Suggestions for a New Host!

Hello all!

My family is hosting for the first time, and I wanted to know whether you would give any tips/thoughts/recommendations for our listing:

That’s just one of the five listings on the property. We’re completely new to this, so it required a big learning curve to set up five listings at the same time. We’ve been live for a few days now, and have some positive responses. As we’re in a beach town the peak season will definitely be in the summer.

Wow. I haven’t seen that kind of spot in forever!

I found your pictures totally confusing. I could not tell what space would be exclusively mine and which are shared. Are those toilets along the edge of the property the only toilets, so they are shared, or are they in addition to a private bath within the cabin? I think adding some real captions to each picture would take care of this, i.e. the Coral Cabin’s bedroom with _________ bed. Or, your private spa tub. Or, Shared Ocean View Deck. Enjoy the sunset with your favorite drink and meet your neighbors. Is the kitchen CAY the kitchen that I have access to, and is it shared, or is there a kitchenette within the cabin?

Final thought… you need a pink flamingo! and make it easier to figure out how far away the beach is by walking. It might be buried in all that prose [which I would read but many won’t] but if you have a beach property, I think it would make sense to get that into your Basic Description.

Thanks for your thoughts!

  1. You’re absolutely right about showcasing how far we are from the beach (1/4 mile). That’s pretty common in other local listings.
  2. I share your concern about the prose. There was some “editorial disagreement” on that front, but I’ll address it again.
  3. I’m surprised that the pictures are confusing, so that’s important to hear. I think we are so familiar with the property that it is easy to assume everyone else is as well. Hopefully adding captions, changing the picture order a bit, and cutting down on some of lengthy descriptions should make it more clear.

I was a bit confused by all the pictures. I do like the map. I think you should add a short description/label to them all. Also I thought there were too many pictures. Are they all related to that one listing?

Also I thought there was too much writing. But personally I write short and to the point descriptions. But maybe thats just me?

Is there only one bathroom cus there was only one pic of a bathroom. I would like more pictures in order around the map. Not being familiar with your place, I’m trying to understand. Please make the bed spread neater on one of the pics.

Thanks for the input. The pictures are all for that listing, but I think we can cut down on them a bit to give guests the general idea without overwhelming/confusing them.

Duly noted regarding the bed spread, and thanks for the suggestions. Both bathrooms have pictures, but I agree with you and others that they get lost in the large amount of content in the listing.


I’ve only had a quick look at your listing, but I think the ‘Flexible’ check-in time will be an issue for you. If you don’t mind letting them in late, then say something like. Anytime after 2pm or whatever. Otherwise guests will expect to check-in at 6am.

I have a published check-in time of 2pm, but I reckon 1 in 3 guests asks to arrive early as their flight gets in early - or they have to check out from a previous place at 10am. I will mind lugguage, but if it doesn’t suit I always refer back to their booking confirmation. "Sorry, but as mentioned in the listing and on your booking confirmation, check-in is any time from 2pm onwards.’

Your place looks great - I hope it’s a big success for you.

Actually I’ve had a good look and a read now. I agree that the photos are confusing. And there are too many.

Make the sequence of photos logical. As I could only see 1 photo of a bed it made me think the bedrooms are probably an issue - dark or pokey - which they may not be, but after all, the bed/bedroom is pretty important.

Start your description with information about the listing, not your background - save that for the personal info section.

You need to sell your listing in that first bit and I have to be honest, once I started reading your listing I started to drift off. I’m not trying to be unkind, but I’m a writer by profession and you’ve got to grab your audience in the first 10 seconds of reading.

Good luck

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In addition to the other comments, with which I agree, especially the photos which need captains and better order.

I think the following would be beneficial. I also think your cabins look fab & hope you are successful. Make sure you include link to other cabins & I would also offer a deal to book the whole lot.

  1. Booking is misleading re: bathroom. You have advertised a one bedroom cabin as having 2 bathrooms. You don’t mention sharing only 2 bathrooms with 5 other cabins til the end in ‘other things to note’. I fear this will lead to misunderstandings and complaints.

  2. Are your canteen snacks free to eat all day long? it seems this is what you are saying, this might be difficult to manage as some guests clean you out early in day and others are disappointed, get nothing & complain. I would not put any snacks in canteen & put a basket with enough snacks for the guests stay including some fresh local fruit in each cabin on arrival. Much more personal and less risk of abuse by some.

  3. Remove your “family/kid friendly” in amenities as you’re not! You specifically exclude kids…
    “As many visitors use the villa as a relaxing retreat, we ask that our guests be under the age of 2 or older than 15”. This will lead to many disappointed searches coming to your listing only to be turned away. Also if you are excluding 2-15 yo so ppl can relax why allow babies and toddlers, arguably the
    Noisiest and destructive of all ages??? Seems Incongruent with couples or solos booking to relax. I also don’t think kids over 10 would be an issue as they’ll be on their phone the whole time & don’t run around playing & being noisy at that age. Allowing under 2s would put me off much more than over 10s.

  4. Consider a 2 night min, much less cleaning and might generate more profits for you.

  5. Consider pricing for 2 not 1 as base price. I don’t think many people would go there alone & I travel alone so I have some insight into this. I implemented lower pricing for 1 on my listing as I was getting a lot of solo business and student travelers to my listing do it makes sense & helps them being cheaper than my previous price. I fear your pricing strategy might come across as deliberately trying to get couples in with false sense of lower price which I know from some forum posts is a real turn off for some. If you genuinely think you’ll get a lot of solo travelers then keep it as is.

Very very good for a first attempt. Good luck


Those are really good points. And I absolutely agree on the baby thing. Toddlers and babies are much more of a turn-off for me than a 10 year old. It’s not the 10 years olds on a long flight that do your head in, it’s the whinging toddlers and crying newborns.


Hi Seabird, I would suggest to pose a picture of the seaview. Or am I not reading properly about seaview? (sorry, I’m not native English)

My other tip would be to read the BNB information for hosts. Far too many start without fully understanding how BNB works and get themselves in troub.e

Having done this for a year - hear are my thoughts.

Have a clear window for check in say 3 - 9 p.m. or whatever works for you. When guests book confirm a time within this frame.

Don’t use instant book until you have hosted for a while - you will have little control over who books (Personally I wouldn’t ever use as I want to ensure a good fit - but for self catering I can understand this is less important)

Always check out how a guest has been reviewed and how they review other hosts before accepting a booking.

Make sure your house rules are up to scratch covering extra guests, noise, whether you accept children, check in and out times, whether guests can invite friends in, expectations around how the property should be left after use.

Decide on your cancellation policy - I have strict to help ensure I don’t get lots of last minute cancellations. Understand clearly how the cancellation policy works - hosts can easily get penalised for cancellation guests and it looks bad to potential guests if you show as cancellation your guests arrangements.

Set up your listing so that only fully verified guest can book.

Have a comprehensive guest book in your home covering how things work in the house, taxi’s, public transport, local attractions, restaurants etc

You will get lots of guests who don’t read your listings and ask questions you have already covered - breathe :slight_smile:

Hello everyone! I want to thank you all for the fantastic advice. We’ve used your suggestions and made a lot of changes, including: cutting down on the way, way overwritten descriptions; taking out photos, reordering them, and giving them captions; making the “shared” element of the villa clearer; changing the pricing structure; and advertising our best features early in the site.

Here’s the new site for those who are interested:

Thank you again! We have already seen a substantial increase in interest and bookings.You all are great.


Thank you Emily! My below reply outlines the changes we made, but your post was particularly helpful. I honestly think your suggestions have already helped us get some bookings, so thanks again.