Puntarenas, Costa Rica Level 2
hiim going desperate i just received an email saying that du...
hiim going desperate i just received an email saying that due to my cancellation policy the client cancelled like nothing... ...
Hi all you lovely hosts, I wanted to open a conversation about the costs of heating and other fuel costs associated with hosting now that energy bills in the UK are rising exponentially. My bills personally are almost doubling, I suspect the situation is similar around the world. I know some guests will feel that when they go away they shouldn't need to worry about heating costs, but in the current situation surely they cant just ignore the fact that the costs are rocketing for everyone, including hosts. There is, of course, also the climate change issue which no one can ignore.
Does anyone have any tips about how, as hosts, we can ask our guests to be thoughtful about these costs?
What do you guys do to mitigate against thoughtless guests?
How should hosts deal with guests who it appears are taking advantage of the heating?
Would you mention in reviews guests who are thoughtless about the heating? How would you word this? (I know there are some hosts on here who word reviews brilliantly!)
Anyone got some thoughts on this?
@Alexandra199 your questions are most apt in the present "climate", and whatever any of us do, unless we aren't dependant upon any form of energy, we will all be paying extra for our Gas, Electricity, and Oil for a long long time, so we will need to make certain we won't be out of pocket at the end of the day!
I don't know whether everyone does what we do, but all of our outgoings in the running of our business are built into the amount we charge per night, so whenever costs/charges to us increase, our Guests will contribute towards them BUT our caveat is that we don't restrict our Guests to any particular temperature, other than that we set a maximum on our Hive thermostat dependant upon the ambient temperature, but do let Guests' know that if they need to, they can increase the heating (being Hive I put a lock on the system at 24°C, so get notified on the app when the maximum is reached).
Because we have a Gas Combi boiler that heats the water for washing, as well as for the shower, and as our range cooker is dual-fuel, there isn't any way to restrict usage of any of those items, any more than is there a way for the amount of water to be restricted.
Fortunately our cottage is very well insulated, so it doesn't take long to get warm, whilst it also retains the heat, both of which are bonuses; for our Guests' especially, as it keeps the place nice and snug!
We have been thinking ahead however, as whilst the price of gas has just been increased, it's due to go up again - in October,
I'm led to believe - by another 300% - which would really put the cat among the pigeons - so with that in mind, perhaps all thought should be concentrated on what to install instead of Gas?
Ok, so I have probably wandered off the topic somewhat, but in another way I am saying that we ain't seen nuffin yet, and that whatever you do and whichever way you get out of it, "Gas" is not the future post 2025 (Hydrogen is, but that's another story altogether!)
Having reviewed all these comments it has to be for Airbnb to get involved and perhaps include a facility for hosts to surcharge guests who have been profligate. Or perhaps we should charge a heating supplement -returnable to guests who act responsibly.
@Bob1240 you could do these things but it would be illegal in England unless you provide the EPC for the property at the point of booking. No idea if Scotland is the same.
@Bob1240 not sure you can get away with it if I'm honest. Don't get me wrong I'd love to implement something like that but it just won't work, it's too much of a minefield to navigate.
@John2406 Hydrogen is fine but it takes an awful lot of electricity to make it. Until we get more nuclear and wind power it just means more gas will be burnt than before due to the inefficiencies in the conversion process.
We have a biomass boiler to heat our extremely large property but as a significant portion of the wood pellets being imported come (came) from Russia we have seen price hikes of 50%+
There appears to be no way to solve this problem at present.
@Alexandra199 it is an issue and we pay our bills weekly that way if we have no bookings the bills are generally easily paid because unlike standard home heating it is not used all day every day .also we have an eco heater in the hallway which we tell guests they can leave on all day. that is a way to tell them not to leave the aircon or gas heaters on all day but often they will leave the aircon on hot and run it all day even when they are not home .We tend not to worry too much but do suggest they leave the eco on to take the chill off and add the others later.also a way to make people comfy in winter is an electric blanket. We do not provide personal room heaters and most people dont complain because they have the electric blankets . We do ask them to turn off the gas heaters at night as a safety precaution but this is often not suitable for parents with small babies so we may add another eco in one of the rooms or when we have the cash just get central underfloor heating. People from the city often do not realise how cold it can get where we live so we do suggest to them via text to 'rug up' and bring extra warm clothes. We provide umbrellas and places to take their boots off. It is a struggle for some but generally people do cope. H
Firstly you can adjust your listing prices to take into account price increases. @Alexandra199
You can use Hive or similar to set heating maximum and what time heating operates to help manage bills.
Also look at how you can reduce energy costs such as solar panels.
Thanks Helen, I'm not planning to put up my nightly rate and i cant add solar panels because the cottage is in a conservation are and listed. I have a Nest which is limited to max 21C but as i said above i'm wondering if that is reasonable?
@Alexandra199 I think setting it at 21C is acceptable, but yes, someone will inevitably complain at some point. As I earlier mentioned, my father in law is more comfortable at about 23C due to his lack of mobility and medical conditions. You could suggest to Guests that if they are uncomfortable and need it a little warmer for these reasons that they should contact you in the first instance.
@Alexandra199 Our heating is actually a multi-fuel burner with a back boiler linked to radiators and we have no gas. Therefore it is only electricity that is going to have an impact on our costs. We do use led bulbs everywhere as well. I looked at our meter readings over the last 12 months to get an ‘average’ of how many units are generally used and applied our new unit rates to these. This will add approx £2.00 per day max to our bills so I will not be raising my rates.
I don’t think the majority of guests are guilty of deliberately being ‘energy bandits’ but rather of being thoughtless. I have politely asked our guests this year to Please be ‘mindful’ of their energy use and their carbon footprint, particularly given the current energy crisis. They have all been really good about it.
I do feel that guests should be reasonably allowed to have the heating set to their own comfort. We all have different needs. For example, a steady temp of 19C is comfortable for me, however my father in law who is 90 now has his heating set much higher… it kills me when I visit! Guests are not going to sit in a room that is too hot and making them feel uncomfortable and perhaps a polite and gentle notice asking them to turn the heating off when opening windows would help a bit.
As an absolute last resort, you could perhaps introduce a house rule with regards to ‘Fair Usage’ … work out how many units used per day on average and charge the basic unit rate for anything excessively used.
is there a possibility of setting a price for Airbnb less gas/electricity for long-term stays? I’ve just had an enquiry for a 10 month let but 5 of these months in Scotland will include a lot of gas usage for heating. With an already reduced price for a long-term stay, I’m worried about guests from warmer climes running up bills of £300 + pcm. Any advice most welcome. Thanks hosts!
Thanks Kate, some really useful comments thanks you. I am pleased you suggest 19C is a comfortable temperature. I would totally agree. I have a Nest thermostat in my cottage which can limit the temperature, I have it set at a 21C max which i think is reasonable but i'm waiting for guest complaints!
Different people have different comfort levels I would feel really cold at 19c. My heating is normally set at 22- 23C.
And you'll get them. An acceptable indoor air temperature in winter is 20 - 22c. Anyone travelling from a warmer region or a different hemisphere would want the upper end of that range, i.e. 22c, as a minimum.
Absolutely, though you'll never make everyone happy.
I personally like a room at 23c minimum for eating, watching TV etc but am a 'warm body, cold head' sleeper in that I sleep under a mountain of duvets with no heat and windows open in winter and loathe central heating in the bedroom.