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What/who is a perfect host

Continuing the discussion from What / who is a perfect guest:

My reply was that I want to be the perfect host since that’s what I have some degree of control over. So I got to thinking: what makes the perfect host?

I’ll start with what I said in the other thread;

The perfect host anticipates issues and works proactively to prevent them. For example, the host checks that all appliances and electronics work before every stay. They don’t depend on the guest to do this for them.

Can we come up with a list that applies to every kind of listing or is the perfect host for a room in a shared home different than one in a standalone home?

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Who is a perfect host

Me. Simply me :rofl:

JF

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I will piggie back of what you said but add that a perfect host also anticipates the needs of his/her guests and will add extras. For example, if the host knows it’s a trip celebrating their wedding anniversary the host will leave a bottle of champagne. Or if there are children, the host will leave coloring books and crayons or storybooks. These small gestures are greatly appreciated by guests.

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This discussion reminds me of Helen Mirren’s character’s definition of what makes a perfect servant in “Gosford Park.” This is what housekeeper Mrs Wilson says:

“What gift do you think a good servant has that separates them from the others? It’s the gift of anticipation. And I’m a good servant; I’m better than good, I’m the best; I’m the perfect servant. I know when they’ll be hungry, and the food is ready. I know when they’ll be tired, and the bed is turned down. I know it before they know it themselves.”

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slightly undersell - slightly overdeliver

Adjust the final pitch to where guests are from.
There are slightly different priorities in different areas/countries.

An extreme example:
If you host Korean guests politely advise that there is no drain in the bathroom floor.
They wash before they enter a bathtub/shower.
Helps to prevent flooding and a negative review.

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I would argue that you can’t be the perfect host since that would require perfect information and intuition about your guests and the extent to which they want you to “reach out to” or “bother” them. I try to say hello to them and in the short initial conversation work out if they want to keep on talking or have me leave them alone. They often ask “how long have you lived here?” which I take as a cue to keep on talking. Following the lead of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth I find a good conversation filler is to ask “Have you come far?” . Rather than “Where are you from?” which these days is considered a bit rude (If you don’t understand why I envy you because it is considered a bit of a minefield). I try not to ask “what do you do?” since they are on holiday and people are not defined by their occupations. Since I am a bit of a chatterbox and live alone I am inclined to take any cue to stop and chat as an invitation, while reminding myself that they might really prefer me to leave pronto. Generally reviews say I am friendly and provide useful information about the area so I hope I am doing something right most of the time. But perfect? Not for me to say.

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Guest-proof the property to minimize damages, which are upsetting to the well-intentioned and good guest as well as to you.

Strive for every aspect of the space and all functions, appliances, etc. to be obvious and intuitive. If anything is unavoidably a bit complex, provide clear instructions. Travel uses up enough brain bandwidth as it is because we are dealing with unfamiliar locations and situations we can’t navigate by habit. Small confusions can present as big frustrations.

Make locating the property, day or night, and entry super easy.This is probably the most anxious part of staying at an STR – How do I get in? What if I have a problem?

Provide some unadvertised treat or benefit. It can involve minimal expense or effort. Fresh flowers from your garden, some local snacks, etc.

Respond immediately to any malfunction. If it lasts more than a short period (e.g. water main outage), mitigate (e.g., bottled water to drink and gallon jugs to flush), and compensate the guest with something tangible they can enjoy immediately and without effort, such as a gift basket. Again, doesn’t require much expenditure.

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I would think the perfect host for a shared home listing would definitely be different in some respects from a host of an entire place.

I’ll address the shared home host, since that’s what I know.

You have to be observant as to how much interaction a guest wants. The vast majority of my guests have been much the same type of people as me, so it hasn’t been that challenging. We do our own thing a lot of the time, easily chat in passing, carry on conversations if we’re both using the kitchen at the same time.
Sometimes have long conversations and laughs over coffee or a bottle of wine. It’s all quite easygoing.

