New morning! New guest!

Over the past 3 years, I’ve hosted thousands of guests from hundreds of cities around the world in the homes I manage. I’ve had an overwhelmingly positive experience, but a few very bad experiences. Nothing colossal, just very unpleasant. People lie, they bring more guests than they booked, they throw parties, they treat your home as a disposable commodity and then refuse to take responsibility for their actions. It can be quite anger-inducing and very disheartening, especially if you are someone who seeks to see the beauty and good in all people.  

I’ve learned to look out for the red flags that may indicate someone will be a bad guest, I’ve learned what policies to outline in order to communicate my expectations for guests, and unfortunately along the way, I’ve let my heart become a little less trusting in the process. Some of this is called wisdom, some of it is cynicism, but regardless, I have developed a motto that I seek to operate by:  “Treat every guest as a new guest.

The quality of your hospitality and your spirit as a human being depend heavily on giving everyone the benefit of the doubt. I know, I know, you’ve been asked 300 times if someone can check-in early because they have an early flight. Why can’t people read the rules!? However, you must again put yourself in the guest’s shoes. I am not advocating that you ignore a guest’s previous reviews, by the way. Be wise, but is this the same guest who soiled your valued rug?  Is this the same guest that threw the raging party a few weekends ago? Is this the same guest that had a laundry list of complaints at a property that doesn’t normally draw complaints? In all likelihood, it is not the same guest. Remember that. Respond again with the same generous patience. Be grateful you have another guest. Remind yourself this is someone’s vacation, which they probably spent many hours working to take! Be kind, be merciful, and tell yourself it’s a new day! Hospitality requires renewed kindness each day for the long haul.   


 

Why guests are picking the other place over yours

I sit down with homeowners and investors all the time to give consulting advice as they are preparing to rent their homes on vacation rental sites like Airbnb and VRBO. Whether the owner is a bare minimum kind of person or a design junkie, many people are missing a key component that will help their listing stand out among the competition: a unique feature. Your potential guests want more than a good deal on a place to stay, they want to have an experience they can't have anywhere else. They want to have their eyes opened to other people's sense of style and personality. What feature or features are you offering your guests?  

At one home I manage the decorator and homeowner decided to purchase an inexpensive shuffleboard table to put in the open kitchen layout. It's in our main photo and a lot of our guests book because of the table! Maybe you want to give guests the ultimate outdoor fire pit experience. How can you make something as primal as sittings around a fire feel special? I recently heard about a vacation rental owner who refurbishes old arcade games for a living, so his Airbnb includes a full-on arcade! The key is not to spend a lot of money, but to make sure you have some aspect of your rental that separates it from the competition.

Your guests are choosing your home over a hotel for more than just money. They want a unique experience. Be yourself.