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Hi fellow hosts, I need some help navigating my listing and calendar. First, let me describe the property. have an off-grid, backcountry cabin at 9k feet (about 2.7k meters) on an unmaintained, dirt road in SW Colorado. Although this sounds suspicious given what I just said, many describe the cabin as “high end” and it is a pretty luxurious setup if I do say so myself. Ha! Typically, I have the cabin open from mid-May through mid-October because once the snow starts flying, a snowmobile, skis, snowshoes or some other mode of transportation are required to reach the cabin. I’ve also been hesitant to have my usual guests stay here during the cold months - many of them come from urban areas in warm climates and do all kinds of unbelievable things to build a fire, are good spirited but totally clueless about their energy consumption, etc. This year, I’ve decided I’d like to open the cabin for one week at Thanksgiving (end of November) to see how it goes. It’s absolutely essential that I talk with the guests before they book. Although it’s very likely they’ll be able to drive all the way into the cabin at that time of year, it’s also possible we could have a big snow year and they’ll need to rent snowmobiles or arrange for transport. I also want to be sure they understand what’s involved with a late Fall stay at the cabin (i.e., wood-burning stove or propane wall heaters, possible generator if the weather is cloudy, etc.) So I have a couple of questions:
What is the best way to be sure I can talk to the guests before booking? Can I turn off instant book for a certain calendar window or do I have to turn it off for all the available dates on my calendar?
What do you recommend in terms of the listing? My description of the cabin will be slightly different for the Thanksgiving guests than the end-of-summer potential guests. Should I have a note at the top of the listing and direct people to read a detailed, customized description at the bottom if they’re interested in the November dates? Any way to customize so it’s not so clunky?
I would suggest that you create a second listing, indicate in the title that it is for winter holiday (Thanksgiving, Xmas only, you can figure out the wording).
Set Request to Book only on that listing, use winter photos, use the wording description you need. Set the availability to No available dates (or whatever the Airbnb wording is) which will block all dates, then manually unblock the dates you want to be open.
I would emphasize in the description that this listing is only suitable for guests who have experience in living with wood heat. The majority of people have never built a fire in their life. You certainly don’t want guests who think it sounds romantic, but don’t even know what a chimney flue is. Burning down the house or freezing seems an even more crucial issue than the accessibility challenges.
Then you can snooze the listing after the winter holidays if it works out for you, reactivating it the following year when you figure guests would start booking for those holidays.
Some other hosts, who have different requirements and offerings depending on time of year, also use this “double listing” method.
Not everyone is put off by adverse winter accessability conditions. I have a friend who’s spent 70 years in a wheelchair after contracting polio when she was 5. At one point she and her boyfriend lived on a remote property in Canada where he had to pack her in and out on a sled in the winter.
+1 to this idea. then you can have all the special circumstances clearly listed in the description, and turn IB off.
We have made a how-to guide for each fireplace, with photos, and i laminated it. it seems to have helped immensely as too many guests thought because they were super smart city types, they didn’t need us country people to help them with as something as basic as lighting a fire, and were often failing to get it going and keep it going and then asking for help late at night.
I had a “how to - fireplace” in the guest manual but no one was reading it. Then I started leaving the manual open at that page, still no one was reading it! So finally we opted for the laminated page that we keep in the basket of kindling, firestarters and matches. I really don’t want to become “one of those” places that has laminated signs everywhere (this is #2, we have a sign warning about our septic system in each toilet room) so I held off doing this for a while but guest behaviour forced us to do it.
As an occasional guest I appreciate the signs in key places to avoid damaging things or being inconvenienced while I try to figure out things. Bizarrely I have to have a laminated sign for people to figure out how to operate window shades and curtain pull backs. I was just getting too much damage without them.