Dear hosts I'm going to make this welcome entrance tips short and sweet, like me… Week number one of the host collaborative Instagram challenge didn’t just inspire me to get more involved in IG—it also gave me some inspiration for this show.
You have no clue what I'm talking about? Well go ahead and listen to Episode 112, The Host Collaborative Instagram Challenge, and get involved. But before you go off… stay for 10 minutes and listen up… the prompt for week one of the challenge was to post a photo of your welcome entrance. And that made me think about what makes a great entrance. Does it have to be flashy? Extravagant? An impossible goal? Not really. Here are Five Tips to a Great Welcoming Entrance.
A welcoming entrance says so much about your home. Is there trash laying around? Are the plants half-dead? Is the paint peeling? I know that's not the case with your vacation rental.
Entrances evolve over time, believe me. I have had Eveland for 16 years, and in the beginning, I didn't have everything I have now. The front steps were done about 10 years ago. The front door has evolved, painted more times than my gray hairs, and now it’s even a new door to me.
Is it perfect? No, I actually want to change those front steps again.
We live and learn with every guest and with every renovation. If you're just starting out, or if you’re re-doing your front entrance, I hope this episode helps you start out on the right foot.
Let’s start with tip number one…
You'll think I’ll say you need beautiful flowers to adorn your steps, which can be a big plus. but my first tip is clear house numbers. It doesn't matter if your guest is going to use a Google pin to get to your home.
Your home needs identifiable, clear numbers. Some homes don't have any; yes, trust me, dear host. Are your numbers covered by plants? Are they readable at night? Or are they just dark and indistinguishable? Have your guests ever found themselves lost and knocking on the door of someone else’s house?
Simple numbers that are illuminated at night is an essential tip here. And it doesn't have to be anything fancy. Just for your guest to say. “Oh, there is the house,” in joy.
I was just at Eveland yesterday, cutting my neighbor’s plants because they're peeking through the fence and obstructing my steps. No, I didn't kill their bamboo trees, I just trimmed what would be smacking anyone trying to enter my house.
Look out for your steps and handrails, and cut back overgrown plants — anything that might be a hazard in any kind of weather. Hey, my insurance company forced me to add a handrail to a set of steps and I was very grateful.
If you're a remote host, you also want to have a team to take care of the snow during the wintertime. Safety is tip two, but it could also be tip number one.
For many years I used a lockbox, but about 3 years ago I bought a Schlage smart lock and it was a game-changer. You want to listen to Episode 79: The Ins and Outs of Using a Smart Lock for Your Airbnb, where I go deep comparing smart locks.
Now more than ever you must think about self-check-in for your guests. Yes, there is nothing like that personal touch of you welcoming a tired guest to your home. You explain all the details of it, which they will forget because all they want to do is use the bathroom and relax. Trust me. Self-check-in is better.
Your guest is probably exhausted from travel, so during this time, they don't want to interact with another human being. Guests want to press a code or get their keys from a lockbox if they must; they just want to get into their private home and chill. If you can't add a smart lock to your front door, or if you don’t want to, consider installing a lockbox.
In Puerto Rico, we have a lockbox, and it's a time-saver—key’s in the box, and we don't have to think about it. No interaction with the guests. It doesn't mean that we're not personable or haven't provided all the necessary information. Nope, that's in our strategic communication before they arrive and in our 5-star House Manual once the guest is in the house.
Yes, a simple awning—something to cover the entrance so people don't get wet. But I have to confess that it took me until this year to have one, and I love it. I did a massive renovation in January 2020 and a beautiful awning was added. I love it.
(I know that this might take some time for you to accomplish, so my awning tip is extra. Don’t worry if you don’t have one or can’t get one.)
Last but not least…
Did you know that if your guest doesn't get check-in instructions, Airbnb can refund your guest? Oh yeah. I talk about this in another episode, but this is one Airbnb requirement. Your guest has to have those check-in details.
I normally send this info three to five days before arrival, all automated, of course, with iGMS. In the Eveland NY email, I even include a video on how to use the smart lock. While in the Casita Puerto Rico email I have a Google Map pin to help them navigate. (Even with that pin sometimes a guest still gets lost, but I try.)
That's part of what goes into that pre-arrival email; because there is a strategy in communication and check-in information. If you want to get the exact words that I use with my guests, click here:
Extra Welcome Tips:
You're probably wondering, ”What about flowers…trees…beauty?” Ahh yes, beauty! One way to achieve that is to give your entrance a striking, colorful door. My current door is yellow, and in the past it was turquoise. Before than red.
To add to the color explosion, plant flowers that are the envy of your neighbors, as long as you have someone watering them or they're drought tolerant. Do your research before you plant because you need to decide who is going to take care of them if you’re not there every day.
Your entrance will create the guest's expectation of what they can find inside. An immaculate home to create memories during this trip. Your entrance can say welcome without you even saying a word.