Airbnb: I am a host not a 24 hour concierge desk

UnknownI am a host that offers two private rooms in my three bedroom home.  I live on property, upstairs in close proximity to the shared rooms.  I have several jobs and enjoy the flexibility hosting has to offer so I can fit it all in. The beauty about being a host is that you get to set up your business however works for you.  My check in window is 3:00p.m. to 10:00p.m. People frequently ask if it is okay to arrive later than 10:00p.m. It is always okay to arrive later since I have Self Check In.  I make sure to leave a key in the lockbox and the porch light on. I let them know that I will be asleep and that they have everything they need to have a smooth check in.

I understand that late night flights are common. By the time they get luggage and make their way to the house, it will be after the check in window.

Recently, I had this scenario come up.  Guest asks if they can check in between 11:30p.m.- Midnight. I say “Checking in late is not a problem. You will need to Self Check In though as I will be sleeping at that time 🙂 It’s easy, I will leave a key in the lockbox and the porch light on.”

To which they reply – “Hi Julie. We just read all the house rules and are totally cool with how you operate in the house. Thanks for the clarity. We will be sure to abide by them. Look forward to meeting you too!”

Fast forward to the night they are scheduled to arrive.

pretty-girl-in-shirt-sleeping-on-white-pillow-in-bed-at-home_1398-3933At 10:35p.m. I sent a message that said – “I hope you made it okay. I’m headed to bed. I left the light on in the room since it will be late and dark when you arrive. The weather was a little warm today. So I left some blanket options for you in case you get cold. There’s a fan and a space heater, please make yourself comfortable. See you in the morning. Sleep well!” and then upon rereading, I sent another short message – “I’m tired and that message could have sounded better. Good night”

UnknownI woke up to a message they sent at midnight! At Midnight!

“Hi Julie we have arrived at the house. What is the code to key box?

This message ruffles my feathers on so many levels. They were very nice people. Young. Educated. Still.  Who waits till the last-minute to ask for information they have had since they booked?  Standing on the doorstep is not the time to get what you need.  Airbnb Lessons are Really Life Lessons What makes them even remotely think I would be available to answer this question or that I would be up to help??  I mentioned more than once that I would be sleeping. I literally sent a message saying Good Night.

Needless to say, I did not respond.  I also found them in the morning using my personal kitchen items.  It was clear they didn’t read the details of the listing.  5 Top Things Airbnb Guests Should Do

Airbnb 101– READ the details, ALL the details of the listing.  This will ensure that all parties involved have a nice experience. Airbnb: The Hosts feeling matter too.  It will also ensure that you don’t cross boundaries you are unaware of.

I have a life. I have a day job. Guests don’t get to come and go 24 hours a day and I am certainly not doing the same job twice.  Airbnb Lesson for the week: When asking for already provided information – expect to be pointed in that direction.

Have some responsibility for yourself. Prepare yourself. Your quality of life will improve because of the time and attention you put towards it.

 

 

 

 

 

Airbnb: I don’t recommend hosting anyone other than the person in the profile.

It is becoming more common that I get requests to host a relative/ friend of the Airbnb member ( the person in the profile). Even though I have been doing it, I have remained hesitant the entire time. There are guaranteed challenges that come along with it.

  • Communication– it automatically becomes third-party communication because it forces the communication to be outside of the Airbnb platform which is not recommend. This opens up the host to some liability. I personally like to screen shot outside communication and then put those pictures into the Airbnb messaging system. 20180405_162305.jpg

Bad Communication

Don’t communicate outside of Airbnb

  • Details included in the listing– hosts take the time to provide a wealth of information in the listing. Not having access to this information takes away the guests ability to be self-reliant. Guests are going to have more questions and are more likely to step over boundaries they aren’t aware of. Time is valuable and I don’t like wasting mine by explaining information that has already been provided. When asking for already provided information expect to be pointed in that direction.
  • House Rules- just like the details not being read, guests tend not to remember all the rules. How are they supposed to remind themselves if they don’t have access to the details of the listing. I provide a laminated welcome sheet that has the rules posted on it. If only guests would take the time to read it. My feathers get ruffled easily when guests don’t follow the rules they have agreed to. My House Rules- do you think they are reasonable?
  • The Review- The guests that are hosted are the ones that should leave the review. If they relay their experience to the profile person and then the profile person leaves the review it feels like we are playing the old school telephone game. I don’t think it’s fair nor as accurate as it could be. Airbnb: Location the category that isn’t fair to hosts for guests to grade.

