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Avoid Hosting Nightmares: 5 Surprising Things Hosts Forget to Do

Data and feedback help product designers improve their customer’s’ experience. The same goes for how you can shape your experience for guests staying in your home.

One helpful exercise is to observe how your guest interacts with your listing for the first time. Where do they look? What links do they click? What do they notice? What questions do they have? We’ve used these discovery principles to think carefully about how the guest experience can be as easy as apple pie.

Next time you prepare to host guests, use this reminder — here are the 5 things that hosts commonly forget about.

1. Personalizing Your Place

Guests love getting a personalized perspective on their destination. After all, they’re choosing to stay in your home over a generic, standardized hotel room. Help them discover the unique personality of your vacation rental as soon as they enter. This can include unique art or objects that show off your neighborhood or family’s character, or even food that is special to your area.

For example, one Hostfully host we chatted with loves hummingbirds. He leaves hummingbird art and objects all around his home. It’s an easy way to share a bit about yourself and also be even more welcoming to guests. If you’re comfortable sharing a photograph of you and/or your family, displaying that can be a nice touch, too.

2. Providing the Essentials

People’s attention span is dwindling. Unfortunately, this means that it will be even harder for you to share the important things that your guests need to know when they stay in your home. However, we discovered that many hosts fail to include the most essential information at the beginning of their guidebook. This free online tool will allow you to share basic information for your listing including check-in, directions to your listing, your contact information, and wi-fi instructions.

Make sure that the first page of your guidebook includes all the important things your guests need to know — period. If it isn’t essential, don’t put it on the first page . You can include it later for those of your guests who are patient and like to read.

When you pay attention to how you share information and you help prioritize that information for your guests, you’ll give them a much better stay. And what’s more, you’ll have to spend less time explaining the information you need your guests to know. So it’s a win-win all around. Just a tip — every guest will need to know how to:

 

 

  • Operate the lights
  • Lock the doors
  • Turn on heating/cooling
  • Use water in the bathroom
  • Use the remote controls

 

 

Guests will also need to know the location of the nearest grocery store, pharmacy, and of course, the closest coffee shop. Make sure you include safety precautions if that is relevant for your listing. Keep this information short and sweet.

3. Offering a Local Experience

Most people don’t like to go to crowded places with overpriced prices when visiting a new place. This is where you, as a host, play a key role. Showing your city with the eyes of a local is an experience guests look forward to. Andrew Ostrowski, an avid host in Nashville, has opened his house to dozens of guests across the country.

His favorite part? Helping guests live like a local and sharing with them the hidden gems that made him fall for his historic city.

 

vacation rental guest book
Andrew’s Ostrowski Favorite Local Recommendations

4. Focusing On the First 24 hours

There’s nothing worse than a communication breakdown in the first 24 hours of your guests’ stay. We’ve seen hosts who rent out 2 different areas of their home — and when one group couldn’t contact him, they got confused entered the other guests’ bedroom at midnight!

While it made for a great laugh around the kitchen table the next day, you want to ensure that your guests can reach you and ask important questions , especially within the first 24 hours.

Make sure your phone and email are turned on and encourage your guests to text you with questions (because it’s typically the most reliable and fastest way to communicate).

5. Sharing Information about Your Neighborhood

About 50% of tourists do detailed planning about their trip before they arrive, but most hosts don’t do as much as they can to share their own local recommendations.

Help your guests discover what you love about your neighborhood by sharing your guidebook before they get there. That way, they can come with better questions and make more informed decisions about what they want to do during their stay.

Make sure your guidebook includes recommendations . Feel free to sprinkle in a few stories about you and your family enjoying your favorite local spots . This makes it more personal.

 

What tips can you share that will help other Airbnb hosts create better experiences for their guests? Make sure you don’t make the 5 biggest Airbnb hosting mistakes. Listening to your guests’ feedback and observing how they interact with you are key to provide the most out of every stay.

 

This article is courtesy by Hostfully—a platform for people to provide better hospitality to their guests. They couple local, personalized recommendations with essential listing information to make a complete guidebook for each listing. Hostfully currently operates all around the world.

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At first I tried to take care of all of the cleaning process myself, and it turned out to be a bigger headache than anything else. So a friend told me about MaidThis and its been fantastic. I’ve been working with my cleaners for a few months so far. I recommend you check out the service for yourself.
Brent
Airbnb Host in LA
90+

Hours
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I definitely think that as a company we've been able to make more money, not only because we're saving money by using Maid This, but also because they're helping take a few of the necessary evils with doing vacation rentals off of the property managers plate.
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Airbnb Host in LA
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6 Ways to Get the Vacation Rental Ratings and Referrals You Want

vacation rental referrals

Vacations are tranquil, serene occasions to create space in our lives to unwind, even if for just a short time. Most vacation guests are seeking an opportunity to relax and expect an optimum experience. As a vacation rental owner, you’re looking for those optimum experiences to be reflected in your ratings and subsequent referrals.

Achieving this can be a mixed bag of several things: providing top-notch amenities, anticipating questions and needs, offering special promotions, and outright asking guests to provide feedback on their stays – just to name a few.  

