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3 misconceptions about hosting I learned this summer


#44

When I got this property in 1990, the idea of boarding dogs in my home or letting out to overnight strangers was nil, of course. Over the years as I built high walls in the back and put up iron gates, I didn’t have dog boarding in mind. I didn’t buy a property within a mile of the interstate with Airbnb in mind. I just got lucky that the guest room was on the front of the home and easily remodeled to accomodate Airbnb. Its almost always better to be lucky than good.

The house directly next door to me went on sale two years ago. I thought for a minute about buying it. Among other things it was overpriced and poorly remodeled. Now if the fixer upper on the other side goes for sale…

One more thing about Airbnb in my neighborhood…I’m not likely to have any complaints about either of my home businesses from the neighbors. But in a more upscale area I might.


#45

No, the point is that Karma gets an excellent ROI because the amount of money invested is low but income good. The home portion is by the by


#46

Especially for you @Joan. I hope it makes some sense to post it here, I haven’t read the entire topic yet :see_no_evil:.


#47

Yes that’s the key. You make your money when you buy at the right price, rather than sell. That helps both in terms of equity increase and income yeild ROI.
In my mind’s eye I have a fixer upper with access so I can put an insulated cabin at low cost in the garden for Airbnb, or perhaps a low value apartment. Far more sensible. Even the remaining LTR landlords are selling up round here, the yeilds are too low relative to equity. Anyway I am done with the English chattering classes and their entitled attitudes and colossal pushchairs which they use to try and trip up minimum wage waiting staff. In the time it’s taken me to raise my sons gentrification has taken its toll.


#48

I’m in the north melbourne area. What about you? Any tips will be appreciated! @jodes


#49

Hi,

I have started to read the reviews the guest has made previously. If they are giving low reviews consistently then maybe a cancellation by the host would be better than the heartache of dealing with a potential scammer


#50

I really enjoyed reading this @summerfun! You asked for everybody’s experiences so here are mine:

I took this point, as some others did, as a humourous take on how hosts are “taken hostage” by the ridiculous Airbnb review system. And it did make my chuckle!
But I’ve never regarded airbnb as my employer. In fact, I view them as the opposite: they are a service provider and take a percentage of my profit for that. I try to have as little to do with them as possible because they are completely useless when anything goes wrong. But 3% is not much to pay for all the business I get through them. I don’t need them to hold my hand over bad guests. I host in my home and am perfectly capable of throwing people out if necessary.

Absolutely agree with this general principle! When I first started, I did the same - bending over backwards to every stupid whim of the guest. You’re totally right that it is viewed as a weakness. Now I simply do the basics and I do just fine for reviews.

But the whole pokerface host attitude is bizarre, to me. WTF? Why would you do that?? A smile and a warm welcome costs nothing and, crucially, can mitigate a lot of shortcomings in your home/rental place. Recently there was a thread discussing the logic about guests giving 5* for every category but only leaving 4* in the all-important overall experience category. A poster (@southendbootboy) commented on an experience as a guest where everything was perfect but the host was so unfriendly that a star was docked.

Most of my reviews comment on how welcome they felt and how they appreciated feeling at home blah blah blah. None of them mention the shabby state of my bathroom or the mess in the entrance etc. It takes me 20 minutes max to greet and settle guests in with my winning smile and lovable personality (yeah…sarcasm alert!!). I consider that time well spent and it’s certainly worked for me.

  1. Hosting is fun

Sometimes it is. I can’t really comment on this any more because I’m at over 1000 guests now so it’s a bit like a sausage factory. I do get the occasional ones where we click and have some great conversations.


#51

“But the whole pokerface host attitude is bizarre, to me”

Yes, I don’t understand this either. A warm, inviting space, along with a warm, inviting host is what makes a guest feel comfortable. I don’t connect a warm smile with being a push-over.

Regarding the extras, I supply many and the most mentioned attribute to their stay are the numerous personal touches and attention to detail, that they can relax as they want for nothing. Having said that, I am a home-share host in a resort town. Maybe this makes a difference.


#52

To connect with the teaching analogy made earlier in the thread or the parent analogy that @jaquo made elsewhere…we all know those people who are friendly and warm; you just want to be around them. You also know they don’t take any crap and you don’t want to get on their bad side. Maybe the ability to strike that balance is a gift. Being able to go confront a problem maker without getting mad or flustered is something teachers and parents have a great deal of experience with.

