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Providing/ researching information for guests.
A guest is trying to get all the research done by us for their trip/itinerary. without actually booking first!
Lots of questions, to which we respond within 1 minute or less to keep the airbnb status.
How would you handle?
let them know that we will send further information after they book?
I set the guidebook up in the Airbnb app. I have about 40 recommendations in there. I also have a few messages with hiking recommendations and waterfall recommendations.
I refer them to the guidebook and tell them that I have a wealth of books and guides at my house and would love to give further information once they have confirmed when they will be visiting.
That has been friendly enough to give them info and make them comfortable with us. Two guests that asked the most questions turned out to be my favorites, and they were appreciatative in their review as well.
The guidebook and a few saved messages has been a huge help to me!
Why do you sound so affronted, I wonder? Answering questions is part of our job. It’s all part of selling our accommodation. It only takes a few seconds. You know your place and your area so just reply. Let them realise that you’re a helpful host. If you really think that’s too much of a hassle set up several saved messages with frequently asked questions such as how much is a taxi from the airport or whatever. Although it’s almost as quick to simply reply by the time you’ve personalised your message.
IF you have a guidebook of activities, events, restaurants etc. in your area that you make available in your listing, simply say so.
People asking about time/distance to airports, concert venues, important local things is NORMAL for this job. You are NOT just a provider of a bed. Get accustomed to people asking questions; I’m sure you do when you travel.
People who answer potential guest questions politely get more actual guests than those who don’t.
If you get more than a couple pre-booking questions just say that you will cover everything else they need to know once they have booked with you.
I can understand where you’re coming from on this! Depending on the nature of the questions, I’m more or less willing to send in-depth answers.
I think you should always answer questions about your listing. If you get more than one person asking about a particular amenity or aspect of your place, you might need to flesh out that section of your description.
When they ask about local recommendations I point them to my extensive guide book. Part of what guests pay for with Airbnb is local expertise so I’ll answer things they can’t figure out from Google/Yelp. For example one guest was preparing for a marathon and asked where she’d be safe going for a very early morning run. I asked my running friends for insight and my guest was really happy for the “insider” knowledge.
A couple of potential guests asked extensive questions, not just about my suite and town, but about other towns in the region (2-3 hrs away), essentially asking me to provide a road trip itinerary. In both cases I replied and never heard from them again. I might reply in broad generalizations next time; it definitely wasn’t worth my time to give detailed recommendations.
Another wildcard is the worry-wart. Some guests just seem high-strung or worried about elements of their trip. If you’re getting lots of this sort of question (e.g. how is your water?, tell me all the cleaning products you use?, are there any native burial grounds under your house?) I’d answer them to the best of your ability, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to find a point at which you say “You seem to have a lot of concerns about staying here. We strive to have happy guests, so are willing to provide a penalty-free cancellation if you find our listing no longer fits your needs.” Hopefully they’ll either cool it or move on to a host who can assuage their every anxiety.
Strangely, (or maybe not?) I’ve had the cleaning products one quite a lot. Answering to the best of your ability is the key. I can’t remember the last time I had a question that couldn’t be answered quickly - without having to double check or research.
As @Allison_H says, it’s part of our job and we’re supposed to be local experts - that’s one of the aspects that makes people choose Airbnb rather than a hotel. If hosts aren’t local experts then there’s a bit of a disconnect with them doing this job.
If a guest asks me a question that I don’t know the answer to, I simply tell them that I don’t know. There’s no disgrace in that. I’ve lived in this immediate area for 24 years, on this street (admittedly in different houses) for 20 years so if I don’t know something, I’ve no problem in saying so. Guests know how to use Google after all. Hosts should have answers though.
But when I’m a guest, I have to admit that a host who is reluctant to answer questions isn’t a good sign for me. My thinking as a guest is that if they can’t take a few seconds - or even minutes - to answer my questions then how good is their accommodation and the service that they’re offering?
I would not want to do this and won’t do it. However if it’s a simple matter of them asking something like how far from your place to ________ then I answer. It takes the same time to type “It’s about 2 hours” as it does to type “please consult my guidebook.”
I always reply as quickly as possible to the first inquiry unless it’s while I’m in bed for the night.
Sometimes there is a guest who does this and you have to shut it down. Last week a young man asked a series of elementary questions that I patiently answered because he’s clearly young and new to Airbnb. Things like “I’m coming to visit my girlfriend, is she allowed to stay?” “how far to xx st?” “Are we allowed to come and go during the day?” etc., over three messages. However when he said “she has a baby, can the baby be with us there during the day?” I shut it down. I didn’t want two youngsters hanging around in my room all day with baby. I wish the baby was mention in the first message but it wasn’t. Sometimes there is some work involved with being an Airbnb host.
I will always try to answer to the best of my ability. If guests in their first questions already clearly show that they haven’t read anything of our listing, I will answer their questions but will also ask them to read the full listing because it contains lots of interesting information.