Connecting with your guest as a remote superhost with Tammi Sims

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I just returned from a short trip to San Diego. I wasn’t on a vacation, you know, enjoying beautiful La Jolla Beach, the famous San Diego Zoo or ALL the sights lovely San Diego has to offer… No, I was in southern Cali to meet up with my mastermind group… Oh yes, mastermind group… We don’t secretly rule the world…At least, not yet…

We were actually there for a conference with marketing maven Amy Porterfield! We also had lunch with none other than online entrepreneur Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income. Personally, I’m a super fan of both, so yes, you can say I was VERY excited to meet and pick their brains…IN PERSON!

Unfortunately, it was such a jam-packed weekend, which left me with no time to meet up with any The Journey hosts, something I ALWAYS try to do when I’m in different cities, be it instructing, lecturing, or attending conferences… You know I LOOOVE to meet you, my dear hosts! If you’re part of the ever-growing Facebook group, The Hosting Journey, you‘ll know that I was staying at an Airbnb (of course).

Sidebar, it’s super easy to join my Facebook group. All you have to do is type thehostingjourney.com slash community and it will take you to the page. Nice and easy. I like my simplicity.

Lessons are Invaluable:

Ok, back to where I was… One of the best learning experiences for a host is to utilize Airbnb as a guest. The lessons are invaluable. You get to experience your entire business from the other side… Look, if you haven’t tried it, I truly suggest on your next outing, you do.

  • You’ll learn about communication (do you have too little, too much),
  • How it feels to be a guest in a strange home,
  • And if you’re sharing a space, even more so…

Nothing will make you a better host than being a guest. Trust me on this one.

Now, If in doubt, listen to Episode 09: Airbnb Adventures by Experienced Guests, where I speak with my dear friends and Airbnb enthusiasts, Mitch and Stephanie. It’s all about their experiences as guests… They’ll tell you about the time they booked a house with a beautiful swimming pool for their entire family to enjoy together… Unfortunately, the only thing they did together was stared at the freezing pool because they assumed it would be heated….and you guessed it…it wasn’t. Plus, much more… Listen so you can learn what makes an Airbnb home memorable even after seven years.

Now I’m here today as a well-seasoned host, ready to give you some important insights on what works and what doesn’t work from a guest’s point of view. So in this episode, I’m going to share…

What I Learned as an Airbnb Guest

In this episode… I’m gonna take you through finding the perfect place, the check-in process, the actual house, and check-out. Because if you’ve never stayed as a guest, or if it has been awhile since you have, you know that finding that Airbnb gem that works for everyone can be tricky and may even take some extra navigation.  It’s doable, though. I promise.

 

Finding an Airbnb

On this trip, we were a group of three adult women, and we wanted our own rooms… So, we were looking for a three bedroom listing that worked for all of us. As I mentioned earlier, we were there to attend a conference with Amy Porterfield, but we were also having our own mastermind meetings the following two days. We wanted a place with a kitchen to possibly cook, but we also wanted to be near restaurants just in case we decided that cooking wasn’t on the agenda.

You know, changing our minds is a woman's prerogative… and that’s all I’m saying.

We also wanted to be near the ocean and an area where we could walk around and feel safe (one of our ladies wakes up very early for her daily walks. And I know you want to know that’s not It isn’t me. One of the members of my mastermind group lives in San Diego, so thankfully, he was able to direct us where to look and book. The search took a while. I even posted in my Facebook Group The Hosting Group, but we couldn’t find anything that met our criteria.

The Hidden Gem:

I know we wanted a lot… We finally found it in a house managed by a big property management company. Look we were apprehensive at first. I didn’t want to really book it, since I wanted to book a place managed by an owner like me, but I was outvoted. I know of Airbnb's managed by service companies like Cityami and Metro Butler who do a magnificent job. You can listen to Episode 25 How to Hire a Property Management Service Company to learn more. Now, taking that episode to heart, I decided to try it out for you, my dear community. We booked it, and I’m wiser for the experience.

Now, remember, I know my way around the Airbnb site, and we even went to other platforms in search of listings that fit our criteria. Even still, it was extremely difficult to find a property we could ALL agree on. I can only imagine how those with no experience find a place… It can be daunting.

Communication is Key:

Because I wasn’t the person who booked the place, I didn’t have direct communication with the Property Management Company, but I was added to the reservation, which was a nice perk. I got some emails from Airbnb, letting me know my trip was getting closer and some fun stuff to do in San Diego. If I had been going on vacation, I would’ve found it quite useful.

Now once I arrived in San Diego, I officially surrendered my Superhost hat and officially became an Airbnb guest… My friend who booked our place was going to arrive at check-in time. My flight was arriving early, so with that I also became officially “that” guest (you know, the one that arrives while you still have a dust rag in hand).

Now, I had planned to wander around till check-in, but then I decided, “I’ll call to see if I can check-in early…” I figured, why not? Worst case they’ll say, “NOPE, DON’T BE THAT GUEST!”

Trying to get information on your cell phone while at the airport can be a pain, a real pain, I tell you, but I finally got a hold of the management company and thankfully allowed me to check in early. I wouldn’t have to wander the streets of San Diego with my luggage… A win for me. They texted me the check-in information.

I experienced first hand the ease of “keyless locks,” which Alex Nigg spoke about on my Episode 19: Technology Made Easy For Your Airbnb, and hosts…I want one.

