We all want to be better hosts.
But as a host you know there are some things you can’t do to change the experience your guests will have. You can’t change the weather, the reason for their visit or the state of mind they’re in when they get to your property.
Imagine greeting a young couple arriving at your property on a picture-perfect day. You know they're both excited for a week-long vacation at the beach. That'd be a smooth conversation, you might even get an invite to go to the beach with them!
Now imagine greeting a family who’s arriving in the pouring rain at your property for their grandfathers’ funeral the next day. Also, they spent the last 5 hours driving with crying kids in their car. Let's just say they might not be in the mood to talk.
Luckily there are a few things you can do to help your guests have a great experience. I'd say over 90% of what your guests experience is either directly or indirectly within your control.
All rental platforms display the rating of your property (think host) next to their listings. Airbnb, TripAdvisor and HomeAway all have a 1 to 5 star rating system, while Booking.com rates on a scale of 1-10.
The topics you can receive a rating for are similar on all platforms. Topics range from cleanliness to value for money and communications with the manager.
And while you should always aim fto be the best host you can be, it’s especially important in the early days of your hosting time.
One low feedback will permanently damage your rating if you’ve only had a few feedbacks so far. If that happens, you'll get far less bookings and maybe never even get your chance to be a better host.
With That Said Here's 5 Simple Ways to Be a Better Host:
#1. Be responsive
We live in a time of instant anything. People will close a website that doesn't load in 3 seconds or less. Knowing this, they probably don't want to wait too long for an answer from their host.
At GoNitely we encourage guests to call if they have any urgent issues. Even if it’s not urgent, the quicker your response time the better.
Different platforms measure and value response time differently. But as a rule of thumb you should try to answer any question you get from guests within 12 hours or less.
Responding quickly to your guest will show them how you’re on top of things and make them less likely to go look for another listing.
#2. Set the right expectations
You can get away with using almost any kind of home as long as it’s clean, well maintained, and properly described.
Me and my wife stayed at a tipi once, sleeping on what I can only assume Native Americans used as mattresses (it was very hard). We were fine with the mattresses being hard because the listing told us to expect this.
Be as wordy and colorful as you want in your description, but don’t sugarcoat things. If it’s a rustic property with creaking floors, just say so. If the stairs are steep and windy make sure you mention it.
We both know you might get more guests if you leave out those things. However, the potentially unhappy guest, negative feedback and loss of income as a result of that negative feedback aren't worth it in the long run.
#3. Pay attention to details
Many of your guests appreciate attention to details at the property. This might be an extra set of beach towels at a property close to the ocean, or an elegant cheese board at a home in Wine Country.
It could also be any type of decoration underlining the individual style of the home, like an old surfboard on the wall in a beach home.
But sometimes you may need to make adjustments, which is why you should always pay attention to what your guests write you. If they’re here for a birthday party, write a Happy Birthday note and leave it on the table.
Whereas if they’re here to attend a funeral, offer your condolences when you greet them. And if they mention they’ll arrive late make sure to leave a light on in the house.
The small details, often visible in their communication, matter a lot.
#4. Show off your neighborhood
Every area is unique. Most platforms offer some sort of option to list anything from nearby transportation to restaurants. Make sure you list something, anything is better than nothing.
Ask yourself: What’s the one thing everyone should do or see while visiting your area? What's the best restaurant on your side of town, what are they famous for and what’s the dish to get?
There is no limit to the number of things you can list. Describe them on the listing, include them in your welcome message, or create a guest book with all the details. It’ll make your guests’ stay so much more unique and personal.
I can guarantee you they’ll appreciate your effort.
#5. Say hi in person
This one is simple: Greet your guests in person. Even guests who don't need or want a tour of your property appreciate a personal welcome. It’ll only cost you a few minutes and a smile. A great greeting paves the way for a great guest experience!
Do these 5 small things for every guest and you're guaranteed to become a better host. Build them into your routine. Many of them don’t require a lot of work.
Remember, these are exactly the kinds of things that not only put a smile on your guests’ faces, but also get mentioned frequently in reviews. When your guest are happy their reviews will reflect this, empowering you like sunlight on a solar panel.
I hope this post helped you, good luck on your path to becoming a better host. Oh and speaking of becoming a better host, you should check out this insightful blog post I wrote about how host can improve their guest interaction and increase their bookings!