20180522_082856.jpgI recently hosted someone’s parents.

Overall it went as well as any other guests stay. Their visit included the aforementioned issues which reinforces the reason not to host people who don’t have their own profile.

In addition to the recent experience, I learned something today that will result in me declining requests to host people who don’t have their own profiles. Straight from the Airbnb website……

Can I book on behalf of a friend or family member?

Transparency and trust are vital to the Airbnb experience. People rely on information in Airbnb profiles, reviews, and other verifications when deciding whether to host or stay with someone.

We require Airbnb reservations booked for personal travel to be booked by the person who’s going to stay at the listing.

Instead of making a reservation for someone else, consider referring them to Airbnb.

The longer I host, the more I learn about the law.

I find value in knowing the way short-term rentals work, informing guests of how things work, and without hesitation enforcing the rules. I’ve noticed people don’t like being held accountable and if you stay with me….plan to be.

Knowledge = Power

Ultimately- Everyone is responsible for themselves.

Airbnb: Superhosts don’t always make Superguests

Lately, I have had some tough experiences with guests therefore I have set new parameters of who qualifies to instant book. Instant book means anyone at anytime can book the room, if it’s available, without communicating with me first. The new parameters include; if you are new to Airbnb and do not have any reviews, you have to inquire first about being able to stay or if you have negative reviews on your profile, you also have to ask first if you can stay. I take the time now to review those guests with greater scrutiny and I actually look at the reviews that have been left by previous hosts. I will no longer be accepting guests that have established a pattern of less than ideal behavior. It is not worth the time or stress.

You can imagine my delight when a reservation came in from a Superhost.

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Even though it was only for one night, I was looking forward to having a rock star guest that would know how it goes therefore he would do all the right things to make it a great stay.

My hopes and dreams could not have been farther from the reality that was to come with his stay.

His communication was terrible from the beginning. He didn’t answer the questions asked upon booking. He didn’t answer the question asked specifically in the message I sent. I had to repeat the question until I got the answer. Eventually he said he would arrive at the official check in time of 3:00p.m.

Instead, he showed up at my doorstep an hour early because he needed to charge his phone.

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This could have been done easily at a coffee shop. I never got any communication that he would be early or that he was on his way. Just. Boom. On the doorstep. While he is on the doorstep, I get another message that there is no key in the lockbox ( You better believe there is no key available before check in time!) This is by design. It is in response to people who don’t read, people who aren’t aware of the details, people who are willing to break the rules Airbnb: These are my House Rules. Do you think they are reasonable?, people whose actions don’t match their words. I have hosted over 350 people, patterns have emerged. People require managing at all times. If there was a key, was he just going to go in? What makes him think this is okay in any way?! He was already putting me in a position by just showing up.

He was lucky I was home preparing the room. I still had a bathroom to clean when he started knocking on the door. If the other guests weren’t home, I would have ignored him to teach him a lesson but I didn’t want there to be drama. I just kept thinking that Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.

As I opened the door, he introduced himself and asked if he needed to remove his shoes. Another Big Red Flag- I have every guest confirm they have read the house rules. It clearly states in the rules that there are no shoes in the house. There is even a reminder sign on the front door and a $20 penalty fee attached to breaking this rule.

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Clearly he isn’t paying attention nor is he familiar with the details. This is not starting off well…..

I invited him in, gave him the tour and the house key, as well as let him officially check in early.

He acknowledged that he often changes plans without communicating and it frustrates his wife. After a conversation, he seemed to be more aware of the error of his ways. I can only hope that he will be motivated to change his behavior in the future.