To ensure your renters are satisfied, you need to be intuitively aware, exceedingly helpful, and abundantly pleasant. Here are 6 ways to get the ratings you’re hoping for.

1. Provide amenities.

Leaving one’s home for a vacation should be seamless. The more you can provide in your vacation rental for your guests to make them enjoy their break, the happier they’ll be. Moreover, the higher your ratings will be and the higher the chances they’ll recommend your rental to friends and family. It’s a domino effect.

To achieve all this, start with the basics. Think of things you forget when going on vacation. Toothpaste, toothbrushes, and mini bottles of shampoo are all often forgotten and easily provided. Consider leaving small bottles of lotion and lip balm that might not be “typical” toiletry amenities. To add a really special touch, throw in a complimentary bottle of wine or other booking gift. It’s all about attention to detail. These are the things that will be remembered.

2. Be helpful and anticipate needs that may arise.

The last thing anyone wants to feel while on vacation is stress. Breaks are intended to be the opposite. Despite this, unexpected events or challenges can still arise.

Most people research the things they want to see or do before leaving for their destination and choose where they will stay accordingly. But no matter how meticulous of a planner someone is, there will always be holes. This is where you, the “host with the most,” comes in.

Your vacation rental is “in the heart” of somewhere. Maybe you’re located in a great neighborhood, near a fabulous eatery, or minutes away from a beach with incredible views. It’s your job to sell the area to your guests and, essentially, be an on-demand concierge. Consider grouping all the things near you – restaurants, convenience stores for picking up quick things, gas stations, shopping areas, etc. – and create guides to leave in your vacation rental. If you’re willing, make it clear to your guests that you’re there to help.

Consider making yourself available to chat with your guests in person, on the phone, or via email about any questions they may have. To get great ratings and referrals, you have to stand out. By staying ahead of your guests’ expectations, you’ll be so helpful that it’s remarkable.

3. Create a comfortable stay.

Reflect back to the last great vacation you had. What made it exceptional? One of the top 5 things you’d probably remark on is comfort. The place where you stayed most likely had a lot of appeal to it and made you feel at ease. It was likely clean, had inviting colors, the decor was spot-on and stylish, and everything was easily accessible.

These things are important. Without comfort, you have nothing.

4. Offer promotions and discounts.

Believe it or not, offering special promotions or discounts won’t cause you to lose money and can be a surefire way to get the ratings and referrals you want for your vacation rental. The key is to provide special pricing or discounts with a specific reason in mind, not just to attract more guests.

Offer a discount for longer stays, such as bookings lasting a week or more. This way, it offers an incentive for having a longer-than-average vacation and improves your occupancy rate in the process.

5. Make local connections.

Yes, your vacation rental is listed online and future guests may find your listing by doing an online search. But in order to maximize the potential for earning great ratings (and hence, referrals), you’ll have to think outside the box.

Think local and think offline. Are there any community organizations nearby? Perhaps there are annual meetings or events in your area. Members of these organizations may need somewhere to stay. Reach out to them and share information about your vacation rental as a cheaper, out-of-the-box alternative to a hotel.

What about attractions in close proximity to your vacation rental? This ties in with offering exclusive promotions and discounts. Think about companies offering local attractions and try to work out special bargains for your guests. It’s a win-win. Your renters get great deals and you get a living, breathing relationship with other business owners who can refer you as an awesome place to stay.

6. Ask your guests for referrals directly.

Because you’re a stellar host – you provided a clean, welcoming, comfortable space for your guests and you’ve been able to anticipate their needs during their stay – going a step further and asking for their feedback should be a breeze.

Before your guests get ready to leave, ask them to share some thoughts about their time at your vacation rental. If they were happy with their experience, ask them to tell their friends about your rental property, too. Word of mouth is power. if someone has a positive experience, they’re more likely to tell others about it.

 

There’s no doubt about it: high ratings and word-of-mouth referrals are both great ways to keep your vacation rental occupied every month. Implementing a few extra touches can go a long way. With these 6 tips, you’ll be getting consistent, great ratings and have a high referral rate in no time!

 

Need to make sure your rental is in tip-top shape? Want one less thing to think about in preparation for your next guests? Contact us today to learn more about how we can get your vacation rental spic and span.

Clean my
Vacation Rental


single-blog-sidebar-vacation-rental
  • Automated Scheduling
  • Cleaning Report with Pictures
  • Never a No-Show. Guaranteed.
Book Now

Testimonials

At first I tried to take care of all of the cleaning process myself, and it turned out to be a bigger headache than anything else. So a friend told me about MaidThis and its been fantastic. I’ve been working with my cleaners for a few months so far. I recommend you check out the service for yourself.
Brent
Airbnb Host in LA
90+

Hours
Saved

I definitely think that as a company we've been able to make more money, not only because we're saving money by using Maid This, but also because they're helping take a few of the necessary evils with doing vacation rentals off of the property managers plate.
Laura G
Airbnb Host in LA
90+

Hours
Saved