Even after almost five years as a host, I’m surprised by the inquiries I sometimes get from Airbnb guests. The guest I am writing about today sent me an email in January for his May vacation, the inquiry was for 1 person. He had five great reviews from other hosts. We wrote back and forth, and then… Well, read to the end to find out.
My family and I are visiting NYC during these dates and are looking for a home to rent. It would be myself, my wife, our 2 year old, and the nanny. Would you consider putting together an offer for these nights?
Thank you so much for your interest in my place. Can you please explain putting together an offer? I usually provide discounts during the winter months. Right now, my home is over 25% discounted. But in the high season, I don't offer any discounts. In addition, your inquiry is just for one person, but there will be 4 people in your reservation. I charge a nightly rate per person. Please let me know if you have any additional questions.
I've updated my request to 3 guests. Unless you consider our 2 year old an addition adult [sic]. How soon must we complete the booking would you say?
I wasn’t going to say much, but I decided to be totally honest on my next communication so…
From your reviews, I could tell you're an experienced and amazing guest. You could tell from my reviews that I'm an amazing, outstanding host. But when I read our email exchange, I'm hesitant to host you.
Why? Because I do charge for children since they're people. They use resources and I provide a pack-n-play, stroller, highchair, baby books and toys, making the trip for the parents easier. But if I was to tell you that I do charge for children – Will you be resentful? Will you not love my home as much as other guests do? Will you be booking thinking, oh my god all she wants is money? I will not know those answers and so that's my indecision.
I take pride in hosting, so much so that I'm currently an independent host consultant. I don't rent rooms, I make dreams and memories possible. I feel responsible for your vacation and I want you to be at ease and happy in my home. When you walk in through my doors, I want you and your family to be happy to be home. And that's all I have to say.
What do you think?
Evelyn Badia Yes, you could look me up
I never heard from this guest again.
Why have I decided to share this particular email exchange with you?
I write these posts to help my fellow Airbnb hosts learn from my experiences. The do’s and don’ts, the good, the bad, the ugly. This is why I am sharing this interchange.
Why I didn’t want to give them an “offer.”
I know May is my high season, and I don’t need to give discounts to be booked. If they were trying to book for February, then I would say, pay for two and forget about paying for the nanny and child.
Do you know your Airbnb business’s high and low seasons?
You can figure out your high season by the number of tourists you see in your town. If your home is in a college town, then your high season will be around the school schedule – parents dropping kids off, graduations, kids visiting schools, etc. If this is your first year hosting, you might need to go through a full year to get to know your business cycle.
For example, at the beginning, I thought November and December would be super busy. It turned out they were not as busy as I originally predicted. They’re busy for the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s holidays, but that’s all. People don’t travel as much during the other weeks. I only know this now because of my experience.
This current slow season has been the slowest in my five years of hosting. I just heard, but haven’t yet confirmed it, that New York has gained over 40% more hosts in this last year alone. That’s a lot of competition. I need to up my marketing to be as booked as I need to be.
Why did I want to be so vulnerable and honest?
I guess the moon was shining a specific way. Maybe, I get a feeling about guests from the tone of their inquiries. I normally just politely decline guests who make me feel resentful. I don’t want that kind of energy in my home. This particular time, I rolled the dice and went with it.
I really don’t want guests asking for a discounts when they’re flying their nanny with them. Come on. It just does not seem reasonable. This is a business, and it is how I make my living.
What do you do when a guest tries to push for discounts? Do you give in?
Like always, I invite you to please share your comments and experiences below. We can all learn from each other. And sign up for updates, tips, and webinar information.
Until next time.