3 years, 700 reviews and a day off!

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couple of weeks back Airbnb reached out to us to remind us that it was our three year anniversary since we had our first Airbnb guest! All the memories of our first experience as hosts came back! Wow was that 3 years ago already! At the same time we reached a great milestone of 700 reviews. Also, we desperately needed a day off ‘work’.

When we had just 3 apartments on Airbnb we were doing everything, from check ins and check outs, cleaning, laundry and everything in between. Once we grew a little more we knew we needed to outsource some things. First was the laundry and as long term readers of the blog will know, we had Louis which at the time was a life saver. Then after a while we had our own cleaners.

But as we grew more we required one company to look after both the cleaning and the laundry. Mainly for the logistics of the set up. This was a huge jump for us, not just financially as our cost went up (a lot) but also handing this over meant we could grow our little business.

Of course we were still determined to make sure all our guests still had the Phil and Fiona treatment. We answered every message (within a few hours), we did every check in and we met every guest. We answered every question and helped in any way we could.

Whilst manageable, we never really switched off. From first thing in the morning to last thing at night we were working. We’d have some days with 9 check ins (yep, 9 between 2 of us) then some days no check ins, but with an average of 70 emails/messages a day there was never a way to turn work off. It was getting too much and we desperately needed just one day away from ‘work’.

So we made the decision to recruit someone. We ran some interviews but no one fitted into our way of thinking. Then Fiona asked her Spanish tutor, Noa who is also a great friend of the family, if she knew anyone. When she said she would be interested, well we couldn’t believe our luck. She is simply perfect for the job! Multilingual, efficient and thinks just like us when it comes to the service we offer our guests.

So last week myself, Fiona and the kids had what was our first day in years a complete day off – no emails or phone! We hit a great outdoor pool here in Barcelona and had an amazing, well deserved great family day, see pic!

We’ve also booked a holiday in a few weeks too! A whole 7 days! Now we’ll still be doing some work, but thanks to Noa we’ll be able to relax and enjoy some chil- ax time together.

I guess in any business you need to find the right people to help you and also compliment what it is you do. Doing everything yourself, may feel the best way, but in the long run if you feel its getting too much, look for help!

We’ve gone from renting out one room in our apartment to now providing a home for our guests in one of our 15 apartments. Its been a great learning curve and one that we’re still gaining experience from, but although the need of a holiday, we’re loving what we do, and enjoying the experience so much, which brings me to the 700 reviews….

When looking back over them they really help to remind us that our hard work pays off and that our guests have an amazing stay with us. Of course there have been 4 or 5 negative reviews, this has either been a mistake by us or some guests you just can’t please. But with 99.9% of our guest reviews being positive… well we’re absolutely delighted.

I guess this post is a reflection on what we’ve done and we hope that inspiring others reading that you can make Airbnb a success for you, you can quit your 9-5, it can be your full time job, you can grow a business! But be warned, it takes a lot of dedication, a lot of hard work and attention to your guests.

Here’s what we aim for:

“Fantastic apartment, great hosts. Fiona met us on check in, gave us some tips on BCN, and generally made us feel totally welcome. And they were very responsive when we had a couple of queries. On this trip we used 4 different Airbnb places, and Phil and Fiona’s was the best overall. They are absolutely the best Hosts! ”

Also, thanks also to all Ourbnb readers for your thoughts and support. Now as we have Noa on board you’ll be hearing from us more regularly and we’ll be bring you more hints and tips to help you guys out.

Cheers,

Phil

 


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