The extra miles required to be an outstanding host. Online travel agency is on the rise by hitching on the sharing economy truck. Gone are the days when guests rely solely on hotel rooms availability when looking for a place to stay. Travelers are preferring something that resembles home more than anything these days. Read on if you are involved in this kind of sharing-economy, or going to, and plan to make yourself a good host, better than most of your competitors.
First thing first. What is an outstanding host?
That kind of host is someone who is able to deliver guests’ experience to the max. Max, as in leaving the guests so satisfied they don’t think there’s any room for doing further than that. Make a mental note on this: host’s responsibility doesn’t stop only at fulfilling guests’ expectations. That’s what a good host would do. An outstanding host goes the extra miles and then some for their guests.
How? You can achieve this by focusing yourself on six main points. Let’s break them down to see what kind of extra miles you can do on each point.
How much it costs to book this kind of place? Expensive I bet, but people don’t mind. You see, good place and good picture validate the price tag.
Extra miles: Daily housekeeping.
Extra miles: Provide safety box in the room and security staff for the lot.
Extra miles: don’t charge extra for linen and towel or for laundering them (unless you do the laundry yourself).
Extra miles: Offer discounts or scratch that extra fee you usually charge for some complimentary amenities. Tips: Incorporate all services that can concur extra cost directly into your rate (e.g: airport pickups).
2. Service and Hospitality
This photo is as fake as Donald Trump’s hair…but well, you get the idea of what being friendly is, right?
Being friendly doesn’t cut it (unless this translates into buying round of beers for your guests on their first night). Some people value privacy more than they value company. It’s wise to know when and how you should show up. When to stay a little bit longer to chat, and when to give your guests privacy. The same goes also for your staff.
That being said, being a distant host is not going to cut it either. Providing the guest with direct contact to you or a go-to person for all kinds of questions that may appear is a must.
It requires some art to be available without being intrusive, respecting privacy without being too distant.
Extra miles: Educate yourself with all hospitality standards and ready to adjust yourself to these standards.
Make sure you know how to bring your guests to such wonderful places as these tea plantations in Bandung, West Java Photos courtesy of @Puanindya
Guests don’t only select where they stay on a matter of accommodation and facilities. The reason why they choose your place probably has more to do with what is available in your area, places to see, things to do and so on. Make sure they get what they expect to get by staying in the area. Give some insider’s tips on everything: the best local restaurants, local events, shortcut to the nearest landmarks, including the perfect time to take photos of the landmark.
Extra miles: Don’t stop at that. Treat your guests like visiting friends or relatives (who pay you in this case). Be their guide when visiting the landmarks as you would to your friends and visiting family.
Now. Let’s get to where you should wrap all of that in one enchanting ad about your place.
It’s all about the pictures. When you join any co-marketing service, although the purpose is to promote your place, realize that it’s the pictures that you’re actually selling. Good pictures lead to sale. As simple as that.
Extra miles: I know how people think that they’re good at photography… in most cases, they aren’t. There are people that can make great pictures of your home for you for only a small fee, folks. Use their services. As mentioned before, pictures make all the difference. Be careful not to be too excessive in beautifying the photos, though, to avoid misleading the guests.
As for the description, make it short and precise in the best way that reflects your place most accurately. Throw some perks of your place in superlatives (e.g the best place to enjoy sunset/sunrise, the closest place to the beach etc) that guests can’t get even from hosts in similar area.
Extra miles: Write and rewrite engaging copy of your place’s description. Play with the guests imagination, fill them with expectation and commit yourself to deliver it to them.
6. Response Rate
You are not alone in this business. There are tons of hosts nearby that guests can choose, some with better facilities and cheaper price than what you offer. So why putting yourself further behind the line if giving faster response to any inquiry is all you need to do? What eludes you from doing this consistently?
Extra miles: None. What you need is a good notification system on your smartphone.
I guess that’s it. Tell me what you think about how to be an outstanding hosts in the comment section below and share your experience!
PS: In order to be an outstanding host, whatever happens, never, I repeat, never, chase down your guests with an unsheathed sword, no matter what the circumstances are.
Oh. And yeah, don’t let the tiger enters the pool too.