When guests only stay for a night, it forces me to ask early on what their check out plan for the morning is. Airbnb: Respect the Check Out Time! This feels slightly awkward for me. It seems like I am saying, Hi- nice to meet you, here’s the room, here’s the bathroom and what time will you be leaving? I am sure it will get easier the more I do it. I’ve just been at it for years and it still makes me feel awkward.

He didn’t know his plan (of course). So I requested to be informed before I went to bed. That sounded vague. It is important to be specific when communicating. In conversation, ambiguity leads to interpretation which will lead to not getting what you were hoping for. I corrected my request to include a 9:00p.m. deadline. After a pause, he mentioned his flight was earlier in the morning so he would be checking out around 7:00a.m. or 8:00a.m.

I went to bed planning for that. I woke up to a message that said his flight was at 5:00a.m. so he would be leaving at 3:30a.m. and since I was awake by 5:00a.m., I decided to get a head start preparing the room for the next guest. This would allow me to get to work on the earlier side of the day. Imagine my surprise when I went into the room to clean it around 5:05a.m. and he was still in the bed.

He missed his flight. “Sorry for messing up your day ” he says. At this point, I am just ready for him to go. He mentions he would be leaving around 8:00a.m. and he did.

It is a sad day when a Superhost isn’t capable of being the best guest. If there was anyone to empathize with the host’s position. Airbnb: The Hosts feeling matter too. I find Hypocrisy a very unattractive quality to deal with. Get it together people.

Airbnb: The Bright Side

Fun can happen any minute of any day – if your open to it.

Have you ever seen the Jim Carrey movie where he has to say yes to everything?

Yes Man Movie Trailer Unknown

Well that was my life on Tuesday.

What started as a regular day for me, turned out to include spontaneity, cocktails, and new music.  I got up, ate breakfast, prepared food for work and left on my bicycle for the day. There was one guest scheduled to self check in around 3:00p.m and the other room was free.  Of course, I was hoping someone was going to stay…. I just had no idea how awesome she would be and the adventure that awaited me.

 My day changed at 10:21a.m.

This fun girl sent me this message :7685ae60-b366-402c-bd07-03a6a79abb53 “Hola, Julie! Wanna go to Washed Out tonight? I was a bit bummed I missed him in Seattle last night, but there’s no point wallowing in regret when you can move your butt and run down your dreams. My dream is to dance to Eyes Be Closed. With a new bud. Tonight. If it seems suspicious that I’m a new Airbnb member, yes I did make that account 10 minutes ago. But there’s no time like the present. So if you’re down, I will hop on the 2:20 Amtrak and see you a little after 6. PS, long time bicyclist here too, is it worth the extra $10 to throw my roadie on the train to get to your neighborhood (don’t have much of a grasp on Portland’s scale) or better to walk from the train station? Anywho, hope to meet you soon. And not kidding, will totally take you to this show if you got the inclination. ”

How perfect is this message? How could I possibly refuse?  I said yes before I knew anything about it!

Then I began to research.

Turns out Washed Out was playing at The Wonder Ballroom , one of my favorite venues, which is 2 blocks from the house. No need to worry about parking or anything since we can walk.

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The set was exactly one hour long.  They were entertaining, they did a great job with their visuals ( I was impressed). I danced almost the entire time.  I didn’t realize they did the Theme Song for Portlandia!!!!! After eight seasons the show is ending and let me just tell you that the people in Portland are okay with that. portlandia_dvd_release

The band has a new fan.  I have a new friend. Goodbye Portlandia.  My new friend and I have an annual date together to see Washed Out when he comes to Portland and those times she can stay with me for free ❤

Gotta love Airbnb.

Airbnb: Dear International Travelers

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We are all apart of the global community.

Before you travel, it is in your best interest to prepare yourself to the best of your ability.  You can hypothesize about future challenges and already have an action plan to conquer them. #success

I would like to remind you that since you might not have easy access to the internet when you are in the United States, that it is a good idea to write down the information you need, before you show up to the front door of your Airbnb and can’t access the internet to get the required information. Personal Accountability is important.  You are in control of how smooth the check in will go by utilizing the information already provided.  Information = Knowledge = Power.  Airbnb Lesson for the week: When asking for already provided information – expect to be pointed in that direction.

