Hosts: What is your biggest problem when catering to guest requests?

Interested in learning about the issues you’re facing.

Are you looking for something specific? Is it right to assume this is market research for your site?

Yes, I apologize if this isn’t the right place to ask. Signed-up a couple of weeks ago and still trying to maneuver around the site.

I’ve spoken to a few hosts and they’ve experienced guests asking them for random things like closest stores to get diapers, groceries, city gifts, etc.

So was just curious to see if anyone else was facing the same problems.

Thanks for the response, Robert.

I guess this problem may only affect certain users. The conversations we’ve had were with hosts who managed multiple properties along with full-time jobs (and random family responsibilities).

A dedicated virtual concierge delivered extra assistance which was beneficial to them in delivering a unique experience for their guests (while also handling any random questions their guests may have).

On the other hand, I guess this might be more so a problem for a unique vacationer who lives in a long-term unit and needs essential goods without the hassle of looking for them in a new city.

I fail to see how a guest wanting to know the closest grocery store is a “problem”. This is a customer service business; if the hosts you’re dealing with have a problem with that, they’re in the wrong business.

In any case, this is dead simple. I provide a folder full of local restaurant & take-away menus, a folder full of transit maps and brochures for certain tourist destinations, and a local amenities map that shows food stores, banks, laundry/dry cleaner, drug store, wine store, parks, etc. Plus I’m always on hand to answer basic questions & recommend things worth seeing and how best to get to them.


Thanks for the input Mo!

@Mo_In_TO - I do exactly the same. Plus there are our guidebooks on our listings. I also have a custom printed book in their apartment. I live just a few steps away and have loads of local knowledge plus I use one of the several apps available and direct guests to it so they can download it. So no problems.

BUT — guests rarely ask me anything because it’s easier to ask Siri or Google. After all, most people have brains enough to find out where to buy diapers! Sometimes I wish guests WOULD ask me but with the resources I already provide, plus the fact that people can find the info on their phones in seconds, means that ‘catering to guest requests’ is hardly a problem.


I’ve also created a website on weebly with a lot of this information - but also have it on my guidebook, and, print the guidebook out for the room.

Plus, with smart phones, it’s hardly needed anymore.

But, the thing is, if those resources don’t suite the guest, they are going to want to ask. One thing I’m learning, and is true about myself, is people want to connect with people - which I think is one motivation to use airbnb. No matter what tools you develop, websites you suggest, files of paper menus, I find that guests want to ask a real-live person and have them show concern for their needs. They don’t want to look on an ap or website, they want a person pointing in the right direction.

My experience, anyway.

I’m not sure I understand your tone, Robert - it’s coming across as hostile and sarcastic - is that what you intended? Would you clarify your point?

I agree. Robert (or are you really BBM in disguise?:wink: ) Why do you have to be so hostile to such a nice person as DC? The new poster was just asking what people do to give their guests orientation to the area. I don’t see the point of trying to compose something so sarcastic to answer a common question new hosts have? If you think the OP questions are stupid why even answer them?


Robert, your input is always appreciated.

We’re just curious to see what issues people have with managing guest requests. Not everyone has or may have had the same experiences as you. Our only intention, was to see if what we’re building is really of value to a vacation host. Honest question. That’s all.

I appreciate your time and wish you well. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Right, good point. Thanks for the feedback, DC!

Also, great idea on the printed guidebook.

Thank you, Kona - I really did feel attacked but didn’t want to get into it. I don’t think this could be BBM - do you think so? BBM had a sense of humor - which I have missed!

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Only Robert can tell us if he is really BBM! LOL.

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Part of hosting is to answer questions. Not only I answered I encourage people to ask them. I am a traveler myself, been to over 40 countries and I ask LOTS of questions. I don’t like traveling as a tourist, I like to know hidden treasures.
Last month I was in Honduras. The owner of the lodge was a very unpleasant lady who had problem with exactly that: answering questions. I stayed there a week, lodge was pretty much empty. Owner seemed to be extremely busy with who knows what. Every time I would come to her with question her face turned into a grimace. Now how do you work with people if you don’t like them??.
Of course she got a one star from me and I described in every detail what I encountered with her. And hopefully it will be helpful to other travelers.


I just got a new one today. Being right outside Washington DC, 95% of my guests are coming for that reason, 5% to visit the University of Maryland. Today the question is “what should we see that is no more than 30 minutes away, 30 minutes only, no more”. It stumped me to be sure. What I do in this area is work, run my little business, and care for my family! When we have free time we get out and walk, or stay home and play games. But it was fun looking at the map with them and getting some ideas. Turns out they had already thought of Annapolis, and I added a recommendation of a small public beach on the Chesapeake Bay that is fun and low-key.

But I like the challenge, and feel like I’m always learning something. I could keep adding to my little website every time I get a new question, but the point of the website is to boil everything down to the minimum to make it easy for people who have just 2 or so days to pick what to do in DC. However, they apparently don’t read that, either, and still show up wanting to know how to see the Washington Monument or Capitol. That’s just human nature, and that’s the service they want from us. I really don’t think an ap can replace it.

You’re right there. There is already an app for almost everything. There is a reason why visitor information centers are staffed with real humans too, because travelers like to hear things from a live person and to hear things the guides can’t communicate.

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Yes, even in this age of electronic media, thank God, human contact is still desired. People want to be heard, want to be cared for, want to feel valued.

Remind them that they can contact their representatives offices and receive a personal tour from the interns! It’s some interns’ favorite thing to do… and gets them out of the office! Some interns I know LOVE giving tours of the senate! If they want to see the WH as you know, they have to reserve two weeks in advance.


Thanks for your response, Yana.

What was your favorite hidden treasure of Honduras?