If they are up in their room, I never disturb them unless it’s for some important reason. If the door to their room, which opens into the same balcony that leads to my room is open, I might call out to them to make sure they’re not doing something private, to say I’m going to the store, do they need anything, or find out if they are planning to be home for the next hour, in which case, I wouldn’t bother to lock the door to the kitchen/ living room area (my house has outside entries to different areas, it’s not like a typical house in temperate climates)

I’ve had some guests who are more private- they are either out or up in their room, and might only use the kitchen to get some water or keep some beers in the fridge- they eat out. Those guests I’m friendly to in passing, but I don’t try to initiate conversations or be chatty.

When guests arrive, I show them to their room, point out light switches, let them know it takes a minute for the hot water to work its way up to their shower, point out where the clean towels are, etc., then tell them I’ll leave them to unpack, relax, shower, nap, whatever, and when they are ready, I’ll orient them around the kitchen, show them how the kitchen door lock works, etc.

I just try not to overload them with too much information at once- most have had a long journey, might be quite tired, or feeling disoriented, etc, which isn’t the most opportune time to show people how everything works. Once they’ve relaxed a bit, it’s a better time.

One thing my guests really think is great is that I offer to pick them up at the bus station when they arrive (not mentioned in my listing) and drive them back when they check out. I’ve only ever had a guest drive to my place twice, and that was because they rented cars at the airport.
That’s my main underpromise and overdeliver :slight_smile: They’ve all been really appreciative of the ride with their bags. The other alternatives are a 20 minute walk, or call a taxi for $5.

Another thing about being a “perfect” home share host is that you have to have some tolerance for the fact that guests may not do things the way you would. You may like your kitchen counters nice and clear when not making meals, but your guests might tend to leave little piles of their groceries sitting out. You can’t be a nit-picky micro-manager and home-share successfully.

And lastly, I don’t think anyone should host a home share if they are simply in it for the extra money. You should like people in general, and not mind sharing your space. I’ve seen posts from home-sharers asking if they can make a rule that guests have to be out of the house from 10 am to 4 pm. because it drives them crazy having others around. No one wants slug guests who just lay around the living room all day, but that just seems bizarre to me, to list a private room, but resent guests being in your home.

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I don’t know what happened in my previous reply :grin:

But, as I was saying, for my home share:

Genuinely enjoys people
Enjoys providing quality experience
Flexible & easygoing, but has clear rules/boundaries
& a gentle way of reinforcing/reminding
Clear communication
Clear boundaries & willing to firmly, but kindly
remind as necessary
Mindful of guest’s interest in interaction/privacy
And always, as we say here, underpromise & over
deliver!

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Glad you mentioned that, I forgot that part in my long post. I’ve heard home share hosts grouse about their guests taking over the kitchen, or leaving their stuff cluttering up common spaces, but the host doesn’t say anything, just stews over it and resents it.
It’s important to say something right away, in a friendly way, so it doesn’t feel like it’s not your home, but the guest’s. And if you wait days to say anything, it will feel like a confrontation, rather than a simple request.

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Many good items are already noted here. I would add that when we host guests whom we know are from a different culture (lots of international guests here) we do some minimal research to both avoid alienating them and potentially delight them with our consideration. Best of all, these measures are usually at no cost.

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I did that but it turned out they don’t drink. :wink: Ha ha.

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I like to leave chocolate. The packet colour coordinates with the bedding. :sunglasses:

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Hi, don’t worry, those animals which sending airbnb destroy everything. Airbnb do not care about you but only about own ASS. Is few normal people but most of them animals.

So Zibby, don’t sit on the fence, tell us what you really think about Airbnb…

JF

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I couldn’t understand what they posted. Could you translate?

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Sure:

va, ghaHvaD ghItlhtaHvIS qechvam. loQ Hoch yIHmey’e’ yIQaH. chIm rur chaH ngeDqu’moHlaH 'Iw.

That better?

JF

Hi, how long you are with them

@zibby162534 I agree that Airbnb doesn’t care about hosts.

But Airbnb doesn’t send you guests. You have control over whether to accept a booking or not.
Hosting since late 2016. Never had a bad guest.

With them since 2014, over 1000 guests, 800+ bookings, 600+ reviews.

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