, or have someone to hold the subcontractor accountable:


Host of a Smoky Mountains retreat lives in Miami. The cleaning service, pre-vaccine COVID, leaves the place with bedsheets, covers, and pillows full of the last guests’ hair,  a cake of someone’s soap dissolving in the shower. Coffee cups are hung up on a cup tree with remnant coffee in two of them. Scale, from the well water, has destroyed everything attached to the plumbing: Hot tub, washer, dishwasher, etc. The host was quite upset with his company. He refunded our money,  most honorably.  Without a manager, who isn’t the cleaning company, he had no “eyes” on the property, and couldn’t help his guests.  

It is not infrequent that companies, trying to take on as many units as they can, to make money, often don’t do the best of jobs with the individual owners’ places. Some crew up very fast, to meet demand. Are the people trained? Vetted, or background checked?  

Perhaps bad luck of the draw, but in the Keys, and in Columbus, Ohio, and in other places, I’ve run into cleaning service issues with listings: Place reeks of pot; Oven is non-operational because of past misuse, but neither repaired, nor noted, by the host, which still lists it as an active feature;  Beds are made, but someone’s bra is under the raised bed, in plain sight; Scale, corrosion, light wear, and heavy wear, are often not reported.  

 

Parties, or other abuses of the property, even if there are rules prohibiting it, are difficult to address without someone nearby.  Where I live, we have many remote-run properties. Too many develop poor relationships with their neighbors, and lead to increased calls to heavily regulate, or ban, VR/STRs, which hurt us all.

On the property level,  “half-assed” cleaning can result in lost revenue, and bad ratings, more lost revenue, unless someone can get there, be on site, and remediate, where possible, the problems quickly enough to keep the guest on property, and happy.

 

One additional teachable moment of this exchange, is that hosting starts with ourselves, as the host. Our listing is an extension of our persona, or at least the one that you would like to project with your guests.

Tale of two stays:

 

I stayed at a lovely property in Burbank, with the most gracious host. She was very good at communicating, pre-arrival. Invited us to use the driveway, first night, as she was out of town with her husband, and we were coming in late, when the street is parked up. The extras that she left, as a welcome, were lovely. We didn’t catch up, until we were leaving. It was a great conversation. I embraced her passion for welcoming, and hosting people: How she wanted them to enjoy the spaces that she had created. The passion, in every detail, from her DYI broken terrazzo 50’s retro driveway, to the decor, to the amenities in the petite shower/bathroom, were thoughtful, and wonderful.

I stayed, a week later,  in Oakland area. The “street parking” in an area full of apartment buildings, was non-existent.  I pull into the driveway, about 4p., to unload. Lockbox worked, instructions were fine, to their walk-down apartment on this hillside home. As I’m about to come up, to move the car, I get a very snippy text from the host, telling me to move the car, so her husband, home in an hour or so, will be able to get in. I told her that we were unloading, and moved my car. During our stay, things were minimalist: We had two towels, both old, and very rough, for a five night stay. Place looked great, in the photos. Far less clean, and in good repair, in reality. We cleaned the range and oven, for the host. It was in bad shape. Pillows were old, and stained, which, for people with allergies, like me, suggests dust mites, which were a problem enough that I had to deal with it. We were out and about. Didn’t stay there, other than to sleep. When we left, I texted the host, and asked if there was anything that we could do to help make it easier for the next turnaround. 

“Read the sheet with the rules,” was all that I got.

It’s good to remember to see your place, your experience, through your guests’ eyes.  Where would you want to go? Would you go back?   

It’s the subtle things, the decisions about how we want to interact with people, both in our listings, and even here, that speak to how our properties, and ourselves, as hosts, are seen by the world. 

You choose the path. 🙂

Brian Ross

Re: What’s the H in Hosting? For New Airbnb Hosts

in
Frederick, MD
Level 10

@Brian1613  I am flummoxed as to why you seem to want to call out other hosts here to complain about your own stays? I mentioned this to you earlier and you continue to do this.  Reviews are your opportunity to speak honestly about your experiences. All of these anecdotes are, again, just pointing to the fact that you didn't have the sort of experience you wanted and want to virtue signal about your own space being the Right Way To Host. Its rare to see a host do this on a "New to Hosting" forum as its only for advice to help new hosts. These comments are all very specific to YOU.

 

You are a chatty, extroverted guest and host. That works for you. Please accept that other people are successful in all kinds of different ways and may not need to exhibit your personality type to have a great experience or listing. Its the "subtle things" that are not so subtle in this thread. 🙂 🙂

 

And now I am done. I have nothing more to add!

Re: What’s the H in Hosting? For New Airbnb Hosts

in
West Palm Beach, FL
Level 10

I am identifying what gives us, as hosts, any sort of distinction, versus renting a hotel room, which has both the perquisites, and the “safety” of the brand’s reputation.  We have no points to give. People are already moving back towards hotels. Some of the properties, activated during COVID, are not booking with enough regularity to keep their value up. 