What I will say about “Keyless Locks” is be very clear on your instructions because I felt like an idiot trying to figure out the lock. Look, I had to turn a specific knob, and I was turning the wrong handle. I ended up having to call them (again, being THAT guest) to have them explain it to me. Now in my defense, all they texted me was the code, assuming that I knew what I was doing… And you know what they say about assuming…

Enough said. But I couldn’t complain much. I was checking in 5 hours early and relaxing before the tsunami of activities were set to begin… But one thing, please…

Make your instructions idiot proof…and I do mean idiot proof. Assume nothing.

Communication While at the House:

We never received any welcome email or any communication from the company. No, “Hi!” No, “How are you? How’s it going?“ No, “Hope you enjoyed your stay… Please come back again”… Nothing, Nada, Zilch… It lacked that personal feel that as a host makes the US different…and truly, 5 stars. They did have a laminated page on the fridge with the wifi code and check-out instructions. Useful and easy.

They were using a digital house manual, which we opened just once. It had about 4 or 5 restaurant recommendations… My friends were like, “we don’t want to to be opening our phones every time we want to look for a place to eat.”

It is funny how people think about technology. Even though we ended up looking for restaurant recommendations online anyway… funny, huh? Perhaps, it was because there weren’t that many options in the digital House Manual.

I saw an email from the company, which stated, “In an effort to go paperless we use a digital House Manual”…, but if guests don’t use it or aren’t comfortable with that type of technology, what good is it?

My friends did miss having something tangible in the house that we could open up and share with each other; and not just on the phone.

I developed The House Manual templates, which is what I use for my listings… My guests use my House Manual ALL the time and swear by it… It has tons of restaurants with maps from my house to the restaurant's location and recommendations for different things to do like that coffee shop, the hair salons, yoga studio, or the best place to view the sunset, ahhh.

Yes, you can google them, but there is nothing like a personal recommendation from you, the local expert. And this isn’t just me saying it. My guests mention my House Manual in my reviews ALL the time. Believe me, we’re not mentioning that digital house manual in our review because we found it cumbersome, and like I said, we ended up NOT using it.

Damages:

Yes, I broke stuff. Not only did I ask for an early check-in, but while opening a window, one of the blades from the blinds fell. I texted the company to let them know. I’m a good guest like that, even if I’m breaking stuff.

I also scraped my knee… Don’t ask… Suffice it to say that I told them about my mishap and that there were some bloodstains on the sheets… because YOU know those sheets will need some pre-treatment before they get washed. I know this from my laundry Ph.D.

Checking Out:

We checked out without a hitch… No issues other than check-out was a bit early… out at 10 am. 10 am? My friend who gets up at 4 am had no issues.

They had very specific instructions… If you wanted a late check out it would be an extra $100 … and you needed to let them know 48 hours in advance….48 hrs in advance? I barely know what’s gonna happen 24 hrs in advance…but I appreciated their clarity. Something we can probably also use in our listings.

What We Wished:

Some things we wished the house had… Are we being nitpicky? Maybe.. But you decide.

Coffee.. Yes, the house had a coffee maker but no coffee or sugar. Oh yes, the simple things in life that you want when you wake up… and you can’t have… Thankfully, there was a Starbucks nearby.

Trash can in the guest bathroom… the other bathrooms had a trash can, but this one was missing. I don’t know why.

One of the bedrooms didn’t have a dresser: A big walk-in closet, no dresser… How’s a person supposed to unpack?

Shampoo and conditioner: We don’t tend to travel with them, and they weren’t provided. I was looking at the listing to see if it was part of the amenities, and I didn’t see it, but I did see a long list of house rules. Go figure.

The house had a lot of switches… and some label information on them would have been nice. I know not everyone likes labels, but they work wonders when a guest doesn’t know a home and turning on a simple light means turning on a fan, trash disposer, or some other light. And of course, we kept getting them wrong.

Will We Rent it Again?

The most important thing in this episode is, “will we rent this home again?” The answer is yes; at least, I would. I’ll ask my mastermind group on our next weekly call.

The house worked out. It had what we needed. Plus, it was clean, convenient, and it just worked for us. What we realized in our many walks were the tons of available vacation rental homes in this community. At the time of this recording, San Diego was about to pass a new law about vacation rentals.

We even spoke with a local resident, and she was complaining about the parties, disturbances, the many times they have to call the police since their community has become a party town.

These people wish they were involved in the vote, not just the politicians. An interesting opinion, especially with all of the laws that are getting passed right now. I hope you’re getting involved in the politics in your area. Because rules are changing quickly and affecting everyone.

Be Your Own Guest

If you can’t take off on vacation, I suggest you go pack a bag and stay at your own place. Yes, be your own guest… Go through the process of being a guest…at your house. Or tell a friend who doesn’t know your home like you do. You might see some things differently… For example:

  • Do you have good pre-stay communication? A check-in process?
  • Is your entrance well lit? Is the house number obscured by overgrown bushes?
  • You know your lockbox, but is the information clear for your guests?
  • Do you have a luggage rack? If not, where will your guest place their luggage? On that white duvet?
  • Do you have enough and easy access to outlets, or will the guests be moving furniture around?
  • Now, what do you wish you had as a guest?

Take it from me, the best way to become an Airbnb host your guests can't stop raving about is by becoming your own Airbnb guest.

Your Host,

Evelyn

Links:

Some of the links mentioned are affiliate links. if you choose to make a purchase, I may earn a commission. Commissions come at no additional cost to you.

PS: Want more…

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