There are plenty of friendly hosts who don’t have a lot of problems. I’m also thinking that having lots of good reviews helps. The people who are going to try a scam won’t try it on someone like Jaquo or I because they know it’s “not our first rodeo?”


#53

Ooh, I read this in the pub earlier, on a gadget I can’t respond from. But my knees went weak, and I chuckled as I showed it around the assembled bunch. From a sitting position of course…


#54

Yes. I supply a few things that aren’t mentioned in the listing like slippers and dressing gowns. It’s part of the ‘under promise and over deliver’ strategy. What I DON’T do anymore is let guests use my washing machine for a pair of knickers and socks. or to bring visitors over without asking first, or take over my kitchen. When I first started I was a complete push-over. not anymore.


#55

Got it! I have never supplied those “extras” :slight_smile:


#56

@K9KarmaCasa “Maybe the ability to strike that balance is a gift”
Interesting comment. I’ve been in hospitality for many years and survival depends upon gently pushing back with that smile on your face.


#57

Indeed! Not forgetting the slight tilt of the head, subtle narrowing of the eyes and the “are you fucking kidding me” raised eyebrow.


#58

I will try to clarify where “the job” comparison came from. When I worked in a corporate environment I always felt that my skill set, for the most part, was only applicable to that particular company. Yes, this skill set helped me to to move a few times from one multinational to another. Yet, I knew that, at the end of the day, without those companies I’m absolutely NOTHING…A leaf on the wind has more meaning in the universe than my existance.

When I started hosting I put my place on Booking and AirBNB. After one not so great experience with booking guest (room left full of heavy cigarette smoke) I removed my property from booking. I also had a few other very “weird” booking guests. So this listing removal was an easy decision. I can’t complain about AirBNB as the booking fee is basically paid by the guest and I have high occupancy rate and bookings until mid October. However, what concerns me the most is total lack of alternatives to AirBNB. I’m planning to experiment with Expedia but I doubt it will be a big difference compared to Booking. Just like in a corporate world without AirBNB I’m NOTHING.
I just don’t see this gig as a serious business, at least in my case.


#59

Almost all people disagree with cold welcome thing. It may not work for everyone but it definitely works for me.
Most of my guests are young couples. I made my place as much comfortable as possible for the them. I put countless tips on how and where to have fun with zero budget. They loved it as this info isn’t available online in English in for my location. There is lots of garbage info in English where the same content is posted everywhere just for the sake of affiliate clicks, etc. I also have other things such as library of travel guides from all of the world, 5 types of expresso, gourmet tees, romantic balconies with candles, and more.
When I started I noticed that out of my first 20 guests almost half left rooms, how to say it, not very clean. The same number of people didn’t bother with reviews. I also remembered my son’s comment that “you old people talk too much…”
I turned into cold non-smiley host, cut my presentation from 20 to 2 min, eliminated free water, beer and wine (even though it costs next to nothing), eliminated free pick up from the train station and raised my price. The results were stunning. The place is now left in nearly perfect condition in 90% of cases, 75% of guests left reviews, and booking are still coming even though it’s almost an end of the season in my location.
Again, this approach works for my type of guests. This has nothing to do with the location. In fact, I stay in touch with hosts in Kyoto JP, Wellington NZ, and Bangkok TH and we are all on the same page on this. I’m almost certain the results will be similar in Montreal QC or Austin TX.
…I’m totally cool with 2-star asshole :wink:


#60

Yes, but won’t the bad hosts get pushed out eventually by same market forces? Hmmm. Just thinking out loud here. Yes prices driven down, but there is an ebb and flow here, surely. People charging less, get driven out by expenses, host who charge more, driven out by more reasonably priced properties.

Equilibrium at some point I think.

OMG, I’m trying so hard to not take offense to this @summerfun
This must be a typo.


#61

@GutHend @Lynick4442 @Joan
It simply does not get better than this. I will be paraphrasing (read: plagiarizing) this as well!
:grin:


#62

No, because people don’t factor in the equity they are have in their own homes, in effect people are giving this to Airbnb for free, whereas hotels have to do things properly and factor in their capital investment. Hosts often don’t even exceed the LTR rate for their district. Being a host becomes like a paid hobby rather than a business.


#64

There’s no room for bad hosts in my area there are dozens of superhosts most charging unsustainably low rates. Airbnb is pushing prices down and taking advantage of hosts who do not understand the principles of return on investment or don’t mind because they are happy with what they get because they don’t need the money.


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