On my own experience of 5 years hosting I found that when I push the level of my hospitality to the limits I received back more demanding guests, and frankly, they sometimes departed thinking I could be doing things even better (guests easily forget how much they have paid). To put this into a more graphical example if I left a bowl of fruits I might get suggestions of other types of things to leave inside the fridge however when I just left a bottle of water and juice they are more than happy with those and they thank me so much for being so kind with them. I find this similar applied to communication. The more I’m intented to be helpful to them, the more they demmand more help from me. I guess all this has a simple answer: I’m raising their expectations.The wrost of all is that when I was trying to improve their stay somehow I was bad rated on something later. Can you share your thoughts about this?
Again, this is why many of us hosts have given up doing extras. They don’t appreciate it, and in general, it makes them whine that it wasn’t more. You are a five-year host, so I am surprised you are still doing it!
Well, in 5 years of hostings I have learned this and I frequently need to remind it to myself to avoid crossing that line. Whatever, despite I always take measures to be aware of raising up expectations, my experience told me that you need to move forward and improve your service if you want to survive. It isn´t that you aren´t delivering a good quality service but instead is that the others in your area haven´t leanerd this lesson still and unfortunately they forced you to adapt to a high level of service. This is probably a main issue on big markets (tons of listings) where there is fearce competition, the service quality always moves up while prices moves down.
Not sure where you are but it is probably true for areas with high densities of rentals. Lots of competition. Do you really think it is service though? I think it is price.
Of course, the decision of the average Airbnb´s guest was always based on price but for listings of the same price range what it tips the scale is your service. I’m seeing many listings with empty calendars and their price is a screaming deal however at other listings of the same price the host went the extra mile to earn better reviews by offering a better service. You can´t just think that by lowering your price your will always get more bookings. It is just not enough.
I’m consistent in price and service. I know the guests appreciate what I call PERSONAL service… helpful ideas about the island, where to go and what to do… things I tell them, as I am a writer for a a major travel guidebook… That is in every single review without fail. How much they liked my personal knowledge and help. Not because I leave Kona coffee and chocolates. Or wine, etc. Never…
(That’s something I only do for guests staying three weeks and longer, and let me tell you, that’s rare and hardly ever happens.)
I started by listing a spare room in my house, and I’d make breakfast. Then we listed a second room, more guests, still making breakfast. Moved from our own bedroom to an airmattress in the basement to list the third bedroom. That was House 1. Breakfast! Then get another place three blocks away (House 2)- now breakfast at one house at 8am and breakfast at the other place at 9am. Another listing! So now it’s breakfast at 8am, then walk down the street with a blue ikea bag full of goodies, as my husband goes off in the car to House 3. When we got to House 4, we said - that’s it. No more breakfast. Then we left things for guests to prepare themselves. Then that went away. Then we left coffee, tea, cookies, fruit. Fruit was never eaten, coffee was rarely made and every once in a while people would make a pot of tea. So it’s a long winded way of saying that the “things” or “goods” never really seemed to matter. The best reviews came when I had time to interact with guests. It was true 6 years ago, and it’s true today. Most of my guests are international travelers and they want a bit of insider info. So any time that I can give them they want, just to ask an opinion of a show to see or where to get an egg cream.
So now, I rarely give “extras”. The exception for me is repeat guests. I’ll leave them a bottle of wine or something specifically related to their personal situation if I’ve gotten to know them a bit. I have a guest coming tomorrow for the third time - an extremely young 80 year old bringing her less independent friends to New York two at a time. She mentioned they meet for sherry three times a week, so I’ll leave them a bottle.
I agree with posts above - I laugh when new hosts talk about leaving each guest a basket of fresh fruit, a bottle of wine, homemade cake, etc. I always think - yeah, you’ll tire of that soon.
Well said and I could not agree more!!
What an interesting post…I have done both – I have left wine and crackers, cereal and milk, or nothing at all, it doesn’t make a difference. Do guests want anything else besides a low nightly rate, a comfortable bed and a clean space?
I did both too, but i did not notice guests want more. Most said no to simple breakfast that i only provided during high season when my room was over a 100$. I did though improvements based on guests comments. I put TV in one room so far and planning on another TV. The funny part is that since i had TV there, few guests said they dont really care because they are not going to watch it as they are not staying in at all due to their busy schedule.
I put matress pad on bed, and started getting comments on how comfortable bed is.I replaced full bed with queen, and put hair dryer in each bathroom. Other than that and asking them if they want advice on where to go or what to see, i dont provide any extras, only coffee and tea, which rarely anyone uses anyway. Which suprises me as i can not go to sleep without tea. And that one cup of coffee in a morning definitely starts my day.