Hopefully you have established a Check In plan with your host. What details do you need to carry out this plan?  If you will be Self Checking in, be sure to write down the instructions, the code to the lockbox or whatever details you need to have a smooth check in. 5 Top Things Airbnb Guests Should Do

You will also want to write down the Wifi name and password. I can only assume that you will have access to the internet when traveling internationally. If you don’t, then extra information will be necessary to write down before you travel. Prepare yourself with the Host’s information so you can have access upon arrival.

Remember to pack an electrical outlet adapter.  If you stay at my Airbnb, I will provide one for you (in case you forgot) 🙂

As it states on the Airbnb website, it is not recommended to communicate through any other method but their platform.  This seems to challenge many travelers, especially if you do not have access to the internet or the Airbnb app. Regardless, it has been my observation that people prefer to text. Airbnb Lesson for the week: Never communicate outside of Airbnb20180405_162305.jpg

Sidenote- texting is just a different platform to send a message.  A message is a message.  You have to pick a recipient, then type a message, and hit send.  What difference does it make if those steps are done in Airbnb vs Text Messaging ?

Ultimately, I realize traveling can be stressful.  Hopefully this blog has reminded you the importance of preparing yourself with as much information that is available to you and asking for any information you will need that is not provided .

Safe travels to you!

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained.

 

Airbnb Lessons are Really Life Lessons

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There have been guests that show up to the house who have never seen a lockbox or they  don’t know how to use it. They don’t communicate their plans or when their plans change.  They haven’t read the listing and all the details provided so they aren’t able to navigate the experience with as much ease had they been prepared. They say they have read the house rules, show up and don’t act like it. People say they will do things all the time they don’t do.

Isn’t this how life works?!?!

This is when you learn that actions speak louder than words.  You learn that knowing is different from doing. You learn when someone is showing you who they are that you should believe them. Unknown

Whenever a guest is having a challenge and I point out the part they missed, like reading the listing or following directions . Their response has been – “It’s my 1st time to use Airbnb”

5 Top Things Airbnb Guests Should Do

1st time to Airbnb- Here is your to do checklist.

Airbnb Lesson for the week: When asking for already provided information – expect to be pointed in that direction.

Can someone please explain to me how not using Airbnb before has anything to do with whether or not you read? What does being new to Airbnb have to do with following instructions? or being a good communicator?

I would genuinely like to know ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

Airbnb: The Hosts feeling matter too.

imagesMost people think that  “The customer is always right”.

The Airbnb experience is a unique situation.

Individuals are not big business. Individuals are not always in a position to come up with a solution that will make the guest happy no matter the cost.

Yes, you are the guest.  Yes, you paid to be in someone’s home. Yes, I want you to be comfortable. You also agreed to abide by the house rules.  You agreed to adjust your behavior in the way that is being required of you during your stay.

If you aren’t going to follow the rules, if you aren’t going to provide communication or be responsive to the host’s communication, then you should expect a conversation that will be holding you accountable.

It is tough to deal with people who avoid conversation or don’t acknowledge what you’re saying or they blame the other guest or they don’t change their behavior after some communication. images1.png

If you don’t like confrontation or accountability, then be a great guest. Don’t break the rules. Don’t give the host a reason to find you for a “conversation”.

I do my best to be tolerant of the way people live.  Some people operate with more awareness and thoughtfulness than others.  I personally don’t say anything to my guests when they walk around loudly, close doors loudly, have loud conversations, listen to their tv loud, come home late at night or leave at 3:00 in the morning.  The only time I ever say anything to anybody is when they have broken one of the house rules. Airbnb: These are my House Rules. Do you think they are reasonable?

You would think that people would be on their best behavior considering I have home field advantage. Would you believe me if I told you how many people break the rules inspite of that ??