How important do you feel recommending things to do is for visiting guests?
Is this something I should focus on?
My guests tend to be to people unfamiliar with the area. I provide two types of guest books:
Location of hospitals & urgent care centers
Location of grocery stores
Restaurants & dining options that I have tried & recommend that are fairly close
Activities & shopping in the area that I can recommend including some locals recommendations that are not listed on the area tourism site.
An edited version of the printed local tourism site list of things to do in the area (in my guest book) and email them a link to the local tourism site.
My guests have commented several times they appreciate the restaurant recommendations.
Thanks. This is super helpful Anne!
Is this a printed guestbook or the AirBnb one online? Which do guests prefer?
Did recommendations lead to better reviews/standing out more?
For me it varies from guest to guest. Some ask for detailed recommendations. Others go by their guidebooks and have no interest in our recommendations. The guests who ask for recommendations often want to know things like the location of the closest grocery store, pharmacy, gas station, etc., not restaurants and tourist attractions. The one constant is that no guest has seen the Guidebook on our listing. I asked a regular why guests never use the Guidebook. She didn’t know of its existence.
Thats interesting Ellen that tourist attractions are not a big request. Thanks for your feedback. I would have expected the guests to ask for recommendations on tourist attractions/local restaurants primarily. Why do you think this is?
I get a lot of guests from other countries. I believe that they all read guidebooks that list the main tourist attractions. I live in Los Angeles, CA. Seemingly, all the tourists want to go to Universal Studios, The Hollywood Walk of Fame, Santa Monica Beach and/or Venice Beach and The Griffith Observatory. Some also want to go to The Getty and to Beverly Hills.
I try to discourage them from the Hollywood Walk of Fame as it never fails to disappoint. Every time the guest tells me that if one is in Los Angeles one has to see it. Every time they come back and tell me how awful it was.
Many guests already have restaurants picked out. In n Out Burger and The Cheesecake Factory are high on many tourists lists. I consider both to be vile.
Thanks Ellen! Seconded about the cheesecake factory!!! It seems from your feedback like people do a lot of prior research nowadays and want to go to the big pulls…what about local attractions?
Also do you feel that you get asked often for local recommendations for restuarants etc and have you found from your experience that guests typically listen?
it depends on your listing and target market. For my place 60% of guests don’t ask a thing and need nothing from me. Another 20-30% ask what I would recommend for dinner. 10-20% have asked about area sights. It’s not a big tourist town and I get mostly one night guests passing through or people here visiting family and friends.
I do get asked for local restaurant recommendations. Often guests go to the places I recommend and the guests usually enjoy the restaurants.
Thanks K9! This is really good insight. I hadn’t considered that kind of differentiation.
Oh cool! And the places you recommend are they mostly “super local” and unknown or super well known in the local area?
Guests generally do not use the guidebook on my airbnb listing; they also don’t use the guest Itinerary.
The dining options I include are very close to my rental and tend to be locally owned OR offer delivery/carry out options in case the guest is tired and just wants to go “home” & watch TV & eat (common with business travelers). The list includes addresses and phone numbers.
The activities tend to be “what the locals do” so not on the tourism website (e.g. a locally owned coffee house offers Jazz Tuesday nights, a local brewery offers music & food trucks & tastings at its warehouse brewing facility, a winery about 15 min away offers tastings & music & food truck dining on weekends, first Friday monthly downtown art walk with special gallery hours & free entertainment)
The lists aren’t long—very selective information because guests can use guidebooks or internet resources/ local tourist guide sites to do their own research.
Every area is different so the key is to start with something and fine tune it over time. The 3 things I think are essential are close-by grocers, drug stores & medical facilities.
I tend to recommend “hidden gems”.
I play it by ear pretty much. Some people are really glad to pick your brains, others arrive with an agenda mapped out. My current guests are researching their local family genealogy so really only want recommended restaurants and directions to local villages they are visiting. I keep local maps, tourist info and restaurant business cards on the window sills in the dining room, which guests can read over breakfast, plus any flyers regarding current events; music,festivals, exhibitions etc. As I’m in and out of the dining room, they can ask me questions at will, but not all hosts are in situ.
I think nearby Dover town centre is our equivalent of the Hollywood Walk of Fame: disappointing at best. But it has been enlivened by a Banksy mural that appeared post Brexit. Not everyone is amused by it though…
@Tamir_Ryan_Jacob - it really depends on your location and target market as to what information they might want.
I am always willing to recommend things to my guests and let them know if they have any questions about things to do or see, or the best way to get somewhere, to let me know. About 25% take me up on it, and it always makes me happy. I don’t always know if they use my suggestions, but I’m happy to provide them just the same.
I did have one set of guests who asked me for a restaurant recommendation for every meal. I figured out what I thought they might like by talking to them and they went to the first place and came back with rave reviews and then asked for more and went to every subsequent place I recommended. I felt like the restaurants should’ve given me a commission! Got a rave review, too!
I always worry about recommending restaurants…you never know when they may get a new chef, who isn’t quite as good as the one you’re used to, or if its the good chefs day off, or even if he’s having an off day!
Also, as a guest, I never read the books or instructions, unless desperate. RTFM? naaaaahh…pubs!
Most of my guests are tourists so it is very important. I put together a guest guide which I send to them electronically and also keep a paper copy in a binder in the suite. It has pictures and detailed info on several of the local neighborhoods and my recommendations. I also put a full list of patios for each neighborhood. I collect brochures from local businesses and keep them in a display box on the entry table. People really use this stuff and really appreciate it. A lot of people are genuinely interested in experiencing the neighborhood like a local, not just hitting the tourist spots. Our direct neighborhood is pretty popular, there was even a hipster television series that featured it. Probably most guests wouldn’t know that though!
I’m loving it. You are making the Airbnb slogans of “Live there” & “Stay Like a Local” real & not just an advertisement.
My earlier posts were about printed material. I am availble by phone but do not stay in the unit while the guests are there.
It’s fairly universal that people don’t read the material we provide HOWEVER having it available helps in two ways:
You’ve already thought your recommendations through so when they ask, you’ve got a ready answer; and
When the guest is motivated, they will read the book (e.g. Hotel book of how to make a call, amenities, in-house dining options, & room service: I will read when I want to order room service because I’ve traveled all day and just want peace - I know we aren’t hotels but the reading the book when we want something is the same)