 

Values that tend to attract guests are: Location, property size, amenities, value to price, guest experience, and the host. We all choose where we apply our values.  

 

Product differentiation usually requires value-add, or a deal.

 

Value-add can, among many things, something like a property at the foot of a national park;  a townhome with a killer view of the harbor; or have killer features that other properties do not.

 

Deals are places that may not be so ideally located, but offer a price below hotel rates, especially in places where hotel rates run to the high side.

 

Y’all, as hosts, have to decide what kind of guests that you want to attract.  Some people really enjoy hosting entry-level travelers. Others hit the luxury end. Others cover the middle. Some niche for events; others for experiences like fishing, or horseback riding, or watersports.

 

Whichever market segment you aim your property towards, best to always ask: Who is your commercial competition, with any volume of rooms that compete with your “product.”

 

As far as hosting, Laura, perhaps you misunderstood. I said, in total, my staff, and I are whatever the guest requires, to make their stay what they want it to be.  Quiet, to outgoing, as they need it, when they need it.  Reading guests’ shifting sentiments is definitely an art form, that experience teaches best.

Laura so kindly demonstrates that we all have our approaches to both life, and hosting.  

 

One thing to note is that hosting is a bit like theatre. Our paying audience will respond to certain things that we do well. However you choose to approach your own experience, for your guests, it’s good to take in the feedback that you get from them, to maximize the success of your production, and profit. 

 

Accentuation of the positive things that you offer/do, and mitigation of issues that cause guests problems, as best you can, generally lead to positive reviews.  Descriptive positive reviews offer future guests one of the best ways that Airbnb has to decide whether they will stay with you, or at another property.

Brian Ross

Re: What’s the H in Hosting? For New Airbnb Hosts

in
Littleton, CO
Level 10

Great topic.  It’s amazing how you can get to know people you will never meet in person with a little hospitality.  My last guest left me flowers wine and chocolate.  She put the H in hospitality for guests.  ( see photo: it’s so pretty I may use it in my listing)

0E9CF0CA-E464-49EC-B7BE-583270BBD0EA.jpeg

Re: What’s the H in Hosting? For New Airbnb Hosts

in
Lagos, Nigeria
Level 2

@Brian1613 @Thanks for sharing...I love this article: Host -  modus operandi. I just learned the real cogent point today about being a professional host. Thanks a lot, indeed grateful.

Re: What’s the H in Hosting? For New Airbnb Hosts

in
Silver Spring, MD
Level 10

Its good advice on this thread and I'm glad you didn't go too far over the line about being friendly with guests.  That's what I wanted to share today.

 

There is a mindset among some hosts that hosts should actually be the guest's best friends.  Go out with them to tourist spots, show them around town, sit and have dinner with them, stay up late talking and exchanging stories, and keep in touch with them after they leave.

 

I don't blame those hosts at all who think that way.  Just me for me, it simply wouldn't work.  A lot of my guests are one to two night stays, passing through a metropolitan area, often arrive late at night and leaving the following morning.  Long term guests, usually one to two weeks, who are here to be a tourists in my city, but often do so during the day when I am work.

 

At the beginning of my time as a host, I tried to first method.  I tried to become a friend to the guests and, in the very very early bookings, tried to form some type of lasting friendship both during and after the stay.  It backfired, and backfired badly.  These people were strangers, didn't want to get to know me, and my actions were seen as obtrusive and in one case made a female guest very uncomfortable.

 

My current model as a host, I am always on call for the guests, day or night, provide them with a clean and safe place to stay, but I am not their friend or their pal.  I would say 1% of all guests have had the idea that I would be cooking them dinner, driving them around to see the sights, and sharing an afternoon swapping stories by the fireplace over tea, but the other 99% did not expect this type of behavior and would probably have been offended if I tried to act this way.

 

So, I just wanted to share my own experience, I am sure others have different stories to be sure.  Happy hosting!

Re: What’s the H in Hosting? For New Airbnb Hosts

in
Frederick, MD
Level 10

@Anthony608 yes I agree with you. Every host will find what fits for them.

 

I, too, heard that hosts were supposed to be temporary besties with guests. Perhaps this is more commonly perceived for those who share space. I have never been a guest in a shared space as I have always been uncomfortable with that expectation! But as I have done this for the past 3 years or so, I have learned that only a handful of our guests want that sort of interaction. Most of ours, like yours, are short stays and busy folks who are more than happy to make their own way around. They have their own plans and schedules. I would only be an imposition if I tried to insert myself into their stay. 

 

Maybe its something about our region? But I agree. It would be inappropriate for the vast majority of our guests. And a wise host always lets the guest take the lead on how much they want to connect. Beyond important instructions or the occasional request for my favorite spots to visit, my guests value their time to enjoy my cottage without my intervention. 

Re: What’s the H in Hosting? For New Airbnb Hosts

in
West Palm Beach, FL
Level 10

Interaction: Some guests want a lot. Some want none. Being context sensitive to their needs is part of the process. 🙂

Brian Ross
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